Posts Tagged ‘Business Blogging’

12 of the Best Guides and Sources for Free Stock Images

Monday, March 30th, 2015

At the core of any successful blog is valuable content—helping readers solve a problem, increase their knowledge, work more effectively. But text alone isn’t enough; to really make a blog stand out, it needs to include compelling images as well.

As noted on the CyberChimps blog, “a picture is worth a thousand words. But a 1000-word blog post with a great picture to go with it? That’s worth gold.”

Best free and low-cost image sources

Image credit: Buffer

Interesting visuals add value beyond blog posts as well, of course: they’re useful in presentations, videos, e-books, and other types of content at the core of an effective web presence optimization strategy.

While there is no shortage of “free’ image sources on the web, not all are worth your time. Some are difficult to use, have very limited or poor-quality selections, or include “fine print” that limits what you can actually do with their images.

To help you be efficient and find great collections of free or low-cost images, here are links to six excellent image sources along with guides to and reviews of dozens more free image sites.

Reviews of Free Image Sites

20 Sites to Get Free Stock Images for Commercial Use by Social Media Today

Giancarlo MassaroFinding free, high-quality images for commercial use can be a pain, but in this post Giancarlo Massaro has “done the dirty work for you and compiled this resource of 20 different sites so you can get free stock images that fall under the Creative Commons Zero license or similar; meaning you can copy, modify, and use any photo you find, even for commercial purposes, without having to ask permission or provide attribution.” His recommendations include Realistic Shots, Free Nature Stock and Kaboompics.

20 Awesome Websites for Free, High Quality Stock Photos by To Make A Website

Matt Clark presents his list of “some of the better stock photo sites” he’s come across, which are also “completely free.” Among his favorites are several popular free images sites as well as lesser-known options like Picjumbo, Pexels, and Getrefe, a “tumblr blog that has free photos for personal or commercial purposes.”

53+ Free Image Sources For Your Blog and Social Media Posts by Buffer Social

Courtney SeiterCourtney Seiter helpfully reviews more than 50 sources for free blog images, from Buffer’s own Pablo tool to some of the popular tools mentioned below to unique sources like Dreamstime, IM Free, Public Domain Pictures, BigFoto and Foter.

14 Sites for Free Stock Photos by Practical Ecommerce

Sig UlelandSig Ueland shares “a list of resources to find free stock photos for commercial use. There are stock photo search engines, huge image collections from stock photography sites, smaller curated collections from design sites, and some additional sources for free high quality photographs” including some interesting lesser-known sites like RGBStock and New Old Stock  (which “features vintage photos from the public archive, free of known copyright restrictions”).

How to Find Free Images With Google’s Advanced Image Search by Search Engine Watch

Matt MorganNoting that images “capture the attention of many more readers by giving your words a boost with a little visual appeal,” Matt Morgan provides step-by-step instructions for how to find and verify the status of freely usable images on Google, to avoid threatening or demanding letters from commercial image sources.

By Request – Good Alternatives to Google Image Search by Free Technology for Teachers

Richard ByrneRichard Byrne responds to a teacher frustrated by “students are getting when they search on Google Images” with details of eight free-image alternatives, including the Morgue File, (“a search engine for public domain and Creative Commons licensed pictures. When you search on Every Stock Photo it pulls images from dozens of sources across the web”), and Wikimedia Commons.

Getty’s New Free Stock Photos Come With a Price by HubSpot

Ginny SoskeyPremium photography provider Getty Images got lots of attention last spring when they announced they were offering free images. But, Ginny Soskey cautions, read the fine print: you generally can’t use the images for any type of “commercial” purpose (defined quite broadly), and Getty’s plans for monetization are unclear: “They can make money through this…because the code is an iframe. An iframe is a type of code that takes a piece of content that lives on another website and puts it on your site, and the site that hosts the code has complete control over what displays on your site.”

Other Sources for Free Images



Pixel Perfect Digital

This was post #4 of Blogging for Business Week 2015 (#b4bweek) on Webbiquity.

#1: Welcome to Blogging for Business Week!

#2: 13 Great Guides to Growing Your Blog Audience

#3: Five Expert Guides to the Best Blogging Tools


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Five Expert Guides to the Best Blogging Tools

Thursday, March 26th, 2015

Blogging, like any other task, is faster and easier with the right tools. But while there’s no shortage of online tools, plugins, and browser extensions available—for every purpose from generating post topic ideas to speeding up page load time—not all of them are worth spending much time investigating, let alone using on a regular basis.

Best Business Blogging Tools

Image credit: Twelveskip

What the best blogging tools based on your objectives and level of expertise? Which tools are the favorites of top blogging pros? What are the best tools for increasing your blogging productivity? Sharing your content socially? Building your opt-in email list?

Find these answers and more here in a handful of the best blogging tool reviews and roundups of the past year.

The Step by Step Guide to Generating Hundreds of Blog Post Ideas by Digital Rhinos

Adrian CordinerHow can you come up with creative and effective new blog post ideas when “you’ve got timelines to adhere to, targets to hit and people within your company counting on you to keep pumping out high-quality content that appeals to your personas and gets noticed”? Adrian Cordiner demonstrates how to use 18 useful post topic / content asset idea-generating tools, such as BuzzSumo, which will “will spit out the most popularly shared articles (amongst other content types such as infographics) over any time in the last year.”

63 Blogging Tools That Will Make You Insanely Productive by Boost Blog Traffic

Marsha StopaMarsha Stopa understands you don’t “need another post on all the cool tools (you) don’t have time to use,” so she has very helpfully categorized the tools here as ideal for the minimalist blogger (“You’re willing to dip your toe in the water, [but]you don’t need the fancy tools…[for you] a blog is a side project that you can give no more than 10 hours per week, if that”), the serious and committed blogger, and the entrepreneur blogger. Just check out the tools most appropriate for your level.

26 Awesome Blogging Tools Used By The Pros by Twelveskip

Pauline CabreraPauline Cabrera shares advice on the best tools from eight top blogging pros, including Ian Cleary (“I love Optinmonster. It’s a popup that is only displayed when a user is exiting the site. As soon as the user moves their mouse outside of the main window it’s likely they are planning to exit so this pops up”), Daniel Sharkov, Mike Allton, and Aaron Lee (one of his favorites is Flipboard: “What not many people know is you can actually load twitter lists into onto Flipboard to manage your twitter stream”).

52 Essential Tools And Resources For Bloggers by Blogging Wizard
***** 5 STARS

Adam-ConnellAdam Connell compiles “a detailed list of all of the resources and tools that (he relies) on day in, day out,” from planning and research (tools like SEMrush and UberSuggest) to various sources for WordPress themes through SEO tools, email list-building tools (e.g., GetResponse), productivity tools (like Dropbox) and various WordPress plugins.

How-to: Report Stolen Content That Ranks Higher Than The Original by Twelveskip

You work hard to write compelling, original blog content. Then another site brazenly steals it, reposting your sparkling prose word for word. Worse, they outrank you. It’s infuriating. Pauline Cabrera (again) explains how to fight back using Google’s scraper report form: “Through this form, content creators who have any complaint against a scraper website that outranks you can now ask Google’s help to correct the situation.”

This was post #3 of Blogging for Business Week 2015 (#b4bweek) on Webbiquity.

#1: Welcome to Blogging for Business Week!

#2: 13 Great Guides to Growing Your Blog Audience



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13 Great Guides to Growing Your Blog Audience

Wednesday, March 25th, 2015

You’ve put extensive effort into your business blog design, content strategy, research, and execution. Now—how you attract and retain a large audience?

The short answer is to write great content and then promote it effectively. Simple—but not easy.

How to grow your blog audience

Image credit: GreenPal

The longer answer(s) are presented below. Why isn’t your blog attracting a higher level of traffic? How often should you post? How can you generate more organic search traffic? Email? Social media? Industry influencers?

Find guidance on those topics and more here in a baker’s dozen of the best guides to growing your blog audience from the past year or so.

Business Blogging: Five Reasons You Have No Readers by Spin Sucks

Eleanor PierceGot a well-written business blog, but a shortage of readers? Guest author Eleanor Pierce shares “a few ideas … some possibilities you may want to investigate” to address the issue, such as “You haven’t developed a point-of-view…it’s simple advice. As Oscar Wilde said, ‘Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.’ But it also means you have to put some work into developing your own niche, your own point-of-view, and your own voice. Don’t think corporate blogs are immune from this advice. You still need to have a perspective.”

105 Tips To Make Your Blog Rock by

Jeff BullasJeff Bullas shows you how to find your audience, help your audience find you, craft enticing headlines, “secrets” on how to use social media to spread your content, how to become a thought leader in your field and more in these 100+ helpful tips and tactics. Among them: “In the meta tags for your photos, make sure the labels/words are what you want them to be – search engines can’t “read” photos, only the labels/meta tags.”

Survey of 1000+ Bloggers: How to Be in the Top 5% by Orbit Media Studios

Andy CrestodinaAndy Crestodina reports on findings from the Department of Blogger Labor Survey, which asked 11 questions of more than 1,000 bloggers. Among the results: 37% of bloggers spend, on average, 1-2 hours writing each post. But nearly half—46%—spend on average 2 hours or more. 5% of bloggers spend more than 6 hours, on average, on each post they write. Half write during business hours. And while less than 5% publish daily or more than once per day, 28% publish multiple posts each week.

10 Tactics to Improve Blog Readership by Xpressly

Ruth ZiveRuth Zive showcases an infographic with tips on how to “engage your audience, build your credibility, enhance your search ranking and drive meaningful business results” with a business blog, such as mentioning, quoting and referencing industry influencers, “but not the big ones; go after mid-level and niche influencers” as they are more likely to notice, appreciate, and amplify your efforts.

29 Free Ways to Promote Your Business Blog by Zude PR Blog

David SawyerDavid Sawyer promises several takeaways from this post featuring more than two dozen helpful blog promotion tips, including “a step-by-step business blog amplification process,”all you need to know on the places you need to go—social media, communities, groups, blogging platforms, influencers—to boost your next article and get thousands of visits,” and “nine medium-to-long term tips on things you can do to get more people reading your content.” Among his insights, this regarding LinkedIn groups: “You don’t have to go overboard. But unless you’re sharing and commenting, few people are going to take time out to read your latest blog post.”

How to Get More Traffic and Traction by Promoting Your Content Like a Boss by Boost Blog Traffic

Andy Crestodina (again) observes that some bloggers “get way more shares than you. They get tons more email subscribers than you. They get much higher search rankings than you. And it sucks, right?” Unless you are getting Mashable-level traffic, you know the feeling. Fortunately, he then reveals “what promotion-smart know that most bloggers miss”—that search, social and email need to be integrated and coordinated (i.e., use the WPO framework); how to use your blog as the ultimate networking tool; and “always be collaborating” among other tips.

400 Blog Posts Later – What Works and What Doesn’t by Inspire to Thrive

Lisa BubenLisa Buben shares “16 things that have worked well and what hasn’t worked so well” across here first 400 blog posts, including her tips for Twitter (her #2 traffic source after Google search), Triberr (“a great way to reach other bloggers and share their stuff and for them to share yours too. If you haven’t signed up for this yet please do. You will notice a difference but not immediately. Give it time”) and Bing search (with a link to how Bing differs from Google’s webmaster tools).

34 Ways To Increase Your Blogs Email Subscribers List…..Number 32 Is SUPER Important! by Niche Hacks

Yes, the style (and even the blog title) scream “spam!” but once you get past the inevitable annoying pop-up ad, there is actually some very solid guidance in this detailed post. I won’t give away #32, but #12, for example, is: “Make your opt-in boxes stick out like a sore thumb…Making opt in boxes stand out by using different colours or shake can boost conversion rates—forget design it’s all about email sign ups.”

9 Potent Tactics to Promote Your Blog Posts [Infographic] by Social Media Writing

Mitt RayMitt Ray showcases an infographic that summarizes blog promotion guidance from experts like Larry Kim (“Respond quickly to trends: it’s easier to get bloggers and journalists to write or share information conttaining an interesting new angle on something that was was already at the top of their mind [sic]”), Brian Dean, Rae Hoffman, Elisa Gabbert, Ian Cleary, Ann Smarty, Cendrine Marrouat, and Peg Fitzpatrick.

4 Key Steps the Pros Use to Get Traffic from Search Engines by

Jason ChestersGuest author Jason Chesters details four key strategies for generating more search traffic to your blog, such as starting with keyword research after you write (“remember this rule: Great content first, keyword research second! Once you have completed your article, make a note of the subject and the main topic. Now this will immediately give you a basis for your keywords”) and the seven key attributes for on-page optimization of each post.

100+ Bite-Sized Tips To Get You More Social Shares (And Traffic) by Blogging Wizard

Adam ConnellNoting that social shares not only increase direct traffic but also provide other benefits such as increased search visibility, Adam Connell passes along more than 100 useful tips to generate more engagement from Twitter (“@mention any individual or company that you have included in your content”), Google+ (“Add a share button to your blog rather than a +1 button”), Pinterest, Facebook, and other social networks.

7 simple ways to optimise a blog post for the search engines by Fairy Blog Mother

Alice ElliottFor those who’d like their blog content to rank better in search but can’t justify the expense of hiring professional SEO talent, the smart and delightful Alice Elliott outlines seven “simple procedures that can be put in place that will make a big difference” in search visibility, like optimizing images and meta tags (she explains how), as well as keeping text links limited and highly relevant.

9 Effective Ways To Revive A Struggling Blog by Blogging Wizard

Marc AndreIf your blog growth has stagnated and you’re feeling frustrated, check out these nine tips for reviving a struggling blog from Marc Andre. Among his tactics: survey your current readers and subscribers “to make sure that you are covering topics that your readers care about,” analyze your results “to determine if there are types of posts that you should eliminate due to a lack of reader interest,” and adjust your posting frequency.

This was post #2 of Blogging for Business Week 2015 (#b4bweek) on Webbiquity.

#1: Welcome to Blogging for Business Week!


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Welcome to Blogging for Business Week!

Tuesday, March 24th, 2015

It’s blogging for business week on Webbiquity. Along the lines of the content marketing week series presented here previously, starting tomorrow and running through next Tuesday, a series of posts will cover business blogging strategies, tactics, tools and resources.

Blogging for Business Week 2015As reported here previously, content marketing is nearly ubiquitous, with 93% of b2b marketers using content while 88% of business buyers say online content plays a major to moderate role in vendor selection.

Blogging is often viewed as the core of content marketing strategy, and its use continues to expand due to its compelling benefits:

  • • 34% of Fortune 500 companies now maintain active blogs – the largest share since 2008. (Forbes)
  • • 37% of marketers say blogs are the most valuable content type for marketing. (NewsCred)
  • • 17% of marketers plan to increase blogging efforts this year. (Forbes)
  • • Blogging increases web traffic by 55% for brands. (Rocket Post)
  • • B2B companies that blog generate 67% more leads than those without blogs. (Social Fresh)

Want to join in? Just write a post focused on some aspect of blogging for business, and tweet it out using the hashtag #b4bweek. That hashtag will be monitored, and the posts (subject to human limitations) shared. The best may even be bookmarked for inclusion in a future best-of post here.

Hope you enjoy (and share!) the posts here over the next week, which will feature valuable guidance from dozens of top experts.

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24 (of the) Best Business Blogging Guides, Tips and Tools of 2011

Monday, January 16th, 2012

Despite any recent recent rants you may have seen about how blogging is dead or blogs are passé, the fact of the matter is that business blogging is now more important than ever. With Google’s most recent Panda algorithm updates, attributes like content freshness and social signals (strengths of blogs, not corporate websites) will gain increased importance in search ranking.

But as the blogosphere continues to expand (as noted by Diana Adams below), it becomes more difficult to stand out and be heard above the noise.  How can a company launch (or relaunch) a new blog properly? Write great blog post headlines? Promote new content most effectively? Optimize blog content for search? Emulate the best corporate blogs? Take advantage of free or low-cost blog tools and resources?

Get the answers to those questions and more here in two dozen of the best blogging guides of the past year.

Guidance for New Bloggers

20 Common Mistakes Made By New Bloggers by Ink Rebels

Diana AdamsNoting that will well over 100 million blogs on the web now it can be challenging to stand out, the effervescent Diana Adams shares a list of common mistakes to avoid such as making your RSS button hard to find, posting inconsistently, and failing to respond to reader comments.

12 things every business blogger should know how to do by Ragan’s PR Daily

Susan YoungContending that “blogging isn’t that difficult until educated, professional, bright grownups begin to overanalyze things,” Susan Young provides a dozen pieces of commonsense advice for business blogging success, such as sticking to what you know and enjoy, and writing “to express, not to impress.”

The Entrepreneur’s Advisor | Why and How to do a Blog Right by The Entrepreneur’s Advisor

Stuart W. Smith provides some blogging basics and helpful tips for those relatively new to blogging. After making the basic case for a blog, he delves into keywords, developing quality content, links, calls to action and more.

6 Tips for Blogging for SEO in WordPress by Business Insider

Sue ReynoldsSue Reynolds offers a half-dozen tips for SEO on WordPress blogs, helpful particularly for those just getting started.

Business Blogging Tips, Tactics and Best Practices

8 Ways to Get Your Blog Ready for the Big Time by Blog Engage

Kristi HinesFrequent best-of honoree Kristi Hines offers eight tips to get your blog ready for a surge of traffic if you happen to get mentioned or retweeted by a highly influential source. Among the tips: optimize your site for speed, delay your opt-in popup form (or better yet – lose it, they’re obnoxious) and make sure your key pages (About, Contact, Guest Post Guidelines, etc.) are easy to find.

How to Be an Awesome Blog Commenter by HubSpot Blog

Kipp BodnarKipp Bodnar offers half-dozen tips for “how to be a thoughtful and engaged commenter” that apply to social networking sites as well as to blogs. Much of it comes down to appropriate social etiquette, and always striving to add value to the conversation.

How to Turn a Lousy Blog Headline into a Great One by The Backlight

Tristan HigbeeTristan Higbee steps through the creative process of turning a boring blog headline into a better one and then, eventually, into one that is both search-friendly and compelling to potential readers.

26 Ways to Enhance Your Blog Content by Social Media Examiner

Debbie HemleyAnother delightful A to Z post from Debbie Hemley, this one alphabetizing the business blogging process from attributing source material through links and blogging as a hub of social media efforts through YouTube and “Zigzags and Leaps” (“mental moves that might open up things a bit, allow a little more in, including, we hope…discovery”).

7 Key Elements to a Successful Business Blog by TopRank Online Marketing

Lee OddenLee Odden defines the key characteristics to consider in terms of “branding, community, SEO, PR, recruiting and taking midshare away from your competition” with your blog including the URL, name, design and navigation. (For more on this topic, see also Eight Factors to Consider When Launching a Business Blog previously published here.)

12 Things to Do After You’ve Written a New Blog Post by Content Marketing Institute

Brody DorlandNoting that “even great content can go unnoticed,” Brody Dorland recommends 12 steps for promoting your blog content, from the obvious (utilize keywords for SEO, use syndication) to the creative (using a post to answer a question on Twitter, promoting posts via your email signature).

21 Ways Bloggers Engage by Heidi Cohen

Heidi CohenHeidi Cohen details 21 ways bloggers can engage with readers beyond just responding to comments, among them: inviting others to contribute guest posts, providing social sharing buttons, enabling readers to subscribe by email, and participating in Twitter chats.

The Blueprint for the Perfect Blog Post (Infographic) by Business 2 Community

Brian RiceBrian Rice graphically illustrates nine components of the “perfect” blog post, beginning with a compelling post title. in this nicely-done infgraphic. He also shares six blogging lessons learned, including the importance of user experience and letting your audience drive your the conversation.

Displaying Social Proof – What the Marketing Experts Use by KISSmetrics

Kristi Hines studies the AdAge Power 150 blogs to see how leading bloggers are displaying their social clout. Tools and methods used include displaying FeedBurner reader count, a Facebook Like box, LinkeddIn share button, or multi-purpose tools from AddtoAny, Share This, or AddThis.

Blog SEO

SEO success for your blog in 10 easy steps by {grow}

Eric PratumGuest blogger Eric Pratum outlines a “10-step prioritized plan to improve the SEO for your blog without spending a lot of time or money,” from keyword strategy to sitemaps.

How to Optimize Your Blog for Google by Social Media Examiner

Dino DoganIn this extensive and detailed post, Dino Dogan walks through the process of search optimizing a blog, from audience targeting considerations and keyword research to SEO plugin settings (presuming you are using WordPress).

Where to Use Keywords in Corporate Blog Posts by TopRank Online Marketing Blog

Lee Odden lays out a non-technical five-step process for getting a corporate blog to rank well in search. His item #4 (“Use Descriptive References vs. Pronouns”) in particular should be required reading for ANYONE writing online content.

Top 10 Blog Directories 2011 by SEO Wizardry

Peter HollierWriting that “Blog Directories add an important element to your web site traffic generation and search engine optimization programs,” Peter Hollier lists and links the top 10 blog directories along with their Alexa ranks.

8 Steps to Optimize Your Blog Post by Search Engine Watch

Erez BarakErez Barak recommends a heavy focus on keyword research, selection and tracking among his eight steps for getting a blog post to rank well in search.

Examples of Exceptional Corporate Blogs

The 10 Best Corporate Blogs in the World by {grow}

Mark SchaeferMark Schaefer shares a few observations on the state of corporate blogging (e.g. the tech sector produces most of the best corporate blogs, the Fortune 500 lags the rest of the world in this area) as well as his picks for the top ten corporate blogs based on quality. Most of the companies are large, but the variety of industries represented is intriguing.

Outstanding brand blogs you should check out by iMedia Connection

Sarah KotlovaSarah Kotlova showcases four well-done corporate blogs (or in the case of Cisco, a collection of company-related blogs written by internal subject-matter experts) from both the B2B and B2C worlds.

Blogging Tools and Resources

Huge List of Useful Tools for Bloggers by ShoutMeLoud

Exactly what it says–a big list of tools to make your blogging more productive. This post lists and links to tools for SEO, writing, blog marketing and more.


Need an interesting photo for your latest blog post but don’t want to shell out big bucks, go through some convoluted licensing process, or risk violating a photographer’s copyright? This may be the site for you. Owned by Getty Images, Stock.XCHNG bills itself as “the world’s best free (image) stock site.”


A free stock photo exchange where you can search, use, share and create collections of images for online use.


If the free sources above don’t have quite what you need, fotoglif offers reasonably-priced photographic images, in a range of categories including news, politics, business, technology and lifestyle.

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