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Stock Resources

All the Beauty. None of the Drama

One of the easiest ways to personalize your web project and add creative touches is by simply incorporating unique images and videos. Sometimes the challenging part is obtaining those images or videos without violating copyrights.

Wait a second. Copyrights? Violations? Can’t you just hop on over to Google and search for an image and save it? Unfortunately, no. That would definitely be in violation of copyrights. However, here are some other ideas and suggestions.

Hire a Professional

One option is to hire a photographer or videographer if you have a specific project in mind. We love to help connect others with local talent, so feel free to reach out to us and we will try to connect you with someone to help meet your needs!

Do It Yourself

Another easy solution to avoid violating copyrights…is to take the picture yourself! Don’t have a big fancy camera? No problem! Most cell phones have cameras that will take beautiful shots if you take time to familiarize yourself with them. (Just one little side note… if another person is in the photo, be sure to have written permission before posting online!) So go ahead and give it a try the next time you need a photo!

Download Stock

Okay, so maybe photography isn’t your thing. The good news is there are a ton of resources available online for free! Below we have outlined a few of our favorite websites and resources that provide images and videos for free (and will not violate copyrights)!

And keep checking back, we will be updating our list periodically as we find more sites and resources that we love! Enjoy!

Unsplash.com

Resources: Photos
Cost: Free

Unsplash is a great resource for high-resolution photos and can be used for commercial and noncommercial purposes. On this site you will find many stunning scenery shots as well as general purpose business photos. Many photos are also international. You will not probably find highly specific industry photos here. View More

Pexels.com

Resources: Photos & Videos
Cost: Free

Pexels provides free stock photos and videos and can be used for commercial and noncommercial use. If you are looking for a general use video for a background loop, this might be a good place to start. View More

Pixabay.com

Resources: Photos, Videos
Cost: Free

Pixabay offers free photos, illustrations, vector graphics and videos. Some of the vector graphics may be a bit dated but could also convey a specific message you are looking to express. View More

iStockPhoto.com

Resources: Photos, Videos, Illustrations, Audio
Cost: Paid

iStockPhotos provides royalty-free images, illustrations and images for a small fee. Pricing is based upon credits. Here you’ll find more specific and visually appealing photos. This is one of those time that you get what you pay for. A well purchased image for your website might be completely worth it! If in doubt, download a free comp of the photo your interested in and send it to us before you buy it. View More

Shutterstock.com

Resources: Photos, Videos, Audio
Cost: Paid

Shutterstock has a wide variety of premium resources. This option is best if you need a lot of content. With both images, videos and illustrations as well as audio, you might find exactly what you’re needing. View More

Flickr.com

Resources: Photos
Cost: Free

Flickr provides great options for a wide variety of amateur photos. Not all photos on Flickr are commercial approved. It’s important that you refine your search for “Commercial Use Allowed” images only when searching on Flickr for your website. View More

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10 Things about SEO You Need to Consider When Designing Your Website

Today we welcome Chris Gregory of DAGMAR Marketing as a guest author. Chris provides a rich understanding of SEO standards and best practices for your website.


Creating a website is essential in today’s digital market. You’ve invested effort and money to make it look good, but being attractive and user-friendly is not enough these days. It must also be visible. This is where Search Engine Optimization (SEO) steps up and plays a critical role in driving traffic to your site. If you’re wondering if SEO is really necessary, ask yourself this: How often do you look past the first page of Google results? Never? Then you’ve got plenty of company because a majority of users answer the same way. Don’t get discouraged, though. This article breaks down what you should know to maximize your visibility and drive traffic to your site. No matter what industry you’re in, these will help boost your SEO. Keep reading for tips to make your site stand out to your customers and search engines too!

Do your research.

This seems obvious, but it is often overlooked. Use a tool like https://www.semrush.com/ or https://www.spyfu.com/ to gain insights on keywords and terms that your customers might search for. You can also use Google Keyword Planner although you’ll need to setup an AdWords account to access it.

Think mobile.

This trend cannot be ignored. The use of mobile devices has overtaken the desktop making this once nice-to-have feature a requirement. Make your site responsive because search engines are increasingly “rewarding” responsive, mobile-friendly sites.

Think fast.

Page speed goes hand-in-hand with mobile. It’s a huge factor in SEO ranking, plus slow loading sites lose half their visitors. These tools will help you figure out where you can improve:

Clean it up.

It’s easy to put these things on the backburner, but they can really drag down your SEO performance. Remove all lorem ipsum placeholder text that might be leftover from developing the site. Delete unused demo pages because they can be crawled by search engines. Since the content isn’t relevant to your business, it will negatively impact your SEO.

The little stuff is sometimes the big stuff.

Put phone numbers in text to appeal to search engines and be mobile-friendly. Write editable meta titles and meta descriptions for every page. Update your site’s navigation as new content is added will benefit both users and search engines.

Links, links, links.

Yes, they are that important, but it’s not just quantity now. Your site needs a mix of both internal and external links from high-quality sources. Think about professional organizations you’re involved with, or community based websites like your local chamber of commerce, which provide you with relevant, authoritative links and can raise your SEO ranking.

Plan ahead.

You may not be ready to start a blog yet, but you should set it up anyway. Blogs are one of the most effective tools for SEO. Create the space for it now to save yourself the hassle later. Which brings us to the next tip…

Create quality content.

This cannot be stated enough. Google ranks sites based on content, but not just any content: well-researched, multimedia pieces are needed to attract readers. If your content is subpar, your site won’t rank for much. Make sure the content you post is the best of the best.

SEO is a popularity contest.

Look at the popularity signals for both www and non-www versions of your site. Though they look the same, to a search engine they are unique domains. Choose the most popular address as your official domain for search engines. This tool will tell you which version has a higher authority

Double trouble.

Block your staging site from search engines to dodge the problem from having two sites with duplicate content. You can use a robots.txt file, but some prefer to use no-index meta tags on every page to be certain.

There are many factors that can influence SEO, but this list covers the most essential. With a few changes, you can boost your site’s visibility and give yourself an edge over the competition. You’ve put the time into developing your site, now make certain your audience can find it.


Chris Gregory is the founder and a managing partner of DAGMAR Marketing, a local SEO company based in Jacksonville, Florida. The agency’s work was recently recognized in Search Engine Land’s international search marketing competition, garnering the Best Local SEO Initiative award.

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Announcing "Launch & Build: A Blogging Workshop"

I am so very pleased to announce our upcoming hands-on blogging workshop. This small group event will not only focus on the technical setup and structures of your blog, but will also be a time of brainstorming, encouragement and support as you begin expressing yourself online.

Resourcing Our Visions

Space will be restricted for the workshop to allow us to work with you one on one and in a small group to actually move the needle in your blogging efforts. We will evaluate where you are at in the process and help you make a plan for next steps and growth. Whether blogging is just a vision you have or you’ve started and need to revitalize your efforts, this workshop will meet you where you are.

Connecting Our Hearts

I’ve chosen to host this one in my home. This gives us an up close and personal chance to share the heart behind our online stories and become a cheerleading squad for one another as we grow.

Join the Conversation on Facebook

We are also excited to offer a special bloggers only Facebook group where many more resources and conversations are happening. You can join the Finding Your Voice Blogging Group for free.

Launch & Build: A Blogging Workshop

  • Hands On Workshop / Bring your Laptop
  • Passionate Support & Encouragement
  • Timely Training, Resources, Tools & Tips

Friday, May 26 from 10 am to noon

Hosted by Karena Kreger in Jacksonville, FL
(Address to follow registration.)

Limited Space Available
Registration $47

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This is an initiative of Open Sky Life.

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12 WordPress Hacks of Christmas

Ho, ho, ho! Today we celebrate the season with 12 (and a bonus!) of my favorite small tweaks and tricks when using WordPress. I shared this at the WPJax local meetup and hope you’ll find something here of interest to you too!

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The Struggle is Real: Growing from Me to Us in Business and Life

I’ve had a fantastic opportunity to be back in Orlando speaking at WordCamp Orlando 2016 this year. In reflection over the last year both personally and professionally here at Open Sky Web Studio, we’ve seen growth and expansion on all fronts. But that growth can have its share of pain points. Indeed the struggle is real!

I get real and raw in this presentation, talking about important perspectives on growing your solopreneur efforts into an agency, while working at home. WordPress and the modern distributed work model offer us great flexibility of time, schedule, location and environment. But this new freedom comes at a price. We must learn new skill sets of productivity and resources to succeed. The lines of family and business are often blurry. This is especially true for WordPress Moms and Dads. This is my personal story of business and family growth along with practical suggestions to navigate your own path of expansion.

Check out the slides below.

Is the struggle real for you too? Follow the conversation at #wpinthestruggle.

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Site Design Tools that Work

Power in the right tools

We are constantly striving to provide our customers with the most modern website designs while paying careful attention to the stability and capabilities of the technologies used. Balance this with our passion to provide timely and cost effective projects and you’ll understand why a new tool in the toolbox gets me excited.

Recently I had a chance to review the Beaver Builder plugin at our local WPJax WordPress Meetup. This flexible and powerful layout tool is one we have recently begun using. Though not right for every project, it does provide a rapid design ability for us to create a wide range of custom layouts for our clients.

If you’d like to learn more, below are the slides from this presentation.

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