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Free -and Legal- Images for Your Blog

Creative Commons Attribution Levels

from http://www.flickr.com/creativecommons/

For basic tips on using images online, please see our blog, Image Basics for Bloggers, from last week.

What is Creative Commons?

In the past, buying photography was expensive and complicated. Royalties needed to be paid and photos were limited to many restrictions on how they could be used. Then along came Creative Commons in 2001, and everything changed. This non-profit corporation started with a cooperative effort between MIT and Harvard Law professors (among others) who realized that the digital revolution altered many past concepts on copyright theory. The ability to work collaboratively, globally, decentralized and create derivative works and collections that were low to no cost were all issues that were eased with the creation of Creative Commons licensing. Click on the following link for more information on Creative Commons licensing.

How do I use a Creative Commons image?

Things are much easier today in the world of social media and inbound marketing. How do you know if it’s legal and IF you’re placing it correctly?

  • Be sure the image you choose and the way you are using it, applies under the Creative Commons license category shown to the right.
  • Credit the photographer (a.k.a. attribution)
    • If saving the photo, add the contributors’ name into the file name of the image (when downloading or taking a screen shot).  example: pen_ParkerDuofoldNib_JanosFeher_Flickr.jpg
    • If using a link, HTML or BBCode, review the code to be sure the contributor’s name is included.
  • Link back to them when you can.

How do I find Creative Commons images?

Google Creative Commons

From Google Image interface

What do you need to do to add photos into your blog or website with little to no cost, legally? Here are a few suggestions.

Google Images offers an “Advanced Image Search” (found just to the right of the standard Google Image search button) that allows you to use images “labeled for commercial use” only. Just click on the blue link and a window similar to this Google image  appears. In a search for ‘pens’ you enter the word in the top field and make sure the “labeled for commercial use” is chosen in the field second from the bottom. Membership is not required. Attribution is required.

Flickr image options

from Flickr

Flickr has a nice interface for Creative Commons. You choose the level that works for you depending on if you blog to earn money or just for fun. To use an image in Flickr, you click on the bar above the image, as shown in this Flickr image, and grab the Link or HTML/BBCode. The problem with this is that the image is not physically loaded into your site, it’s called ‘hot-linked’ and means it is ‘linked’ to your site through the Internet and does not sit on your directly-accessible servers. Test it to see if your page takes too long to load. Membership is required. Attribution is required.

New, Wylio.com for Creative Commons Images

With all that said, THIS ONE GETS MY VOTE… Wylio.com!

Wylio.com

Wylio.com search for pens

Wylio is a slick, new image search engine that only searches for images offered under the Creative Common’s license. Users can be sure that all images offered are free for use. It’s a simple 3-step process: Search for an image, Resize and Position, and Copy and Paste the Code. Bloggers can easily grab the code to place in their blog posts, or for the low cost of $2.99 per month they can buy the premium version of Wylio.com and download the files.

Here’s the best part. Wylio inserts the photographer’s attribution into the code for you, no asking for permission, no wondering if you’re ‘covered’. Grab it and you’re done! With that said, I am testing this ‘hot-linking method’ today for download speeds and performance. Let me know, in the comments section below, if the pen image gives you any trouble. It is a ‘live’ test from Wylio.com.

Join the conversation on Twitter. How do you use images? Have you worried about your images?
Ballpoint Pensphoto © 2009 Jana Lehmann | more info (via: Wylio)

Social Energizer’s purpose is to help companies develop lasting relationships with their customers and increase their conversion rates by adding proven online marketing techniques to their marketing mix.

We do this by integrating inbound marketing techniques into each business’ current marketing plan and by utilizing digital channels and strategies like Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Search Engine Optimization, and Web-integrated Email Campaigns.

Still need some help? Give us a call!


SEO Basics: Get the Most from Keywords

Keyword DirectionWhy do you need Keywords? They lay the foundation for Search Engine Optimization  (SEO). And SEO is how you get visitors to your site. It lets people know you exist. Keywords are used by search engines to find a product or service like yours and match it to the customer looking for that.

Close your eyes. Step into your customer’s shoes. Think. If someone were looking for the product or service that you offer, what words would they type? Write down your top ten words that you think they would use. Then write down the top ten phrases that they might use. That’s it. You have the foundation of your brand’s keywords.

As you develop your SEO, stick to these keywords at least until the page becomes ‘found’ or indexed.  Use the keywords within your blog articles and web content.

Here are a few quick tips on how to make the most of your keywords for SEO.

 

  1. Keyword use
    Be sure to use keywords in the page title, headings, anchor text, alt text and body copy as often as possible.
  2. Place keywords strategically
    The optimal number of keywords is 1-5 keywords per page. Place keywords in your body and bold some of them, preferably in the first sentence or two.
  3. Title
    The title of each page should be unique, use keywords and be 70 characters or less. Avoid using symbols because search engine crawlers may not like them.
  4. Meta tags and descriptions
    You have the ability to add Meta information; this is behind the scenes and may not be noticeable to readers but it is what search engines search for. Make sure you add Meta titles, keywords and descriptions that focus on the keywords used for each page (i.e. sometimes it can be the bigger idea).
  5. Internal Linking
    Link back to blogs or places within your site that reinforce your topic and its keywords. Using yourself and your content as a resource builds your internal links and provides better SEO.

There are many more ways to make your Keywords work for your SEO. This should get you started. If you’d like to learn more, let me know.

Social Energizer’s purpose is to help companies develop lasting relationships with their customers and increase their conversion rates by adding proven online marketing techniques to their marketing mix.

We do this by integrating inbound marketing techniques into each business’s current marketing plan and by utilizing digital channels and strategies like Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Search Engine Optimization, and Web-integrated Email Campaigns.

We invite you to comment and rate each blog, so we can ever improve our offerings to you.

How to Use Facebook as a Meeting Platform and Intranet

Have you ever been asked to create a large-scale sales campaign, but NOT given the budget for delivering it into everyone’s hands?

Or maybe, you own a small business and you wish there was a way to pool knowledge among other small business owners who share issues similar to yours.

Check out Facebook Groups

It is an often-overlooked tool, which businesses can readily use to bridge the gap in communicating between various audiences in many ways. It can provide an efficient, affordable and interactive means of content distribution. No more USB drives or CDs to deliver to your business’ many locations to kick off a training or launch your net sales campaign.Facebook Group Help page

Simply open a group from your personal profile. Set your visibility to “secret or closed.” Invite your members and get down to business. That’s all there is to it, and it’s FREE.

What types of things could you discuss? Well, certainly not salaries. Everyone knows that’s taboo, right? But here are a few useful ideas that almost anyone could benefit from:

  • Trends in your industry
  • Tips and tricks of the trade
  • Tutorials
  • Events that relate to specific positions and interests
  • Templates for thank you letters, apology letters, etc.
  • Common industry information
  • Who’s who in the industry
  • Lead-sharing
  • Electronic tools, like calculators that show break-even, etc.
  • Relevant fun facts and other tidbits that can warm up the coldest lead

Why not give it a try? It’s free, scalable and allows you to control whomever is invited. Content can quickly and easily be removed. And Facebook Groups allows participants to interact without the epense of meeting at a specific destination.

What do you think? Could this be the location of your annual meeting this year? Or maybe it just organizes the details for that meeting. How could using Facebook groups help your business?

Let me know if this was helpful, I’d love to hear from you.

CALL US FOR YOUR INBOUND MARKETING & MARKETING TECHNOLOGY OPTIMIZATION NEEDS!

Social Energizer’s purpose is to help companies develop lasting relationships with their customers and increase their conversion rates by adding proven online marketing techniques to their marketing mi.

We do this by integrating inbound marketing techniques into each businesses’ current marketing plan and by utilizing digital channels and strategies like Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Search Engine Optimization, and Web-integrated Email Campaigns.

We invite you to comment and rate each blog, so we can ever improve our offerings to you.

 

TGIF Friday Freebie The iPhone iPad Touch and more

Hello everyone, I usually don’t post on Fridays, but I came across this cute story and I couldn’t resist. It doesn’t exactly fit into the Social Energizer social media plan, so I decided to make another category – TGIF Friday Freebies. A place for the real light stuff. Everyone needs ‘light’ by Friday.

I’m not able to cite the author on this, so let’s just say it’s from ‘Author Unknown’. It’s probably better that way.

It all began with an iPhone…

 

March was when my son celebrated his 15th birthday and I got him an iPhone.

Apple iPod

He just loved it. Who wouldn’t?

 

I celebrated my birthday in July and my wife made me

very happy when she bought me an iPad.

Apple iPad

 

My daughter’s birthday was in August so I got her an iPod Touch.

Apple iPod Touch

 

September came by so for my wife’s birthday I bought her an iRon.

iRon

 

It was around then that the fight started . . .

 

What my wife failed to recognize is that the iRon can be integrated into the home network with the iWash, iCook and iClean. This unfortunately activated the iNag app.

 

Which led me to the iHospital and iGet out Fr iDay.

_________________________________________

This article has been brought to you by SocialEnergizer.com

INBOUND MARKETING & MARKETING TECHNOLOGY OPTIMIZATION

Social Energizer’s purpose is to help companies develop lasting relationships with their customers and increase their conversion rates by adding proven online marketing techniques to their marketing mix.

We do this by integrating inbound marketing techniques into each businesses’ current marketing plan and by utilizing digital channels and strategies like Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Search Engine Optimization, and Web-integrated Email Campaigns.

Please sign up to automatically receive our blog using the subscribe button. We invite you to comment and rate each blog, so we can ever improve our offerings to you.

Thanks for visiting! – Lynn

Chris Brogans- What is the Focus and Purpose of Your Blog

I was digging through some of my archives and came across this article from Chris Brogan, one of my favorite thought leaders in the social media arena. It is about the focus and purpose of your blog.

Chris starts by suggesting that you, “Ask yourself that question: what is the focus and the purpose of my blog? Is the purpose of your blog easy to define? What are you aiming towards accomplishing with it? How are you testing whether or not you’re reaching your desired effect?”

Next, he tells the story of his blog history and brings you up to date.Chris Brogan

“When I started my blog many years ago (it skittered across several domains before I landed in “real” blog software), it was for fiction. I wrote stories. Then, I wrote about fitness and nutrition. Then, I wrote about self-improvement. Then, I wrote about new media. I went from that into writing about social networks and social media, and then eventually, I moved into how businesses could use social media to improve.

What am I writing about these days? Human business. It’s essentially the idea that relationships and human-shaped experiences serve business much better than cold marketing and afterthought customer service.”

Human business, now that’s an idea that can catch on. At Social Energizer, our philosophy is based on this same principle. Finally, Chris helps you define what it is that you need to do.

“Your blog is a media property. It’s also a tool that allows you to build relationships (should that be of interest), to notify and inform (if you like telling the news), to reflect and react (if you like being a commentator), to report (if that’s something you enjoy doing), or a tool to educate, instruct, or establish thought leadership. It can be a call to action, a lead generator, a showcase for your talents, and many other things.

But your community (or your audience, if you’re not as close to them) is there with an expectation. They are seeking whatever it is you’ve been offering along the way. They want your best, and they want your material to enlighten, entertain, inform, inspire, or any of several other functions.”

One thing Chris doesn’t mention in his article is SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Sometimes gaining better SEO can be the main purpose for writing a blog. Consistently changing content on your website will affect your search rankings with the major search engines like Google, Yahoo! And Bing. Initially, I think small business owners care more that customers find their websites, then that they are ‘engaging’ with them. It’s sort of the chicken and the egg thing.

What is the focus and purpose of your blog? If you need help defining it and applying it? Give Social Energizer a call. Our focus is on small businesses. Our purpose is to help integrate inbound marketing techniques into our clients’ current marketing plans.

Online FREE, the new Tchochtke

Dog vs Man Danceoff

To view video, click on link below

Henry Ford once said, “The man who will use his skill and constructive imagination to see how much he can give for a dollar, instead of how little he can give for a dollar, is bound to succeed.” In today’s inbound marketing terms, this could be the new Holy Grail. Business owners successful at providing the right balance of online FREE content and services are most likely to entice and solidify their customers. This strategy is called a pull strategy and means you are pulling customers, not pushing them to buy your product or service.

Yes, I said FREE content and services. Free, as in no cost. Zip, Zilch, Nada, No dinaro. You all know where I’m going with this, don’t you? Here’s my short list:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Linked In
  • Google
  • Yahoo
  • YouTube
  • WordPress.com
  • Yelp
  • Webinars
  • e-books
  • surveys
  • data charts
  • content (blogs)
  • Farmville
  • Mafia Wars

You get the idea. In 2011 terms, they’re the new tchotchke.

We spend countless hours online; checking this, reading that, playing those favorite free games and watching dog-vs-man-danceoff.htm.

It’s easy to understand why WE do this, but why are THEY, a.k.a. businesses, doing it? Why is this happening? Why would businesses give it all away for free?

It’s all in the Pull Strategy

As businesses move from Old School marketing methods like advertising to Inbound Marketing there is a change from push to pull. Instead of pushing a message, social media can pull customers to your business. The heart of this new successful strategy focuses on understanding the behaviors of today’s consumer. The online world is being developed as a “warm and fuzzy” place where businesses offer free advice, content, services, and games; and come together in a sense of community. It is where people go first for consumer information, and increasingly where they make a purchase, and begin to advocate for a product, service, business, or brand they like.

This pull strategy proves to be much more effective than the traditional push approach. Why? Because who doesn’t like free stuff?

How about you? You can continue to receive this blog FREE by clicking on ‘By Email’ in the top right corner of this page and subscribing to the Social Energizer blog. Feedburner will have you decode a scrambled word and then click on a link they send to your email. That’s all there is to it.