10 Awesome Sites with Free Stock Photos.

We had a few run in’s with Getty Images recently, man was that’s a pain!

To explain, Getty and other companies are buying the rights to images or are running scans on images all across the internet to find infringement.  Unfortunately if you are found using the photos, they skip the cease and desist and will request payment from as little as $250 up to thousand of dollars.

We have a strict guideline now at CreativeHaus to use images from iStock or other partners.

We have found a few great sites for “Creative Commons Zero” License.  This means you can use, copy, and modify the images without having permission from the original owner.

Disclaimer: Make sure to check permissions on each site to make sure you are following the permissions they set.

AND NOW….10 AWESOME SITES WITH FREE STOCK PHOTOS: (Yep)

Death to the Stock Photo

Greatisography

Designers Pic

Magdeleine

Lock and Stock Photos

Little Visuals

Life of Pix

Je Shoots

Jay Mantri

ISO Republic

Why Your Coding May Be Killing Your SEO

CMS or Content Management Systems have come to rule the roost when it comes to modern web-design. With websites considered a must for any business and one-person companies flourishing online the number of people looking to build sites for themselves is only going up and in order to keep up with trends in web-design, coding and security more and more people are seeking out Content Management Systems to help. Content Management Systems include everything from the ubiquitous, such as WordPress, Joomla and Megento, to the very niche template provision sites that serve very specific clientele. Most major CMS come complete with a host of SEO plugins and optimization options to make sure that your site is in line with current best practice with a minimum of work. Some, however, are far less accommodating. I recently worked with a site that was presented through an extremely niche CMS that served template sites to businesses of a certain type in a certain area. The content management system did not allow for Robots.txt file or sitemap editing, meta-data was locked to site-wide entries and rich data snippets could not be implemented at all. A dedicated off-site and social media campaign was able to overcome many of the initial difficulties and the site has seen good progress but the process was made much, much harder by the limitations of the CMS. AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML) is another example of a web-development SEO pitfall. AJAX is a common set of programming techniques in Java and XML that some CMS and many web-developers use to create fast-loading interactive web pages for dynamic sites. The problem is however that many AJAX sites are completely un-indexable to Google. Yes, you read that right. If you have an AJAX site Google might be completely unaware of any of the content on your site, even if you have Google Analytics on every page and Google Webmaster tools installed. There are a few things you can do to check. Firstly, run a “site search” for your domain, like this: Type “site:yourdomain.com” into the Google search bar. If all is well you should see something like this: If you don’t see all the pages of your website showing up then that could mean that your site is not being indexed properly. The best way to know for sure is to make sure you have Google Webmaster tools installed and that you have uploaded a sitemap. Check the index status of your site and make sure that all your content is being reported as indexed. If your CMS or site coding setup will not support Google Analytics/Webmaster tools implementation, then chances are it’s not SEO friendly. But don’t despair, in most some cases tweaks and updates can be made to coding instances to change them, make sure to speak to your web developer or contact an SEO company who can have their programmers help you. If you are locked into an unfriendly CMS then there are still a host of things you can try. Quite often a dedicated off-site link building and social media campaign can still make all the difference, especially for local businesses that can leverage Google and Bing’s local listings functions as well as the map listings of a host of other search engines and directories. SEO can become incredibly involved and more than a little esoteric as you begin to investigate the upper echelons of what is available and how it interacts with search engines and their robots. Before looking at any of that though it is always important to check the basics and make sure that your site is setup for success.

Choosing a CMS

We are always talking about marketing here at the haus, but what if you are completely new to the game of websites, or you simply want a re-design? How do you determine what the best platform is to use for said website? There are several factors that you may want to consider including usability and functionality. Today I want to introduce you to my top 3 recommended CMS’ (Content Management Systems).

WordPress

With exceptionally easy installation and a broad spectrum of customization options, WordPress makes the top of the list. Simple installation and usability for the average user are just a few perks you will find with WordPress. Once you install the bones of this CMS, you can then peruse through the plethora of web design options. Choose a theme, and a few clicks later, you can have yourself a website. Want to add a contact form to that website? No problem! With their mind boggling list of plug-ins, you just may even have a challenge in deciding which contact form you would like to use. As with any new platform, it may take a little while to figure out how to navigate the back end, but you can quickly resolve any conflicts with a Google search. The amount of literature you will find on the web is flat out awesome! Additionally, Google seems to really like this platform and there are a number of SEO plug-ins that allow for top level website optimization. This, of course, is one of my top reasons for being such a WordPress advocate!

Joomla

Joomla is a great solution if you have a product that you are looking to sell.  With a fully functional and customizable shopping cart that is extremely user friendly, Joomla is at the top of my list for shopping cart websites. Unlike WordPress, which requires a plug-in for shopping cart functionality, Joomla offers a great Ecommerce solution.  True there may be a few fewer themes and there are slightly fewer customization options, compared to WordPress, but the ease of use will make up for that. This interface provides easy product management in a easy- to-grasp back end.

Drupal

I, of course, had to add one for the tech geeks. Similar to Joomla, Drupal provides an outstanding built-in shopping cart option. With a decent amount of themes to choose from, you will likely find something that will represent your particular business. The hang up? You are probably going to need a programmers touch to make this CMS work for you. Most programmers enjoy working with Drupal for the ease of use and customization options. All of these CMS platforms are available for free, and many of the templates and plug-ins are free, as well. There are, however, templates that you can purchase that provide more options that the free version. Once you decide which platform you would like to use, the fun will be in deciding which template provides the best representation of your business. Creating a new website can be very exciting, but be sure to do your research.  There are many less popular content management systems that are slowly becoming extinct and you surely don’t want to get caught in that trap. Jori Stevian is an Account Manager at SEOhaus. If you would like to stay up-to-date on all of the latest SEO industry news and tips, you can subscribe to our blog here. Thanks for reading the SEOhaus blog!