How to Find and Legally Use Photography for your WordPress Site

One of the more tricky aspects of using WordPress has nothing to do with the software itself, but trying to find a  good image to use as a visual anchor for your posts.

Adding an image to your posts is a great way to draw attention to an article and really make your writing stand out.

Not everyone has a large budget or the skills of photography to find a perfect photo for every post. Personally, even if I had both, I wouldn’t have the time to go out and shoot the specific image I needed.

The biggest boon to finding suitable photography is Creative Commons. Simply put, Creative Commons is a way for artists to preemptively declare licensing for their work. You can license your work under various versions of Creative Commons licenses and folks can use them accordingly without having to pre-negotiate terms.

Most of the time (remember, I am not a lawyer) you can use photos with a Creative Commons license for your work without having to contact the original artist. The catch, which isn’t insane to expect, is that you have to provide proper attribution to the author for their work. Basically, you have to give credit to the original artist.

My favorite solution to find Creative Common licensed photography is Flickr.

Why Flickr? The library is rich, hundreds of thousands of photos, and incredibly diverse, with Flickr users coming from all walks of life from around the world.

They were also one of the first photo sharing services to enable folks to license their photos under Creative Commons. You can search across all of Flickr, and using the Advanced Search Feature, filter to just show photos with a Creative Common license. Here’s an example search for “puppy dogs“.

Flickr Advanced Search

You can easily see the license for any photo on Flickr in the photo sidebar.

flickr-cc-license

Then, when using the photo, you can add something like this in your post (under the photo, in the post meta tags, or at the bottom):

Photo by Steve Wall –  licensed under Creative Commons

I hope this is a helpful introduction to Creative Commons and finding strong photos for your posts. If you have more ideas, suggestions, or feedback, please leave a note below.

P. S. There are  many more collections and options that have been talked about else ware on the web. Two other useful articles are this one from demosthenes.info and another from Dustin Senos on Medium.

Photo by Steve Wall –  licensed under Creative Commons

Don’t Hide Your WordPress Love

I was reading this thread on reddit the other day which asked the question, “Why do people hide the fact that they use WordPress as their sites backend/framework?”

There’s some prettying interesting conversation there, but one comment stood out. It was from a design firm in Kingston, NY called Catskill Design. They put together a blog post answering the age old question, “If WordPress is so easy, why don’t I just buy a theme and do it myself?”.

I’ll let you read it yourself, but the conversation around hiring someone vs. doing it yourself seems to pop up in the community from time to time. A a business owner or writer just starting out WordPress can seem quite daunting.

I think hiring vs. doing-it-yourself depends on how much time you want to spend learning the ecosystem around WordPress and web technology in general. If you’d rather focus on your business, then hire someone. If you have the time and attention, then dig in. The important thing is to use what you learn to better yourself and your business.

Like my dad use to say, “If it costs $100 for someone to fix your car, you’re paying $1 to turn the bolt and $99 to know which is the right bolt to turn.” Of course my dad also said, “It’s important to know how to take care of your own car.”

Parents are confusing.

Photo by Adriano Gasparri – licensed under Creative Commons

Facebook ≠ a Website

I’ve worked with a few clients that have a well established social media presence with Facebook who would ask, “Why do I need my own website? We already communicate and engage with our audience with Facebook.”

My counter, more often than not, is that you don’t control Facebook and are beholden to their whims when it comes to the experience of interacting with your business. If they want to change the way your page looks or works, they will do so for their benefit, not yours. Now, most times these changes are aligned as Facebook wants people to use their service, but recently there’s been some concern over how Facebook is handling the reach of pages.

From an article on PetaPixel regarding the decline in reach with Facebook pages:

“Back in December, the company acknowledged that the reach per post — in other words, how many of your followers see your post in their News Feeds — has declined. Various studies have confirmed this, one showing a drop in reach from 12% of all followers to 6% over the course of 4 months. And, another blog is reporting that reach will decline to just 1% of your total followers eventually.”

While you might have an active and growing population of ‘likes’, it doesn’t mean that you are actually reaching all of those fans. Do you know what you could do to ensure all of your content is reaching your audience?

Start your own website. 🙂

(via PetaPixel)

Upcoming WordCamps near St. Louis

We just had our annual WordCamp here in St. Louis in March, but wanted to share with you a few upcoming WordCamps in nearby cities. These are great opportunities to learn more about WordPress, meet new people, and become more engaged in a great community (yeah, we’re a little biased).

This is just a short list, to see all upcoming WordCamps from around the county – and the world – visit WordCamp.org. Are you going to an upcoming WordCamp? Please let us know and we’d love to have you write about your experiences here on stlwp.org!

Three quick WordPress Tips

Everyone loves a good list of tips. These are a few of my favorite, but feel free to sound off in the comments with your own.

1. Access the Admin with /admin – You don’t have to navigate to yoursite.com/wp-admin to login. You can just point to your site.com/admin or my favorite and especially easy to remember your site.com/login

2. Command + K – What sounds like a funky European DJ is actually a recent update to the Visual Editor. When you want to add a link while writing, highlight your text and hit command + K to bring up the insert/edit link dialog box. Windows folks can use ctrl +K.

3. Turn off Comments for Pages – Nothing looks weirder than having a relatively static page (like the About or Contact pages) with random and ancient comments. Turn off comments for these sort of pages and funnel that dialog to posts, email, contact forms, or social media.

WordPress Multisite Infinite Redirect Loop After Updating to 3.9

If you use WordPress Multisite and have it setup to use subdomains, you may want to want to have a look at this article before updating to WordPress 3.9: http://www.webhostinghero.com/wp-multisite-stuck-in-redirect-loop/

It talks about how to fix the infinite redirect loop some users experienced after updating their instance of WordPress to 3.9.

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