With the popularity of Pinterest and Instagram, it’s clear social media is more fun with photos and images, too.
There’s a difference though in sharing images on Facebook or Pinterest, and adding them to your own website. You can click “share” on nearly any post on Facebook, including images and video, which posts it to your own page, along with your comment. However, when someone added that image to a social media site they automatically grant that site the right to use that image in any way they like.
It’s different on your website for many reasons. For one, your health coaching website is designed to build a business. As opposed to sharing a photo you find posted on Facebook, when you are uploading copyrighted images to your own website you’re violating the owner’s rights.
I am not the type of person to dwell on the “what could go wrongs”, but there’s something about “stealing” photos and images that never felt right to me. And I never wanted to find out what might happen if the photo’s copyright owner noticed.
Using Stock Images
iStockphoto has a large selection of professional photographs, is easy to search by keywords and offers many images for under $2. Stock.XCHNG offers images free of charge.
I always start my image search on Stock.XCHNG because free is good, but it’s not as much fun to search this site, and depending on the subject matter you’re looking for, there are less high-quality images to choose from. I often find something that works though.
I turn to iStockphoto when I want a photo of people. Their professional images are just better, and cover far more categories. You can choose to search for images on the low end of the price scale, and when you find one you like, the smallest size is often perfect for a blog post (200-500 px wide works).
To purchase an image license on iStockphoto you first buy a pack of credits ($19.99 for 12 credits), and then you pay for each photo based on how many credits it costs. I stick with 1 credit images for blog posts. I’d expand my price range if I was searching for a photo to use on a book cover, in a logo or other marketing materials.
After I upload the photo to my blog post, I can use the URL to add the image to my next newsletter with a link back to my blog post. Double duty!
There are plenty of other sources for stock photos, but these are the two I use regularly for my own blog. My graphic designer often uses ShutterStock when she’s working on custom eBook covers and other graphics for my clients.
If you want to understand more about the ramifications of copyright infringement, read Ryan Healy’s post
about the letter he got from Getty Images.
Using Your Personal Photos
Of course, you can also add photos you or your family shot to your website and blog. It’s great to add photographs that show you as a living example of your brand’s healthy living message. These might include images of you and your family spending time in nature, a healthy meal you prepared or a relevant event you attended. Your health coaching clients will enjoy seeing how you practice what they’re still learning.
For other subjects, use your own photos sparingly if you’re not so great with a camera. You’re a business-builder, not a blogger, so you want the look of your blog to lean more towards the professional.
Check Your Business Mindset
Check in with yourself. If you don’t believe your coaching website will ever be seen by more than some friends, colleagues and a handful of clients, then the copyright stuff probably doesn’t mean anything to you.
If, however, you have a big vision for your wellness business, you must prepare for many thousands of people across the world to visit your website. With that long-term goal in mind, you need to make choices now that you won’t regret later.
Make choices today based on the successful health coaching business you want, not the business you have.
To your awesome biz,