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Should You Use Royalty Free Images?

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There’s a good reason why magazines and newspapers include lots of pictures in articles. Pictures deepen human touch of text-based content, and convey visual messages that no words can capture. Pictures also add an appealing splash of color to an otherwise purely black-and-white page.

My readership had leveled out, and I’d been struggling for new ways to engage my readers. Incidentally, I was flipping through the pages of Harper’s Magazine. I thought, “Why haven’t I used photos in my articles before?” My answer was: Brainstorming for the right subject to match the topic of my article is time-consuming. Taking great photos require high-quality camera, technical skills such, eye for esthetics and time, and I have little of those.  Have I reached a dead end?

After doing some research, I learned a cost-effective, time-efficient way of bringing photos to my articles: royalty free photos. These are photos taken by other people, who then made them available online for anyone to use for free or at minimal cost. Some sites where you can find affordable royalty free images are PhotoDunes and iStockPhoto.


Using Royalty Free Images to Take Articles to the Next Level

You’ll find hundreds and thousands of royalty free photos online. When it comes to using photos to spice up articles, there are some things to keep in mind.

  1. If you want images that enhance the meaning of your content, you have to begin by regarding them not merely as eye candies for grabbing audience attention, but also illustrate the message you want to convey.
  2. You should not only look for great photos but ones that are actually relevant to your article. If your article is about trekking shoes, would it make any sense to have a photo of a flag? It follows you put a photo of trekking shoes. Or you can be even more creative and use photos of hikers up a mountain or forest trail.  From what I learned, you can easily enhance an image visually through digital retouching so a bad photo is not a deal breaker for me. Developing the right image editing skills is easy with free retouching video tutorials, so what’s more important is its relevance to the content.
  3. You should go easy on using images. Put in too many, and your readers will get distracted from the actual content.
  4. When using royalty free photos, always remember to give credit to the photographer as well as the site where you found it. This also shows your professionalism.

Where to Use Royalty Free Images

When looking for photos to use, you need to develop an eye not only for high quality photos, but also for good places to use them. I recommend two venues:

  • On articles in your own website or blog
  • On guest posts

Incorporating photos to your blog articles can enrich reader experience. Using photos can enhance the personality of your blog, and they will make your website unique.

Using photos is also good for online business. Incorporate photos into your articles and they come alive with visual imagery and color. The articles become more enticing to read. Using photos will also give your articles a professional look and enhance trust factor of readers.

As your articles draw more traffic, keep visitors longer, and generate repeat visitors, your website gains better standing with search engines. The better your website’s search engine ranking, the better for your business. I know this because I saw a boost in my business after I started using photos in my articles. When you submit guest posts to another blog, your articles have higher chances of being accepted as they look more professional. Chances are, other bloggers also know the value of photos in attracting readers and so will give priority to your submission.


In Closing

I believe that adding images to articles is worth the time, effort and money. It doesn’t matter whether you use your own photos or royalty free images so long as it works for you.

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