Best Websites to Download Free Stock Images for Commercial Use (Updated 2019)

We judge the quality of the site, based on the quality of the images.

Images are important.
When we visit a website, we see the images first and judge the quality of the website even before we read the article.

It’s not our fault. It’s just how our brain works.

Our brain loves to use various senses to receive information. Survey says that 94 percent of content with visuals get more views than textual content. And it happens very quickly. As research says, the brain can identify images seen for as little as 13 milliseconds.

So, we open the site; scan the images in a blink of eyes; and judge the quality of the site based on the quality of the images and design.

In that sense, I agree with Vistaprint’s article. It says, “High-quality images allow viewers to make an educated decision about the value of your site. You spend hours poring over the content of your website, why wouldn’t you apply the same considerations to your images?”

Paid Stock Photos vs. Free Stock Photos

To improve the quality of images, experts suggest paying for premium stock photos. I used to do that. And I’m still doing it if I need to. Yet, purchasing images for each post and page is quite expensive.

Luckily, while web designing, I found many resources where I can download high-quality images for free. Many professional or amateur photographers are sharing their arts for free. I appreciate their inspiring work and contribution.

Among these resources, let me share my selections with you.

Copyright:

Photographers put lots of efforts to capture the right scenes. They deserved to be rewarded.

You may think that you can find any images on Google and use them. But, Google warns you that those “Images may be subject to copyright”. If you happen to use copyrighted images that belong to digital agencies on your website, you may face serious legal troubles. I’ve heard of several cases.

Don’t worry. All images that I’m introducing here have public domain equivalent license. They are copyright-free photography and you can use them for personal and commercial purposes. But, there are certain restrictions which sound like common sense to me. If you want to know more about it, please check this article.

Best Websites to Download Free Stock Images for Commercial Use (Updated 2019)

I update this article because I’ve found a few more resources since posting the first article.

1. Unsplash

Still, my favorite site is Unsplash. When you search “Hawaii” or “Kauai” in Unsplash, you will find amazing photos about Hawaii or Kauai. (Click to see)

It’s also the most famous site for web designers and web developers. They use photos from Unsplash when they make a sample website.

According to Wikipedia, Unsplash has been cited as one of the world’s leading photography websites by Forbes, Entrepreneur Magazine, CNET, Medium and The Next Web.

My banner image for this article is made of Unsplash’s images.

2. Pixabay

For the last few months, I’ve used several images from Pixabay. It has stunning images of nature. with the highest quality.

You can find the highest quality images in Pixabay. Especially their wallpaper images are stunning. Even you can find free 4K videos.

Also, check out: Morning Images, Nature Images, 4K Videos

Sample 4K Video
from Pixabay

  • In mobile device, the video will not be played.

3. Rawpixel

If you’re looking for the images with specific concepts, then try rawpixel.com. You can find many creative images and vectors to fit your needs. You can re-design and tweak as you desire. I found this site recently and love it.

You need to open your account to download images from Rawpixel. It just takes 30 seconds to open it. You can choose a free plan which allows you to download up to 100 images per month from their free collection.

These are sample free images from Rawpixel.

Hawaii Web Desgin Download Free Stock Images for Commercial Use

4. Canva

Canva is for social media and blog posts. They have various ready-made templates which you can use for all kinds of social media platforms. You can choose a template and change images and texts. It’s very convenient to use.

You can use basic images in your free plan. If you want to use high-quality images, you can purchase them. Visit Canva.

BEST WEBSITES TO DOWNLOAD FREE STOCK IMAGES

A sample image designed with Canva

5. Last but not least

I introduced my favorite sites to download free stock images for commercial use. There are more sites that you can find the images on. Check these sites and select your own favorites.

https://foter.com/
https://www.pexels.com/
https://www.splitshire.com/
https://burst.shopify.com/
https://freephotos.cc/

 

The efforts of anonymous contributors have developed our internet.

For instance, we’re now sharing our knowledge on Wikipedia, local information on Google Maps, and our artistic talents on Unsplash. We are building a collective database that anybody can access through the internet.

These free stock images are another benefit that we can get from our collective database. The best way to show our appreciation is making the most use of them and sharing the benefits with more people. It’s like paying it forward.

I hope these resources help you to share your knowledge, talents, and inspiration with more people.

Mahalo nui.

* We wrote this article to support our Hawaii Web Design service.

Yamaha Marine Kauai

Yamaha Marine Kauai Website

Yamaha Marine Kauai Website

Background Story

* Its original Wix website was shut down when the owner contacted us and asked help. We did our best to recover the original site. But as he didn’t have login information and couldn’t reach the original web designer, we couldn’t succeed. Finally, we made a new one with a new domain name.

As it’s an authorized Yamaha Dealer, we focused on making it look “professional”. We selected the best promotional images of Yamaha Outboards and designed them to deliver a strong impression to the visitors.

Among several dozens of Yamaha engines and parts, we chose the best selling items to display on a “Catalog” page. 

Also, a simple “About” page shows the visitors the easiest access to the dealer shop.

It’s completely mobile friendly, and visitors can make a phone call or send an email to the shop by just one click on mobile phones.

Please check out the new website of Kauai Yamaha Marine.

Features

  • Professional Design
  • Clear Information on About Page
  • Slider Animation

Hawaii Web Design & SEO Guide – 7 simple ways to keep your content fresh

People hate old content.

When you visit a website and find that it has not been updated for 3 years, probably you may not trust the content and leave the site.

We love fresh content. When we see recently-posted articles, we feel that the site is well-maintained. We believe that the business/organization nurtures good relationships with their customers.

Research shows that 78% of consumers believe that organizations providing custom content are interested in building good relationships with them. (resource)

Google also emphasizes that the freshness of content is one of the key factors of its search ranking algorithm. (reference)

This month, let us introduce 7 simple ways to keep your content fresh. These methods will help you to get a higher rank in search engines and get more customers.

1. Recent Blog/ News/ Announcements/ Events/ Stories Section on Your Homepage

In our previous article, we explained how important blogging is in improving your search ranking. If you missed this article, please check it out. (Does Blogging Really Help SEO (Search Ranking) for my Local Business Website?)

A blog doesn’t need to be a professional paper. It can be recent news, announcements or short stories related to your business or organization. As long as it provides value to your visitors, that can be a perfect topic.

When you write a blog, make sure that your recent articles are displayed on your homepage. Then, whenever you post an article, your homepage will be updated automatically. So, don’t hide your articles under your blog menu.

Yet, this function may slow down the loading speed of your homepage. If your homepage is already loaded with lots of content, please consult with your web designer.

recent blog on homepage
View the Recent Blog Section at Tao Acupuncture Clinic

2. Event Schedule

One of our clients runs 4 restaurants. They are too busy to write a blog. Yet, they run events regularly, so we made a slide section to display the event schedule.

If your business/organization hosts events regularly, make a small section to announce your upcoming event schedule. Once you make a template for the announcement, it doesn’t take much time to edit the content. When you keep updating your schedule, your site will build trust with the visitors.

View the event schedule of Paco’s Tacos Kauai

Another way to keep the schedule updated is to connect your site to your Google Calendar. You don’t need to log in to the site’s dashboard in order to add new events. Just add them at your Google Calendar, then it will sync with your site automatically.

Google Calendar Sync - Keep your content fresh
View the School Calendar at Kawaikini Public Charter School

3. Recent Testimonials

Good testimonials add lots of credit to your business/organization because they are the voices of your customers. Please read every testimonial posted on your social media or Google Business page and re-select “top testimonials”. Then, update your testimonials on your homepage every 3 to 6 months.

When you keep updating your testimonial section, it will become your powerful marketing tool in a couple of years.

Another good way to keep your testimonials fresh is to connect to Google review or other social media reviews.

View the Testimonial Section of Ali’i Kauai Air Tours & Charters
Testimonials Social Media Sync
View the Testimonial Page of Tao Acupuncture Clinic

4. Scrolling Text Announcement

It’s an old technique but when you use it properly, it will give a strong impression to your visitors. Because it’s moving, keeping it fresh is important. Don’t leave it stale.

You can simply add HTML code <marquee> … </marquee> around the text.

Scrolling text gets your attention quickly. Keep your content fresh!


Here is an example of scrolling text.

View the Example of the Scrolling Text at Kawaikini Public Charter School

5. Portfolio or Your Recent Work

If you have new projects or create new products regularly, keep your portfolio up-to-date. In our case, portfolio is the best place to display our work. Whenever we finish a new project, we updat our portfolio.

View Our Web Design Portfolio Page

6. Photo Gallery

If you have a photo gallery, please replace old photos with new photos every 6 months or every year.

You don’t need to replace all the photos at the same time. We recommend you to replace about 20 – 30% of the photos at a time. If they don’t give any inspiration or add value to your visitors anymore, they are “EXPIRED”. You can take them down and post new photos instead.

When you post new photos, don’t forget to add a new “Alt” text. Search engines cannot see the photos but read metadata, especially alt text.

Alt text means an alternative text. Browsers show the Alt texts when images are not downloadable. Also, screen-reading software for the sight-impaired users will read alt-text to describe the image.

You can edit Alt Text at Media in your WordPress Dashboard.

7. FAQ

You may not need to update FAQ often, but whenever you start a new project or launch a new service, check your FAQ and revise it if needed.

We make the FAQ page because we don’t want to answer to the same questions repeatedly. So, once we make it, we don’t visit here often. That’s why it can be outdated easily: links can be broken; old services/products are still displayed; it may not apply to your new service anymore.

Once in a while, please check your FAQ and make sure it’s serving the purpose.

View the FAQ Page at Ali’i Kauai Air Tours & Charters

Conclusion

When you take care of your site, your visitors will recognize that you’re willing to communicate with your customers and trust your business/organization more. Yet, if you don’t care about it, they will also be turned away.

Take care of your site, then it will bring you surprising rewards: search engines will pick your site first, and your business/organization will attract more customers/clients/members.

Today, we introduced 7 simple ways to keep your content fresh.

Did you find anything that you can apply today?
Great!
Just 30 minutes a week will make a big difference.
Take care of your site like your garden.
Why don’t you visit your garden and add some freshness now?

Add freshness on your content
Take care of your site like your garden.

Hawaii Website Manual – WordPress, Gutenberg & Google Analytics

*This article is written for our clients of Hawaii Web Design Service.

Congratulations!
You have your own WordPress website now. Originally WordPress started as a blog platform. It has been developed constantly and became the most popular website platform now (Source: Wikipedia ). In this Webmaster manual, we will show you how to use WordPress, Gutenberg, Elementor, Google Analytics, and Google Search Console.

*WordPress released a new editor, Gutenberg, in December 2018. If your site is using Gutenberg, read Gutenberg section instead of Classic Editor.

Manual Quick Links


WordPress Login
Dashboard Overview
How to write a blog post
How to edit web pages
How to read Google Analytics
Google Search Console & Bing Webmaster Tool

Kauai Web Design WordPress

WordPress Login

Your default login URL is “yourdomain.com/wp-admin”.
Just type “/wp-admin” at the end of your domain name in order to go to your login page. Then, a login window will show up.

*To improve security, some of you may have a customized login URL. In this case, visit your custom page.

Kauai Website Login Page

Input your username and password.

*You have a security plugin. So, if anybody fails to log in 3 times in a row, their IP will be locked for 24 hours. In that case, you will receive a warning email about the malicious login attempts. Then, contact us immediately.

How to change password

After login, click following menus in your dashboard:

  • For Admin: Users >> Your Profile >> New Password >> Click “Update Profile”
  • For Editor: Profile >> New Password >> Click “Update Profile”
How to change an admin’s password
How to change an editor’s password

Dashboard Overview

When you log in for the first time, it may look overwhelming.
Don’t worry. You will need just a few menus to write blog posts and edit your web pages.
Let us give you a quick overview.

*The following image is an adminʻs screen. In the editorʻs screen, you will see only content-related menus. You will not see your system-related menus.

Kauai Website Design Dashboard
*The screenshot may look different depending on your website functions

Posts: your blog posts
Media: your image files
Pages: your website pages
Plugins: add-on patches to extend your site’s functions
Users: managing users who can access your site
Settings: basic setting (Don’t touch anything unless you know what you do)
Under the settings, we set up to back up your entire site regularly. If something bad happens to your site, we can restore it.
SEO: managing your SEO (Search Engine Optimization). We generated your XML sitemaps and indexed your site to Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tool
Insights: Google Analytics. We connected your site to Google Analytics
Performance: We installed Cache plugins to improve the speed of your site. When you’re using our maintenance package, your site will be added to our CDN (Contents Delivery Network) for the enhanced speed and security.

In “Insights” menu, you can monitor how many people visit your website.

If you want to write a blog post, click “Posts”. When you edit your web pages, click “Pages”.

How to write a blog post

Click “Posts” on the left sidebar.
In the new page, click the “Add New” button.

For Classic Editor: How to add a new blog post

1. Type your title
2. Input your contents
3. Post your featured image (this image will show up on top of your post and in your articles’ list)
4. Check the preview
5. Click the “Publish” button

Classic Editor

For Gutenberg: How to add a new blog post

1. Type your title
2. Input your contents on blocks*
3. Post your featured image (this image will show up on top of your post and in your articles’ list)
4. Check the preview
5. Click the “Publish” button

*A Block is a basic unit for your content such as heading, paragraph, image, audio, quote etc. Gutenberg is an intuitive editor and it’s easy to learn. Check here to find out more: WordPress Gutenberg

Gutenberg Block Editor

If you want to know more about posting WordPress Blog, please watch the following short video.

For Classic Editor

For Gutenberg

How to edit web pages

We introduce 2 different page builders: (1) Elementor Page Builder, (2) WP Bakery Page Builder. Check which page builder your site is built with.

(1) Elementor Page Builder

1. Click “Pages” on the left sidebar.
2. Hover your mouse over the title. Then, click “Edit with Elementor”.

3. Edit the page as you want.
4. Preview how it’s changed.
5. Update the page.

(2) WP Bakery Page Builder

1. Click “Pages” on the left sidebar.
2. Hover your mouse over the title. Then, click “Edit with WPBakery Page Builder”.

3. Hover your mouse over the section you want to edit.
4. Click the pencil icon to edit.
5. When the editing window pops up, edit the contents as you desire.
6. After you finish editing, click the “Save Changes” button.
7. Click the “Update” button at the right top corner when you finish editing the entire page.

* If it takes too long to load the editing page, click “Stop” button or “Go Back” button and start again.

How to read Google Analytics

We will introduce two ways to check your Google Analytics: quick view & standard view.
Remember, if we set up Google Analytics recently, you will need to wait a few days to see actual data.

(1) Quick View at WordPress Dashboard

Click “Insights” on the left sidebar at WordPress Dashboard.
You will find a brief graph.

* The data in your Google Analytics don’t include the clicks made by administrators or editors of your website. When you log in your site as an administrator, those clicks won’t be counted.

(2) Standard View at analytics.google.com

Visit https://analytics.google.com
Login with your Gmail account which we created as a webmaster.
When you log in, you will see the Analytics Dashboard.

Among the menus on the left sidebar, pay attention to “Audience”, “Acquisition”, and “Behavior”.

• Audience: You will see the demographics of your audience.
• Acquisition: you will see how your site acquires visitors to your site, or how people find your website and through which gateway they visit you.
• Behavior: You can see behaviors of your visitors inside your website. For instance, which page visitors click first, and then which page they click next. How many clicks they make and leave, and so on. When you examine your visitors’ behavior, you will find what to improve your site.

If you want to know more about how to read Google Analytics, please watch this YouTube video.

Google Search Console & Bing Webmaster Tool

Since we submitted your sitemap and indexed your website to those search engines, you don’t need to do any extra work.
However, if you want to focus on your SEO professionally, then you can visit the following links.
Use your Gmail account to log in.

Google Search Console
https://www.google.com/webmasters

Bing Webmaster
https://www.bing.com/toolbox/webmaster

* Discussing details about Search Console and Webmaster Tools is beyond the scope of this manual. If you want to know more them, you can visit the help pages in the above links.

Improving Kauai Web Design Manual

This is the first edition of Kauai Web Design Manual.
If you have any questions or difficulties while using your website, please feel free to contact us. We will help you to understand the issues and to solve the problems.
Your feedback is important because through the clear communication we understand clients’ needs.
We will keep improving this manual to support the online presence of your business.

Mahalo!

Public Charter School Website

Public Charter School Website

Hawaiian Public Charter School Website

This Hawaiian Public Charter School‘s website has 30 webpages and more than 230 images & PDF files.

When our client reached us, it has not been updated for several years.

Our client requested

(1) Online Enrollment Applications
(2) Easy Editing and Updating
(3) Syncing with Google Calendar of School Schedule
(4) Connecting with PayPal & Amazon Smile
(5) Google Translator to the Hawaiian Language
(6) HTTPS Secure Connection

The Result

We could satisfy all the requests successfully and launched the new site.

After migrating DNS (Domain Name Server) to Bluehost, we could shorten the loading speed from 6 seconds to 2 seconds after the migration to Bluehost hosting company.

Also, our clients are very happy because they can edit and update the website much more easily than before. We designed the site with Elementor Pagebuilder.

This public charter school teaches Hawaiian culture and language. We are happy to be able to support their beautiful vision.

Kauai SEO & Digital Marketing Guide 2019, Topic – Google

“Does your site show up on the first page of a Google search?”
“Is the site visible to your potential customers?”
“Are you curious about why your competitors’ sites rank within the top three while yours shows up on the third page?”

If you have asked those questions, you will find the answers to improve your situation in this blog. We are here to help you.

To support our local businesses to succeed in online marketing, we decided to post Kauai SEO & Digital Marketing Guide series on our monthly blog in 2019.

Since we started our business 10 months ago, we have improved our branding and marketing a lot. And, now our site is ranked high on Google using the following keywords: “Hawaii Web Design”, “Kauai Web Design”, “Kauai SEO”, or “Kauai Marketing”.

We will show you how we made it happen.

Also, another reason why we decided to write this series is that some marketers on Kauai still have outdated information. That knowledge might have worked during the era of AltaVista, Netscape or Yahoo. But, not anymore. Digital marketing is changing fast, and we will share the most up-to-date information here.

Now, this month’s topic is Google.
Let’s begin.

Contents of Kauai SEO & Digital Marketing Guide 1:

• Google never searches the internet in real time.
• Don’t expect your new post to be searched right away.
• How does Google rank?
• Don’t try to trick search engines. It’s getting smarter.
• Monthly Practice: index your website at Google and Bing

Google never searches the internet in real time.

Let’s talk about the most basic concept of search engines. It’s a Search index.

When you google, Google shows you the results as well as it shows how many results were found and how many seconds it took. Usually, Google finds more than a billion results in a half second. It sounds amazing. How can Google search the entire internet that fast?

The truth is that Google never searches the internet in real time. The secret is the Search index. Google uses web crawlers called Google bots to build the Search index. The bots crawl the entire internet (except Deep Web and Dark Web) and fetch the data and content from the all available websites.

You can imagine that endless lines of ants travel the network of caves as carrying bread crumbles. The difference between bots and ants is that bots travel the internet network without sleeping or eating.

After collecting current data, Google uses the ranking systems to sort through the web pages in the Search index.

Then, when users search on google, it just picks the best result from the Search index which is pre-sorted by the ranking system. That’s how Google does its magic.

(Resource: Google – How Search works)

Don’t expect your new post to be searched right away.

As you can guess, behind the magic, Google is implementing a huge task. Literally, Google is copying the summarized version of the entire internet on its server.

They say, “The Google Search index contains hundreds of billions of webpages and is well over 100,000,000 gigabytes in size. … When we index a web page, we add it to the entries for all of the words it contains.” (Resource: Google – How Search organizes information)

Can you imagine how much it will cost just to maintain the Search index? In our case, we pay $1 per day to run 30 gigabytes Virtual Private Server (VPS) in Bluehost. If we host 100,000,000 gigabytes in our server, we will pay $3.3 Million every day only for the hosting fee. Of course, this calculation will not be applied to Google, but it gives us an idea of how huge the index is.

When you consider the size of the index, it will not be hard for you to guess that it takes time to index new web pages. Don’t expect that just because you post an article, Google will find your new page right away. Your post is one of hundreds of billions of web pages in their index. Even Google bots work 24/7, in order to complete the indexing process, it takes time.

Some experts say it takes between 4 days and 4 weeks to be indexed. (Resource: Leverage Marketing)

Based on our experiences, we can say that it takes at least 24 hours if your site is registered on Google Search console.

How does Google rank?

Let us quote what Google says. Please pay attention to words in bold.

Ranking useful pages

For a typical query, there are thousands, even millions, of webpages with potentially relevant information. So to help rank the best pages first, we also write algorithms to evaluate how useful these webpages are.

These algorithms analyze hundreds of different factors to try to surface the best information the web can offer, from the freshness of the content, to the number of times your search terms appear and whether the page has a good user experience. In order to assess trustworthiness and authority on its subject matter, we look for sites that many users seem to value for similar queries.

(Resource: Google – How Search organizes information)

These two paragraphs explained the most important standard for how Google ranks.

The keywords are:

  • “relevance” = “the number of times your search terms appear”
  • “usefulness”
  • “freshness”
  • “trustworthiness and authority” = “that many users seem to value”
  • “a good user experience”

Based on these standards, Google builds the algorithm to rank web pages.

You may ask for more specific tips or techniques to improve search ranks. Unfortunately, Google never announces any specific tips that you’re expecting because they don’t want marketers to misuse the information to manipulate the ranks.

Yet, don’t be disappointed. When you follow Google’s guideline, you will end up writing good content – useful, relevant content which provides a good user experience -.

We will show you how to follow the guideline in our blog series: SEO and Digital Marketing guide.

Don’t try to trick search engines. It’s getting smarter.

One thing you should avoid is to trick search engines. Not only it does not work, but also it penalizes your site.

In the old days, some marketers figured out algorithm holes and tricked the search engines. For instance, because the search engines decided the relevance based on how many times the keyword appeared, they stuffed the webpage with the same keyword over and over. Sometimes, they even hid the text by setting the text color as the same color with the background and filled the whole wall with the keywords.

Sound crazy? But it worked in those days. The tricks fooled search engines and ranked the website at #1.

Good news is that Google keeps updating its algorithm. It screened out unnatural, unethical tricks and low-quality content. It has been focusing on selecting useful contents for the users since it’s founded in 1998. (Resource: Google’s mission).

When Google announced the major algorithm updates – Google Panda in 2011 & Google Penguin in 2012 -, there were huge shifts in Google ranks. All the websites which were ranked with the unethical tricks were sentenced as “untrustworthy” and penalized. They disappeared from Google search for a while until they recovered from the deadly penalty.

Google still updates the algorithm almost once a month. (Resource: Moz) Now it’s applying AI (Artificial Intelligence) to understand natural human languages better. AI also understands what the useful information is and picks the most beneficial information for users.

The more Google improves its algorithm, the more useful content users find.

Algorithm: noun.
Word used by programmers when they do not want to explain what they did 🙂

 

Monthly Practice: index your website at Google and Bing

Without indexing your site, you’re still in a minor league. Now let’s index the site and join the major league of the internet.

In order to index, you need a Gmail account and the admin access to your website.

Technically, Bing is a copy of Google. Once you index at Google, it will be easy to index at Bing.

Instruction Video for indexing WordPress sites

Google updated the layout of the search console in 2018. So, many how-to videos on YouTube shows the old console which will make you confused. (That’s the reason why Google likes the fresh content, not old ones.)

We found the freshest instruction video and introduce it to you.
It shows you how to register WordPress site to Google Search console by using Yoast SEO plugin.
Yoast SEO is the best plugin for SEO. We’re also using Yoast Premium plugin.

Please watch the video and register your site on Google and Bing.

How to Add Website to Google Search (2018) | WordPress Yoast SEO + Google Search Console [NEW]

Conclusion

Today, you’ve learned the basic concept of the search engine – Search index -.
Please make sure to watch the instruction video and register your site at the index system.
We can’t emphasize enough how important this process is. Without indexing the website on major search engines, the site is running in the minor league of the digital marketing game.

See you in our next blog post.
We will show you what we did for the next step to improve our search ranking.