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Stock photos; finding royalty free images

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We get questions about stock photos from our clients quite often. When it comes to photos for your website – especially content marketing, blogging and social media – you need that extra visual punch. But stock photo services are expensive for start-ups and small businesses. I regularly advise my customers to use free stock photo websites to keep these costs down, whenever possible.

But turning to Google Image Search for photos won’t cut it. The search engine doesn’t allow you to view user agreements and can trip you up if you go this route. Copyright and license infringement is no joke and can bring hefty fines.

You might think, “It’s just a photo!” However, digital products are big business today. Photo supplier, Getty Images has, “an archive of 80 million still images and illustrations” according to Wikipedia and they are known for their feverish pursuit to enforce their licenses. To avoid legal headaches, here are some simple steps to ensure your business is protected.

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Reputation Management vs. Credibility Monitoring — What’s the Difference?

You’ve probably heard of reputation management or monitoring. Many online companies offer these somewhat questionable services to help individuals and brands repair their good name online. From bad reviews to social media trolls, keeping your brand’s credibility clean can become time consuming.

Wikipedia breaks down the practice like this:

“Reputation management refers to influencing and controlling an individual’s or business’s reputation. Originally a public relations term, the expansion of the internet and social media, along with reputation management companies, have made it primarily an issue of search results.”

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Why Web Content Matters

There’s more to a website than just design. For a website to be a successful marketing tool to business owners, it needs to go beyond the placeholder status. You need content. Valuable web content.

Let’s look at your site from another perspective; every visitor seeks out a website with a question in mind. Maybe they’re looking for location or contact information. Your visitor could be looking for details about a product or service and want to verify that you can get the job done for them. Or, they could be looking for an expert. We call them web authorities, offering tips, guides and vast amounts of knowledge that keep readers engaged and visiting your site over and over. If you don’t have incredible web content, you may lose traffic and potential sales.

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Is a Multi-language Website for You? Why or Why not?

Of course, the question to have a multi-language website depends upon a few key decisions. Stop to consider the community of people attracted to or interested in your services, products or goals. Do they all speak English? Do they only speak another language? Perhaps their first language is Spanish and they speak some English.

For the sake of discussion, let’s say that portions of your audience fit into each of these situations and call them your multi-language audience. Before discussing how you might accommodate them, look at your resources. Do you have full-time, multi-lingual staff? Are there English speakers and those that speak French? If your staff reflects your multi-language audience, that’s great!

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Where to start building your website?

Have you ever been faced with composing a work document, only to hit writer’s block before you begin? Big projects can be hard to start and creating a website is no different. Many of the “big brands” make owning a website appear effortless, but there is a bit of planning that goes into web design – even simple business websites.

When considering how to create a successful website for your small business, we break down the essential “must have” list for starting a successful website.

The Essential “Must-Haves” of a Successful Website

    • Plan your approach. It’s a good idea to write down all the things you want your website to do. Do you want to sell products? You may need an eCommerce site. Do you want to create a community gathering place for your customers to communicate? You may want to get a message board or forum up and running on your page. This isn’t just good planning, many website builders have limitations as do some web hosts. Knowing what elements your business website needs before purchasing hosting or design packages can save you money down the line.

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