Using images on your website is a good thing. Graphics on a website make it look more appealing to visitors, and underpin the message by explaining it in a visual way. If creating your own original photos doesn’t produce the look that you want, or if you just don’t have the time or skill for professional level photography, stock images can be the way to go.
What is a stock photo?
Stock images are photos, graphics, or illustrations that have been created and then made available for other people to use, often as part of their marketing artwork. They come in all shapes and sizes, and for just about any topic you can think of.
Can I use stock photos for free?
Stock images can either be bought on licence, but there are plenty of free ones available. These are called royalty free stock images.
Where do I get stock images from?
It sounds obvious when you know! There are dedicated stock image websites. Most require that you set up an account with them to be able to download the images, and they are watermarked until you do. Some stock photo websites are entirely free, some require payment details, or a mix of the two.
How much do paid stock photos cost?
The price you pay to download stock images can vary dramatically. Sites like Pixabay are free, whilst Bigstock lets you pay a monthly subscription for a certain number of downloads. The price usually depends on how many photos you will need at a time, and the level of quality (that is, the photo resolution and size).
Using stock photos on your website
Stock images are a nice way to communicate or reinforce the messages that you want visitors to the website to see. The actual distribution and layout depends very much on the website’s design, but there are some things worth remembering when it comes to stock images.
They’re not unique in the way that taking your own photos can be. It means that your competitors might be using the exact same stock photographs on their website, so doing a spot of research will help.
Stock images can also be less personal, so although they’re useful for most brands, that’s not true for all of them. For example, a company which hires out marquees for events should use photos of the products they have available for hire, not stock images of structures which they don’t provide!
Alt-tags, SEO, and stock photos
Alt-tags are a description of what the photo is. They’re used by search engines to understand the topic that the photo conveys, but also to allow screen reading tools to describe the photo for blind users.
This means that the alt-text has to be good enough to meet both sets of requirements. Stock photos often have the alt-tag ready completed, but then everyone who uses that stock image has the same alt-text, making it more difficult to stand out in search.
If you would like more help with your website, let us know! We’re always happy to chat.