The Busy Blogger’s Guide to Creative, Compelling Images

My Top-5 Resources for Blog Posts, Social Media, and More

If I told you there was one thing you could do with your blog that would boost your traffic by 94 percent, what would you say?

I recently blogged about seven mistakes bloggers cannot afford to make. No. 2 was failing to use compelling imagery.

Some bloggers don’t use images at all. That’s a miss. Others use low-quality, unprofessional images. And that’s a miss, too, because it trivializes their brand. Using subpar images on your blog is like saying, “Readers, don’t take me seriously!”

Research shows that images:

  • Leverage the way we best process information
  • Pull readers into our content
  • Drive social media engagement

In fact, “Content featuring compelling images averages 94 percent more total views than those without,” according to one MDG Advertising

That’s an amazing statistic, but don’t overlook that word compelling. Images can serve the message—or disserve it. Your message is too important to let bad imagery become a hurdle or a turnoff to potential readers.

So where can you get the kind of compelling imagery that will drive traffic and engagement? More to the point, where can you go to find what you need without wasting half your day? This is my top-five list of go-to image resources for busy bloggers:

  1. iStock. I’ve been using iStock for years now. In fact most of the images in my blog posts come from iStock. Their search filters are excellent, and I can usually find the images I need relatively quickly. This is a premium service; to download an image, you purchase credits. It might be steep for some, but it’s the perfect solution for many bloggers.

  2. Unsplash. If you’re looking for professional, artistic, and free photos, Unsplash is an incredible resource. We use it for quote cards, some of our ebook illustrations, and other projects. The search function works well.

  3. This site has a huge catalog of photos, and they’re adding new images all the time. The search function is the best of the free stock photography sites I’ve used. Like Unsplash, everything here is completely free.

  4. Death to the Stock Photo. This site changes things up a bit. When you subscribe (for free), you receive a monthly zip file of photos on a specific theme. The photos are beautiful, but it’s sometimes tough to find a good match for what I’m doing. I’m okay with that because what we use is excellent. We tend to use them for quote cards.

  5. Life of Pix. It doesn’t have the best search function, but the abstract photos here are also perfect for memes and quote cards. Plus, it’s free.

  6. Other great sources. These sites just scratch the surface. I know many busy bloggers using other sites and services, most free. Here are some worth checking out:

Now, you already know this, but it’s still important to say. Images are just like words. They are usually copyrighted.

Grabbing an image from Google might be easy, but it can land you in hot water. And by hot, I mean expensive. Getting sued is on nobody’s list of fun things for a Monday—or any day. Whatever sites you use, make sure you check the fine print. Most sites make this clear, but when in doubt, find another image.

Everyone says a picture is worth a thousand words, but the right image is even better. It’s priceless. It’s the perfect way to introduce your post, reinforce your point, and connect with your reader’s imagination.

And it might just help you expand your reach and create the impact you want with your message.

Question: Do you use images on your blog? What sites work best for you?