Category Archives: Web Site Tools

Ultimate Collection of Free Stock Photo Sites

Here is a fabulous collection of sites where you can search for amazing free and of good quality vector images and stock photos. Have a look at these sites, and share any great free stock photo sites with us all in the comments.

Some of the sites listed offer free stock photos only for personal use, all photos are the property of their respective authors check their policy before using their collection.

Free digital photos

freedigitalphotos.net – This one requires an attribution to post free images, but not a required login. –

I am a firm believer in giving credit where it is due anyway and these guys have tons of great stockphotos for bloggers.

istockphoto

Setup an account at istockphoto and every week istockphoto.com offers a free image of the week that you can download. These might be useful for your blogposts. ( I do this quite often.)

istockphoto

They have beautiful photographs there and if you are like me and prefer to buy in bulk, see if one of the RetailMeNot coupon codes works for the plan you want: IStock – RetailMeNot.

Bing Images

Search for clip art
Click or tap the License drop down menu, and pick the licensing option you want.

(Tip from Microsoft) If you’re looking for clip art pictures, type “clip art” as part of your search (e.g. dog clip art or border clip art).

bing-images-free

Please NOTE: I have not tried all of these. I copied this information from another blog that has been down for a while now. I had it bookmarked in my browser because I would often search for free or cheap photo stock for blog posts. For reasons unknown, the Softalize site suddenly became unavailable since early 2010. So I decided to go re-post it here to share it with you because I have found it so helpful.

Again: PLEASE READ the disclaimers and copyright info before downloading and using anyone’s images on anything for your personal use or business!

Everystockphoto

Everystockphoto

Photobucket

Onexposure.1X

Onexposure.1X

EyeFetch

EyeFetch

Stock.Xchng

Stock.Xchng

Stockvault

Stockvault

Photo.net

Photo.net

Life

Life

PopPhotos

PopPhotos

PBase

PBase

Openphoto

Openphoto

Freerange

Freerange

This was originally posted by extinct blog called Softalize, originally posted April 14, 2009 titled: “16 Ultimate Collection of Free Stock Photo Sites” and has now been improved and reposted by me. <3

Increase Your Web Traffic in a Weekend

I’ve been reading the 6th edition of Increase Your Web Traffic in a Weekend and decided I had to write about it because it’s fabulous.

Much of the information in this book has been primarily valuable for me to reinforce and revisit many already well-known SEO and traffic directing practices. However, I was pleasantly surprised by some hot, relevant tips sprinkled throughout this book that I either never heard of or never thought of as a resource.

The book is literally sectioned off by what to do starting Friday evening and ending Sunday afternoon. I don’t want to give away too much information provided by this edition, but here’s a tiny preview of what I meant about some information reinforcing and making sense of what we already know.

    I came across a section about how search engines read your site information and why:

  • iframes
  • scripts thrown in with your HTML vs. residing in a separate file
  • tables
  • and graphics with obscure names like DSNC009.jpg
  • wreak havoc on your website’s indexing potential.

With iframes the search engine’s web spider sees virtually no information other than a reference to another page to index.

Scripts can simply limit your pages’ important data from being indexed since most search engines don’t crawl and cache the full length of all information on every page. So the book recommended simple alternatives to run your java scripts.

The info about how websites index tables also got my attention. It is very important that you know how search engines read them especially if you have tables of subjects with definitions or locations or other information that should be read from left to right.

Of course, the tip about renaming pictures with keywords or using alt tags was another good reminder.

It was published in February of 2011 which is important because I don’t read much of any ever-evolving material like social media or web development that hasn’t been published within the last 12 months. (This book covers both social media and best web development practices.)

I really liked this book. It offers helpful references to places to submit your website and dives head first into the newest rage that’s going to stick around for a while – SMO ( Social Media Optimization ).

Random but Handy Website Tools

Code Validation

I like to check my work. (Especially when code does not display the result I tell it to display. :) You’ve been there. )

  1. HTML Validator
  2. CSS Validator – If you find that your code ends up with a bunch of issues, don’t worry, even MSN’s website stylesheet came back with 2 errors and 916 warnings. However, that doesn’t excuse us from fixing ours.

Creating Web Ready Images

Tools I’ve used to add a little color to my website.

  1. HTML RGB color code converter – Know the RGB of a color but don’t exactly know the HTML version of the code? This will help.
  2. Gradient Image Maker – Just need to make a gradient image for a background or something? There are two things you must remember when using this. 1. you can make the height pretty much any length, but the width should stay at 100 or less might be better. Number 2. If you want to save the gradient image from the preview section, this does work. However, when you save it make sure you save it with the right extension. It defaults to try to save as gradient.php… that probably won’t help you. So save it as gradient.png or gradient.jpg.
  3. Also see three other posts about getting/editing graphics for websites and social network sites: WebSite Graphics, Ultimate Collection of Free Stock Photo Sites, Fun with Photos

Miscellaneous Website Tools

  1. Convert Your Spreadsheets into HTML Tables. I don’t really love using tables, but I have found them to be handy in some cases.
  2. Convert Your Web Page into a PDF

SEO

What’s the point in having a great site with great content if you can’t get found? I’ve shared 70+ very good SEO tools and tips in this blog. Here are the links to those articles about the tools I’ve been using.

  1. Tag Clutter – 2-14-2011 Don’t overload your posts or pages with keywords and phrases.
  2. Optimize Webpage Response Time – 12-13-2010
  3. 4 SEO Rules that Are Here to Stay – 11-29-2010
  4. 15 Easy Free DoFollow Backlinks to Your Website – 10-18-2010
  5. Website Backlink Popularity Tools – 3-1-2010
  6. Google PageRank – 2-23-2010
  7. How is Your Business Measuring Up? – 2-22-2010 <- I should have titled this how is your website and social media network measuring up.
  8. Use Social Bookmarks to Your Business Site’s Advantage – 2-8-2010
  9. Domain Life Expectancy – 8-9-2009
  10. FREE Inbound Link Checkers – 2-4-2009
  11. SEO Power Tools – 7-14-2009, updated August 6, 2010

Hmm, I think I should go ahead and change my SEO tag into a subcategory of website tips. It’s definitely something I’ve written extensively about.

User-Friendliness: 5 Basic Website Rules

A couple of weeks ago I started talking about good navigation and promised to write about making sure that your websites and blog sites are user friendly.

This study is of Human Computer Interactions (HCI).

So, here is a break down of the 5 most basic (and too often ignored) rules to building a user-friendly website.

1. Find the Perfect Color Scheme

Readability is key for all content on your website. If you chose to use dark fonts with dark backgrounds or light fonts with light backgrounds, then you are breaking a cardinal rule.

Of course, you know what your article says, but you don’t want your visitors to have to highlight your text just to be able to read it do you?

You always want it to be as easy as possible for your visitors to find and read more.

It is best to choose monochromatic (different shades of the same) color schemes. Just ask Apple or Microsoft.

If you already have more than one color, make sure that they go well together. Use a color wheel, or try this web tool if you have the html color code for a color to find it’s complementary colors.

2. Show Em What You’ve Got

The first thing anyone should be able to find when they get to your homepage is a “list” of what else they’re going to find on your site. Make sure that you have a navigation bar at the top or page list on your sidebar pointing to your main web pages or categories.

Gray Area: I’ve heard mixed reviews about placing the navigation bar above the logo vs. below the logo. I read somewhere once that most people don’t read any of the content above the logo. And yet many many websites (including Google) place their menu bars at the very top.

3. Have Attention Grabbing Subscribe / Submit Buttons

Orange buttons are definitely “in” right now. If you see a request for information form on a well-designed website, many of them are changing their “Submit”, “Check it Out!”, and “Download” buttons to orange.

I’ve always considered the color orange a very cheerful color. According to many sources, the color orange increases your metabolism (which gives you an energetic feeling) and activates some kind of social center part of the brain.

4. Don’t Make Everything an Emergency

YOU’VE SEEN IT. WEBSITES WILL HAVE PAGES FULL OF CONTENT IN ALL CAPS BECAUSE THEY ARE TRYING TO GET YOUR ATTENTION! DID YOU KNOW THAT IT IS MORE DIFFICULT FOR A PERSON TO READ A MESSAGE THAT HAS BEEN TYPED OUT IN ALL UPPERCASE?

Just follow the most basic rules for using capital letters. They are to be used for acronyms, the first letter of a proper noun, and the first letter of the first word in a sentence.

Just because you can hard-code this css code: “text-transform: uppercase; ” into your stylesheet doesn’t mean that you should.

Gray Area: Some higher profile websites do use all capital letters for navigation menus (e.g. – msn) and section headers (e.g. Yahoo!). Use this sparingly. You probably don’t want to have all nav menu items in caps and all section headers in caps. Maybe just use one or the other.

5. Don’t Have Broken Links

This one can be very difficult especially for those of us who have gobs of content or people who comment with links attached to their name etc. This one is important for your human visitors and your search engine spiders that crawl your site to index content. I wrote a lot of good information about finding and fixing broken links in my article called: 4 SEO Rules That Are Here to Stay.

Moving WordPress Content

WordPress couldn’t really make moving content much easier. These are the instructions for importing and exporting WordPress blogs (or sections of blogs) from one location to another. Click on any image to see enlarged.

1. Export your old blog. Login to the Dashboard. Go to “Tools” (on the left), and then “Export”.

2. Decide which content you wish to export. (You can see in this photo I chose all of the posts that were written by me for now.) Then press the “Download Export File” button. Pay attention to where you save the file.

3. Import content to your new blog. Login to the Dashboard. Go to “Tools” (on the left), and then “Import”. Choose “WordPress”.

4. Click browse and find the exported file from your old blog. It should be a .xml. Then press the “Update file and import” button.

5. Then you have to choose a user to be the “author” of this content. I chose myself. Remember to check the “Download and import all attachments” if you have a lot of pictures and stuff.

(For some reason, I had to import this twice in order for it to download my pics and stuff.)

Are Poor Conditions Slowing Down Your Web Traffic?

Winter storms and icy roads have been causing quite a slow down in traffic here in Indianapolis. It is definitely December and this is the time of year when everyone seems to do their own sort of hibernating. Don’t they?

I cannot believe that next Monday is the LAST MONDAY before Christmas!!! :) I will get back to continuing the discussion of holiday wishes with you next week. However, this week I really needed to write about slow traffic. . . web site traffic that is.

I am really noticing page loading speed more lately because I have been cleaning up darkbluesun.com and struggling with my page loading speeds. GoDaddy is a decent host at times. Yet, some days I have had nothing but problems due to how slowly WordPress runs (probably due to how long takes to connect to the Godaddy server “grid” and retrieve info from the MySQL database service needed to run WordPress).

Page Load Speed Checkers

Here is a webpage load speed test from Pingdom Tools that you can use to see about where your site stands and get a good overview of all of the files that are actually being loaded by your visitor’s browser.

Google also has a collection of page speed tools.

Also check out this post which includes 3 steps to Optimize Web Page Response Time (a 4th step for me might be choosing a new hosting provider. ;) )

Have a spectacular week! Remember the reason for this season. It’s about peace and goodwill toward everyone.

You have the power to be a holiday blessing to somebody…
Think about it.