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Date: Tuesday, 08 Apr 2014 10:14

10% off iStock Promo Code

5% off iStock Promo Code

Today we have something a little different for you. Our friends over at iStock reached out and let us know about an exclusive promo code they are offering to new users in the month of April. Use the code below to save 10% off any credit pack! If you don’t have an account with iStock, now is the time to open one up! Click below to reveal the coupon code.

Enter this iStock promo code at checkout to receive your discount.

10% discount applies to all online purchase at iStockphoto.com for credit packs only. Discount does not apply to image subscriptions. This offer is open to all new iStock accounts and may not be combined with any other offers, discounts or pricing agreements. This offer is valid for one month, until midnight, April 30, 2014.

Leave a comment below and let us know how much you saved if you use this. I just saved $146!

Author: "brantwilson" Tags: "Freebies, Site News, Vector Graphics, iS..."
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Date: Friday, 21 Mar 2014 15:27

A homepage should never be cluttered with a lot of content and images, which is why it is so important for you to make sure that you create additional web pages accordingly. However, there is a thin line between efficient and excessive when it comes to developing these pages, which is why it is so important to consider and remember the following six key points.

Add Pages Only as Necessary

Don’t rush to add an excessive number of pages that are not necessary right now. Quite a few consumers get trapped with dead links and orphan pages simply because the web designer didn’t keep it clean and cleared of empty pages without any content.

To easily build and run your ecommerce website and get the most value from your additional pages, get into the habit of only adding them if and when they are absolutely necessary. Remember, time is of the essence when it comes to keeping your customers interested until they reach your checkout page. You don’t want to lose them simply because you felt the need to add pages that were not, in fact, needed at all.

Remove Pages between Cart and Checkout

If you currently have any web pages in your design that exist between the shopping cart and the finalized checkout page, they need to be removed as soon as possible. One of the last things you want to do is hook your customers into purchasing one of your products or services just to lose them within a seemingly endless maze of extra web pages, thus preventing them from reaching the checkout page.

More than 20 percent of interested customers will abandon their online shopping carts simply because of an overcomplicated checkout process or because they are required to give too much information. A general rule of thumb to obey is to get your customers from the cart to the checkout page in just a few seconds with no exceptions.

Post Testimonials within Other Pages

Instead of creating a webpage specifically for testimonials and reviews posted and published by past customers, find creative ways to strategically place them elsewhere throughout your website. This is especially the case if you have a very limited number of recent reviews and testimonials in the first place.

There is no need to create an entire page just to feature a handful of reviews that can easily be spread out throughout the other pages of your site. For example, you can place some on the product gallery page, others on the shopping cart page and a few of your best directly on your homepage. Doing so will allow you to provide your prospective customers with this honest feedback in an efficient manner.

Avoid Cluttering Pages with Content

Just because there might be a lot of white space left on your web pages after you have completed the design and added your content doesn’t mean that is necessarily a bad thing. Quite a few different reports have confirmed that white spaces within your web design can actually work in your favor. It expedites interaction, getting the message through and stimulating action from your customers. White space also effectively guides your prospective customers through your website in a timely fashion instead of entrapping them with excessive clutter and hidden navigation links. It is also much easier to highlight your call-to-action buttons and links if your website layout is not cluttered with excessive and possibly irrelevant content.

Develop a Detailed Contact Page

Even though you can easily place your contact information on any of your other web pages, it is imperative for this pertinent information to have its own dedicated page. The average consumer is used to finding “Contact Us” pages when shopping on other websites and are, therefore, going to expect the same when shopping on your site.

If you want to build eCommerce website contact pages, make sure that you maintain a high level of transparency when it comes to the type of information revealed. For instance, don’t limit your company’s contact page to a basic email address specifically for support or customer service inquiries. It is best for you to provide your customers with an active telephone number, fax number, email address and any other type of contact information you can provide (social media profiles, Skype IDs, etc.), according to Yahoo Small Business.

Check Each Individual Page Periodically

It is important to keep in mind that your eCommerce website is a very fragile and delicately created virtual system. One wrong code here or a technical glitch there can cause your entire site to shut down or become an endless maze of chaos and confusion for your customers. This is why it is essential for you to check each of your web pages periodically for errors, glitches and areas of improvement. For example, check to make sure each of your hyperlinks is still active and connects to the appropriate page without any complications.

Author: "brantwilson" Tags: "Web Design"
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Date: Tuesday, 18 Feb 2014 05:00

If I haven’t introduced you to LearnWebDevelopment.com’s WordPress Bootcamp yet, I would like to today. Here’s what you get:

- 42 complete WordPress training videos that you can download and watch again and again.

- Two live sessions with our WordPress experts to better understand what you’re learning and ask any questions you might have.

- Personal 1-on-1 support from LearnWebDevelopment.com’s experts so you’ll never be alone as you learn.

- $250 off if you purchase by Thursday, February 20, 2014 at midnight.

If you’d like to quickly become an in-demand WordPress website designer, sign up here now.

Remember, all of LearnWebDevelopment.com’s WordPress Bootcamps come with a risk-free lifetime money-back guarantee. Get the details here.

Author: "brantwilson" Tags: "Wordpress"
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Date: Monday, 17 Feb 2014 03:38

WordPress widgets are very simple to implement once you have created the codes in your theme. Many free WordPress themes will come prepackaged with their own custom widgets. This is also the case for some more advanced plugins, but overall it does require some time coding these to work properly.

featured image creating crafting wordpres widgets custom

Often times developers would rather sit down and build their own solutions for running custom widgets. In this tutorial I want to present a set of great articles related to coding your own custom WordPress widgets. If you are unfamiliar with PHP then this will be a challenge but it is not impossible. The entire WordPress system is based in PHP so it is worth learning some details of the language, assuming you plan to customize many various WP sites in the future.

Getting Started

For those who are unfamiliar with PHP I recommend Googling all the functions you do not understand. It will either take you to the PHP documentation, or the WordPress codex. An older article on Design Shifts covers templates for custom widgets and page templates when developing in WordPress. The template code will setup a location in your theme and allows you to drag widgets anywhere on the page. Here is their sample code:

//
//  Adding more Widget Areas to the Sidebar
//
 register_sidebar( array(
 'name' => __( 'Publications', 'YourChildThemeName' ),
 'id' => 'publications',
 'description' => __( 'A List of Publications', 'YourChildThemeName' ),
 'before_widget' => '<li id="%1$s">',
 'after_widget' => '</li>',
 'before_title' => '<h3>',
 'after_title' => '</h3>',
) );

And while this article is fantastic at giving you the basics, we still do not know how to create a new widget function. Something like the highest rated tags, or the top 5 categories with the most filed posts. I definitely recommend the tutorial post on AmereServant which focuses on the latest trends in WP3+.

You will learn how to create a custom widget template and also import your own codes from an external PHP file. All of these codes will still be kept inside your theme folder, which makes organization a breeze. Some developers will disagree with these methods but I say it all boils down to your personal preferences. WordPress is a fairly bloated CMS and there are no set programming guidelines. You should follow whatever works best for your project and whatever can scale quickly when updating.

New Dashboard Widgets

The admin dashboard is a more advanced level of widget creation. This isn’t to say you should not attempt it, but instead you should keep your eyes open and try to learn the best practices for these solutions. Many developers will not even bother with dashboard widgets because they are too convoluted and many people wouldn’t want them.

wptuts wordpress blog tutorial how to admin dashboard widgets open source

But I feel as WordPress grows faster it will become a very popular solution for web development. I found this excellent post on WP Tuts+ which offers an overview for creating Admin dashboard widgets. All of the codes are free to copy and very easy to follow. It will just require some edits inside your theme’s functions.php file.

Keep in mind that dashboard widgets are no different than typical theme widgets. You can still write any PHP code you wish, and this could be querying something from the database or even pulling content out of a 3rd party API. The possibilities are endless once you understand the standard template. Also check out WP Tuts+ article on building custom WordPress widgets if you are looking for more source code.

Widget Options

One other great feature is writing in options for your widget. This will allow you to create extra input fields right from within the admin panel. Then you can setup a custom widget title, design, practically anything if you know enough PHP. A particular post written by WP Web Hosting goes much further into detail.

register widgets wordpress sidebar open source

Their example is one of the best solutions out there. Granted there are some other articles worth checking out, but their code samples are very easy to understand. You should be able to copy over all the functions and have this widget loading properly(with extra options). Creating WP widgets means flexibility from within the administration panel. This is the main reason you would spend all this extra time hard-coding the effects into your theme functions.

Further Resources

Closing

I hope this article may provide a good starting point for new developers interested in WordPress widgets. As many have said before, this is not hard but it will require some time studying. Building an entire WordPress theme or plugin is certainly a lot more difficult. But all of these unique user-based customizations can be achieved with some time and a lot of patience.

Author: "Jake Rocheleau" Tags: "Wordpress"
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Date: Wednesday, 22 Jan 2014 05:28

There are a number of useful plugins to set up your own custom post types. WordPress has allowed developers to transform the simple blogging platform into a customized CMS engine. Granted there are still a number of restrictions based on the core functionality. However custom post types really open a number of doors for webmasters who are creating content galleries, databases, wikis, and other various types of sites.

In this article I want to share a few resources for managing your own CPTs from scratch. PHP developers have the option of writing custom post types into a function file included into functions.php. But these CPTs are also local only to your own theme. A quick & easy solution is to create them using a plugin which will be activated over the entire site regardless of what theme you are using.

CustomPress

The team at WPMUDev create a number of premium WordPress plugins released at a membership price. CustomPress is one of their projects which allows developers to easily include custom post types for any WordPress installation. The options are practically endless with the ability to create new taxonomies, custom fields, and even change the CPT icon in the admin menu.

wordpress plugin cpt types custompress

It does cost $9 for the initial download, or you could pay $19 for a month’s membership to access all of their plugins. But if you are serious about managing WordPress CPTs then I would have to recommend this plugin first. It is by far one of the best and it doesn’t cost $50 or $100 like some other premium solutions. It has just enough functionality to keep you away from rewriting PHP functions but still generates the codes to edit your theme files.

Custom Post Type UI

Now looking into free solutions, one of the best-quality choices would be Custom Post Type UI. This offers much of the same functionality where you can manage your own CPTs and update the core functionality. Each of the parameters passed into PHP is set as a true/false dropdown where you can even customize the URL rewriting.

alternate ui plugin manager cpt custom posts

The admin menu itself is also fairly easy to manage. For a free plugin this really does offer a world of great services. It is very easy to use and does not require much time practicing in the backend. I would recommend that webmasters try out this plugin as a free solution just to see what is possible. There are some other alternatives, but I have been very impressed with Custom Post Type UI and the menus are blatantly simple once you get the hang of it.

Types

Another really simple plugin you may try out is Types. This can be downloaded for free off the WordPress.org plugins repository. Many of the same features you can find in CPT UI are also found in this plugin, along with the ability to include extra fields in user profile pages. This means you can add profile fields for extra networks such as Google+.

But the main focus of Types is to allow for easily-customized post types in your WordPress website. It is just another solution for turning a simple WP install to a CMS engine capable of managing a heavy database full of content. Users may even interact with these various post types through the use of plugins like Gravity Forms. The options are practically endless and it really comes back to a matter of time and effort.

types open source plugin wordpress cpt management

I think all of these plugins are worth consideration as they offer a great deal of functionality. Webmasters who are already familiar with WordPress should have no trouble getting started. Stability & security are important features and that is why many webmasters choose WordPress in the first place. It is a reasonable PHP/MySQL engine which has a team of developers patching bugs to keep the project running smooth. Webmasters would expect the same of 3rd party content and all of these Custom Post Type plugins are really great solutions.

Closing

I do hope these resources may be of help to some webmasters. Custom Post Types sound a lot trickier than they actually are. Truthfully it does take some knowledge of the backend system to organize your content but these plugins make the process 10x easier. Check out a few of my solutions both free & premium to see what could work best for your WP projects. Additionally if you know of similar resources for generating custom post types please share with us in the comments below.

Author: "Jake Rocheleau" Tags: "Wordpress, cpt, custom post type, plugin..."
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Date: Monday, 06 Jan 2014 05:36

I have always been an advocate of WordPress especially for newer webmasters. The system is easy to use and there are countless tutorials found all over the Internet. But one area that is not covered so well is the management of post ideas in the WP backend. Writers who want to take down notes or brief headlines will need to create a new post and save this as a draft.

The problem is that you may end up changing the title later on down the line, and this would also require editing the permalink too. After a while you may just end up creating a brand new post to use. For this article I would like to share a few ideas on how to manage your own drafts and rough ideas. The WordPress system does offer greater functionality through plugins which can help writers to better organize their thoughts.

Ideas

The first plugin I want to share is called Ideas and was initially released for WP 3.4.2. This will create a new custom post type called Ideas where you can write out headlines, post content, keywords, and other typical forms of metadata. The Ideas plugins is completely free and it does provide a more customized solution.

wordpress plugin open source ideas management drafts

Some people may not like the idea of having a brand new CPT taking up another slot in the menu. This all comes down to personal preference. But I have noticed that it helps users who are not familiar with WordPress instead of searching through the various plugin menus.

What I specifically like about this plugin is the ability to store content in “brainstorming” format. As such you can write ideas in a mess of sentences or lists where others may come back and possibly add more. Then once you are ready to write the post you can start a new draft and fill out everything properly. Take a peek at the plugin screenshots to see more.

Post Ideas+

Another solution in the form of Post Ideas+ adds a link into the Tools menu section. This plugin is much more basic where all of the post ideas are listed in block formatting on the same page. You can quickly edit the post headline, description, keywords, and possible links for referencing.

post ideas plus wordpress plugoin

The plugin itself has not been updated in a while but it can still work great on the latest WordPress 3.5 release. A possible reason for the lack of updates is because there are not many custom features required. And so there really isn’t a whole lot to update other than the UI. Granted I am sure more functionality could be added but for a free plugin I would definitely recommend Post Ideas+ for any commercial WordPress blog.

WP Idea Stream

This plugin behaves a little differently than the other two, so it may not be a great solution for administrators. WP Idea Stream creates a new post type which handles ideas as they are submitted. But this plugin also allows frontend users to submit their own ideas into the custom post type. It is a strange feature but also something that you can’t find elsewhere.

wp ideastream wordpress open source plugin management

The plugin itself also comes with a handy widget for displaying the submission form. Users can look through the most popular ideas of what has been submitted, along with their own posts. It is a much more detailed system but it offers a deeper connection to the audience. Online magazines such as TechCrunch even allow for user-submitted topics and ideas.

Check out the plugin screenshots and you can see there are a number of additional options from the admin menu. There may be a way to turn off the frontend submissions and use this as a backend-only solution. It does provide a full-blown CPT which includes many of its own features. But there are certainly other options to choose from so determine what works best for your website.

Closing

Although these are the best methods I have found, surely other developers will be creating similar ideas over time. It is worthwhile to check the WordPress plugins directory every so often and see if anything new has been released. But you only need one solution to fix the problem and I do hope this article may help with that.

Author: "Jake Rocheleau" Tags: "Wordpress, plugins, wordpress"
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Date: Monday, 30 Dec 2013 15:29

Just a quick reminder: Registration on LearnWebDevelopment.com’s WordPress Bootcamp is ending this week – January 2, 2014 at midnight.

If you want to learn WordPress – and create your first website in just a few days – this is the bootcamp for you! You’ll learn how to build a fully-functioning website using WordPress faster than ever before. Grab your seat today.

And, if you secure your seat by Thursday at midnight, you won’t have to wait for this unique training. Go here now to see what you’ll learn and what others are saying about LearnWebDevelopment.com’s training.

Did we mention that your success is guaranteed in this bootcamp?

LearnWebDevelopment.com guarantees if you keep up with the assignments, do the weekly homework lessons, and ask questions when you have them, you’ll become a successful web designer by the time the Bootcamp is over. If you don’t, they’ll refund every penny you paid. Learn more here.

Author: "brantwilson" Tags: "Wordpress"
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Date: Tuesday, 24 Dec 2013 11:55

Inky Deals is one of the leading deals websites in the design community, with an extended family of more than 300,000 design enthusiasts. It’s the place to go if you want to buy premium resources at unbeatable prices, whether you’re a graphic or web designer, developer, or business owner looking to improve yourself and your work.

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They’re the only deals website who offer a 200% money back guarantee on every product. This means that if you’re not happy with it, you get your money back and you also get to keep the product.

471 Premium Design Resources for Free

Because Inky (the lovable little ink blob and mascot of Inky Deals) and his team enjoy giving back to the community, they’ve created a huge free web design bundle: 471 Premium Design Resources for Free value $519, which you can find exclusively on Inky Deals.

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Partners

It contains textures, UI kits, HTML, PSD & WordPress templates, patterns, fonts, courses and much more. Here are their partners who helped them put this great bundle together:

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Resources

This bundle has got dozens of good reviews, hundreds of shares and thousands of fans from all over the world. Let’s see what you get by downloading this full pack of resources:

45 OpenType Fonts from 128Bit Technologies

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Pixel Perfect Social Media Icons from Design TNT

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Dead Stocker PSD Website Template from DesignModo

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Subtle Patterns Set from Design TNT

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This is just a small part of the design goodies you get by downloading this free bundle. Check out the entire 471 Premium Design Resources for Free!

Author: "Cristina Simionescu" Tags: "Freebies, Resources, free, freebie, reso..."
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Date: Friday, 13 Dec 2013 21:50

We all know there two ways to make a website: with a DIY website building tool that even grandma could learn to work with, or take it to the professional level you know well, and write code. The second one might involve more effort from your part as a designer – you may also have to team up with a developer – but it will produce the best results. Hence, 74% of websites are still being created in that reliable but rather complicated manner with more than 70% of these budgets being allocated to the developer and not the designer.

1

Webydo is changing everything, because from a designer’s point of view, working solo to create professional websites would be a dream-come-true. This platform doesn’t mess with your high standards, quite the contrary: it’s like ‘Photoshop’ website design and publication. And we’re all very familiar with the advanced features from Photoshop, aren’t we? Webydo doesn’t fall short of that same proficiency and professional services.

This is your ticket to independence, and it’s vouched for by 30K designers already. All of them have found the means to set their prolific imagination loose and design beautiful websites, while the platform converts everything into responsive HTML code that renders an unfailing adaptability to cross-device displays.

You can create awesome websites as a free user, or with a Premium account – either way, you get access to all features. If you choose to embark on the free experience, the website will be published as a Webydo sub-domain, and you get unlimited bandwidth, 1 GB storage, and 15 pages. Premium, on the other hand, involves 2 GB of storage, unlimited pages and bandwidth, and the chance to publish the website on your own domain.

The price of Premium is just $7.9/month if billed annually, and $9.9/month if billed biannually. Readers get a special treat: 69% discount to the Premium plan for the next ten days using the coupon code:  69%WebydoColorBurnedVIP.

 

Let’s Get It Started

Design a website from any of Webydo’s three starting points, and choose the one which most accommodates your intentions: do you have plenty of time to spend, enough inspiration to begin with, or is the design right set in your mind and all it needs is space for expression? You’ll be the judge of that.

2

a)      Blank Canvas – Start from scratch and unleash you creative potential in full with the help of some very accomplished designer features. This is the perfect way to go if you know exactly what you want. You can also take your pick out of Webydo’s list of free web fonts when the time comes.

3

b)      Layout – Check out the templates that worked for many other designers so far, pick one out the multitude of exquisite layouts, and start to alter it to fit your particular needs. Feel free to add complex forms and text captions to images, as well as set elements’ opacity.

4

c)      Designs – Webydo presents you with an extended collection of brilliant designs that were used in other websites, so that you can get the extra inspiration for your project. Choose one, and then drag-and-drop your menus, shapes, videos, widgets for online stores, and images.

5

Apart from the splendid design process, you need to know about CMS and B2B. The CMS allows designers to designate some areas on the website where its owner can edit content independently. Furthermore, users can send invoices straight from their dashboards as part of the “Bill your client” feature, and also replace Webydo’s logo from the dashboard, CMS, client login screen, and bill, via “Build your brand”.

6

Go ahead and propose whatever recommendations you may have on the Participate page, or back up the existing ones that you’d like to see happen. Again, remember that a discount code now enables 69% off the first year of a Premium subscription, and that code is 69%WebydoColorBurnedVIP. Grab it and start creating freely today!

 

Author: "Iulian" Tags: "Reviews"
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Date: Wednesday, 11 Dec 2013 14:49

You’ve probably heard me mention the folks at LearnWebDevelopment.com in past blog posts. They’ve let me know that they’re going to be hosting a free live online training class, and I wanted to give you all the details.

The class is titled The Five Stages of a Web Design Business, and it will cover a lot of information that can help you in your web design business.

Here’s the outline for the class:

  • The five stages of a web design business
  • How to determine which stage your business is in, and how you can quickly progress to the next stage and increase your income
  • Common challenges web design businesses face in each stage
  • Which technical and business skills you need to run a successful web design business
  • How to increase the value of each of your clients
  • How to earn a full-time income working part-time
  • Why 20% of your clients will generate 80% of your income, and how to stop wasting your time with the unprofitable 80%.

This class will be presented on Thursday, December 12, at 12:00 pm CST. After the information is presented, there will be a live Q&A session.

I encourage you all to take advantage of this opportunity. It’s free, and I think it could really help you move forward in your business.

Click here to register for this unique business opportunity.

Author: "brantwilson" Tags: "Freelance"
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Date: Tuesday, 03 Dec 2013 20:12

If I haven’t introduced you to LearnWebDevelopment.com’s WordPress Bootcamp yet, I would like to today. Here’s what you get:

- 42 complete WordPress training videos that you can download and watch again and again.

- Two live sessions with our WordPress experts to better understand what you’re learning and ask any questions you might have.

- Personal 1-on-1 support from LearnWebDevelopment.com’s experts so you’ll never be alone as you learn.

- $200 off if you purchase by Thursday, December 5th, 2013 at midnight.

If you’d like to quickly become an in-demand WordPress website designer, sign up here now.

Remember, all of LearnWebDevelopment.com’s WordPress Bootcamps come with a risk-free lifetime money-back guarantee. Get the details here.

Author: "brantwilson" Tags: "Freelance, Wordpress"
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Date: Thursday, 28 Nov 2013 00:54

LearnWebDevelopment.com is celebrating their 10th anniversary of training Successful Web Designers! The secret to their success is constant research of the best training for their students. Take a second and let us show you why we love WordPress and think it’s the best platform for you.

Also, the anniversary celebration is still going on and they are giving away party gifts each day! Get in on the action here.

Author: "brantwilson" Tags: "Wordpress"
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Date: Tuesday, 26 Nov 2013 05:18

Not long ago, the idea of building a website with the help of a software that would not need code was not something plausible. Today, not only this idea is possible, but we have a lot of options that keep improving day by day. You can now make your own website for free without ever having to learn how to code. No HTML, CSS or PHP – basically, anyone can be a designer now – even kids. These web builders work just like image editors; you just drag and drop and play with colors. Now it takes just a few minutes to make a website, and whether you’re a photographer, designer or cook, you can give a professional virtual identity to your craft.

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So while I was going though all these options I discovered IM creator. What made me stop and test it is that it’s so simple and intuitive, yet it offers such professional features. IM Creator has a large number of sophisticated templates that are suitable for basically anything – from cuisine to photography to acting. If you’re hard to please, you can create your own template with your own images.

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After you’ve covered that, you can move on to adding elements to your website. There’s this top menu on the dashboard that has anything you need: images, videos, links, social media, etc. Everything you add will be incorporated in your website in real time. If you miss the old way though, you can code away with a frame element they offer.

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The best part about it is that you can use it for free, without registering. The website seemed pretty intuitive, but if you have any problems, you can either read the FAQ section and the PDF manual, watch the video tour or ask the web designers in the support team.

You will be saving a lot of money with this free web builder. They also offer hosting services, and no, they are not trying to rip you off there to compensate for the gratuity part. There is a free, very limited hosting option you can benefit from, and the advanced versions start from $5.95 per month.

It literally takes a few minutes to build a website with IM Creator. Imagine how much money you’re going to save with that and how good it will feel to finally be able to express your own creative ideas without the impediment of programming.

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Author: "Iulian" Tags: "Design News"
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Date: Wednesday, 20 Nov 2013 15:22

You know I always like to brag on my friends… LearnWebDevelopment.com is celebrating their 10th Anniversary of training Successful Web Designers. They’ll train you on WordPress and marketing your business. They also offer support so you’re never alone in building your web design business.

Everyone is invited to the celebration. To make the party even more exciting they’re giving away free stuff each day! Check it out here.

Author: "brantwilson" Tags: "Freelance"
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Date: Wednesday, 13 Nov 2013 05:33

As a reader of this blog, you’ve probably seen some of my posts about the guys over at LearnWebDevelopment.com, and their Successful Web Designer program. I’m sure you’ve probably thought about starting your own web design business, and in fact, you may have already started one. If you’ve been hesitant to start, or if you’re not getting the results you’d like, you’re not alone. Many people are afraid that it will take a long time to start making money. Others fear that they will encounter roadblocks, and not know where to turn for help.

But what if there were a way to avoid these problems, and get right to building a successful business and making money? What if you could learn how to keep your costs low, begin earning income in a month or less, and have expert one-on-one help whenever you need it?

Well, I have good news. LearnWebDevelopment.com has a program that will help you achieve just that. And this company is one of the largest players in the web design training industry, having trained more than 30,000 students to build successful businesses over the past 10 years.

By taking advantage of their Successful Web Designer QuickStart program, in just four weeks you can:

Get your first client (willing to pay real money)
Build an awesome website for them (even including e-commerce if you want)
Charge $1,000 (or more).

Everything is included: How to find high paying clients, how to build websites quickly and efficiently, how to generate leads, and much more.

And their support is second to none. You’ll work with a Member Ambassador, who will customize the program to match your specific goals. You will have one-on-one help whenever you need it. Whether you have a question about how to work with clients, how to write effective copy, how to code your website, or how to drive traffic, you’ll get an answer from an expert in that field. No more endless hours searching the Internet for answers.

But this is a limited time offer, and they’re closing the doors this Thursday at midnight. To secure your spot, go here and become a member. Don’t miss out on this chance to build a business that will allow you to achieve your goals and live your dreams.

Don’t put off your opportunity to build the web design business you’ve always envisioned. Whether you’d like to build a full-time business, or just earn some extra money on the side; whether you haven’t started your business yet, or already have a business that’s not getting the results you want, you can get the one-on-one assistance you need right here.

Author: "brantwilson" Tags: "Freelance, Resources"
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Date: Sunday, 10 Nov 2013 22:34

After reading a number of posts on Hacker News which seem to emphasize the lack of usefulness in WordPress as a startup foundation, I wanted to write a piece dedicated to launching projects on this platform. I have to agree that when you are looking for something very customized it will be easier to write your own code from scratch. However not every developer wants to do this, nor has the time for this.

wordpress 10th anniversary tokyo japan photograph 2013

It may be smarter and quicker to launch a WordPress website and then customize the backend features yourself. Generally this will take more time as you work to mimic the code affects that you desire. But it also doesn’t take as much time as you would think. I want to present a few ideas towards why you may consider launching a slew of projects under WordPress CMS. The open source PHP/MySQL platform has been around for years and it is only getting better as time goes on.

Handling Security

Possibly the most important aspect of your project launch is security. There are many open source projects out there which use database content and other backend scripts. The key point you should recognize is how WordPress actively pushes for user administration and security in the PHP code. Hackers are often working to exploit loopholes in the codebase, yet they do not last very long.

The WordPress development team is dedicated to keeping this project safe and reliable over the long haul. And I would rather launch a project on WordPress which could idle securely online for 10+ years, rather than use another obscure(or custom) CMS which could get attacked and have the database wiped clean 1 or 2 years down the road.

silver macbook apple screenshot wordpress website

With me security is the #1 most important characteristic of a CMS. If you are going to put in all this time coding a theme, adding content, and marketing your posts… well it should be worth something for all your effort. And what’s the site worth if it gets taken offline? Also many of the WordPress plugins are frequently updated to match the latest WP release version.

Community Support

Another big obstacle when learning a CMS is to understand the common settings, code snippets, function calls, etc. But thankfully WordPress has been around long enough to build up one tremendous community of dedicated users. Notably the WordPress StackExchange is full of amazing questions from developers & WP users who are familiar with the backend.

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You could search in Google based on almost any issue and probably find helpful discussion threads. Also there are lots of blogs which publish WordPress-related content online. I have been shocked at how easy it is to find answers for some of the most obscure questions. But this is all made possible from years of other people working to solve these problems.

Backend Development

One thing about WordPress is the very basic theming system offers a lot of great support. I fell in love with the plugin system as well, since WordPress outlines the clear objectives for each plugin/theme and what should be required. There are also tons of similar tutorials written about these topics. So the process of customizing your own WP website through the backend has become an extremely simple task.

Developers have the ability to include user voting, user profiles, content submission, and lots of obscure pieces of functionality. Having the knowledge of PHP development can make building a WordPress project 10x easier. Since you know exactly where to get started and how to push forward it will save you loads of time compared to writing your own project from scratch.

Also the theme support for a notable functions.php file allows developers to split up their core functions into various file names. This way you can have theme-settings.php and voting-functions.php which could all be included into the same functions.php file. This splits up much of your included code, plus it will limit all this functionality to only run within a single theme on your site. WordPress plugins and themes can be verbose at times. However they just plain work – and that’s all you need to get a project or business running online.

Drawn Towards Familiarity

What keeps people coming back to the same CMS is the familiarity with their own backend. WordPress has been familiar to developers for over 10 years, and it is not slowing down anytime soon. I think the familiarity is what makes WordPress such a great project management tool for almost any new website launch.

automattic headquarters logo building wordpress

If developers are more comfortable building on Rails or .NET then there are definitely alternatives. It may not be worthwhile to learn PHP just so you can get into coding WordPress development. But it is worth mentioning the inherent value to be found in PHP development, especially for people who are just getting started. WordPress provides the core from which you can build your own functions & classes.

Being overly familiar with something can lead to stagnation if you aren’t careful. I can admit that sticking to projects which you are familiar with can slow progress. Yet when launching a new website or web application, speed can often be a large factor. Ultimately it is your own personal choice and everybody will have a different perspective. My argument is that WordPress can provide an amazingly stable core which is perfect for rapidly prototyping & deploying new Internet ventures.

Final Thoughts

I have personally worked with a number of other CMS engines which are written over PHP. I do consider WordPress to be one of the safest and easiest solutions to manage. It is also very user friendly to developers who have never worked on top of a WordPress platform before. And it’s these facts coupled with the thousands of articles found all over the Internet which makes getting started in WordPress super easy. It certainly cannot be the solution for everything. But I have a strong belief that we will see WordPress greatly expand over the years to come.

Author: "Jake Rocheleau" Tags: "Wordpress, open source, opinion, web des..."
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Date: Wednesday, 30 Oct 2013 14:22

Every week you can find a new collection of free WordPress themes released on the main website. Developers from all over the world like to contribute their works because it helps to grow the community, and it draws even more attention to the popular WordPress CMS. With so many newly-released themes it can be difficult keeping track of the most interesting ones.

I have put together this solid collection of the latest awesome free WordPress themes over 2013. The various design styles often include responsive layouts, fixed navigation, and other trendy website interface features. With so many releases and updates the information can be overwhelming. Check out a few of my examples and see if you can find any themes worth adding into your own WP projects.

Expound

expound theme wordpress open source

Fiore

vintage orange wordpress free open source theme

Lovebirds

simple blog theme lovebirds cute vector icon

Color Palette

blue simple color palette wordpress open source theme

Emphaino

images gallery exhibition wordpress theme open source

Superhero

superhero wordpress big image wordpress theme

Stitch

open source wordpress theme stitch screenshot

Magazino

bright green wordpress open source theme magazino

Visual

smartgrid visual wordpress theme design open source

Satu

open source wordpress theme portfolio blog column

It’s a Girl

theme blog girly open source wordpress

iMag

blue imag magazine wordpress theme open source

Dine With Me

dining wordpress theme restaurant brown coffee

Current

flat wordpress current theme open source

CreativeMag

blue design creativemag magazine wordpress blog theme

Untitled

bold header title untitled blog theme wordpress

Monster

dark green wordpress monster theme open source

SmartAdapt

adapt responsive wordpress header design template

Wordsmith

grey brown simple wordsmith theme design

Contango

contango wordpress blog design theme basic free

Infosource

infosource dark simple blog theme website layout

Pyramid

dark simple website pyramid design theme

AlbinoMouse

red albino mouse blog theme design free

Appliance

appliance wordpress minimalist theme design

Something Fishy

something fishy blue website theme wordpress

Minimalize

wordpress minimalize open source theme design

Discussion

basic discussion theme blog complex design wordpress

Author: "Jake Rocheleau" Tags: "Wordpress, open source, themes"
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Date: Wednesday, 16 Oct 2013 14:15

WordPress is an excellent system for managing a blog or website online. The security is just one aspect of the whole package you get with this CMS. However many developers and webmasters alike do not consider backing up new changes and keeping a local copy saved just in case of an emergency. It can become a very stressful situation when you are backing up tremendously large WordPress databases.

database servers technology computers stack interface

I want to present a few methods for keeping a local copy of large databases and WordPress websites. It will take some time and effort, but it is all worthwhile if you can manage to practice and keep yourself up-to-date. Restoring a WordPress website is almost easier than the backup process, and it helps if you can backup the entirety of your website from scratch. Then you will have everything copied locally which is a big sigh of relief to those who are concerned about data backups.

Custom Manual Backup

Nothing can beat the security of a manual WordPress backup. This is generally done in two parts where first you download a zipped/gzipped copy of your MySQL database from the server backend. Then you would FTP down a copy of all the files and folders in your website’s public_html. Check out this WP backup guide published on their website.

The process of restoring your website is easier when you have a complete backup to begin with. You would first need to create a new database on the new server and import all your settings as a zipped/gzipped SQL file. Then you should edit the wp-config.php file and update your database settings so it all connects. Then after FTPing your files up onto the new server, everything should run properly and work just like before.

manual wordpress database storage backup photograph

This process only comes with a downside of potentially renaming URLs in your relative install location. I personally have never dealt with this issue, even using sub-domains and hosting on existing accounts. The manual backup process will grant you full access to the most important data and still allows for a mirror image copy of the site to be reinstalled online.

UpdraftPlus Backup

Moving into the realm of WP plugins, UpdraftPlus Backup is a name I have seen mentioned plenty of times. It is free open source and updated to run properly with the latest WordPress 3.6 release. Note that there is a premium UpdraftPlus which you can purchase for $55 USD. It provides cloud backups along with local copies where you can download the database and the actual website files together.

Some of the supported cloud hosting options include Amazon S3, Dropbox, Google Drive, even email or SFTP(with add-ons). The number of solutions is amazing for just a small plugin. And you can even restore your website without the plugin by uploading the database and original website files onto your new hosting platform.

updraft plus wordpress backup data plugin wp-admin panel

The free version of this plugin works perfectly for what you might expect. I have not been using this on any particular projects, although you can always try it out and see how it works. The pro version is certainly worth the money if you like what can be done using the free alternative. But very few similar options will compare with UpdraftPlus.

BackWPup

Another common plugin is BackWPup which allows for scheduled database backups of your WordPress website. This is another free and open source plugin for WordPress users. And similarly this BackWPup plugin does have another pro version which costs $75 for a standard license, limited onto two domains. This is a bit more pricey than other alternatives and it will mostly cater to users who are already familiar with the system.

backwpup wordpress backup plugin webpage repository

The additional pro features are really not needed for everybody. They include API keys for various cloud hosting solutions like Google Drive and Dropbox. Plus there are some alternative wizards for users to customize the time of each scheduled backup. I think the free version is more than enough to keep your site backed up and running securely.

Simple Backup

The final backup plugin I want to mention is called Simple Backup. Like the others it has a free open source version available from the WordPress repository. And it also has a pro version called Simple Backup Ultra which was originally $50 USD, but as of writing this article it is on sale for $20. You will find many of the same features in the backend, yet the interface design is a whole lot simpler.

simple backup wordpress plugin open source backend admin panel

Hence the name Simple Backup – an easy solution for people who are not yet familiar with WordPress backups. This plugin is certainly for webmasters who are not comfortable backing up their own database manually. And Thankfully this plugin uses the most common standards for backup files.

This makes the process of restoring your WordPress website a lot easier because the files may be recognized by a wide assortment of Operating Systems. Simple Backup is my go-to choice for handling concise, clean backups without needing to manage the process via cPanel. You still need to FTP down a copy to store locally, but the entire backup and compression process is handled automatically through PHP.

Related Articles

Closing

There are so many alternative plugins and methods which just don’t encapsulate the feelings of manual backups. Some hosting providers are nice enough to keep backups for you in the event of hard drive failure. But what if a majority of their drives fail, and your backups are lost too? This is when it comes in handy to keep a local secure database copy of your WordPress website.

I hope this guide may be of help to developers who have been in question about WordPress backups. It can take a long time – anywhere from 30-90 minutes depending on the size of your website. Moving down files via FTP can be one of the longest tasks. Yet most of it is automated and should not present a major problem. If you have similar experience or questions on WordPress backups, feel free to share with us in the discussion area below.

Author: "Jake Rocheleau" Tags: "Wordpress, backup, data, mysql, php, plu..."
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Date: Monday, 05 Aug 2013 14:13

WordPress Bootcamp: Last Call Early Bird

If I haven’t introduced you to LearnWebDevelopment.com’s WordPress Bootcamp yet, I would like to today. Here’s what you get:

- 42 complete WordPress training videos that you can download and watch again and again.

- Two live sessions with our WordPress experts to better understand what you’re learning and ask any questions you might have.

- Personal 1-on-1 support from LearnWebDevelopment.com’s experts so you’ll never be alone as you learn.

- $200 off if you purchase by Thursday, August 8, 2013 at midnight.

If you’d like to quickly become an in-demand WordPress website designer, sign up here now.

Remember, all of LearnWebDevelopment.com’s WordPress Bootcamps come with a risk-free lifetime money-back guarantee. Get the details here.

Author: "brantwilson" Tags: "Wordpress"
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Date: Thursday, 18 Jul 2013 02:41

When you check around Google you can find a large number of marketing services. Many of these products have been online for a long time. And you can surely count on the trustworthiness of a single product to get your marketing plan where it needs to be. However this can take a lot of time and effort, which not everybody has in spades.

Therefore I want to present some of the best resources for improving your website marketing. This will take a bit of finesse, however I think anybody can achieve positive results over enough time. You will need to be secure in your website’s branding and product design. But if you are confident with the product then other marketing resources will naturally fall into place.

Google Webmaster Tools

Almost everyone is familiar with Google Webmaster Tools. It is an incredible dashboard solution for checking analytics and traffic from your websites. The installation process is fairly straightforward and does not require a whole bunch of custom edits to your site. The benefits are tremendous when crafting your own marketing plan.

google webmaster tools interface button webdesign

By analyzing the data of search queries and popular backlinks, you can determine which pages on your site garner the most attention. Then it is worthwhile to plan a marketing segment around your most popular topics. You could purchase AdWords advertising, or even use your own internal advertisers to manage offbeat websites.

Physical Print Work

Numerous marketing ploys follow the beat of printing physical paper materials for marketing. These could be flyers, brochures, calendars, day planners, really anything which could promote your brand. Getting these out to your potential users can be tough. However you may cut down on this process by working with a reliable provider of online print material.

I would recommend 24 Hour Print as a reliable handler for marketing. They can ship your products right to your home or company address within 24 hours of placing the order. It is a wonderful system because you can upload graphics right into their online editor, creating the ideas for your products first. Then place these graphical components anywhere on the page to reorganize the default templates.

24hourprint printing services products internet online

Print work is a medium which has still encapsulated plenty of marketers. You can drum up attention by offering free planners and other useful items, which could be sent out almost immediately after the order is placed. Rush printing services with overnight prints are not always very common. And I think 24 Hour Print is a rare service which really does provide great marketing potential for any company.

Cloud-Based Presentations

The number of cloud tools has been growing rapidly over the past couple years. More developers are interested to build out their projects online without delay. I know one of my favorite services in the cloud is SlideShare for online presentations.

You can easily create a PowerPoint-style slideshow with text, images, and other digital media. This is an excellent way to present your branding and also offer some helpful tips to your readers. SlideShare is completely free to join with options to upgrade for a pro account.

slideshare startup slideshow homepage webapp internet marketing

You should read up on their features to see more of what I am talking about. It is a fantastic website service with a beautiful product. Both public and private sharing is available on pro accounts, along with video uploads and more leveraged disk space. For anyone who needs a presentation marketing tool I would definitely recommend SlideShare.

Closing

To manage your own marketing plan requires a bit of planning and a lot of good ideas. You will want to have a list of services which you may reference during your planning stage. Then it becomes a whole lot easier as you try out new ideas down the road. I think it is worth mentioning these initial resources to get people started. However you should go out into Google and do your own research to determine ideas which could work best for your website.

Author: "Jake Rocheleau" Tags: "Resources, branding, design, internet, m..."
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