Images are an essential component of running a successful blog. They break up the text in interesting ways and can help to illustrate the various points you make. Most site owners and bloggers know this already. However, the actual task of finding images and then uploading them to your site can be a daunting one, especially if you’re looking for something very specific.
The expense is also a consideration. While getting a subscription to a stock photography site isn’t all that expensive, it can add up, especially if you’re still in the early stages of your business. All I’m saying is when you’re trying to save pennies, you might not be all that interested in shelling out $5 for a stock photo for your latest blog post.
Creative Commons images to the rescue! They’re free and can be used for just about any purpose you can think of. Of course, finding good images can feel a bit like searching for a needle in a haystack. Really specific keywords are your friend here.
Now, before you throw your hands up and give up on the idea of images altogether, might I suggest you leverage the power of WordPress plugins to make both the hunt for and the integration of images just a little easier?
What follows are several plugins that make using Creative Commons images as easy as 1, 2, 3.
Okay, before I dive into the plugins list proper, I wanted to pause for a moment to point you directly to the website for Creative Commons content. Yes, you can search Google with the appropriate filters on and you can search Flickr, too. But the search function at the Creative Commons site is invaluable.
With it, you can search several image repositories at once, which can save you a lot of time. Just make sure the “use for commercial purposes” box is checked at the top and you should be good to go for finding CC images on Flickr, Google, Wikimedia Commons, Pixabay, and others.
Formerly known as WP Inject, ImageInject makes it super simple to insert photos and images into your posts without having to leave the WordPress dashboard. Once you install the plugin, you just need to activate it and you’ll find a search metabox added to your WordPress editor. From there, you can search for photos based on relevant keywords and everything that comes up will be available for use under the Creative Commons license.
You can set an image from ImageInject as Featured or even select several to insert as a gallery. Customization options are included as well so you can modify how photos appear and how attribution is displayed. Currently, ImageInject lets you search and insert photos from Flickr and Pixabay.
A tool I’ve found particularly useful in finding Creative Commons licensed photos is Compfight. Now thanks to a plugin by the same name, you can use this intuitive tool from within the WordPress dashboard. After performing a keyword search, you can easily select the photo you want to add to your post with just one click. And it’ll appear with proper attribution in place. Can’t really ask for much more than that!
If you’re a fan of getting your images and photos from Pixabay then you’ll love Pixabay Images. This plugin lets you search for and insert images that are currently in the public domain with no fuss. Insert them in pages and blog posts. You don’t have to worry about double checking usage licenses — that step has already been taken care of for you. Proper attribution is featured with every inserted image.
Once installed, this plugin adds a Pixabay option under the “Add Media” button in the WordPress editor. You can easily filter results by type and orientation, preview images, and automatically upload the images you select to your media library.
If your website is for non-commercial purposes only, then you should definitely check out the Getty Images plugin. It provides access to Getty Images within the WordPress dashboard, which can make for some serious versatility. After all, Getty Images are notoriously high quality and taken by some of the best photographers in the world. Basically, your blog about cats is going to look awesome if you use these photos.
The plugin provides access to 35 million images that can be embedded directly on your site. It offers expanded features to Getty Images customers as well including the ability to search through millions of photos, download and preview them, and save licensed images to your media gallery. The drawback here for those who aren’t Getty Images customers is that they can only embed the images, they can’t actually insert or save them. This isn’t ideal, of course, but the opportunity to select from such a wide variety of images often makes up for the lack of flexibility here.
Google Images Search and Insert
If you like using Google Images to find your blog photos but are tired of fiddling with the settings manually to get your hands on Creative Commons-licensed images, you’ll probably find Google Images Search and Insert very helpful. After you install it, you can quickly and easily search through images and select one to insert into your latest post. It also gives you the option to change the image’s title and its size before inserting it into your content. At the end of the day, this is a plugin that adds a little more convenience to your life and we could all do with more of that, right?
The last plugin I’m going to talk about here today is PhotoDropper, which is a WordPress plugin that makes it a snap to find the image that’s “just right” for your next blog post. It provides access to over 62 million Creative Commons-licensed photos so you can easily find something that suits your purposes.
It promises to work in just 4 clicks, which sounds about right to me since you don’t have to go manually adjusting any image license settings. Once you’ve got PhotoDropper installed, you just need to click the hot air balloon icon that’s now present at the top of the WordPress post editor. This will open the image selector. Search for the kind of image you want then click on it to get a larger view. If you decide this is the image you want, all you have to do is click “Insert into post,” and you’ll be all set, especially since the plugin automatically inserts the appropriate attribution for you.
Adding images to your blog posts and pages can dramatically improve their readability. Visitors to your site will engage more readily with your content if its presented with stunning visual cues. Having to manually hunt for images under the Creative Commons license can be a real drag but by using one of the plugins described here, you can greatly reduce the time you spend on the task and your frustration.
Do you make regular use of Creative Commons images on your site? If so, how do you find them? Do you use one of the plugins I mentioned here? Did I miss your favorite? Whatever your situation, I’d love to hear all about it in the comments below!
Image source: Kristina Alexanderson