Web Designers – Ways to Keep Oneself Busy

The current demand for the work of web designers is on a dramatic rise. Sometimes it is also possible, mainly because of competition, that the designer does not have any work or the designer would like to take a break and do something other than the usually web designing work that he/she does.

If you are a web designer, here are some ways to keep yourself busy.

– Enhancing or upgrading the knowledge
Reading books is one way of enhancing or upgrading your knowledge about anything. For the designers and developers of today there are many books, tutorials and resources on the internet. When you invest your time in these sorts of activities you get good returns in the longer run. The technology related to designing and developing is constantly evolving. To keep up with the changes in the technology one needs to read books, follow the tutorials or attend to other workshops and training sessions.

– Writing
In your spare time you can write blogs or submit your writings to any magazine. There are two types of blog writing. One is writing blogs for your own website and the other is writing blogs for other website. When you write it for your own website you increase your network and get paid over a prolonged time. On the other hand when you write blogs for other website you are paid lump sum and do not have to wait for its final results. You can also keep yourself busy by writing articles to be submitted to the magazine. When your articles are published in the magazines you get recognition for your contribution. This sort of work not only increases your credibility but also increases your network.

– Try something new
Most of the designer and developers after getting used one content management system, do not find any need of learning other content management systems. It is possible that the CMS that you know may not be the best fit for the current project that you have at hand. In these sorts of circumstances it is better to try some new CMS. Knowing something new never goes in vain. If the new CMS is not useful in the current project it may be of help in your later projects. This can save your time and resources too.

– Building relationships
Whenever you are free, try to contact your earlier clients and maintain relations with them. Offer them help if needed. Even if you are not offering the service they need try to convince them that you can arrange those services from reliable sources. The more the network you have the more work you can have. When you maintain relations you can also seek references and recommendation from them. This can make your services known to a lot of people. Your network can also be increased through active participation on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter.

Web Design: Color and Contrast and How Young Guns Abuse It

People are generally obsessed with colors. When the first color television was introduced to the market in 1953, people from the upper class promptly (and without hesitation) disposed of their black and white TVs. Although the technology was not as perfect as expected and unlike how it was mentioned on print ads, consumers gladly embraced it for one simple reason: having 5 primary colors on your traditional entertainment set is better than 2.

Color has become an important element in media since the early 1950’s and ever since people understood its importance to everyday living. Even Web design professionals cannot imagine a design without color, or designing with only black and white (and its lighter and darker hues) – although there are special projects that require only these two mundane colors-as their staple option for every project.

Now that the Color TV’s bright history is not as fascinating as it first happened, people from the design industry seem to be showing little respect for it. Designers-especially the young guns-have been abusing its importance, which resulted to hundreds of color-sick and contrast-ill websites. Even young pros like Jacob Cass and David Airey have blatantly showed their ire and concern for these designers on their blogs. Some Saul Bass protégés also say that these designers have been ruining the colorful industry for years. They should go back to design school to [at least] understand the basics of the Color Wheel and learn how it works. Literally, there is one big alarm shocking the modern web design industry today.

Reading design blogs and magazines for years have opened me to a realization that web design is slowly transforming into a fad. Just like photography, writing, and painting. At this point, the ubiquitous YouTube videos on the Web is a cheaper-the cheapest, the most accessible-way of learning codes and all the basic things about designing. Yet, what people would hardly learn on these free videos, blog posts, and magazines are the basic and deep understanding of colors. It requires vast experience to understand how colors intertwine with each other, says one French contrast expert. That is why colors are superbly abused these days. Because of these ever-present lousy tutorials on the Web, aspiring designers are too apathetic about going to a formal school or approaching a seasoned mentor to learn the basics, the real rudiments of Web design, including the importance of color and contrast, not only to modern media but to our daily lives as well.

Improve Yourself And Become A Great Web Designer

There are many things that you must know in order to improve yourself in web design industry. You must know all the methods through which you can have a command over your work as a web designer.

1. A Tutorial a Day – Tutorials are one of the best tools to polish your skills. You can set your own goals, which you will finish, a particular task in some time and you can accomplish it within the time you have decided. This way you can learn a lot of things. There are many free and good content tutorials available these days on the internet, that you can follow them and learn a lot from them, just by sitting at your own home and surfing through your laptop.

2. Do What They Do – If you have anything favorite in your list, then go for it. Search for your favorite design and buttons, icons etc and try recreating them. You can use adobe Photoshop or HTML or PHP or any web development tool for sake of fun and from this you can create wonders from it. First you need to learn development and then you can go for the quality, which comes at the next level.

You can start it by redecorating your personal work space on your desktop, then you can share it in different communities and then you will be able to develop yourself more in this field. A web designer always needs motivation for recreation and showing something creative.

3. Books, Magazines, Interviews – You can get much value able and useful information through books and magazines. You can take a quick review of any book regularly and it will enrich you with many creative ideas.Addition of books in your book shelf means addition of knowledge in your brain and ideas. Reading interviews can also be helpful in learning a lot in your particular fields. Many web entrepreneurs share their views with others, which can help in motivating others.

4. Build Relationships – Relationship building is an important part in any business. Try to involve in conferences, events, seminars and workshops and interact with people more and more. When you increase the list of your contacts, it means you are increasing the business partners. Stay online and try to create a strong web presence.

5. Grab a Moleskine – When you start working on any web project, first try to write your ideas on a paper. It can help your project to go more smoothly and in an organized way. It also helps you to do brain storming and improve the level of your work and creativity.

6. Read Design Blogs – Blogs are everywhere and there is a huge audience of blogs these days regarding any topic of the world you could ever imagine. They give great ideas and insights and you can able to learn different opinions of others. Blogs are an interesting and inspirational source of motivation and it develops interest in making your work more creative.

Why Is WordPress So Awesome For Web Design?

After attending a web design-related event about the up-and-coming WordPress website/blog building platform, I decided it would be a great idea to give a basic introduction and explanation of what WordPress is and why it is becoming so popular. During the event, the speaker talked about how many designers, and even their clients, ask for websites made in WordPress without knowing exactly what it is and what having a WordPress website means for the client or backend user.

WordPress is the result of the collaboration of developers from all over the world. They have created and continued to build what is now a highly successful, user-friendly blog and website building software. It can be used to create a free, hosted blog on WordPress.com or a non-hosted website (not free since one must pay for selected hosting services), which is supported via WordPress.org. When creating the blog and/or website, the user is able to select pre-made templates, also known as “child themes.” These themes are very basic and can be altered by the user through an extremely easy to use, back-end interface called the “dashboard,” which is very similar to the interface of Blogger. New posts, media (photos and videos), pages, sub-pages, widgets and plug-ins can be added without the help of a developer/coder, making updates to a website or blog easy and fast for both the designer and the client. Not to mention a decent amount of built in security, search-engine-optimization (SEO), globalization capabilities, CSS coding options, and many more fun and helpful tools.

Another benefit is the ability of WordPress sites and blogs to utilize widgets and plug-ins. These enable the designer to pull in information from other websites or databases for display and interaction on the designed website, i.e. Twitter, news feeds, and anything that is updated frequently, plug-ins will serve as a window to those updates on the website. This makes sites more functional and because many of the WordPress templates are already designed with places for widgets and plug-ins, adding them to the site often does not interfere with the overall website design.

The Key Elements Of A Nonprofit Web Design

For a humanitarian organization to generate donations and encourage everyone to pay a visit, it is very important to create a website which has an effective and a creative nonprofit web design.

With today’s modern society, almost everything is possible specifically when it comes to the growing number of possibilities in the virtual community. However, the best thing about having the internet is the long list of advantages it brings that is why creating a nonprofit website is helpful.

Below is a list of the key elements of an effective nonprofit web design.

1. A Button For Web Donations

One of the most important elements of a nonprofit web design is a donate button. Every nonprofit organization is in need of donations to continue with its cause. There are donors who give cash to nonprofit organizations, while others prefer to lend a hand by giving in kind donations such as foods, school or office supplies, clothes, and even services. No matter what type of donation donors give, it is very important to note that a donate button must be placed in a certain area where visitors can see it easily.

2. A Blog Section

Another important element to consider is a section where articles and stories can be posted. A blog section is one of the factors that can keep everyone informed of the latest events that the organization had done recently. Just remember to keep the blog section updated. It is also a helpful idea to include photos along with every blog post.

3. Video Stories

Aside from the blog section, donors and volunteers will be encouraged to lend a hand if nonprofit organizations will post video stories on their website. Interviews with the volunteers and donors are a helpful way of encouraging more people to lend a hand. In addition, it will be more helpful to include interviews with the organization’s recipients. Videos and other documentaries are pretty helpful in promoting the organization online.

4. A Call-to-Action Page

Every nonprofit website should have a call-to-action page where people may be able to know what the organization is up to.

5. Be Media-Friendly

Nonprofit website surely needs the help of the media to be able to reach out to a wider audience more effectively. With this, a nonprofit web design must have a downloadable media kit available on the site so that the press and bloggers can easily get the needed information about the organization.

6. Be Updated

Nonprofit organization should always keep everyone updated with its activities and mission. In order to do this, the site must encourage visitors to register online. Donors, volunteers, and the site’s users must be provided with a weekly newsletter via email. With this, everyone will be kept informed of the latest activities of the organization itself.

Portfolio Basics for Web Design Students: Writing Effective and Convincing Copy

Writing effective copy for your portfolio can help turn it into an effective lead generation tool. Usually, your portfolio will be viewed by others without you present, meaning the viewer will have to make assumptions about you without any other outside information. Writing copy for your portfolio can be hard, but if you understand the target market you are trying to attract with your web design portfolio, you can become more effective at enticing the right people to contact you.

Defining Your Target Market

Building your online portfolio is very much the same as working for a client, except the client is yourself. Just as with a client, you need to ask yourself, “Who is my target market?” Below, we will have a look at the different types of web design portfolios and how to write persuasive copy for each.

Web Design Portfolios to Get Hired

Your target market for this category is potential employers. Most likely, these employers are designers themselves who have a good idea of what they are looking for ascetically. Keep in mind that employers usually see hundreds of portfolios in a given time. Writing good, convincing copy about why they should hire you may be the difference in standing out from your competition.

Put yourself in the position of the person who is searching for designers. What would they want to see? They would most likely want to see someone who has potential and passion for what they do. Explain to your potential employer what the benefit will be for them if they hire you.

Example:
Copy: “I’m proud to say I love designing for the web and print.”
Why this works: By clearly stating his passion for designing for the web and print, he has also subconsciously revealed other facts about his personality. This could also translate into works well with others, is eager to learn and adapts quickly to new technology.

Web Design Portfolios to Get Clients

A portfolio that is used for garnering more client leads should always follow the “What’s in it for me” approach. Clients are going to hire you because they are looking for a solution to their problem, which in most cases is building them a web presence. Chances are, these leads are very uncertain about whether to hire you or not. This means that keeping copy short and sweet will give prospective clients an idea of what problem your services solve.

Be aware that some clients might not know what they want. Even if they do, they may not be aware of what they could have. Providing a more detailed explanation of the process and the desired outcomes will help these types of clients get a solid grasp on how you work.

Benefits vs. Features

It is important to distinguish the difference between a benefit and a feature. A benefit is the positive outcome a client will get when they invest in your services. Such as, receiving a well-tailored website design that will convert visitors into customers. A feature is the process or tools you use to achieve the said result. In most cases, many clients won’t be interested in this step in your design process. For example:

Service: SEO Specialist/Content Specialist
Feature: These services can provide you with high-quality, well-written articles that are high in traffic and low in competition
Benefit: Clients will receive higher rankings in Google, therefore more traffic directed to their website rather than their competitors. Ultimately, this leads to more business online through search engines.

Example:
Copy: “We create digital solutions that transform how you connect with customers.”
Why this works: Some businesses may not have any idea of how to connect with their customers online. This headline assures them that this company knows how to provide them with that service.

Writing Focused Portfolios

These types of web design portfolios are used more for building reputation within the industry. Blogging has many economic benefits as a web designer, even if you are just starting out in the industry as a student. Writing consistently on a blog reveals a lot about your character and personality. To clients, blogging demonstrates you have a good handle on your practice and know what you are talking about. To employers, writing proves that you are always looking to increase your knowledge base by keeping up to date with the industry.

If you are struggling with topics to write about, browse other designers blogs and see what they are writing about. I personally love bloggers such as Owltastic who often write about personal struggles as a designer and how to overcome them. Don’t feel like you have to be an “expert” on a certain subject to write about it. Sometimes the best way to learn it yourself, is to teach someone else. Writing tutorials for beginners is also a good topic that many other student designers could appreciate.

Things to Avoid:

Information Overload

It can be tempting to cram as much information as possible into our portfolio. If you try to overload your visitors with too much information, it can appear cluttered. The fact is, employers or clients only need to know the essential qualities about you pertaining to business upfront. Keep your copy to the point – don’t use 20 words when 10 words would convey the same message.

Being Negative

Remember that you are marketing yourself as a business, so don’t be “spammy.” It is not a good idea to come off as condescending. It’s great that you have confidence in your work, but if clients or employers perceive you as cocky, it can be a turnoff. Persuasive copyrighting is not about lying to get clients into hiring you or being overly aggressive. This won’t get you very far.

Never Updating

Once you’ve completed the copy for your portfolio, don’t assume it’s set in stone. You should revisit your portfolio every once and a while to keep your content fresh. Maybe your target market has shifted or your objective as a web designer has changed. Either way, updating your portfolio to reflect these changes will help realign you with appropriate leads.

Not Having a Call to Action

Effective copy will ultimately persuade your visitor to move forward with contacting you about a project or a job. Enable your potential leads to contact you with ease. Nothing is more frustrating for employers who are interested in hiring you, and they can’t locate an e-mail address. This might lead them to pick someone else over you, simply because you didn’t provide sufficient contact information.

Nothing is more frustrating for employers who are interested in hiring you, and they can’t locate an e-mail addr

Web Design, Websites and Starting Your Own Business

Making money online is a dream for many people. With the way that the economy has taken a turn for the worst, many people are scrambling to find ways to stay employed. Over the last few years, companies have steadily downsized their employees, which means that people are looking for other employment. This is why working online has gained popularity. For some it is their only form of income.

There are many different ways to make a living online. It does not matter if you are an affiliate marketer or a freelance writer. You will need a website or webpage in order to do business. Unfortunately, this scares many people. They do not know the first thing about building a website. However, this should never deter you from creating an online presence. Years ago it might have been difficult to start your own business and create a website. However this is not the case anymore.

There are many different places where you can create a website and be up and running in a matter of minutes. If money is a problem for you, then don’t worry. There are many free options as well. Blogger is a free blogging system that Google absolutely loves. Setting up a Blogger blog is very easy and can be done in a matter of minutes. There are other websites such as HubPages and Squidoo that will allow you to create webpages on any subject that you like. This is a great option for the person who has something to say, but doesn’t want to devote an entire blog to it.

These are all good free options for starting your own webpage or website. However, please be advised that you will never own a blog or webpage that is free. These types of blogs are owned and hosted by another company or person. Unfortunately, if you do anything that goes against their terms and conditions, your free blog can be taken down immediately.

However, if you want to start out with your own domain, then WordPress is probably the right option for you. This blog would be owned and hosted by you. As long as you pay the monthly hosting fee and don’t let the domain expire, it will be yours forever. It is very user friendly and has plenty of plug-ins that are helpful for getting you online and found by the major search engines. Getting a WordPress blog is normally the first step that affiliate marketers will take when they want their own hosted blog. There are many different templates that you can use to customize your blog. There are even plenty of companies that are always developing new themes for you to choose from.

However, there are still those who want to have their own unique website. They eventually hire someone who specializes in web design in order to get a customized design that no one else has. There are many companies that offer small business web design services. Maybe this is the route that you want to take.

Freelance Web Design Jobs! Creating WordPress Themes

The usages of internet is growing fast. The demand for creating dynamic websites is also increased. There are plenty of web development languages to create dynamic websites.

PHP has become popular server site scripting language and now it is most widely used programming language for web development. Different CMS(Content Management Systems) come into existence with help of PHP. WordPress, Drupal and Joomla are examples of CMS that are made with help of PHP.

WordPress is popular blogging platform which is created in PHP. With help of WordPress, you can create your own blog though you don’t have any programming skill. You can create any type of CMS with help of WordPress. It is open Source CMS which is based on PHP.

So there is always a demand for Skilled PHP coders and freelance web designer for WordPress customization work and other content management systems. Many website owners need custom design for their new blog. WordPress Customization and CMS customization in a new field in the area of web development.

So if you are a creative designer and want to take part in this new web development field then you must learn PHP and learn how to create custom themes for WordPress. Plenty of online tutorials are available on “how to create a WordPress theme” or “how to convert PSD to a WordPress theme”. It is just like converting PSD to HTML or creating a custom website design for a static website. Only difference is that you will convert your PSD to a PHP file which will be used as Custom Design for blog. Drupal and Joomla are also theme based CMS’s that need Web Site Design work.

As a freelance web designer, you can earn sufficient amount of income, if you learn WordPress customization. WordPress is most widely used open source CMS throughout the world. There is plenty of web design work with related to other CMS also. So I suggest web designers to learn PHP.

Do Follow Blogs – 10 “Do Follow” Blogs For Web Design Professionals

This Article is a great resource for web deign professionals looking to improve their page rank and includes a list of Friendly “Do Follow” Blogs. These blogs are generally geared toward graphic and web design and I have used each of these to learn more about the field of design.

BusinessFinancemag.com
grokdotcom.com
creativereview.co.uk
huwshimi.com
qbn.com
formfiftyfive.com
randaclay.com
subtraction.com
hurryupharry.org
veerle.duoh.com

I created this list of Do Follow Blogs because I was tired of coming across really bad examples of the infamous do follow blog list. Many of the example sites out there with do follow blogs or commenting websites have really old and outdated information regarding the no follow tag, or in a lot of cases they are just crappy multi-level marketing scheme sites.

After doing some of my own research I came up with this great list of friendly blogs for Design Professionals. These are quality sites and I have personally used the content to benefit my own research as a marketer and web designer. Each Blog included here is chock full of quality content from around the world. I find that commenting on blogs to improve page rank and link building can be very useful for an up and coming website, but it must be a strategic process and not sporadic and without care on behalf of the commenter.

Please be sure not to abuse this list as it could lead to permanent changes in one of these do follow blogs structure. Make sure to comment wisely on these blogs and only include comments on blogs that you feel relevant to your field of expertise.

Why WordPress Is the Answer for Low Cost Web Design

1. WordPress is FREE… or very inexpensive

Before we start, to save any confusion, there are two versions of WordPress – and both are free.WordPress.com is a hosted version. It’s a great introduction to the WordPress platform and ideal for running basic websites, though it has its limitations. However, it’s completely free to use – you simply go to the WordPress dotcom website and sign up. You’ll get a domain name like mysite dot WordPress dot com so the only cost involved is if you want to buy your own domain.

However, once you’ve got your head around the hosted version you might find yourself wanting more… and this is where the.org, self-hosted version comes into play.The software is still free but you will need to purchase some webspace to host it on, which costs anything from about £30 upwards, and a domain name, which is just a few pounds a year for a.co.uk. You’ll also have to install the software (though many web hosts will do that for you). But in terms of monetary costs, that’s it.

2. WordPress grows with you

For most people, their first experience of WordPress is the.com version. It’s easy to access and use. There’s no complicated installation or backing up to do, your site is saved across several servers and the software upgrades automatically. It will even automatically sort genuine comments from the spam! Adding pages, posts and changing content is easy too, though the dashboard can take a bit of getting used to. There are limitations on what you can do with it though. There are only about a hundred templates, you can’t edit or customise them, you can’t add plugins etc. But it is easy to get started, especially if you don’t want to get your hands dirty!

You might be happy with the hosted version, but once you’ve found your way around WordPress you may want to do more with it, and this is when people switch to the.org version. This version has thousands of themes available, both free and premium, and you can edit the code on which your site is built to make it unique. You can transfer your existing.com site across so you don’t lose the content, and it uses the same user-friendly dashboard. You have to be far more pro-active though – you need to install plugins to do many of the things the.com version did automatically. But with tens of thousands of plugins available, rather than using a “one size fits all” solution you can find the one that works perfectly for you and your site. As you understand more about how WordPress works, you’ll find yourself delving into the code to change everything about your site, from the fonts and colours to the way each individual page displays. It’s not always straightforward, and it can be downright frustrating, but look on it as a journey of discovery, with the perfect website waiting at the end!

3. WordPress can be a team project

The trouble with web design software such as DreamWeaver and WebPlus is that it is installed locally, on one computer. Fine if only one person is responsible for the website, but not so good if you are working collaboratively or you want to be able to update your website from home and the PC is at work. Because WordPress is web-based, you can access it wherever you are, and you can set up multiple accounts so other members of your team can edit it too. You can set different levels of access so people can only edit their own posts, or can edit, add and change all the content but not get at the theme files. There are even plugins available that let you set different actions for every single person who can access your site.

4. WordPress isn’t just about blogging

Though WordPress was initially created as a blogging platform, it’s become a lot more now and is often used as a content management system. Rather than having a website and separate blog, you can integrate them into one site. You can create static pages as well as blog-style ones, add contact forms, forums, gallery, directories and more. You don’t even have to use posts at all, and there are templates available that will make your site look absolutely nothing like a blog!

5. WordPress has lots of support

Ever bought some software, come across a problem and not been able to find the solution? Frustrating, isn’t it! The great thing about WordPress is that there is a lot of support out there. The official sites – both.com and.org – have detailed documentation on every aspect and very active forums where you can ask questions. You’ll also find that lots of the themes and plugins have their own support communities too. If you get stuck, just Google the problem and the chances are the answer will be out there!