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50+ Of The Best, Most Beautiful Websites For Free Stock Photos (Because Risking Your Biz For A Free Photo Is Silly!)

  |   Business Tips, Resources, Website Design   |   104 Comments

30+ of the best free stock photo websites for your blog and business. (Regularly updated!) Nothing but gorgeous stock photos!

I'm a hopeless sucker for pretty photos. Especially of chic office spaces with colorful, curvy chairs, elegant white desks, and gleaming Macs.

Every time I spot them on Pinterest, I think about how ridiculously perfect they would be for my next blog post.

But, alas, you won't see them here.

Why? Because those photos -- which seem so casually and easily available -- actually aren't free to use. At all.

They belong to somebody, somewhere, and that person or company has legal rights to the exclusive use of that photo. It makes no difference whether they were taken by Penny Q. Smith for her obscure personal blog about thumbtack art or were published on KateSpade.com. If I used them, I'd be breaking the law.

(And could easily be served a crippling $8,000 in copyright infringement fines.)

My business does well, but I don't have large sums of money laying around to throw at random things like, oh, stiff copyright penalties. Do you?
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7 Pro Web Design Tips That Will Make You More Money

  |   Business Tips, Website Design   |   21 Comments

Want to make money with your blog or small business website? Your first step is to make sure your design is marketing friendly, not just pretty to view. These 7 tips will help.

You're frustrated. You have a beautiful website that you've spent long hours designing yourself -- or a lot of cash acquiring via the skills of a professional web designer -- but it's not helping you make money like you had hoped.

In fact, you're getting only a few meager website visitors to sign up for your email list, hire your services, buy your products, or even fill out a contact form inquiry!

What gives?

Having designed websites for over a decade, I'll tell you:

A pretty website does not mean a profitable website. (Tweet it.)

And even the most visually elegant design can stink when it comes to conversion rates.

That's because effective website design is only partially about aesthetics like crisp, eye-catching graphics and a clean color scheme.

In order to be successful from a business perspective, a website also has to be designed with savvy marketing, psychology, and user-experience principles in mind.

Below are 7 pro design tips you need to know if you want your website to make you more money. Print them out and give them to your web designer, or use them yourself for your next redesign!
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Don’t Be Rude: Twitter Etiquette Tips That Woo

  |   Classy Marketing, Online Etiquette, Social Media Marketing   |   9 Comments

Don't be rude! Take these Twitter etiquette tips and woo your fans.

Do you know what to say when someone follows or retweets you on Twitter? What about when someone favorites your tweet?

Do you clutter your newsfeed with dozens of  "thanks!" and risk annoying your other followers? Or is it OK to, well, do nothing?

It's easy to figure out how to use this chat-based social network (click, type, done!), but knowing how to make a positive impression every time you come in contact with people on Twitter can stump even the most well-intended of us.

In today's blog post I share my online etiquette advice with Lauren, the author of the beautifully wise blog Breathe & Nourish. She writes:

Hi Erika! I have a question as it pertains to Twitter etiquette. If I am mentioned or if someone talks to me, I do my best to always reply, just as I do every comment on my blog. I would also say I reply to about 80% of my retweets. But as a follower, I get annoyed sometimes when my feed is just filled with people thanking other people for following or for tons of retweets. I usually don't welcome new followers. Is this viewed as rude? Should I be welcoming each and every new follower? (Oh and what about favorites??)  -- Lauren
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If You Want To Be Mediocre On Social Media, Keep Doing These 3 Things To Your Fans

  |   Online Etiquette, Reputation, Social Media Marketing   |   25 Comments

If you want to be mediocre on social media, keeping doing these 3 things to your fans!

Online etiquette may sound like a stuffy Victorian concept from a bygone era, but it's not just for the nostalgic, mild-mannered, and super-pious.

One thing will always be true, and that's this: if people don't get the impression that you're a likable human being, it doesn't matter HOW much you may know about rich pins, Facebook ads, and effective hashtags -- you will lose their respect.

And their business.

Here are 3 guaranteed ways to offend your followers and put your online reputation in jeopardy. Don't do them. ...

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How To Get “Google My Business” For Your Brand or Blog

  |   Google+, Social Media Marketing   |   4 Comments

How To Get Google My Business For Your Brand or Blog Have you hesitated to start a Google Plus business page because it would be just ANOTHER account you'd need to manage -- and besides, your personal Google Plus is doing the job just fine?

If so (and oh how I feel you), Google is trying to win your heart with the new "Google My Business."

Launched last week, Google My Business is a management dashboard that tries to simplify things for business owners by gathering everything Google into one tidy place.

For local business owners this means they can see an overview of their Google Plus page, AdWords, customer reviews, and Google Analytics all from one central page.

As a nice bonus, Google will automatically submit information on the business to Google Search and Google Maps.

For non-local businesses (meaning you don't have a public brick & mortar location) you can update your Google Plus business page, create new posts, view your website's Google Analytics, and start Google Hangouts straight from your dashboard.

But the best benefit is this:

Both groups will now have Facebook-like insights to their Google Plus post reach and engagement.

And just like Facebook, this is accessible to business pages only.

This feature is nice because it really helps you understand what's working (and what isn't) for your social media marketing.

So, without further ado. ...

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