Sourcing Images For Your Website And Advertising

In this post, we’re going to show you the best free and paid sources, for all your website and advertising image needs.

If you have a business website, you’re going to need suitable images to break up the text and make your site look attractive and inviting to visitors.

You’re going to need:

  • Marketing images. Your adverts, report covers, email subscription boxes, website pages, and articles all need images to finish them off.
  • Product images. Essential, but you’ll need more than that to add interest on everything but your specific product pages.

The right images can add the human touch, attract attention, tell a story or just add impact to important parts of your pages and marketing projects.

Whatever you’re using them for, you MUST ensure you are using them legally. 

Keep in mind that sourcing them via a standard Google image search could land you in trouble over copyright, so please, don’t go there.

The only way to ensure you stay the right side of the law, is to use your own, buy them from an online provider or source them from a legally free image website.

You can take care of the first option and we’ve got you covered with the other two.

In this post, we’re going to show you the best sources for all your image needs, both free image websites and paid sources.

Why would you want to pay for images, when you can get them free?

It’s all about their suitability matching your needs. Sometimes the free sites will have exactly what you’re looking for. Other times call for more choice and that’s where the paid sites come in.

And don’t worry, they’re not as expensive as you might think.

Let’s get started . . .

The fine print

You should obviously check the rules on each site, but in most cases, you can use the images on your website and in your online marketing, as one-offs.

  • If you are using the images for merchandise, such as t-shirts, mugs, phone cases, etc., where you are using the image as part of a design you’re selling multiple times, the licensing rules are a little different and the image will cost more to use.
  • If you’re using the image for your own needs, not for merchandise, the images are much cheaper to use.
  • You usually have a choice of pricing plans, from a single image purchase, to bulk buys or monthly image plans.

This all depends on your needs, but if you plan on using images regularly, it makes sense to opt for a monthly download plan, as it can work out much more cost-effective.

Keep in mind these sites offer more than just photo images. 

Need a pointing hand to highlight your opt-in form, a ‘Limited Time Offer’ stamp to attract attention or other simple non-photographic imagery? You might just find what you’re looking for on these sites.

Here are our favorite FREE image websites:

We’ve chosen a search term for each of the following sites and the images show a few of the results. We’ll also use this first example to demonstrate the search feature on these image sites.

Pixabay  Search term = Pointing Hand

1: Type your search phrase.

2: Choose from the ‘All Images’ menu which type of image you need.

Here are the Photo results:

And here are the Vector Graphics results:

As you can see, the choices bring up different results, so use them to find your ideal image.

Now the rest of our top image sites:

StockSnap  Search term = Fitness

UnSplash  Search term = Business

Pexels  Search term = Car

FoodiesFeed (Food Images)

GratisoGraphy (Wacky and Unusual Images)

Legally using Google search images

You CAN use some of the images you’ll find in Google, but to stay safe you need to use the search filters.

Go to Google, type in your search term, click on images, then the Images submenu appears and click on Tools then ‘Labeled for reuse’. (see image below)

Alternatively, when you find a Google image search image you like, check to see if it’s from a stock photo site, as many of them are. Then you can simply click through and buy the image you want to use.

Here you can see an example of that with a search for ‘work from home’. The 3 numbered images show branded images from stock photo sites, so you can click through and buy the image.

1: Dreamstime image.  2: Shutterstock image.  3: Getty Images image.

Here are our top PAID image websites

Obviously the paid sites have a larger choice and make it easier to find your perfect image. Only you can decide whether free or paid is best for your needs.

It’s difficult to show the full difference in choice and quality of the paid sites, so have a good look around yourself.

ShutterStock  Search term = Pointing Hand

iStockPhoto  Search term = Fitness

Megapixl  Search term = Business

Dreamstime  Search term = Car

Using stock images for PPC ads

If you’re sourcing images for your PPC or Adzooma ads, (Remember, Adzooma flattens your PPC advertising learning curve, so click here to learn more), you need to find images that really appeal to people, catch their eye and turn browsers into clickers.

With PPC ads you need to keep it simple, with a clear eye grabbing image and simple message that guides viewers to the click.   

Also keep in mind that people don’t tend to like sudden shocks, so ensure the ads you create match the look and feel of your website. That way you won’t spook them and have them clicking away as they encountered something they didn’t expect.

A quick summary . . .

As you can see, there’s no need to chance legal trouble when you have a world of legal images at your fingertips.

We’ve just scratched the surface here and if you want more choices simply search for ‘free image sites’, ‘royalty free images’ or ‘stock photo sites’ in Google and you’ll find a ton of useful sources.

Don’t forget to check the usage rules on each individual site, along with the prices and plans, to decide which is best for you. 

Phil Coleman
As a Copywriter with 25 years experience I have written squillions of words, writing for all sizes of business, both online and off including The Chamber of Commerce, the NHS and of course Adzooma. I'm a not so secret UFC fan, I live in the heart of Sherwood Forest and I have 2 pet cats called Copy and Spooky Dave.