Smart Image Strategies

So this week, I'm focused on answering a question I received about creating images.

"You should write about using images from suppliers/manufacturers. It’s not as simple as slapping a product image down due to copyright laws."

This is a good question especially with Google stating that they love custom visuals because it shows first-hand experience.

As much as I personally love images, it's worth noting that incorporating images can be resource-intensive and slow down the production process.

So, the questions arise: Is the juice worth the squeeze?

Can Google actually tell if these are custom images?

Are readers more likely to click if there is a custom image?

What about simply using plain old product images?

Wtf do I do, Alex??

To be frank, I don't believe you necessarily need images if you're running a typical affiliate site.

I manage two such sites, neither of which use images at all.

Their monthly profits?

Over $70,000 and $20,000, without a single image used within the articles.

Not even a featured image.

However, it's important to consider that these sites do not leave a lasting impression on visitors.

They are your run-of-the-mill affiliate sites where the typical user journey is as follows:

  1. Search for a problem
  2. Click on the first search result
  3. Click on the first product solution
  4. Leave our site and never return

If this is the business model you're aiming for then forget images and pour all your resources into writing content and link-building.

You don't need images to make a lot of money with affiliate sites.

On the other hand, if you aspire to build a brand and a memorable business, then investing time in custom images is worthwhile.

I personally don't think there is anything wrong with either business model. If you just want to make money, be true to yourself and do it.

If you want to build a brand that you're proud of and can show off, then focus on that.

That said, I think there's a solid middle ground to consider.

Don't fret about images until you've reached a monthly profit of $10,000.

Once you reach that point, start requesting products and hire a photographer.

Side note: it becomes a lot easier to get products from retailers and manufacturers once you reach $10,000 because that means you're generating revenue for them. Now they know you're worth the investment.

Side, side note: I highly recommend hiring a dedicated photographer or ensuring your writers can in-fact take decent photos. I've amassed quite a few Dropbox folders of poor-quality product shots... lol

DISCLAIMER: Please be aware that the following section is for entertainment purposes only and should not be considered legal advice.

I would not worry about using images from manufacturers or retailer websites. I've seen this done for years, and not once have I seen anyone contact the websites that do this.

I mean, your advertising and recommending their product...

In fact, I've only seen the opposite come true.

A company will reach out and say,

"Hey, thanks for recommending us. Here's a Google Drive with high-quality images of the product for you to use."

Again, I wouldn't worry too much about using images from manufacturers and retailers, but remember, I'm not a lawyer, and this isn't legal advice, so you do you.

Now, for those with a little gray in their hat, this next section is for you.

Again, this is for entertainment purposes only.

If you're eager to save money, hire a cheap VA skilled in Photoshop, and use the 'Right Click + Save' option. This approach can yield impressive unique images that directly correspond with the content on the page.

If you just need layered images (for instance, someone holding a product beside a lake) with minor editing you can get up to 50 images a day for the price of a Chipotle meal 🌯

Alright, I've laid out several options for you, and I hope you're beginning to understand how even something as minor (yet tedious) as images can impact your resources as an SEO and affiliate marketer.

In my personal experience, this is what I would do if I were starting over.

1. Focus on writing & link building until $10,000+ monthly profit

2. Hire VA for photo editing and sourcing images for all "info" related articles

3. Hire a photographer & reach out to manufacturers for products. This would be for your most important money articles i.e. roundup reviews, product reviews, etc. I would see if I could just pay the photographer with free products, assuming they love your niche.

In general, the goal here is to shift your resources as more become available.

In the beginning, you don't have a lot, so don't get bogged down by images when you don't need them.