Importance of Great Images
Why are images so important for your business? The simple answer is that images catch eyes, especially colorful images and images that feature faces. But how should they be used?
That depends on your platform. But overall, you and I already know that getting a customer to click on an image leads to your platform to increase traffic. This is where the peacock knows what it’s doing: showing some flashy color!
If you are using a traditional website or blog, then you know that images have several uses.
The first is to use images to entice visitors to click on your content. If you are selling a product, you use an image to promote the great quality your company has to offer. If you are simply blogging about your day or about the latest recipe you tried from Pinterest, then you want to include images highlighting your experiences.
But there’s something else far more important when you use images on a website: you want to generate SEO ranking. SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, utilizes text information on your website to match search terms on a given search engine like Google, DuckDuckGo, Brave, Bing, Yahoo, etc. How do you do this with an image?
Easy. You simply add the appropriate SEO information into your image caption and alt text. But there is ONE MORE HACK that you need to know:
***Rename your image to match your SEO terms before uploading them***
This is an easy way to help boost your SEO ranking and it’s vastly underutilized.
Images on YouTube equals 3 things:
I cannot express how much you need to have a great thumbnail on your YouTube videos! People will make a decision to watch your video over another with almost the same description simply because you have the better thumbnail. This trend changes, so make sure you keep up with the types of thumbnails that catch your eyes, especially in your category.
Your banner is that long image at the top of your webpage. The images you use for this can be simple with just your brand colors and logo, or a combination of image vectors and your picture that visually represents your brand.
Your logo is the main image you are going to use for your brand. If you are only using in on YouTube, you may have the freedom to change it up with time. However, if you are using multiple platforms (and you need to!), then you need an image that is consistent across every one of them.
Let’s be honest. You already know that you need great images on your social media posts. Facebook business pages, Instagram posts and stories, Reddit posts, pins on Pinterest, etc. all need to have the best images to get traffic to your site. And you have great ideas when it comes to representing your brand on these platforms. But let’s get to the important question: where can a busy person get great images for free or cheap without risking copyright infringement??
Free and Licensed Images
Look at the caption of the previous image and you will see that I get my images from Vecteezy.com and I tell you this with no affiliate endorsement. I just honestly love their pricing plans. I simply canceled one personal, consumer expense of my own and replaced it for cheaper with Vecteezy’s Pro plan for photos and vectors. You can get plenty of resources for free as well. The only “catch” is that you have to give attribution and there are limits to monetization on projects you use the resources for (you usually just have to upgrade your account above a certain dollar amount made). I’ll let you check all that out on their site.
Another great resource to use is Pexels. This site adds so many new images each month simply from contests for the best content. If you are just starting out and need a free resource, be sure to check out Pexels. You can download an image, edit it to your purposes, and reuse the source royalty free!
I have used them in the past and will likely continue to use them from time to time for photos.
Another resource I have used for a while is Pixabay. You can get photos, illustrations, vectors, videos, and even music! It had been a while since I checked Pixabay so I was quite excited to see that they are expanding and staying a strong resource for the online community.
I’ll have more to say about Pixabay in a future post, but you can truly expand your Print on Demand business, podcast, or YouTube videos with their resources!
The last, but certainly not least, resource I will mention is Unsplash. The strength of this site (and app) is that you have a well sorted image search engine. The other sites work well, but Unsplash has your back when you just cannot come up with a good idea for an image.
I am no legal expert and I will not pretend to have all the answers regarding image use in your brand or brand promotion. But I will say that you need to strive to have free or licensed images that will not hold you back or put your business at risk. Using the resources I mentioned about, following their licensing guidelines of course, or using your own images will always be the safest route.
What about Fair Use?
Fair Use is part of United States copyright law that says that there are certain circumstances where you can use a portion of another’s work without gaining permission first. ONLY THE COURT can decide if something is fair use or not, so don’t go looking for a straight/easy answer on the internet.
Generally, if you use a portion of someone else’s work to give commentary, critique or parody it, you are going to get a fair use ruling in court. This includes educational content. However, the way you use the copyrighted content will largely determine how the court will decide in your favor or against it.
Contrary to popular belief, giving attribution to the copyright owner/artist does not protect you from copyright infringement. Also, there is no minimum amount of time of a resource you can use without committing copyright infringement. (Remember “Ice, Ice, Baby”s use of “Under Pressure”s melody? That was only a few seconds of a song, slightly modified, but it was ruled a copyright infringement. The same principle applies to videos and images.)
So what’s the conclusion? You need better images for your brand on your website, social media pages, and just about anywhere else you can put it. But the good news is that you don’t have to do it alone or at a great cost! Please check out the resources listed above and let me know what you found most useful in the comments below. And if you have a site you use and love regularly, comment below with a link to their site, as well as a link to where you have used it! This is a community and we are here for one another!