Using visual content in your blogs

We recently wrote a guest piece for well-known social media blog The Wall, entitled 10 blogging blunders to avoid. We had some great feedback from the article, but also a few questions – one of which posed a pivotal query.

“My question relates to Point 2. Not sure how to add visual content to my blog. Can you just insert pictures? How do you get them? Do you have to pay for them or is there free resources for finding pictures? Are there any copyright concerns?”

These are questions that all bloggers encounter at some time or another, so instead of simply posting a response, we thought we’d write a follow up piece to clear up some of the grey areas surrounding visual content, and give our readers a definitive article that they can refer to time and time again.

How do I add visual content?

Visual content predominantly refers to pictures and videos. Most blogging platforms will have an ‘insert’ option – on WordPress, for instance, it’s on the top left hand side, above your post. To include visual content in your blog post, simply select your chosen file and use this function. Be sure to align the visual content to your chosen side, and add a border to distinguish it from the text if it interferes with aspects of your written formatting, such as bullet points.

Do I have to pay for visual content?

You can get images and videos from a variety of sources – there are sites that offer free images, and some that ask you to pay. Paid image sites tend to offer a better variety, but if you’re on a tight budget and have time to search around, you can get reasonably high quality images from the royalty free options.

Free sites: FreeFoto, StockFreeImages, StockVault

Paid sites: Getty Images, iStock Photo, Shutterstock

Many of these sites also stock video content, but YouTube is still the go-to for many bloggers looking for embeddable videos.

What are the copyright restrictions?

If you’re using a reputable image library, you should not be affected by copyright issues because you are essentially purchasing the right to use the image(s) of your choice. If you are using a free site, check the terms and conditions before taking or using content, as these will vary from provider to provider. It is not advisable simply to use Google Images, as you will not know the original source of the content, and could find yourself in hot water!

Creating your own visual content

Another option is to create your own visual content. If you’re a retailer, for instance, take unique pictures of the items you have for sale, or if you’re a business blogger, film and upload a testimonial from a client. Even basic smartphones have reasonably advanced cameras and video technology these days, so depending on your needs this could be a cost effective method of adding interest to your posts.

If you’ve got any other questions about using visual content in your blogs, leave us a comment or tweet us @writemysite, and we’ll be happy to help!

4 thoughts on “Using visual content in your blogs

  • August 14, 2012 at 06:25
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    You forgot to mention the free images that people post under a Creative Commons license on flickr. You can find tons of great quality pictures using http://flickrcc.net – and edit them online too

  • August 31, 2012 at 17:47
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    Hey Eleanor. I feel honored that my questions triggered this great post. Wow, you really give a lot of great advice.
    Do your comments about these picture inserts apply to wordpress.com or only wordpress.org blogs?

    • September 5, 2012 at 14:44
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      Hi Steven,

      The comments apply to majority of blogging platforms. Both wordpress sites and most other content management systems will allow you to insert image or video into your latest piece!

      Thanks again for your question, and I’m glad you enjoyed the post!

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