Guest post by: Marcela De Vivo, a freelance writer from Los Angeles who specializes in online marketing. She currently writes for HostPapa.co.uk and covers a wide variety of topics, from social networking, search marketing, content development, and web analytics.
There’s no question about it – if you want to hold the attention of your readers, your blog needs great images. But where are you supposed to find all of these pictures, especially if you post every day?
Finding images can be easier than you think. Depending on what you are looking for, there are a variety of places to search. Over time, it will be easier to find the perfect photo and searching will become second nature.
Once you find your photos, editing might seem like a daunting task but becoming familiar with the best online editing tools will make the process easier.
Taking your own pictures for your blog is always the ideal option, but it’s not something you can always do for every post. That’s why being able to find quality images you can customize and use is essential. Start with these seven websites for finding high quality images.
1. Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons is an excellent place to look for all types of photos and it is a goldmine for searching pictures of famous places, well-known events or current news-related photos.
Need a picture of the Eiffel Tower, a Washington protest or a painting by Picasso? Wikimedia Commons has you covered.
2. Flickr’s The Commons Search
Flickr’s The Commons search is similar to Wikimedia Commons, but you will find pictures shared by everyday users that you can use freely. The Commons is a great source for photos that creatively depict scenes from everyday life. You’ll be more likely to find images of somebody washing their car or walking their dog with The Commons search than high-quality pictures of the Washington Monument.
If you need clip art that you can’t find in your word processing program, Host free images is a great place to look. They have a wide variety of clipart and you’ll find images that are not quite as cheesy as what you would probably image when you hear the words ‘clipart.’ You do have to pay a subscription fee to get high quality versions of the images but you get a much bigger array of choices than what might be in stock on your standard word program.
4. Microsoft Office Images
Microsoft Office Images can be a hit-or-miss when it comes to finding a good image if you have something specific in mind. You’ll find a lot of images that look like basic stock images, but you can also find a good selection of higher quality ‘generic’ nature shots.
Images are categorized in an easy to use and navigate interface, which is also a big plus.
5. Google Images
Using Google Images might sound obvious, but it is likely you won’t be able to get the rights to an image if you just use a standard search. What you need to do is set up search filters that allow you to look only for images that can be altered and used for commercial purposes.
There are plenty of images available and you can use them as you wish as long as you credit the source.
Fotolia.com, like iClipart, also has paid service requirements to access their photos . However, you can find a huge amount of very high-quality images and they can be surprisingly affordable, especially if you buy in packages or groups.
Plus, you’ll actually have full rights to the photos allowing you to use them in any way you want.
7. Icons Etc.
If you need icons for your site, Google Images search may work. However, if you need a particular icon, Icons Etc, is a great site to find logos and icons from many different companies.
The icons are free, and you’ll find obscure ones that Google Images won’t show you – at least not with a license that allows you to freely use the image.
Once you find an image you love, you need to customize it to fit your blog and to make it stand out from all of the other images on the net. Try these websites to help customize your pictures.
PicMonkey is a really easy editing tool that lets you make quick edits at lightning speed. You can add watermarks, quotes and use different filters to alter your images.
Pixlr offers more depth and control of your image than PicMonkey, but it is still simple to use. If you need to make specific edits on a photo or do something a bit more technical than PicMonkey will allow, Pixlr is your best bet.
10. Don’t Forget to Optimize!
This doesn’t require a specific site, but optimizing your pictures with a caption, alt tag and title is essential. You’ll boost your traffic and make your image findable. If people pin your image to Pinterest, the images will be optimized and increase your likelihood of receiving clickthrough traffic.
With these sites, you should be able to find pretty much any image under the sun and edit it to your heart’s content. Providing images for your blog could not be easier and you now possess the knowledge of a cornucopia of resources to use and customize to your liking.