How Photo’s Should Hook Your Readers and Free Stock Photo Resources

It is true that in the world of Internet marketing that we should appeal to and speak to peoples emotions. If we do not give them an emotional trigger for why they should buy something, the simple truth is,  they wont buy.

It is just as true however that we should also appeal to their senses. Obviously in the digital world in some ways this is restricted. We cannot smell or taste things for example nor touch what we see. Sight and sound however are both things we not only can use but should be using in our marketing strategies. The one that takes precedence over the other is sight over sound.

We have all seen the craze for memes, and how pictures are shared everywhere we look. There are good pictures and there are bad. If you are using bad images or not using images at all to connect with your audience, you are going to always be running behind the pack. Pinterest is the hit it is is, because people love to share photos.  On Facebook what you will see shared is prmarily photos. Google+ is the same. Even if people make a status or post and the point is contained in the text, most people will attach an image to it, beause if people see a longer than your quick 2 line status, they will filter it out if there is no image attached to it.  .An image will grab their attention so that,the same status that with text alone would have been over-looked  by most, if you add a delicous looking photograph to it, you will find  everyone will read it. Human beings are visual people. Pictures are often the hook that draws people in.

Creating your own images is not for everyone. They may not have the skills,or perhaps the confidence or even creativity, the time or perhaps the software . Stock photo sites can be expensive for sure. So what to do? How can we bridge this gap if we do not have the financial resources to be a member of one of the large StockPhoto sites,nor the talents or resources to create our own?

Thankfully there is help out there! There are free (or inexpensive) stockphoto sites you can use. Stacey Corrin gave a great selection on her  blog.

 

12 Websites for Sourcing Amazing Stock Photos

#1 SplitShire (link) – Free

The brainchild of Daniel Nanescu, SplitShire hosts a collection of excellent quality stock photos that are completely free to download and use.

Forget about any restrictions. These stunning images have none of them and can be used for both personal and commercial use, without having to credit Daniel for the work (although it would be awesome if you did).

I regularly use the images from SplitShire for my own posts, purely because the quality is so good. There’s no faulting them at all and there’s plenty of variety that will suit any project.

#2 Foodies Feed (link) – Free & Premium

Food photography enthusiast Jacob started up Foodies Feed as a way to share the many images he’d taken, that were hiding away on his hard drive. Jacob’s high quality images are free to download and use for personal, editorial, commercial and any other use you can think of. Plus there’s no attribution required.

I used one of the Foodies Feed images for my recent post on creating invoices in Canva. They’re perfect for adding a little wow factor to your posts and will go down a real treat with food bloggers.

#3 Startup Stock Photos (link) – Free

If the Startup world is more your kind of thing, then Startup Stock Photos will have something you’re bound to love. Sharing images that are entirely free to use (again without attribution), this sites images are ideal for illustrating articles that have a laid-back business feel.

#4 Dollar Photo Club (affiliate link) – Premium

I’ve included the Dollar Photo Club in this round-up, because their images are so cheap they’re practically free anyway.

Providing high-class, high-resolution images to its select group of members, this website takes the idea of your average stock photos up a peg or two.

Their prices are designed to be clear, simple and with no hidden extras. While the exclusivity of the Dollar Photo Club will ensure the images you do purchase, aren’t already widely distributed.

#5 Picography (link) – Free

I came across Picography after doing a bit of writing work for a client linked to the creators of the aptly named resource. Back then Picography was still in its infancy, however since then it’s grown dramatically to an established resource that I visit often.

Picography’s images are simply stunning. Depicting every-day life at a different angle, they’re the ideal accompaniment to many a blog post. All images are free to download and use as you wish, allowing you to reap the benefits of their unprecedented quality for yourself.

#6 Free Reefe Mobile Photos (link) – Free

Another site I use regularly, Reefe Mobile Photos throws something extra into the mix. The stock photos on this site are all taken using mobiles, making their quality even more impressive.

Images from these guys are royalty free without restrictions. There’s also heaps of them to sift through so if you need something in particular, be prepared to spend a while drooling over the shiny pictures.

#7 Superfamous (link) – Free

Folkert Gorter is the interaction designer behind the website Superfamous. Here Folkert shares images he’s personally created and made available under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. This means that you’re free to use the images from Superfamous, however you’ll need to clearly give all credit Folkert Gorter as the source.

I haven’t tried using these images yet, as I haven’t had the right type of content to them justice. However since you’re able to freely use them for personal and commercial purposes, I’m sure I’ll find something soon!

#8 Picjumbo (link) – Free & Premium

I love Picjumbo for the sheer variety of their images. Providing free photos for personal and commercial projects, the guys behind this website offer a great service that I keep going back to.

Most of the stocks photos on Picjumbo are taken with multiple shots. Free users of the site get access to one high quality image from each shot, however should you wish to get a few extra from the same photo shoot, they offer a premium service which allows access to these.

#9 New Old Stock (link) – Free

Ever wondered what happens to all of those historical images that have been taken over the years, once they’ve been released into the public domain? Well, a large proportion of them end up on sites similar to New Old Stock.

Providers of vintage images from the public archives, New Old Stock is a treasure trove of imagery you can get lost in. With all things vintage being a current massive trend these days, this website will have something for everyone. Images are free to download and use for your own purposes as far as I’m aware, so dig in and find something a little different.

#10 Pixabay (link) – Free

Pixabay has undergone a bit of a facelift recently. With its new, sleeker design comes better, quality images that are free completely free to use. Nearly all of the images on Pixabay require no attribution and can be used for a multitude of projects.

One feature I particularly like about Pixabay, is their Editors Choice section, which features some of the best images users have submitted. Since the users of Pixabay aren’t paid for uploading their photos, there’s a nice little donate button for each image which allows you to buy them a coffee if you like.

#11 Unsplash (link) – Free

Everyone seems to be raving about Unsplash right now and with good reason. Their images are downright sexy! And when I say sexy I mean in a shiny, that image is gorgeous kind of way.

Awesome quality, free to use, no attribution required – what more could you possible ask for? Go check them out if you haven’t already and let the images speak for themselves.

#12 Gratisography (link) – Free

Last up is Gratisography from Bells Designs. I regularly bow down to the talent of these guys because their photos are utterly brilliant.

Far from being any old image, Gratisography is a collection of photos that have character and charm. Brimming with cheeriness at times, they’re uplifting and inspiring in many ways and are perfect for creating striking visual content.

So there we have it, 12 websites all of which offer some excellent stock photos to brighten up your blog.

The very fact that resource sites such as those above are cropping up all over the place, goes to show that you don’t need to be awesome at everything when it comes to blogging. You’re only human at the end of the day, so carry on knocking out wonderful content for your readers and take visual inspiration from these guys.

Source for the above 12 resources is Stacey Corrin

If you have any additional Free resources not included above, then please share in the comments. If you found this blog post helpful then please share it with your friends on your social networks and let me know in the comments,and if you want more helpful stuff like this, opt-in using the form below.

To end this post I’ll leave you with a motivational infographic.

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Market Research

Spying on The Competition

If you are doing online marketing of any kind, a large part of your arsenal or tools will come from Market Research.  We all want to know what our competitors are doing, or maybe those we admire who have made it?  If we are not doing this, we really have not even got off first base.

Intelligence

Alot of tools are out there with various price tags that will help you spy on your competition or find out what is working now for others.

There are also free resources that until you are earning money, free is great, right?

Sites like Alexa.com  are great.  To get a more indepth report however the price tab maybe a bit too high for many newbies or those who haven’t yet made it.

There is a great free little tool however that is simply a browser extention that I highly recommend you to add for your Market research and spying. As basically that’s what you need to be. Someone who is great at intelligence and spying on the competition.

Free Tool

You can download the plugin   —>>> here.  <<—

Once you have verified your email address for the plugin site,  you will be shown a tutorial for how to use the plugin to your best advantage.

Enjoy!  Let me know any free or low cost resources you know of for market research or spying in the comments. Or let us know what you think of this plugin how it works for you!

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If this post was helpful to you please give it a like and a share and think about opting in using the form above for more useful helps and tips.:-)

 

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Why Use a Squeeze Page?

Why not just put an opt-in form on your blog or sales page?

You need to be focused in your lead-generation.  You need to be purposeful about it. You cannot rely on people who visit your blog or website even seeing an opt-in form on the side-bar let alone fill it in. A landing page or squeeze page is just for that purpose. When people opt-in on your landing page or even head to a landing page they know that they are going to have to part with their email address (at the very least) before going there.

The days are gone where people part with their email addresses easily on blogs or websites they visit. They will no longer give them away to any marketer who asks, especially one they know little or don’t know at all. They guard their privacy and giving you their email address takes a certain level of trust. They want to feel that you have gone to some trouble to get them to opt-in. Made and effort and made them feel special.

Some visitors will come to your site and pretty much immediately click back off it. People commonly scan pages to see if the site is worth their time. They are looking either for the cost of something, or to see what value is at the site. If you have opt-in forms and affiliate banners there is just too much distraction often for them to stay focused.

All squeeze pages are designed with the same purpose in mind. There may be many varied designs and templates for squeeze pages yet they are all after achieving the same goal.

  • All successful squeeze pages appeal to the reader’s emotions.

They all have subtle guidance as to why the reader will want what you have on offer on your squeeze page. The offer will be compelling. Irresistible to a large majority.

Watch and research the “gurus” that you rate.  Go visit  their squeeze pages and see what concepts they are using in building them. Opt-in to them and see how they create the whole cycle from Squeeze page to the email you receive after you are on their list.

  • The same elements appear on squeeze pages.
  • An opt-in form to capture name and/or Email address.

As soon as the person opts in your auto-responder is triggered to send them a welcome or thank you email with a download link for the offer they signed up for.

The owner of the list gets a notification that you have opted in.

The Squeeze page sells your offer by listing the benefits of your offer. Why the reader should subscribe and how it will profit them when they do. This should be compelling.

All squeeze pages will also have a call to action. Scarcity tactics are a good strategy to use. If your offer has restrictions such as time, or volume you are offering this gives a sense of urgency and more people will opt in for fear of missing out.

Your call to action must be strong and appeal to the readers emotions to stop them just clicking off.

Squeeze pages usually have eye catching graphics. If you squeeze page appeals visually to the visitor they are less likely to just click off.

And of course the squeeze page will also have a headline. This is a very important element of your squeeze page. It is worth testing and split testing various headlines to see which one converts best.

It is up to you whether you use long sale copy or short. There is no right or wrong. The copy however no matter what must make a direct appeal to the reader’s emotions. Most decisions people make are emotional ones. Whether to opt-into a squeeze page or not, is no different.

This is of course a very short over-view of why you should use squeeze pages and what you need on them.

What has been your own story with squeeze pages vs opt-in forms on blogs? Share with us in the comments.

And if you found this useful, then at least think about opting in to my list by filling in the form on the side-bar, or at the foot of your browser,  for more tips and helps on your marketing journey.

One piece of software I recommend for Squeeze pages is Funnel Kit.  For the savvy marketer you can create opt-in forms that convert at 80%. Here is an example of one of my forms I created with Funnel Kit. Its really easy even if you don’t know the first thing about coding and web design. Drag and drop.

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Tips For Your Website Content

SEO vs Content

The changes with the Panda and Penguin updatesfrom Google are making your website content more important then ever for if your website is a hit or a failure.

Content always has been king. The people who got slapped by Google were people usually who trying to manipulate the SEO and content was not the main focus of their site.  SEO is great. You shouldn’t ignore it.  But you cannot replace content with sheer SEO.

How do you sell your service or product to potential customers?

I don’t know about you but I am sick of the buzz words that go around Internet Marketing circles. Like “awesomeness” “boom” or other such familiar terms that mostly have little to no meaning by the speaker. If you want to communicate with your would be customers then communicate. Don’t use words no one has any idea what they mean but hey kinda sound cool so I’ll just say them mindlessly, it will get you nowhere. Speak to your customers not at them. Remember they are people and not bank rolls or ATM machines. I’m sure you do, yet I see the latter being done so often.

Be Objective:

Be objective in your opinions. Choose facts over mere opinion. Do not over-exagerate what you can do for your clinets or customers. Be honest, be ethical. People are jaded and many have become blind and deaf to the types of sales pitch we often read ourselves. Where some product or person makes some great claim that they can never hope to live up to. When you fail to deliver (by doing the above) your reputation will be done a lot of harm.

FONTS

Fonts ay not seem that important on the scale of things. Yet use clear reasy to read fonts on your website. If it is hard to read your visitors will not stay and certainly won’t return.

Explain the benefits of your product or service. Answer the customers question of “What’s in it for me.” If you can make the benefits seem worth it to them and you are being clear and honest you will win your customers if you sell it strongly enough on how it can improve their life and what makes your product stand out from the rest.

These are just a few pointers, they are nowere near exhaustive.   Let us know what is working for you currently in the comments!

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3 Reasons You Should Be Testing Your Website

If you are not testing your website you are only running at half power at most.  No website is perfect which means there is always room for improvement.

All the big multi million dollar sites and gurus didn’t get that success without implementing thorough testing. However, testing the process of how and the reasons behind it and being ableto analyze the data effectively to make the right improvments often leaves not just newbies but many people feeling overwhelmed.The result is they procrastinate over doing testing.  Very often they never get around to it.

It’s really not as hard as it seems. If you are not testing your success is going to be seriously impaired.

My recent Ebook takes you by the hand and walks you through the testing process step by step. From simple A/B splite testing to more comple multi testing.  It also gives you access to many great tools which will help make the process easier for you.  (most of them are free).

If you have a website and you are not testing yet, you cannot afford to not read this book.

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Why You Cannot Afford To Ignore Pinterest

When I first knew about Pinterest I equated it somehow with Scrapbooking.  That  can be an enjoyable  hobby that many women do, but not something I felt able to lend time to.  I had more than my plate full to keep up with my social networks as things were.
I have recently been researching Pinterest however, and the viral effect of Pinterest is second to none. It has huge potential and opportunity to build huge traffic to my websites without spending a red cent.

PINTEREST Takes Viral To Another Level

It has long been known that most of Pinterest users are female. Slowly more men are joining the site and becoming active on it however. At least 75% of the content on there is shared content. That makes the viral effect of Pinterest second to none. Absolutely without doubt. But on Pinterest you find people share the things that are important to them.  You already know a segment of who your audience is likely to be.

The Power of the Graphic and Pinterest

Pinterest was set up with the purpose of re-sharing stuff of a visual nature. We all know the power of an image. Beauty, fashion, celebrities are among some of the hottest topics on there. So how can you get a slice of this? This was a question I was recently faced with. And though I was unconvinced at first, in a very short while of researching and watching Pinterest and listening to people who are using it for huge traffic and profits I could no longer give it a pass. It is now my top priority as far as social networks and getting traffic.

The internet is forever changing. If you blog then Pinterest can work for you without a doubt. You have to think differently than you do with the other social networks more like if you are publishing a magazine or journal. Graphics play a huge part in everything we buy and look at. So you have to cash in on the graphic effect and use that to get people to your blog. Let your Pins attract eyeballs clicks and repins.

Creating Pins

You want to create pins that people are compelled to share. That is what makes Pinterest so viral. It doesn’t matter if your following is small. One pin with less than a dozen followers  on your board can get your hundreds of thousands of website visitors because of how viral Pinterest is and what happens when it is repinned by others. You must make pins that people want to share. It’s as simple as that.

The Power of the Pin

You can use Pinterest this way to get traffic to your blog, your landing page, your affiliate products, your Amazon books, and your YouTube videos. It’s all in the power of the pin.

  • Pinterest is free to use. Whether business or personal use, it’s free.
  • Posts are called Pins, because of its graphical nature it’s like a giant pinning board.
  • The boards are categorized so that only people interested in your particular board subjects will follow. That makes you have a laser targeted audience.

PINT2

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Make Internet Marketing Work For You – Tips And Tricks

Internet marketing has so much untapped potential for businesses. Even a Facebook page can bring an unbelievable amount of traffic to your business and get your name out there among potential customers. There is no limit to the possibilities. This article can help you tap the potential of Internet marketing and harness the power for your business.

A great tip for internet marketing is to include a way to for your visitor to get a free sample of your product within your ad. The content of your ad might not convince someone to buy your product on its own.

Put that content on YouTube instead of on your own site if you are using video content as part of your internet marketing campaign. YouTube has a couple of advantages in that people can subscribe to your content if they like it and people may also stumble upon it if they search for related content. This is far less likely if you host the video on your own site.

Fresh, informative and lively content, is key to any successful website, so take a look at your website’s content on a regular basis. Don’t let it grow stale and out of date. Add new content on a daily basis, so that you’ll attract more visitors who want to see what’s new.

Internet marketing is a fantastic way to create traffic towards your website. Not only can you offer incentives to potential customers just for joining, but you can use other ways of marketing to send potential customers towards you. If you’re thinking of getting into the business, this is an essential thing to think of.

Create as much content as you possibly can, abiding by the budget that you create. The more content that you have on the Internet, the better the chance that it will come up on searches. This will directly lead more potential customers to your site and increase the chance of product purchases.

People are more likely to buy from you if they know that they will have some recourse if they are not satisfied. Make sure that you mention the guarantee several times in your ad, and you are more apt to make a sale.

You can also incorporate text links into the site design; the links are easy for users to find and can be configured so that the link opens in a new window. This will also make the site load faster, which is very important to the average consumer.

Get e-mail software for marketing purposes. This allows you to manage an e-mail list and allows you to automate some of those functions. E-mail software frees up time for you to concentrate on other business, and what’s more, looks professional and makes subscribers trust that you are competent and know what you’re doing.

As already mentioned, Internet marketing has so much potential available for your business. For a small investment or even for free, you can reach out to customers and bring them to your business in droves. By taking action with the information contained in this article, you can reach out and tap that potential for your business.

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Avoid the Hype

Automation and Education

If you’ve read any of my posts, you would know that some the greatest reasons I enjoy making money online is that there is a bunch of automation processes that can be used to make my life simpler. As a matter of fact, when I’m giving guidance to people on starting their online business one of the things I advise, is to spend money just on a couple of things, one of those things is Internet marketing software that automates some things. The other cost should be on their education as an online marketer.

Which brings me to this point; just how do you choose which automated software is good and will actually work, and which software products are merely hypey garbage that you should avoid?

Sorting the Legit from the Bad

Well, there are a couple of things, that will help you sort.

For one thing, there is no “miracle software application” that can build your business all for you entirely on autopilot. If there truly were such a thing why wouldn’t every person on-line be rich?

say no to hype

 

 

Something to Consider

Rather than seeking a “wonder” piece of software that is promoted as doing everything for you, concentrate on finding software that is developed to just do one or two things. For example, using a good auto-responder to help you keep your list up to date is a terrific financial investment in your business. The auto-responder is not optional.

Because an email list is the one thing that you really cannot afford to be without, an auto-responder is an investment and not something you are paying money for that you will not use.

Be Discerning

In other words be discerning in what you buy. Don’t be taken up with the hype. A piece of software that is promoted as able to “put your business on auto-pilot” or “push-button marketing” is usually not a wise investment. If that was all it took, why are these same people selling this software still releasing a new product every month?

The people who create these “push button marketing wonder machines” are people who know that 95% of online marketers fail. That so many think of it as a get rick quick scheme instead of building a business on a solid foundation. It appeals to people who are lazy who want the internet lifestyle without the work or learning the skills.

I’m assuming if you are reading this, that is not you. But we can all have weak moments where we are vulnerable to things we may not otherwise be. Avoid hyped up products which are advertised as “push button marketing” or “that will run your business for you.” Really it is just common sense and logic.  You should be automating some things.  But the trick is to know which of those things you should be automating.

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The Internet Has Changed the Face of Marketing

 How can you use internet marketing to your advantage?

 

An important tip regarding Internet marketing is to be sure that your site is not only viewable, but also user friendly to mobile devices. This is important with the popularity of smart phones, and the amount of web browsing that people use them for. Allow for easy page transitions and be sure that your content uses a low amount of bandwidth.

 

When a new customer purchases from your website, always show your appreciation. If you follow up with a “thank you” email with a personalized list of products they might also be interested in, you can remind new customers to return in the future and possibly compel more sales. Follow up with regular customers every few months as well.

 

Quality Over Quantity

Do not get caught up in trying to build your email list as large as you can get it. Numbers are good, but what’s more significant is the quality of those subscribers on your list. Are they just a bunch of readers who won’t remember you the next time you send out an email, or are they people who have a genuine interest in your niche?

 

Take advantage of the search engines, in order to find out who is linking to you. Many search engines have special codes that you can type before the website, which will give you different information. For example, typing “link:” before including your URL, will give you a list of all of the websites that are linking to yours.

 

The Internet Is Ever Changing

Make sure to check them frequently if you have a linking system going on with other websites. The Internet is never constant, so sites go and come and sometimes, even change completely. Make sure that your links link and work to where they’re supposed to so that your customers do not become irritated.

 

Make sure your buttons are present and attractive clearly what they redirect to. Use banner ads for your most important products only.

 

Re-evaluate your website periodically. Don’t keep your website the same, because visitors have no way of knowing what is current information and what no longer applies. Freshening and making changes keeps visitors aware that there is someone there, and that can build interest in what you have in store for them.

 

Content is King

Always make sure that you’re including useful content when you update your site or blog. Clean, professional-looking content is a must, but it must also be very helpful. Give away some tips, some new product information, or something similar in order to make your customers feel as if they’re getting something for nothing.

 

The internet is an incredible tool, and anyone marketing a site, product, or service should use it to its fullest advantage. Now that you’ve read this article, you know a variety of tips and tricks to get great results from your internet marketing.

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Black Hat Vs White Hat SEO

Black Hat SEO- Basics Search Engine Optimization

Search engine optimization (SEO) comes in several different forms. There is white hat SEO which is playing by the rules of any sites you are dealing with, it also tends to be more natural and organic. Black hat SEO is the opposite. It’s breaking any rules necessary, and covering your tracks to keep from getting caught. Anything a black hatter can do to increase their site rankings is fair game (to them). Grey hat is simply any combination of the two. In reality, most people are gray hat, even if they are intending to be white or black hat.

Black hat methods vary, and it’s possible to do some of them unintentionally. Does that make you a black hat SEO person? Not necessarily. While the search engines may penalize you if you are caught, it’s really a matter of intention. Ultimately, while black hat SEO may give you an artificially high ranking, which is better than a low ranking. By trying to game the system, you are the most susceptible to any changes to a search engine’s algorithms. In other words, black hatters may be in the top few listings one day, and completely de-indexed the next.

The problem many people in internet marketing have is that they aren’t always sure if what they are doing is considered black hat SEO or not. While there are many different things you can do for search engine optimization, there are a few basic practices to help you stay on the white hat side of the fence.

  • Stop stuffing. Your keywords that is. A common mistake is to assume that if using your keyword a few times will boost your rankings, then using them even more will boost your rankings more. This may be true, but only to a certain point. Because too much repetition sounds unnatural, the first problem is that any of your visitors will find your message difficult to understand. Secondly, any improvement in rank will likely be temporary.

What the black hatter does is use the same color for both the text and the background for any words they want to hide. While this may make for a better experience for visitors, the search engines see it as cheating and will penalize you for it if you get caught.

In this sense we are talking about fake pages that only exist for the purposes of attracting search engine crawlers. Again, you may see a temporary increase in your rankings, but could be dropped from the listings completely when the search engines find out.

Just about any site you use to help boost your rankings will have a TOS. Once you start looking for justifications or loopholes, you are moving into black hat SEO territory. If that happens, take that as a sign to do the right thing.

Doing the above things will go a long way towards avoiding black hat SEO methods. This is important because it will help you to naturally rank higher. You also won’t have to worry about dropping in the rankings if you’re caught doing something wrong.