Improve Engagement with Free Creative Commons Images

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You only have a few seconds to capture your readers’ attention. Multimedia elements break up the monotony of your page and create visual hooks. But only if used properly…

While long-form content still has a place on the web, no one wants to read a five-page wall of text. 

Adding visual elements to your pages, posts and articles are a great way to keep readers interested and engaged.

You’ll find an endless list of royalty-free image sites on the Internet offering their wares. However, many of them want a substantial fee for each image. 

Depending on your budget, you might not find this to be a good investment.

However, there’s a growing number of completely free media libraries out there as well.

For the cost of a quick attribution, you can start incorporating high-quality media into your pages and posts. We’ll break down a few popular options.

Creative Commons Licenses and You

Creative Commons licenses offer a wealth of media options for business owners and bloggers looking to add a little personality to their work.

Licenses cover everything from written works and to high-definition video clips.

However, it’s important to take a good look at the license before uploading that awesome image or video clip to your site. Some licenses allow for commercial usage, others allow modifications and others require attribution.

You’ll find a full list of the license descriptions over at Creative Commons. For most projects, the licenses you will be searching for are:

  • Attribution [CC BY]
  • Attribution-ShareAlike [CC BY-SA]
  • Attribution-NoDerivs [CC BY-ND]

Each of these allow for commercial use with various levels of customization. All you need to do is attribute the source of the image.

Looking for even more freedom? There’s also Public Domain resources. J

ust keep in mind that Public Domain laws differ between countries, so always do a little research before making something from the Public Domain a part of your site or products.

Six Options for Sourcing Free, High-Quality Content

A quick search for “Creative Commons images” will bring up a wealth of options on any major search engine. But filtering through the results and finding high-quality options is a time-consuming process.

Here are a few of my favorite options to help save you time when crafting posts, mailing lists or other content.

By limiting your scope to a collection some of the best collections available, this search engine makes finding a great image fast and simple.
Showcasing both free and premium images, the site is well categorized and easy to navigate. Many images are available in a variety of resolutions to suit any project.
Chock full of personality, the free images of Gratisography might not fit every brand or project, but when they do, they’re sure to catch the attention of readers.
As one of the older collections in this list, images vary greatly in quality. However, when it comes to variety, Morgue File is hard to beat.
While not the most user-friendly offering on this list, the quality of images available at Wikimedia Commons sets it apart from many other Creative Commons sources.
Unsplash is a growing collection with amazing quality and some seriously talented photographers. You can even sign up to have the latest additions sent via email for easy collecting.

It wasn’t long ago that sticking to free images was a sure-fire way to end up with bland, low-quality media.

Even worse, with limited availability, everyone was using the same pictures all over the web.

This is just a small selection of what is out there. The options are growing daily.

If you’re looking to improve the response to your online content and create compelling content, free images are a great way to build a solid foundation for your media efforts.

Did we miss one of your favorite image resources? Find an image you absolutely love? Let us known in the comments or on social media! It’s your input that makes it possible to keep creating great content.

Jon Stone

Jon Stone

Content Marketer/Web Content Creator

When Jon isn't busy coming up with content ideas or building new projects, he's usually busy drinking way too much coffee and enjoying time with his kids. He's also a fan of writing about himself in the third-person. Jon Stone thinks that's fun. Other things Jon Stone thinks are fun include MMOs, cooking and reading fantasy novels.


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