Sunday, December 27, 2015

5 Favorite Websites for FREE Stock Photos

5 Best of the Best FREE Stock Photo Sites | Sarah Smirks:  The Marketing Mama Blog


When I first started blogging, one thing I struggled with was high quality graphics and photos.  At first, because my blog was more of a journal than anything else, I used my own, personal photos - which looked like shit.  No one wants to see my blurry cell phone pictures of my insane life except my sister in law.  When I narrowed my focus, I decided that the simplest solution to my photo problem was stock photos.  Over the years, free stock photos have been popping up left and right and it is helping bloggers and marketers make their sites look WAY more polished.  So, why not take advantage?  Here are my five favorite free stock photo sites

1)  Pexels - Pexels.com has so many high quality photos that you probably don't need to go anywhere else.  I find 99% of my photos right here.

2)  Kaboompics - Kaboompics has hundreds of royalty free photos to choose from.  They are high quality and come in a variety of subjects.

3)  Stocka.co  - Stocka is relatively new, but has a decent number of stock photos to choose from.  They are professional, by professional photographers, and royalty free.

4)  Gratisography - These photos are all taken by the same photography and are beautiful.  They're perfect if you're looking for a cohesive look for your site.

5)  Start-up Stock Photos - This site is great for business bloggers or small businesses.  All of the pictures are work related - chick on a computer, a Macbook, coffee on a desk, the kind of photography you see on this site.

What are your favorite stock photo sites?

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Road to 10,000: Monthly Blogging Updates and Strategy, Month 5

Road to 10,000:  Monthly Blogging Updates and Strategy, Month 5 | Sarah Smirks:  The Marketing Mama Blog (www.sarahsmirks.com)


Hello, lovelies!  I am currently typing this with puffy, swollen fingers from being the hot glue queen while crafting with my boy.  I built him a Quiet Book that has rendered my fingers nearly useless.  You're all lucky I love you and will type through the pain!  See some quiet book tutorials here, here, and here.  Trust me when I say, my Quiet Book is not making the blog cut....

Catch up on my last Road to 10k here.

Website


So, I have quite a bit of updating for you!  Let's first check out my website analytics from November 2015.

In November 2015, I had 2,036 sessions and 2,801 page views.  I averaged 509 sessions per week.  I ain't mad at it considering I have scaled back to a post a week for awhile.

Road to 10,000:  Monthly Blogging Updates and Strategy, Month 5 | Sarah Smirks:  The Marketing Mama Blog (www.sarahsmirks.com)


My bounce rate was 81%, which is EFFIN sad.  There is no reason anyone should have a bounce rate so high.  I'll tell you why mine is looking so pathetic -- no links.  I have been forgetting lately to add links to related posts..so, basically, I'm not sending my reader anywhere but out of my blog.  Not so smart.

Where did my traffic come from?  Mostly social.  My biggest driver of traffic was Pinterest (42% of my traffic!).  If you want some tips and tricks on Pinterest check out my post on automating Pinterest and this one on building your Pinterest audience.  The next highest were direct and Twitter.  I haven't been too involved in Facebook groups lately, which is usually a pretty big driver of traffic.  I haven't been focusing on it, not because it isn't a great traffic source, but because I just don't always feel like being social (media), and I just haven't been feeling it lately.

Road to 10,000:  Monthly Blogging Updates and Strategy, Month 5 | Sarah Smirks:  The Marketing Mama Blog (www.sarahsmirks.com)


My top posts were:

5 Articles on Instagram Branding that Helped Me Grow 500 Followers in 2 Weeks

How to Automate Pinning Your Blog Posts to Pinterest

Finding Your Instagram Groove Through Instagram Branding

Website Goals:

  • For December, I'm going to be really realistic and say my goal is to maintain my current number of sessions, but decrease my bounce rate.  December is a slow time for all websites that are not retail related, so, let's be real, I ain't gaining traffic!
  • I plan on adding 3 blog posts this month - 2 blog/marketing related and one working mom related --> look forward to an ALL MOMPRENEUR gift guide next week.

Social Media


Twitter


On Twitter, I have 2,963 followers - damn close to 3k, but not quite there.  You can see from my profile screenshot below that I have updated my profile to add emoticons.  I also have a standard header and profile picture as well as a call to action on all of my profiles.

Road to 10,000:  Monthly Blogging Updates and Strategy, Month 5 | Sarah Smirks:  The Marketing Mama Blog (www.sarahsmirks.com)

Twitter Goal:  Get to 3,000 followers!

Pinterest

I currently have 518 followers (not bad, considering I haven't physically been on my work account in 2 months), and 2.5k pins.  I automate everything and have pins pinned and a blog campaign running on this account which is working pretty well!  You can find links to my Pinterest strategy above ^^.

Road to 10,000:  Monthly Blogging Updates and Strategy, Month 5 | Sarah Smirks:  The Marketing Mama Blog (www.sarahsmirks.com)



Pinterest Goal:  I'd like to reach 550 followers on Pinterest in December.

Instagram


Instagram has been unstoppable.  Now, that I understand how to grow my account, it is just a matter of keeping up with it.  I am currently at 1,675 followers on Instagram and usually get between 50-100 likes a picture.  Not bad, considering it's a relatively new account.  You can learn more about my strategy here.

Road to 10,000:  Monthly Blogging Updates and Strategy, Month 5 | Sarah Smirks:  The Marketing Mama Blog (www.sarahsmirks.com)

Instagram Goal:  I would like to keep up with my one picture a day goal (which I haven't been keeping up with lately) and grow to 1,800 followers.

What are your blogging goals for December?





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