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November 11 2013

04:37

August 19 2013

18:36

Strategies for a Quick Product Launch using WordPress

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When building a new project you often need to decide how to handle the backend. Should you build something from scratch, or toy around with a CMS engine? I have preferred using WordPress for many online projects because it provides a repeatable strategy for quick launches with fewer issues.

wordpress tokyo macbook apple digital photo

In this guide I want to introduce how you can build quick products online powered by WordPress CMS. The open source PHP/MySQL engine started as a blogging platform which has grown to include custom post types and many other advanced features. It can fit into almost any type of website making it flexible and valuable to new projects.

WP Means Security

First and foremost I take my time with security. What use is creating a new website and publishing content if the entire project is vulnerable? Not just to spam comments or manipulation, but possibly even complete loss of your database. Thankfully WordPress is one of the most secure scripts out there.

As long as you keep up-to-date with the latest version of WP you will be alright. Plus there are many free open source plugins which counter against hacking attempts. For example the WP Limit Login Attempts will place a limit on each IP for the amount of times they can login. After so many failed attempts they will be locked out for a certain period of time. Brute force attacks are a problem among many WordPress sites, but with so many free plugins the issue can be handled efficiently. Plus it doesn’t require a whole bunch of extra time spent coding.

wordpress login wp-login dashboard screenshot

Building with Themes

Templating engines can range from confusing to mildly annoying, and there are some easier ones out there as well. I would say that WordPress is somewhere in the middle because you often run into deprecated functions which need to be reconfigured or reformatted. The online documentation is a good place to start learning about themes.

The whole backend system can be used for building themes, plugins, widgets, etc. But it will take a bit of time and practice to learn all the major PHP functions. Thankfully there are a number of free themes you can download to understand how other developers are doing it. The WordPress community is really what helps this CMS jump out & stand apart from the others.

You can Google search almost any topic about WP and probably find some results. Bloggers have been writing tips & strategies about managing WordPress sites for years. It has never been easier to get started running your own WordPress website or even a network of websites.

wordpress theming php code web development

Theming is also very easy once you understand the basics, and the other advanced stuff can be learned along the way. If you have the extra money consider grabbing a premium theme to really make your website stand apart from the crowd.

Content Generation

When structuring a new launch on WordPress you can basically plan out the entire process. First you will need a domain followed by a custom-coded theme or a pre-built one. Afterwards you need to start building content which is also easy once you have practiced a little bit. The backend interface looks exactly the same in all WordPress websites, so the sooner you get accustomed to these features the quicker you can push through tasks.

The post content admin page allows you to include extra stuff like featured images or meta boxes. You can actually take in custom metadata like external URLs, file downloads, source credits, practically anything you would need to display in a post or page. By customizing a plugin or editing your theme’s functions.php file you can mold WordPress around any content system you need.

visual quickstart book wordpress desk photo

This is why I like to emphasize “quick” product launches. The startup culture likes to focus on Minimum Viable Product(MVP) to get something online quickly and learn from the feedback. WordPress is an excellent system for testing out new ideas and then rapidly improving as you study user behavior. Good content will come from practice so don’t be afraid to really delve into WordPress and see what it has to offer.

The Backend System

Looking into the PHP backend you will notice there are a number of scattered functions which all relate to different pieces of the puzzle. Plugins and widgets are like smaller customized functions which allow you to extend the default configuration. It has lead to powerful solutions like bbPress for online forums and BuddyPress for social networking capabilities.

WordCamp meetup switzerland sign photo

If you like building products over WordPress then I would recommend getting familiar with the backend system. It does not take a lot of time but you will need a website to practice with. Following this guide you can setup a WP site, customize the settings, and start publishing content all within a day.

The process of locating a great theme and refining the layout will take a lot more time. But the sooner you get started, the sooner you can learn from various mistakes along the way. Plus if you are struggling with some concepts do not be afraid to ask for help! WordPress Stack Exchange is a community full of smart developers who are often willing to work with you solving a bug or error in your code.

Final Thoughts

Although WordPress is a fantastic resource for building websites, it certainly can’t provide everything. Sometimes it is a better idea to create something from scratch or code on top of a backend framework. If you are more interested in topics of Internet marketing, content publishing, or just being a webmaster, then WordPress is one of the best choices for getting adjusted and learning the ropes.


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April 15 2013

03:39

Swift Web Development Techniques for Startup Landing Pages

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When launching a new startup online you need to consider the features which will draw attention. Visitors can often be easily distracted when browsing the Internet. So ask yourself what value does your page really offer to the average visitor? Developers should think about these topics from a user experience point-of-view. Then the process of constructing usable website layouts should be a whole lot simpler.

I want to use this article for sharing a few tips and techniques on building startup landing pages. The process is not easy and doesn’t provide any foolproof method. Interesting features will change based on the type of service or product you are selling. But I do not think these generic models are too overbearing after you work out the kinks fitted into each design.

Capture Attention

I’m not sure this is the #1 most important trait, but for landing pages and startup homepage layouts it can provide exemplary results. Users enjoy being swept off their feet when visiting your website for the first time. This requires attempting new marketing concepts towards what will capture attention and bring in new users.

chewse website layout interface background images

The startup homepage website for Chewse is small yet reliable. Visitors have access to the footer navigation plus a quick search feature. I would imagine the developers are expecting people to fill out their zip code and gauge the usefulness of this product. It is basically a search engine for picking out catering services, and the big fullscreen imagery illustrates this nicely.

sunrise iphone mobile app interface ui

Now the landing page for Sunrise is totally different, but still incorporating this same technique. Sunrise is a mobile iPhone app used as a mobile calendar system. The homepage is clean and follows a vibrant design matching the application UI. Specifically the large iPhone demo slideshow really stands out to let visitors know what this page is focusing on.

Long-Scrolling Pages

Out of all the recent trends I have been greatly interested in the single-page scrolling sections. This design caters around multiple page sections split up by images, headlines, colors, and textures. Users generally have access to a fixed navigation bar which often scrolls down alongside the page.

assured labor website ui interface layout inspiration

The landing page for Assured Labor is one great example. As you click on any of the top navigation links it will automatically scroll down to that section on the page. You can also find a small vertical list of dots which behave similarly as linked navigation fields. One reason I like this technique is because curious visitors may find all the details they need on a single page.

space monkey landing page design interface scrolling

Now the design for Space Monkey is also just a bit different. After landing on their homepage scroll down a bit and you will see another 2nd fixed navigation bar. This will only display on the homepage so it doesn’t track you around the entire website. But the developers have encapsulated so much information into the layout that it is easier customizing a guided nav menu. The use of icons and diagrams merely adds to this display effect for their product.

Flat UI for Simplicity

Just because many designers are fans of the flat UI does not mean this will work for everybody. However I have yet to find a website layout using flat interface elements which can be seen as ugly or unusable. Most buttons and links will be affected, along with larger block areas of important content.

kaggle startup website layout flat user interface

The reason I use Kaggle as one example is because of their brilliant use of colors. The entire layout is separated into various horizontal blocks of dark grey, light grey, and blue. All of the links and navigation blocks are blended nicely into the color scheme. Designers can take advantage by creating a meshed user interface balancing flat elements with colorful backgrounds.

divshot website ui inspiration layouts flat graphics

Now the website for Divshot is more of a landing page design. Here we can see elements for demonstrating how the product works and outlining the most important features. Using flat buttons and icons will keep all this information within readable context.

It is a big reason that I will advocate flat minimalist UI design. When focusing on simplicity you will generally garner faster and more powerful results. It also allows you to quickly fix what isn’t working and hopefully replace it with something that does work. Pulling in more converting users would be the highest priority goal for a majority of startups.

Targeted Branding

Of course unique branding will play a large part in your startup’s overall success. Why would people come back to your site if they can’t even remember the company name or logo design? Before launching your website online ensure that your brand is memorable and relatable to average users.

adstage io startup website brand inspiring

The example from AdStage uses their logo twice in the header and once again down in the footer. Visitors are sure to remember the website layout regardless of if they can remember what the company does. And thankfully this is all outlined on their homepage, so it should not be a difficult task discerning their goals.

The best methods for coupling your branding is repetition. Although not too many times, or else your design will become monotonous and frankly annoying. But instead use a set of repeating graphics, imagery, icons, and/or logos to instill a continuous force of branding design. As long as your website name is memorable the graphics should quickly tie into the overall brand.

Final Thoughts

Startups are one of the newer business models coming out of the 21st century. We have witnessed the rise of great tech companies and new Internet ideas which almost all started out in the startup phase. I hope these techniques will help developers construct usable landing pages and startup websites. Your design and interface will be a huge selling point for potential users and customers. But if I have overlooked any other useful tips feel free to share with us in the post discussion area.


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August 05 2012

13:00

Hackathons – Giving Birth to Awesome Apps and Startups

A hackathon is a portmanteau of “hack” and “marathon”, which means that it’s a marathon for developers to create an application within a certain theme within a limited amount of time. Hackathons have been around since 1999 but have just hit the mainstream in the last couple of years.

If you think a hackathon is an intensive program to participate in, you’re correct! Hackathons are generally nerve-wracking, but they’re also great at testing one’s abilities and pushing them to the limits. Some hackathons last for several hours while some even last for a week, depending on the theme.

In the past there have been 24-hour hackathons that have yielded great results which turned into multimillion dollar companies in just under a year.

So, are you itching to get your hands started on that dream startup of yours? Why not host or join a hackathon?

In this article:

  • Hackathon in the Philippines (Aug. 25, 2012) and TechCrunch’s Disrupt event (Sep. 8-9, 2012)
  • Successful startups born from hackathons

What’s Special About Hackathons?

Have you ever felt the urge to finish something quickly because of a deadline? Yep, I’m talking about when you were still in school, writing that essay 2 hours before submission, or that last-minute change on your web app school project, or that Power Point presentation that can’t play the audio. All of these translates to one thing: the sense of urgency leads to something very creative and unique!

The process of developing an application for serious use normally takes several weeks of planning and developing, but during hackathons everything you’ve learned up to that point should be poured and condensed into an idea that will be made into a working application by the end of the event. Most hackathons require you to be in a team, but there are a few that will allow the lone wolves to participate. No matter what, it’s a fun event to share, discuss, and create something new in just a few hours or days!

Photo by i eated a cookie

So, what’s special about hackathons?

  • You get to know people who share the same interests
  • It might be your road to finding a co-founder for that startup you’ve been thinking of
  • You get to test your skills to the limit
  • Finally, you’ll get to see the Sun after months of shying away from the “outside”

Upcoming Hackathons

Hackathon in the Philippines

I’m very excited about this event because I will participate! If you think that you have the creative ingenuity and the patience under pressure to create an amazing web app in just six hours, then WebGeek DevCup wants you to show what you’ve got. WebGeek Philippines is inviting all web developers with an appetite for fun and excitement to join the WebGeek DevCup.

Date: August 25, 2012

Venue: Meralco Multi-Purpose Hall, Meralco Compound, Ortigas Center

Visit WebGeek DevCup for more info!

Disrupt SF Hackathon in San Francisco, California

If you are familiar with hackathons then I’m pretty sure that by now you’re fairly familiar with TechCrunch Disrupt events. Don’t miss your chance to join the next hackathon! Disrupt SF will be a 2-day hackathon, where only those who have a stout heart dare enter. If you’re somewhere near SF, then participate!

Date: September 8, 2012 to September 9

Venue: The Concourse at San Francisco Design Center – 635 Brannan at 8th Street, San Francisco, CA 94107

Visit TechCrunch for more info!

Here’s a good list I found of upcoming hackathons in the US.

Applications Born from Hackathons

GroupMe

GroupMe is a group messaging application that was built in under 24 hours through a hackathon. A couple of years back it was bought by Skype for $50 million.

Docracy

Docracy is a free repository for legal documents, much like GitHub but for legal documents. The original plan was to just create a prototype of the idea, but Matt Hall and John Watkinson took home the first prize. After about seven months they were funded for $650k.

Plan Your Next Trip

Plan Your Next Trip is a web application that lets you choose your preferred destination and schedules your day for you!

Zaarly

Zaarly is a very successful service that was born from a hackathon, now funded with over $15 million, according to Business Insider.

Banjo

Banjo‘s goal is to notify you when a friend is near, learn and share interests with people, and explore the world with its users!

Have an Awesome Idea that You’re Itching to Build?

I’m not saying that you should join a hackathon to actually create something, it’s just an event where you can mingle with people and have an extra boost of motivation to actually create.

If you want to feel the same pressure, why not start your own hackathon with friends? You can even invite other developers near you, or even the local colleges! In fact, I have heard of a company in the Philippines where every Friday, they hold a company-wide hackathon for their employees. Why not do the same?

January 13 2012

10:00

13 Promising Startups of 2011 that Everyone should Watch Out For

The year that it was! 2011 was a year full of stuff implausible even in our dreams. The Facebook redesign, the advent of Infographics, the new Twitter, and (of course) the much expected new years resolutions that start to follow. My fingers are itching to talk about my personal achievements in the year 2011 but then I don’t want the editor to kick me out of 1WD for being overly personal. 2011 saw some ace startups that are here to stay. I will take you through some of the riveting and ambitious startups of 2011 that will continue to grow in the year 2012. Let me know if you have others in mind that should have been part of this list.

Row Sham Bow

Row Sham Bow is a game development studio backed by venture capitalists. The company focuses on developing games for social networks and various other consumer platforms. The company is committed to create games that touches the audience’s heart and soul. One of their fresh projects is Woodland Heroes that is doing well on Facebook. We expect a lot more from the team of Row Sham Bow most of which have the EA Sports work experience.

Event Grabber

Optimization of location based marketing is the new fad in the Internet industry and the people behind Event Grabber are well aware of this fact. Event Grabber will grab all the local events and categorize them automatically into various categories. Later on it recommends the same to users on the basis of their personal preferences. It is said that you have arrived once you are featured on Mashable and Event Grabber has earned their space on Mashable.

Kogeto Dot

Kogeto Dot was launched by Kogeto in the year 2011 and was appreciated by its consumers. The Dot lets you shoot 360-degree videos from your iPhone. Kogeto Dot happens to be the smallest (and the cutest) panoramic camera for an iPhone available to date. Kogeto Dot raised $120,514 on KickStarter from over 1023 miniature venture capitalists (of sorts).

Warby Parker

Nothing incredibly unique about Warby Parker but they still seemed to have attracted a lot of attention. Warby Parker is an online retailer for prescription glasses and similar products. The reason why Warby has garnered so much attention is the fact that it has shown guts to disrupt an industry that has been around for ages but never found competitors. It solves a real problem in the online prescription glasses industry and gives the end consumer the much desired choices.

Desmos

We see students carrying iPads, iPhones, Kindles and various other gadgets to schools. The problem that has come up with multiple gadgets that are used for the same purpose is the compatibility. Desmos has done its homework and come up with a platform which will be compatible with any device and make life easier for students as well as teachers. Desmos launched onstage at the TechCrunch Disrupt and has gained a lot of publicity since then.

Goalbook

Adding another to the list of ed tech startups is Goalbook. It has been tagged as the Facebook of IEPs (individualized education programs) as Goalbook seems to fulfill a void in the IEP industry. IEP can be extremely complex to design due to various student preferences and Goalbook founders have shown the courage to simplify this niche. Goalbook helps the team working with the student to better communicate with each other so that all can collaborate to achieve the desired goal.

Goodsie

Goodsie is to E-Commerce websites what WordPress is to blogs. You want to setup a blog real quick? Use WordPress and you will be rolling in minutes. Similarly Goodsie has taken up the tough task of gifting everyone with an e-commerce website in no time. You get to choose between multiple layouts and it happens to be a real good option for starters. With over $3 million in funding, Goodsie is here to stay.

Codecademy

Remember the good old days when learning JavaScript would scare the you-know-what out of you? Well, I am part of that same club who was always afraid of JavaScript during its initial years in programming. Codecademy took the task of making JavaScript learning a fun process and the startup seems to have succeeded in that pretty well. One can learn and practice the basics of JavaScript online at Codecademy without getting bored.

Fab

Isn’t that a lovely three letter domain? Fab happens to be a flash sale and home decor portal that has done well since its launch around 6 months ago. With over $11 million venture backing, Fab is here to stay for sure. Fab gained a nice amount of recognition due to its viral marketing scheme. The website asks you to invite 3 friends before you get access to its content (which is actually riveting). Fab is famous for selling unique stuff like iPhone covers that are made out of daily newspapers.

Get Around

Get Around works on the unique concept of renting out your vehicles when they are not being used. Get Around lets you rent your vehicles to your neighbors when your aren’t actually using it. Services like hourly rental and full insurance attracts customers and the service has henceforth done well since its launch. The $3.4 million dollar funding from CrunchFund was enough to keep the service rolling.

Oink

Another amazing domain name. I wonder where these startup guys get these domain names. Must be some hefty money exchanged before these domain names are available for use. Alright, lets get down to business. Oink is a actually a cellphone app that lets users rate any sort of stuff that comes by in their life. You can rate things like hamburgers and later on share it with your friends. Oink is one recommendation app which will let you rate items at the venues you visit on the fly. Oink is actually the brain child of Digg found Kevin Rose and henceforth has already gained enough recognition.

Zaarly

Another location based startup which focuses on the rising form of business in locations next to your home. Zaarly is location based marketplace for requests that are real time. You can pinch your neighbor in Zaarly who is ready to movie tickets that you are searching for disparately. Connect, buy and sell. Zaarly is backed by over $14 million worth of investments which makes its future pretty strong.

The Verge

The Verge might look like just another tech blog but it is a lot more than just that. Launched by former Engadget Editor, Joshua Topolsky, The Verge has the strong backing of Vox Media. The Verge is an overly enhanced form of tech. blogging where journalists strive to bring in in-depth analysis of latest news and updates that target niche audience.

March 10 2011

10:00

Cost Effective Services to Help You Launch Your Own Site

Creating a website does not really require you to have all the technical skills to create one. There are various services available, both free and paid, that will be a great help in your website building process. Whether you are a developer, a designer, or neither, you can still have your dream website, all you have to do is read through this guide. This article is primarily for people who have always dreamed about having their own site, but always thought you had to be a tech savvy person to have one. However I will also touch on and explain how to leverage rapid website building possibilities for serious entrepreneurs too! I am sure you’ve been there – you had an amazing new project idea one that you wanted to realize immediately but the painfully long process of website creation took too much time and you lost your excitement or even worse – never launched your website!

If you can relate with anything I’ve written above, then this article will be a great time and life saver for you! I’ll explain several ways to launch a new website for free or extremely cheap! Quality doesn’t need to suffer because you don’t have a few thousand dollars to spend on unique website design coding or extremely cool features. If you’re going to launch a new start-up – it’s always smart to start small, start with just core functions to see how people respond to your creation! Once you see they enjoy it and there is a market, then you can consider seriously investing  some money on improving your site. It doesn’t make sense to spend a lot of money when just you’re just starting out.

With my advice you will be able to create a new website really fast! If you have a great idea you don’t want to have to spend hours working on it before you get to test it in action! Website creation doesn’t need to be a confusing and time consuming process! The main thing is to get your idea out there! Let’s get started!

In this article we’ll focus on:

  1. Basic solutions to launch small projects online for free or really cheap.
  2. Slightly more advanced solutions for entrepreneurs who want to test their new idea fully while spending only a little money on it.

Free Solutions Versus Paid Ones

There’s always certain advantages and disadvantages in everything we do or use, this principle applies to website creation as well. Free options aren’t always bad and paid options aren’t always better. You just have to know what strings to pull to find the best deals on the internet. Well, you won’t need to pull any strings here, because I will share with you the most effective solutions.

Advantages of Free Solutions

Image representing Iconfinder as depicted in C...

Image via CrunchBase

Well, if you are on a tight budget (or even better – no budget, just a dream)  you can always count on resources that are offered for free by their creators. There are resources out there that are premium-like in quality but are free. Why free? Don’t they want to see dollars on their bank accounts? Of course they do, but the thing about giving away free softwares, logos, themes and other deliverables is pure marketing to grab attention and gain exposure.  We can seriously benefit from such freebies too regularly searching for premium free resources.

For example, I rarely buy any icons, because there are so many free ones – take FindIcons, IconFinder websites for example.

Disadvantages

There are many free resources available but with most of them you’re either going to sacrifice quality, aesthetics and with themes/templates you cannot be sure if  code is well written. If you’re getting something for free, you often cannot expect to receive good support and you cannot expect to receive the highest quality. There’s a quote that goes “if you are good at something, don’t do it for free,” and you guessed it! Beginners and intermediate designers/developers quite often provide free resources because they’re not at the level yet where they can sell everything they design or develop. The good thing about this system is that though they may not make money they build their reputation and potential customer base by providing quality resources for free.

To summarize – yes, there are a lot of amazing free solutions available and some are high quality. While free is good – you can run into problems such as overuse(everyone using the same trendy free pack of social media icons), no brand recognition, looking cheap because without the necessary knowledge you may not use resources as they are intended to be used. My opinion here is that you can surely use free graphic design resources because what you see is what you get! However you should be careful picking up free themes and templates because often they aren’t very well documented or supported and you may encounter unexpected problems as bugs, compatibility issues with different plugins or modifications you will want to do.

I still consider free solutions to be a pretty good starting point if you don’t want (or can’t) spend any money on it. To explore more about free resources and their pros and cons, read this excellent article by Jared – Can Free Design Resources Be Exemplary?

Zilch Experience in Web Dev?

For people who are not into development but want to have a website for a business or for personal use there are many options to choose from, both free and paid. Free themes, free hosting, and free anything has its downsides and would not work for a blog like 1WD or for e-commerce. Good thing the citizens of the information age, and of the internet, are good enough to offer a free taste which can work for both people who have the skill to develop a website and for people with zero experience with such.

Now, there are tons of free services out there which offer good things, but here I will focus on things that I have used firsthand.

The first thing to ask yourself is…what is this site going to be for? What’s your goal? – personal diary, portfolio site, just a fun project, serious blogging project, startup, website to support your application or software you have, forum, e-commerce site? You need to set clear goals at first!

Basic free solutions for beginners : Hosted Websites

This solution is very good if your goal is just to have some internet presence, have a personal diary or you want to build a small community for friends, work colleagues or maybe just a fan club. However I will list the advantages and disadvantages of this solution, because I really do not recommend it if you have any plans to expand. You’ll understand what I mean once you’ve read pros and cons:

Advantages

  • Well, it’s free or super cheap!
  • Updated automatically – no maintenance issues at all! You don’t have to worry about updates and any compatibility issues
  • Free hosting – you don’t have to worry about your site being online, you don’t have to solve any technical issues
  • Easy to setup and launch – it will take just a few minutes for you to launch such website, no previous experience needed!
  • Search engine friendly – many marketers use those free website solutions to promote their main site! Why? Because usually those big blog platforms have excellent rankings in search engines, you can get ranked extremely fast because of that.

Disadvantages

  • Little control over configuration, design and customization – your chances to pick appropriate templates are limited, you can use only a few supported plugins. It’s hard to build/design something that stands out from the crowd there.
  • Very hard to monetize – Well, these sites will be monetized, but not by you! It will be monetized by those big companies who own the site, because they need to cover their own expenses. Basically you’re paying them in both cases – you pay them cash or they earn some cash with ads.
    Image representing Tumblr as depicted in Crunc...

    Image via CrunchBase

  • No branding- many hosted websites will look the same. Your  website will also look cheap because of the ads the hosted website platform will implement automatically.
  • Limited resources – while hosting may be free, many platforms have limitations for bandwidth and space usage. You won’t encounter these problems early on
  • You don’t own the content – this is the most serious one – if one day the site decides to stop working and they change their policies, you could lose your content and it’s usually difficult to transfer to your own website later on.

Ok, now you know some of the things you may deal with if you choose this option!

For hosted blogging platforms I recommend you choose from Posterious, WordPress, Tumblr.

There is also a very interesting Flash website creation solution I encountered some time ago so I am going to talk about it a bit too, because it’s great for beginner users:

Flash or Not?

To help you decide, first you need to know the purpose of your website. Is the purpose to have an online portfolio so that employers and potential clients will see you and be impressed? If  that’s the case, I believe that a flash website is a good choice because it provides flexibility when it comes to creativity. If the goal is to start an online store or a blog it would be best to go for a more dynamic solution, one of my recommendations above may be better suited to your needs.

Flash Website


The good thing about having a flash website is the creative freedom. Colors, effects, and animation is not a problem. A Flash-based website will save you the trouble of learning jQuery and other languages/scripts for added effects. Here’s the rub, if you have a slow internet connection like mine you won’t fully enjoy the website. Opening a light-weight flash website on my end takes up to 30 to 50 seconds. Not fun at all.

There is a free flash website builder, which allows people without any knowledge of programming and designing to come up with a new website via drag and drop. Wait, drag and drop? Yes, that easy. Wix allows its users to create a flash-based website using a very simple process. Trust me when I say that the registration process only took me 5 seconds and I’m good to go with my website. Alright, I’m dropping it now, it’s free. But if you are the meticulous type and serious about it you can always upgrade and have your own domain name.

With Wix you get to choose from a wide selection of free layouts and edit them at your whim. Literally drag and drop, you can manage information with just a few clicks.

See their gallery for a full list of what you can do with Wix.

Quality

The quality of the design is amazing, with its wide selection of layouts you can’t help but notice the high quality while most are free to use. Many of the design elements are drag and drop, no programming or designing skills needed.

Drag and Drop

This eliminates the need to code and design, all you have to do is choose, drag, and drop. Very user friendly. Menus are easy to understand, you won’t get confused trying to figure out what things do. Anything that you can see is clickable and editable, no worries if you don’t like the color, it only takes a few seconds and clicks to change it to suit your taste!

Below is a screenshot of how layouts are edited.

Wixcp

Wix is best for people who are on a budget but need to be online. Best for portfolios and personal websites. As mentioned, there’s an option to upgrade your plan from free to premium where you will get your own domain and other features that you will love. I like this approach because you can easily switch and see benefits immediately  (no ads, own domain, hosting, support, analytics and so on).

Wix Sample Websites

Remember, you can build your website via drag and drop using Wix, no programming required!

I don’t want a flash website! What else?

Up to now I really do not know what to call it: standard website, traditional website, HTML website, etc.. Whatever, what’s important is that you know what I mean: not flash.

During my free time I am developing a website, although I’m not that good at coding. My real problem? My design skills are terrible. Free solution? Minimalist design. I’m not saying that minimalism is easy, I’m pretty sure I’d still be troubled by it. If only I had the money I’d buy something from ThemeForest or hire a designer friend.

“I have a design but I can’t code”

Relax! There is a great solution for that. If you have a design (in generally accepted image format) and you want it coded in 48 hours one thing comes to mind: Code My Concept. Although it does not come cheap, at least you are assured that your design will be hand coded in valid HTML and CSS within 48 hours. Saves you the time and effort, and it’s professionally done too.

An alternative is Code Canyon where you can literally purchase scripts. Just like Theme Forest, rest assured that the codes and scripts delivered there are properly moderated and are of high quality. All for a fair price.

Some of the things you can buy:

Many people have trust issues when it comes to these type of things, 1stwebdesigner is willing to help you find a designer or a coder among our 24,000 plus followers on Twitter. We can tweet your needs if you need it, how does that sound?

Shopping for code and plugins is very easy, very helpful too if you are on a tight budget, or time won’t allow you to hire a developer in time or it’s not within budget. Think of it like building your own computer, buying parts that will complete the whole. That’s how it works.

“I know how to code but I can’t design well”

Aside from Theme Forest where you can purchase web templates, there is Graphic River where you can choose from a wide selection of stock graphics ranging from simple icons to a sophisticated prints.

A free solution would be free stock photo sites like sxc.hu or a site like Deviant Art but you can’t expect to find specific web elements to add on your website.

Here are some free things that you can use to build your design:

Create Your Own Domain Name

Choosing the right domain name is crucial task, because you’ll build your whole branding around it. There is a problem though, it’s very hard to get a good .com domain which is still free. Actually there is a serious problem in getting any good domain names at all! To help you through this process I suggest you try this nifty website – Domainr. It’s a site to bookmark, that’s for sure!

Well, I also suggest you use the site GoDaddy to register your domain. You can get domains really cheap from as low as  7.49$ per year! They also have a pretty good suggestion system to find related domains if the name you really wanted is taken already. Their backend system may seem confusing at first, but I’ve had positive experiences with this site, so I can really recommend it.

Choosing a Web Host

Catchy “Unlimited” bandwidth and disk space, several hosting services offer monthly payments from $4 to $10 for shared hosting. What does it mean?

In truth there is no such thing as Unlimited disk space and Unlimited bandwidth, the service provider assumes that you won’t use too much (which is true most of the time) so they use the word to their leverage. Is it any good? It depends on how you will use it, of course. For a personal website or an online portfolio it is more than okay if you want your own domain. I use GoDaddy and so far I have not experienced any problems, except for the fact that their control panel is a huge mess. Hostgator is one of the cheapest and good hosting services too. Both start from $4 (as of writing this) for shared hosting and both offer VPS. Dreamhost’s record is near flawless, you can google up “Dreamhost reviews” and use your instincts to see if the review is a sham or not. I know three people who use Dreamhost and they say it’s flawless, of ourse it does not come cheap.

new eleven2.com coming at us...

1stwebdesigner is hosted by Eleven2. Is it any good? It speaks for itself. 1WD receives hundreds of thousands of visitors a month and it’s still doing fine. If your website will have great traffic in the future you may want to start with a good host to avoid the hassle of transferring to a new host when everything is in motion. You don’t want to lose even 30 minutes of uptime.

If your goal, on the other hand, entails great traffic and thousands of users every day you might want to opt for a Full-featured hosting. For a couple of months now I have seen many people cuss about their hosting services because of hours of downtime on their blogs. Probing deeper I learned that most use shared hosting. In my opinion you can’t trust shared hosting when it comes to big businesses online. A solution would be to shift from shared hosting to full-featured hosting.

Quick Review:

Hosted Website Solutions

  • For hosted blogging platforms I recommend you to choose from PosteriousWordPressTumblr;
  • Easy site builder for a flash website you can use Wix;

Website Design

  • Theme Forest offers high quality,unique and very affordable themes.

Code Shopping

Hosting And domains

  • GoDaddy -register domains with ease.
  • Eleven2 Hosting – great hosting 1WD uses for a year already!

August 22 2010

13:45

Startup Quotes

Who doesn’t like a good, motivational quote – especially if they pertain to starting up a new business or launching new products / services? If so, Startup Quote has you covered.

“Observe the world around you – everything you do, and especially everything you hate to do.” — Aaron Patzer, Founder of Mint

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Don't be the product, buy the product!

Schweinderl