Photos, hard to find but necessary for anyone who owns and operates a website, YouTube channel, acts as a social media influencer, or anyone who just has any sort of online presence.
You may be just starting your blog, maybe you’re an affiliate marketer like me. Whatever the case, it’s likely you yourself are not a professional photographer. Therefore, you need free stock photos for your website.
The hard part is finding the right place for high quality photos that actually relate to the topic you are dicussing.
As a content creator you don’t want to display photos that aren’t relevant, this can detract readers, listeners, or viewers from the message you are trying to portray. The old addage “pictures are worth 1,000 words” is definitely applicable in the online space.
You likely just came here looking for the best place for find royalty free photos for your website so I’ll cut to the chase.
Google is probably the easiest and fastest way to find free photos. The only problem with Google is that most people are unaware that you can sort images in the advanced settings.
One thing you want to avoid (copyright infringement is real folks) is just searching any image on Google and saving it to your computer to use later in your content.
If that image is then later searched, found on your site, and it belongs to someone else, you will likely receive a C&D notice (cease & desist) requiring you remove the photo from your content.
Sometimes the owner will be a bit more angry and start talks of pursuing litigation, this is something you ABSOLUTELY want to avoid in the first place. It can be quite costly. In rare cases, use of images without permission can cost you up to $250,000 wiping out all of the profits you made for the year from your online business.
Is there a legal way to use photos from Google? You bet! I’ll walk you through that method right now.
First thing is first, figure out what you are searching for. For the sake of this article I’m looking for “Affiliate Marketing Photos”.
As you can see, thousands of results immediately pop up. It would be easy to click the image, copy and paste or save image as and then use it later in a post like this one. However, the person that built that infographic will likely either want credit, or not want you to use it at all.
Sometimes, that is not the case. Photographers and graphic designers can be nice people and sometimes they will display their work for use for “creative commons”. This is usually the up and coming photographer just trying to get their work out to the public.
By allowing writers to use their photos and graphics they get free exposure. Usually I try and credit these folks in the Alt Text for a photo or backlink to their page that it was found on.
So now you’re probably wondering how you narrow your Google search to include only the images that are free for use both creatively and commercially. Commercially being the keyword here because many of you, like me, have an online business to run.
If you click on “Settings” in this same window you will then see a drop down with a few different options. Click on “Advanced Search” then you will be taken to a new window. Both of these steps are shown here:
If you scroll down you’ll then be presented with additional options:
The field you are looking for here is “usage rights:”. Once you click the drop down under that field, you will be displayed multiple options. You want the most lenient options (in case you want to add or edit graphics). This is the field that says “free to use, share or modify, even commercially” as shown here:
Once you have the correct settings changed in Advanced Search, you simply click the “Advanced Search” button and await the results:
Now you’ll see that you’ve found a whole new category of images that are free to use, modify as you see fit, or share on your website free of charge.
Google may be the easiest option for free images, however, it’s not my favorite option. Google can sometimes lead to trouble if someone else has already reused the photo and is now displaying under the CC0 license (creative commons) incorrectly without permission of the creator.
The part that is tough is claiming that you innocently used the photo without knowledge of copyright infringement.
In the past, this has led me to sites that clearly state the CC0 license to avoid any confusion.
Some of my favorite sites for searching photos are Pixabay, Unsplash, 500px, and sometimes Flickr. Flickr is only sometimes because most photos on Flickr are lacking the CC0 tag and are usually not free stock photos for reuse.
These sites are easy to search for free photos, and most of the photos at Pixabay and Unsplash are free for download. You have the option to tip the photographers if you are the generous type, but you are not obligated to do so.
Searching these sites is much simpler than dealing with the Advanced Settings in Google.
For example, you simply head over to Pixabay, once there a simple search is easy to execute right from the home page:
As you will soon find out, there are less available images. The reason that there are less available images is because Pixabay requires that you only upload the photo or graphic if it is original.
In the search result for “affiliate marketing” there were only 26 free stock images available.
I actually find the number of search results, and sometimes the level of trust I have in the uploader to be quite limiting.
I have no guarantee that this is their photo even with Pixabay requiring original only uploads.
Often times the uploader of the image will just upload it with the hopes that you will contribute money as a donation to their photography business.
The problem is, some people are not the owners of these photos.
Pixabay does a pretty good job at vetting uploaders and establishing trust on their website.
Many of these photo websites do.
The trick with these sites is that you now have to click on the photo and then download it under the CC0 license.
Once you download the item is saved to your computer taking up valuable space (especially if you run a website and download thousands of photos).
The hassle of inserting these photos into WordPress or your editing platform and then optimizing the image is also a struggle.
That’s precisely why I was very happy that the hosting platform I use (also an affiliate university) recently implemented its SiteContent platform.
The SiteContent platform is unique for both writing and image searching purposes. I’ll explain why.
The Wealthy Affiliate SiteContent Writing Platform
So I’ve written multiple reviews on the Wealthy Affiliate (WA) platform as a whole. I’ve even broken it down into the main individual components and discussed the university itself and the training aspect associated with WA.
The best part of WA may be their new implementation of the SiteContent writing platform.
I have spoken at length about the benefits of goal tracking, word count, direct publishing capabilities, but I have yet to discuss why the SiteContent publisher is so great for FREE PHOTOS.
The unique piece of WA’s SiteContent platform photo capabilities comes from the fact that it is not limited to just one website to search free photos as if you were to go direct to one of the sites mentioned above.
As you can see, the results are much more high quality and there are thousands of options to choose from. There are even third party sites that I had never heard of prior to WA like RawPixel or Studio 7042.
Google does have a similar ability to search multiple sites for CC0 images. The problem is that you still have to download them, go to your content creating platform or site editor, and then insert the photos into your content manually.
In addition, your photos are not optimized for Site Speed and image quality.
Your images are not automatically compressed by WordPress without installing additional plug-ins (this can slow your site down) so you then are stuck pouring in countless hours of additional work just to make your content visually appealing.
Like the Facebook Ads platform you can direct search thousands of free stock photos directly within the WA SiteContent platform right in the middle of writing your content.
You can then crop, align, and place optimized images into your content without even having to click the upload/download buttons or search and arrange the files on your computer. This is a huge time saver for me, and I’m sure you would feel the same.
In addition, you have the ability to add links, insert your Alt Text, open the link in a new window, essentially everything you might need to do with an image.
On top of all that, say you aren’t interested in a stock image or you have found the perfect one outside of SiteContent and already have it downloaded. It’s simple to upload your image manually and follow the same inserting procedures within your content.
WA makes sure to optimize these images as well! Since I typically use screenshots for instructional posts, this is a valuable tool that I don’t want to lose.
Yes, WordPress back end does have a content editor and I can do the same thing. The key point here is that there is not over 1 million stock images available across the internet all displayed in one place easily narrowed down by your search topic.
The icing on the cake? You can publish directly to your website from Wealthy Affiliate without ever having to leave SiteContent. So now you’re probably wondering how to gain access to SiteContent, that’s simple!
How To Start Using Wealthy Affiliate’s SiteContent Editor
Disclaimer: Wealthy Affiliate does require a Premium Membership for access to the full SiteContent platform.
However, at $49/mo for a Premium Membership that includes hosting, training, and a content writing platform you absolutely cannot beat it.
I bet that if you were to add up what you are paying for hosting, what you pay to learn about building a website and affiliate marketing, and then on top of that what you are paying for the images you include in your posts, you would be well over the $49/mo membership cost. An outline of what all you will gain as a Wealthy Affiliate Premium Member is shown below:
If you want to browse the WA platform before committing, you can sign up for a Free Starter Membership with no credit card. All you need is a valid email address.
This will allow you to poke around the platform, see what is offered to WA members, and you can even interact with the community of over 1.4M members and gather your own testimonials.
To read a full review on Wealthy Affiliate and to understand why it is the best affiliate marketing platform on the internet, click here.
Hopefully I’ve provided you with some quality information here on where to find the highest resolution, free images for your website. If you gained anything from this post, have questions, or want to know more about any of the topics above, please drop a comment below and I’ll be certain to respond.
If you want to chat further within WA once you’re signed up. Head to my profile @DaltonTberry and let’s chat!