“They” say a picture is worth a thousand words. Now as a copywriter, I’d say “they” are overemphasizing the importance of visuals by just a little bit. Okay, maybe by a lot. But even I agree that a web page without any photos is a webpage I’m probably not going to spend a lot of time on.
Breaking up your blog posts and other online content with photos makes your copy more scannable, gives you another opportunity to optimize your page for SEO, and can further illuminate your copy’s point or resonate emotionally with readers.
But good stock photos cost money. And if you’re writing a blog post once a week or more (and you should be!), all of those stock photos — most of which look faker than the moon landing (Kidding … Not a moon truther, promise) — are going to add up.
Now I know it’s tempting to just swipe a photo from Google Image search and slap it on your page. I’ve been guilty of doing this in the past, too. What are the chances that anyone’s ever going to find out?
High enough that I’m not willing to chance it anymore. I’ve read one too many stories about folks using copyrighted images without permission or payment on their little ol’ blogs … and then getting slapped with a cease and desist letter, or outright sued. Plus, as small business owners who slave over our own content — or pay prettily to have an expert produce it — it’s our duty to support visual content creators, too. And, it’s, you know, the law.
But that doesn’t make paying for photos any more fun.
Luckily, a few kind souls across the internet are ready to help. Here are 5 of my favorite sources for free images, most of which don’t even require attribution. The best part? I think a lot of these sources produce images that feel more authentic and inspired than traditional stock photo sites.