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11 October 2007

Royalty Free Stock Photos for Web Design

by: Sharon Housley

Stock photography websites contain thousands of existing photographs that can be licensed for specific uses. A customer who uses stock photography instead of hiring a photographer can save time, effort and money. Typically publishers can either purchase exclusive rights to a single image or they can purchase a subscription of sorts. The subscriptions allow publishers to download a limited number of photos over a specified period of time.

Stock photo websites allow webmasters, marketers and publishers to locate pictures for their marketing and promotional materials without the hassle of organizing a photo shoot. With copyright laws businesses must be very careful in using unlicensed photos.

There are also risks to using "free" photographs. Many of the free websites contain collaborative works from multiple photographers and artists. While the websites attempt to monitor the images in their collections in violation of copyright laws, there are no guarantees. If you opt to use photographs or images from a free portal, it is important to keep this in mind.

The following are a large number of reputable stock photo websites available: - The Photo-Wizard's website contains thousands of fantastic, high-quality photographs, in more than 30 categories. Photos can be used on websites, in promotional materials or educational materials. The Photo-Wizard's stock photo directory is packed with eye-catching photos that will meet the needs of graphic designers and webmasters looking for exceptional quality images at reasonable prices. The site is filled with inexpensive, professional quality royalty free photographs. There is no longer a need to pay hundreds or even thousands of dollars for a single photograph. Single images can be purchased for $.99 each or subscriptions can be purchased for $49.95 - $ 179.95.

Photo Wizard - - contains professional royalty-free stock photographs available via a subscription. Pay only a single fee and download up to 250 photos from the collection per day. The collection contains more than 325,000 professional quality stock photographs. Subscriptions can be purchased for $149.95 - $ 699.95 . - - The ClipArt website is exceptional, known for its large variety. You can filter images based on file formats, (photographs, photo objects or clipart) so only the specified format appears in the search results. Subscription can be purchased for $ 17.99 - $ 269.99.

ClipArt - - The term "morgue file" is popular in the newspaper business to describe a file that holds past issues. The purpose of this site is to provide free image reference material for use in all creative pursuits. Photos on Morguefile can be used free of charge, but only for personal use; but are not available for commercial or business use.

MorgueFile - - PixelPerfectDigital contains 4,000 images. The website uses a forum format to display the images, many of which are clipart rather than photographs. The images can be used free of charge for personal use.

Pixel Perfect Digital - - StockVault contains photos and logos that are free for non-commercial use. They have additional image packs available for fixed prices.

StockVault - - The Free Photographs Network is an online resource for royalty-free stock photographs for non-commercial use. The collection is very limited and a search function specifically for the site is not available.

Free Photographs - - Photographs on Free Stock Photos can be used free of charge for non-commercial use, but the photograph must include credits to when used on the Internet, in a web page, in printed publications, or in any product, advertising, or packaging. This credit, however, may be cropped out or digitally removed from the photograph if it is included in readable type near each photograph, group of photographs, in the text, or in the credits. The collection is limited and a search function is not visible.

Free Stock Photos - - FreePhotos is a collaborative website that contains photos. The website contains many different image categories, but not a large variety in each category. In order to download an image users must register.

Free Photos - - ArtFavor contains a limited selection of small high-quality photographs. The images are not available for commercial use.

ArtFavor - - The photos on Free Digital Photos can be used for commercial and non commercial interests. If the images are used for promotional items (greeting cards, mugs, t-shirts, screen savers) there is a $ 20.00 charge for the use of each image. Some images also stipulate that they require a link back to the FreeDigitalPhotos website.

Free Digital Photos - - Free Photos Bank is a collaborative website with a number of attractive photos. Photos contained on the Free Photos Bank are from a variety of photographers and the reprint permissions may vary.

Free Photos Bank - - Design Packs offers free, high-quality image collections that can be used in both personal and commercial web design projects. Each collection features a group of 15 images that share a common theme.

Design Packs -

ShutterStock - Shutterstock is a large subscription-based stock photo agency. They have an outstanding collection of premium, royalty-free photographs, illustrations, and vectors. Subscription can be purchased for $ 199.00 - $1,999.00 and allow subscribers to download up to 25 images per day.

ShutterStock -

ComStock - ComStock contains a large collection of royalty-free images. ComStock offers three purchase options images can be purchased individually, CD options are available or publishers can purchase a subscription for $299 - $1999.00 which allows them to download up to 50 images per day.

ComStock -

These are all a number of options available for webmasters and publishers in need of images for marketing campaigns or packaging. Regardless of the website selected, be sure to read the agreement terms carefully to ensure that you are adhering to the guidelines.

About The Author
Sharon Housley manages marketing for FeedForAll software for creating, editing, publishing RSS feeds and podcasts. In addition Sharon manages marketing for RecordForAll audio recording and editing software.

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How To Create Your Own e-Commerce Site

by: Lewis Low

E-commerce is touted as one of the most viable online business opportunities on the Web today. In comparison to traditional brick and mortar businesses, e-commerce site requires minimal start-up cost and is relatively low-risk. However that does not imply creating an e-commerce site is a simple process, neither does it guarantee your future success. The purpose of this article is to walk you through the necessary steps and plans you would need in order to set up a successful e-commerce site.

Un-earth Your Niche

The very first thing to do is find your niche. Examine your hobbies and interests for potential business ideas. If you love soccer, consider selling soccer supplies or team uniforms, online. Focusing on your expertise or something you have great passion for would give you an advantage over competitors who do not have in-depth knowledge of that niche.

Research Your Niche

Once you've whittled down a few ideas, explore each one further. Ask yourself these questions: How many people are looking for your services? Where do they go and find people like yourself? How many searches are created for your product or service on Google? You may not have a budget to create demand, so it's safer and cheaper to go where the demand already exists.

Scope out Your Competitors

Research your competitors inside out. Spend time to check out their websites and compare their products and services. Give yourself an idea of what you’re up against, so you can create your e-commerce site as professional as, or even better than theirs.

Write Your Business Plan

You want to have a foolproof business plan for your business. Work out a detailed formula - including your site theme, goals, business strategies. It's also a good idea to keep a record of expenditures, sales, profits etc. Your business cannot just be a 'me-too' business online. Develop a powerful USP (Unique Selling Position) that sets you apart from your competitors and makes you stand out from the crowd!

Create Your Website

Register a good domain name as marketing tactic. Name that ends in *.com is best of all. Try to include relevant keywords that properly describe your business or product if possible.

A well-designed website creates a good first impression with your prospects. Get yourself a professional website template at an affordable price and customize it to suit your need. Most templates can be easily customized using common HTML editors and simple graphics software.

You’ll want your website content to target specific keywords for high search engines ranking and traffic flow. This can be done by creating informative articles, product reviews, descriptions and comparisons. If you're short on time, many SEO (search engine optimization) experts are willing to help you out for a reasonable price.

Host Your Website

Find a dependable hosting company to host your website on their servers. A quick search on Google for “web hosting” should bring up hundreds of companies ready to do business with you. Select a reliable web host that provides adequate disk space and bandwidth with e-commerce scripts supporting features. Domain name-specific email accounts must also be available to give a professional image.

Your website files can be uploaded using a simple FTP program or file uploading service in your hosting account. Technical support personnel from your hosting company should walk you through the steps to upload your files and launch your website.

Implement a Shopping Cart

An e-commerce site is never complete without a secure shopping cart. The best option you can consider is a remotely hosted shopping cart which takes the burden of maintaining security and credit card numbers off your shoulder. Most remote shopping carts can be configured to look similar to your website so your customers may not realize that they have left your website when making a payment.

If a remote shopping cart is not within your budget, there are still lots of third party credit card processing companies that are ready to process your credit card orders using their merchant account for a small fee. Some popular ones to you can check out are ClickBank, PayPal and 2CheckOut.

Marketing and Promotion

You have identified your niche, set up your e-commerce site and you are good to go. Now comes the most crucial part - promoting your site! This could be a full-time career option for most people. Either you can learn to do this yourself or you can have an expert do it for you.

Begin by submitting your site to major search engines such as Google, Yahoo, Dmoz, etc. You also need to optimize your site using profitable keywords and keyword-rich content. There are lots more business promotion strategies such as advertising, link exchange, e-zine promotion etc. which you may need to explore to create your online presence and build traffic.

Setting up your e-commerce site is sure a lot of work, but it's just the first step. Making it successful is even more work, but the pay-offs can be rewarding. Remember, success can be yours provided you work hard and smart!

About The Author
Lewis Low is the founding editor of For more Practical Online Business Ideas and Work-From-Home Opportunities, visit his Work-At-Home directory at

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