Free stock images can help you transform the design of your website. Selecting the right images can take it from an average-looking website to a professional-looking website at no extra cost.
Now it’s been made even easier to source high-quality, professional images for your website with free stock image integrations on some of the world’s leading website builder platforms.
However, not all website builders offer this kind of feature. This article highlights the ones that do, so you know exactly where to go to save time when searching for high-quality images.
Is It Okay to Use Free Stock Images on Your Website?
I’ve been asked many times if it’s okay to use free stock photos. Some of the people asking that question fear that they will get sued for infringing copyright laws and some are worried that using stock images will damage their SEO. But, the truth is, it is absolutely fine to use free stock images as long as you follow a few simple best practices.
In terms of SEO, there is a school of thought that websites will get penalized for using stock images because search engines will see them as duplicate content. However, this is simply not true. If it were, more than half of the internet would not be able to rank on search engine result pages (SERP). You’ll notice that lots of sites using stock images do rank in the top spots on search engines. To ensure that the images you use benefit your SEO, rather than harm it, here are some things you can do.
- Rename the file and include a keyword
- Create alt-text
- Reduce the file size to improve loading speeds
- Include only relevant images for a better user experience
When using a free stock website there is little risk that you will be infringing any copyright laws, but it is important to double-check and confirm the license with which the image has been granted. Most images on free stock image sites are released under the Creative Commons license (CCO) which allows commercial use of images, and most of the time don’t require attribution. Although, the artist will appreciate it if you give him a mention.
Where to Get Free Images for Your Website?
Even though you might end up building and managing a website on a platform that has free stock image integration, it’s never a bad thing to have multiple options. This will ensure that you have the resources you need to find the perfect image you are looking for and not have to settle for one that ‘kind of works’. So, here’s a list of the top 10 free stock photo sites that you can have in your back pocket if you can’t find what you’re looking for. Open them up and save them to your bookmarks so they’re ready when you need them.
- Life of Pix
- ISO Republic
Top Website Builders with Free Stock Image Integrations
The list below includes 7 of the best website builders that also have a free stock image feature that allows you to search through thousands, sometimes millions of free stock images, and upload them to your site with just one click. Lots of platforms use similar integrations but there will be some differences in how you can use and edit the photos. So, we will briefly discuss the photo editing features on each platform to help you decide which one suits your needs best.
Zyro is an up-and-coming website builder with great stock image features. Unsplash integrates with the Zyro editor to provide Zyro members with over a million curated stock images. Unsplash is great because it provides cool, stylish, and high-quality images that feel unique. Zyro also offers an AI background remover and image resizer tool to help you make further edits to your website images.
To find an image you can search for a keyword and scroll through the hundreds or thousands of options that come up. Then, when you’ve found the one you like, you can double click on it, then click ‘add to page’ and your HD image will be uploaded to your website in seconds. I noticed with Zyro that the alt-text field was already completed with appropriate information which saves you even more time. However, there is no way to edit the image title when using images directly from Unsplash.
The Wix website builder is one of the most popular on the market thanks to its long list of easy-to-use features. The brand doesn’t let you down when it comes to its free stock image features either. Wix users have the choice of ‘Media from Wix’ and Unsplash to source free stock images, as well as Shutterstock for premium stock images. All three stock image integrations can be found in the ‘add images’ pop-up and added to your site with just a couple of clicks. Together, the stock image sources available on Wix will provide you with access to millions of images. With Wix, unlike with other platforms, you’re unlikely to need to look anywhere else but your Wix dashboard for high-quality images for your website.
Wix also has a relatively sophisticated photo editor that allows you to create frames, add filters, crop, and even add animations to create dynamic effects to your website imagery.
Squarespace is another top-rated website builder that’s well known for its stunning design capabilities. One reason why it’s easy to create such great designs using this platform is the stock image integrations. Like Wix, Squarespace offers a free and premium option for its users. The free stock images are supplied by Unsplash while the paid-for images are supplied by Getty Images. You can search for images using keywords directly from the on-page editor so there’s no need to leave your tab to find high-quality images.
The Squarespace platform has some advanced image editing features that allow you to apply filters, crop, resize, and change things like brightness, saturation, and contrast to create your own enhanced look. Additionally, you can decide if you want the image to be full-bleed or inset, change the opacity and apply quirky image effects to make your website stand out even more.
Weebly has been around since 2006 and went through a dramatic change in 2018 when they were bought by Square. The eCommerce features of the platform were upgraded as well as the free image features. Like many others on this list, Weebly decided to use Unsplash as the source of their free images. When you go to add a new image to your Weebly website there is a ‘free photos’ tab that has a search feature and provides access to the millions of free stock images available on Unsplash.
The platform also allows its users to connect their Instagram accounts so that you can use your Insta photos on your website. This has the huge benefit of keeping a consistent look and feel across spaces for people that interact with your business and goes a long way in building trust and loyalty between your brand and customers. The Weebly platform has very basic image editing features that allow you to zoom, straighten and rotate your images. You can also apply a filter to improve readability which is useful when overlaying text on an image.
Webnode is another popular website builder that is famous for super-fast loading times, beginner-friendliness, and superb web template designs. It has a basic free stock image feature that isn’t as powerful as other platforms, but it does have a couple of redeeming features that give it the right to be on this list. The first is that the free images supplied are only available to other Webnode users, unlike the free images available on Unsplash that are available across platforms and to anyone on the internet. The second is that Webnode offers hundreds of free icons that you can use to create interesting designs.
Unfortunately, there is no search feature for the free stock images available, so it can take a lot of scrolling before you find the right image. There are also very limited image editing features available on the platform. The only thing you can do is create an image alt-text.
Jimdo has helped to create more than 20 million websites and each user has had the benefit of accessing the millions of free stock images available on Unsplash from their web editor dashboard. The Jimdo platform doesn’t support a search feature for its free stock image library, but it does let your filter by categories such as health & wellness, music, sports, and photography. Adding your selected image to your site is achieved with just one click and each image has information about the artist so you can provide credit if you wish.
Jimdo has eight filters that you can apply to your free stock images to create a unique look that matches your brand. You can also zoom in or out to focus on a specific area of the photo but unfortunately, that is where the photo editing features stop. Jimdo allows you to sync with your Facebook and Google accounts so that you can import photos used on those platforms to your Jimdo media library.
If for some reason you thought that Unsplash didn’t provide enough options, Bookmark is the website builder for you. It integrates with Pixabay and Unsplash to provide its users with free stock images. Pixabay hosts over a million images and each one has been vetted by a photographer or image editor to check for quality and legal validity. So with Bookmark, you have access to two huge libraries of free images.
Bookmark also has one of the most powerful image editors of all the website builder brands on this list. You can crop, rotate, draw, and add shapes, icons & text to your images. There are also 7 filters that you can use and several effects that you can add to your images. All of your edits will be applied to your images immediately and these changes will show up on your website straight away.
The Benefits of Using a Website Builder with Access to Free Stock Images
Do you know which platform offers the best free stock images and photo editing features for your needs? Hopefully, this article has helped you to find the right platform. Before you run off to transform your website, I want to round this article off with the benefits of using website builders with access to free stock images.
- Most website builders provide access to millions of free stock images
- Free stock image integrations save time when searching for images for your website. There’s no need to leave the tab your working from
- They are easy to use. Adding new images to your website can be achieved in just a couple of clicks
- Images supplied by credible free stock images sites like Unsplash and Pixabay are vetted for quality and legal validity
- Because free stock image sites accept submissions from everyone, the images are often less cliché than paid alternatives