3 Shockingly Good Sources of FREE Stock Photos

3 Shockingly Good Sources of FREE Stock Photos

If you create content for social media, then you know it’s a challenge to finding good, affordable stock photos. And as with most things in life and business, you get what you pay for.

The trade off between free and paid is about high quality vs. low quality AND it’s also about the time spent searching – you spend a lot of time looking through dogs to find a winner.

In this post I’ll show you my three favorite sources that have very high quality photos and excellent search functionality.

I’ve used a variety of stock photo sources over the years.

I started with iStockPhoto  (2006-2010), before they got too expensive.

I used FeaturePics after that as a cheap alternative, but the quality was fair.

I now use DepositPhotos.com and DeathtotheStockPhoto.com for paid photos.

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 licensing visit 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.


Unsplash.com is my favorite of the three!

These are the kind of photos I like to use for my own branding and social media. They are similar in style to the photos from DeathtotheStockPhoto.com.

They have curated collections that are awesome!

And all the photos are made available with the Creative Commons Zero license, which makes available for any use (including commercial) with no attribution. This makes them infinitely useful.

Gone are the days when you could bemoan the lack of good Creative Commons photos. Use wisely and generously attribute to show appreciation to the photographers.

Most of all keep making great content!

P.S. I’m just going to keep adding good sources to the end of this post!

  • Here is one that is great for svg files, https://openclipart.org/
  • Awesome photos for blog posts here, http://morguefile.com/
What is Content Marketing and How Can It Grow My Business?

What is Content Marketing and How Can It Grow My Business?

Content marketing is the future of advertising.

It uses informative or entertaining articles or blog posts relating to your product to attract and retain customers for your business.

Depending on your target audience, it can be trendy, newsy, techy, or funny.

Content marketing goes beyond the old “But WAIT, there’s more!” and uses a soft-sell approach to build your brand.

Traditional methods of marketing are becoming less effective with today’s consumers.

DVRs allow them to skip commercials when they watch their favorite television programs.

Magazines and newspapers are losing readership as more and more people get their news from the internet. Plus, web surfers have become immune to even the most animated banner and click-through ads.

Good content marketing bring potential customers to your website or blog, and then delivers relevant information that keeps them reading.

People who come to your website are looking for something, and you need to convince them that your business is the best place to get it.

By delivering useful information that fills their need, you are building a relationship with them. In turn, they are likely to reward you by purchasing your service or product.

What Kinds of Content

The possibilities for types of content are endless, depending on the service or product you are offering.

Posts can be news stories, how-to articles, inspirational personal accounts, or videos demonstrating the benefits of your product.

Try to decide why a customer is searching for your product, and show them the less apparent ways it will benefit them.

A financial adviser’s customers are obviously looking for ways to save money and build wealth. So articles on eliminating debt or the hottest new investments are a given.

However, effective content marketing goes beyond the obvious.

How about considering an article on using coupons to save money on groceries or how to recognize a great deal at thrift stores and estate auctions?

Quality Counts

No matter what type of content you use, it should be well written.

As a result, the information should flow smoothly and in logical order. And of course, correct spelling and grammar are essential.

Videos should be clear and have understandable audio.

Decide if your brand calls for a formal or casual approach and use it consistently in the language and style of your content.

To avoid legal action, always credit or provide a link to sources if you use other’s information in your content.

Outsource It

Don’t worry –  if writing is not your strong suit, you can easily find an agency or freelance writer who specializes in article marketing to create content for you at a reasonable price.

Using content marketing makes sense in today’s web-driven economy. Regular posting of relevant, interesting, and informative content is vital to building your brand online.

By offering quality content that informs or entertains, you will bring more new customers to your site and keep current customers coming back.

Can Your Business Benefit from Blogging?

Can Your Business Benefit from Blogging?

A business blog may just be what you need to get you to the top of the marketing pile.

Blogging has now been integrated into the corporate landscape, and has become an accepted method of communicating with customers and employees.

Blogs generally rank higher on search engines, and are therefore a very efficient internet marketing tool. This article looks at some of the facts to consider when choosing a business blog.

Things to Consider

Be sure to select a blog name that will stand out, because you want people to remember your blog when they have to do business. But make sure to also choose a name that aptly represents your brand.

This will make it easier for your target audience to find you when they need to.

Also, make sure the blog has quality content that will encourage visitors to stay. They should also be encouraged to visit links you may have to products/services.

When choosing a business blog there are several factors to consider. One of the first of these is choosing the blogging platform.

You want to choose a platform that is flexible enough to allow your business to grow in cyberspace. When selecting a blogging platform ask yourself these questions:

  • Is it easy to use?
  • Does it have flexible theme options and features?
  • Does it offer opportunities for monetization?

Choose a Platform

Selecting the wrong platform can lead to a lot of frustration, and get in the way of your success, so be sure to choose the platform that is best suited to the needs of your business.

Two of the most popular blogging platforms are WordPress, and Medium.

Publish Fast

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.

4 Benefits Of Small Business Blogging

4 Benefits Of Small Business Blogging

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.