Which Images Are Okay to Use on Your Site?

It’s been said that a picture is worth a thousand words, and this is especially true with marketing. A cocktail with an odd name like “Sand in the Crack” might not get requested much unless you accompany the name with a beautiful image of the drink. Similarly, web content is easier to digest when images are included. Don’t make the mistake of just grabbing any picture you like on the internet and sticking it on your website! Images are copyrighted, and you want to make sure that you are not stealing someone’s work. Which images are okay to use on your site? Here’s a brief guide.

The Do's & Don'ts of image use by WebWiskee

No Credit Needed

Most of the time you will need to credit whoever created the image you are using, but there are several exceptions to this. Obviously, if you took the photo yourself you can use it as needed. Also, if you hired a photographer to take the pictures and have purchased all rights to the photo, no credit is needed. There are sites where you can purchase a license for specific photos, as well, and no attribution is necessary. 

Public Domain Photos

Public domain photos, also known as CCO photos, are copyright free. This means that you can use the images on your site and social media without crediting the creator. Creative Commons is one source you can use to find images that are public domain photos. Other popular sites that allow you to search for and use copyright-free images are Unsplash and Pexels.

Embeddable Photos

Some websites provide you with HTML code that you must use if you want to place their images on your site. You will need to copy the code the site provides you and then paste it into your blog post. The code will typically include a link back to the original source as well as the photo credit text. Getty Images and Houzz are two websites that operate this way. Many social media sites also provide embed codes so that you can easily place a tweet or Instagram image in your blog post, too.

Whatever you do, DO NOT google for an image and then simply place the picture you like on your website. Legally and ethically you need to ensure that you have permission to use the image. When in doubt, leave it out. There are ample public domain photos and embeddable images that can be used without putting your business at risk.

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