Hello there, and welcome to my series of posts: How to Make Money Money (through blogging). Even if you are not a hopeful blogger or webby type, you might really enjoy this particular post. Why? Because this article will help you to understand why some websites look so smooth, while others look amateur. It might also explain why certain sites feel “familiar” to you. Clue: it’s all about the images!
This article will help you to understand why some websites look smooth, while others look amateur.
PERSONAL VERSUS STOCK IMAGES
If you really want your site to stand out, it is worth investing in stock images. As an example, here is a page from my website Fun Printables for Kids.com, where I will be placing some colouring pages for Ramadan and Eid 2015 (a niche market!). There are several problems with this page, not least of which is that I misspelled Ramadan! Another problem is that the photo, taken by my dear old Dad, who visited Palestine this year, is not really awe-inspiring, in the “download my colouring pages” sense.
I manage my site through WEEBLY , so to improve the look of this page, I considered adding some photos from Weebly’s stock photo database , but you know what? They charge FIVE DOLLARS per image!!! Pur-leeease! So…after much research into stock photo sites (some, like Getty, are really out of my range), I bought a one-month subscription from Deposit Photos... and for less than 50 cents – look! Now we have kids, we have Eid, we have joy. Plus, the colours are pleasing, and look nice with my site layout.
DRAWBACKS OF STOCK IMAGE LIBRARIES
There are a couple of dangers and drawbacks to subscribing to a stock photo database.
Problem 1. Stock Photo Subscriptions Can Be Pricey
My choice was to give deposit photos just over $100 USD for a month’s subscription, during which I can buy 10 photos per day. (My plan is to clean up my sites and blogs and then amass a collection of images for future blogs- I think that 300 -odd images should do the trick). Once I paid my fee, I noticed that deposit photos had set up a recurring payment on my Paypal account. Sneaky bastards! I managed to cancel the payment right away, but my advice to you is: check the fine print- and always check your credit card or paypal statements!
You can save money on stock photos, by downloading your images from free sites, or you could also just steal images. My personal opinion on this is that a little borrowing is OK for personal projects, but once you begin blogging semi-professionally (i.e. the minute you put a Google Adsense banner on your page), you have a duty to pay your own way.
Problem 2. Stock Images Create a Same-ness
Do you ever wonder why some sites feel “familiar” or comfortable? It could be because these site have used images that you’ve seen before- and they are definitely using images and messages that look just like the ones you’ve seen before!
We know that advertising is full of thin, attractive, able-bodied (mostly female) models, and yes – so are stock image libraries, but if you want to step outside the mold, yet still look smooth and professional, its actually really easy.
If you’re flush, Getty has produced the Lean In Collection– a beautiful, very smooth collection of images that feature strong, beautiful women. But, it’s Getty- we’re talking starting at $65 per low-res image.
A cheaper alternative is the unique package offered by Death to the Stock Photo. For FREE, they will send you a package of unique stock photos each month, or for $10 per month, you can have access to their own collection. This is a great service, and one that should be supported. The only drawback is that the images are quite hispter-heavy. Like, put your tattoo-goggles on!
(Do remember to check out other free sites too. There are many!).
In conclusion, it’s important to think about what visual message you are transmitting through your website. I highly recommend using stock image libraries (especially the mid-range ones like Deposit Photo) but I urge you to be careful when choosing your subject, colour and layout, and be socially responsible when choosing how “Same-y” your images are. So- Stay smooth… but mix it up a little!
Please share your own site and its images by sending me an email, or putting a link in the comments!