How to find great images for websites

It may or may not be obvious but images are one of the most important elements of a website when it comes to presentation and impact.  Especially nowadays when the 2015 modern style of web design focuses on one large image, that image must be impactful.

So, where do you get images for your website?  How do you know if it is free to use and copyright free?  How do you avoid infringing on photo copyrights?

There are a handful of ways to find great images and photos for your website:

  1. Buy from a stock photography database
  2. Search Google for copyright free images
  3. Hire a professional photographer
  4. Get a decent camera and take it yourself
  5. Hold a photography contest

Stock photography databases

There are several that immediately come to mind including iStockPhoto, Shutterstock, and Getty images.  However, the problem with stock photography is that people tend to use and reuse the same images over and over and over until they become trite.  It drives me absolutely nuts when I see this same stupid guy in a photo on every website I see:

Avoid Cheesy Stock Photos

Team of business people working together on a laptop
Team of business people working together on a laptop
Avoid using cheesy stock photos that include the same old guy again and again
Avoid using cheesy stock photos that include the same old guy again and again

So, try to find something that is unique and hasn’t been downloaded a billion times.

Images from Google and Bing

When you search for images on Google and Bing, be sure to click the search tools and find a link called, “Usage Rights” or “License” and be sure that you specify that it is labeled for reuse or free to share.  If it is copyrighted then avoid reusing those photos or find out who owns the copyright and approach them about licensing the copyright or using the image.

WordPress as a Service

When you use our WordPress as a Service platform, we provide a stock photography database of images that are licensed for reuse.  That is one of the benefits of our platform and we try to make it easy for you to find great images and have a positive impact on your web visitors.

WordPress is not easy to startup and configure

google trends wordpress is most popular easy cms
Google Trends: WordPress vs Joomla vs Drupal. WordPress wins the battle of the CMS wars.

People say that WordPress is easy to use.  In fact, they say it is one of the easiest content management systems (CMS) on the planet.  That’s not what I have experienced.

On many occasions, I have set up hosting, installed WordPress, bought a great looking WordPress theme, attempted to install that them, and was disappointed in the results.  Sometimes the theme installed, sometimes it didn’t.  Sometimes, it took hours and days to get the damned thing setup and configured.  Sometimes, after screwing around with a WordPress theme for a couple of days, I had to scrap it and start all over again.

WordPress is NOT easy to setup and configure!  It is not easy to find and install a great looking WordPress theme.  It is not always easy to install and configure the right WordPress plugins.  That is why people end up paying WordPress experts $5,000 to $10,000, if not more, to stand up a WordPress website.  And, often it takes 2-3-4 months to get it delivered.

Fortunately, inQbation labs has developed a WordPress as a Service platform that helps to accelerate the setup and configuration process.  We catapult you through that expensive, laborious, difficult, and time-consuming process so you can launch your website faster and cheaper.  We take the pain and difficulty out of that whole WordPress setup and configuration process.

Contact us to find out more and get the process started.

Tucson Realtor Websites Part 2

What happens after you are referred to a potential client?

 

We live in a 24/7 connected world. Your customers want information faster, better and in a way that makes sense to them. You already know what your existing customers want – listings sent right to their phones, constant updates and the ability to make decisions fast.

So what about your prospective customers? They want the same things!

It’s not often that we are recommended something or someone and actually get their contact information anymore. Because, why would we when there is Google? When someone tells me about a great new Mexican restaurant downtown, I don’t need a card or a flyer – I can just Google it. Now I have their location, hours, and menu. Based on their website I have already made a judgment about if I am going to like their food or not. Right or wrong, its what we do. Web presence is just as important as physical locations.

 

Screen Shot of Google search results for Tucson Mexican Restaurant Downtown

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So how does this apply to you as a real estate agent? Buying or selling a house is a huge deal and your customers want to know that you are one of the best in the business and the best fit for them. Before they are even calling you, they are most likely researching you.

What does your online presence say about you and your business?

I am going to take the first person that showed up in my “Tucson Real Estate Agent” search from the last post and check out what happens when I Google her.

She dominates the first page of Google, and with links that come right back to her Real Estate business! Her personal site is on top, followed by Zillow – of course and then I was a little surprise to see another site, tucsonhomeshopping.com that seems to be linked to / owned by her. She is dominating Google.

Wondering why this matters? The Internet and websites legitimize things for consumers. Reviews provide insight, they make your customers feel like they know what to expect. Multiple sites and search results make your presence feel huge, like people are talking about you and you have put in the time to make sure your customers can find you!google search results tucson realtor marsee

google search results tucson realtor marseeSo what can you do right now? Check out Blake’s post on reputation management to take steps in the right direction. If you think you need help or someone to point you in the right direction? Reach out to us today!

Tucson Realtor WordPress Website Part 1

Increasing Business with SEO and a Responsive, Modern Website – Part 1

 

Wondering why sites like Zillow, Redfin, and Trulia have made such an impact on the industry? Its simple, usability and SEO! Your customers don’t want to interact with a flash site and 1999 MLS interface. They want a single call to action, clean simple design, and whatever pops up first on Google. So how can you compete?

First I want to preface that agent sites don’t necessarily have to be about lead generation. I fully understand that most Real Estate leads come from word of mouth, neighborhood specializations, and repeat business. Knowing that, and knowing what a connected world we live in, we can all agree that having positive web presence is still important for everyone and any business!

Let’s look at SEO for Real Estate related queries in my hometown, Tucson. Just googling Tucson Real Estate, this is what comes up.

Google search for Tucson Real Estate

Tucson Real Estate Query number 2

(Some research shows that neighborhood specialization for SEO might be more impactful for businesses. I think this is especially true for Real Estate agents, and we will explore that in Part 3 of this 3 part post!)

 

The first three results of the google search for “Tucson Real Estate” are national database search engines and the fourth is Craigslist! Finally at number 5, we have a local brokerage, Century 21. But then it slips back to the nationals again. And what is really interesting is that there aren’t any individual agents on there. Let’s look at another search, this time specifically for an agent. Ill search two ways, “Realtor” and “Agent.”

Google Search Results for Tucson Realtor

 

Under “Tucson Realtor,” there is not a single individual agent site that comes up on the first page. I also skipped over the google ad words so we can see what is really happening with SEO.

 

Possibly the most interesting part of this is that Tucson Realtor tracks on Google Trends, meaning people are searching for this term regularly! Take advantage of this, get your name up there!

 

Google trends results for Tucson Realtor

 

“Tucson Real Estate Agent” search quality gets a little better. There are three out of nine results that are actual agent pages!

 

Google Search Results for Tucson Real Estate Agent

 

But … according to Google Trends no one is searching for “Tucson Real Estate Agent.”

Google Trends Results for Tucson Real Estate Agent

 

Whether you are  brokerage wondering how you can dominate the “Tucson Real Estate” Google search or an Agent wanting to be at the top of “Tucson Realtor”, stay tuned to our blog for more tips, or reach out to us today! Our WPaaSP is perfect for helping you build usable, modern websites.

We also offer enterprise packages that allow all of your agents to create sites that maintain brand integrity – ensuring that YOUR online presence and reputation are safe.