Top 6 Sites for Drop Dead Gorgeous Free Images

So, you’ve just put together what you think will be an awesome blog post. But, there a few spots you’d like to see images. Because as we all know, images help move the reader through your post and connect your writing to the visual and get more readership.

Or, maybe you need an image for your YouTube/Vlog intro?

When it comes to images you do not want to just search Google Images for the first one that makes sense, crop it and drop it in. That could potentially wind you up in court, or, at least a DCMA take down request.

One way to avoid all that messy stuff  previously mentioned is to use royalty free images. What follows are my personal bookmarks to some of the better sites that allow you to use images royalty free for commercial and non-commercial work.

Pixabay

pixabayPixabay  – One of my favorites! Pixabay really set’s itself apart by offering over 730,000 high-quality photos, illustrations, and vector graphics for FREE. All the images on Pixabay are free for commercial use with no attribution required.

Unsplash

unsplash
Unsplash – Beautiful photos added daily. Download without an account. Definitely one site to check out regularly.

PicJumbo

picjumbo
PicJumbo – This one isn’t completely free. But there are many free photos. A membership with more premium collections available.

Morguefile

morguefile

Morguefile – One of the grand dads of royalty free photo sites. You can download and modify the images from Morguefile for free. If you use the image unaltered you must give credit to the photographer. Watch out for their site search the refers you off-site to continue your search on paid sites like iStock.

Free Images.com

freeimages-dot-com

Free Images – (Formerly SXC.hu) This was my original go to site for images for many years. And it’s still one I keep in rotation. You do have to create an account and there are some reasonable limits in the license that you might want to read over. Like, don’t use the image as part of a brand/company/product name.

Dreamstime

dreamstime

Dreamstime Free Images – This site has many free images in a free image collection which seems to be updated fairly regularly. Worth checking out if the sites on this list don’t work out.

What are your favorite sites for royalty free images for commercial use? Did I miss any? Let me know in the comments.

SEO is the Student Not the Master in Content Marketing

In the early years of Search Engine Optimization and Content Marketing you could get away with stuffing keywords on a page to “game” the search engines (Google, BING, Yahoo) and it worked. However, there were two downsides to this practice. One, it’s a technique that was eventually discouraged and finally, penalized by the search engines. Second, this technique flat out sucked for the visitor/reader. Anyone actually reading a “wall of repeating text” stuffed with keywords wasn’t going to hang around long and probably wouldn’t want to do business with you. These were the Dark Ages of Content Marketing when SEO was the master. Eventually, search engines got wise to what was going on and adjusted their algorithms.

Not everyone made changes and some flat out refused to adjust their tactics. This was certainly to the detriment of their lead generating activities. If you’ve read online for any amount of time or, you are trying to attract and engage with prospective customers online you’ve (hopefully) adjusted your strategy over the years.

In a recent post by Mark Schafer he says, “I made a decision at the beginning of my blogging career to write for readers and NOT write for SEO.” And this got us thinking.. is their some seismic shift in content marketing? Or, some new standard for writing for the web?

We aren’t in complete agreement that we should NOT write for SEO. Rather, we’ve thought that SEO should be moved from the role of a strict master to that of a student. In other words, when we write, write with SEO in mindnot strictly for SEO (like the old days) AND write for your visitor/customer.

If we take the approach of SEO as student in content marketing there are several benefits:

  1. We are mindful of changes that need to be made to content marketing and strategy due to changes by search engines
  2. We keep the needs of our prospective customers in mind as well.

Was SEO ever the master? Or, always the student? Let us know what you think in the comments.

Differentiate Your Real Estate Business with Real Estate Copywriting

Buying content can be tricky.

There is no question that Real Estate professionals are some of the most time pressed of any occupation.  What do you need to reach new clients and how can you differentiate from your competitors? How can you market effectively in a time efficient manner? We’ll explore some ideas around this topic including some risks of a popular $20/month platform and other approaches.

There is no question that interesting, engaging and unique copywriting is a tremendous benefit to your real estate business. When this content is posted on your blog, shared across social media and in email newsletters it can keep your clients and potential clients interested in you and near top of mind when needing to sell and/or buy a property.

What are your choices for real estate copywriting?

  1. Do nothing.
  2. Subscribe to a $20/month content service.
  3. Get your son, daughter, niece or nephew to write something for you.
  4. Write something yourself.
  5. Hire someone to write for you.

What are the benefits/risks of each option?

  1. If you do noting: We’ll you probably aren’t really serious about growing your business.
    Benefits: none
    Risk:
    Your competitors and potential clients may not see you as viable.
  2. If you subscribe to a $20/month content service: As a time pressed real estate agent you decide to subscribe to a $20/month service that supplies the same articles to each agent but, adds your profile picture and web site link to the side.
    Benefits: Quick, easy and inexpensive
    Risks: Big Google no -no,  as even Google has said
  3. Son, daughter, niece/nephew write for you: Sure, they might turn out some decent copy.
    Benefits: Low cost option. Maybe be produced quickly.
    Risks:
    Will they borrow from Wikipedia or,  worse yet.. another article and risk your professional reputation or, that of your website? Meeting a deadline might be an issue.
  4. Write something yourself: As busy as you are (or, would like to be) do you realistically have the capacity to write a monthly 300 – 400 word, original content piece that meets the needs of your current and prospective clients?
    Benefits:  If you are a writer, that’s great.
    Risks: Over time will you tire, miss a deadline or, quit all together?
  5. Let us write for you: We’ll leverage our combined experience to write content for you that connects with both buyers and sellers.
    Benefits: On time, original, appeals to buyers and/or sellers.
    Risks: Very little.

If you need a newspaper column, blog post, Active Rain bio or,  other thought piece we can supply you with whatever copy you need. Contact us about your next real estate copywriting project.