The human brain processes images in as little as 13 milliseconds, which is equivalent to the blink of an eye. Considering this, when you're crafting a blog post, it's critical that you make a point to include at least one image. Images can help your content marketing strategy on multiple levels, from helping you create an aesthetically-pleasing blog post to boosting SEO.
You take the time to write original, high-quality content, and you need to approach the images that you include in your blog posts the same way. If you're going to include your own photos, they need to be clear, bright, crisp, and well-composed as the images will be a direct reflection on your brand's level of professionalism.
If you're not a professional photographer, you can use images taken by others assuming that you have the correct permissions. However, navigating the image copyright laws can be tricky and will get you into some serious trouble if you're not careful.
For the SMB owner that's on a budget, the internet offers a number of great options to get legal images for your blog posts without breaking the bank. Here are 10 online resources for free and legal images to enhance your content marketing efforts:
1. Every Stock Photo
With more than 16 million images in its database, Every Stock Photo should be your first stop when looking for an image for your blog post. Make yourself aware that there are several different license options, so be mindful of this when choosing an image.
2. Stock x.chng
Stock x.chng is a popular resource for content marketers as the website offers users more than 400,000 royalty-free images to choose from. However, some of the images returned in search results may come from another website that requires you to pay for the images. Be cognizant of this so that you don't accidentally steal an image.
3. Historical Stock Photos
There may be a time when you'll want to include a historical image in your blog post. If this time comes, you'll want to turn to Historical Stock Photos to find free stock photos of everything from Rosie the Riveter to Uncle Sam.
4. Free Pixels
Although this website has one of the smaller image databases, it still offers some free quality images. Free Pixels offers more than 1,000 free images that are waiting to be discovered.
5. Public Domain Photos
If you're looking for photos of nature and scenic landscapes, Public Domain Photos features more than 5,000 free images of National Parks and other outdoor settings from around the world. Be careful to stay on the site as some of the images may link you to websites where payment is required.
6. Morgue File
Need an artsy picture or natural landscape image? Morgue File is a great place to turn to as its dubbed the place for "public images for creatives by creatives." While the images are free, be sure to credit them appropriately.
7. Stock Vault
This website includes a mix of free and paid images for every occasion that are aesthetically pleasing. The paid images are not prominently advertised, so make sure you understand your financial obligation before choosing an image.
8. Image * After
This image resource is different than some of the others mentioned because it primarily includes images of common household items. If you possess any level of photo editing skills, you'll appreciate the free images that you can find on this website.
9. Ancestry Images
Looking for an image of an authentic map that dates back to the 1800s? You can probably find one on Ancestry Images, which is full of images of old maps and prints that are waiting to be discovered.
10. Free Digital Photos
Content marketing pros love this resource as it offers a variety of legal photos of people in settings ranging from parties to business environments. However, because this is a popular resource, make sure that the images you use from Free Digital Photos are not too generic.
Incorporating images into your blog posts will help your content resonate with your audience, increase brand awareness, and improve your search ranking. Use these 10 resources for free and legal images to take your content marketing strategy to the next level.