Ah, the elusive stock photo. Well, stock photos aren’t elusive. But awesome ones that you haven’t already seen 10000 times can be. I’ve managed to find a few go-to sites where I find almost all of my photos. Here are 10 places to find stock photos for your blog.
I’m a sucker for a good girly/styled stock photo. Put some pearls on a gold Macbook and I’m there. But even if your needs are a little more advanced than mine, these sites will have you covered.
10 Places to Find Stock Photos For Your Blog
Bloguettes is my absolute favorite. I love almost every one of their pics and I use them constantly. And they’re not too overused!
Love Haute Chocolate. You see her stuff everywhere, but it’s because it’s that good.
Pink Pot (aka Creative Convex) has fabulous girly stock photos. And you can get big bundles, too!
Creative Market is full of stock photos. Pretty much whatever you want, you could find there.
Same goes for Etsy. People put fabulous stuff up there.
Pixabay is my favorite free source for stock pics. Yes, some are way over used, and yes, some are terrible. But I’ve also gotten some really good ones there too!
Unsplash is another great free source of pics.
Same goes for Kaboom Pics. All free!
Wonderfelle has great girly styled stock pics, and I don’t see them in too many places. Score!
SC Stock Shop
More great girly pics from SC Stock Shop!
If you’re looking to add a printable (aka a “content upgrade” or a “lead magnet”) to your blog post, then look no further. This is how to do it. And with this method, you get to ask for someone’s email before they get the printable. More email subscribers for you! This is how to add printables to a blog post.
How to Add Printables to a Blog Post
Note: This post contains affiliate links. There is no extra cost to you for this.
Make Your Printable
First, you need to make your printable, of course. There are tons of ways to do this. You can use Photoshop or In Design if you’ve got the skills. I use a tool called Beacon for mine. Some people use Canva (which I love and use for all my graphics). Whatever you’re using, make sure that it looks good and is filled with value!
Set Up Your Email Provider
Next, you need to set up your email provider to deliver your content upgrade automatically. I use ConvertKit for this and it is SO easy! Just create a form for your sign-up (you don’t actually have to use their form, just create it) and then upload the PDF. That’s it! It takes about 60 seconds.
Make a Leadbox
Here’s the good part. Make a “Leadbox” with Leadpages. A Leadbox is a pop-up that is connected to a button. The button can be inserted into the blog post (more on that below), and when someone clicks it the pop-up comes up, telling them that if they enter their email, they’ll get your printable. You can hook your Leadbox up with ConvertKit, so when they enter their email, ConvertKit automatically sends them the printable! Magic!
Here’s my “How to Get 1000 Followers on Instagram” guide as an example. Click the button to see it in action. Get your guide!
See? Pretty cool.
Creating a Leadbox is really easy in Leadpages. You just click create, and then customize your box with the colors and text that you want, set up your ConvertKit integration, and you’re good to go. Honestly, it takes maybe two minutes.
Insert Your Leadbox Into Your Blog Post
All that’s left to do is insert your Leadbox into your blog post. To do this, Leadpages gives you an HTML code. Just copy it exactly as it appears in Leadpages, and come back to your blog post. Then go into “Text” mode (instead of “Visual” mode where you usually type your post, and just paste the code wherever you want your button to appear.
That’s it! Easy! Now you’ve got a printable content upgrade in your post, and people will hand over their emails to get it! Good stuff!
Raise your hand if you want a better Instagram. I mean, yes please, right? You could go out and learn how to be an amazing photographer. But if you’re like me, you lack those skills. Luckily, these apps and sites are here to save the day. This is what I use to make awesome pictures and graphics, and to track and plan my feed. Start using these and you’re on your way to a better Instagram!
You can read my last post on How to Get 1000 Instagram Followers right here (with a free guide!). But for now, let’s talk tools.
12 Tools For a Better Instagram
Iconosquare is the ultimate Instagram analytics tool. It tracks basically everything (except followers, which it recently stopped doing because of Instagram policies. Boo). But it does track your follower counts, how much you post, your engagement rate, the best time for you to post…all that good stuff. It’s super useful and I use it pretty much every day.
Planoly allows you to plan and schedule your posts ahead of time (it also has some analytics, but I use Iconosquare for that). You can insert photos into your planned feed to see how they’ll look with your already posted photos. It’s pretty neat, and makes for a much more cohesive feed, especially if you’re like me and need to actually see that kind of thing on the screen before you can visualize it.
I’m a little obsessed with Word Swag. It allows you to put quotes into pretty fonts and onto pretty backgrounds. It’s just really fun. You can use your own quotes, or ones that it’ll suggest for you, and you can use your own photos or a choice of stock photos that it has. Love it.
A Color Story
A Color Story is my favorite photo editing app. The filters are just awesome, you can create some really funky looks and add lots of color and light, which is my thing on Insta. Or you can not make everything hot pink and bright and make actually good photos. But I like the crazy filters the best. Seriously, though, use it.
Oh, Canva. I’ve written about Canva before. I use Canva for all my graphics and I love it. It’s SO easy to use, it’s saved my life many a time. I truly don’t know what I’d do without it. Cheers to Canva.
VSCO is another photo editing and filtering app. It’s very popular, and has some really good filters. I use it more for editing and leave the filters to A Color Story, personally, but lots of people use it for everything.
Afterlight is yet another app, similar to VSCO. I mention all these because small changes can really make a whole different photo. So you might like the filters in VSCO but the clarity feature in Afterlight (that’s what I love in Afterlight). I frequently use two or three apps on one photo before I post.
Ok, one more editing app. Facetune is awesome because it can fix tiny little details like making your cat’s eyes brighter (or cooler things than that). I use it for the little stuff.
Layout is an app to make those collages that you always see. There are about 1000 apps that do this, and they all pretty much do the same thing. But, I like Layout because it’s the official app from Instagram.
Quik is Go Pro’s super cool video editing app. You can put photos and videos together really easily, add music and transitions and you have yourself a nice little video montage. It’s not made to make 2 hour movies, but for a 60 second Instagram video, I love it.
Boomerang makes those likee 4 second videos you see of like an ocean wave going in and out or a kid waving. That’s all it does. 4 second videos that go back and forth and back and forth. But if you need that in your life (like I do), then Boomerang is where it’s at. Also an official Instagram app.
Finally, we’ve got Over. Over is kind of like Word Swag, but it also has a built in library of tons of cool quotes and words on funky backgrounds. So if you don’t feel like coming up with your own brilliant quote, go for Over.
So, these are tools you can use for a better Instagram. I know my feed has gotten way better (and I’ve gotten way more followers) since I started using this stuff. Try it and let me know how it goes!
And don’t forget to check out How to Get 1000 Instagram Followers and pick up your free guide!
Pinterest can be a major source of traffic for your blog. But you absolutely must set it up correctly. And a big part of this is using keywords on Pinterest. Using keywords on Pinterest is crucial because Pinterest essentially acts like a search engine, and it uses keywords in order to find your pins and show them to other people. It’s how your pins get out there into the world. Using keywords on Pinterest can be total make or break for your Pinterest success.
But never fear. I’m here with a guide to get your keyword action going! And if you’re looking for even more Pinterest knowledge, I’ve got you covered in Pinterest Pop! Check it out right now!
Using Keywords on Pinterest
Where to find keywords
You may be asking where to find these magical keywords. Two ways. First, just use common sense. Obviously for me, things like “blog, blogging, social media, SEO, Pinterest, Instagram…” are all going to be keywords. Yours will, of course, be totally different depending on your niche. But some are obvious. But beyond that, Pinterest itself has a great way for you to find keywords. Just go to the search bar at the top of the screen, and type in one of your big keywords. Pinterest will then come up with a whole list of other suggested words for you. These are words that other people are commonly searching along with your word. Voila, keywords!
The first place you should think about using keywords is your profile name and description. Yes, even your name can have keywords in it! My “name” on Pinterest is “Blogs by Becca | Blog + Biz for Beginners.” “Blog,” “Biz,” and “Beginners” are all keywords for me. Aside from your name, you also want to get some keywords into your profile description. Mine says: “Helping beginners become bloggers. Blog, social media, and biz tips and ideas for beginner bloggers. Free Blog Bootcamp: http://bit.ly/2gxdAXO.” The bold words are all keywords for me. It’s still in plain English, but I managed to fit a lot of keywords in there. I want someone searching for something like “beginner blogger” to have my profile pop up. That’s the whole point.
Your Board Descriptions
The next place you want to have keywords are your board titles and descriptions. Your board titles should have simple, easy to understand titles with keywords. It’s tempting to make board titles pretty and cute (believe me, I’m tempted), but don’t do it. Use your keywords and make it obvious to the reader what the board is about. So not “~~Pretty Things~~.” But “Best Home Decor and Design.”
You also need keywords in your board descriptions. Use the same method outlined above to find these. You get 500 characters for a board description. You don’t need to use all 500 (though you can if you want). Some people use full sentences to describe their boards, others just list keywords. I’m in the second camp on that one. But either way, make sure you’re using lots of keywords. For example, my “Pinterest Tips + Tricks” board says “Pinterest Tips Tricks Tutorials Ideas Organizing Pins Pinning Social Media Photos Pictures Captions Descriptions Keywords Growing Followers Business Blog Blogging Blogger Promote Market Money DIY Craft Recipe Food Fashion Style Beauty Quotes Boards Help Hacks.”
Your Pin Descriptions
Finally, your pin descriptions need to use keywords. You’re not going to rewrite the description of other people’s content. That would take forever. But YOUR pins need to have fabulous keyword-heavy descriptions. I usually put the title of the blog post (which has keywords on it), followed by a “fan description,” followed by another sentence describing the pin with more keywords.” So my description for this post will probably be something like “Pinterest for Business: How to Use Keywords on Pinterest. Love these tips and tricks!! Great social media ideas for beginner bloggers!”
As an aside, make sure that you are using the “Alt Text” field to enter your pin descriptions when you insert the image into your blog post. This ensures that that image will have that exact description every time it gets pinned by anyone, not just you. You want other people pinning it to be using your awesome description too, right?
So that, my friends, is why you need to be using keywords on Pinterest. And that’s how to do it. It’ll take you a little more time, but it’ll be highly worth it when people can find, repin, and click your pins! Happy pinning!
If you’re still looking for Pinterest help, I’ve got you covered. I cover keywords and a whoooole lot more over in Pinterest Pop. Check it out!
Growing your blog is a big topic. And I don’t just mean making money. I mean getting traffic, getting followers, and getting an email list. It’s all important to blog growth (and to monetizing, if that’s what you eventually want to do). It’s not easy, but here are 12 ways to grow your blog.
11 Ways to Grow Your Blog
Note: This post contains affiliate links. That means that if you purchase through an affiliate link, I receive a small commission. There is zero extra cost to you for this.
Network in Facebook groups
I can attest that there are a million blogger Facebook groups out there (I’m probably in half of them). I only actively participate in a handful, but they can be super, super useful. You can share your links (if it’s allowed) and meet other bloggers in your niche. And get your questions answered. Facebook groups are a great way to do all of that.
If you’re looking for a new group to join, check out my group, Blog Boss Babes!
Use social share buttons
You should definitely have social share buttons on your blog. I have them on the lefthand side and above and below each post. This ensures that it just takes one click for someone to share your post to Twitter, Pinterest, or whatever. Obviously you want your post to be shared as many times as possible, so make it as easy as possible. SumoMe and Social Warfare are my favorite for this.
Use social follow buttons
Just like you should have social share buttons, you also need social follow buttons. This means that it just takes one click for someone to follow you on Facebook or Instagram. I use Simple Social Icons for this (and it’s free!).
And hey, here’s my shameless plug to follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest!
Automate your social media
I just did a whole post on social media automation right here, so I’ll let you read the details there. But the short version is: Meet Edgar and Board Booster rock my socks and save me approximately 25 hours a day.
Use the Milo Tree pop-up
I just discovered this one recently, and I love it. Milo Tree is a small pop-up that comes up in the righthand bottom corner of the screen when you enter. And it asks the reader to follow you on one of the social networks, or to enter their email. I use it for Pinterest follows, but you could use it for other networks as well. I like it because it’s small and unobtrusive, but still gets the job done.
Schedule your content
With some exceptions, I generally schedule all of my content ahead of time. I know what I’ll be posting on the blog for the next few weeks. It helps me stay on schedule and it means that I have time to properly plan each post. Good content = growth.
Use Yoast SEO and proper keyword locations
SEO (search engine optimization) is crucial for blog growth. If Google doesn’t like your blog, it’ll bury it. People teach entire courses on it (and I’m not one of those people). But I do use the Yoast SEO plugin, which is a lifesaver. It tells you exactly what to do to improve your SEO on every post, in real time. I’m using it right now. It’s free. So get it.
Run a giveaway
My last giveaway added almost 1100 people to my list. For real, that’s pretty crazy. And it’s not like I was giving away a free car. The package was worth around $200. Tldr: Giveaways are the fastest way to grow your list. I use the King Sumo app and love it. It creates a viral giveaway, meaning that everyone gets a unique link, and if they are it on Twitter and someone else enters through their link, they get extra entries. People love it.
Here’s the link to my current giveaway so you can see it in action.
Utilize content upgrades
Put content upgrades in every blog post. People like free stuff. You have to give people value in exchange for their email address. Never forget that. Make (good) content upgrades and you’ll keep people coming back for more. I use Beacon to create mine, which I love.
What a coincidence, I’ve got a content upgrade for you! You can download the How to Get 1000 Followers on Instagram Guide right here. Get your guide! Smiley face.
Start an email course or challenge
Running a free email course/challenge is a great way to grow your list and to show your own expertise in your niche. My current main email course, Blog Boom Bootcamp, has been great for my list. If you have something like ConvertKit, it’s SO easy to run an email course, too. Writing the content takes time, of course, but after that it takes about 5 minutes to set up in ConvertKit and then you never have to touch it again.
Get serious about Pinterest
Last, but very certainly not least, if you want to grow your blog, you should get real about Pinterest. Pinterest can bring crazy traffic to your blog. But you must, must, must use it correctly. Otherwise it’ll do basically nothing. I’ve got a long post on it here, and a way more in-depth explanation in my course, Pinterest Pop. Check those out if you haven’t gotten on the Pinterest train yet. You won’t regret it.
How to Get 1000 Followers on Instagram…Instagram is hard work. I used to think that Pinterest was the hardest of the networks. But I figured that one out (and you can check out my Pinterest course, Pinterest Pop, right here!). So now, Instagram takes the lead as the hardest network. After having an account that was stagnant at 500 followers for almost a month, I finally decided to sit down, figure it out, and up my game. And I went from 501 followers to 1000 followers in under a week.
I did not use the spammy follow/unfollow technique, and I definitely did not use any of those ultra-spammy “tools” to get followers.
So what did I do? You can get the full details in the Instagram Guide right here: Get your guide!
How to Get Your Next 1000 Followers on Instagram
Plan a cohesive feed
I recently started using Planoly to map out my feed ahead of time…and I’m so glad that I did. Planoly allows you to put pictures in (without actually posting) so that you can see what your feed will look like. You can then schedule them from there. That grid of 9 is super important. It’s what people see when they click on your profile and decide whether to follow you. You want it to be cohesive, on-brand, and pleasing to the eye. Planoly has been great for this. (Note: This section contains affiliate links.).
Edit your photos
Don’t just use the Instagram filters (in fact, don’t use them at all). Use one or more good apps to edit and filter your photos. I usually use two or three apps to do different things. I recommend A Color Story (my favorite!), Afterlight, VSCO, Facetune, and Snapseed. You can completely change your photo with good editing. And I am by no means a photographer. I know almost nothing about it. But if I play around enough, I can get a good look for my photo.
Engage with the people that engage with you
When people comment on your photos, make sure to comment back. Instagram loves engagement. And it may get you more followers.
Engage with others
Engage on other people’s photos. Go down your feed, or look through a certain hashtag, and like and comment on other people’s photos. Don’t just leave a comment saying “Love it!” Leave something more substantive that shows that it’s actually you, not a spambot. This can get you more followers, and again, Instagram loves engagement.
Click right here to get your free How to Get 1000 Followers on Instagram Guide! Get your guide!
Do your hashtag research
Proper hashtags are 100% key on Instagram. You get up to 30, and I say use all 30 (though I only put a few in my caption and then the rest in the first comment). Avoid huge hashtags with millions of hits. You’ll just get buried. I like hashtags with 300,000 or under, give or take. You stand a better chance of getting seen. Use a variety of different tags that describe your photo and your general topic area.
Don’t go days without posting. Most people say to post 1-3 times per day. I’ve actually been posting more than that on some days. But don’t go crazy with it. You don’t need 20 posts a day. It’s not Twitter.
Follow the right people
Don’t be afraid to follow people. Follow people in your niche, with good feeds that you actually want to look at. There will be plenty of these people. Don’t just follow everyone who comments on a photo. But do look at their profiles and see if they’re a good follow. Follow some big brands, and bloggers big and small.
Don’t follow too many people
Just don’t go crazy with the follows. It looks weird if you’ve got 500 followers and 5000 follows. I try to keep it within 100-ish. I unfollow people whose photos I don’t like (regardless of whether they follow me).
Craft a good profile
Put a good profile together. Use a nice profile picture of your face. Describe what you do in your profile. And include a call to action to click on your link. You can change your link to be your latest blog post, or whatever you want. It doesn’t always have to be your homepage.
Figure out the best times to post
Use a tool like Iconosquare to figure out the best times to post. All times are not created equal.
That’s it. That’s what I’ve been doing. No magic and no spam. Just quality and engagement. Try it out and let me know how it goes!
Click right here to get your free How to Get 1000 Followers on Instagram Guide! Get your guide!