Photos: Does Your Blog Have Them?

If you spend a lot of time reading popular blogs, you may notice something similiar about them. It has nothing to do with what subject they are covering, their overall design, or where they place ads. Any guesses?

The answer is simple: pictures.

They all use pictures to help spruce up their posts. Why? Because photos can take your blog to a whole new level in terms of visual appeal. Remember how boring it was reading those plain text books back in middle school? The same thing goes for blog posts.

Pictures can also greatly improve your results on popular social networks. For example, many users of StumbleUpon tend to move on whenever they come across posts without any pictures. By using photos, you can catch their eye, which will lead to more people reading your content.

So now you’re wondering, where in the world can I get pictures if I don’t have any of my own? Luckily, you have two option which we will break down for you.

1. Buy Them From Stock Photo Websites

The first answer is the easiest way of all. Unfortunately, it’s going to cost you some money. There are tons of stock photo websites that sell photographs for use in print, web, or any other purpose you might have.

You’re most likely going to find the largest selection of high quality photos by using a stock photo website.

Here’s a few we recommend if you plan on purchasing some photography:

2. Use Creative Commons Photos

For everyone else, we have a FREE alternative. This is our preferred method to find pictures to use on our blogs. So what does Creative Commons mean? Here’s a summary from the wikipedia page:

Creative Commons (CC) is a non-profit organization devoted to expanding the range of creative works available for others to build upon legally and to share. The organization has released several copyright licenses known as Creative Commons licenses. These licenses allow creators to communicate which rights they reserve, and which rights they waive for the benefit of recipients or other creators.

Basically, it’s an alternative to copyrighting that gives artists more options to license their work besides all rights reserved. This is good news for bloggers because a lot of the CC licenses allow us to use photos on our blog. All we have to do is link back to the original source as well as provide a link to the license it holds.

So where can you find these pictures? Here’s a few places we suggest starting:

If you use WordPress for your blog or website, we have even better news. There is a plugin available called Photo Dropper. What it does is gives you a new media button in your write post/page screen that allows you to automatically search for Creative Commons photos on Flickr.

If that wasn’t easy it enough, it also places the correct links below any picture you choose. So you no longer have to worry about doing the correct linking. Just make sure to double check the picture to make sure the license hasn’t been changed.

It hasn’t been updated in awhile but we’re using it on a few blogs with WordPress 2.8 installed (including this one) without any problems. You can see the picture above for an example of what it does.

Start Using Pictures Today

Regardless of the method you use to find pictures, we highly suggest using them in your next blog post. Your readers will thank you for the eye candy and it will make your blog look a lot more professional.

Any other suggestions for finding photos to use on your blog? If so, feel free to leave a comment.

Posted By: Justin Wright

This post was published by Justin Wright on July 1st, 2009.

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