This is a guest article by Lior who consults to a online task management start-up. You too can be part of this great knowledge sharing community. Take a look at our guest blogging guidelines.
Images are becoming an increasingly important part of any blog or website. Not only do they help improve the look and feel of the site’s content, but they are a crucial part of a robust SEO strategy, allowing for the insertion of additional keywords and opening up the possibility of traffic from Google Image Search.
However, it simply is not practical for most bloggers to take new images for every single blog post they want to publish. Most simply lack the time and/or tools to take their own photos or create their own artwork. To make matters worse, using images without permission is copyright infringement and can result in your blog being shut down or even being sued.
Fortunately, there are many artists and photographers who are happy to let you use their work on your site for free. It is simply a matter of connecting with them and meeting the terms of their license.
With that in mind, here are several sites that you should consider when looking for free, legal images for your blog:
- Stock.XCHNG: The Stock.XCHNG (or SXC) is a free stock image site where you can use all of the photos for free, most without providing attribution. You can easily search over 350,000 images though you have to be careful to follow the exact license as many photographers add extra terms to their images.
- Flickr: Though most of the content on Flickr is copyright protected, you can use the advanced search on the site to look up relevant Creative Commons-licensed photos and artwork. Be careful when using CC-licensed images to ensure that you follow the terms of the license completely.
- Google Image Search: Ordinarily, using Google Image Search for stock images is a very bad idea but, as with Flickr, you can use the advanced search feature to find only CC-licensed images. Once again, be careful with CC-licensed images to complete the license terms fully.
- Wikimedia Commons: Wikimedia Commons is Wikipedia’s media end and it has a slew of images available under a variety of licenses ranging from public domain, meaning no copyright, to Creative Commons. Just be careful to reach each license carefully and make sure you comply fully.
- Zemanta: Less a site to search for images and more a tool to help you search the Web for such images, Zemanta works with your blog’s backend to help you find and embed relevant, legal images into your post. Works as either a WordPress or a browser plugin.
- U.S. Government Websites: Finally, any and all content produced by the U.S. government is automatically placed into the public domain and is available for use. So, any images you find on a “.gov” site can be used freely, unless otherwise specified.
In addition to those resources, you may also wish to look at Wikipedia’s very lengthy list of public domain image sources for additional suggestions.
All in all, with so many easy and legal resources for free images, there’s no reason for your blog to go without images or to have to use images illegally. After all, legal content is just a click away.