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December 26 2013


20 Great Google+ Web Design and Web Development Communities

Google+ Communities are a great way for freelance web designers and web developers to connect with others.

Joining a community can strengthen your freelancing business in the following ways:

  • Networking. As a member of a Google+ Community, you have a chance to interact with others with similar interests and a chance to build relationships.
  • Reputation. By providing helpful insights and tips to other members of the community, you can enhance your reputation as a professional.
  • Resource. If you have a problem or question you can’t solve, ask the community. The insights shared by peers can be very helpful.

Social network or online community concept

Choosing the right community can be tricky, though. While there are literally thousands of Google+ Communities, not every community will be helpful.

Even if you narrow your choices down to just communities related to web design and web development, not every community will be a good fit. Some will be too small, others will be too large, and some may be inactive.

In this post, I list 20 great Google+ communities that I think most web designers will find helpful. At the end of the post you are invited to share your own favorite Google+ Communities.

How to Find the Right Google+ Community for You

Hand pressing modern social buttons

Are you looking for a Google+ Community to join? You’ve come to the right place. I’ve compiled a list of 20 of the most popular communities for web designers and web developers. You’re sure to find several that interest you.

For your convenience, the list is in order of approximate community size at the time I wrote this post. (Although keep in mind that community sizes are constantly changing.)

Here is the community list:

  1. Web Developers, Web Designers, Web Coding, Over 67,000 members. The discussion here is divided into sections by tool. There is an area for general discussion too.
  2. Entrepreneurs, Self-Employed & Small Business. Over 35,000 members. This community includes many different types of entrepreneurs and small businesses. It can be a great place to network.
  3. Developing with Google+. Over 31,000 members. This community is for those who develop mobile or web apps and who are interested in the Google APIs.
  4. Web Development. Over 29,000 members. This active community includes discussions on the various web development tools as well as tutorials and tips.
  5. SEO+ Search Engine Optimization/Website Design. Over 18,000 members. Although the title of this community includes web design, it seems to be mostly about SEO.
  6. WordPress. Over 14,000 members. Members here share hints, tips and tricks as well as ask questions.
  7. Graphic Design. Over 9,400 members. This is a great place to go for inspiration. Topics include Typography, Branding & Advertising, and of course there is a topic for Web Design.
  8. Web Development. Over 9,000 members. Members are encouraged to discuss the latest web development technologies and trends.
  9. Web Design. Over 7,000 members. This community for web designers encourages members to discuss all topics related to web design.
  10. UI Design. Over 5,000 members. Another forum focused on the user interface. This particular community has an emphasis on mobile apps.
  11. WordPress. Over 3,900 members. This community is devoted to discussions about WordPress and has sections for developers as well as a place for people to post jobs.
  12. UX & UI Design. Over 3,700 members. This community focuses on user experience and user interface for those who specialize in mobile design.
  13. Graphic and Web Design. Over 2,900 members. Members discuss web design, but also related topics such as branding. There is an area for critiques and also one for free resources.
  14. Graphic Design. Over 2,900 members. While not specific to web design, this is a good place to discuss design-related topics. There’s even a section on Poster Design.
  15. Web Designers. Over 2,800 members. The community includes discussions on tools such as Photoshop and Illustrator as well as a section for sharing inspiration.
  16. Web Hosting, Web Domains, Web Design, SEO. Over 2,500 members. A web design community that seems to be created by the folks at the popular Webmaster Peak Forum.
  17. Mobile Web Development. Over 1,600 members. This community is specifically targeted to those who specialize in developing for the mobile devices.
  18. Responsive Web Design. Over 1,400 members. One of the latest trends in web design is responsive design. So it only makes sense that there would be a community dedicated to the topic.
  19. Adobe Illustrator Club. Over 1,000 members. Do you use Adobe Illustrator? This community was created for those who love or need to know more about Adobe Illustrator.
  20. Graphic Design Resource Centre. Over 1,000 members. This community was created as a place for web designers to share resources. There are many freebies listed here.

How to Get the Most from Any Google+ Community


So, have you found a few communities you’d like to join? Good for you.

Before you dive right in to the Google+ community of your choice, it’s a good idea to review the following tips designed to help you get the most from any Google+ community:

  • Check moderation. Before you join a community, make sure that your community of choice is well-moderated. A good community moderator should keep spam and off-topic posts to a minimum.
  • Read the guidelines. Most Google+ communities have posted guidelines for that specific community. It’s important to read and adhere to them. Not doing so could get you banned from the community.
  • Think twice about self-promotion. While some communities are specifically about networking and self-promotion, many others prohibit self-promotion. If you’re not sure about your community, look at the community guidelines.
  • Lurk before you leap. Before posting your comments and questions, look around to see what others are sharing. You may find that your question has already been answered. Communities tend to dislike dealing with the same questions over and over.
  • Discuss, don’t broadcast. Discussions are the key to making a community work. Don’t simply broadcast links you want to share. Instead, respond to other’s questions and comments. The more you put into a community, the more you will get from it.
  • Don’t overextend yourself. You may be tempted to join every single Google+ Community we’ve listed. Don’t do it. You won’t be able to keep up with all of them. Instead, be selective. Focus on several communities that interest you the most.

Your Turn

Now you have a good selection of Google+ Communities to choose from, plus a few tips for success. It’s your turn to add your thoughts.

What are your favorite Google+ Communities? Share them in the comments.

November 10 2011


Everything You Need To Know About DNS

DNS. Three letters that can make or break your website. A fault with DNS and your website can go down for 24 to 48 hours. What is DNS? From where does this 48 hour delay come from in the age of super fast Internet and high-speed technology? Why hasn’t the ever evolving technology replaced the age-old DNS and the frightening 48 hours delay? This discussion will shed some light on most of the queries about DNS. I hope that you will see DNS from a completely different perspective after this writeup.

What is DNS?

That is the customary question that we got to answer when we are discussing something as vast as DNS. Basically, DNS (Domain Name System) is responsible for translating human friendly website URLs like to computer readable IP addresses like (just an example). You know, our mind cannot remember combination of such digits so we devised a system which helps convert these IP addresses to English names and vice versa.

Please understand that DNS isn’t a localized system where all the IP addresses corresponding to every website present on this planet is stored. If that was the case then an unimaginable amount of care would be required to keep such a huge database working. Also, having a localized DNS would be against the distributed character of the Internet.

Rather, DNS is a distributed service which is actually a collective group of name servers (which we call as “nameserver” in Internet lingo). These nameservers constantly refer to each other in order to stay updated with the changes that are rolled out every now and then. The process sounds simple but it is quite complex.

So, every website has a nameserver?

Well, technically speaking, yes! Though it’s a different case that one nameserver will be used for multiple websites. Otherwise, we would end up having 100 million nameservers for 100 million domains – which makes no sense. Like, I host a domain of mine on So, they give me nameservers like, and Now, DreamHost is giving these nameservers to almost every client that they have. So, these three nameservers basically have almost all the IP address to URL details of every DreamHost client.

A basic flow of request on the Internet

When you type in your browser then a lot of stuff happens behind the scenes before you get to see the Google homepage. The image below tries to explain the flow of request.

Let me try to make it bit more clearer:

  • When you visit a website URL via your browser then Windows will look for the corresponding IP address stored in the nameservers of your ISP.
  • If the IP address is found then the request is directly sent to that IP address henceforth reducing the execution time.
  • If the IP address is not found locally then the request is sent to the cloud of Internet and your browser waits for the virtual world to do its job.
  • Every website has a nameserver associated with itself. Henceforth, that particular nameserver receives that request and sends it to the respective IP address.
  • If that nameserver does not have the IP address details then it communicates with other nameservers and they with others. The request flows in the Internet till correct IP details are attained.
  • Once the IP address is known then the request is sent to the particular IP address and data is served.

What is “48 hours delay”?

Usually, when you are about to change the nameservers for your domain or when you are hosting a fresh domain then your hosting company will tell you that it might take up to 48 hours for the information to be updated. Technically speaking, they are correct. It might take up to 48 hours for all nameservers on this planet to connect with every other nameserver and keep themselves in sync. You see, it’s a huge virtual world out there. But, my personal experience says that it usually takes less than 24 hours for the global update to complete. Still, you should consider the 48 hour delay in your time plan before you make any changes.

The below image via Wikipedia will give you an idea of hierarchical DNS, organized into zones, each served by a nameserver.

How and when does caching occur?

Nice question. You got the information for request that you had sent some time back. Now, that information is saved in the local ISP’s nameservers so that next time your request isn’t sent to third-party nameservers. But, after a stipulated time period these nameservers contact other nameservers so that their information isn’t outdated. This is where the term TTL comes into play.

What is TTL?

TTL (or Time To Live) is the time period that comes in along with the IP address info. This time period information is sent by the third-party nameserver along with the IP address. The value is usually in seconds and it is more like a suggestion from the third-party nameserver that you can stay away from me for X seconds and still stay updated. Come back after X seconds and I will pass on the latest information.

Usually the TTL value is 12 hours or 24 hours. This can be set to a custom number as and when required to reduce traffic.

Other types of DNS lookups

Once DNS started to serve the IP address lookup (as discussed above), then it was time to expand. DNS was later on used for other type of lookups, two of which we will discuss below:

  • A Record – A Record lookup is something that we have already discussed. The IP address lookup is actually the A Record lookup for DNS.
  • MX Record – MX (which is acronym for “mail exchanger”) is used for email address lookups. Usually when a tool tries to send an email to mail box related to your domain then it will look for MX record of your domain. This MX record will have another domain (something like as its value. Now the A Record for this MX record will be checked to get the target IP address.
  • CNAME Record – CNAME (stands for Canonical Name Record) is actually an alias for another domain name. This comes in handy when you want to use your own domain and data from another website. Like, during the ancient Internet Age (when was luxury), had a feature (they still have it) where you can use your own domain ( instead of using the bogspot’s sub-domain for your blogspot hosted blog. In this case all that Google would do was ask you to change the CNAME of to your blogspot’s sub-domain and the job is done. Whenever one would visit then the data from your blogspot’s sub-domain will be delivered although the sub-domain won’t be visible in address bar.

Other usage of DNS

Other then the three lookups that I discussed above, DNS can be used for many other functions like:

  • As I discussed before, domain names and nameservers do not have a one-to-one matching. This gives the hosting companies the chance for shared hosting and save a lot on money invested. Here, multiple domains can result into one IP address. This means one machine can host many websites. Additionally, one domain can point to multiple IP addresses. This helps in redundancy and high availability.
  • The DNS system can be used to save and share IP addresses of blacklisted email hosts. Such databases are available for free in order to fight spam.
  • These days software makers save the version of a software in the DNS database. This way the client machine connects to find out the latest version of the software available. It connects to the software maker’s server only if a new version is available. This helps in reducing the requests that client machines get.
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September 21 2011


Open Discussion: LinkedIn for Developers?

Over at FreelanceSwitch, we’ve had a few posts recently discussing the usefulness of networking sites like LinkedIn for freelance professionals: 5 Reasons to Use LinkedIn, Are You Getting Clients on LinkedIn? In last year’s Freelancer’s Survey we learned that (among other things): a) a growing portion of freelancers indicated they’re finding more clients using social media and b) many of those freelancers are web developers and programmers.

LinkedIn seems geared towards more traditional employer-employee opportunities, so is it useful for landing development gigs on the side? I’d love to hear the Nettuts+ community weigh in! Do you use LinkedIn? Has LinkedIn ever landed you a gig or new opportunity? I was curious what the web developer demographic was for a network like LinkedIn, so I pulled up the stats:

  • 659,000 members currently list themselves as web developers.
  • 1.8 million members identify themselves as developers.
  • 817,000 members use “programmer” in their title.
  • Many major tech and web companies use LinkedIn to field new hires, including Google, eBay, Rackspace and more.
  • LinkedIn boasts some active web developer communities like End to End Web Developers and Open Source group. Also a Q&A section on Web Development.

Do you use LinkedIn to get in touch with other developers or clients? Participate in any active developer Groups? Share in the comments below!

If you’re interested in improving your LinkedIn activity, Rockable Press just released LinkedIn and Lovin’ It! in three, DRM-free formats (pdf, epub, and mobi). You can download a 14 page sample for free. It’s available for $17, but if you join Rockable Press’ own LinkedIn group, you can get a voucher for $3 off. Stop in and say hi! For those of you on the Envato Marketplaces, the eBook can also be purchased with marketplace credit on the Tuts+ Marketplace.

August 25 2011


How To Become A Web Design Expert

Advertisement in How To Become A Web Design Expert
 in How To Become A Web Design Expert  in How To Become A Web Design Expert  in How To Become A Web Design Expert

Have you ever wanted to take a client by the collar, shake them around vigorously and demand that they take you seriously because you are the expert? If so, you are not alone. Whether you consider yourself an expert and want recognition or are looking to one day become one, you need to step back and ask why being perceived in that way is important.

Why We All Want To Be Seen As An Expert

Many of us desire to be seen as experts because we would like our opinions to be taken seriously. Others want to be respected and valued, partly to satisfy our own ego, but largely due to a belief that we know best and that things should be done our way.

However, as we will see later, being an expert is more than about getting people to listen. If that is all you can manage, then they will see through this shallow desire and not give you the status that you believe you deserve.

Respect is not the only thing we expect from being regarded as an expert. Many of us also think that we would be able to charge more and that people will line up to hire us. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. Many experts are largely unknown, even within their field, and do not demand high salaries. Being an unheard-of expert is of little value to your career.

In spite of all this, being perceived as an expert can be helpful when working with clients, and it does create the potential to attract better-quality work.

What, then, does it take to become an expert?

What Does It Take To Become An Expert?

In his book Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell suggests that becoming an expert in any particular field takes approximately 10,000 hours of practice. For most full-time Web designers, this equates to almost four years’ worth of work.

I find this figure of 10,000 hours dubious. While I can see how this would apply to something like playing a musical instrument or a sport, I am not sure it applies to a field as diverse as Web design. 10,000 hours of Photoshop experience, for example, would not make you an expert in Web design. At most, you would be a Photoshop expert.

That said, Gladwell’s claim is right in one respect. To become an expert, you need time and experience.

Facts in How To Become A Web Design Expert
Many people claim to be experts, but only few invest thousands of hours of work to become one. Image by Brett Jordan.

Time and Experience

There can be no doubt that expertise only comes with time and perseverance. It does not happen overnight, and there are no shortcuts to achieving a high level of expertise. The longer you do the job, the more you’ll see and the less likely you’ll be surprised by new scenarios.

One could argue that things move so quickly in Web design that lessons learned four years ago do not apply today. But I’m not convinced that is the case. In my experience, although technology changes, people do not. The majority of unexpected issues that arise when developing a website relates either to human error or to some element of user experience. Also, years of experience will improve your ability to solve problems. Even if the challenges are new, the fact that you have tackled so many before makes you more proficient at overcoming problems. Your methodologies and processes make you better equipped. Therefore, lessons learned years ago still stand today.

Obsessive Passion

I’m not suggesting that only experience matters. For instance, I don’t believe you should require a certain number of years of experience when employing somebody. Instead, look for a desire to learn, an ability to work in your company’s culture and, most of all, passion.

I began my career working at IBM and can attest that years served is not a reflection of expertise. Too many of the people I worked with coasted through the years with no passion for their work. Without passion, they had no desire to learn new things or push boundaries.

I believe that an almost obsessive passion for Web design is required to be a true expert.

In addition, my colleagues at IBM never took risks. Experimenting and making mistakes are crucial if experts are to establish their credibility.

The Importance Of Making Mistakes

At the heart of being a true expert lies one universal truth: you need to be willing to make mistakes, and a lot of them.

Unfortunately, we don’t live in a culture that celebrates failure. We want winners, people who succeed. But success comes down not to inspiration, but perspiration. Winston Churchill put it best:

Success is going from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.

Succeeding in your chosen career and becoming a true expert requires that you fail not just once or twice, but again and again.

Failure is a crucial part of the journey to becoming an expert. As Charles Willson once said:

The definition of an expert is someone who knows what not to do.

Without failure, we cannot hope to learn the best way to do things. Although learning from the failures of others is possible, nothing beats experiencing failure first-hand.

We need to overcome our aversion of failure. We should go as far as celebrating it. Being willing to fail is a sign of maturity, bravery and a desire to do better.

Most importantly, we need to learn to face our failures. When a project goes wrong, people tend to react in one of two ways. Some of us carry on regardless, denying the issue. We pour good money and effort after bad. Knowing when to let go is so important. The others get rid of the problem as quickly as possible and pretend it never happened. But this route means that you will never learn from your mistakes. We need to take time at the end of a disastrous project to review where things went wrong and learn from it. This path can be a hard, especially when you have to deal with an unhappy client.

Those who are never seen to fail are either too timid to try, for fear of public ridicule, or simply do not desire success enough to endure the sting of failure.

You may be concerned that public failure undermines the perception of you as an expert. Although this is certainly a possibility, the public’s perception of you is shaped by more than whether you succeed or fail at a particular endeavour.

How To Ensure You Are Perceived As An Expert

Being an expert though never being appreciated as such is possible. Being knowledgeable is not enough; one also needs to be recognized for that knowledge.

This is a common problem and one you may be experiencing. You have done your 10,000 hours, made mistakes and learned your lessons. Nevertheless, your clients or boss fail to recognize the knowledge and experience you have accumulated.

How do you convince them that you are an expert and that they should take your opinion seriously?

Show Some Humility

The first step to being recognized as an expert is to stop insisting that you are one. People who are generally regarded as experts are often the last to call themselves one. In fact, they often go to great lengths to point out the limitations of their knowledge and to encourage others not to take their opinion as gospel.

People are suspicious of those who claim to be experts. Allow your knowledge to speak for itself, rather than insisting that people pay attention. But while saying that you are an expert is not wise, you could imply it in a number of ways. One of the most powerful ways is context.

Use Context to Your Advantage

If you took some modern art out of a gallery and hung it in a primary school, it could be mistaken for children’s painting. This is because context influences how it is perceived. The same is true with expertise.

Witness how managers take the opinions of consultants more seriously than their staff, even if both are saying the same thing. Consultants are paid more, and so their opinions are more highly valued.

You might not have much room to change your rate; nonetheless, you can change your context so that people value you more highly.

Like a work of art in a gallery, your expertise will be recognized if it is experienced in the right context. For example, people will give your comments more weight if you are standing on a conference stage than if you are in a pub. Likewise, your expertise will be taken more seriously if it is read in a book than shared around a conference-room table.

Paul-boag-fowd in How To Become A Web Design Expert
I often get mistaken for an expert simply because I stand on stage. Photo by Marc Thiele.

Getting a speaking engagement or a book deal requires that you first convince someone of your expertise. Conference organizers and publishers act as guardians of quality, and if these guardians have approved you, then people will assume you know what you’re talking about.

Not all of us can secure book deals and speaking slots. In this case, self-publishing, podcasting, blogging and participating in open-source projects are just a few alternatives. Standing out as an expert is easier than you think.

Not that context is everything. It’s also about what you say and how you say it.

Style and Substance

Another reason that books, presentations, blogs and podcasts are more effective than mere conversations could be that the arguments in them are better structured and more thoughtful.

How you articulate yourself is critical. While something might seem obvious to you, it is not always clear to others, particularly if the issue is recurring. When a client asks you to make their logo bigger or to fill up white space that you have so carefully crafted, being dismissive and irritable is easy because you have heard the request so many times before. Rather, carefully structure your response so that it is as convincing as possible.

That said, it is not just about substance, but also the style in which you present your arguments. An expert should speak with a quiet confidence. The truly great have little to prove, and so talk with a certain presence and authority. They don’t get flustered when someone disagrees with them. Instead, they seamlessly switch to a different approach.

If you want to be perceived as an expert, know yourself, be relaxed and present with confidence.

Unfortunately, problems will arise if the other party in the relationship already has certain preconceptions.

Overcoming Prejudices

Establishing yourself as an expert with your current boss or client can be a challenge. When you are seen as a junior member of the staff, their opinion won’t change overnight. Fortunately, you can do a couple of things to help shift that perception.

First, present evidence to support your positions. If your boss is worried about content being below the fold, show them a report on scrolling behavior.

Unfolding-the-fold in How To Become A Web Design Expert
Quoting research such as this report on scrolling can increase your credibility.

Secondly, quote established experts who support your case. Jakob Nielsen, for one, has written extensively on the topic of scrolling.

These techniques have benefits beyond just supporting your argument. They also demonstrate how well read you are in your field. Also, by demonstrating that your position is in line with that of other experts, you build your credibility by way of association. Their expertise rubs off on you!

Unfortunately, there is no quick way to overcome biases. This is hard for those who work regularly with the same people. But over time, by consistently demonstrating your expertise and using the techniques mentioned above, you can change their view.

With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility

The focus of this article is on becoming an expert. But before concluding, I want to say a word about what happens when you finally achieve your aim.

Once you gain the respect of your clients, boss or peers, what next? Becoming an expert has to be about more than having an ego trip. Rather, it should always be about serving others. You become an expert so that you can do a better job for your clients, provide more value to your organization and help others establish best practice in your industry. Ultimately, if all you want is to be loved and respected, you will never achieve your aim. People can detect that kind of narcissism a mile away and will dismiss you as vain.

That said, being taken seriously is important in our line of work. If we are not taken seriously, then good websites can go bad. I am sure you will share in the comments stories of how Web projects have gone wrong because people didn’t listen to you. But hearing some experiences of how you convinced bosses and clients to take you seriously would also be nice.

Cover image credit: Aural Asia


© Paul Boag for Smashing Magazine, 2011.

June 25 2011


Why Facebook is King: Success and Competitors

We all know what Facebook is. Most of the people we know use it to connect and to entertain themselves through games. What made it popular and successful is how it revolutionized social media, sharing of information and online entertainment. Facebook users range from civilians to politicians, actors and actresses, music bands and charity organizations, and just about anybody that can use a computer and has internet access.

Of course Facebook has its issues with user information being used in advertisements and tons of privacy and security issues, but let’s not dwell on the dark side and see why Facebook is hot. You know, ignorance is bliss.

One News Feed to Rule Them All

All of the status updates, photos, videos, and links shared are seen on one page. No need to load and go to someone else’s profile just to see what’s up with them.

Among social networking websites, Facebook gave way for idols and businesses to have their “page” and be noticed by people. With its massive user base, of more than 500 million active users, it is surely a place where business can be advertised for free or by using Facebook’s advertisement system.

Now I will state and list the obvious thing about Facebook’s News Feed:

  • Right now, advertisements to your right are refreshed depending on what you are talking about on your wall posts. Making it easier for services to reach their target users.
  • To your left are all the application requests, group notification, online friends, and shortcuts to applications you frequent.
  • Your news contains every update of your contacts that you are in regular contact with.
  • To the right, there are friend suggestions, sometimes random stuff about the “past”.
  • There is also group chat and individual chat.

All of these on just one page, without the clutter.


Blue and white on every page, red for notifications, not too many graphics, and every profile page design looks the same. For me, this is the first thing Facebook did right. No background glitter that seem to run through the bloodstream of anyone who visits a page, no annoying GIFs on comments, no annoying background music or anything that can alienate users.


It took me quite a while to notice that not all of my contacts are appearing on my news feed. It appears that Facebook is filtering people whom I regularly interact with and only their updates are delivered to my feed. That’s a very nice thing, in my opinion, less mess.

Facebook’s interface sure has changed a lot, with each change there were campaigns from its users saying “bring back the old news feed!” but nothing happened. Unlike websites like Digg and the Gawker network who had a major redesign, Facebook did not suffer from their redesign partly because key elements of the previous interface are still there and not totally redesigned/removed. The air of familiarity is important, like a comfortable cat smelling its own scent.

Text updates used to be immediately right after the poster’s name, now they’re placed below. Instead of clicking a button to comment, users now only need to press the return key.


There are many games that have risen to fame through Facebook. Games like Farmville and Backyard Monsters enable their players to play with their friends. This is not a new concept, but integrating gaming and social networking sure is fun. Many young people, like me, migrated to Facebook from Friendster or MySpace because of the games. To this day I am competing avidly with my friends just to get the highest score.

Another important thing to point out is the real-time update on the home page. You see things as they are posted, no need to refresh the page just to find out if there’s something new. Then there’s the Like button, is it not entertaining when many people like your post? Kind of makes you want to be more constructive and post funny, important, and striking updates.

After seeing the success of games in Facebook, Friendster began incorporating the idea to at least save themselves from sinking. From millions of users a day down to just a few thousand, Friendster tried to survive the social networking competition and now it has downgraded to a social gaming website like Kongregate. I don’t know the figures, but I’m pretty sure that not much of its user-base remain now. I am among the people, along with 90% of the people I know, who have migrated to Facebook.

A couple of days ago I saw a thread in Reddit where people talked about music. That Facebook should also have music, then one commenter said “Facebook is not MySpace.” Do you think Facebook will be better off without music as one of its major feature or do we need it? For me, I prefer it as it is now.

Where are they Now?


In my opinion, Facebook’s foundation is so deep that it will be very difficult for it to fall now. There might be a new thing to rival Facebook, but it may function totally different. Does that even make sense? Well, I’ll try to explain so please bear with me.

You see, Friendster was like a bulletin board where people post on your profile and look at everything you upload. If people will look back now, Friendster is very different from Facebook. Although they’re both social networking sites, whose purpose is to connect people, their elementary function is so different. That difference is what spelled Facebook’s success. And if ever there will come a time soon that Facebook is to be defeated by another, its purpose might be the same but having a different function.


I’m not sure if Twitter is a competitor to Facebook or they go hand-in-hand in all this social networking buzz. But I know a few people who left Facebook for Twitter.

Twitter was featured in our local news (Philippines), apparently many of my countrymen are using it to connect with their idols like Lady Gaga and other Hollywood actors and actresses. The good thing? They reply back.

Another is the 140 character limit set on every tweet. Remember the time when people used telegrams to send messages and were charged per letter? Neither do I, but I know what that is and I’ve been told that people learned how to live the saying “less is more.”


Right now, MySpace is focused more on entertainment than any other social networking site out there. What MySpace is trying to do is to connect individuals based on their taste in music and celebrities. It may be a good thing, this way of trying to salvage what used to be the most used and visited social website.

Just a month ago I remember having some difficulty with MySpace, and being the lazy kid that I am, instead of learning my way through my problem, I contacted MySpace. Lo and behold, in less than 5 minutes I was talking to one of their customer service representatives through e-mail. Problem solved, five stars for being helpful.


Multiply used to be like Blogger, add only the social networking side where people can “follow” someone and be updated on just about anything. I used to religiously update my Multiply with things I want people to read, I know many people do too. Now, Multiply has shifted from that to supporting online sellers.

In their about page, they defined Multiply as a “Social Shopping” site “that feels like a visit with friends to the Shopping mall…”

Don’t even get me started on those Facebook Killer startups that didn’t see the light of day…

What do you think?

November 04 2010


5 Principles of Effective Networking

For freelancers and independent designers networking is a critical part of building a successful business. Even designers who work as full-time employees have a need to develop a strong network since designers and developers often find out about new opportunities through their network, and many also freelance on the side.

Regardless of where you are in your career as a designer, networking should be of significant interest. If you’re just getting started you may want to focus on reaching out and meeting new people. If you’re more established you may want to focus on strengthening the contacts that you already have and turning them into mutually beneficial relationships.

In this post we’ll look at 5 simple principles that can help you in your professional networking, regardless of where you are in your career. These are basic principles that can and should be applied in your own networking efforts.

1. Win/Win Situations Produce Strong Connections

Having a strong network is extremely valuable because of the long-term impact it can have on your business. The relationships that you are building today may benefit you for years to come. That being said, if the relationship is going to have that long-term impact there must be a win/win situation where both parties benefit.

In the world of web design, having a professional network is often desired because of the possibility for getting referrals. Let’s look at two potential scenarios to illustrate why win/win situations are important. In the first scenario there is an experienced web developer who doesn’t do any design work. You are a designer, and you met this developer recently. You’ve received a few referrals from this developer but you haven’t sent any clients his way because you already have another developer friend that you refer clients to.

In the second scenario we’ll look at a potential relationship between a freelance designer (you) and a design agency. Your work on client projects tends to be with small businesses, blog designs, and other projects that you can handle on your own. From time-to-time you get inquiries from potential clients that are looking for help with a large project that is beyond the scope of something that you would handle on your own. You refer these people to a friend who runs a design agency that has a team of designers and developers and is better equipped to do an effective job on larger projects. In return, the agency sends you a fee for every referral you send their way that results in a paying client.

In the first scenario there is no win/win situation. The developer is sending referrals to you, so you are getting something out of it, but there’s nothing in it for him because you already have an established relationship with another developer. The developer will eventually stop sending referrals to you if there is nothing in it for him, since he can find a better situation with another designer.

In the second scenario there is a definite win/win situation. You are sending quality referrals to the agency and when they result in business you are getting paid for those referrals. Unlike the first scenario, this one is likely to last because both parties benefit.

When it comes to networking, many designers concentrate on what they can do to get referrals, without giving much thought to what they can offer others. In truly effective networking situations there will always be some benefit for both parties. It may be referrals, money, services, advice and help, introductions to others, or just about anything that may be desirable.

When you are working on building your own network make sure that you understand the importance of finding win/win situations and look for opportunities to build these types of relationships. A good place to start is to examine the connections that you already have. Approaching these people will be much more effective than reaching out to someone that you have never had any contact with. Look at the people that you already know. How could you help them, and is there a way that they could give something back to you as well?

2. Give More Than You Get

As I mentioned in the first point, many designers approach networking as a way to help their career, but often times they don’t consider what they could be doing to help others. In general, if you are willing to help others, in some way they are likely to return the favor when the opportunity arrives. It’s like the old saying, “what goes around comes around.”

Focus on getting to know more about the people already in your network. Look for ways that you can do something to help them, without focusing on what you will get in return. Those who are genuinely helpful to others will be appreciated and will likely benefit greatly from their network.

3. Activity Beats Inactivity

There will be times when others reach out to you and great opportunities fall in your lap (especially if you are more established) but in general it is a good practice to be proactive in your networking. Don’t sit around and wait for others to approach you, make an effort to initiate contact and get to know someone.

Networking for designers can come in many forms. Twitter and other social networking sites are popular hangouts for designers. Email is also a great way to connect. More traditional face-to-face networking with those in your local area or at professional conferences and events is also highly effective.

Whatever your approach, be proactive and don’t leave your networking to chance.

4. Quality Over Quantity

A small network with fewer, but stronger, connections will be much more effective than knowing hundreds of people but not having any depth to the relationships. If you’ve been a designer for a while chances are you already have a number of contacts in the industry or in related industries. You may not need to meet a ton of new people in order to strengthen your network, you just need to get to know the people in your existing network better.

Particularly when it comes to social networking we tend to be consumed by numbers. Twitter followers is one example. But someone with 100 followers can have a bigger impact than someone with 10,000 followers, it’s all a matter of the quality of the relationships. So don’t be concerned with getting to know everyone out there, just focus on developing some quality connections.

5. People Do Business With People That They Like

While this may not always be the case, in general it is human nature to want to do business with people that we like. Just from my own life I can think of my real estate agent, the guy I bought my cell phone from, a car salesman, restaurants that I go to repeatedly, and the place I take my car for repairs. In every case I could take my business somewhere else, but I chose to go to someone because I like them and they are easy to work with.

The same concept applies to professional relationships. There are a lot of talented designers out there who can get the job done. People in your network will want to work with someone that they like, not just someone who is good at what they do. Be yourself, be considerate of others, and be pleasant to work with. It will go a long way.

Looking at the same principle from another angle, it’s not always necessary to have a specific purpose for networking with someone. You may get to know someone and enjoy connecting with them, but there is really no tangible benefit to either of you. That doesn’t mean that there is no reason to continue to network with that person. Aside from friendship and comradery, at some point in the future a situation might arise where there is a possibility to work together, and at this point if you already know and like each other you are that much closer to a win/win situation.

What’s Your Experience?

What principles have you observed in your own networking efforts? If you have something to share please leave a comment for our readers.

October 15 2010


Learn How To build Killer Squidoo Lens For Website Promotion

Most of the internet marketers will probably know about Squidoo. If it’s the first time you heard of it, then you would likely be new to internet marketing.

Squidoo is a fast growing website that allows ordinary people to build their own pages with unique themes. The page is called “lens”, and each user is called a “lensmaster.” Squidoo is also a community where you can post your ads and can even share your profit to other ads like google ads and amazon ads by posting their ads to your page for related sources. You can custom your post the way you want it to appear on the page by just basic clicks and simple text typing. Squidoo is also known for building link wheels which is a good method of driving traffic to a site.
Today we will focus on Squidoo and learn the basic steps in building Squidoo lenses. Here are the basic steps in building a Squidoo lens:

1. Sign up For an Account

The first thing you will do just like other websites is to create your Squidoo account. The process is very simple. You only need to follow simple instructions and supply the basic info about yourself. Then just click the button continue.
Congratulations! You already have completed the first step and it was pretty simple.

2. Create a lens

After the registration process, the next thing you will do is to create a lens. Just click on create a lens button.Now you can be called a “lensmaster.”

In creating a lens, there are a lot of things to do. We will take the process step by step.

3. Lens subject

You must think of a subject which is related to your products or its up to you to decide for a better subject. You can also use the brand of the product or you product keyword.

Just supply the information and proceed to  the next step.

4. Lens Title and URL

Think of a better an interesting title and pick your URL, the link where your lens can be located.Then pick a category for your lens and choose for the choices of the contents of your lens.

5. Lens Keyword

Pick for the best keyword for your lens to help people find your lens.
You can add 3 more keywords for your lens and then you will be ask to type captcha code and click done button.

Now you already have created your lens.

6. Organize your lens

This will be the most interesting step in creating your lens. This is where you will custom your own page on how it will appear publicly.

You can organize you modules and add it to your lens.

Create and set up your module by simply supplying the needed information.

Click save and you can also edit it if you want to change it.

Your module has been saved already.

You can add images, videos, news,RSS, comment box and other ads from Amazon and Google.

7. Publish your lens

If you have done organizing and designing your lens, you can view the preview of your lens. If you think it looks good, then you can publish it.

Congratulations! You just have completed your Squidoo lens.

Squidoo Tips

  1. After publishing you may have to wait for 48 hours. If after this time your Lens is still showing as a grayed out symbol, try the following.
  2. Change the Title of all modules so that it represents the contents better. If you still have something called “New…” change it.
  3. Remember to Edit the “Introduction and Contents Tool” and select “Table of Contents” and tick the “On” button.
  4. Link to as many other webpages and Lens as possible.
  5. After you get the Green approval Symbol, you can add your Lens to other suitable Lens, which provide a module for you to add your information. The old Groups on Squidoo have been converted into Lenses, so you will have to carefully select other Lens as your partner.

If you have any tips, please send details and I will added them here.

Don’t forget to update your Profile page, this gives you a lot of opportunity to add links to Blogs, Lenses and web url’s, that is where you add your photo.

July 14 2010


Future of Web Design Conference in New York City

I just bought my tickets for this years Future of Web Design Conference in NYC. I went last year and had a great time, networked with many talented people, and listened to some of our industries best talk on various topics of web design relations. This year is going to be better than ever with an amazing roundup for speakers, two day event (last year was only 1 day) plus a day of hands on workshops. Hope to see you all there. Drop me a message on Twitter (@behoff) and let me know you are coming. I’d love to talk in person to all of you. Oh yeah, the earlier you grab tickets the cheaper they are.

June 14 2010


Getting Started with Tumblr & Custom Theme Design

Websites powered by Tumblr (or Tumblelogs , or tlogs) are becoming increasingly popular. Tumblr fills the gap between Twitter and the full blog, allowing users to post short updates in text, video, photo, link, chat, quote and audio formats quickly and easily. Let’s take a look at the basics of what Tumblr is, and how to get a tumblelog of your own up and running.

What is Tumblr?

Tumblr logo

Tumblr is basically the daddy of the micro-blogging scene. It provides a platform for those updates that are too large for Twitter’s 140 characters, but too small to be converted into a full-on Wordpress blog post. Just like networks such as Twitter, Tumblr has the social feature of being able to follow and receive updates from friends and contacts. Being a hosted service it’s easy to setup and manage, with just a simple sign up screen being all you need to complete in order to start a site of your own. Despite being a hosted service, you don’t have to stick with the domain, with just a few steps you can configure your own domain.

Tumblr post types

Tumblr allows you to share anything through its six posting options of text, photos, quotes, links, audio and video through the Tumblr dashboard, mobile phone, desktop client or by email.

How do people use Tumblr?

Tumblr is often used alongside Twitter, blogs and social networks as a place to post photos and links, but is also commonly used as a person’s primary website. Here’s a few great examples of how Tumblr is being put to use across the web, notice the familiar elements and features among each site?

View the website

View the website

View the website

View the website

View the website

View the website

View the website

Getting started

To get started with a Tumblr site of your own, first head over to and create a new account.

Run through the basic options wizard that follows, setting your website title, profile picture and description.

Post some stuff! It’s as easy as that!

You can also integrate your Tumblr site to various other social networks. Post updates to Twitter or Facebook, or pull in RSS feeds from other sources and post them on your Tumblr blog. All these options can be found under Customize > Services.

Customizing Tumblr

Just like the Wordpress application, there’s two main approaches to customizing your Tumblr site. Choose a ready-made theme from the Tumblr Theme Garden, or if you’re confident with hand writing your own HTML, build your own. Let’s start with the easy option – Installing a ready made theme!

To access the commonly used premium themes, go to Customize from the Tumblr dashboard, then select the Themes dropdown. This just a small selection of themes available, there’s many more free and premium theme from the Theme Garden, as well as from third-party developers across the net.

Once you’ve found a theme you like, simply hit Install Theme and Tumblr will do all the work for you.

Building your own Tumblr theme

For those confident with their HTML and CSS skills, there’s the option of building a custom theme from scratch. If you’re used to developing for Wordpress, the process is pretty similar – You insert special tags in the HTML code to add the advanced functionality to the site. Tumblr isn’t quite as advanced as Wordpress, which means learning your way around theme files is much easier.

<h3><a href="{Permalink}">{Title}</a></h3>

There’s two types of template tags in Tumblr – Variables and blocks. Variables are used to insert dynamic data into your theme file, similar to how Wordpress works. For instance, simply insert the tag {Permalink} inside an anchor to generate a link to a post.

    <div class="post text">
            <h2><a href="{Permalink}">{Title}</a></h2>


Blocks on the other hand, are used to create segments of HTML relative to a certain function. This is how the different posts types (audio, video, quote etc) are generated.

	<div class="post photo">
	    <img src="{PhotoURL-500}" alt="{PhotoAlt}"/>

	        <div class="caption">{Caption}</div>

	<div class="post photoset">

	        <div class="caption">{Caption}</div>

	<div class="post quote">

	        <div class="source">{Source}</div>

Your theme file will need blocks for each of the seven post types in order for Tumblr to render each different style of post. Unlike Wordpress themes that are split across multiple files, your Tumblr theme is basically a single HTML page with all the different post scenarios bundled together.

April 05 2010


25 Premium Email Newsletter Templates For Successful Marketing

Title-themeforst-html-email-templateEmail newsletter is really underestimated and I rarely see websites, blogs using it as marketing and communication tool. Everyone knows he should offer option to subscribe by e-mail, but how to use those e-mails powerfuly to strenghten your relationships and maybe even promote your own products? For that topic we should even create dedicated article, but I will start with just showcasing really well designed premium e-mail newsletter templates this time.

Sometimes it is worth spending little cash to get advanced and tested features without any efforts so you could focus on more important topics.

Too many people don’t evaluate highly good design and typography, but no matter how good your product,site is – if design will be terrible, it will turn people away!

And yes, by the way soon you will see e-mail newsletter from 1stwebdesigner as well, I have reason myself to investigate those topics, so I invite you to join me in this process!

1. Airmail! – Customizable Email Template

Airmail is a professionally built and designed custom HTML email template! Perfect for just about anyone – usable for everything from newsletters to eFlyers to whitepapers.

Airmail comes with 5 pre-built color options (white, green, blue, black, light blue) as well as 4 different layouts.


View Live Demo

2. Versatile Email Template – 7 layouts + 5 colors

Versatile is a professional HTML email template!

It’s versatility is due to the:

  • wide usage thanks to the 7 pre-built layouts
  • 5 color schemes
  • fast and intuitive system of creating new layouts.
  • layered png source files for each separate item included for easy editing
  • extensive documentation
  • consistent look in major email clients.

Works in:

  • Yahoo Mail, Gmail, Hotmail
  • Thunderbird, Outlook 2003 & 2007
  • MailCHimp, CampaignMonitor
  • Apple Mail


View Live Demo

3. Modern Business 4 HTML Email Template

Modern Business 4 is a professional HTML email newsletter template. If you need a vibrant, strong and clean looking solution for your email campaigns to promote your latest product or service, this is the solution for you. With 3 different colors and both single and double column designs, you have many options.

With attention to detail, fantastic use of color, table based design and fully tested using a 3rd party service for email client compatibility this template is ready for your information to be inserted and sent.


View Live Demo

4. Cielo Newsletter

Cielo is a stylish custom created HTML email newsletter. It can be used for a wide range of purposes and will help both the freelancer and the businessman in their communication with clients, partners or friends.

This newsletter was tested in many online mail clients like Gmail, Yahoo, etc. Also offline clients like Outlook 2007, Outlook Express and Thunderbird. It is possible however to have some layout issues on some mail clients – it is impossible to test all of them.


View Live Demo

5. iNewsletter

iNewsletter email template for web development / software companies that want to give their clients an update on their new products and latest news.

There are 2 designs samples, with 2 different content arrangements, each having 2 different backgrounds, so you’ll get 6 different layouts.

The HTML Templates have been tested on GMail, Yahoo Mail and Thunderbird. Update: Works on Apple Mail, Hotmail and Microsoft Outlook as well.


View Live Demo

6. BoldMail – Email Template Pack – 9 Colors!

BoldMail is a simple and sexy email template pack featuring 9 different color schemes!

  • You get 9 different color schemes: Red, Blue, Green, Orange, Purple, Cyan, Maroon, Black and White.
  • PSDs included for every color scheme.
  • Email-ready templates, fully tested!
  • Email templates are something that’s always overlooked, so make a BOLD impact with the BoldMail email template pack!


View Live Demo

7. Elegance – HTML Email Template

Send beautifully simple and elegant emails with Elegance, a template focusing on clean typography, grid layout and balanced negative space. This template is available in three colors and two different layout options.

Tested in all major email browsers for form and functionality. Customization is very easy and instructions are well documented!


View Live Demo

8. TechOffers – Multipurpose Minimalist Newsletter

TechOffers email template has been specially crafted with a clean and neat newsletter template in mind.

Although its presented as a tech / electronics email template, it can be used as a e-commerce, shopping, corporate newsletter or for any offers or products that your company may promote.

In the included documentation you will find graphical representation of the structure. Based on this you will be able to easily modify the email template.


View Live Demo

9. CleanMail – Email Template Package – 5 Colors!

CleanMail is a simple yet sexy email template package with 5 different color schemes!

Email templates are something that’s always overlooked, so make an impact with the CleanMail email template package!


View Live Demo

10. Atlantica Mail Template

Atlantica Mail is a professionally built and designed custom HTML email template; perfect for just about anyone – usable for everything from newsletters to eFlyers to whitepapers.

Atlantica comes with several pre-built color options (including both Dark and Light versions!!) as well as 4 different layouts (click below for samples);


View Live Demo

11. Corporate Communication

Corporate Communication 1 is a premiere designed and built html email template for corporations and business. The design allows for a large product image, 3 smaller products, lots of text, links to your website, social media and so much more.

Customization could not be simpler with the added benefit of quick edit photoshop files for all the major elements used in the design – simply open, edit and save.


12. Innovative – Product Tour HTML Email Template

Innovative – Product Tour is the perfect email template if you’re looking to announce a new product to your audience or if you simply want to introduce new features.

While this template was specifically designed for new product announcements, it can easily be updated with a few copy changes to fit any type of email blasts.


View Live Demo

13. Rich Typography Email Template

RichType is a bold, clean, and ultra customizable email template. It’s perfect for a wide variety of uses, from corporate newsletters to product advertisers. Best of all, the colors and layout are completely customizable using pre-built layout elements – simply copy and paste!


View Live Demo

14. Corporate Newsletter Template V1

Elegant and ultra-clean email template in 6 different colors and 4 layouts for your newsletter. This is an ideal solution for your email marketing campaigns, event invitation or periodical news.

View Live Demo

15. PhotoMail – 2 Styles, Endless Color Possibilities

PhotoMail is a simple and sexy email template for photographers and designers featuring 2 styles and endless color possibilities.

A great email template is something that’s always overlooked, so make an impact with the PhotoMail email template!


View Live Demo

16. Communiqué – Premium Email Template

Communiqué is a premium email template suited for just about anything from new product announcements to weekly newsletters. It’s been thoroughly tested and is compatible with all major email clients.

View Live Demo

17. Postman

Postman is the stylish solution for your email marketing, newsletters and advertising. It comes with multiple layout options.

It is also cross browser compatible, so you dont have to worry about different rendering engines of mail clients.


View Live Demo

18. Blog Mail

This advanced email template cames with a lot of great features:

  • 14 customizable skins
  • Tested In mayor e-mail apps
  • Very easy to modify and add videos


View Live Demo

19. Structured Mail

If you are looking for a neat and structured way to send information to your clients and subscribers then Structured mail may work for you.


View Live Demo

20. Modern Business 3 DARK Email

This premium HTML email template is a perfect solution for photographers anywhere. Designed to compliment the ultra successful Modern Business 3 template available here – it echos the styling, buttons and even all 8 colors in 3 different layout styles, and includes Campaign Monitor ready versions of all the templates.


View Live Demo

21. Our Community Mail + Customizable Email Template

Our Community Mail comes with 4 pre-built color options (default, green, blue, black) as well as 3 different layouts (check screenshot) and 3 different styles (default, general and galaxy black). There is also an extra general template for general use. It is extremely easy to customize and use.


View Live Demo

22. Platnum Email Template

Platnum is a modern and stylish newsletter template, suited for any business that wants a solid newsletter.


View Live Demo

23. BizLetter – E-mail Template

BizLetter is easy to customize and easy to edit e-mail newsletter, comes with 2 layouts:

  • Full-width one-column;
  • Right-sidebar two columns layout.


View Live Demo

24. i-Elegant Newsletter Template

i-Elegant is clean, multi usage, and elegant newsletter solution. It comes in 10 themes : gray, black, brown, green, orange, light blue, light and dark blue, blue and green, orange and gray, light and dark gray.


View Live Demo

25. MyMemo – Clean 1 Column Email Template

  • Works In All Major Clients
  • Logo PSD included
  • Single Column Layout
  • Original and Inline CSS
  • Easy to Customize

With this template, you get the original CSS as well as the ready-to-mail inline CSS.


View Live Demo

Which one is your favorite? You need to pick just one out, I know each one is amazing design and code work.

March 02 2010


102 Respected Designers You Should Follow On Twitter

Title-follow-designers-twitterTwitter is growing and growing – if you’ve been living in ice age, then maybe you don’t know about this popular trend. Facebook and Twitter are the most popular social networks and that’s why we will do series here to help you get better there. We are starting with huge post where we selected the most interesting and active bloggers and designers you should enjoy following.

We are sorry about ones we didn’t include, but hey, here is a quick thought –  add your twitter names in comments with description why people should follow you! Just hope you enjoy this article and we all can leverage from great new friends to talk with!

1. @1stwebdesigner (Dainis Graveris)



Of course, shameless self promotion!

Web-designer, who decided to dedicate his life to design few years ago. Now living happily ever after! Add him if you are web design fan!

2. @smalonedesign (Stephanie Malone)



Graphic Artist. Creative Director. Skilled Copywriter. Design Diva.

3. @ronicadesign (Veronica Domeier)



Freelance designer of print & web. Photographer, adventurer, Apple fan.

4. @r27 (Rajesh Pancholi)



R27.CREATIVELAB. Design & Visual Communications.

5. @nicholaspatten (Nicholas Patten)



Video Editor, Graphic/Web Designer.

6. @mlane (Mike Lane)



Senior UX Designer near Minneapolis, MN with 15 years experience in creative Web and Graphic Design.

7. @Minervity (Richard Darell)



Web/Graphic Designer/Developer.

8. @mayhemstudios (Calvin Lee)



Self-Proclaimed Media Ho, Designer Guy and Twitter Addict.

9. @logocritiques (Erik Peterson)



Logo Critiques blogger, Graphic designer, Web designer.

10. @justcreative (Jacob Cass)



Graphic Designer, Logo Designer, Web Designer, Blogger, Creative Thinker, Social Media Nut, Freelancer, Link Sharer.

11. @jasonsantamaria (Jason Santa Maria)



Designer by day, designer by night.

12. @gracesmith (Grace Smith)



A 26 year old Freelance Web and Graphic Designer in love with web standards and social media. An unashamed Apple Fangirl.

13. @chrisspooner (Chris Spooner)



A creative Designer, avid Blogger.

14. @bongobrian (Brian Paulowicz)



Web Designer, Graphic Artist.

15. @bartelme (Wolfgang Bartelme)



User interface graphic designer from Austria.

16. @artistech (Artistech Newmedia)



Dynamic Design & Production for the Web, Print and Video based in Kelowna, BC, Canada.

17. @anthonywoods (Silver-Solutions)



Web and Software Application Developer / Web Designer.

18. @AndrewKelsall (Andrew Kelsall)



Graphic Designer, Creative, Logo, Print and Web Design, Wordpresser, Tech-head, Blogger and Mac user.

19. @abduzeedo (Fabio Sasso)



Graphic/web designer and blogger.

20. @bittbox (Jay Hilgert)



Business Owner, Designer, Blogger, Web-enthusiast.

21. @bluewavemedia (Kimberly Beaven)



Web, development, marketing and media firm.

22. @boagworld (Paul Boag)



Founder of web design agency Headscape, host of the boagworld web design podcast and author of the website owners manual.

23. @bokardo (Joshua Porter)



Founder of Bokardo Design, a design consultancy focusing exclusively on social web applications.

24. @cameronolivier (Cam Olivier)



A designer/developer at

25. @chadengle (Chad Engle)



Graphic Designer, Editor at FuelYourCreativity.

26. @chriscoyier (Chris Coyier)



Web designer.

27. @cjgraphix (Collin Robinson)



Freelance web designer and developer.

28. @clagnut (Richard Rutter)



A web site producer living in Brighton.

29. @corePHP (Zen Penguin)



Professional Web Development & Graphic Design.

30. @cssglobe (Alen Grakalic)



Web designer and developer.

31. @davidlano (David Lano)



Web Developer, Blogger.

32. @DesignerDepot (Webdesigner Depot)



Webdesigner Depot is one of the most popular blogs about web design trends, tutorials and much more. It’s run by Walter Apai, a web designer from Vancouver.

33. @designshard (Max Stanworth)



Lover of Typography, Web Design, CSS, XHTML , Illustration.

34. @DesiznTech (Kawsar Ali)



A web designer who also likes blogging.

35. @dustinbrewer (Dustin Brewer)



Freelance web designer.

36. @idesignstudios (Selene M. Bowlby)



Web Designer and Front-End Web Developer. Specializing in creating Custom WordPress Themes.

37. @JoPhillips (Jon Phillips)




38. @leonfernandes (Leon Fernandes)



Freelance Web Designer Specialising in Search Engine Optimisation and Search Engine Marketing.

39. @Othella (Amélie Husson)



26 years old French girl living in Germany, freelancer, wordpress guru, web designer, internet geek, Mac user, crazy about ITs, books.

40. @RussAdams (Russ Adams)



Web design blogger at

41. @sethjenks (Seth Jenks)



Student of marketing, design, and SEO who is working to make an impact on the world.

42. @sh3n3rd (Mitsi McKee)



Web Designer – Rockfish Interactive, Founder – Evil Tomato Media.

43. @simonashley (Simon Ashley)



A web designer and developer, systems architect, new media scientist, technologist, web entrepreneur, amateur quantum enthusiast and coffee aficionado.

44. @tonychester (Tony Chester)



Owner of OnWired. A progressive web design and development firm in North Carolina. Also running and

45. @veen (Jeffrey Veen)




46. @Aisleone (Antonio Carusone)



A graphic designer.

47. @arronlock (Arron Lock)



Dedicated graphic designer.

48. @behoff (Brian Hoff)



Graphic designer.

49. @digitalmash (Rob Morris)



Product designer at HiiDef Inc.

50. @imjustcreative (Graham Smith)



Freelance logo and brand identity designer. Iconic, typographic and minimalist tendencies. 25 years experience.

51. @jasonwalz (Jason Walz)



Art Director, Graphic / Web Designer, Video Editor.

52. @snookca (Snook)



A creator of striking designs, impeccable markup and code, and forward-thinking ideas and applications.

53. @vpieters (Veerle Pieters)



A graphic/web designer living in Belgium.

54. @meyerweb (Eric A. Meyer)



CSS and HTML expert.

55. @pearsonified (pearsonified)



A Web developer who specializes in building detailed, robust WordPress themes.

56. @collis (Collis) Website:


Working at Envato where he helps making awesome websites!

57. @bleikamp (Ben Bleikamp)



An interaction designer and product manager.

58. @DavidAirey (David Airey)



Graphic designer.

59. @problogdesign (Michael Martin)



Web designer, specialising in blog design.

60. @michaelcastilla (Michael Castilla)



Owner of

61. @redwall_hp (Matt Harzewski)


redwall hp-follow-designers-twitter

Blogger, web designer, writer.

62. @arthurbrownjr (Arthur Brown Jr.)



A web designer and marketing communications professional focused on creating the best online and offline experiences possible. Building engaging websites.

63. @zeldman (Jeffrey Zeldman)



Author, Designing With Web Standards 3rd Ed., Founder, Happy Cog studio. Publisher, A List Apart magazine. Co-founder, An Event Apart conference.

64. @randaclay (randaclay)



Freelance designer.

65. @cameronmoll (Cameron Moll)



Designer, Speaker, Author.

66. @andybudd (Andy Budd)



User Experience Designer, partner at @clearleft and curator of @dconstruct and @uxlondon.

67. @simplebits (Dan Cederholm)



A designer, author, speaker. Founder and Principal of SimpleBits.

68. @danbenjamin (Dan Benjamin)



Broadcaster, writer and developer.

69. @mollydotcom (Molly E. Holzschlag)



Well-known Web standards advocate, instructor, and author.

70. @adactio (Jeremy Keith)



An Irish web developer living and working in Brighton, England.

71. @clearleft (Clearleft)



User-experience design agency based in Brighton, UK.

72. @mezzoblue (Dave Shea)



A Vancouver local and a freelance designer.

73. @orderedlist (Steve Smith)



Architects user interfaces and web designs.

74. @ryancarson (Ryan Carson)



Internet entrepreneur and founder of

75. @blogdesignblog (Vinh Le)



Blog designer.

76. @ilovetypography (I Love Typography)



Founder of ILT (I Love Typography), WLT, & Graphic designer, writer, typophile, bibliophile.

77. @keylimecreative (keylimecreative)



Professional Graphic Designer.

78. @andyjacobson (Andy Jacobson)



A NYC based Graphic Designer/Communications Consultant who has been running his own studio since 1993.

79. @VladGeorgescu (Vlad Georgescu)



User Experience Designer.

80. @Brandstack (Brandstack)



The World’s Biggest Brand Marketplace. Buy and Sell high quality, original logo designs and domain names.

81. @stevensnell (Steven Snell)



Web designer, blogger, and freelance writer.

82. @aaroni268 (Aaron Irizarry)



Just a simple guy who likes to make pretty, usable stuff.

83. @blogdesigner (Mike Smith)



Running a startup @GiantThemes and a full time web designer for @madebyguerrilla who loves MMA and blogs @gfreelancing.

84. @spencerfry (Spencer Fry)



Running Carbonmade with other fine folks. And Burstoid.

85. @graphicidentity (A u d e e)



Graphic Identity Blog author. Logo, graphic, web designer.

86. @creativeworld (Leon Poole)



Owner of Creative World. Blogging on: Web design, Graphic Design, CSS, XHTML, Flash, Theme Design (Wordpress, activeCollab, Magento).

87. @939design (939 Design)



Web and Graphic designer.

88. @alexdesigns (Alex Harris)



Ecommerce Creative Director. Web Design & Online Marketing.

89. @mirkohumbert (mirkohumbert)



Swiss graphic and web designer.

90. @woork (Antonio Lupetti)



Pro Blogger, Founder of

91. @seanHodge (Sean Hodge)



Graphic Designer, Web Designer, Vector Illustrator, Blog Editor, and Writer.

92. @tkadlec (Tim Kadlec)



A web developer living and working in Wisconsin.

93. @Adii (adii)



Entrepreneur, co-founder of WooThemes and general creator of Rockstar Awesomeness!

94. @corymiller303 (Cory Miller)



Web Design, WordPress themes & entrepreneurship – Founder of &

95. @bgardner (Brian Gardner)



Internet consultant. Founder/CEO of StudioPress and AgentPress.

96. @wpcandy (Michael Castilla)



Founder & Creator of WPCandy. A front-end developer, currently living in Miami, Florida.

97. @elmofromok (Chad Henderson)



Web designer, writer and podcaster from Oklahoma.

98. @elliotjaystocks (Elliot Jay Stocks) Website:


A designer, an illustrator, a speaker and an author.

99. @MitchellMckenna (Mitchell McKenna)



Software Developer, Web Designer.

100. @stillframe (Brad Smith)



Co-founder of Virb.

101. @larissameek (Larissa Meek)



Creative Director at AgencyNet based in Los Angeles, CA.

102. @smashingmag (Vitaly Friedman)


Vitaly Friedman, editor-in-chief of and, online magazines dedicated to designers and developers.

Related posts:

  1. 5 Timeless Usability Principles for Website Designers
  2. 27 Twitter Tools To Help You Find And Manage Followers
  3. 50 Free Social Twitter Resources and Icon Sets: Huge List
  4. 53 Promotional Websites To Gain Traffic Quick And Easy
  5. Tips for Web Designers From an Internet Marketer’s Perspective

January 08 2010


53 Promotional Websites To Gain Traffic Quick And Easy

title-fresh-promotional-user-links-sitesIt started very long time ago (to be exact December 27, 2008), when I created my first promotional article with 40 promotional links in it. Then I was just starting and I was excited, there exist such things like user news and sites like DesignBump or DesignFloat.

Time passed, and I needed to update my article, add more links, delete old ones because I have been promoting EVERY article in these sites. Now this promotional article consists of 70 sites, but again I wasn’t sure how all links work – I mean how much traffic they return. And now you will hear why this article is so outstanding and extremely valuable for every design-related blogger! Since I’ve been submitting all my article on those sites this whole time, I have also very precise statistics based on several months.

Now I completely reviewed whole article and here TOP 53 sites are arranged in ascending order – from the most valuable websites to less ones. Unique visit count and information is based on my Google Analytics latest 3 months statistics. At the end I added several new and unverified but promising promotional websites.

Needless to say I will update this article regularly, so be sure to bookmark it for later reference! This is really assured list because I’ve tested it and I can tell – these sites really deliver impressive traffic! If you need that traffic – go ahead and take it now! I give you tools, you just need to realize them in the same way I did!

1. StumbleUpon* ( 160,154 unique visits)

StumbleUpon is no different – you need a lot of friends, good network to bring traffic. But if you have that all, again it totally pays off 10 times. You should have few powerful stumbler friends as well, who could discover or maybe even share your stories – returning you with easy traffic in that way!


2. Digg* (80,214 unique visits)

Certainly not easy traffic, but when you get the first time of Digg FrontPage you will never doubt it’s power and beautiful traffic income source. Building community takes a lot of time, so be sure you build contacts with few power diggers in your niche.


3. SmashingMagazine + Noupe (74,494 unique visits)

Since now SM owns Noupe, their design news are now tied together. This number is not so accurate because I am on SmashingNetwork and get traffic from their features as well, but certainly worth submitting – 2 in 1!


4. Twitter* (22,119 unique visits)

Seems like now Twitter is getting even more popular as it is – if it is possible! It’s good to have powerful account or powerful friends with big networks to share your links with.


5. CSSGlobe* (7,528 unique visits)

If your links will be accepted in this site, you will get serious traffic regularly! This site is my big discovery, I was surprised how valuable it is and what kind of traffic it can deliver.


6. Facebook* (6,574 unique visits)

You need here to think seriously about community building or fan page, because it can really be good traffic income source.


7. DesignBump* (5,921 unique visits)


8. Dezinerfolio (3,678 unique visits)


9. Design-Newz (3,436 unique visits)


10. WebdesignNe.Ws (2,709 unique visits)


11. InstantShift (2,525 unique visits)


12. CSSDrive (2,145 unique visits)


13. DesignrFix (2,083 unique visits)


14. Devsnippets (1,831 unique visits)


15. Designm.Ag (1,692 unique visits)


16. Dzone* (1,400 unique visits)


17. Abduzeedo* (1,381 unique visits)


18. Psdfan (1,337 unique visits)


19. Reddit* (1,308 unique visits)


20. TripWireMagazine (1,219 unique visits)


21. DesignMoo* (1,185 unique visits)


22. DesignYourWay (1,171 unique visits)


23. DesignFloat* ( 1,003 unique visits)


24. (948 unique visits)


25. ShareBrain (942 unique visits)


26. Graphic-Design-Links* (753 unique visits)


27. Hongkiat (735 unique visits)


28. InspiredN (733 unique visits)


29. TheDesignMag (686 unique visits)


30. SpeckyBoy (570 unique visits)


31. BlogFreakz (557 unique visits)


32. FuelYourCreativity (521 unique visits)


33. NaldzGraphics (516 unique visits)


34. DesiznTech (499 unique visits)


34. TheWebBlend* (342 unique visits)


35.ZaBox* (383 unique visits)


36. MyInkBlog (250 unique visits)


37. ScriptAndStyle (249 unique visits)


38. CSSLeak (209 unique visits)


39. WhoFreelance (207 unique visits)


40. PVM Garage (151 unique visits)


Envato network

41. PSD.Tutplus (1,019 unique visits)

You need to submit in those 3 sites articles one by one, because spam filter somehow work between these sites, I mean if all three pages are open you need to refresh page to get valid CAPTCHA numbers.


42. Net.Tutplus (550 unique visits)


43. Vector.Tutplus (538 unique visits)


Fresh additions:

I will add here constantly new websites I will find or our readers will suggest and test it myself so I can drop out worthless sites out and put great websites higher in main list.

44. KnowteBook


45. GraphicMania


46. PSDeluxe


47. ChethStudios


48. CypherBox*


49. AnimHut (right sidebar)


50. PSDVibe (right sidebar)


51. DesignNussion


52. Styletime


53. DesignInformer (right sidebar)


If you know more VALUABLE promotional sites or links, where we could submit articles, let us know and I’ll consider about showcasing that site as well here!

Related posts:

  1. 10 Ways How To Track Site Traffic, Popularity, Statistics
  2. Google Adsense Monetizing, Traffic, Testing Tips, Tricks And Resources
  3. 40 Promotional Sites Where To Submit Your Design Related Links
  4. 35 Websites To Teach You How To Use CSS Effectively
  5. How To Create Popular Blog With Keyword Research, Heatmaps And SEO?

January 06 2010


Networking Tips for the Busy Designer

Professional networking is an important part of being a designer and working towards a challenging and rewarding career. Unfortunately, most designers are so busy with client work, or trying to find more clients, that networking-related activities are more of an afterthought that get attention whenever the time happens to be available. While networking is critical, it doesn’t have to adsorb huge amounts of time that prevent you from getting other essential tasks completed.

In this article we’ll look at a series of tips and suggestions that are aimed at designers who want to network more successfully, but without committing large amounts of time each day or each week. The idea is to get as much benefit as possible from a reasonable time commitment that can be accommodated by just about any schedule.

1. Organize Your Contacts

Whenever efficiency and minimizing time commitment are the goals, evaluating and improving organization is a great place to start. If you are wasting time trying to find an email address, a phone number, or a name from someone that you met a few months ago, that is a lack of productivity that could be avoided with better organization.

There are any number of ways you can organize your contacts. You can use a program like Outlook or Thunderbird, or you could choose a full-feature CRM like Highrise. How you organize your contacts is less important than the fact that you actually have a method for doing so. Each person is different, and you should consider your own needs work habits in deciding on a solution.

For more, see 12 CRM Options for Freelancers.

2. Take Advantage of Useful Tools and Resources

Aside from organizing, another part of achieving efficiency involves making use of resources that are available to make networking less time consuming and more effective. Particularly when dealing with online networking, there are a number of resources available, some free and some for pay. Two examples that are highly useful for designers are Skype and TweetDeck. With Skype you can talk to people all over the world to get in touch whenever necessary. TweetDeck makes it possible to use Twitter effectively without spending all day reading and sending tweets. Personally, my usage of Twitter multiplied exponentially after I started using TweetDeck while still not losing productivity.

Skype and TweetDeck are certainly not the only options, they are simply two examples. Make an effort to find resources like this that can help you to get more out of your networking efforts while keeping the time requirements low.

3. Set Aside Time in Your Schedule for Networking

Because networking activities tend to get pushed to the back burner in favor of other more urgent tasks, it may be necessary to build blocks in to your schedule in order to find time to network. Simple networking activities won’t require that you give up large amounts of time away from your income-generating work. For example, you could block off an hour to update your LinkedIn profile and look for some new connections, set up a day to meet a contact for lunch, or even to simply read some blog posts and respond in the comments.

Of course, some types of networking activities will require more time (such as traveling to a conference or an event), but just building in small amounts of time in your weekly schedule can make a noticeable difference.

4. Think About Your Career Path

One of the reasons that networking is so important is that it can play a crucial role in career advancement and development. Knowing the right person and being in the right place is just as important as having the right skills. However, in order for your networking efforts to truly be effective in helping you to get the career that you want, you’ll need to think about which direction you want to go with your career.

Networking without a plan may lead to some great opportunities, but networking with a plan will give you a much better chance of getting the results you are looking for. Take some time to think about your future. For example, if you goal is to be a freelance designer, making connections with people who can help you to land more work would be very significant. On the other hand, if you are freelancing with the goal of being hired by an agency, you would be more likely to meet your goals by working towards making some contacts with designers and/or managers from various agencies.

5. Identify Key People

After you have given consideration to the path that you would like to take with your career, you should take some time to identify key people who would be able to have an influence. Once you know who you would like to get to know, make an effort to connect with them in one way or another. If they have a blog, you could start by getting involved in the comments on their posts, linking to their posts and writing your own responses, or you could even contact them about writing for their blog. If you know what groups or professional associations they are involved with, you could make an effort to get involved there as well.

Knowing specifically who you want to connect with will help you spend your time in the right way. Your efforts will lead to better results, as opposed to networking with whoever you happen to come across.

There are a few things that should be pointed out here. First, while identifying your key contacts is a good habit, always keep in mind that networking is a two-way street and simply using them for your own gain is neither ethical nor effective. The most effective way to network is to find ways for mutual benefit, so first you should be looking at how you can help them or what it is you can bring to the table.

Second, keep in mind that if you have identified these people as being key, chances are many other designers like you have done the same. Getting connected to an influential person is not easy because they most likely have a lot of people contacting them on a regular basis, which is all the more reason why you need to know what you have to offer them.

Third, have realistic expectations. Depending on your level of experience, you may want to work on your designing and networking skills for a while before reaching out to those key people that you have identified. It may be more effective to dedicate the time to improving yourself as a designer and building up your network of people who are at comparable places in their careers and work your way towards your key people.

6. Integrate Networking into Your Work

One of the most effective ways to build your network without losing valuable working time is to combine the two activities. The are a number of ways that you could do this. Personally, I stumbled across one method a few years ago without even realizing that it could pay huge dividends. In my situation it was freelance blogging that allowed me to go about my business and build my network at the same time. I started to write for other blogs as a paid contributor because it gave me a way to make some money in addition to designing, but what I found out is that it was an extremely effective way to get to know influential people in the industry. As a paid writer for a number of successful design blogs and publications, I’ve had the privilege of getting to work with some very talented and well-connected people.

Many freelance designers do some work that agencies choose to outsource. Just like the freelance blogging example, this can be a very effective way to build your network without neglecting the income-generating work that you need to do. If you already maintain a blog of your own, one effective method would be to interview other designers and post the interviews to your blog. Most designers are open to accepting interview requests, and it will give you a good opportunity to learn and to build some ties to the other designer while simply producing content for your blog. Regardless of what your approach may be, if you can find ways to strengthen your network while still focusing on your work, you will be well on your way to building the network that you need without much time commitment.

7. Pursue Collaborations

Building on the previous point, collaborative efforts are great for strengthening your network while still staying focused on your primary business objectives. Your collaboration could be the sharing of referrals with someone who offers complimentary services, developing an app with someone you know, starting a multi-author blog, working with someone else to design and develop templates for sale, and the possibilities are endless.

Collaborations are great because they allow people to focus on what they do best and to complement each other’s skills. Additionally, it allows you to build very strong relationships with other professionals that can often lead to bigger and better opportunities. Like point number 6, it also allows you to earn some money and make very productive use of your time while strengthening your network.

8. Maintain Quality Relationships

A strong network is based more on quality of relationships than quantity. Rather than trying to get some contact with every designer out there, make an effort to build a few very strong relationships. Making the most of the connections you have may be more important than dedicating time and effort to making additional connections (of course, this depends on your situation and your existing network).

In order to maximize the connections that you already have, make an effort to stay in touch with the people who seem like they would be the best fit for your network. Find new ways to work together or just get to know more about them. Stronger relationships and connections will be much more likely to lead to something significant than several casual connections.

9. Up the Level

There are a lot of different ways to communicate with others and different levels of networking. This would include things like leaving comments on blogs, responding to forum postings, using IM, tweeting back and forth, email, phone, face-to-face, etc. If you’re looking to get more impact with your networking efforts, take it to the next level. If all of your contact with someone has been done via email, make an effort to get on the phone with that person. If you’ve always spoken on the phone, try to set up a face-to-face meeting. Different levels of communication and networking will produce varying results. Getting to interact with someone on a deeper level can lead to a stronger connection.

Of course, it may not always be feasible to take it to the next level, such as a face-to-face meeting, but try to consider the situation thoroughly. If you are trying to build a strong network while still maintaining an active business that involves plenty of design work you will typically be spending only small amounts of time networking and slowly developing some connections. On the other hand, if there is a convention or conference in your area that you could attend for a day or two, you would miss some time for client work, but you could have a better impact with the time that you allocate for networking.

10. Minimize Meaningless Activities

Since you want to achieve greater efficiency with your networking activities, pay attention to the results that you are getting and dedicate your time to those activities that are producing results. If you are spending an hour every day on social media sites hoping that your Diggs and Stumbles will send enough traffic to someone that they will notice you, most likely you could be more successful with other methods.

What’s meaningless and unproductive for one person may be very effective for someone else, so give it some time and evaluate your own results to make the best decision for yourself. After you have been consistently networking for a while, adjust your strategy and your schedule accordingly so that you are getting the most out of your time.

What is Your Experience?

How do you go about building your network while still maintaining focus on your primary services to clients?

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