Monthly Archives: July 2016

The Best Free Stock Photography Sites

What do blog articles, websites, and social media posts all have in common?

They all require images (well, the engaging ones at least).

Any web designer or digital marketer will tell you that finding relevant, high quality images to use can be challenging. Not only are many stock images cheesy and outdated, but they also can be quite pricey. Luckily there’s an increasing amount of free stock photography websites popping up, and some of them are pretty awesome. Here’s a list of some free stock photo sites worth checking out:

Unsplash is my personal favorite. It features a huge collection of free high-resolution images, and none are tacky. Many of the photos on this website are landscapes and scenes, with 10 new photos added every 10 days. You can find what you’re looking for on Unsplash by checking out the different photo collections (top left), or by using the search bar at the top right.

Gratisography features free high-resolution images taken by Ryan McGuire of Bells Design. New photos are added each week, and all are free of copyright restrictions. There are many quirky images of people and animals on here that I don’t think I’ll ever be able to use, but the site also has some nice outdoor shots.

Splitshire is a collection of free stock photos taken by Daniel Nanescu, and is updated almost daily. This site features more photos of people and objects than nature.

New Old Stock consists of vintage photos from the public archives, and are free of known copyright restrictions. Most of the photos on New Old Stock have a description below of where the photo was taken, or what is happening in it.

PicJumbo offers free photos for commercial & personal works. New photos are added daily from a variety of categories including abstract, weddings, nature, food, technology and also seasonal categories like Christmas.

Life of Pix, created by Leeroy advertising agency in Montreal, offers free high-resolution photos with no copyright restrictions. New photos are added to the site weekly.

Negative Space posts 20 new free, high-resolution photos every Monday. You can search photos and sort them by category, colors and copy space position.

Superfamous Studios, the LA-based studio of Dutch interaction designer Folkert Gorter, allows you to use its photos as long as you provide credit. The site features many aerial and landscape shots.

IM Free is a curated collection of free web design resources, all for commercial use. Some collections include templates, business, people, sports, nature, transportation, cityscape and more.

Finally we’ve got Little Visuals, a site with some great photos (mostly landscapes). Sadly the owner of the site passed away in November 2013, and nothing has been added since. All photos that have been posted were released under the creative commons license public domain dedication.

Tagged , ,

6 Pinterest Marketing Mistakes I Keep Seeing

“I use Pinterest all the time for fun, so I’ll be great at managing it for my business, right?”

One of the most challenging types of clients to work with are those who think that because they regularly use social media to share photos of their dogs and get home décor ideas, they know what’s best for their business page. I mean sure, you’ve been re-pinning images of your dream kitchen and creating boards filled with healthy dinner recipes, but does that mean you know how to make your Pinterest profile SEO-friendly, or how to link to your website so you can track everything properly? I’ve learned from experience that the answer is often no.

I’ve spent years managing Pinterest accounts for brands in an array of industries, and have seen what an amazing platform it can be to showcase services or products, connect with consumers, and increase website traffic. However, I’ve come across many brands that are making mistakes that hurt their marketing instead of helping. Here are some of the most common Pinterest marketing mistakes I see:

Promoting only your brand

Remember, they call it social media for a reason.

I’ve seen Pinterest amateurs get so over-eager to create their business account and promote their products that they overlook the importance of sharing content from others as well. When building your following on Pinterest, it’s important to share content from other likeminded brands, make some friends, and then post about your brand. Look at this strategy as a marathon: it’s better to pace yourself and do well in the long run, than to sprint and burn out quickly.

I recommend an 80/20 ratio: 80% of your pins should be about sharing relevant, unbranded content, and about 20% should feature your brand and its products.

Giving boards bad names

Some users will follow all of your Pinterest boards, and some will only choose to follow certain ones. How you name your boards has a lot to do with how users select which ones to follow. Avoid these naming mistakes:

Vague, irrelevant names- i.e. Guest Posts, Random, IDK, Misc., <3, etc.

Overly long names- Just like really long email subject lines that get cut off, if a person can’t read the whole the board name without clicking into it, they may just move on.

Unsearchable names- Board names with hearts, symbols, or a space between every letter are not ideal. While these board names do not hurt your SEO, they definitely don’t help. If Google sees the name “Wedding Dresses,” it will understand what the board is about. However, it will not understand “<3 W e d d i n g D r e s s e s <3.”

Not filling out your entire Pinterest business profile

First, make sure your Pinterest account is a Business Account (not a personal account), and complete all areas of the profile.  Make sure you add a branded logo, write a detailed description in the (200 search-engine-optimizable character) “About” section, and add your website URL. Make sure you also take the steps to verify your website.

Not linking to the proper product pages

Product pins that don’t link back to a product page are missing out on an incredible marketing opportunity. If a Pinterest user is interested enough to click through to your website, make sure they are being taken to the correct product page. You can also take this a step further by creating custom URLs, so you can see exactly which pins are sending traffic to your site.

Not writing strong pin descriptions

Adding pins without a good description means that your pins are not going to show up in a Pinterest search, reducing your odds of getting clicks, likes and repins. It is also thought by search marketers that robust Pinterest descriptions may help with SEO.

If your pin features a product, write a description about exactly what the product is. Make sure to include the brand and name of the product.

Pinning small, dull, or poor quality images

On Pinterest you’re constantly competing with the other pins that fill the screen, so it’s important that your images stand out and make users want to click on them. Here are several best practices when it comes to images:

  • Choose images that are large, vibrant and attractive
  • Avoid images that are small or low quality (be careful with images taken on phones- they don’t always look so great enlarged)
  • When using an image you didn’t create yourself, make sure you obey copyright laws and give proper credit
Casey Kurlander, Search marketing Specialist, BMI Elite