A big part of having a blog is filling it with plenty of quality, relevant content. The bulk of that responsibility will fall on your writing and whatever it is you offer as your niche. That will end up taking most of your time and effort, as well as maintaining the blog itself and promoting it.
But having solid visual content is also important, whether as a header for a post or to illustrate a point. The rise of visual web is exponential; there’s no way content marketers can ignore it any more.
While paying for stock image subscription is one of the obvious solutions, the key is also in variety. These 20 sites will diversify your visual content sources…
[Mind that you should also read the license information next to the image. In many cases (unless otherwise stated in the site TOS or next to the image), it makes sense to get in touch with the image creator to ask for a permission for a reuse. That also builds your connections with artists – There are never too many connections when it comes to content marketing!]
Wikipedia is an inestimable resource that has become one of the number one information providers on the web. Open to users for making changes and pages, it has changed the way we share content on the web. It was with this in mind that WikiMedia Commons was created.
It is an open-license media site with material from users all over the world, as well as organizations and government agencies. It has a ton of public domain work available, as well as mandatory-credit items.
This aggregating website allows you to search media with attribution licenses and public domain authorization. You can find a ton of available photos, sound clips and even videos here, though the pages can be hard to navigate with so many search results.
A lot of Flickr members will allow their work to be used with proper credit. Instead of the wider Yahoo search engine, you can search within this photo sharing website. You can find some beautiful pieces that are much more professional looking for stock purposes here than on other CC sites.
Another public domain and royalty free site, this one is photo specific. Most of the free images are pretty low resolution, but there are high resolution versions available for a fee. Others that are completely CC have some good higher-res available without cost.
This is an easy to use search engine for public domain photos. You can find all licensing information, and a great deal of them are from users. You can rate and comment on them, and with an account you can collect favorites.
One of the more interesting photo sites, they provide their own images in high resolution for free. You can use them for commercial purposes without any attribution necessary, but you can’t take any credit or sell the images. You also cannot sell anything that has not been significantly changed that used the original. Sale of altered works featuring their stock is allowed.
Think of this site as a social network for photographers who like to provide their work for use. There are specific licensing issues you have to adhere to with each image, but they are free of charge. You can also provide your own stock for others to use, and communicate with photographers of interest.
Not a huge but quite unique collection of free photos targeting bloggers’ needs.
10 new inspiring photos every day. This site content is unbelievably beautiful!
This network provides traditional stock images that have a focus on nature, animals, buildings and technology. There are many breathtaking photographs here taken by professional artists looking to share their work.
There are both free and paid images here, for use commercially if chosen. The royalty free come in different resolutions, but the highest resolution pictures require a small fee for use.
Lots of absolutely stunning categories here. My recent favorite: vintage public domains images!
Most of Flickr is dedicated to photographs. However, they do also offer video content made by users and small companies. If you do an advanced search you can select it to filter out anything but videos that have been placed on the site with a CC license. You may also want to read the description of each video to make sure it was not mistakenly put in the CC category.
14. Internet Archive Moving Images Collection
A favorite of old film buffs and fans of bizarre educational videos of the 50’s and 60’s, this is a virtual treasure trove of videos. You can even find feature length films, as well as public domain oddities that will give you hours of content (and entertainment).
This community is becoming bigger and bigger, though it is mostly known for being a stream site that often holds pirated content. To get past that you can search for creative commons by putting it in as a keyword, or using their advanced search to pick out the licensing.
Let’s not forget the largest video content provider out there. Youtube has a Creative Commons search as well.
An interesting little site that offers international audio records. They have old speeches, songs and even poetry and audio book readings.
If you think the video section of this site is huge, wait until you get a look at their audio library. The collection is absolutely enormous, and full of interesting tidbits, as well as some really weird ones. Their search can bring up just about anything you could ever need.
If you are after every day sounds, this is a great site. They record various natural sounds that occur every day in our world and offer them free of charge in the public domain. There is a catalog to browse, but it is pretty big to navigate. You would be better off doing an actual search.
If you like to remix you can find a lot of work here by musicians and bands that are looking to share their work. You can also provide your own to see what people do with it. Many people will use this site to find CC selections to use in their own work.
- How to Simplify & Scale Your Visual Marketing Strategy for More Efficiency
- 15 Cartoonists That Allow Using Their Web Comics for Free
- Interesting Creative Commons Projects
- Infographic Inspiration: 5 Sources of Interesting Stats
- 4 Useful Creative Commons Browser Plugins
Have others? Let us know in the comments.
Thank you, Ann. Really helpful. It’s like pre-deja vu, though. The Post Planner tool is going more visual in a big way… bringing in content from Instagram. (I’m amazed by all the incredible photos out there.) And Rebekah Radice and I were just (I mean JUST) talking about both you and visual marketing. She’s a huge Ann fan. Great timing!
Great news, Don! Please keep me updated! Oh it’s nice to see you turning into their ambassador! Really happy for you guys!
Very useful post, thank you Ann. Bookmarked!
Thanks for stopping by and for your feedback!
One of my favorite topics! I see several of my favourite sources, but I would add Pixabay, which is my first go-to site for images.
Thanks, David! Great addition!
Awesome list of resources, Ann! I hadnt heard of a lot of these sites before.
Diversity is key. Im a big fan of grabbing stock illustrations and recoloring them to match by color scheme. I also like to hire designers on freelancers to create graphics if I am going to heavily promote a piece of content.
Thanks for the comment, Darren! Please try Canva for editing stock images – I am in love!
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