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10 Sites to Find Visually Stunning, Gorgeous FREE Stock Photos PLUS A Step by Step Guide to Using Canva

Pinterest. A visual search engine that was practically made for bloggers and entrepreneurs. It’s a site full of gorgeous images of the perfect home office, the most delicious healthy recipes, and boards upon boards of blogging inspiration, and so much more.

With currently over 250 million people a month using Pinterest, it’s an excellent way to get your blog out there.  It’s a marketing strategy I myself have in place (and you can check out my Pinterest account here).

Plus, what did I just say that came to mind with Pinterest, specifically?

Gorgeous pictures. Pinterest is about beautiful pictures.

*Note: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning, if you click one, I may receive a small compensation at NO COST to you. You can read my full affiliate disclosure policy here.*

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Making Pin Worth Images to Drive Blog Traffic with Pinterest

Great visuals are a must have for your blog. And in fact, pictures and visuals are becoming more important on the web every day.

The internet has enough mediocre. To stand out, you need to be great. So aim high.

White Desk Photo

But before you get overwhelmed with the idea of creating the picture perfect (pun intended) visuals, let me first say that there are a ton of tools already out there to assist.

If you lack a quality camera, like this amazing canon, an iPhone is great for beginners, too. And I personally use my phone to style backdrops for images specific to my brand- so no worries.Apple iphone

But if you lack even that, you’re still okay.

There are a ton of stock photo websites out there that provide either free or affordable photos for use on your blog.

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Stock Photo Sites Offering Gorgeous FREE Images

My first success story for finding free images was Pixabay. Ton of great photos, but you have to really hunt for quality free ones. The best are on a paid for basis, and I understand how a lot of new bloggers lack the financial margin to start purchasing tons of photos. To start, free from Pixabay is perfect. You can always upgrade later. And when you really make it as a blogger, you’ll have the option to make your own stunning visuals. No searching through free stock photos needed. But for starters, try Pixabay.

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Pexels is another great site that I only recently came across, but it’s fast becoming my favorite. I found it recommended on Pinterest and decided to give it a try. And let me tell you, it did not disappoint.

Pexels has some really talented contributors (not that Pixabay doesn’t- it does). Much like Pixabay, it can be a treasure trove of free images, but I’ve also found that Pexels and Pixabay have some images that overlap. Not a problem, because great is great no matter where you find it. Just bear in mind that if at first you don’t find gold, you may just need to dig deeper. And again, if you’re having difficulty finding an image out there to fit your style, you can always take up a camera like this amazing Instax Mini 9 to style your own backdrops for photos.

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Stock Photo Sites with Beautiful Images Cont.

I’ve heard of other stock photo sites, like UnSplash, Stock Snap, and even Adobe Stock that offer some free images (although most of their premium content requires payment). And another new comer to the world of free stock photos, with a library of 300 pages already, is Pikwizard.

Pikwizard is another site I had to explore for myself, and the quality did not disappoint. What makes them stand out in a sea of free stock image collections is their design wizard.

Pick any photo and you’ll automatically be given the option to open it in the wizard to customize it. No need for saving it to a PC then opening additional editing software. This site is a two in one. And for a busy entrepreneur like myself, time savers like this are invaluable. Making Pikwizard a stock photo site you’ll need to see to believe.

And SC StockShop has excellent images for sale, as does Girl Boss Stock and Shutter Stock. But why pay for quality if you can get it for free, right?

Beautiful Stock Images

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A lot of these sites and others offer a few free pictures or sets in exchange for signing up for their newsletter, but again, the best of their content may only available through a paid subscription or on a pay as you like. Even my beloved Canva, the app I use to personalize my stock photos, offers extra options- but only for a price.

Gorgeous Photos Equals Blog Traffic from Pinterest

After paying for, or finding an excellent free, stock photo, how do you go about personalizing it?

           Well, as I already mentioned, a site like Pikwizard already has a personalization feature- or in their case, wizard- built in. But for the rest of us, you’ll need some extra help branding or personalizing.

Your blog, believe it or not, is a brand. Your brand. And though it’s not required, it looks nicer and more uniform to use a lot of the same colors or patterns on your pictures. You can also put a logo or just your site on them.

The Blessed And Busy family

For most of my images, I use Canva to personalize them and truly make them mine. With Canva, it’s easy to make different images based on where you plan to post them. For example, Pinterest favors vertical images, whereas Facebook is okay with square ones. You can even search templates on Canva based on where you plan to post. For example, when making a post for Pinterest, I specifically search Pinterest Graphic.

With Canva, you can upload your own images on one of their backgrounds, or you can use some of their free images. And much like the free stock photo sites I mentioned above, Canva offers a lot of great options, but the even better options you have to pay for. Thankfully, Canva only charges a dollar or so for many of their more elaborate photos. Sometimes it’s a little more, but not much, and there’s not a subscription. With Canva you pay as you need it. As you can see, I’ve included a couple of Pins above and below that I created, using Canva. I made the backgrounds pink because warm tones tend to get more re-pins (take note).

Enable Rich Pins

Using Canva to Create Beautiful Pins to Increase Blog Traffic on Pinterest

Before downloading Canva, I used the WordSwag app on my phone to do my images. I still consider the $3.99 I spent on the app money well spent. But with being able to use Canva on both my desktop and phone as well as do adjustments to images in Canva that I just couldn’t with WordSwag, I’d have to say I prefer Canva.

Once you’ve uploaded your photos onto your chosen background design in Canva, you can choose whether to upload your logo or simply write out your site name in the text of your choice and place it on your image. A lot of bloggers choose to put it at the very top or bottom, minus the www. Save it, download it, then boom! You’re ready to upload the image and a link to your post onto the social media platform of your choice.

The Blessed And Busy Family

Again, I love using Pinterest, and the create a pin button takes literally minutes. Really quick, super easy. Just click the red and white plus sign that says Create a Pin. Upload the image you just created in Canva. Copy and paste a link in the url spot to the blog post you’re promoting. Then write a keyword rich description of what you’re pinning. Yes, keyword rich. Keywords matter.

Content is King but Keyword Rich Descriptions Increase Blog Traffic

Just like in your actual blog post, in regard to tags, you want keywords to fully illustrate what is in your post. Long tail are better than short, one word tags for searches. For example, since I’m a family and faith-based lifestyle blogger, one of my most popular keywords is “Working from Home with Kids” because I want to show other parents how they too can work from home. “Working from Home with Kids” clearly states what my blog post is about and will get more people drawn to my site than say, “Working” or even “Working from Home”.

Kid on White Rug

Same goes for the keyword “Blogging”. “Blogging” by itself would be difficult to rank on Google with since there are so many posts and authors out there writing about that one topic. A better option for a keyword would be “Blogging for Profit 2018” or “Blogging for Beginners”. The longer, more specific the keyword, the better.

The Blessed And Busy Family

A fun tip, too, that when posting to some social media sites, plan on posting an image and then leaving your link to your blog in the comments. Some sites you can link directly to your site, and the featured image will automatically pop up, but in order to ensure as many friends as possible see your post, I’d advise doing it both ways. Link directly, then make another social media post linked to the same blog content, just use an image and put the link in the comments.

I hope these tips helped and would love to see some examples of pins you all create using the above tips. If you liked these tips, comment below with a heart emoji and your favorite tip, or share your own suggestions for making or finding amazing photos!

**This post may contain affiliate links. If you click on them, I may receive a small compensation at no cost to you.**

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