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

Words of Wisdom

As a freelance writer, I often write for other people’s websites on a variety of subjects. But while this is what pays the bills, the bulk of the time I spend online is taken up with building new websites and blogs for myself.

The reason I do this is because I eventually want to be earning a generous income from them, rather than just a mediocre one as at present. Slowly does it with this, as the new sites are all at various stages of aging and of course some of the older sites are now over 2 years old (that doesn’t account for the expired domains I buy which are a good deal older).

My strategy is not too dissimilar from that of the great Griz who has, whether he likes it or not, become something of a mentor to many in the cut and thrust world of making money online. Incidentally, you can read some of his words of wisdom at his newest and rapidly becoming hugely popular blog here: Make Money with Adsense (link removed). It’s perfect for beginners wanting to know how to make money online using free resources and Google’s Adsense program, rather than follow the empty promises of the many scammers that litter the Internet with hyped up promotions to buy their magic beans.

These people are known as A-listers, or gurus, although both terms are misleading and when it comes down to the truth of the matter, wholly false. These so called gurus are merely leeches, feeding of the new blood of the thousands of newbies who enter this arena every day. Many of these are sucked in by these hucksters who promise magical earnings of thousands of dollars in a crazily short period of time if you just donate $47 of your hard earned cash for their ebook which promises to show you how. Unfortunately, the ebooks are full of bullshit which basically teach you how to write an ebook and sell it to clueless noobs like yourself.

Of course, calling people clueless noobs is a harsh thing to do and rather unfair, but its how these scammers see new people who are looking for ways to make money online. Noobs are clueless in the beginning because they haven’t learned how to spot these fakes who only teach you how not to go about making money online. For this reason, noobs are very easy shark-bait. When you look around for ways to make money online and find the attractive and almost believable ads these sharks create, it’s easy to see how noobs can be so easily taken for a ride.

Everyone wants to drink from the forbidden chalice that promises great riches for little effort. Its just normal human nature to want something for nothing and these so-called A-listers, or self styled gurus know this very well. They prey on the uneducated by appealing to their greed by offering something that we know deep down inside must be impossible, yet we are still curious enough to click the link to see what its all about. And like any good salesman, these people are skilled in the art of selling refrigerators to Eskimos. So they will sell a noob one of their ebooks because it promises exactly what the noob wants.

The truth is that none of these ways work, unless of course you are the person selling the ebook, then if you’ve been around long enough and have mastered the art of selling refrigerators to Eskimos, then you will make a good living off the backs of those who can least afford to part with their hard earned money. And so it goes for the whole world.

But it doesn’t have to be this way.

You don’t have to get your hooks into every newcomer to the Internet and use them like cash cows, flogging them useless ebooks that will not help anybody but the author. You can make money online in other, completely legitimate ways. The way I go about it is by building lots of websites and blogs, aging them, writing lots of relevant content for them and obtaining backlinks to them so that they rank well in the search engine results pages (SERPs).

That way, people who are searching for something that I write about may come across one of my sites on Google, or Yahoo, MSN or whichever. They will find my websites which carry Google Adsense ads, or affiliate ads for products such as items of clothing, collectibles etc. Essentially, my sites provide either a product that the surfer was looking for, in which case I will redirect them to the merchant’s site where they can buy the product (and for which I earn a commission) or they do not. In that case, they may see a pertinent Adsense ad and click that, which earns me some money for the click.

Now I’m not going into the mechanics of how Adsense works here. Griz does that extremely well on his site (which you will find by clicking the link above).

By this method, no one gets ripped off. Noobs don’t get sold useless ebooks that only teach them how to become scammers themselves. People looking for a certain brand of shirt, or a watch, or maybe information on how to get free blogs will find what they’re looking for and everyone makes a little in the process, while the person buying often gets a discount on what they’d pay for a similar item in a High Street store. So everyone wins and no one loses. Except maybe the High Street store, but that’s business!

So these words of wisdom are for anyone who has found an ad for a money making guru who promises to teach you how to make $3,000 in three weeks by using their special, guaranteed, unfailing method.

Ignore it.

There are better, more honest ways to make money online and I’m doing it and Griz is teaching it. For free!

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