The Best Image Bookmarking Sites for Daily Inspiration
What is image bookmarking and how can it improve your overall creativity? It’s simple. You view amazing images by others and get inspired!
Indeed you can use image bookmarking sites like Pinterest for daily inspiration.
There is a steady stream of highly inspiring work. I do every day. Even on weekends when I don’t work. OK. Wait. What is image bookmarking actually? Let me explain below.
What is Image Bookmarking?
Image bookmarking is like social bookmarking – it’s what legacy social media sites like Diigo are still used for – but focusing on images evidently. Reddit is social news in contrast, while Facebook is social networking.
Other image heavy sites like Instagram or Flickr aren’t about bookmarking. They are image sharing sites as you mainly upload your own imagery there.
On image bookmarking sites you bookmark or rather save images made by others. You can upload yours as well but that’s not the most important use case.
Image bookmarking is one of the best working concepts when it comes to the wisdom of crowds. Let me elaborate on that major benefit below!
Smart Mobs or Dumb Fake News?
Some social sites tend to collect the lowest common denominator e.g. “funny images”. Only extremely main stream content that is often dumbed down completely goes viral. Initially
social bookmarking really reflected popularity and quality of particular content.
Then it got replaced by Facebook where fake news spread ten times faster than quality content. Of course fake news delivers what we crave. We want it to be true!
The others are wrong usually – we are right of course! Aren’t we? Image bookmarking in contrast is not about bias or agreeing with your peer group. It’s strictly about visual aspects of online content be it images or videos.
Pinterest and the likes are about inspiring people. It works very well.
It works even better as you don’t even have to visit the site the image stems from in case you’re busy. Most pins never get clicked. Usually the click rate is something like 0,15% even on popular images.
On the other hand images that often do not have a source anymore because the site went offline have a second life on Pinterest and sometimes stay popular for years.
How to Get Inspired by Bookmarked Images?
As I use Pinterest daily since 2012 I learned to get inspired every single day. It never gets boring. I’m almost addicted. How do I use Pinterest?
First off I chose topics that are always inspiring or reflect my life style and identity. Beautiful images rarely contain negativity. I collect mostly
- modern houses
- cycling culture
- bird photography
- self improvement quotes
- mountain views
- clean websites
- minimalist products
images. I have other boards as well but they don’t seem to cover very popular topics. They get very few engagement for some reasons.
My Star Wars board on the other hand has a much higher engagement rate that my website design board despite having much fewer pins. It’s simply a popular topic! What do I do exactly?
- I follow the boards (not the people) who share similar images as I do. I look up frequently who shared my pins and whether their other pins are inspiring even though Pinterest by now made it much harder to find out.
- Many boards just republish images I have already seen while others also cover topics I’m not interested in. Thus I follow very carefully. They have to reflect exactly what I’m interested in (e.g. modern houses not just architecture in general).
- Also some people do not care about the image quality. When they like a quote they will ignore ugly fonts that are barely readable for example or post tiny and thus blurry thumbnail images.
- I follow boards of people who are carefully selecting and curating their pins. Those who do not even check the links they share (and often link to broken or misleading links) can be very annoying.
For users who are new Pinterest will suggest images from boards you don’t follow based on the images you pinned or visited already. I switched that feature off because it showed me too many duplicates.
Pinterest is not the only image bookmarking site though. In fact due to its main stream character the quality of the content already suffers a bit.
Also some people try to game the system by adding misleading links to the pins.
Spammers take a popular pin, republish it and then link to their wacky unrelated commercial site instead. It’s a fraudulent self-promotion method called “bait and switch”.
Thus I advise you to also take a look at the alternative services for image bookmarking below. Starting with the lesser known ones.
The Best Image Bookmarking Sites for Daily Inspiration Are…
Even though Design Inspiration has the term design in its name there are all kinds of visual content types you can get inspired by. Landscape photography is among them for example.
It’s not just meant for designers either. It helps to have a thieving design audience as the backbone of the community though. The content is of very high quality and enjoyable.
Design Inspiration has been around for many many years. I been visiting that site a decade ago already.
They chose to stay within their niche though and didn’t expand too much. Small is indeed beautiful in that case.
Long before Pinterest became “the thing” we heart it already thrived. I sued it like almost a decade ago. My only problem with it was that it had mainly a teenage audience it seemed to me.
we heart it makes explicit images of barely clad women “unsafe” by default so that you can visit it at work too. “Girl” and “woman” are among the most popular tags.
It’s similar to Pinterest as the audience is rather female.
On the other hand the audience is mostly made up from teens and young adults trying to create an online identity.
I couldn’t impress them by collecting images of modern residential architecture. Travel, lifestyle and fashion images worked well in contrast.
Pinterest is of course the number one image bookmarking site for a few years now.
Most people do not even refer to it as image bookmarking because it created a league of its own. For years Pinterest was mostly populated by American women but
these days it reaches an increasingly global and also male audience.
Pinners are usually a bit older than users of we hart it for example.
Think mother (Pinterest) vs daughter (we heart it). Pinterest is perfectly safe for work most of the time and thus also usable by a more mainstream audience.
More Image Bookmarking Sites
You still don’t have enough? There are many more image bookmarking sites out there. Here are some:
Sadly these are mostly unknown and thus get little traction. Why does that matter?
The fewer people contribute the fewer new images appear. That’s a common issue already on Design Inspiration.
The same old images get bookmarked again and again while few new images rise above the noise level.
The Pros and Cons of Image Bookmarking
Some people may criticize that image bookmarking is akin to content theft due to copyrighted images being displayed on those sites. Maybe. In some cases I’d even agree.
Spammers copy images and pin them without proper source or credits. Instead they link their own affiliate offers or online stores to make money.
As mentioned above I’ve also in many cases seen images preserved on image bookmarking sites where the original was offline by the time I found it there. So the public has access to an image archive in its truest sense.
SEO 2.0 is about optimization of all kind of media for universal search, social media and beyond.
Appealing to image bookmarking sites is a must use for all people doing something visual.
Don’t do it like “fun bloggers” aka the real content thieves or self promoting graphic designers who exploit these services. SEO 2.0 is based on legitimate usage of social media.
Success in Image Search
My SEO 2.0 blog was hugely successful on Google Image search for a few years. I got more visitors via my image searches than via text based search for a long time after my topical popularity dwindled.
Of course more people are interested in visual content than a niche topic which is also limited to written language, even English.
Indeed I was so popular on Google Image search that I considered partnering with artists, photographers and graphic designers to provide illustrations in exchange for lots of publicity.
Want to get found with your images? Let me use them on the SEO 2.0 blog. I already got some custom illustrations that way.
You can also bookmark your own images on image bookmarking sites. Unless you are already a popular user it won’t have much impact though.
Ideally you make it easy for people who use image bookmarking sites and Pinterest in particular to pin your images.
Add social media buttons to your site and make Pinterest one of the featured ones. You can also add custom pin it buttons on images.
Some sites in contrast prevent people from right clicking due to copyright protection. That’s nonsense.
In general I advise you to follow some common sense image SEO best practices for visual artists. Just in case you wonder: Google image search loves Pinterest!