The internet is very much like the wild west in some ways. There are rules and laws, but should people choose to, they can be ignored for better or for worse.
From incendiary comments to a grandmother’s flapjack recipe, there is almost every single piece of knowledge available every second of every day.
The only time the rules are enforced in this untamed wilderness is the same reason the rules were enforced in the untamed wild west and in every other area and time when rules and regulations were never really enforced: when the powerful start losing money.
In the west, this was when oil, railroads, and industry were interrupted, online it is when advertisers, royalty claimants, and content providers are not receiving as much revenue or being used by someone else without permission.
As such, many companies have legal teams that sole purpose is to stop people using their companies property on the internet, even under the terms of fair use.
This has caused many independent content creators or websites to utilize resources for fear of being targeted next.
Most now stick to using royalty free music or images. But, the problem knows what is free and what is not. So, what images can people use for free online? Today, we seek to answer this question, so you don’t have to.
Why Are Images Important To A Website?
Well, let us start with why images are significant to any website at all. The first thing a visitor will see is an image.
This is true whether it is your face, your logo, or your company name. In fact, most sites today use logos, headers, and backgrounds for their front page.
It is because of these few things that visitors know where they are going before ever clicking a link or visiting a site.
But does this mean that images aren’t essential? No, no more than a phone number isn’t significant. They both play an integral role in building trust between two parties.
Even if you do nothing but just talk about yourself on your website, you still need to put up pictures to drive your point home.
You may think that the website looks good enough, or that others would never judge you based on how your website looks, but chances are, these thoughts aren’t true.
And while you might not care about anyone judging your work, if you plan to turn your website into a revenue stream, then it is important to present it in a way that people like.
For example, when you make a comment about something, you want to believe it. If you say something about a book, movie, or song, you want to actually believe it is the right opinion.
The same goes for websites, as they are made to how we perceive they should be. This is true for most aspects of modern life, like how people who are confident and charismatic seem to have an easier time convincing others of their ideas and beliefs.
So, when push comes to shove, you need to believe that you’re attractive enough to get dates or that you’re smart enough to land a job.
The truth is, you probably are, but you also want to believe those things anyway as it will help you convince others of these beliefs.
So, why are images important to a web page? Well, they help build trust and confidence in the viewer. A picture is worth a thousand words.
When someone looks at your profile, they want to see something interesting and engaging. They want to see something that makes them want to click through and visit your website.
This means that whatever you put in your profile needs to tell a story. An image tells a story, too. Your photo might show you smiling or frowning.
Maybe it shows a puppy or a kitten. Whatever it is, it speaks volumes. It says something about you, your personality, your interests, and your life. To help illustrate what I’m saying, here is a list of reasons why images are important to a website:
They Increase Engagement
Images draw attention and interest from visitors. Think about it; when you go to a restaurant, you check out the menu.
You read it, perhaps you take notes, then you decide to eat there. There’s no way you’d sit down and order off the menu without reading it first.
The same concept applies to websites. Visitors to your site want to learn about your business or service. That’s why they come to your site.
If they didn’t find anything interesting, they wouldn’t bother looking. The same thing happens when you search Google.
You type in a keyword phrase and Google brings up many results. What if there weren’t any? Wouldn’t you be pretty bored?
They Improve User Experience (Ux)
The reason the majority of websites have images is simple.
Most people don’t like having to scroll through pages of text to find what they want. Images break this up, so users can quickly scan and identify what they’re looking for.
Users want to know that they’ll find what they’re looking for within seconds. If they have to scroll through hundreds of lines of text, that takes time. Now, if those lines were photos instead, that would change the user experience.
They Give You More Room To Work With
When images are used, you have more space to work with. For example, let’s say you have a blog post that has 20 paragraphs of content.
If you’re using images throughout the article, you’ll only be able to fit 10-15 of those images into the article itself. So, instead of 20 paragraphs split into 4 pages on your website, you now have 20 paragraphs and 15 images split into 8 pages on your website.
This extra content means that your website is fuller and appears more professional. In other words, by adding additional images, you’ve increased the amount of content you can include.
They Set a Mood
I’m sure you’ve seen examples of websites that have a certain tone. Some sites try to be serious, some try to be funny, some are informative, etc.
However, the best ones usually strike a balance between all of these. But, if you look at a site where every single image is a smiley face, you won’t feel comfortable visiting.
It will seem unnatural. You’ll wonder why everyone on the site is smiling. Maybe they’re just happy because they got their dream job, but it doesn’t really jibe with the rest of the content.
As you can see, images are an essential part of building a website. Whether you’re starting from scratch or redesigning an existing one, making sure your website includes images is an easy way to make sure your site stands out among the crowd.
Can I Not Just Use Any Image?
No, images fall under many protective laws and some are protected under copyright laws. There is nothing wrong with using imagery that isn’t yours, as long as it is freely available online and falls under the category of fair use.
When we say freely available, it has to be widespread. If you plan to pull and use images from a personal Facebook or Instagram account, that may be illegal.
Likewise, if you don’t change the image through your use of it, say if you used the image to depict a character of your own creation in a YouTube video or as a parody, then it is not protected under fair use, and you may be held accountable for using it.
Where Can I Get Free Images Online?
You may ask yourself, “where do I even start?” Well, good question. As you’ve probably guessed, finding quality images isn’t always as easy as it sounds.
Sure, you could spend hours searching Google or Bing for high-quality stock images, but that’s not going to help you much when it comes to creating a fresh new design.
Luckily, we’ve found a few resources that allow you to download thousands of royalty-free images without paying a dime!
Want to create beautiful designs fast? Canva is a great resource for designers who need inspiration. With over 70 million downloads, Canva allows anyone to easily create stunning graphics and layout elements.
From logos to social media banners to business cards, Canva gives you everything you need in one place.
There are plenty of reasons to visit Pixabay, but one of them is its amazing collection of free stock images. Not only does it offer millions of high-res images, but it also makes it super easy to search for images based on color palettes, shapes, sizes, and many other criteria.
The best thing about Pixabay is that you can save any image you find there directly to your computer. After that, you can use the image anywhere you’d like in your next project.
FreeImages is another popular resource for finding royalty-free images online. What sets FreeImages apart from others is that it offers both free and premium accounts.
While there’s no monthly fee for the free account, you do have to pay $10 per month if you want access to all the features (like downloading multiple images). On the flip side, the Premium plan costs $25 a year and gives you unlimited downloads of all images.
The Best Way To Find Images Online
So what should you do once you’ve downloaded the images you want? There are a few different ways to incorporate images into your webpages:
This is probably the easiest way to add images to your page because you don’t have to worry about formatting. Simply copy and paste the HTML code below into one of your posts.
To add images to your pages using this method, simply copy the HTML code above and replace yourdomain.com with the domain name of your website.
Then go back to the post editor and click Add Media. Once you upload the image, it will appear in your article.
This option works well if you just want to include a few images in specific parts of your post. If you want to change the appearance of each image individually, though, you’ll have to do a bit more work.
First, you’ll need to download an app called Gravatar. It’s a service that lets you customize your profile picture by uploading a photo of yourself.
You can then link your Twitter, Facebook, GitHub, or Instagram profiles to your Gravatar. When other people see your profile picture, they’ll be able to identify you and connect with you based on your personal brand.
Once you’ve set up your profile, you’re ready to add images to your site. In the same way you added photos to your pages using the first method, you’ll still need to use the Add Media button. But instead of choosing Upload Image, choose Photos.
You’ll see a list of options at the bottom of the screen. Scroll down until you see the section labeled “Upload New Photo”.
Click on it and then select the photo you want to use as your profile pic. Now, when other people look at your profile, they’ll see a picture of you.
You can even make your image larger by clicking on the arrow icon in the upper right corner of the box.
You may not think much about it, but the background behind your text has a huge impact on the overall look of your blog.
Whether you’re creating a simple page or designing a whole website, adding a custom background can really help give your content some visual interest.
Luckily, you can use a variety of websites to find free backgrounds that you can edit and use across your entire site.
In addition to these sites, there are also tons of stock photography sites where you can find high-quality images for free.
The best part about these sites is that you won’t have to worry about licensing issues since they aren’t trying to sell anything.
However, you shouldn’t expect them to always provide the best quality either.
So while you might find a great looking photo on one of those sites, you could end up having to spend hours editing the image to make it fit within the guidelines of your site’s design.
When you’re working with a designer, it’s important to understand their process before agreeing to any fees. Some designers charge hourly rates, which means they receive less money if their project takes longer than expected.
Other designers charge a flat rate, which makes them responsible for all aspects of the project, including things like time spent researching and finding new photos.
If you don’t know how to create a website from scratch, you should probably hire someone who does. This isn’t a task you want to tackle alone (unless you enjoy spending most of your day watching paint dry).
There are many types of web developers, so ask around to determine which type of developer would be the best fit for your needs.
While there are plenty of ways to generate revenue through blogging, the truth is that very few bloggers ever become successful at making money off their blogs.
Most bloggers, however, don’t mind giving away their writing skills for free because they love what they do. And that’s perfectly fine! If you’re passionate about something, sharing that passion with others will only benefit you.
To the question: what images can I use online? The answer is pretty much any image, if you pay for the rights to use it.
If you plan to use it for free, then it becomes a little more difficult and the only options you have are royalty free options.
However, this shouldn’t stop you, as there are millions of royalties free and generally free photos available for anyone willing to look for them online.