If you want to get started with affiliate marketing, you’ll also need to know how to get images for your website. Images make your blog posts come alive, while increasing engagement and time on page.
Due to copyright however, you can’t just use any ol’ image you’ll find on the internet. Instead, you’ll have to rely on stock photos, your own imagery and official product photos. I’ll be discussing each of these options below.
1. Use an affordable, paid photo stock website
There are plenty of great free resources to get your stock photos from. Examples include:
But free stock photo websites have a couple of downsides:
- You’ll find their photos on every other website
- Their photos are often generic looking
On the other end of the spectrum, you have a service like Shutterstock. Their photos are beautiful and since you must pay for them, they haven’t yet made their way to every corner of the internet.
However, they don’t come cheap. You’ll pay €49 monthly for their most affordable package (unless you’re willing to pay a year in advance) and this will only get you 10 photographs. Far from enough if you’re publishing a ton of content each month. Alternatively, you can purchase one of their on-demand packs which will cost you €49 for 5 photos.
These kinds of prices make little sense for most affiliate websites.
Luckily, there’s an alternative for both free stock photo websites and an expensive premium service: become a paying member at an affordable stock photo website.
I believe the best option for this is Freepik, which offers paid plans for under €10 per month.
Besides not having to add any image attribution to your site and getting unlimited image downloads, you’ll also get access to their premium material which often is of higher quality than their regular stuff. Granted, you shouldn’t expect Shutterstock quality, but what you’ll get will definitely suffice for most websites.
When using their premium imagery, another advantage is that it’s not as frequently used as their free imagery. After all, only a tiny fraction of their visitors are paid members.
The cool thing about Freepik is that they also offer vector images, which I often use for my featured images:
And they offer icons as well, which you could use for instance – if you’re a non-designer like myself – to put together infographics like these:
A lesser-known feature that Freepik offers is Storyset. You can use Storyset to easily adjust certain vector images (color, background) in your browser and even animate them. This is a great way to put together some unique vector images for your website.
Bottom line, Freepik is a super versatile service which could serve as your one-stop-shop for most of your affiliate website’s visuals.
2. Make your own photos or screencaps
The best way to ensure you ensure the images you use for your affiliate site are unique is by making them yourself.
There are two ways to go about this:
- Make screencaps
- Take your own photos
The former option is especially great if you’re writing about software. Any how-to guide for doing something on your PC becomes 10x better once you spruce it up with screencaps which show your visitors exactly what to do. You could even add arrows and other indicators to them by using something like Apple Preview, like so:
If your affiliate site features physical products, try to add your own photos whenever possible. In most cases, it’s not going to be feasible to add your own photos of every single product you write about. But when you do have a product you’re discussing, don’t skimp on photographing the hell out of it and adding these photos to your blog posts.
3. Use official product photos
When discussing physical products, you’ll always want to add at least one official product photo. You can either find them on the manufacturer’s website or on Amazon if you’re an Amazon Associate.
Official product photos are almost always of great quality. They also tend to show the product from multiple angles. Finally, they tend to have a white background which means they look good in comparison tables such as these:
If you want to use product photos from Amazon, then do keep the following in mind. You can’t just download the pictures and upload them on your website. To use Amazon’s images, you have to be a registered Amazon Associate and use Amazon’s API or SiteStripe. Failing to do so can get you kicked off the Amazon affiliate program.
If you’re using official product photos directly from the manufacturer, then do make sure to first check if it’s allowed. You don’t want to get yourself entangled in a copyright infringement case at some point. In most cases they’ll be totally fine with it: if anything, they’ll be happy that you’re willing to promote their products on your website.
Images are a critical component of any affiliate website. No visitor likes to get greeted by a big wall of text. Breaking up your blog posts with images is a great way to liven things up and offer a better user experience.
These are the three main methods to obtain images for your affiliate website:
- Use stock photos
- Shoot pictures yourself or make screencaps
- Use official product photos
If you’re going with the first method, then keep in mind that free stock photos are well-overused at this point. Don’t rely on them solely. You can make use of a premium service like Shutterstock. However, this will cost you an arm and a leg. A good alternative is to use a paid service like Freepik which is a lot cheaper and still offers relatively unique premium imagery of decent quality.
Making your own photos or making screencaps is by far the easiest way to add unique visuals to your affiliate website.
Official product photos are something no affiliate marketer who’s discussing physical products can do without. However, if you use Amazon do make sure to follow their rules. And if you get your photos directly from a manufacturer, always make sure to ask for permission beforehand.