There’s nothing wrong with taking a DIY approach to building your company’s website. If you choose your tools carefully it is possible to create a professional looking website without spending a fortune on web designers.
Services like Basekit and WordPress are great if you don’t mind spending a bit of time learning how to use them. Or if that sounds like too much commitment, try Getting British Business Online which promises a basic website in 15 minutes.
Think about your website images
No matter how you decide to create and update your website, it’s wise to take care over the photos and images you use on it. You might be tempted to simply grab images from Google’s image search. But finding an image that’s already been posted on the internet doesn’t give you the right to use it.
Someone still owns the copyright, so if you did use a photo without permission, you’d be breaking the law. It’s a mistake some national newspapers have even made. So, how do you find great images for your website, without spending a fortune? Here are five things to try:
1. Search for Creative Commons images
Creative Commons is a licensing system which lets people make their photos available for use by others. There’s a huge choice of images and they’re completely free. You just have to make sure you give the photographer a credit – check the terms specified with each image you find. There are different types of Creative Commons licences so it’s important you find images which are available for commercial use. To start searching, try Flickr’s advanced search (be sure to tick the ‘Only search within Creative Commons-licensed content’ and ‘Find content to use commercially’ boxes). Or you can try the search tools on the Creative Commons website.
2. Look for rights-free photography
If the different types of Creative Commons licence seem confusing or you simply can’t find what you need, there are lots of other free photos available online. To be sure you’re not infringing on anyone’s copyright, it’s best to search on reputable websites like stock.xchng or MorgueFile. There’s a whole list of good sites here. As with Creative Commons images, always check the usage rights of each individual image carefully. You may be required to credit the photographer, or use may be forbidden in some situations.
3. Buy cheap stock photography
It’s all well and good searching for free photos, but it’s often easier to spend a small amount of money than to spend hours finding the perfect free image. That’s where websites like iStockPhoto and ShutterStock come in. These vast repositories contain thousands of images, most of which you can buy for just a few pounds. Sure, they can be frustratingly clichéd at times, but a bit of experimentation with what you search for can usually get results. Expect to pay from £1 upwards for each image.
4. Ask permission
This is probably your best option if you’re looking for an image of a recent event or specific person to use with an article or blog post on your website. Amateur photographers are often happy to let their photos be used at no charge – if you ask nicely. A good way to find images is through Flickr. For instance, there are plenty of David Cameron and Tom Cruise to choose from. Once you’ve found a photo you like, just use Flickr’s contact option to send the photographer a message asking their permission. (Do be wary using photos of famous people – while generally it’s ok to use them alongside news stories and other editorial, you’ll get in trouble if it looks like they’re endorsing your product or service.)
5. Take your own photos
With even cheap mobile phones able to produce reasonable-quality photos, you don’t need to be a pro to capture photos that are good enough for your website. Even though the company is in all sorts of trouble, there are some good tips for taking better photos on the Kodak website. Assuming you already own a camera, this approach is virtually free – and it holds other benefits over stock photos. For instance, do you think website visitors would prefer to see a generic image of someone on the phone, or an actual member of your sales team at work in your office?
How do you find photos for your website? Leave a comment to let us know.