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February 26 2014

14:24

February 21 2014

14:00

February 13 2014

19:15

January 17 2014

14:00

How to Ace Your Freelancing Career

Has it ever occur to you how to ace your freelancing career? Freelance web designing is not an ordinary job. If you dip in the puddle of the freelance industry, you’ll discover that these people are a lot more creative and productive than those who work at desks and offices. Surely, they don’t earn the way people at desk jobs do but freelancers have the absolute and ultimate liberty on how well they utilize their time, and, in most cases, where they utilize it.

As a freelancer, you can work anywhere, anytime. You can design your website in a desk, an office, a coffee shop, in the bathroom – you name it. Freelancers have the greatest gift of all: Freedom. However, this freedom isn’t really that ‘free’. As a freelance web designer, you need to work with people, deadlines and the greatest enemy of all time, procrastination.

So, what will you do to become a smart freelancer? Let me share with you these simple tips:

Have a Routine

In basketball, the best free-throw shooters follow a routine. It’s not a foolproof solution to bad free-throw shooting but it helps. It allows you, the player, to focus and condition your mind into thinking that you are shooting a free-throw and nothing else.

smart-freelancing-tips-01

Photo by Kate Parker

In freelancing, this is also applicable. Having a daily routine for your tasks is advantageous. It allows you to condition your mind into working. Plus, you are able to manage your time properly. Set goals and arrange them according to urgency and importance. Balance all the things that need to be done and judge what needs to be done first.

Prioritize

Remember when I said that you need to arrange every task according to importance? You need to know what projects should be done first and what are the more important ones and should be given more time. Don’t focus on one project only; try to work on the things you want to get accomplished first.

Have you heard of the Pareto Principle? Maybe you could use this great management tool to your advantage.

The basic premise in this principle is to have an 80-20 rule. According to the rule, the 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. Meaning, 80% of your project delays, come from the 20% of doing projects you can’t finish.

So next time you take on a project, think how difficult it is to finish and how long will it take for you to have it done. Then compute how much will you earn over the effort. The result will determine the priority of your project.

smart-freelancing-tips-02

Photo by Amy

Tips

  • If the project is less difficult, put it first. That way, before you spend a big chunk of your time on a difficult and time-consuming project, you’re done with the easy ones.
  • Do the projects that have the earliest deadlines.
  • Focus on the projects that interest you the most.

Choose Between Day or Night

Are you a day or night person? This is a serious and important question to answer. Some people find mornings exciting and invigorating to work. Some find evenings mind-conditioning and could write a thousand lines of code. Either way, you need to find where you belong. This is both an advantage and a disadvantage as a freelancer. Of course, it is a disadvantage because you’ll be dealing with distractions at any point in the day, so you have to resist. But it is more of an advantage because most jobs don’t offer you this flexibility – to work whenever you want.

smart-freelancing-tips-03

Photo by Periwinckle

So choose. By saving time, you take those idle moments when you are not productive as rest hours, giving you time to refresh and recharge.

Give Each Project a Time Limit

Never put your time to waste. Prepare a schedule for your projects. Give each project a time limit, enough for you to actually finish what you’re supposed to do. With that, you will know how much you will be able to do and handle each project with sensitivity and full attention. If you fail to meet the time limit and you feel that extending it will hamper the succeeding items in your schedule, then continue it after everything is done. That way, you will not end up wasting time and finishing nothing.

smart-freelancing-tips-04

Photo by Brice Ambrosiak

Keep Yourself from Distractions

When you work, as much as possible, keep away from distractions: that itching sensation of checking who just sent you a message on Facebook, browsing through the Twitter Feed, or even opening your favorite MMORPG. These things keep you away from what you are supposed to do. Identify what these distractions are and avoid them by all means. This may be difficult at first, but then again, everything is, isn’t’ it?

Invest

Have you felt absolutely flat out? Like, when your imagination cannot produce anything? Or when you cannot work? Well, that’s a very difficult situation. You’re in a ‘block’. So what do you need to do? The secret is simple: outline.

Outlining is an advantageous means of preserving your creativity for more projects. It’s very simple. First, you need to bring your writing materials wherever you go. Bring a pencil or a piece of paper. Next, in your idle time, walk around, have coffee, watch a movie. Do anything. If anything pops up, which I’m sure there will, write it down (or draw it). That way, you’re investing in your own ‘idea bank’ and obtain ideas from it when you need them the most.

smart-freelancing-tips-05

Photo byMarcio Eugenio

Make a Portfolio

As freelancers, you have no character references to offer or any cool and prestigious corporate names to provide. Clients are not be sure how good you are because of this. That is why you need to create a great portfolio. Put your projects, I mean, your best projects in it. This way, when future clients would request a list of what you’ve already done, you can give them your URL and let them see how good you really are.

smart-freelancing-tips-06

Photo by petermailloux.com

Take a Break

Of course, taking a break is important. As websites need to clear caches, or computers need to refresh, you also need to rest. Taking rests before projects allow you to become more passionate and productive! It also keeps you from being sick and tired of what you do. So sit back and refresh – I mean, relax.

smart-freelancing-tips-07

Photo by Steve Beckett

Conclusion

Freelancing sure is difficult and it poses a lot of challenges, but it’s totally worth it. Once you’ve become used to the routine and kept yourself away from distractions, you’ll find yourself enjoying and earning as much as (or even more) than those who have regular jobs! So suit up and become a smarter freelancer.

January 08 2014

15:02

40 Best Responsive WordPress Free Plugins

Do you want to impress mobile surfers or want to create an awesome responsive website? If your answer is “yes” then use these new responsive WordPress plugins. In this post, we are showcasing 40 wonderful responsive WordPress Plugins for you. Without breaking the layout on mobile devices now you can easily and safely add new features to your responsive WordPress website with responsive WordPress plugins. In this post, you will find different categorizes of plugins like Short codes and Page Builders, images and video, sliders, menus, forms and other.

With these WordPress plugins you can make your website more stunning and eye-catching that gives mobile visitors an awesome and superb experience. Grab this amazing chance and start browsing through this fresh collection. Check this out and get to pick one and do not forget to share your precious opinion with us via comment section below. Your comments are always more than welcome. Have fun!!!!

Wapple Architect Mobile Plugin

( Download )

Wapple Architect Mobile Plugin for WordPress is a plugin that allows you to mobilize your blog in minutes.

WP Fluid Images

( Download )

WP Fluid Images replaces the fixed width and height attributes so your images resize in a fluid or responsive design.

WordPress Mobile Pack

( Download )

The WordPress Mobile Pack is a complete toolkit to help mobilize your WordPress site. It has a mobile switcher, themes, widgets, and mobile admin panel.

Juiz Smart Mobile Admin

( Download )

Used with the default administration theme, this plugin offers you a smartphone support for your dashboard.

Responsive TwentyTen

( Download )

Makes your TwentyTen themed site have a responsive and fluid layout.

Ultimate Coming Soon Page

( Download )

Creates a Coming Soon page or Launch page for your Website while it’s under construction and collects emails from your visitors.

FitVids for WordPress

( Download )

This plugin makes videos responsive using the FitVids jQuery plugin on WordPress.

WP Orbit Slider

( Download )

WP Orbit Slider is a jQuery slider that uses custom post type and taxonomies. Oh, its also responsive!

WP Mobile Detector

( Download )

The WP Mobile Detector automatically detects over 5,000 mobile devices and displays a compatible mobile theme.

Juiz Smart Mobile Admin

( Download )

Used with the default administration theme, this plugin offers you a smartphone support for your dashboard.

GPP Shortcodes

( Download )

GPP Shortcodes is a free WordPress plugin that allows you to easily add “flat design” buttons, boxes, icons, pricing tables, tabs, toggles and column layouts in your posts and pages without modifying CSS, HTML or PHP.

Responsive Plugin

( Download )

Convert any theme into responsive theme.

Simple Responsive Images

( Download )

Add the possibility for site to have it content images responsive.

Symple Shortcodes Free WordPress Shortcodes

( Download )

Tired of using a theme with built-in shortcodes, switching themes and then losing all your awesome styles? No worries, this is why I’ve created the Symple Shortcodes plugin! Now you can add buttons, highlights, boxes, toggles, tabs, pricing tables…among other awesomeness and take them with you no matter what theme you decide to use.

PB Responsive Images

( Download )

Adds support for the proposed responsive image format in post content, and helper functions for theme authors.

Advanced Responsive Video Embedder

( Download )

Embed videos with a click of a button from many providers with full responsive sizes. Show videos as thumbnails and let them open in colorbox.

Style My Gallery

( Download )

Style galleries using popular scripts – currently only FlexSlider. Supports multiple galleries per page.

Vixy YouTube Embed and Download

( Download )

A simple method of embedding YouTube videos (with download links) into your pages. Easy to use, but with powerful features for those that need them.

Responsive Video Embeds

( Download )

Automatically resize WordPress auto-embeds, including video and other iframes, in a responsive fashion.

Meta Slider

( Download )

4 sliders in 1! Choose from Nivo Slider, Flex Slider, Coin Slider or Responsive Slides.

Meteor Slides

( Download )

Easily create responsive slideshows with WordPress that are mobile friendly and simple to customize.

WP Parallax Content Slider

( Download )

A customizable JQuery content slider with CSS3 animations and parallax effects.

WOW Slider

( Download )

Add beautiful image slider to your WordPress blog! Awesome effects, fancy templates, point-and-click wizard. Fully responsive, pure CSS fallback.

Portfolio Slideshow

( Download )

Add a clean, responsive javascript slideshow to your site. The slideshow integrates well into any design, supports fluid-width themes, and offers lots of options for power users, too.

Super Responsive Slider

( Download )

Plugin that lets you create a slider very easy and with spectacular results.

Smooth Slider

( Download )

Smooth Slider is a WordPress Plugin for creating a dynamic slideshow/s for featured Posts, Pages, Media Images and Custom Post Types on a WordPress site.

EasyRotator for WordPress

( Download )

Add beautiful, responsive EasyRotator photo rotators and sliders to your WordPress site in seconds.

Breezing Forms

( Download )

Professional form builder for beginners and experts. Create any kind of form you need. Powerful and flexible, yet easy to use.

Responsive Select Menu

( Download )

The Responsive Select Menu plugin automatically turns any WordPress 3 Menu into a select box / dropdown on mobile devices.

Responsive Page Tester

( Download )

Gives users with content creating permissions the ability to preview their site in a responsive testbed.

WEN’s Responsive Column Layout Shortcodes

( Download )

This WordPress plugin gives you an easy way to add columns to any section – page , post or other content.

Gmedia Gallery

( Download )

Manage files, show image galleries and photo slideshows, play music on your site Gmedia Gallery plugin. Gmedia Library provides a comprehensive interface for handling galleries, image and audio files.

Pricer Ninja

( Download )

A great tool for adding responsive pricing tables to your WordPress website.

Responsive Column Widgets

( Download )

Creates a custom responsive column widget box.

Oik nivo slider

( Download )

Shortcode for the jQuery Nivo slider; “The Most Awesome jQuery Image Slider”; reputed to be the world’s most popular jQuery image slider.

Flowplayer 5 for WordPress

( Download )

A HTML5 responsive video player plugin. From the makers of Flowplayer.

Royal Responsive Menu

( Download )

The Royal Responsive Menu plugin automatically turns any WordPress 3 Menu into a select box / dropdown on mobile devices.

Responsive WordPress Slider

( Download )

The best responsive WordPress slider plugin. Made lite and free.

Responsive 3D Slider

( Download )

The Morpheus responsive 3D slider is a new plugin for wordpress which to create sliders with galleries, presentations, infographics and many more.

SlideDeck 2 Lite Responsive Content Slider

( Download )

Create responsive content sliders on your WordPress blogging platform. Manage SlideDeck content and insert them into templates and posts.

December 31 2013

21:03

45 Fresh And Free WordPress Themes

In this collection, we are presenting some fresh and awesome WordPress themes. WordPress is very popular and famous blogging platform that’s why millions of people are using WordPress. WordPress themes provide you wonderful features which are very useful for your work. WordPress themes are easy to use and you can easily edit them with your needs or requirements. If you want that your blog or website look stunning then so many WordPress themes are available. Like choose custom WordPress theme. With the use of custom WordPress theme you can easily make your website stand out from the crowd and give long lasting impression on your customers or website visitors.

So, come and grab this amazing chance and start browsing through this fresh collection of WordPress themes. Check this out and get to pick one which is suitable for your project. And do not forget to share your precious opinion with us via comment section below. Have fun!!!!

Playbook

( Demo | Download )

Playbook is a traditional WordPress theme with a dual column post layout, a fully responsive design, and is jampacked with all MyThemeShop’s best features. Playbook includes SEO optimization, custom widgets, our industry grade options panel, and much more, and best of all, it’s 100% free!

Art Works

( Demo | Download )

Your Artwork is important, showcase your imagination with style. Premium Responsive WordPress Themes for Creative Professionals.

Sunrise

( Demo | Download )

Free Responsive WordPress Theme for Pubs and Restaurants.

Revera

( Demo | Download )

Revera is a free premium wordpress theme based on the Bootstrap 3 framework. This is a responsive wordpress theme with all the bootstrap goodness packed in it. The theme is WordPress 3.6 ready. The theme comes with features like, custom menu, featured images, custom homepage template, portfolio page template , widgetized sidebar and footer, custom widgets on homepage, theme option page etc.

Lingonberry WordPress Theme

( Demo | Download )

A clean and simple theme for bloggers, featuring responsive design and plenty of style.

PhotoMag

( Demo | Download )

PhotoMag is excellent solution for site about photography. This WordPress theme supports and comes with custom widgets, drop-down menus, javascript slideshow and lots of other useful features.

Neon light WordPress theme

( Demo | Download )

Miideo is a minimalistic WordPress theme with plastic interface elements, a nice texture, and a purple neon light effects that put toghether bring the sensation of handling an electronic device. Since the theme is purposed for videos, it becomes ideal for music bands and artists wanting to show their material, althouhgh the theme can be used for diverse purposes.

DUALSHOCK

( Demo | Download )

DualShock is a 100% free, dual purpose blog and magazine UI theme. It features our best features including our options panel, custom widgets, translation-ready functionality and search engine optimization. With a unique layout including sleek post meta information box, DualShock is a must-have theme, and best of all, it’s free.

Crisp Persona WordPress Theme

( Demo | Download )

Crisp Persona is the WordPress theme. It’s a sleek, responsive theme meant for personal blogs.

Balloons

( Demo | Download )

Balloons is a single-column layout, with parallax scrolling effect.

Appz WordPress Theme

( Demo | Download )

WordPress + Appz WordPress theme is a simple, fast and effective way to approach the audience with your app.

Impulse

( Demo | Download )

A very neat and clean blue, black and white business theme. The theme supports widgets. And features theme-options, threaded-comments and multi-level dropdown menu. A simple and neat typography.

Dreams

( Demo | Download )

Dreams is a high quality free General/Blog WordPress Theme. Comes with easy to use options page. Upload your logo and favicon. Ready to use custom widgets and featured posts slider.

TechFlow

( Demo | Download )

TechFlow is a high quality free News/Magazine WordPress Theme. Comes with easy to use options page. Upload your logo and favicon. Ready to use custom widgets and featured posts slider.

Panoramica

( Demo | Download )

Panoramica is built with the intent of adapting to as many window sizes as possible. It has a fully fluid layout that gives it tremendous flexibility, allowing you to cater to both large and small screens alike. Its polished portfolio heavily emphasizes the use of images, displaying a clean slideshow in every portfolio item. And of course, you can customize its appearance through its extensive options panel.

Sentoz

( Demo | Download )

Sentoz is a free premium WordPress theme. This is a tumblog style theme. The theme uses WordPress post format feature to create posts with different formats like, image, audio, video, link, aside, gallery, quote etc.

Minimal Business WordPress Theme

( Demo | Download )

This one is a sober theme built with light colors and a minimalistic style that give the feeling of demureness. useful for startups the same as for long time business. With unique built-in features that make it very functional and versatile in case the purpose is not to use it on a company site but something simpler.

Edu

( Demo | Download )

Edu is a high quality free General/Blog WordPress Theme. Comes with easy to use options page. Upload your logo and favicon. Ready to use custom widgets and featured posts slider.

Road Fighter

( Demo | Download )

The Road Fighter WordPress Theme is a simple and beautiful theme with lots of customization options that can tweaked by Theme Options Panel like logos, intro texts, background etc. The Road Fighter Theme supports five widgetized areas (two in the sidebar, three in the footer) and featured images(thumbnails for gallery posts and custom header images for posts and pages).

Divan

( Demo | Download )

Divan is one of the best stylish and clean themes for WordPress blog. It has designs which are good-looking and can be used with any type of content. It contains powerful functionality that allows you to create amazing blog.

ForDrivers

( Demo | Download )

ForDrivers is beautiful WordPress theme for auto web pages. This is a complex wordpress themes with lots of useful features like custom widgets, feedback form, slider, video supporting and many other.

Sencity

( Demo | Download )

Sencity is a high quality free General/Blog WordPress Theme. Comes with easy to use options page. Upload your logo and favicon. Ready to use custom widgets and featured posts slider.

MoviePoster

( Demo | Download )

MoviePoster WordPress theme is a perfect foundation for cinema website. Easy to use administrative panel, custom widgets, an eye catching related posts and lots of other powerful features provide a great base to build on.

Apartments

( Demo | Download )

Apartments is excellent solution for your realty or other blog. This WordPress theme supports and comes with custom widgets, drop-down menus, javascript slideshow and lots of other useful features.

MetroBlog

( Demo | Download )

MetroBlog is stylish and clean creative theme for WordPress blog. Its design is a perfect foundation for Windows 8 fans blog. The theme supports and comes with custom widgets, drop-down menus, javascript slideshow and lots of other useful features.

Sports

( Demo | Download )

Sports is a smart, attractive and multi-purpose sports free WordPress theme. Comes with 7+ custom widgets. Rich and easy to use administration panel, easily upload your logo or favicon.

Luminus – Responsive WordPress Theme

( Demo | Download )

Luminus – Responsive WordPress Theme built with twitter bootstrap.

SimpleDesign

( Demo | Download )

SimpleDesign is beautiful WordPress theme for any type of content. This is a complex wordpress themes with lots of useful features like custom widgets, feedback form, slider, video supporting and many other.

MineFun

( Demo | Download )

MineFun is excellent solution for Minecraft fans. This WordPress theme supports and comes with custom widgets, drop-down menus, javascript slideshow and lots of other useful features.

Dinata

( Demo | Download )

Dinata is a sleek General/Blog theme that is fully compatible with the newest version of WordPress. The amazing design is matched by how much customisation Dinata offers, including its detailed .po fil,e for easy translation.

Time

( Demo | Download )

A clean responsive theme for personal blogs.

Practis

( Demo | Download )

Practis offers the beauty of a professionally designed website with the efficiency of a veteran developer. This gorgeous General/Blog site includes widgets, drop-down menus and a javascript slideshow among other features.

GoTech

( Demo | Download )

GoTech is a high quality free News/Magazine WordPress Theme. Comes with easy to use options page. Upload your logo and favicon. Ready to use custom widgets and featured posts slider.

Allmed

( Demo | Download )

Allmed is a theme for video and audio bloggers, with a minimal design, giving you huge scope to turn the design into anything you like. The theme is simply customizable, you can choose unlimited color schemes.

Topside

( Demo | Download )

The Topside theme offers a fantastic and professional General/Blog layout. Topside comes with free support, widgets, custom backgrounds and a unique slideshow.

Nexia

( Demo | Download )

Nexia is a theme that can do it all and still look good. This gorgeous General/Blog theme supports and comes with widgets, drop-down menus and an automatic slideshow.

ProLines

( Demo | Download )

ProLines is a high quality free General/Blog WordPress Theme. Comes with easy to use options page. Upload your logo and favicon. Ready to use custom widgets and featured posts slider.

Photogram

( Demo | Download )

Integrate your WordPress site with Picasa and Pinterest in a few simple clicks. Share your photographs online and present them in the best way possible.

Fresh & Clean Free Minimal WordPress Theme

( Demo | Download )

Fresh & Clean is a free WordPress theme created by WPExplorer.com that has a very clean and minimal design yet it is still pretty modern and elegant looking. This theme was created with the casual blogger in mind, however, it can be great for all sorts of sites!

Rose

( Demo | Download )

This simple and elegant WordPress template is great solution for women’s blog. Rose, like our other themes, comes with Shared Bar that will help your visitors to share your blog with their friends.

Travelify – Awesome & Responsive Travel WordPress Theme

( Demo | Download )

Travelify WordPress theme design is inspired by nature. We made it as simple as possible while fully customizable with several Theme Options and page templates. Travelify is ideal choice for travel blogs, green thinking, adventurists and anyone who is looking for an amazing and simple way to share pictures.

Apollo

( Demo | Download )

Apollo is a minimal Free WordPress Theme created with bloggers in mind. The 2 column grid layout for your archives is great for showcasing all sorts of content. Sign up for your free membership to download this theme and use for your own site!

EASY

( Demo | Download )

HTML 5 and CSS3 powered Easy Theme is a simple easy way for your website. Easy is super elegant and Professional Theme which will expand you widely. The Slider will show the featured images and contents of posts automatically. Front Page, Right and Footer Sidebar will be usable for showing the Widgets and Plugins items.

CinemaPlanet

( Demo | Download )

CinemaPlanet WordPress theme is a perfect foundation for cinema website. Easy to use administrative panel, custom widgets, an eye catching related posts and lots of other powerful features provide a great base to build on.

MagicWood

( Demo | Download )

MagicWood is one of the best stylish and clean themes for WordPress blog. It has designs which are good-looking and can be used with any type of content. It contains powerful functionality that allow you to create amazing blog.

November 22 2013

15:03

15 Free And Awesome Responsive WordPress Themes

In this round up, we are showcasing some fresh and awesome free responsive WordPress themes. WordPress is very well-accepted and well-known blogging platform that’s why millions of people are using it. With these WordPress themes, you will be provided with wonderful features which are very useful for your work. Furthermore, all these WordPress themes are easy to use and you can easily edit them depending on your needs or requirements.

So, make your website or blog look stunning with these WordPress themes. With the use of these responsive WordPress theme, you can make your website stand out from the rest as well as give a long lasting impression on your customers or website visitors. So, come and grab this amazing chance and start browsing through this fresh collection of WordPress themes.

Responsive

( Demo | Download )

Responsive Theme is a flexible foundation with fluid grid system that adapts your website to mobile devices and the desktop or any other viewing environment.

Designfolio

( Demo | Download )

Designfolio includes a responsive slider and portfolio, and it scales perfectly to fit any size screen on a computer or mobile device.

Yasmin

( Demo | Download )

Yasmin is a responsive wordpress theme. That means the theme will adjust itself to the screen size of various devices used to browse the web. Let that be your desktop, laptop, tablet or even your smart phone. You will not have to swipe and drag to see the content overflowing your small screen sized devices. It is not only the site layout that is responsive, even the media elements like images, slideshows and videos are responsive in this theme. This is based on the skeleton Framework.

Yoko

( Demo | Download )

Yoko is a blog theme that is well suited for larger magazines or blogs. The theme offers plenty of space for widgets in 2 right-aligned sidebars. For WordPress 3.1 +, also available on WordPress.com.

GoPress

( Demo | Download )

GoPress is a super minimal and lightweight free WordPress Theme by WPExplorer that is perfect for any magazine, news or blogging website. The theme has been created with a focus around the basic post format to keep things super simple and make it easier for you to transition from another theme to this one or vise-versa.

Luminus

( Demo | Download )

Responsive WordPress Theme built with twitter bootstrap

TBLOG

( Demo | Download )

TBLOG is a fully responsive – fluid WordPress theme for personal bloggers, furniture showcase sites, portfolio style websites.

TumblePress

( Demo | Download )

You take pictures, you write stories and opinions, you make videos, you link to cool sites all the time. Tumblr is perfect for that but there’s one flaw, you don’t get to control everything as easy as you would with WordPress. You’ve got no control over your database or server and you can’t even do anything with its SEO.

Meeta

( Demo | Download )

Meeta is a simple blogging theme, but packed with many premium features, like: unique widgets, custom templates. The theme is absolutely free!

Sampression Lite

( Demo | Download )

Sampression Lite is a minimalist, fully responsive, retina ready, translation ready, clean theme, perfect for blogging. It’s lightweight responsive design allows this theme to adapt across a range of screen sizes.

Tetris Free Masonry Tumblog WordPress Theme

( Demo | Download )

Tetris is a responsive Tumblog style WordPress theme created by AJ Clarke from WPExplorer.com. The theme features a masonry style homepage and archive pages to showcase your posts in a modern fashion and makes use of WordPress post formats so sharing different media types is extremely easy.

Customizr

( Demo | Download )

Enjoy designing your website live from the WP customizer screen. Choose your options : skin, logo, social profiles, slider, layout, home featured blocks… you can even customize your css live. And this is it! The clean and fully responsive design can be used for any type of website : corporate, portfolio, business, blog, landing page, etc.

Destro

( Demo | Download )

Responsive WordPress magazine theme with 3 home page layouts, 300×250 ads, 125×125 ads, 8 premade (Black, Blue, Red, brown, pink, white and Green) ready to use color schemes/skins, 2 page layouts including a full width page template, featured posts, social icons, twitter updates, threaded comments and widget support.

Respo Theme

( Demo | Download )

Respo is amazing WordPress theme with clean, sleek and customizable design. The theme is suitable for presonal blogs and/or online magazines. This is a responsive theme, able to adapt its layout to the screen size of your visitors. (try resizing the screen and see for yourself) The sliders for this theme is responsive too, which means it works super sleek on mobile device like ipad or iphone.

Adapt

( Demo | Download )

Adapt 2.0 is a free responsive business WordPress theme created right here at WPExplorer. The theme features a very clean and elegant business portfolio style design making it useful for small businesses, agencies, portfolios and more.

November 20 2013

08:00

101 Ways to Monetize Your Website or Blog

This post was originally published in 2007, but since then much has changed in the world of internet marketing. As a result, most of the content and options listed in the original post were no longer relevant. We’ve totally revamped this post and started from scratch. If you’re looking for some ideas on how to monetize your website or blog, take a look at the topics and resources listed here and I think you’ll find some great options.

Selling Advertisements

One of the most popular methods of monetizing a site or blog is to sell advertising space, usually banner ads. You could manage this manually, but it is much more efficient to either use a network or a plugin/resource that will automate much of the process.

BuySellAds

1. BuySellAds – A popular network that manages advertising for publishers and advertisers.

2. BuySellAds Pro – A professional-grade advertising solution from BSA.

3. OIO Publisher – Probably the oldest and most-used WordPress plugin ($47) for managing ad sales.

4. WP AdCenter – A popular and comprehensive ad management plugin for WordPress ($49).

5. AdSanity – Another popular and feature-rich WordPress plugin ($29) for managing ads.

6. AdPress – A premium WordPress plugin ($35) with advanced ad management features.

7. Banner Manager Pro – A WordPress plugin ($18) for selling and managing banner ads on your site.

8. The Deck – An long standing invite-only ad network that targets the web design industry.

9. Carbon – An invite-only ad network, now owned by BSA, that focuses on the design and development industries.

10. Fusion Ads – Also and invite-only network that is owned by BSA targeting the creative community.

11. Yoggrt – Another invite-only network from BSA that targets the creative community.

12. Smaato – Mobile advertising network.

Contextual Advertising

Placing ads within the content of your pages is also an option.

InfoLinks

13. AdSense – Google’s contextual advertising solution is one of the easiest ways to monetize a website or blog.

14. Vibrant – In-text, in-image, and display ads.

15. Infolinks – Infolinks is a popular option for in-text ads.

16. Kontera – A contextual advertising solution that has been around for years.

17. Result Links – Focusing on in-text ads.

18. Yahoo Bing Network Contextual Ads – Contextual ads powered by Media.net.

19. Clicksor – They offer inline text ads, banners, popunders, and more.

Affiliate Networks

Affiliate programs can be extremely lucrative to top earners, and one of the great perks is that there are affiliate programs available in just about any industry or niche you can imagine. You can sign up to promote specific products by joining the affiliate program of particular companies or websites, but large networks also represent a huge number of companies and products. Affiliate networks make it a little bit easier to manage because you can get all of your links and stats in one place, plus payouts for all programs within the network will be combined.

CJ

20. CommissionJunction – A huge network with options to promote products in just about any industry.

21. ClickBank – The leading affiliate network exclusively for digital products.

22. Amazon Associates – While it’s not really a network, Amazon sells so many different products that their affiliate program can be used by just about any website or blog.

23. ShareASale – Another large affiliate network with many products to promote on your site.

24. ClickBooth – Offer CPA and CPC options.

25. LinkShare – A major affiliate network that represents many leading brands.

26. Neverblue – Another popular affiliate network with a lot of options.

E-Commerce

Selling products at your own website is one of the best ways to take your monetization to the next level. Here are some great resources for getting your own shop setup.

Shopify

27. Shopify – A super-popular and feature-rich hosted e-commerce platform.

28. BigCommerce – Another popular and feature-rich e-commerce option.

29. Highwire – A hosted e-commerce platform that includes features like selling on Ebay and Facebook.

30. Magento – An extremely popular open-source e-commerce platform.

31. osCommerce – Another popular open-source option.

32. DPD – A simple e-commerce system that is great for selling digital products.

33. E-Junkie – A popular option for selling digital products, although you can use it for tangible products as well.

34. WooCommerce – The leading free WordPress plugin for e-commerce. You can purchase option add-ons from their store to add specific functionality.

35. WP e-Commerce – Another popular free WordPress plugin with premium add-ons available.

36. Cart66 – A premium WordPress e-commerce plugin. They also offer Cart66 Cloud which is a combination of a WordPress plugin and hosted e-commerce.

37. Easy Digital Downloads – A free WordPress plugin for selling digital products.

38. Gumroad – Gumroad makes it easy to sell your digital products.

Launch Your Own Affiliate Program

If you sell your own products, adding an affiliate program is an effective way to increase sales exponentially. You’ll allow others to promote your products in exchange for a commission on any sales that they refer. Most affiliate software options offer many of the same features, so I won’t list details, but here are several options.

iDevAffiliate

WordPress Affiliate Plugins

If you use WordPress for your website there are a number of plugins that can help for setting up your affiliate program.

Membership Websites

Selling memberships is another excellent monetization option. You can generate recurring revenue by offering members access to exclusive content or resources.

aMember

49. aMember – The most popular software for managing membership websites ($179.95), aMember integrates with a wide variety of CMSs and platforms.

50. Wishlist Member – Probably the most popular WordPress plugin ($97) for managing a membership website.

51. Restrict Content Pro – A solid membership plugin for WordPress ($42) that doesn’t include extensive features but is very user-friendly.

52. Member Mouse – A robust membership plugin for WordPress (starts at $19.95 per month).

53. MemberWing – Another membership plugin for WordPress ($199.95).

Premium Content

Tinypass

There are also a few resources that help you to make money by selling access to premium content on your site or blog.

54. Pivotshare – Sell premium video content.

55. TinyPass – Build a revenue stream based on payment for access to premium content.

56. Cleeng – Sell premium content including videos, e-books, live events, and newspapers.

Sponsored Content

Sponsored reviews and blog posts used to be more popular a few years ago, but there are still some options for leveraging your blog to make money from publishing sponsored content.

PostJoint

57. PostJoint – Accept paid content for your blog.

58. SponsoredReviews – Get connected with advertisers looking to pay for blog reviews.

59. SocialSpark – A marketplace find advertisers who want you to review their products.

60. Giveaway.ly – Make money by hosting sponsored giveaways.

Hosting Affiliate Programs

One easy way to make a little extra money is to join the affiliate program of whatever company is hosting your website. Almost every host offers an affiliate program and you can place an ad or link on your site that says “hosted by ABC Company”. If you’re looking for a new host you may want to consider one that has a great affiliate program.

Bluehost

61. Bluehost – A very popular host with an extremely popular and effective affiliate program.

62. HostGator – Another leading host with a generous affiliate program.

63. WPEngine – They specialize in managed WordPress hosting and they feature a high affiliate commission for referrals.

64. MediaTemple – A leader in the hosting industry with a potentially-lucrative affiliate program.

65. Eleven2 – Our current host also offers an affiliate program.

Add a Job Board to Your Website

Another option is to create an industry-specific job board on your site, and charge companies to post a job listing to be seen by your audience. The following options will all make it easy to setup your own job board.

Create and Sell Access to Online Courses

Online training and education is a huge industry. You can leverage the expertise and reputation that you have developed by creating and selling your own courses.

Udemy

Podcasts

Many bloggers also publish podcasts, and podcasts offer some additional opportunities for ad revenue and sponsorships.

77. Podtrac – Podtrac connects podcasters and advertisers.

Auctions

You can sell products via auction using these WordPress plugins and themes.

WordPress Plugin for Monetizing a Site

Sabai Directory

For those of you who are using WordPress, there are a number of plugins that don’t fit perfectly into any of the categories before. Each of these plugins has it’s own unique functionality that helps you to make money in some way.

81. Sabai Directory – This plugin ($25) allows you to add a directory to your site, and it integrates with PayPal to accept payment for directory listings.

82. Page Peel Pro – Use page peel ads on your site with this plugin ($13).

83. WP Adshare Revenue – Use this plugin ($10) to share AdSense revenue with authors and editors. It’s a great way to encourage others to produce content for your site.

84. Advert Flap Pro – Create unobtrusive ads that will get your visitors attention by using this plugin ($13).

85. Interstitial Ads – Use this plugin ($18) to show ads that your users will see between pageviews.

86. Wp-Insert – A free plugin that will insert ads into specific locations within your content.

87. Google AdSense – A free plugin that makes it easy to implement AdSense into your WordPress website or blog.

88. WP Auto Affiliate Links – This free plugin will automatically create affiliate links within your content based on keywords and affiliate programs of your choice.

89. Amazon eStore Affiliates Plugin – Use this plugin ($31) to build a store featuring Amazon products.

90. Paid Downloads Pro – Sell any digital content easily with this plugin ($18).

91. Social Deals Engine – This plugin ($15) allows you to get daily deal site functionality, and it integrates with WooCommerce.

92. FooBar – Add a notification bar with this plugin ($14) to get more attention for an affiliate link or a link to one of your own products.

93. attentionGrabber – Another popular plugin ($12) for adding a notification bar.

94. WP Header Bar – This plugin ($13) allows you to create responsive notification bars with a lot of different features.

95. Nice Notifications – A notification bar plugin ($14) with a drag-and-drop composer.

96. WP Pre Post Advertising – This plugin ($10) shows an ad before the actual post/page. The ad includes a countdown and when it reaches 0 the page/post will be shown.

97. 5sec Link Remover – This plugin ($8) allows you to show links only to registered/paid users.

98. Pretty Link Lite – A free plugin (premium version also available) that is great for shortening your affiliate links.

99. Simple URLs – Another free plugin for creating shortened links.

100. WP125 – This free plugin allows you to manage and rotate banner ads.

101. AdRotate – A free plugin for managing ad spots on your blog. A pro version is also available.

What’s Your Experience?

Please feel free to share your own preferences and experiences in the comments.

November 07 2013

15:25

40 Infographics & Cheat Sheets For Social Media Marketers

Today, social media is more than a platform for friends to meet. Businesses all over the world are taking advantage of social media platforms to market their goods, services, websites, tools or wares. Thousands of people use social media and spend many hours a day on different social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest and so on. Social media is a powerful platform to market your goods and services whether you are running a big business or have just started up a small business. Social media is a sure way to success.

In this round up, we are presenting for you some useful cheatsheets and infographics for social media marketers especially. These infographics and cheatsheets will help you learn more about trends in social media and how you can give your brand an increased exposure and let your message spread all over the world. Enjoy!

The Most Thorough Social Media Dimensions Cheat Sheet Ever

Pinterest: How eTailers Can (and Should) Use it to Their Advantage

Twitterverse Infographic

The Ultimate Social Media Size Cheat Sheet

2013 Social Media Cheat Sheet

Social Media Networking Site Cheat Sheet

A Complete Cheat Sheet for All Social Media

Social Media Sizing Guide for Designers and Marketers

The 4 Cs of Social Media

Leveraging Social Media to Showcase Your Expertise

Email Marketing Knocks Out Social Media in 5 Rounds

Social media is going corporate

Choosing The Most Effective Social Media Platforms

Social Media Monitoring Tools

Your Cheat Sheet for the New Facebook Page Timeline Design

Complete Social Media Design Cheat Sheet

Google Plus Design Cheat Sheet 2013

Google+ for Business

The Viral Marketing Cheat Sheet

Social Media vs Traditional Media

What Today’s Social Landscape Can Offer Small Businesses Tomorrow

The Noob Guide to Online Marketing

The Psychology of Social Commerce

Social Media For Business In Two Camps: Too Much and Not Enough

Copywriting Cheat Sheet: How to Write for Email, Social and the Web

How to Show Your Clients the Value of Facebook in 7 Easy Steps

Why and How Consumers Like and Subscribe

Your Cheat Sheet for the New Facebook Page Timeline Design

The Top Benefits Achieved in Social Media in 2013

How Much Time, Money Do Small Businesses Spend on Social Media?

Manage Social Media the Easy Way in 2013

Why Your Business Must Go Social?

The Conversation Prism

Social Compass

Facebook Shortcuts

How To Get More Likes On Facebook

10 Strategic Mistakes On Twitter

Social Spam: What It is and How to Avoid It

Social Media Brandsphere

Pinterest Images Cheat Sheet Infographic

October 28 2013

16:16

50 Wonderful Free WordPress Plugins

Thousands of people are using WordPress plugins because all WordPress plugins provide awesome features, great flexibility to the users, are editable and also save time as well. All experienced persons are using WordPress plugins and even the beginners are also using these WordPress plugins. All you have to do is go to your Admin Panel under “Plugins” and click on “Add New” where you can search for each new plugin and install directly from your Admin Panel. There is another way of installing these WordPress plugins and that is to use an FTP client such as FileZilla and browse your WordPress Plugin directory “WP-Content” then “Plugins” to manually upload the plugins files. One thing you should keep in mind that after manually uploading your plugin files you will still need to activate them by visiting your Admin Panel and going to the plugin tab and choosing activate.

Scroll through our wonderful free wordpress plugins and do let us know what you think about this compilation. Feel free to share your opinions and comments with us via comment section below.

Flexible Posts Widget

An advanced posts display widget with many options. Display posts in your sidebars any way you’d like!

Easy Digital Downloads

Sell digital downloads through WordPress with this complete digital downloads management plugin.

Any Mobile Theme Switcher

This Plugin detects mobile browser and display the theme as the setting done from admin. Usefull for switch to Mobile Theme.

Interbookings

Adds the Interbookings.com bookings form to your post, or place the Interbookings.com button to your sidebar.

Selfservice FAQ Plugin for WordPress – Casengo

Add a powerful FAQ & Knowledge Base on your WordPress Blog or Website. Powered by Casengo.

Vina Presentation Cycle Widget

A great WordPress Slider to display featured posts in Presentation Cycle.

WP-Spreadplugin

This plugin uses the Spreadshirt API to list articles and let your customers order articles of your Spreadshirt shop using Spreadshirt order process.

Gugl

This plugin can capture a query string when the visitor comes to your Site from Google Results Page. Then you can show your visitor button with prepared text and search phrase to get high CTR.

Wordfence Security

Wordfence Security is a free enterprise class security plugin that includes a firewall, anti-virus scanning, malicious URL scanning and live traffic including crawlers. Wordfence is the only WordPress security plugin that can verify and repair your core, theme and plugin files, even if you don’t have backups.

Mini twitter feed

Embed your twitter feed or the twitter timeline from your favorite users on your WordPress blog. Shortcodes and widgets are used.

HTML5 MP3 Player with Playlist

Allows WordPress users to easily use HTML5 the element enable native audio playback within the browser. It supports all browsers i.e. Firefox, Chrome, Safari, IE and Opera. HTML5 Audio Player with Playlist, Repeat, Random, Stream Seek, Volume Control, Timer, Next, Previous, Play-Pause option.

CleanSave

The best saving tool is now available on WordPress. Join top sites like NBC News, CNN, Disney and Fox Sports and offer your users a simple saving experience that keeps them coming back to your site.

Oik Nivo Slider

Nivo shortcode for the jQuery Nivo slider; “The Most Awesome jQuery Image Slider”; reputed to be the world’s most popular jQuery image slider.

Google sitemap plugin

With the Google Sitemap Plugin you can create and add a Sitemap file to Google Webmaster Tools, and get the info about your site in Google Webmaster Tools.

StatComm (StatPress Community) Multisite Edition

Real Time Statistics on your blog, collecting information about visitors, spiders, search keywords, feeds, browsers, OS and more.

EasyRotator for WordPress – Slider Plugin

Add beautiful, responsive EasyRotator photo rotators and sliders to your WordPress site in seconds.

Easy Contact Forms

Easy Contact Forms. Easy to create. Easy to fill out. Easy to change. Easy to manage. Easy to protect.

GD Star Rating

Plugin allows you to set up advanced rating and review system for post types and comments in your blog using single, multi and thumbs ratings.

SEO Smart Links

SEO Smart Links provides automatic SEO benefits for your site in addition to custom keyword lists, nofollow and much more.

Facebook

The Facebook plugin for WordPress adds Facebook social plugins to your WordPress site. Associate your WordPress site with a free Facebook application identifier to enable advanced features such as automatically sharing new posts to an author’s Facebook Timeline or your site’s Facebook Page.

Google Analyticator

Adds the necessary JavaScript code to enable Google Analytics. Includes widgets for Analytics data display.

Embed Form

Add JotForm forms to your blog posts with a click of a button. Create contact forms, surveys, order forms, event registration forms to your posts.

AtContent. Increase SEO and Readership! Free!

Why over 3,500 Sites Have Chosen AtContent? For the easiest way to Reach new readership, Increase search ranking, Control & Monetize content!

Easy Media Gallery

Easy Media Gallery is a wordpress plugin designed to display portfolios and various media support including gallery sets, single image, google maps, video, audio and link with very ease and elegant.

Post video players, slideshow albums, photo galleries

Post your videos, photo galleries/flash slideshows, music and playlists easily and in seconds.

Design Approval System

A system to streamline the process of getting designs, photos, or videos approved by clients quickly.

xili-language

xili-language lets you create and manage multilingual WP site in several languages with yours or most famous localizable themes. Ready for CMS design.

Fancy Gallery

Fancy Gallery associates linked images and galleries with the jQuery Fancybox. This Plugin has been granted the “Famous Software” Award!

BuddyPress

ocial networking in a box. Build a social network for your company, school, sports team or niche community.

My Videotag

Implements Tag “Video” in posts and comments which automatically identifies videos from sites like: youtube, googlevideo, dailymotion, etc..

Feedweb

Feedweb is a simple way to get to know your audience. Find out what readers think about your blog. Ask any question and get feedback.

WP Facebook Like Send & Open Graph Meta

Add Facebook Like and Send buttons after each post. Automatically include Open Graph Meta Tags.

Jetpack

Supercharge your WordPress site with powerful features previously only available to WordPress.com users.

AM Events

Adds an additional interface for events similar to normal posts. Also includes a widget for upcoming events.

Responsive Column Widgets

Adds an additional interface for events similar to normal posts. Also includes a widget for upcoming events.

Feed Them Social

Easily add Instagram Feeds, Facebook Group Feeds, Twitter Feeds, and now YouTube Videos Feeds to any page, post or widget.

Live Chat

Add live chat to your blog or website quick and easy with Casengo, so you can handle enquiries via email and live chat directly from your website. Casengo helps you to respond to customers faster than ever and improve their satisfaction with a groovy mixture of real-time chat and email.

Social Media Feather

Super lightweight, simple, nice, modern looking and effective social sharing and following buttons and icons on your site without the extra burden.

Wp App Studio

Wp App Studio is easy to learn and use design tool for creating fully featured custom apps(plugins) based on WordPress platform. No coding required.

Zenziva Contact Form

Kirim email dan SMS alert ke administrator jika ada yang menghubungi melalui contact form. Kirim SMS alert kepada pengunjung yang telah mengisi form.

WOW Slider

Add beautiful image slider to your WordPress blog! Awesome effects, fancy templates, point-and-click wizard. Fully responsive, pure CSS fallback.

WP-TopBar

Create MULTIPLE TopBars that will be shown at the top of your website. TopBars are selected by a variety of options – includes schedules!

WP Elegant Testimonial

An easy to use Testimonial Plugin for WordPress.

Optin Revolution: WordPress Popup

Supercharged WordPress Popup Plugin. Possibly the best way in the world for you to create unique unblockable popups to grow your list of subscribers!

CM E-Mail Blacklist

This plugin will check if a user trying to register to your WordPress site is using an email from a domain which is defined in blacklists.

GroupDocs Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Image and PDF Annotate

Lets you embed the GroupDocs Annotation into WordPress to annotate your documents directly in WordPress website.

Travel Search

Search and Compare major travel websites for cheapest flights, hotels, car rentals and vacation packages in this one-step travel search engine.

Social Login

Allow your visitors to comment and login with social networks like Twitter, Facebook, Paypal, LinkedIn, LiveJournal, OpenID, VKontakte, Google, Yahoo.

BadgeOS Community Add-on

Adds BadgeOS features to BuddyPress and bbPress. Earn badges based on community activity, and display them on user profiles and activity feeds.

Related Posts by Zemanta

Zemanta recommends your content to new audiences both on your blog and across our network of high-quality sites.

September 24 2013

13:49

13 Free E-books To Boost Your Blogging Expertise

Knowledge is a treasure and we can enrich our know-how in many different ways and reading books is one of them. Reading books is the best way to gain knowledge that endows us with a comprehensive understanding regarding different aspects of life which in turn gives us the confidence to deal with different problems and find out appropriate solutions as well. With the advancements in the sector of Information Technology, the concept of reading e-books has also gained huge acceptance.

For this collection, we are presenting 13 free and the best e-books that will enhance your knowledge about blogging. These e-books are useful for the newcomers as well as for the seasoned bloggers. Here is the full list. Enjoy!

Effective Internet Presence

Why Your Blog is Your Social Media Hub

The Corporate Weblog Manifesto

279 Days to Overnight Success

How to Monitor Your Social Media Presence

The Zen of Blogging

The Beginner’s Guide to SEO

BlogBash 30 days 30 experts

Blog Profits Blueprint

Killer Flagship Content

Everyone’s an expert

How to Start a Business Blog

New version of Handbook for Bloggers and Cyber Dissidents

September 20 2013

15:28

24+ Reasons Why Blogging Is Good for Freelance Web Designers and Other Freelancers

Should freelancers blog?

In my opinion, this shouldn’t even be a question. There are so many business benefits to blogging that it only makes sense for most web designers and other freelancers to take part. The benefits of blogging far outweigh the disadvantages.

Yet, it seems like every so often someone influential makes the statement that they think blogging is dead. They claim blogging is no longer a good idea for small business. It’s a waste of time, they say. Social media is all the exposure you need, they go on to say.

blog-3

Never mind that such well-known blogging experts like Demian Farnworth explain clearly that social media will never replace blogging, as he does in this post on Copyblogger, 8 Reasons You Should Never Quit Your Blog for Google+. There are still those who will proclaim blogging to be a waste of time for freelancers.

In this post, I’ll explore why blogging has fallen out of favor with some freelancing. I’ll also list over 24 ways that your design business can still benefit from blogging.

Why (Some) Freelancers Hate Blogging

For those freelancers who are griping about blogging, I have one thing to say–stop trying to be Pete Cashmore. You’re not (at least probably not) going to found the next Mashable. You don’t have to post every single day. Your posts don’t even have to be words–images and videos will work as well.

And that’s perfectly okay. You can still derive a lot of business benefits from blogging.

Comparing your blog to non-freelance blogs is one of the main reasons I think that many freelancers are tempted to give up blogging. (The other reason being that blogging takes time and work.) But such comparisons are unfair. Most big blogs and news sites were never created to help promote a business. Plus, they almost always have investors on board and a professional staff.

Just because you can’t be Mashable (or any big name blog) doesn’t mean that you can’t benefit from having a freelance blog for your design business.

24+ Ways Your Freelance Design Business Can Benefit from Your Blog

blog-2

Here are over 24 ways that your freelancing business can benefit from your freelancing blog:

  1. Relatively Low Cost. Yes, blogging costs a little money and takes a little time. However, it’s still a relatively low cost way to promote your design business–especially when you compare it to paying for advertisements.
  2. Controlled by you. It’s true that social media is a free way to promote your business. But don’t rely too heavily on social media. You don’t own the social media sites. Plus, social media sites fail. Does anyone remember Yahoo! Buzz or MyBlogLog?
  3. Builds authority. You can use your freelance blog to show off your knowledge in your area. To do this, create and share hiqh-quality content that is relevant to your specialty.
  4. Grows relationships. The best, most authoritative, blogs tend to have communities that grow up around them. These communities consist of regular commentators who interact frequently with the blog’s authors and readers.
  5. Provides fresh content for search engines. It’s well-known that the search engines tend to favor sites that frequently publish new content. What better way to add new content that with a well-written blog post?
  6. Source of work samples for writers and web designers. Your blog can serve as a sample of your work. What better way to show them what you can do than with your own blog?
  7. Shows off your skills. Your skills aren’t always evident in your portfolio, which only shows the end result. In your blog, you can connect the dots and tell prospects how you worked behind the scene to make that project a success.
  8. A place for your unique voice. No one approaches the design business quite like you. No matter who you are, you have a unique slant on the industry. With your blog, that uniqueness gets a voice.
  9. Gives you an online home. Your freelance business blog is a place where clients, prospects, and colleagues know that they can find you online.
  10. Something of your own to share on social media. If you don’t blog, you will have to share other people’s content on social media. Now, there’s nothing wrong with doing that. You should do that. But it’s also a good idea to have something of your own to share.
  11. More interesting than a static site. If you’ve seen one freelancer website, you’ve seen them all. At least that’s how many of your prospects feel. Add thought-provoking blog posts, and you give your prospects a reason to come back to your site.
  12. Generates leads. Many studies show that business websites with blogs get more traffic. Here’s one of those studies. This one is from Lily Zhu writing on HubSpot, Active Business Blogging Draws in 6.9 Times More Organic Search Traffic.
  13. Competitive advantage. If you don’t have a freelancing design blog, I believe that you are at a competitive disadvantage. Your prospects learn more about you through your blog. If you don’t have a blog and your competitor does, guess who they’ll be learning more about?
  14. Sometimes a source of additional income. Some design blogs do become popular and do provide their owners with an additional income. It doesn’t always happen, but it’s nice when it does.
  15. Branding tool. A blog is a great way to convey your vision for your design business. Ultimately, your blog becomes part of your brand.
  16. Announce new products and services. Are you expanding your business? Did you learn a new skill? Maybe you have a new side gig. Use your blog to help promote these announcements.
  17. Shows you are comfortable with new media. Many clients are looking for someone who is knowledgeable about social media and blogging. Having a blog shows that you understand just how important new media is and also that you know how it works.
  18. Share more than just words. Use your blog to showcase your design work, record a video about web design, or even share some of your favorite photographs.
  19. Inspire people to action. Blogs can be a great source of inspiration. If a prospect is sitting on the fence, uncertain about whether to hire you, a blog can be the difference that gets you the business.
  20. Give clients an extra way to connect. The best business blogs also showcase client success. Interview a satisfied client and share how your services helped them.
  21. Improves your communication skills. Communication is an important skill for freelancers. We communicate through proposals, email, phone calls, and in many other ways. Blogging is a great way to hone your communication skills.
  22. Can provide the core for a book. Many bloggers have turned the topic of their blog into a book. Some freelancers have gotten book deals through a traditional publisher, others have published an eBook. Authoring a book only enhances your reputation.
  23. Prequalifies client inquiries. Prospects who contact you because they’ve read your blog tend to be more interested in your services than other clients. Often they already know what type of work you do and what your vision is.
  24. Opportunity to help others. By posting to your business blog, you are giving back to the web design community. If you’re doing it right, you are sharing valuable information that will be useful to your prospects, clients, and colleagues.
  25. Your post won’t be rejected. Guest posting is a popular way for some to promote their products and services. If you’ve ever tried it, though, you know that there’s no guarantee when or if your post will be published. With your own blog, you publish what you want when you want.

With all of these advantages, it makes me wonder why every freelancer isn’t taking advantage of blogging.

My Experience

blog-1

My own blog is small. It’s definitely not the next Mashable, nor was it meant to be. However, if I had never started it, I doubt I would be sharing this post with you today.

Sure, I had writing experience. I had years of experience writing technical manuals and creating help systems for software. But it’s my blog that opened the door to writing online content.

Blogging made a difference for my freelancing business and it can make a difference for yours.

Takeaways

The most important point I’m trying to make here is that your design business blog doesn’t have to have hundreds of thousands of page views to be a success. If your blog gets your message out and attracts the interest of potential clients, that is enough.

If you’re struggling to make your design blog work, we have some posts here on Vandelay Design Blog that can help.

Do you have a blog for your design business? Why, or why not?

August 05 2013

12:34

Collection Of Excellent WordPress Twitter Plugins & Widgets

Here we are presenting a superb collection of some very useful and handy WordPress Twitter plugins for you. WordPress Twitter plugins can be crucial for social media marketing and therefore, any business either online or offline should not overlook its importance. Twitter is a powerful marketing tool and with the help of WordPress Twitter plugins, the tedious task of social media marketing can be reduced exponentially.

With this collection, we are showcasing a useful assortment of some free WordPress Twitter plugins for you so that you can download them and simplify your work process. Resources such as WordPress plugins are meant to expedite your work flow by allowing you carry out certain actions quickly thus helping you to improve your productivity as well.

Juiz Last Tweet Widget

Add a widget to your sidebar to show your latest tweet(s) with style and without JavaScript! Retweet, Favorite and Reply links are available.

Twitter Fans (Like Box for Twitter)

This plugin lets you display your twitter followers in the sidebar (or anywhere else in the theme). The display is similar to Facebook’s Like Box.

Twitter Widget

Adds a sidebar widget to display Twitter updates (uses the Javascript Twitter ‘widgets’)

Twitter Tweets Box

Twitter Tweets Box is a Widgets let you display Twitter updates on your website.

Tweetable

Twitter is big. Too big to ignore if you’re a blogger. It’s a great way to connect with your readers, and promote your blog a bit.

Twitter Mentions As Comments

Twitter Mentions as Comments scours Twitter for people talking about your site & silently inserts their Tweets alongside your existing comments.

Social

Brought to you by MailChimp, Social is a lightweight plugin that handles a lot of the heavy lifting of making your blog seamlessly integrate with social networking sites Twitter and Facebook.

NextScripts: Social Networks Auto-Poster

This plugin automatically publishes posts from your blog to your Social Network accounts such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+(Google Plus), Blogger, Tumblr, LiveJournal, FriendFeed, DreamWidth, Delicious, Diigo, Instapaper, Stumbleupon, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Plurk, VKontakte(VK.com), YouTube, WordPress, etc.

WordTwit

WordTwit keeps track of when you publish new posts, and automatically informs your followers by pushing out a tweet to twitter in the format you specify. All links are automatically converted to tiny URLs to save space.

Twitter Follow Me Box

Creates a floating box with a follow me twitter. Without the need to modify the template.

Twitter Embed

Easily embed tweets in your posts and pages by posting the tweet URL on a line by itself or by using a shortcode provided by the Twitter interface.

Share And Get it !

Share&Get it! automatically provides you with either Facebook fans or Twitter followers in return for downloadable files. Once you’ve installed Share&Get it ! on your WordPress website, your number of visitors will dramatically increase in no time. To obtain such great results, you only need to copy/paste the shortcodes you get when setting up the buttons.

Tweet Old Post

Plugin to tweet about your old posts to get more hits for them and keep them alive.

TwitPic

Displays your latest pictures from TwitPic in the sidebar of your blog. The plugin is widget ready and comes with many configuration options!

Rapid Twitter Widget

Display tweets from one or more Twitter accounts using a WordPress widget. Compatible with version 1.1 of the Twitter API.

Simple Twitter Plugin

Display timeline for Tweets from an individual user, a user’s favorites, Twitter lists, or any search query or hashtag as a widget in your sidebar.

WordPress IDX Plugin

WordPress IDX is the leading IDX / MLS real estate search plugin for WordPress sites. Elegant interface, great SEO and excellent lead capture.

WordPress.org Plugin/Theme Information Embed

A WordPress plugin that allows you to embed realtime information about plugins or themes from WordPress.org into posts and pages simply by pasting in the URL to the plugin into your post or page.

Tweet Blender

Better than Twitter’s own widgets – Tweet Blender is tag-aware and has support for multiple authors, lists, hashtags, and keywords all blended together. The plugin can show tweets from just one user or a list of users (as all other Twitter plugins do); however, it can also show tweets for a topic which you can define via Twitter hashtag or keyword.

Tweet And Get it !

Tweet&Get it ! is an automatic process to get Twitter followers in exchange for a downloadable file.

Latest twitter sidebar widget

This widget will display the most recent tweets for any twitter user who has their tweets set as public. Show up to 20 tweets. Include a link to your twitter profile and a twitter icon or your profile picture.

Twitter Shortcode

Shortcode for the official Twitter Widgets.

Twitter Goodies Widgets

Uses the twitter goodies widgets API to create offical twitter widgets (profiles, lists, faves and search) straight from your control panel.

TwiBadge

This is a WordPress plugin to show your Twitter badge as a widget with easy personalization.

TweetRoll

TweetRoll displays your Twitter details and the avatars of some of your friends, together with the ability to monitise your Twitter stream.

JM Twitter API Status Monitor

Monitor the Twitter API and be alerted when it is down.

Evergreen Post Tweeter

Evergreen Post Tweeter enables you to automatically tweet out links to old posts based upon a tag or tags.

TwitterLink Comments

Allow your commentators to include their Twitter username along with their comment so a follow-me link can be displayed with their details on the list.

Twitter Comments – Twitoaster

Twitter Comments system. Automatically retrieve Twitter Replies and/or Twitter Retweets to your Blog’s Posts using WP built-in comment system.

Twitter Feed Widget

Twitter Feed Widget will display your tweets using ajax and jquery. It shows one tweet at a time and loops through an specified number of tweets and time interval. IMPORTANT the twitter feed currently only works with non-private(public) twitter accounts.

WP Twitter Timeline

Add a sidebarwidget with your twitter timeline to your WordPress-Blog.

Twitter Plugin

Add a Twitter “Follow” button to your WordPress website.

Twitter Widget with Sentiment Analysis

Shows latest tweets for any keyword, hashtag or, your handle along with sentiment analysis. It also starts to show trend lines if there is enough volume.

Reliable Twitter

Adds a sidebar widget to display Twitter updates using the more-reliable Google Ajax API.

Simple Twitter Tweets

A Simple Twitter Tweets display widget, using Twitter OAth and API v1.1 and backup up so it always displays your Tweets.

WP-Twitter Retweet Button

This plugin will install the official Twitter Button provided by Twitter to your WordPress-Blog.

Twitter Embed

Easily embed tweets in your posts and pages by posting the tweet URL on a line by itself or by using a shortcode provided by the Twitter interface.

Rimons Twitter Widget

This plugin allow you to grab your tweets from twitter and show your theme’s sidebar as widget.

OAuth twitter sidebar widget

Display the latest updates for any twitter user in a widget. Automatically embeds links to @users, #hashtags and urls.

July 15 2013

12:35

40 Beautiful 3 Column WordPress Themes For Free Download

WordPress themes are everywhere and there is literally a huge plethora of themes available for the WordPress users to choose from. One of the main reasons of WordPress popularity is the availability of high quality and quite flexible themes that can make any website truly captivating.

In this day and age, 3 column WordPress themes are getting very popular and this is the reason why we have compiled this collection of 40 excellent 3 column WordPress themes for you.

We have already published a post about 3 Column WordPress Themes and today’s collection also will be useful for you. All the themes presented in this collection are free to download. So, enjoy everyone!

Travelzine

( Demo | Download )

eFinance

( Demo | Download )

Imprezz

( Demo | Download )

Sparks

( Demo | Download )

Ink Stain

( Demo | Download )

Sunset Farm

( Demo | Download )

Serge

( Demo | Download )

Guidebook Gold Coast

( Demo | Download )

Lined

( Demo | Download )

Worn Wall

( Demo | Download )

Wooden Wall

( Demo | Download )

Magazine Basic

( Demo | Download )

Nodex

( Demo | Download )

Darix

( Demo | Download )

Gamehub

( Demo | Download )

Douched

( Demo | Download )

LimoPress

( Demo | Download )

Techozoic Fluid

( Demo | Download )

Fresco theme

( Demo | Download )

Red Light

( Demo | Download )

Grey Opaque

( Demo | Download )

Clear Line

( Demo | Download )

Easel

( Demo | Download )

Mainam Vintage – Multi color

( Demo | Download )

Theater Room

( Demo | Download )

Bulletin Board

( Demo | Download )

Film Thoughts

( Demo | Download )

Fragrance

( Demo | Download )

EchoPress

( Demo | Download )

One Room

( Demo | Download )

Worn Wall

( Demo | Download )

Aristo

( Demo | Download )

Note Paper

( Demo | Download )

Fantomalist

( Demo | Download )

Liliya

( Demo | Download )

Riviera Magazine

( Demo | Download )

Belesermo Magazine

( Demo | Download )

Wooden Fence

( Demo | Download )

Azpismis

( Demo | Download )

Funky Green

( Demo | Download )

TechWP

( Demo | Download )

June 24 2013

07:00

How I Increased My Subscriber Rate by 10x Overnight

A few weeks ago I explained how I migrated my Feedburner email subscribers to a newsletter service. Since then I’ve been busy experimenting and optimising my new mailing list to continue growing my sites into the future. After implementing a couple of popular techniques I saw my daily subscribers dramatically rise from around 10 per day to a healthy 100 per day, so I thought I’d share these tips to help others grow their audience.

AWeber daily growth graph

A little background…

I own and create content for two design blogs. The first, Blog.SpoonGraphics is home to my Illustrator & Photoshop tutorials, as well as a range of inspirational showcases and free design resources. You’re reading my second blog right now here on Line25, this site has a specific focus on web design and is home to HTML/CSS tutorials and roundups of cool website designs and trends.

RSS Subscribers breakdown

As I described in my Feedburner to newsletter post, I wanted to begin growing my subscribers beyond RSS due to the demise of Google Reader and the possibility that Feedburner will follow a similar fate. I signed up with AWeber and spent many hours creating my custom email templates, which was actually one major advantage of a newsletter service as opposed to Feedburner. Customising the appearance and content of your emails not only improves the user’s experience, it also results in more click throughs and engagement in your broadcasts.

At first I just switched over my Feedburner email subscriptions signup link to an AWeber form and saw my daily subscriber rate average at up to 10 per day. It wasn’t until after I had a chat with fellow design blog owner and all round nice guy Tom Ross that I realised I could drastically improve this figure. Tom gave me some fantastic tips and techniques and after implementing them I saw that 10 subscribers per day figure rise to between 80-100 per day! If you’re looking for some email marketing consultation of your own I’d definitely give Tom a recommendation, otherwise I know he has some great projects of his own in the works, so give him a follow on Twitter to keep up to date with his online ventures.

Sign up form placement

Initially I only had a sign up form on my subscribe page, but one obvious step to increasing the number of sign ups is to put your form right in front of your users in various places on your site. I created 3 more sign up forms and placed in them in the following areas:

Sidebar signup form

Sidebar sign up form

Despite having a link for users to subscribe by email right at the top of the page, I didn’t have an actual complete signup form visible on the page. Tom recommended I revised the layout of my sidebar menu and use the prominent space for an eye catching form to greet new visitors.

End of post signup form

End of post signup form

One of the forms that has proved really effective on my sites is the placement at the end of every post. New visitors who have stumbled across your content and made it all the way to the end of the article have a high potential of wanting to stick around for more, so it makes sense to prompt them with the option of subscribing with a conveniently placed signup form.

About page signup form

About page signup form

Your about page is probably one of your least trafficked pages, but those who are browsing it have a particular interest in you, your website or your company. A strategically placed signup form slap bang in the middle of your bio is really effective to recruit those interested to receive more of your content. Despite having much lower display rates, my about page signup forms have amazing conversion figures (30x higher than the other forms!).

Free gift incentive

The additional sign up forms on my site no doubt prompted a decent number of readers to sign up, but the one technique that really boosted my daily subscriber rate was the creation of a free gift. Everyone loves freebies, and the offer of a gift to every new subscriber is enough to grab the attention of the average viewer and give them the incentive to subscribe for more. Sure, some people will sign up just to get their hands on the free goodies and have no interest in your new post notifications, but every day you’re growing your audience with people who had an interest in your site, who would have otherwise left and never returned again had it not been for the free gift hook.

Free web shadows pack gift

My Blog.SpoonGraphics site has been around since 2007 and during that time I’ve posted numerous freebies such as Photoshop brushes, textures and vectors. It would take a visitor ages to dig through the archives and download all this stuff, so I used this as an opportunity and created a bundle of my design resources as my free gift. For Line25′s free gift I was a little stuck for ideas, so I browsed the stock resources websites and gained inspiration from the most purchased items lists. Presentation is key, so I spent time mocking up the products and creating eye catching banners to tie the free gift promotion to the sign up forms.

How to set up a free gift download with AWeber

After all the hard work of creating your free gift and its promotional material the actual process of adding it to your mailing list is pretty simple, you essentially just create a special page on your site containing a download button and set this page as your mailing list’s opt-in success page.

AWeber's success page field

In AWeber, this option is found under List Settings > Confirmed Opt-In. It’s the Success Page field right at the bottom of the page. Users will be automatically sent to this page once they’ve clicked the activation link in their email.

Button wording

Split testing Download Now vs Get Email Updates

Recently I’ve been playing around with a split test of one of my signup forms. With the free gift being featured alongside the ability to receive new posts by email I wondered if there would be any difference in performance between the words “Get email updates” and “Download now!”. I expected the “Download now!” button to be more effective at attracting signups purely for the free gift, but the results were pretty extraordinary! The split test was run for around 40,000 impressions and during that time the “Download now!” button achieved 3 times more signups than the words “Get email updates”. It would be interesting if there’s any way to keep an eye on unsubscribe rates relative to each form to compare the quality of subscribers, but at the end of the day it’s 3x more people who are potentially viewing your content.

Final words

These tips are really just scratching the surface when it comes to growing an email list, but they’re all effective techniques that could be implemented by any website owner to optimise their email subscription signups. Most importantly these techniques aren’t deviant or intrusive, and help grow your mailing list with true followers who have a long and happy experience receiving your free content. While newsletter services do incur monthly fees, the ability to convert this investment into additional traffic and readership is definitely worthwhile.

June 19 2013

13:00

Living a Full Life as a Freelance Web Designer with Brian Hoff

There are many people out there who want to become freelance web designers. However, freelancing is not all rainbows and unicorns, since you have to promote yourself, get clients, manage those clients, and, of course, get things done.

That’s not even mentioning more subtle issues, such as finding the right life/work balance, which can be very tough when you work from home.

In this interview, Brian Hoff, an experienced freelance designer, will share his thoughts on the topic.

In this interview:

  • Why did Brian quit his job at Apple to start his own business?
  • How did he build a popular web design blog that brought him loads of clients?
  • How does Brian makes sure that he is getting things done as well as spending enough time with his family?
  • How does he handle the lack of financial stability that is an inevitable part of being a freelance web designer?
  • What is his advice one piece of advice for those who of you who want to become freelance web designers?

Please introduce yourself to our readers.

brian-hoff

My name is Brian Hoff. I’m a professional web and interaction designer. Over the years, my work transitioned from logo design to web design to interaction design. I’ve always enjoyed various elements of design, not to mention I get bored easily, so this transition comes as no surprise to me. These days I mostly work on interaction design (iOS, web apps) though.

I also write for my blog, The Design Cubicle and work on my own products (I have two ideas in the works at the moment) when I can find the time.


IxD: what interaction design is all about?

Here’s how the Interaction Design Association(IxDA) describes it:

Interaction designers strive to create useful and usable products and services. Following the fundamental tenets of user-centered design, the practice of interaction design is grounded in an understanding of real users—their goals, tasks, experiences, needs, and wants. Approaching design from a user-centered perspective, while endeavoring to balance users’ needs with business goals and technological capabilities, interaction designers provide solutions to complex design challenges, and define new and evolving interactive products and services.

Here are few of the key concepts that drive IxD:

  • Goal-oriented design. User usually have a specific goal in mind when using an application. This means that an application should be able to do that one thing really well. Conducting an extensive user research helps interaction designers to create the right balance between form and function.
  • Usability of the design. Applications must be easy to use in order for people to want to use them. Interaction designers aim to create interfaces that makes the underlying systems easy to understand.
  • Affordances. Many things are designed in a way that they are easy to understand even for someone who has never encountered them before. Say, you would probably be able to figure out how to use scissors, even if you would be seeing them for the first time in your life. Interaction designers aim for this same effect in their work.

Interaction designers stay involved throughout the whole development process: they form a design strategy, identify and wireframe key interactions, and then prototype interactions.

According to Andrew Maier, on whose article this short summary of interaction design is based on, one of the hardest part of being a practicing interaction designer is the speed at which the industry change.

You can read more about interaction design here:

You can also check out these books on Amazon:

  • “About Face 3: The Essentials of Interaction Design”
  • “Designing Interactions” by Bill Moggridge
  • Paper Prototyping: The Fast and Easy Way To Design And Refine User Experience” by Carolyn Snyder.

Still aren’t sure that you understood what it’s all about?

Take a look at interaction design section at Behance!


How did you get into design in the first place?

I took the traditional route. I went to school. Majored in Graphics and Interactive Design. Got my BFA. I’ve always been very intrigued and lured into design, though. While I did go to school for it, I consider myself self-taught for a large majority of it.

Starting my own business was another story though. I initially never planned on doing my own thing. At the time of graduation, the economy in the States was on a steady decline and there weren’t many jobs available, since companies were being more cautious I guess. The places I wanted to work weren’t hiring. There were opportunities for me in the big industries that were still doing well (pharmaceutical, etc.), but that wasn’t my thing. Pharmaceuticals? Me? I just couldn’t do it, so I slowly built up my business and reputation and jumped ship to a world of independence. Haven’t looked back since.

What is your professional experience prior to becoming a freelance designer?

I worked at Apple as a software and hardware trainer. I didn’t know it at the time, but the knowledge of how users interact with websites made me a better designer. It helped me approach situations differently. After a few years at Apple I found myself increasingly unhappy. After a year and some odd months of tinkering with the idea of starting my own business I put in my two weeks notice. It was at a time when my blog, The Design Cubicle, really took off and was gaining a lot of exposure. This made the transition much easier.

At one point, you were working 9-5 at Apple, freelancing on the side, and blogging on The Design Cubicle. How did you find time and energy to juggle a full-time job, client work, and a blog? What would you advise to people who would like to start freelancing on the side, but struggle to find time, energy, and motivation to do it?

Yeah, it was tough, but honestly, I just love design. And that’s all I needed. I mean, the people who I was working with at Apple were great, but I just wasn’t happy, because I wasn’t doing what I love to do. That’s why I was really excited to come home and work on a design project that I scooped up through my blog. That was what kept me going. Love brings out the best of people [laughing].

You had a stable job at Apple as software/hardware trainer, yet you decided to quit in order to become a full-time freelance designer. What were the reasons behind this decision? Wasn’t it scary to take a leap from a secure job at a big company to uncertainty of freelancing? How did you prepare for this transition? What would you advise to those who are thinking about becoming full-time freelancers?

The main reason was that I needed to design. It wasn’t even that I wanted to design, I needed it. I know, sounds like a typical artist’s statement, but it’s true. It’s my outlet. The itch that needs scratching.

Also, at that time, I wasn’t married, I didn’t have kids, so the risk for me was relatively low. Obviously, there was the risk of not making any money and being kicked out of my apartment, but I knew that in the worst case I could always go do something else. Plus, I made sure that I have enough money for a couple of months in case things are slow.

Keep in mind that it takes a lot of discipline to run your own business. Some folks are people who need to be managed, and some people are the ones who can do the managing. Everyone likes to think “Oh, I can do this by myself, I can be a freelancer!”, but you really have to think what kind of person you are. Are you able to juggle all these different tasks? Are you good at talking to clients? Are you good at managing clients and managing your own time? There’s a lot somebody needs to think about besides “I’m a good designer. There’s much more to freelancing than design.

One of the biggest challenges that freelance designers have to face is that constant need to get clients. What do you do to ensure that you have enough work every month? What would you advise to freelancers who would like to get more clients, but aren’t quite sure how to go about it?

I’m in a fortunate spot where clients come to me because of the popularity of my blog and other outlets (Behance, Dribbble).

Also, do good work. Always try to do your best at each project and then some. Goes without saying but doing good work and putting it out there gets more good work.

However, context is important, and a simple online portfolio doesn’t have enough context. I once had a portfolio that was basically a bunch of screen-shots and didn’t show who I was as a person. That’s why I started documenting the process of creating a particular design on my blog. This way, clients can see how I run my business, how I work, and so on.

That comes over time, I promise.

Nowadays I can tell how the client is going to react throughout the entire process. For example, there are clients that need to have their hand held, meanwhile other clients are very hands off. You can really get a feel for that just from talking to them.

Before I start working with any new client, I have them fill out a worksheet. It’s amazing how simply reading responses to the worksheet tells me. One example would be clients that give a one word answer to every question. Basically they are telling me ‘I don’t care about the project’. That’s just not the type of person that I want to work with. If they want me to care about the project, I feel that they should care at least as much, if not more.

There are still times when I find myself working with “bad” clients. However, I mostly find it’s the designers fault. I’m the one that needs to be managing the clients, managing their expectations, so it’s usually the result of me not doing something correctly. They choose to work with me not only based on my portfolio, but also my creative process and business process.

That’s why it’s important to be vocal. I’m not afraid to tell a client “Your idea won’t work and here’s why..”. The aesthetics of design can often be subjective so I don’t tell people “it’s crap because it’s crap”, but if I truly believe that it’s a terrible idea, the client is going to hear it in a way that has value.

And in regards to them being stingy with money.. Well, the way I see it, I have my price and I’m upfront about it. I base it on a set of deliverables. I don’t do hourly rates. I quote a project for deliverables over a time frame (like, you need these 6 pages over 6 weeks, here’s the price). Design is an investment of time and end value. My price is my price.

I feel like you have to have your minimum rate and a rate that you want, so if a client can’t afford the rate that you want, you can knock it down to your minimum rate if you really need the job. However, when you go below your minimum rate you are only hurting yourself, because in my experience, working on crap projects just brings more crap projects. It’s weird how it works like that, but it just does: bad clients breed more bad clients, bad works breed more bad work.

Also, hiring a designer for a very low rate is a bad investment for a client, which they need to understand. I’ve knocked down a price significantly few times, and I’ve realized that it just ruins my motivation, because I don’t feel that I’m being fairly compensated for my work. It kills the momentum and enthusiasm from the start. Good results don’t come from lack of enthusiasm.

People often don’t realize how hard it can be to have a right work-life balance when you are self-employed. Maybe you can tell us how does your day look like? What do you do in order to stay productive while still having a life? What would you advise to freelancers who struggle with getting things done?

work-life-balance

by Werkplay

  1. Well, to get work done, you just need to be a good manager, you have to say “These are my work hours” and stick to it.
  2. That’s exactly what I did when I started working as a full-time freelancer. My day starts around 6AM. I don’t work past 6PM (technically, my day ends at 4PM, but if I really need to I can extend it until 6PM). I also don’t work weekends. This leaves me plenty of time to go outside and do something outside (which I really enjoy). It’s good because it allows me to get my work done and then take a break by spending the rest of the day with my family. Breaks are good for creativity.
  3. It’s hard though. I have an almost two-year-old, and my wife is home with our son, so if I don’t have my headphones on I can hear them downstairs, and it’s hard not to go downstairs and spend time with them. I do that sometimes, but I make sure that if I go downstairs to see what’s up, I spend no more than 10 minutes on that. I see it as basically an equivalent of chatting with a co-worker next to a water cooler in the office [laughing].
  4. It takes discipline. You need to set your work hours at the very beginnings. I know some guys who work at night, who work weekends, and so on. I don’t know how they do it, especially if they have families. That’s just a way to burn out in my opinion.

One of the main disadvantages of being a freelancer is lack of financial security, you never know how much you’re going to earn, clients disappear, then your car breaks. What do you do in order to make yourself as financially secure as possible? What would you advise to people who want to become full-time freelancers, but are worried that it might lead to a financial disaster?

Many people think that when they have a job at some company they are financially stable, and that couldn’t be further from the truth. They can get fired at any time. Longevity is not in your hands. There’s nothing more or less financially stable in working for yourself vs. working for somebody else if you have a dependable business plan.

Also, when you work for a company, you get the same salary every month. It’s true that as a freelancer, you can end up making very little money on some months, but you can also make double or triple your usually monthly income on others. I think that’s what’s fun about running your own business. It pushes you to work little bit harder to make that extra money.

I’m a small corporation. That’s why, as weird as it’s sounds, I pay myself a salary. Me and my wife sit down together and see how much we need to cover our bills and have a little bit extra money left every month. That’s what I take out as a salary.

I also take out additional bonuses which is our savings. When you need only 10 000$ a year to survive, and you end up making 50 000$ instead of 10 000$, it’s easy to want to go party and spend it [laughing]. However, you need to be smart about it. We always make sure that we have money put aside for those rainy months.

You have experience of being employed by a big company and being self-employed. What are the advantages and disadvantages of both? Why did you decide to stay self-employed? What would you advise to our readers who are not quite sure which way they want to go?

Working on your own, and doing it successfully, brings a quality of life that’s difficult to comprehend. And I don’t mean that from a money profit standpoint. When I need a day off, I don’t have to go to my boss and ask for a day off, I just take it. Sure, it means that I will have to work harder the next day, but that’s okay. There’s nobody managing me.

Working for myself also gives me an opportunity to choose which clients I want to work with. I enjoy working with digitally focused people, with online, forward thinking goals. I get to pick and choose the people I want to work with.

Disadvantages.. I have many friends who work for respectable agencies. Every time I talk to them, they tell me how much they are learning at their jobs. I feel like I miss out on that experience by being self-employed. There’s that part of me that is always curious about that, but that’s what having friend is for, since our community is so helpful. Everyone is very open in our industry.

You run a popular blog, The Design Cubicle. Why did you decide to start a design blog in the first place? How did you get your blog to where it is now? What role did The Design Cubicle’s success play in your design career? Would you advise other designers to start their own blogs? Why or why not?

the-design-cubible

I started The Design Cubicle few months before I left Apple. I started it as a means to interact. I read a lot of design blogs and I felt like I could add something to the greater story. My blog was my creative outlet in written form and my way to share ideas.

Then, two articles of mine “hit the front page of Digg”, which got brought me a ton of traffic. I remember after that my traffic went up to 6000 visitors/day. It gained a lot of momentum for my work. I just kept on writing and sharing.

Today, I wish I would have more time to write, I really do. I have so much less time for it now than I had when I started a blog: my days are filled with client work, I work on more complicated projects, and so on. I need to write more, though.

And yes, my blog played a significant role in my design career. It was at the time the best marketing for me.

Okay, so you have a successful design career, a popular design blog, what are the future plans of Brian Hoff? Are there any interesting new projects that are you planning to take on? What is the next step in your career?

I want to build my own services and my own products. There are two ideas that I’m in the process of executing. I’d say that you can expect something new from me in the next 12 months.

Last, but not least, if you could only one piece of advice to someone who wants to become a freelance web designer, what would it be?

This is my one advice to anyone wanting to start anything (whether it’s to be a designer, a chef, or a construction worker): love what you do.

There’s no way that you can be as successful as you want to be unless you absolutely love what you do.

You can only get so far in life without this. It’s all about love.

Thank you for the interview!

In a nutshell:

  • Keep in mind that freelancing isn’t easy. You have to consider whether you are good at getting things done, managing your clients, promoting yourself, and so on. Many people are much better employees than freelancers.
  • Showcase your work online. Make sure that you have a decent looking portfolio which you can show to your clients. It’s even better if you include case studies that showcase your work process.
  • Always focus on doing the best work that you can. This will help you get new clients through word of mouth. It will also keep your current clients coming back.
  • Avoid working with low paying clients as much as possible. They are the hardest to deal with. Plus, doing low paid jobs will only get you more low paid jobs.
  • Set your work schedule and stick to it. Overworking yourself is very counter-productive. Make sure that you get enough rest.
  • Always make sure that you have money set aside for rainy days. There are times when you have a lot of clients, and there are times when you have none, and this is inevitable part of freelancer’s life. Don’t stress about it, prepare for it!
  • Having a blog can accelerate your freelancing career. Providing value to other web designers helps you to become a recognized expert in the community. Keep in mind that running a blog is a long term project, though. You won’t get quick results.
  • You have to love what you do if you want to really get ahead.

Interested in Brian’s blog? Start here!

Here are three great articles from Brian’s blog:

You can read more great articles at The Design Cubicle.

June 10 2013

13:00

How Content Marketing Helped the Businesses of Famous Web Designers

Are you missing out on the benefits of content marketing? Most likely yes, you are.

Does it even actually work as good as everyone is saying it does?
No, content marketing works even better than what you have heard about it.

As long as you use it wisely and don’t shoot blind.

So here are four guys from the web and graphic design industry who will make your doubts disappear.

But before you scroll down.
Remember – content marketing is not your average marketing strategy.

No Pushing, No Forcing, No Arrogance and No Spammy Attitude.

Keep that in mind and there is no reason why you could not be included in a list of successful stories like this one.

Ready?

Chris Spooner

Chris Spooner

Image Courtesy of  Richard Shepherd

Chris is a creative designer, avid blogger and is generally crazy about pretty colours and shapes. His two main hobbies/interests in life are design (obviously) and gaming. Chris also enjoys creating videos to capture exciting events.

Follow Chris On Twitter.

1. Do you believe content marketing (blogging) has contributed to your business’ growth? If yes – how exactly do you think it has contributed.

Absolutely! Since around 2008-2009 just about all my business was generated as a result of my blog. My blog posts and tutorials were gaining substantially more exposure than my portfolio website, so my work was being put in front of a much wider audience.

Not only this, but the quality of projects were often much higher. Instead of clients finding me through a generic Google search, they were choosing me because they enjoyed my content and saw how much was involved when creating a particular design thanks to the breakdowns I presented through tutorials. This meant projects ran much more smoothly without the usual client nightmares.

2. Could you tell me which one of your blog posts has received the most attention? And why do you think it happened?

The most popular article on my blog is “50 Illustrator Tutorials Every Designer Should See“. There’s a couple of major reasons this post is the most popular. Firstly it provides the exact result designers are searching for when they Google “Illustrator tutorials”, and saves people the leg work of finding these articles themselves.

This post has gained the number one position for “Illustrator tutorials” in Google search, so with it being a pretty popular search term it makes up a considerable portion of my overall traffic stats. Secondly the title is quite catchy with it including the “Every Designer Should See” wording. It makes it a little more intriguing and entices people to click it in the results page.

3. If you started blogging today would you do something differently? What would it be?

It would be much more difficult today, but I’d follow my basic rule of creating content that helps people out. I kind of started from scratch recently with my gaming channel on YouTube. I set myself up in a community where I had zero subscribers and built up exposure by creating videos to share my knowledge with others.

4. What is your advice and tips to others who would like to taste the benefits of content marketing?

My basic rule is to create content that provides answers to what people want to know. In my case this was in the form of Illustrator tutorials. A relatively untouched topic will be much easier to become the “expert” in, but above all it has to be a topic you’re thoroughly passionate about. Keep grinding through the early days when no one is reading your content and you’ll soon start to see your readership and exposure grow.

David Airey

Image Courtesy Of Herman Miller

Image Courtesy of  Herman Miller

David is a graphic designer and occasional author who specializes in designing brand identities. He has worked with companies like Yellow Pages, Giacom, Asian Development Bank, and Berthier Associates.

Follow David On Twitter

1. Do you believe content marketing (blogging) has contributed to your business’ growth? If yes – how exactly do you think it has contributed.

Undoubtedly. My blog used to be my only marketing tool. Now I have my blog and my books, but I wouldn’t have the books if it wasn’t for my blog, so that’s where everything started. Many new business inquiries arrive through my website as a result of organic search queries for relevant design terms. It’s my 24-hour promoter.

2. Could you tell me which one of your blog posts has received the most attention? And why do you think it happened?

Back in 2007, in the early days of my blog, a Gmail security flaw allowed a thief to steal my .com domain and try to sell it back to me. I blogged about it on my .co.uk domain and the story went viral, hitting the front page of Digg, Reddit, and on the New York Times website. With the help of the design community I got it back, and you can read the initial post here: Google’s Gmail security failure leaves my business sabotaged.

Why was it so popular? Because so many people use Gmail. It could’ve happened to them.

3. If you started blogging today would you do something differently? What would it be?

I’ve made a ton of mistakes along the way, so yes, I’d do quite a lot differently. It’s a topic I wrote about in another popular post from 2007: Seven blog mistakes to avoid. It’s old in blogging terms, but there are still some valuable lessons in there.

4. What is your advice and tips to others who would like to taste the benefits of content marketing?

It’s time-consuming. You need to be prepared for the long haul. I didn’t know what I was doing at the beginning, but in a way that helped, because you can plan and plan, but the best thing to do is start. The following post is another popular one, a bit more recent, and it covers a lot of the advice I’d give: How to get 87,698 blog subscribers in five years.

Paul Boag

Image Courtesy Of Treehouse

Image Courtesy Of  Treehouse

Paul has been working with the web since 1994. He is now co-founder of the web design agency Headscape, where he works closely with clients to establish their web strategy, he is also a prolific writer.

Follow Paul On Twitter

1. Do you believe content marketing (blogging) has contributed to your business’ growth? If yes – how exactly do you think it has contributed.

Absolutely. My blogging and podcasting are the primary mechanisms by which my web design agency brings in new business. We estimate that approximately 90% of new leads come via my blog. The blog not only helps us rank well on search engines, but also demonstrates our expertise and establishes us as leaders in our field.

2. Could you tell me which one of your blog posts has received the most attention? And why do you think it happened?

My most popular blog post is “10 techniques for creating effective calls to action“. This post rates number one on Google for the phrase “calls to action” and for a long time was extensively linked to throughout my blog. Its success is primarily down to the fact that it is a list post containing solid practical advice that can be easily applied to any website.

3. If you started blogging today would you do something differently? What would it be?

I would more closely associate my blog with my company. Currently the blog exists on a completely separate domain name to my web design agency and so I do not believe the blog is as effective as it could be at driving traffic to my web agency.

4. What is your advice and tips to others who would like to taste the benefits of content marketing?

My advice is simple “don’t give up”. Too many people launch a blog and post for a few months before being demoralized and giving up. Others continue to blog, but do so on such a sporadic basis they never build up a solid readership. The secret to successful blogging is to put out content on a regular schedule and to do so over a number of years. Content marketing is not a quick win but it pays off over the long term.

Jacob Cass

jacob-cass-just-creative

Jacob is a self-employed graphic designer, specializing in the fields of corporate identity (logo) design, web design, print design, and branding. He is also the founder of ‘JUST™ Creative’.

Follow Jacob On Twitter

1. Do you believe content marketing (blogging) has contributed to your business’ growth? If yes – how exactly do you think it has contributed.

Blogging is really the backbone of my business… not only does it bring in traffic, passive income and freelance clients, but it has also got my name out there, and subsequently my services are now in more demand, thus allowing me to increase my costs. Essentially my blog has made me be able to “work less, but charge more”, meaning I can do more of what I love (designing) and less of the nitty gritty of business.

2. Could you tell me which one of your blog posts has received the most attention? And why do you think it happened?

The classic list posts get the most shares and traffic, but there are a number of other articles such as Branding, Identity & Logo Design Explained  that also get a lot of attention. I think this post stands out because of its simple explanations and it’s not just another list post.

3. If you started blogging today would you do something differently? What would it be?

This really is an extraneous question as the internet changes so much every year and you gain so much knowledge over time. This quote comes to mind: “Wisdom does not come with age, it comes with mistakes made.” I’ve made many mistakes along the way, and it’s all about learning from these mistakes and improving on them for next time.”

4. What is your advice and tips to others who would like to taste the benefits of content marketing?

Stick at it for at least six months, these are the hardest months and when you will learn the most. Be a sponge and take it all in, network with others like crazy and utilize all the resources available to you… it will pay off.

So, did these four guys open your eyes to content marketing?

I want to know, do you have any more questions left? If you do – please fire away. I’m here to listen.

June 07 2013

13:00

Principles of Design and David Kadavy’s Design for Hackers, Interview

E-books about principles of design, and specifically about web design, are getting more and more popular. Years ago these kind of information can only be found on universities, but now they’re everywhere and people are taking them in like hungry lions.

If you don’t know this, well, seriously, what rock have you been living under last year?

  • Sacha Greif wrote “Step by Step UI design”
  • Jarrod Drysdale wrote “Bootsrapping Design”
  • Nathan Barry wrote three e-books, “App Design Handbook”, “Designing Web Applications” and “Authority”.

When I saw David Kadavy’s “Design for Hackers: reverse-engineering beauty” I was like:

Wait! This is a REAL book? Published by an actual PUBLISHER? And it hit #18 on Amazon? What is this?!

Getting a real book published by an established publisher is a big deal. There’s still a lot of prestige in being a published author. Nowadays, the entry requirement into the world of self-publishing is very low, therefore the fact that an actual publishing company is willing to take a risk on you signals that what you have to say is of some value. Having a book under your name can open many doors and provide many opportunities. Plus, it must be an amazing feeling to see your book on the shelves of a random bookstore.

However, getting that book deal isn’t easy, nor is selling a decent number of copies. I had so many questions. Why didn’t David go the e-book route? How did he get a book deal like that? How did the #18 on Amazon happen? How much money did he make? Was the whole experience worth it? Admit it, now you are wondering about the same things, aren’t you?

Well, it’s a lucky day for us, because today, we have David Kadavy here on 1stWebDesigner, and he will tell us all about it

In this interview:

  • How David got a book deal by hitting  #1 in Hacker News.
  • How he managed to write an entire book in only 6 months.
  • How he promoted his book in a way that it debuted at #18 on Amazon.
  • How “Design for hackers: reverse-engineering beauty” lead to speaking gigs all around the world.
  • How David went from having to work miserable jobs to being able to work only on the projects that are interesting to him.

david kadavy design for hackers

Please introduce yourself to our readers.

I’m David Kadavy from Kadavy. Inc. I’m the author of the book “Design for hackers: reverse-engineering beauty”, a book that teaches people the fundamental principles of design. I speak about design in different conferences around the world. I’m also an adviser for several start-ups. You can find out more about me at kadavy.net.

How did you get into design in the first place?

Well, I’ve been always obsessed with drawing, ever since I could hold a pen.

In 1995, my brother left his computer at our house while he was away at college. I got an AOL account and made my first web page back then.

Then, I went to school to study graphic design and continued tinkering with HTML and creating websites.

Eventually, everything converged, and I ended up working as a web designer for a couple of startups.

What is your professional web design-related experience?

I graduated in 2002 with a graphic design degree, which was a classical design education, learning about principles, colours, and things like that.

I then started working in the graphic design department of an architecture firm. I was building websites and creating interactive CVs to showcase architectural work. I worked there for several years.

Also, at that time my work was published in “Communication Arts” magazine. I guess many web designers are not familiar with it since that was in print design. This was a big career milestone for me.

Then, I moved to Silicon Valley, and started working for start-ups. I worked as a creative services manager for WorkMetro where I did web design and managed all the branding. Then, I worked for another start-up called SustainLane, which was kind of like Yelp for green products. I also spent about a year trying a bunch of different projects. I built Facebook apps, participated in a couple Hackathons, and basically wandered from café to café just hacking away at different things.

Then, I started doing freelance work for start-ups, my clients were oDesk, PBWorks and User Voice.

I was blogging during all that time, and once I started writing about design for hackers, I was approached by a publisher and got a book deal very quickly.

Did your blog, kadavy.net, play a big role in your professional success?

Yes! I have been running my blog for 9 years now. I met a lot of interesting people, got jobs and clients, and got a book deal through it. I owe everything to it. Starting my blog was the best decision I have ever made!

You have written a book “Design For Hackers: Reverse-Engineering Beauty”. What is it about?

“Design for hackers” breaks down fundamental principles of design. It’s not a list of 10 quick things that you can do to make your site look better. It’s more of a framework that helps you to understand design, so that when you go about your day and observe things, you would see them in a different way. I do that by reverse engineering things like impressionist paintings, Roman architecture, and so on, and then weaving together the way that those same principles are still present when you are creating design with today’s technology (e.g. for websites or apps). The tagline is “reverse-engineering beauty” and that’s pretty much what I aim to do.

This book is for everyone who wants to understand the design better. It can be a developer who is building apps and wants to be able to create better designs, or a marketer who wants to use design to convey her message, or even a web designer who wants to improve his skills. You see, when you are learning about web development, you can google an error and get an answer, but there isn’t anything like that for design. You can’t just google “my design doesn’t look good” and get an answer for it. That’s why I’m trying to provide some sort of framework for people so that they can understand design better.

You started writing about design for hackers before you had a book deal. Why were you interested in this particular topic?

I was just sitting at a café with a friend. He said “You know, design is really a mystery, and whenever you talk to a designer and try to understand it, they just shrug their shoulders and say that they just feel it or something”. I immediately thought that this was not the way I see design: there are certain factors that come together that make good design.

I then did a talk “Design for the coder’s mind” at Barcamp (that’s an unconference where everyone can speak). In that talk, I covered the basic design things, like colours and proportions and typography.

Later, I wanted to speak at the SXSW conference. In order to speak there, you have to submit a proposal, and that proposal has to get a lot of votes. I didn’t feel like I had enough followers to pull that off, so I decided to write a really good post, and then submit it to Hacker News, with hopes of getting more votes. That post was “Design for hackers: why you don’t use Garamond on the web” and did really well. My publisher found me through that post and asked me if I was interested in writing a book about it. I was.

Here’s the funny thing: I didn’t get accepted to speak at SXSW that time. I did end up speaking there once I had a book deal. That particular proposal wasn’t accepted, though.

Okay, so you got an e-mail from the publisher, and what happened then?

Well, I was also approached by another publisher, but they wanted to change a lot of things about the book.

Also, I talked to some agents, but decided not to hire one. You see, agents take 15% of your earnings, and since I already had a book deal and was simply exploring my options, giving them 15% of what I’ve earned didn’t seem appropriate.

I got an attorney, who looked over the contract and made sure that I understood everything, and the publisher worked with me to make sure that I was comfortable with it. Plus, there was an advance.

How long did it take to go from that that initial e-mail to a book that’s available for sale?

It took 3 months to negotiate the contract and get it signed. I wrote a book in 6 months (my publisher originally wanted me to write a book in 4 months, which I definitely couldn’t have done). Then, there was the editorial process, which took about a month. “Design for hackers:reverse-engineering beauty” was released 3-4 months after that. So, from getting that e-mail to the book coming out, there were about 13-14 months. It’s a much faster process in the technology niche than in many others.

A book in 6 months, it’s pretty damn fast. How did you manage to get it done on time?

Well, I’ve been blogging for 6 years at that time, so I was used to writing at that point.

However, writing a book is a much more rigorous process than writing a blog post, so it was a challenge. Honestly, I simply dedicated my entire life to writing that book for half a year. It was winter in Chicago, it was very cold, so I wasn’t leaving my apartment a lot, and I wasn’t travelling. You know, I keep hearing this from people, and I have to agree: writing a book is a miserable process. On one hand, you kind of suffer, on the other hand, it’s a lot of fun. Brute force was the way “Design for hackers: reverse-engineering beauty” was written in 6 months. I just did that and didn’t think about anything else.

What is the process of writing a book look like?

Well, when we put together the proposal and got a contract, there was a preliminary outline that we agreed upon. I pretty much stuck to it. It was a matter of writing each chapter.

I have developed several categories of the things that I do throughout the writing process: rough draft, research, editing..

There’s what I call ‘scaffolding,’ which is writing down bullet-points that summarize what I want to say in that chapter, which really helps to make things clearer in my mind.

There’s also the rough draft, which is basically writing without worrying whether it’s good or nor, just getting stuff out of my brain.

Then, there’s research, I put things that I need to research further in the brackets while writing the rough draft, and then look them up later.

I also have this thing that I call exploratory research, which is basically going where my mind takes me, reading on various topics, opening up my art history book, and so on, and then seeing if any useful idea came out of it.

Also, throughout writing this book, I got a good feeling for my brain and my creative process. I’ve noticed that there are certain times when I’m more in the mood for certain parts of my process than for others. There are also tricks that I can use to get myself in the right mood, such as music, or drinking tea, or changing the lighting in my room. I really have a feel of how my brain works. That’s all because of the sheer necessity to be creative on command.

You’ve mentioned that your book hit #18 on all Amazon books and #1 in technology books on the launch day. That is really impressive! How did you do that?

Well, the most powerful thing was the support of the Hacker News community.

I got the book deal because my blog post was #1 on HN. Once I announced the book deal, people were excited, so much that, once I launched the book, both the post about it and the actual Amazon link to it ended up on the front page. I was really surprised when it hit #1 in the techonology books and #18 in all Amazon books. However, it makes sense that since HN was the community that made it all happen in the first place, they were eager to buy the book once it came out.

Okay, so let’s get to the part that everyone is interested in: how much money did you make from the book?

Honestly, I think that I’m not allowed to share that information, sorry.

I can say that it definitely isn’t a lot, though. When you go with a traditional publisher, they always take a very large percentage of  it, which is fine, since they make a lot of things happen. I knew that from the beginning, therefore my focus was to use that book to get people interested in my writing and to be able to eventually produce more things from which people can learn.

When it’s all said and done, I will probably make about as much money off of book sales as I might working at a solid designer job for 6 months. Keep in mind that this will be over the course of several years, and besides writing, I’ve been working to promote the book for more than two years now. Also, keep in mind that I was fortunate enough to have a book that did very, very well. The majority of authors (I think I heard 7 out of 10 somewhere) never sell enough books to see any money beyond their advance. It’s really a labor of love.

Traditional publishing is not the best choice if your goal is to make money. The way most people make money through their books is by having backend business, such as consulting or speaking, etc. Sure, someone like Tim Ferris, who has sold loads of books, makes a lot of money from the actual book sales. That’s not the case for most authors, though.

The book would have never happened without the publisher, from the get go it was about getting it out there and having a book as a calling card, and being able to use that to get more people interested in what I do.

Would you agree that whether you publish an e-book or an actual book, there’s a trade-off: with e-books you make more money, while with a paper book you get more prestige and opportunities?

I think that’s pretty accurate.

You do get more prestige and credibility going with a traditional publisher. However, they also provide some value: they gave me an advance to help me pay my bills while I wrote a book, there was an editor, a whole team of proofreaders, they did all the layout, they got books on the shelves, and so on. When I was in Singapore, someone was like “Yeah, I bought your book at this book store down the street”, which was amazing. There’s no way I could have done that on my own.

My publisher also handled all the foreign language deals. My book is now out not only in English, but also in Polish and Korean, plus the Chinese version is coming out this summer. Traditional publishers help you to get a book in front of a lot of people.

What opportunities did you get as a result of writing this book that you wouldn’t have gotten otherwise?

Yes, absolutely, it changed my life.

I have traveled all over the world speaking about design. I have been lucky enough to have people approach me with offers. Lately, it’s been getting to a point where I get speaking fees, and that’s almost out of necessity, since I get so many invites that there’s no way I could do them all. I love travelling and I love speaking, so that’s amazing.

I’m also mentoring start-ups with 500 start-ups incubator. I’m basically an on call mentor, which means that I’m available for all the companies in that program, so they can e-mail me and arrange a time to talk. I’m also an investor in at least one company that I’ve mentored. It’s a good way to be a part of various start-ups without having to focus entirely on one particular endeavor.

Would you recommend writing an actual book to other web designers?

You should only write a book if you feel that you have something to say. I know that I felt this way, I had a point of view that I really wanted to present, and that was my motivation. You know, I think that it would be a much tougher road for someone whose main motivation is money, because I would have a harder time motivating myself with this reason.

You know, I think that the only reason that you should write a book is if you feel that you have something to say, and I felt like I have something to say and a point of view that I really wanted to present, and that was the motivation. I think if you have other motviation, such as oyu want to make a lot of money, or you want to get more clients, I think it would be tougher road. Personally, I’d have a harder time motivating myself with those reasons. I think if you have something to say go for it. However, first do the blogging, because if you can’t get people to intereted in a blogpost it will be really hard to get them interested in buying a book.

What would you advise to people who want to write a book, a real book, just like you, but aren’t even sure where to start?

I’d say write about what you know, even if it seems simple and obvious, because what might seem obvious to you isn’t obvious to somebody.

Do that you will be teaching people, and if you are teaching people, they will be interested in what you have to say.

Thank you, David!

In a nutshell:

  • Patience and persistence pays off. David got a lot of opportunities through his blog. He has been blogging for 9 years now, though.
  • Don’t be afraid to explore ideas that interest you. The whole design for hackers thing started as a conversation with a friend. Then, David made a speech on the topic, then wrote an article about it, and finally got the book deal. Meanwhile, most of us would simply forget that conversation, and go about our life as usual.
  • Make sure that you create the best content possible. The popularity of “Design for Hackers: Why You Don’t Use Garamond on the Web” wasn’t completely random. Sure, luck played a part, but David put a LOT of effort into writing this article, and making it a great fit for HN audience.
  • Create products that people want. Hitting #18 on Amazon is impressive, but it isn’t surprising, especially when you consider how eager the HN audience was to get the book. Pay attention what problems people are struggling with right now, and then try to offer a solution. This makes selling much easier.
  • Keep in mind that you won’t make much money if you go the traditional publishing route. Yes, J.K. Rowling made more than $1 billion with Harry Potter,sure. That’s not very likely to happen for the most of us, though.
  • Only commit to writing a book if you feel that you have something to say. Writing a book is really tough and for most people money alone would not be a sufficient motivation to go through with it. Plus, you are not likely to make much money anyway, so what’s the point then?
  • Make an effort to meet interesting people on a regular basis. Don’t do it because you expect something in return, though, because you are not likely to make any friends this way. Meet people who are genuinely interesting to you. Maybe something will come out of it, maybe not, but at least you will have a great time!
  • Educate people on the topic that you know a lot about. As David said, some things might be obvious to you, but they probably aren’t that obvious to many other people, so don’t be shy. Share your knowledge.

Interested in David’s blog? Start here!

Here are three great articles from kadavy.net:

  • Design For Hackers: Why You Don’t Use Garamond On The Web - Yup, that’s the post we have been mentioning throughout the whole interview, the one that got David a book deal.
  • Mind Management (Not Time Management) - In this article David explains the importance of aligning our mental state with what needs to be done (as opposed to obsessing over minutes and hours).
  • The Way I Work - In this article, not only David describes his typical day, but also shares some thoughts about productivity. He works a bit differently now (article was written in 2009), though.

You can find more great posts at kadavy.net!

May 31 2013

21:15

13 Best WordPress Chat Plugins

As we all know very well that WordPress is a well-known and free blogging site. And with the time WordPress has become more famous and improved. WordPress introduced so many interesting and amazing features but now WordPress is also introducing some other outstanding applications and plugins especially for social media sites.

In this assortment, we are showcasing some useful and outstanding WordPress Chat Plugins. Have a look at these stunning WordPress chat Plugins. If you want to download these WordPress chat plugins you can download them without any cost. You can also tell us what you think about this post and share your precious opinions with us via comment section below. Enjoy and have fun everyone!!!!!

ClickDesk Live Support – Live Chat

ClickDesk is a value combo of best wordpress live chat, help desk, voice chat and social toolbar for your website. Install it Free today!

Envolve Chat

Envolve Chat – A customizable chat toolbar for your website.

Quick Chat

Self hosted WordPress chat plugin supporting private chat, chat rooms, avatars, user list, words filtering, smilies, caching plugins and more.

Zopim Live Chat

Zopim is an award winning chat solution that helps website owners to engage their visitors and convert customers into fans!

WP ChatBlazer

WP Chatblazer is a plugin to allow you to embed a Chatblazer application to chat on a WordPress page. Embed instant messaging and video chat directly.

Video Chat Plugin

The AVChat Video Chat Plugin for WordPress is designed to increase members engagement and web site revenues with a stunning video chat solution.

FlexyTalk – Live Chat

Start chatting to your site’s visitors and FACEBOOK fans from any device including mobile phone . FREE account with unlimited chats.

Banckle Live Chat

Through Banckle Live Chat Plugin, you can effectively communicate and conduct live chat sessions with the visitors of your WordPress website.

Acobot Live Chat & Contact Form

Enhance your WordPress with a virtual robot in 3 minutes or less and boost your sales like never before. It’s simple, easy and fast.

Live Chat with Multimedia Tools

Add live chat with multimedia tools to your site.

PHP Live

Chat with your website visitors.

Ultimate Live Chat

Add live chat support and real-time monitoring onto your WordPress website with Ultimate Live Chat from UltimateLiveChat.com

Barc Chat

Barc Chat provides a simple yet feature rich chat room for your whole community to interact in real-time directly on your site.

May 27 2013

07:00

How to Move From Feedburner to a Newsletter Service

Things are going downhill fast for RSS. First Google shut down Feedburner’s API in 2012, then they announced the closure of Google Reader earlier this year (2013). The future isn’t looking too bright for the Feedburner service as a whole and chances are it will also be completely shut down sometime in the near future. In today’s post I’ll show you how I’ve personally prepared for doomsday and gained a bunch of new subscribers in the process by migrating from Feedburner to an email newsletter service.

The future of Feedburner

If you’re a long time blog owner you’ll likely have used Feedburner since well before it was acquired by Google. By burning your original feed with Feedburner you gained a bunch of handy features such as user friendly subscribe pages, subscriber counts & stats and the all important email delivery option. Google bought Feedburner in 2007 then shut down the API in 2012. Feedburner’s interface has remained unchanged in that time and with the recent demise of the popular Google Reader you would be wise to expect the same fate for this small niche service.

How to prepare for doomsday

Every blog will see a dip in readership after 1st July 2013 when Google Reader is officially laid to rest. Google Reader is the tool over 94% of my readers use to stay up to date with my content. Even if you publicly prompt users to switch to an alternative service such as Feedly, you can bet that a substantial proportion of your readers will be lost. We’re just going to have to take that one on the chin, but the knock out blow will come if Feedburner is shut down too. The second largest group of subscribers after Google Reader users, our Feedburner email subscribers, will then be lost too. Therefore, it makes sense to start building a reserve readership today and rescue our Feedburner email subscribers from their potential doom by creating an alternative email mailing list with a newsletter service.

To me, email newsletters seemed a little outdated compared to RSS. I personally use email for emailing and RSS for content reading, but email newsletters are still really popular and bring along some new opportunities for your blog. Here’s a few pros and cons:

Pros

  • Customise the appearance of your email updates
  • Allow users to sign up using forms on your site
  • Stay in touch with readers with follow ups & updates
  • Run much more detailed reports on delivery and readership

Cons

  • It takes a fair amount of time to set up
  • You pay a monthly fee for the service

The three big names in the email newsletter business are AWeber, MailChimp and Campaign Monitor. Comprehensive comparisons of all three can be found elsewhere on the web, but I chose AWeber for my own mailing lists.

How to migrate your Feedburner email subscribers

We already have a core bunch of subscribers who signed up to receive our content by email, so rather than start from scratch with a newsletter service, we might as well migrate our users over.

To begin, you’ll need to export your subscriber list from Feedburner. Log in at feedburner.google.com, head to Subscribers > Feedburner Email Subscriptions. In the fly out options select Manage Your Subscriber List then export as a CSV.

Your Feedburner list contains both verified and unverified addresses. Some newsletter services may allow you to import your unverified users, but AWeber in particular request that these entries are removed, seeing as they didn’t go through the complete double opt-in process. You can do this with some spreadsheet trickery in Excel or Open Office by filtering out the rows with the word “Active”. Save your edited list as a new CSV file.

I know MailChimp allows you to import lists without the subscribers having to opt-in, but AWeber will send out a confirmation to everyone (again). However, seeing as our Feedburner subs have already confirmed their subscription and we’re providing the same kind of newsletter service a quick email to AWeber’s support team will mean you can import your lists without the second double opt-in after a few quick checks.
Once your subscribers have been imported it’s time to create your newsletter template designs and set up your broadcast messages. AWeber’s templates are pretty ugly, whereas MailChimp and Campaign Monitor offer some really nice off the shelf layouts. Being an AWeber user myself this article is going to focus on their features, so I’d advise finding a ready made newsletter template elsewhere on the web and customise it.

To replicate Feedburner’s functionality of sending out an automatic email copy of your RSS posts you’ll need to head to Blog Broadcast in AWeber’s menu structure. Seeing as Feedburner is still alive and kicking you can safely enter your FB feed URL, this will mean your newsletter subscribers will be added to your total RSS subscriber count. If Feedburner is ever shut down, just change this to your original RSS feed. Use AWeber’s RSS tags to specify where it should inject the relevant content into your newsletter layout. For the full blog post, make sure you use {!rss_item_content}, for the excerpt use {!rss_item_description} (their templates seem to use the description by default).

Set the option to send updates when the number of items reaches 1, then disable Send Automatically for now (so you don’t end up spamming everyone while setting things up). AWeber’s process is a little confusing, it “sends” updates to your Broadcast page where these entries will wait until you press the Queue button, unless you check “Send Automatically”. The problem is when you save your Blog Broadcast it generates 10+ emails from your RSS feed. You definitely don’t want these being sent out to your entire list, so delete them, test your setup then turn on the Send Automatically option when you’re confident it’s all working correctly. This will set the process to autopilot when new content is posted and work just like Feedburner did (but with much prettier emails!).

Once your new AWeber mailing list is set up with an automatic blog broadcast you’ll want to head back into Feedburner and turn off Email Subscriptions, otherwise your readers will receive the same update twice from the two separate services.

In order to continue growing your list, make sure you add sign up forms to your website. Don’t forget you also have all kinds of options and features at your fingertips. Set up a welcome email and a follow up series to interact with your readers and provide additional content; send out standard Broadcast messages to spread the word about new updates and news; or use marketing strategies to dramatically increase your subscriber count such as providing a free gift or a sign up incentive.

Now you’re paying for your newsletter service you’ll want to give it a spring clean to keep the costs down. All services charge based on the total number of users in your list, but sometimes these users aren’t even receiving your messages. Run searches and remove any entries that have never opened an email to decrease your bill and increase your performance stats.

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