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Custom Graphics v.s. Stock Images for Your Blog: Which is more worth it?

Brands that add visual elements in a blog are 40 percent more likely to convert into a sale. But that’s only if the blogs provide value, relevance, and entertainment to the end user. If you’ve been blogging for a long time and wondering why website traffic hasn’t increased, you might be missing something. And that missing element might be blog graphics. Since blogging is long-form content, images are excellent to make your blogs easily digestible. Having a couple of pictures on your blogs improves the overall reader’s experience. But if you’ve been using images and are still not getting any traffic, you might be using the wrong ones. This leads us to the next question: Should you use custom graphics or stock images for your blog? This article lists the benefits of blog graphics and the pros and cons of custom and stock images.

Benefits of Blog Graphics

A Nature Communications study claims that too much information can narrow down our collective attention span. That’s why images are perfect ways to make readers re-focus on the blog article if the information is too overwhelming. Aside from that, here are the top benefits of including images on your blogs:
  • Provides structure. Blogs with images have better structure than blogs without images. Putting one image per scroll can break up huge blocks of text, which makes your blogs easier to read.
  • Visually appealing. Humans are innately visual creatures. Without a doubt, we are drawn to compelling images than plain text alone.
  • Increases social media engagement. Provided that your blogs are informative, it can potentially go viral on social media. Thumbnails on blogs can entice more social media users to click as well.
  • Improves SEO. SEO lets you optimize your blog images. You can change the image description and alt text by including keywords and similar keywords if it’s relevant to the picture.
  • Explains complex information better. Content such as whitepapers or in-depth articles can be explained better with graphics. You can break up sections of the content and transform it into infographics, illustrations or add tables and charts.
  • Brand consistency. Using custom blog images can increase branding consistency by adding colors, icons, logos, fonts, etc.

Pros and Cons of Custom Graphics v.s. Stock Images in Blogs

Marketers approach their blog graphics in two different ways. Some invest in custom images, while some go for the more affordable route — stock images. But which one is more worth it if you aim to attract more readers? Read on to know the pros and cons of custom graphics and stock images in blogs.

Custom Graphics

Using custom graphics are relatively more eye-catching as they speak your brand identity more than stock images. For instance, illustrations portray better and more creative storytelling than stock photographs. On top of that, here are the pros and cons of using custom blog graphics.

Pros:

Instills brand recognition Whether you DIY blog images or entrust your blog graphics to experts, integrating your branding is a must in blog images. Using your brand’s colors, fonts, icons, logos, and language improves brand consistency. And when your blog goes viral, you’re instilling top-of-mind awareness within your audience. Improves memorability Your blogs must also be valuable so your audience would keep on coming back for more. Undeniably, combining text and images can make your blogs more memorable. So when you have both elements — value and visuals — you’re setting your blog for success already. Validates your business When readers see that you went the extra mile to invest time and money in custom images, this earns you extra brownie points. Brands can get stock images for free, while custom ones come with a price. Overall, this increases brand authenticity and validates your business. Makes blogs unique Of course, custom images are more professional-looking and unique. This makes your blog stand out from the other competing blogs in your niche.

Cons:

Costly Startups and small businesses might have to work with limited resources. Depending on the type of graphic design service you choose, custom images might come with a steep price. However, unlimited graphic design services such as Penji are affordable options and flexibility for small business owners and agencies. Time-consuming Working with graphic designers for your blog images might take back-and-forth communication before getting the precise outcome. For companies on a tight schedule, this may be a drag in their business operations.

Stock Images

Stock images are another option for company blogs. It’s a lifesaver for new companies that are gaining traction in their industry. It’s not to say stock blog graphics are bad for business. But using stock photos might bring more disadvantages than benefits. Here are the pros and cons.

Pros:

Free With a digitally-oriented world, there is no shortage of free sources online, including stock images. Some stock photos might come with a meager fee, but marketers always have an option to choose the free ones. Pexels, Unsplash, and Pixabay are a few of the websites that offer free stock images. Quick Stock images are extremely quick to source. All you have to do is create an account with one of the websites above, type in the kind of image you want, and download. If you’re running multiple blogs, it can be a great option to prevent publishing delays.

Cons:

Higher copyright risks If you’re not being too careful about using the stock images commercially, you might jeopardize your business. You can get in trouble with copyright infringement, and that might be the death of your business. Doesn’t convey your branding Unlike illustrations and custom graphic designs, stock images won’t convey your brand’s story creatively. They have no artful twist. Moreover, you won’t be able to integrate your brand colors, fonts, logos and icons to make the images solely yours. Not unique Imagine how many times a stock image gets downloaded daily. And imagine how many times one image is used on different blogs by various companies. Although your content may be plagiarism-free, using stock images means your blog will still be considered mundane, like the others.

Verdict: Custom Images for Scalability, Stock Images for Cost-Efficiency

As we draw this comparison to a close, the use of custom images v.s. stock images will still depend on your business goals and needs. If you’re aiming for scalability, using custom images is undeniably worth the investment. They make your blogs more professional and credible. Overall, using custom images may pave the way for higher conversions. On the flip side, using stock images may be preferable for brands working with little to no budget. You may use stock images while establishing your blog. However, be sure to take it up a notch when you’ve gained footing. Or else, you’ll miss out on more readers and higher conversions.

Ulyses Osuna has made his own unique advances to traditional PR-marketing activities to help his public relations endeavors succeed. He is one of six founders to be featured in an Inc Magazine article on "Millennials with a Thriving Business" and has also been featured in the Huffington Post as a 19-Year-Old dominating the PR space.

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