"A picture is worth a thousand words.”
It’s never been truer than today. We live in a visual world. Attention spans are short, and even search rankings are now determined by your visual content as well as your copy. So how do you stand out?
Including visuals in your blog is not that hard. Here are a few places to start picking up images to make an impact and get attention.
Your smartphone. Buy a smartphone today, and it comes with a camera. A really good camera. Probably 8 megapixels or more. Photos don’t have to be professional. They need some composition and concept. But you can do that. Writing about retail? Grab a shot of a grocery shopping cart. Writing about natural food? Shoot an apple and a banana on your patio table. Try it!
If you’re not shooting your own images, here’s a quick note: Free, Royalty Free and Rights Managed have differing meanings. It’s good to understand the difference. Here’s a good overview.
High quality, low price The best and easiest way to get high-quality images, illustrations and other design tools (fonts, video footage, etc.) is to use an online, royalty-free source. The images are not free—there will be a fee associated with obtaining the file. But use of the media across a broad spectrum of media is included in the fee. Hundreds (if not thousands) of royalty-free catalogs are available. Three worth bookmarking are:·
Veer. Images, illustrations, and an online community of other creative people to spur your thinking.
iStock. Or aka iStockphoto. Purchase packages of credits and then use them to secure images. Great search function, including category search.
Getty. Founded in 1995, Getty Images was the first company to license imagery online. Now its library features millions of stock images and illustrations, and thousands of hours of video.
Lower quality, but free. It’s true—you get what you pay for. But if your budget is $0, something is better than nothing. Maybe. Again, a number of online catalogs offer free (and royalty-free) visuals. Two worth bookmarking are:
RGB Stock. Registration is required. But that’s free, too. Images tend to be older, and generic. But there is a pretty extensive catalog. And searching is easy.
Openphoto. Simple layout makes it easy to find exactly what you’re looking for, with categories organized in neat thumbnails as well as a keyword search facility.
A final idea. If you have a specialized offering (like a tree-pruning business), consider hiring a photographer and taking your own shots. For a few hundred dollars, you may be able to have a library of images all your own.