Visuals are essential when it comes to online attention. It is important to understand though that you cannot use just any image that you Google online. So how do you find great images to add to your blog posts and social media posts? Thanks to thousands of stunning free stock photos for you to use in your websites and projects – many of them without attribution. Here are some great ways to find beautiful images for FREE!
Unsplash provides some of the most high-quality collections of photos online. There are over a million stunning photos from contributors all over the world that give access to royalty-free images with unlimited free downloads. Unsplash even has an iOS app, so that you can download pictures to your iPhone or iPad. There are also no ads on the site which makes it easier for viewing.
Pexels provides high quality and completely free stock photos licensed under the Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license. They have a large variety of images and videos. When you download an image from Pexels you can choose the size of the image and. This large stock photo site with have many ads for Shutterstock, iStock, and more.
Pixabay is one of the largest free stock photo sites online. One of the advantages Pixabay has is they offer free vectors and illustrations in addition to photos and videos. You can choose from various types of resolutions before you download your image. Pixabay also has many links to paid sites such as iStock and Shutterstock which can cause complications when viewing photos.
Kaboompics is one of the most popular sources of free images for lifestyle, interior design, and specialized bloggers. With their search engine, you can not only search by keywords but also choose the main color scheme of the image that you would like. The photos are layaed out nicely and edited to perfection.
For fun, quirky images check out Gratisography. They have a creative collection of free downloadable images with a fun and unusual spin to them. Their interesting images are great for social media posts and blog images when you want to capture attention. This website doesn’t have a large selection of photos but good for when you are looking for something different or “whimsical.”
Adobe Stock is an excellent source of images, vectors, videos, and more. This is a paid site however you can sign up for a free one month trial where you will receive 10 free images on their trial before charging. As a marketing or social media manager, this website is excellent for creating marketing materials and other designs. The high-quality vectors and illustrations are also available in .eps formats.
This is one of my hidden faves! The Ivory Mix photo library has a great selection of stock photos for bloggers. The owner creates and takes her own image to make beautiful layouts in all colors and styles. Ivory Mix has the option of a paid membership but you can also sign up for a free Ivory Mix account. This will give you access to over 500 free styled stock photos, weekly tips, and bonus monthly stock photos that are always on season for that given month.
While there is not a large selection on this website if you are looking for a historic black and white photo you can find them here. They are vintage photos from the public archives and are free of known copyright restrictions.
PicJumbo started this free stock photo site for bloggers and designers around the world. It is a great resource for free photos that provide a business stock photo feel and not just for trendy photos. Photos are high quality however watch out for the swarm of ads that are on the site. This is inevitable of most sites that provide free value and resources.
Starting as a collection of photos from photographers over the course of 10 years and now has a large collection and millions of downloads. Photos are great for websites, social media, and ebooks and separated into themes. The Huffington Post and CNN even use SplitShire for photos sometimes.
This stock site is packed with Foodie Friendly photos. It has highly visually appealing free food photos in high resolution that are great for websites, blogs, and social media. FoodiesFeed started with a single photographer who wanted to share his food photography for free and has now grown with many contributors sharing their food art photos to the site.
Not only is Canva a free tool to build gorgeous social media and marketing material, but there is also a section for free stock photos that can be inputted into your designs. Canva provides professional looking and easy to use templates for social media graphics, presentations, ebooks, videos, and more.
Looking for more great tools to help fast track your strategy? The Online Toolbox for Digital Marketing and much more is included in the Marketing Biz Bundle. An entire strategy template with all of the resources, checklists, and content planning calendars that you need to get started or build upon your current strategy.
Having the proper legal structure for your blog or website is extremely important to protect yourself and your audience. When you create a website or a blog there is a legal obligation to protect those who visit your site.
A website should have the followingconsidered:
Terms and Conditions – Terms and Conditions on your website serve as a legal contract between you and the users of your site. This relates to how users can use your website, refund/exchange policies or your intellectual property rights.
Disclaimers – This protects you from any liability from the information that you are providing, as well as if you are using affiliate links.
Why You Need To Be Careful With Free Standard Legal Templates
Some of the free legal website templates out there can be either out of date or have inaccurate information.
Legal Templates For Your Website
Do you want a done for you legal template package or individual templates that are lawyer approved? Lawyer appointments are expensive and can take a chunk out of your wallet when you are first starting your business.
Amira is a lawyer, blogger and business coach behind the Legal Bundle For Your Website. and has developed an amazing stack of legal templates to help you. What is great is that she is not only a lawyer, she works very closely in the online space.
I completely recommend her products and these templates will save you time, stress and money. Most importantly they are both accurate and up to date with all of the proper information included. Amira also provides great customer service after the sale.
Lisa A/K/A Elizabeth bought the Legal Bundle before she launched her first blog.
She says: “Amira is an awesome and interesting person who is very professional and personable. She is not only an actual lawyer but also a blogger. So when it came time to build my legal pages I went all out and bought her legal bundle templates for my blogs because I needed all three legal pages and it is the best deal. I couldn’t be happier. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, THEM.
It truly saved me hours upon hours of research and time trying to figure it out myself just to end up paying a lawyer for their time to look it over and make corrections. “
* This article probably contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission if you make a purchase, at no extra cost to you.
Time is one of the most valuable assets for most human beings. The concept of saving time sells and boy Amazon and Google sure hit the nail on the head when it comes to their smart speakers. Put on your favourite music, order those items you need, make phone calls, control other devices in your home or call your next Uber ride with one easy voice command.
Going into 2018 there is no denying the power of voice activated technology as it becomes imbred into our daily lives. It is likely we will soon be living in a world where a persons day is mapped out for them before they even get out of bed.
When it comes to smart speakers there is a currently a couple of models dominating the industry.
Everyone wants to know should I go with the Google Home or Amazon Echo? Here is a little more about the two big contenders:
How does Amazon Alexa work? The Amazon Echo will tell you what the weather is, set your alarms, add items to your grocery list and read your kindle books as you get yourself ready in the morning. Although the speaker takes your voice commands through its intelligent assistant “Alexa”, the name can be changed to “Amazon”, “Echo” or “Computer.” The Echo became available to users in the United States June 23, 2015 and September 28, 2016 in the United Kingdom.
Amazon Echos Specifications:
Weight – 29.0 oz. (821 grams)
Size – 5.8” x 3.4” x 3.4” (148 mm x 88 mm x 88 mm)
The Google Home Smart Speaker was first released in the United States in November 2016 and in the United Kingdom in April 2017. It works much the same as the Echo using Google Assistant as its intelligent personal assistant to relay your voice commands. The Google Home works with features in your home, on your smartphone and other third party apps that may be connected to the device.
The Google Home responds to your voice commands by “Hey Google”
Google Home Specifications:
Weight – 1.05 oz
Size – 9.19 x 3.79 x 5.62 Inches
Colour – white and silver, however you can purchase separately base colours: coral (fabric) or copper and carbon (metal)
Google Home Features
Google Assistant offers two voice options – male and female
Top surface is colour changing
base of the device is removable to interchange colours
mute button at back to disable features
The Google Home requires a Wifi connection, Google Account and the Google Home app on your smartphone or tablet.
Have you ever looked at those accounts and think how in the f@$* did you get 20K followers so fast? Or maybe you spent a ton of time looking for and crafting the perfect post, only to gain a few likes….Hmm what can you do now?
Your hard work should not go unnoticed.
There is a technique that many users use to gain engagement and followers and help their posts go viral. It is Instagram Pods my friend…
This is a widely used process that works great if done effectively and with the right “Pod.”
In June of 2016 you may remember Instagram laid out their new algorithm which actually displays more popular posts above others much like Facebook. Previously Instagram displayed their posts in a chronological order. This is why engagement is now more important than ever when it comes to Instagram. In March 2017 they posted the following: “To improve your experience, your feed will soon be ordered to show the moments we believe you will care about the most.”
There is no telling exactly when Instagram Pods came into play, but it is most likely a result of the new non-chronological algorithm. You may have heard the saying “Beat the algorithm and join an Insta Pod!”
In order to get on that popular Explore page your posts need to have organic engagement. The posts that are shown on each users Explore Page are unique to the content that Instagram feels this person would most likely want to see based on past engagement and accounts they are currently following.
What are Instagram Pods?
It is essentially a team of people working together to grow their Instagram accounts organically. When referring to organically we mean that they are growing their account with real people, real likes and real followers. This team may consist of around 10 or more people who are in the same niche and can relate to each others content. They follow, comment and like each others posts to give everyone in the group more engagement on their account. Communication between members is typically run through private message and when someone has a new post they will send it in a private message to all pod members.
In a collaborative effort everyone works together to like and comment on all new posts and maybe even repost content. If everyone engages it is a great opportunity for even more engagement because their is a “follower effect” on social media which results in more comments once there are already a thread of conversations around a post. Typically when you are part of an Instagram pod there are specific rules to follow such as
Follow everyone else within the Insta pod. This is kind of a given that you would follow all members of your pod so that you can stay fresh with their content.
Meet daily/weekly requirements – Each group may have a weekly requirement that means everyone in the group much comment on at least 10 or 20 other posts to . This is only fair as its give and take and everyone should be pulling their weight. However before making the commitment to join if it is a group that requires more engagement than you were hoping for consider it hard before joining, or you might get turfed once you cannot keep up with the engagement requirements.
Words per comment – one or two worded comments such as “awesome” typically do not do much for a post to keep the conversation going. This is why open ended comments that either leave a question or provide a helpful tip are more likely to get people talking and are the reason that these tight knit groups have the success that they do.
Do Instagram Pods Provide Results?
It is important to note that in addition to your Insta Pod you need to be generating new and fresh content regularly to keep your followers engaged. If you don’t have new content then you can’t get new engagement and you can’t gain new followers. Posting at least daily but no more than 3 times a day is ideal.
How Can You Join An Instagram Pod?
There are basically three ways to be part of an Instapod – 1. Get invited 2. Ask to join 3. Create your own.
The most common place to collaborate with other Instagrammers is in Facebook group specially for InstaPods.
You may also notice certain accounts liking each others posts a lot. If you are looking to join you can get started by sending out some friendly DMs or emails to similar sized accounts in your niche.
Start by searching for relevant hashtags to your target market. Introduce yourself and ask if they want to collaborate. Team up to support one another and help each other grow. Exchange strategies or do a share for share are just a few options of what you can do.
How To Know If An Instagram Pod Is Right For You?
Just like any online group it is important that you are with a group that is the right fit. Just because you have been approved to join something doesn’t mean it is necessarily right for you. When joining an Instagram pod it is important that you choose a group that is bringing in quality traffic for you that ultimately converts to sales and long term followers. An audience of 40K is great for your ego but if they aren’t going to buy from you then its all for show..
Before joining forces with other Instagrammers ask the following questions:
Are they posting consistently?
Are they attracting a like minded audience? Would their audience also want to buy from you?
Do you know anything about the industry they are posting in and is it relatable to you? You will likely need to engage with their brands and provide value so you have to know how to engage with their brand.
Working with companies that “mesh”
If you are a local business or managing an account for them, then you obviously want to work with other local businesses. For example a Realtor may join forces with an interior designer, a local plumbing company and a mortgage broker. These are all businesses who are attracting homeowners or potential homeowners in the location that you are targeting. An e-commerce business who specializing in selling custom T-shirt graphics may join forces with a web design company and a social media marketing company to
How to set up an Instagram Pod
Setting up your own pod is a great way to be in control of your “Instagram community.” Why not jump the gun and invite those that you feel would be a great fit?
Having said that, you will need to choose your group members wisely and realistically. Since we already touched on choosing the right audience for your Instagram pod, it is also important to choose a realistic audience If you are under 1000 followers and you are only messaging accounts with 50K+ followers you might be a little out of your league. Why not try to hit some other accounts in the same boats as you. Those that you feel would mesh with you, are active online and are still growing their accounts.
Here are the steps you will want to take when setting up your own Instagram Pod:
1.Choose 5-8 like-minded Instagrammers
Choose Instagrammers who:
Post about the same topics as you
Share a similar follow count as you
Pro Tip: Check out the Facebook group “The Gram Gang.” Once you’re accepted, you can find many Instagrammers looking to join a Pod.
2. Message each member privately
Send a direct message to each possible Instagram Pod member.
You may want to use this template
I’m looking for a a group of like minded entrepreneurs to help and support one another on Instagram. As you may know Instagram algorithm currently ranks those posts with higher engagement above others. A great way to beat this algorithm is to join an Instagram Pod that allows us to help each other by commenting and liking each others posts.
I believe that your business and the content that you produce would be a great fit for my Instagram Pod. Would you be interested in joining our group of creative entrepreneurs? Please let me know!
I look forward to hearing from you!
3. Create a Name and Place To Collaborate.
Create a name for your group and place to message each other when new posts are available.
4. Inform Everyone Of the Rules Of The Group
Once your rules are established you should let the entire group know by sending them a message:
Welcome [TITLE] Instagram Pod!
Thank you for joining this Pod ad I look forward to growing everyones accounts and building each others businesses up here on Instagram.
Here are the guidelines of this group:
Once You have posted a new post please notify the group and everyone in the group will engage.
Everyone must like and comment on each member’s post after they have notified the group. Please try to engage within 24 hours at the most.
Comments must be more ______ words long to boost engagement.
Comments should be genuine and unique to every post. No online liners please such as, “Wow very cool!
Please let me know if you have any questions. I look forward to seeing everyones content and working with you all!
5. Follow Up With Your Pod Members
Instagram really frowns upon InstaPods or anyone trying to beat their system that is not genuine so therefore it is not best to collaborate within Instagram. I would use a Facebook Group or a private email chain that you can exchange information, questions and rules etc. Keeping track of the accounts when they first started and everyones numbers months after the group has started is also a great way to showcase your wins!.
You now have a new group in process and you are on your way to getting great results.
What To Watch For When It Comes To Instagram Pods
-Sometimes after a while commenters start to get lazy and leave shorter comments or disingenuous ones
-If you can try to work with a few Instagram Pods then you won’t have the same 10 commenters on all your posts. Your followers will eventually begin to see what is happening.
-When there are excessive comments but only 50 likes it will look skewed.
So there you have it….
You don’t need to spend a ton of time on Instagram to get great results. When it comes to Instagram, more time on the platform does not necessarily mean greater results…it boils down to great strategies, because you are busy.
All in all collaborating online with likeminded entrepreneurs and building each other up is really what it is all about and we are so lucky that we have the entire world to communicate with on Instagram. By increasing exposure of your account and getting yourself out there you can eventually create engagement without using Instagram pods.
Hey there I’m Annelise. I am a digital guru and lover of all things social! I work with businesses and other social managers to create strategies that convert online. I also provide resources and templates for those who want guidance with their marketing strategy. At the end of the day I am passionate about connecting with more than just accounts – but people!