How to Engage your audience with a snappy image on your Blog Posts & Event Posts!
I did it twice yesterday. Yep. And it lasted over an hour each time. What can I say, I'm an addict. I mean, searching for stock images is fun...a LOT of fun. Sometimes, I just can't get enough. I say to myself, "Just one more page, and that's it," but then 100 pages later, I'm still at it. It's like crack, but better, because you probably won't lose your job or family. Probably. I honestly spend more time searching for a post image than I do on the post itself. Please don't hold that against me or this Blog Post. A lot of research went into the actual making of it, it's just, c'mon, looking at beautiful high-res photos of glaciers in New Zealand and sweeping landscapes dotted with wildflowers, it doesn't get much better than that.
If you've never experienced this particular obsession, I highly recommend it. Not only because it's relaxing, but because your blog and social media pages will thank you. A recent Skyward Study found that:
That's a fact, people. I didn't make that up. A snappy graphic can instantly pull in a reader. Not only that, it can instantly orient your reader about the topic you are going to write about. And don't forget Pinterest. If somebody likes your graphic, it's easily posted to their Pinterest page with a link back to your site. Ka-ching! Linkbacks comin' your way!
But this isn't just about your audience's pleasure. When you include an image on your Blog Posts and Event Posts, you're practicing self-love. After I give my post its title, the very next thing I do is search for a graphic. When I get that photo into my post, I find it lifts my spirits, helps me focus, and speeds up the time it takes to get the post done. (Minus the hours I spent perusing for my image, that is!)
SO, WHERE CAN YOU FIND GRAPHICS FOR YOUR POSTS?
Before you start looking for graphics, you need to know a few things. For most sites and mobile devices:
You need an image that is at least 1500 pixels wide.
Stock houses usually label images of this size as medium or large. Anything smaller will get you low resolution on your headers.
Also, if you are looking for images at the stock houses, you may be offered a choice between creative and editorial images. Stick with creative.
You might also be offered a choice between royalty-free and rights-managed. Stick with royalty-free.
And lastly, some of the stock houses use a credit system for purchasing. So, instead of saying an image costs $7, they say it's worth 2 credits. You can buy packages of credits which determine the value of a credit. It's confusing, and I hate it. You will, too. So, I broke down the credit system for BigStock below this post, as well as the Shutterstock packages (technically, not a credit system).
Ok, here we go!
you can Upload a photo from your photo library.
Take a shot from your smartphone and you're good to go, or upload a pic from your photo library. The photo size on most modern smart phones will accommodate the blog post. Just watch out for apps that reduce the size to make the photo more Instagram-friendly.
You can Download a photo from a stock house ... for FREE!
I got the photo for the header of this post free from Pixabay! (The smiling coffee photo, too.) There are over 480,000 free photos, vectors, and art illustrations on this site. It's not a huge library, but it will get the job done!
NOTE: The first row of your search results will be Shutterstock images. Choosing one of these images will take you to Shutterstock, another very good stock house, but the images there are not free. )
I've just discovered Unsplash. It's a stunning collection of photography. All free! It's unclear how many photos they have in their library, but ... did I mention how gorgeous they are? The big drawback to this site is there's no way to filter your search results. My advice is to keep your search very general, like "horse" or "cat". Putting in anything more specific, like "black horse" or "white cat" will not necessarily get you all of their "black horses" or "white cats".
Pond5 offers public domain images (alongside images you can purchase). If you need an old timey photo, this is your place!
Big bonus: this site is one of the easiest to navigate.
You can Purchase a photo from a stock house.
Most stock houses that offer graphics for purchase also offer monthly subscriptions. Here's how the subscription racket works:
- You pay them a set fee each month.
- They allow you to download a set number of photos each month.
- If you don't download your entire allotment of photos, then you forfeit the balance for that month. Yikes!
I highly recommend you NOT purchase a monthly subscription package on any of these sites.You will never, ever use your monthly allotment OR you will stress out trying to meet your quota. Not fun.
With over 27 millions images, you won't be hard-pressed finding what you need on BigStock. And they have the most reasonable prices per photo of all the stock houses depending on how many credits you buy. A medium-size photo (1600 pixels wide) costs 2 credits. If you buy their basic package of 10 credits; then, the price of that 2 credit photo comes to $7.00. Purchase a 25 credit package, and the price of that 2 credit photo drops to $3.92!
With over 100 million images, Shuttterstock is one of the largest stock houses! You can find every conceivable type of image here. Their pricing scheme does not allow for single image purchases, but a package of 5 will run a little under $10 an image. (And it's easy to find a Shutterstock coupon on the web!) A breakdown of their packages follows this post.
SquareSpace has cinched a deal with GettyImages; so now you can easily search and purchase photos for $10 each from GettyImages right inside the image block you place in your Blog Posts and Event Posts on your SquareSpace site. It's a little more expensive than the other stock houses, but, because it's built into the SquareSpace platform, it's very convenient. If you don't want the hassle of navigating to a stock house, setting up an account there, downloading a file, and dragging it into the image block of your post, this is the way to go!
NOTE: If you go directly to GettyImages.com, you won't find anything affordable there. Don't do it!
In addition to Pond5's free public domain photos, you will also find tons of beautiful images for purchase. They even have a price-range filter to keep your search results under $10. Again, their site is super easy to navigate. And a lot of their medium-size and large images are under $7.
You can Create a graphic yourself.
Here's another fact: Photos with words on them are way more viral than just plain photos. And, sometimes, putting words directly on a photo is just what you need to make your post shine.
Canva is a fun-tastic D.I.Y. graphics design site with premium photos typically costing $1 each (but also tons of images that are free). You can get single images for your Blog & Event Posts, but Canva isn't really about getting a single image. It's about building a graphic out of several images and putting some text on it.
You could put together a graphic like this for a buck! And the interface is very friendly.
Pablo is a part of buffer.com, a service that helps you schedule Social Media posts for Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, and Pinterest. Within the Pablo interface, you can choose a photo (35 photos, courtesy of Unsplash, that are rotated periodically) or upload your own. They come with pithy quotes which you can shuffle through, or you can add your own text. Pablo is really meant to push out quick posts, so the designing options are quite limited, not at all like Canva. But, sometimes, that's all you really need.
With Pablo, there's no need to sign up for an account. Just choose a photo, slap your text on it, and, voilà, you're done! I created this in 30 seconds!
So, are you ready to start doing it? Don't worry, nobody will see you. Just dim the lights, pour yourself a glass of wine, and start browsing. Oh, and let me know if you have any favorite stock house hang outs.
And now, as promised ...
Le Credit System
- Buy 10 credits — each credit is worth $3.50; so a medium-sized photo is $7.00
- Buy 25 credits — each is worth $1.96; so a medium-sized photo is $3.92
- Buy 100 credits — each credit is worth $1.69; so a medium-sized photo is $3.38 (100 credits is 50 medium-sized photos ... that's a big commitment; so think about it.)
- Buy 500 credits — each credit is worth about $1.00; so a medium-sized photo is $2.00. (It would take you many years to use that many graphics for blogging, so unless you're ready to commit to BigStock, I wouldn't do it!)
- 2 Images for $29 = $14.50/image
- 5 images for $40 = $9.80/image
- 25 images for $229 = $9.16/image
PRO TIP: There's almost always a Shutterstock coupon to be found!