Posting Pictures Legitimately

Posting pictures legitimately seems to be something a lot of bloggers and the odd freelance writer needs to do, but they often cross the line with regards to copyright. This is because published photographs that appear on the originating website often turn up on other people’s blogs without any credit given to the owner. While the Internet is a vast place chocked full of millions of pages of web content and images, it doesn’t necessarily mean that if you post someone else’s picture on your blog without due credit that you will get away with it because no one will notice.

There are some websites out there that do publish royalty free images that you can legitimately download and post to your blog. They make it clear that their images cane be used on a non-commercial basis which is perfect for most general niche blogs. So if these sites, some of which have many thousands of images to choose from, are allowing this then why do some bloggers still go out and steal photos that are not royalty or copyright free?

One reason may be that they can’t find exactly what they want on the free image sites and when they come across that perfect image on another site, they think “what the hell?” and take it anyway. Another reason may be that they want a higher resolution image. Free image sites generally only give away small images, say 300×200 at best which is fine for sprucing up a blog post, but no good if you’re designing a fancy header banner that requires a much larger image.

Whatever the reason for stealing someone else’s photos, its plagiarizing and the owner can come after you with a lawyer and give you all sorts of legal headaches. Not worth the trouble, really, but it wont stop anyone who is already actively doing it, because they probably think that they can’t be caught. Geographic location has plenty to do with this kind of blogger’s attitude. A blogger in China probably feels very safe from the US lawyers who think they rule the roost. That blogger is probably right if he steals an image from an American’s site, but if he steals one from a site based in China, he will be caught and prosecuted. It happens!

Same goes wherever you are in the world. Just because a site looks like it originates in a certain country, it doesn’t mean that it does. Many of my own sites look like they originate in the US because I’m targeting US traffic – even down to the American way of spelling if that’s what it takes. But I’m not in the US at all. Not even close.

I’m drifting away from the point of this post, which is to tell you about posting pictures legitimately on your blogs, so let’s bring it back. There are two ways in which to post images on your blog without upsetting anyone and still enhancing the look of it, assuming pictures are needed to do that. You may have noticed that I don’t personally use many pics in my own postings – for me they distract the reader from the beauty of the written word… mmm ok whatever!

1. Just sort through the royalty free stuff and use what fits most closely to what you need it for. Sure it’s time consuming, but you stay legitimate and that’s important.

2. Go out of the house with a digital camera, or phone if it has a good camera built in, and take some of your own!

The second point is something that I have been doing for some time now when I want that certain angle that I know I can get locally. I’m lucky in that I live quite near to the beach in a tourist town in southern Spain, so in summer the place is packed with tourists of all descriptions and perfect for taking “people” shots that can work. I generally stick to candid group shots rather than taking individuals, or they might get a little upset at being singled out and want to know why.

In fact, my new header image was taken recently on my phone while I was walking the dogs up in the hills behind where I live. Nice view from up there!

Sometimes, if you’re faced with this dilemma and want to photograph an individual, then be bold and go up and ask their permission. Explain what you want the shot for and they might be happy to agree. Remember, people are generally quite vain and the thought of their image appearing in the online “media” will sway any misgivings and they’ll most likely be happy to let you. If not, thank them for their time and move on to someone else.

The beach is not just for photographing people, but also I have great scenery with a backdrop of tall rugged mountains, a wealth of bars, restaurants and shops that can add character to any post especially in a locally oriented blog, castles, ruins and interesting old buildings, people walking dogs for dog and pet oriented blogs, plenty of traffic for shots of cool sports cars, even cooler motorbikes and all kinds of vehicles, plenty of scope for abstracts, sunrises and sunsets, moon rises, choppy seas, calm seas, low flying planes and helicopters etc.

Plenty of scope in fact to embellish with images a wide variety of blog themes and its all completely royalty and copyright free because I took the photos myself and I own the copyright.

So if you need an excuse to get away from the computer for an hour or so while still remaining in “working” mode, then grab your camera or phone and go take some images of your own. They may even turn out to be much better than what you can steal!

Terry Didcott

What is the Optimum Frequency of Posting in a Blog?

What is the optimum frequency of posting in a blog? Well, now that’s a question that I bet plenty of bloggers are contemplating when trying to attract readers and get themselves ranked by Google and the other search engines for their main keyword search terms. If my last post Who Needs a List?, is anything to go by, then it would seem not very often!

It depends what you want from your blog at the end of the day.

If you have an interesting topic to write about and believe it will attract lots of interested people to come and read about it, then it would be sensible to post fairly often, say once a week or more if you have the time and enough material to do that with. This scenario is for the blogger who merely wants to achieve some fame online and is not bothered about how to make money from blogging as a growing, regular readership is more important.

If you are writing a journal of your personal life for friends and family to keep up to date with what you’re doing in your life, then you probably want to post every day or every other day, as this is what a diary is all about. Again, you won’t be interested in knowing how to make money from blogging, because the sum total of your readership is going to be pretty low, with your little sister and grandma looking in on you to catch your latest gossip.

Ok that’s cruel. Maybe you don’t have a little sister…

On the flip side, you are blogging because you are interested in knowing how to make money from blogging. Well, first before I give any recommendation on what is the optimum frequency of posting in a blog that you wish to monetise, first let me let you in on a secret.

The readers you are going to attract to your blog are not going to make you any money.

How is that? Well, the overwhelming majority of people who read blogs are bloggers themselves. Bloggers are generally well aware what ads look like and they soon become trained in the fine art of filtering those ads out of their peripheral vision and focus only on the written text in a blog.

In other words, bloggers almost never click on ads. It doesn’t matter whether they’re Adsense or similar PPC ads, or if they’re affiliate banners promoting this or that latest eBook or software package or online service. They don’t see them and even if you shove one right in their face at the start or even in the middle of your article, they still won’t click on it.

Why don’t bloggers click on ads that are in their face?

Bloggers do not click on ads because they themselves probably have the very same ads running on their own blogs. That means they have the same affiliate accounts as you do and if they were going to buy an eBook or whatever from Clickbank, they’re going to do it using their own affiliate id, because they’ll get paid the commission. Why would anyone want to give a big chunk of commission dollars to someone else when they can have it for themselves?

As for Adsense ads, most bloggers who monetise their blogs tend to have Adsense running on them. Because they’re terrified of accidentally clicking on one of their own Adsense ads (which could cause them to lose their accounts for violating Google’s TOS), they are trained in the fine art of avoiding clicking on ANY Adsense ads because it’s ingrained and etched into their foreheads: “DO NOT CLICK ADENSE ADS.”

That’s why you won’t make any money from your blog’s readers. Want to know what’s worse?

If you do run Adsense on your blogs and the vast majority of your visitors are other bloggers, who don’t click ads, then it’ll send your CPC rate through the floor. And if your blog is not properly optimised for your keywords, you will get smart priced and only end up making a couple of cents per click that you do get. Even worse than that is Google may end up serving PSA (Public Service Ads) on your blog and then you’re only going to get one cent a click. How long do you think it’ll take you to break the magic $100 cheque in the post barrier at that rate? Pretty dismal, right?

So now you know why so many bloggers give up with Adsense “because it doesn’t work.”

Well, here’s the good news. Adsense does work and if you know what you’re doing, Adsense works very well. You can actually make a decent living from it. You just need to change your perspective and ditch everything that the blogging A-Listers have taught you. Which is that you need a huge readership to your blog so that you’ll make a pot of money. It’s a lie. A great big lie. A damn lie, in fact. And one that thousands of bloggers are falling for. But not just once. They’re falling for it time and time again.

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me!

Here’s how to turn your fortunes around if you’ve been getting hundreds of bloggers turning up at your blog every day from Stumbleupon, Digg or Twitter etc and not making any money. You need to ditch that traffic and start working on the real source of monetisation, the search engines.

Google are your main target as they control most of the traffic, but you can still do ok from Yahoo and MSN etc. You just need to choose the keywords that you want people to find your log with. Make sure people actually search on them and that there are advertisers who will pay for clicks or affiliate products that you can promote. Then start from the beginning all over again by working on your blog to get it into the top of the search engine results (SERPs).

That’ll take some work and I have already written plenty of primers on how to do that over at my other money oriented blog How to Make Money Online with SEO. Check that out and see if it doesn’t point you in absolutely the right direction on how to make money online the right way.

So back to the original question that sparked off this long overdue post. “What is the optimum frequency of posting in a blog?”

If you want to make money from your blog, then the frequency of posting matters not one jot. Ok, that doesn’t mean you can slap up a couple of posts and some ads and forget about it. A blog is still a blog and that means the search engines are going to expect to see some updating being done every once in a while. But you can leave it for a month at a time and still create enough movement in the content to keep the search engines happy and your blog in their index.

If you don’t care about making money, then the frequency of posting is up to you. The more you post, the more your readers will keep coming back. As long as you don’t mind putting in all that effort for no return apart from the fame angle, that’s perfectly fine.

If you want to make money, you don’t actually need readers. Only organic search traffic who will see your ads and click out. Give them too much to read and they’ll read it and not click out! So make your content relevant, just don’t make it too interesting!

So once a month or so posts are good enough. After all, if nobody is actually reading your stuff, why go to all the bother of writing it so often? You’ll be surprised at how soon you’ll run out of pertinent things to write about. Especially if you’re targeting a niche that simply doesn’t have a lot of information about it and primarily exists to sell merchandise to consumers – which is what makes money in the end.

You don’t get something for nothing… unless you have cracked the Adsense code and can sit back and watch the blood sweat and toil of your labours start to bear fruit which then continues dropping into your lap with very little further work from you. That includes infrequent posting to your blog!

Terry Didcott

Writing for Who Exactly?

Hi again! My last post Freelance Writer’s Big Happy Family, was a message to all bloggers who are also trying to make money online that one of the ways in which to do that is to make sure your sites that are geared up to actually make the money are sufficiently bolstered by authority to attract traffic from the search engines rather than the easier to attract social traffic.

One of the ways to do this of course is to get lots of backinks to your money sites – in fact its the single most important thing you can do. For that to happen you need to make friends with other blog owner to get those links. Spending all your time writing in your blogs won’t make you much money unless you have such a huge readership that you can leverage advertisers to pay you for valuable real estate space on your blog. Getting to that stage will take you years, if you ever get there. In the meantime, you will not make sufficient money from your blogging to make it worth your while.

But… and there’s always a “but” what about writing a blog that people want to read?

Most bloggers blog because they want people to read what they are writing! They generally have just the one blog and they’re happy that way. Making money from their efforts hasn’t crossed their minds, at least in the early stages.

But when you spend time online, even if its just writing a blog and checking your emails, you will not fail to notice that other people are (or say they are) making money from the Internet. Which naturally will peak your interest to want to find out more about this. Then you read that this or that person is making a lot of money from their blogging exploits and its simply human nature to want what the other person has. It has something psychological to do with sibling rivalry in your early years, I believe. Ha!

“Mum, he’s got a bigger toy car than me and I want one like that!” he shrieks, “gimme, gimme, gimme”

Well its no different online. There are thousands of scam artists that are all boasting they make this or that crazy amount of loot online every month. It’s natural for people who don’t make anything to be curious.

So curious in fact, that they fall into the trap time and time again because they not only believe the lie, but they keep analysing that the lie must be true if so many people are telling it!

Which is exactly what keeps the scam artists doing what they’re doing.

Having just said that, there is another truth about the Internet and making money online. That is the fact that it’s not technically all lies. You can make money online and if you are smart, you can make a lot of money. You can certainly make enough money to earn a decent living from it. In some cases you can earn a very good living from the Internet. You just need to know how.

Unfortunately, writing in your blog every day is not the way to do it. Attracting lots of readers is also not the way to do it. Unless you’re prepared to do a lot of work in research, learning, understanding and then putting into practice what you’ve learned and spending a heck of a lot of time doing it, then don’t even bother. There are no methods that exist to get rich quick on the Internet, so don’t be fooled by all the wild claims that you can.

If you enjoy writing your blog, stick to doing what you enjoy and don’t quit your job just yet. Don’t waste any of your hard earned cash on anything these hucksters are peddling online because you can get all the information you need without spending a penny. Not here in this blog of mine, I hasten to add, as this is one of those blogs that I merely like to write in. The few ads I have dotted around pay for the hosting and that’s about all.

I personally make money from other websites and some blog host setups that I have, so I don’t need to write about how to do it here. If you were thinking of doing something similar, then I don’t want to put you off, but I currently have over 400 sites out there all ticking over quietly earning a passive income. That little lot took a lot of time to create and I continue to build more sites daily.

But that’s what I do and if you think you can do that much work, then I say go for it! Its not easy and it takes a lot of time and effort in getting links for all those sites, writing the content they need and generally maintaining them so they feature in the search engine indeces to attract the organic traffic that is essential to generating an income from them.

If you want to do the same. good luck to you and I wish you all the best.

Oh, one last thing you should imprint upon your brain as a motto, or statement of intention:

Never Give Up!

Terry Didcott