Pictures, Pictures, Pictures… Decorating your blog on a budget (of $0)

Picture is worth 1000 words

So I keep reading up on blogging and monetizing and search engine optimization. Universally, they recommend adding images to your blog posts. Blogs with images have a smaller bounce ratio and longer duration. Let’s face it, blogs with pictures are just that much more attractive and engaging.


There’s a lot of people who don’t understand copyright and think if they can find an image on the internet, they’re free to use it. That may or may not be true. What you need to do is look for copyright information. As an amateur photography (I’ve made a little under $200 in six or seven years, ha!), I probably understand more about copyright than your average person. First, did you know, when you create a work (such as taking a picture), you already own the copyright? It’s automatic. There’s a process to then register that copyright with the government which can make civil litigation easier, but you own it as soon as you create it. I remember reading about how David Hobby over at Strobist, had a picture (I think it was of a Cheeto) that a publication used without permission. They later ended up paying 10 grand for usage rights to his picture  when contacted by lawyers.

Finding your photos

So how can you use pictures? Well, there are no shortage of paid stock photography sites where you can grab all sorts of photos, often for very low cost. You still have to pay attention to those rights, you might not be licensed to modify them. A simply text overlay or cropping could be disallowed. That, and they’re still not free. That’s when I turned to flickr.  Flickr is a photography social media site.  You can find almost anything you want there, it’s often got a more authentic feel than a lot of stock pictures, and, all the licensing is super easy to understand. The photos are all marked with their various copyright on their page (most are licensed under Creative Commons). In your search you can specify what I do “Commercial Use & Mods Allowed”. Download the photo and put it on your blog, then post the appropriate attribution (typically a photographer’s name and a link to their site).

I spent last night getting a bunch of images up on my existing posts and I’m making a commitment to not add a new post without images. So how about you, where do you source your images from? Do you see them impacting traffic?

Image Credits: Sebastien Wiertz