In the past there were few places to find good quality photos with Creative Commons licencing.
Creative Commons is basically a license that allows others to use a piece of copyrighted material subject to certain limitations. This could be a simple attribution or a restriction not to modify or use the work commercially. To learn more about Creative Commons licensingvisit their website, which will explain all the different licensing levels.
As time went on the quantity of high quality photos available with Creative Commons licensing grew. I started using CC photos from either Pixabay or Flickr.
However, these are not my favorite in terms of quality and search functionality.
Here my three favorite sources for free, stock photos with Creative Commons Licenses.
Go straight to the source and use the Creative Commons Search engine (which is not really a search engine, but rather a meta search engine – a search engine that searches other search engines).
By using this you can choose which sources you’d like to search and the appropriate licensing. Then this search will go out to the different sources and do your search with the appropriate licensing.
This great for music and video, in addition to photos.
I believe 500px started out as a photo sharing community for photographers that was an alternative to Flickr.
However, they have since added a marketplace where you can purchase rights to photos, a variety of curated collections, and a huge collection of Creative Commons photos with different licensing levels.
Typically the photos here are professionally enhanced. This gives them a “professional” look… surprise, surprise! Sometimes this is what you’re looking for and sometimes it’s not.
If you’re looking for a more natural, retro look, check out Unsplash.
If you don’t have a lot of time to spend on e-marketing, then blogs are convenient, because they allow you to get things done a lot faster. It takes less time to update content, or roll out new promotions and marketing strategies.
Blogs also make it easier to interact with users. It is an interactive tool that allows you to build trust with your readers.
Be sure to provide technical information where possible, as this will boost your credibility on the web, and also help to generate more web traffic.
If you are creating your blog to appeal to a particular niche market, then there are niche blog directories that you can submit your blog to.
Spread the Word
These directories will enable you to increase traffic to your blog, so you can expect more visitors to come your way when you make a submission.
A business blog can do a lot for your business, just remember to remain customer-focused in outlook, as you seek to improve web traffic and grow your business.
Many small business owners start a blog as a marketing tool, but still underestimate the benefits it offers their company. Indeed, some owners only focus on their blog as a publicity tool and wonder why their business is not growing as much as they expected.
Let’s look at four of the most important, often unexpected benefits that a company blog provides.
1. Search Engine Optimization
The search engines love sites that update frequently with new content. Consequently, running a business blog with regular posts helps improve your site’s search engine rankings.
Given that it is easier to update a blog than it is to adjust a static website, you’re also getting better rankings in return for less effort.
Even better, if you allow a group of staff members to publish articles, rather than relying on a single person, you can generate fresh content much quicker.
2. Build Relationships
Used properly, blogging allows you to build a relationship with your readers, rather than just working as a glorified press release system.
The interactive nature of blogging encourages comments and feedback from visitors, which you can use to your advantage.
Don’t just post sales pitches!
Building relationships is a multi-step process, which starts with posting content that your readers will respond to, so that they visit often to take part in the debate. This encourages them to subscribe to your blog.
Once they’re subscribed, people are often more willing to provide extra personal information, give feedback, and be included on mailing lists.
This generates valuable information for your business providing insight into what your customers think about your company.
It can also generate new ideas for products and services. Basically, your blog can act as a free market research tool.
3. Build a Reputation
By providing quality content relevant to your field, you can build a reputation as an expert.
Over time, your customers and blog visitors will begin to consider you the go-to person for their issues. This gives your business an important benefit over the competition.
Reputation is an incredible competitive advantage, especially for small businesses that must stand against established companies in their industry.
A reputation as an authority generates word of mouth references – and every good businessman knows that word of mouth is the holy grail of advertising.
The price of reputation is twofold. First, you must make sure that your blog posts contain only useful information to demonstrate your knowledge, with a creative bent to attract readers. Second, it takes time to build a good reputation, so plan for the long haul.
4. In-depth reviews
Blogging can also be useful when it comes to providing in-depth reviews of your products and services.
This is very useful for educating customers about what you offer, explaining how to use your products and services, and offering tips and tricks. But you can also use your blog to respond to customer comments and complaints. Show them that you listen to their issues and take action to improve.
This is really an extension of the most common purpose of a business blog, which is as a marketing outlet.
Given that blogs also allow you to upload photos and videos, you can provide useful, interesting, responsive content at the same time as pre-selling your products and services. This can help dramatically improve conversion rates.
Blogging is more than just a way to announce company news, new products and special deals. It can also help position your site better on the search engines, build a community of loyal customers and even reach out to educate your visitors.
The important thing is to plan your blogging strategy as you do every other marketing option, and make sure that you only publish high-quality content that is useful to your target audience.