Nothing is more boring than opening a blog and seeing a bunch of black letters on a white background. People are attracted to nice-looking sites and having a picture or image (or two) to break up your copy improves not only the look of your site but can draw readers in.
So where do you find these photos or illustrations?
I have taken a few photos to accompany my blog posts – blurb on the back of a book, my kindle, my kids, our dog and even one of my dragon statues. And of course I always take pictures to accompany my recipes (featured the first Wednesday of each month).
2.) Find them on the internet – You can also search for royalty-free images on the internet to use. LEGAL NOTE – you need to use ROYALTY-FREE photos and illustrations or get permission to use the images before you use them to avoid copyright infringement. Always check the site you are downloading images from to see if there are any use restrictions, especially if you are using them on a commercial site.
There are so many places to get non-copyrighted images, there is no excuse for stealing someone’s copyrighted work.
One of the easiest websites to use is Flickr. You can find millions of images on this site. To find ones available for your use, do an advanced search. Scroll down the page and select “Only search within Creative Commons-licensed content.” Be sure to review the guidelines before using any of the images as some are not for commercial use and some require attributing the image to the photographer.
You can also check out Stock.XCHNG which offers free stock photos if you create an account.
I have only once used this option and that was to add a picture of the San Antonio Riverwalk to one of my quotes.
3.) Take a screen shot – Another way to get an image for your post if you are talking about perhaps your ranking or another personal website would be to take a screen shot (by pressing the “print screen” button on the upper-right part of your keyboard and then pasting that image into image-editing software and saving it as a jpg.) I did this with pricing your novel and my experience with KDP posts as well as a few others. (The one on the right was a cropped screen shot for a post on Twitter.)
4.) Use a clip art disc/subscribe to a clip art site – You can find a large collection of images and illustrations on such sites as Dreamstime, iStockphoto and BigStockphoto where you can buy credits or a subscription to download their images. I used a these sites to create my book trailer for Summoned but have never paid for images for my blog.
One of the cheapest ways to get thousands of images for your blog is to buy a royalty-free clip art disc. I have an older set of eight discs called ClickArt that has 1.5 million images. Now while some of the images are already outdated (this came out in 2008 but technology advances fast), I still find quite a few good images to use. The one above is from my Pantser vs. Plotter post and the one on the right is from a post on writing fight scenes. I also used it on writing your first draft, developing minor characters and many more but honestly there are too many other posts to list since this is where I get a majority of my images. I even sometimes edit an image in Corel Draw to create an image to fit my needs as I did for the importance of book reviews and handling bad reviews (shown to the left).
Too many photos and illustrations can slow down the load time of your page but adding these items can certainly make your blog more interesting.