Whether you’re a web designer, blogger, or marketer in 2021, images play a crucial role in the presentation and style of a web page. But if you’re on a limited budget, it can be a struggle to find quality images to complement your content. Fortunately, there are still plenty of free image websites that offer royalty-free images at little or no cost to help enhance a website or blog and communicate your messages more clearly.
The importance of imagery on websites
Using imagery on web pages is essential for various reasons. First, without any visuals, it’s difficult to read large blocks of text on a web page.
Even a small image can break up text to soften the look of a page and make it more attractive.
An image can also communicate information quickly and clearly. It can grab the attention of more readers, project a brand’s personality, and make sure you stand out from the crowd.
Images are now an integral part of communication across all social media channels. In fact, web users now expect to be visually stimulated.
A study by Hubspot even showed that photos on Facebook pages had 53 per cent more “likes” than non-visual posts. Basically, businesses that use images effectively are likely to increase customer engagement through social sharing.
As well as the added SEO benefits (adding Alt tags and keyword-rich file names to images), using images helps to expose a brand to more image-centric platforms like Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, and Flickr.
Explore some of the following websites to take your web pages, blog posts, and social content to another level.
You’ll find images to match almost any requirement with these excellent free sites.
Created by designers for designers, MorgueFile offers a huge collection of high-resolution stock images for free, as long as you credit the original photographer when possible, and don’t claim ownership of the images.
Wikimedia features over 20 million freely usable media files – and it’s always growing! The majority of these images are guaranteed Creative Commons (CC) and free to use – Just make sure you credit the original author.
It’s estimated that Flickr users upload a staggering 3.5 new images every single day. Many of these images are Creative Commons. Use Flickr’s advanced search feature to find some fantastic images you are free to use (with attribution).
Apart from these useful resources, you can also search for royalty-free stock images via Google. Simply go to Google Advanced Image Search, choose your keywords and then select your preferred license.
This smaller resource has around 133,000 images that can all be downloaded for free, as long as you provide attribution to the image and a link back to FreeFoto.com. They also ask that you add a “copyright FreeFoto.com” to the image alt tag. Otherwise, for higher quality stock images, prices start at around £18 per image
For totally free, good quality images for designers, website owners, and bloggers, Photogen is definitely worth a look. No registration is required and their images are free for personal and commercial use, but not for resale or redistribution. Check out the website for the full terms and conditions.
All the stock images on this site can be downloaded without the need for registration. Many small versions of the photos are free, but if you need larger images you can pay a small fee. For free downloads, you need to credit the creator of the image and the website.
If you are struggling to find that one perfect image, or need a much higher quality of image, it’s definitely worth checking out some of the premium stock image websites.
Because of its massive database of images (almost 29 million and growing), many other stock image sites actually pull images from Fotolia. It’s free to register, and payment plans include pay-as-you-go options from around £0.54 per credit or daily subscription packages. Find a huge range of photos, illustrations, and vectors to suit your project.
With around 35 million royalty-free stock images, and 10,000 new images added daily, this is one of the largest image databases on the Internet. With pricing plans from “25-a-day” subscriptions to “images on demand” licenses, Shutterstock is now one of the most popular sites for professional designers across the world.
This is a new initiative from Fotolia, and is a members-only club offering high-resolution images for a $10 monthly subscription fee. Each royalty-free photo then costs just $1. It’s likely to suit serious stock image users like design professionals, but you need to apply for membership to access the library of more than 25 million images.
Always check the licence!
With little or no outlay, quality stock images can support any brand, making web content clearer, more dynamic, and ultimately more competitive.
There are countless websites online offering stock images, so let us know your favourite resources we may have missed in the comments below.