3 reasons managed WordPress hosting is perfect for your business
Managed WordPress hosting, shared hosting, dedicated hosting…the list of hosting options goes on and on. And if you’re brand new to the hosting sphere, it can be a little overwhelming at first. After all, you’ll want to know that your site will be safe and secure so hackers can’t mess things up. You’ll want the performance to be stable and speedy so users can access your content quickly and reliably. And you’ll want to know that you’re paying for a quality service with a knowledgeable support team that’s always ready to help when you need it.
So, who do you trust with your WordPress site? My pick is a managed WordPress host, and I’ve got three good reasons why:
1. All they do is WordPress As you’re researching which host to trust with your beautiful site, you’ll notice there are quite a few who seem to do it all. While that might look impressive at first glance, it’s actually a bit of a disadvantage. With a managed WordPress host like Flywheel, they only host WordPress sites – meani..
12 creative ideas to escape designer’s block
Some days are brilliant and oh so inspired. Other days, it’s like creativity could hit you over the head and you still can’t seem to come up with any good ideas. Even though creative blocks are a normal occurrence, it can be extremely frustrating for designers, developers, and any type of creative to run into.
You’re not alone though; even the most imaginative people have experienced a block and had to rediscover how to be creative. To help your wheels start turning, I’ve made a list of activities for you to try when you’re feeling creatively-deprived.
1. Redesign yourself What makes you, well, you? Make a list of all your attributes. And then make them into something else. For example, try drawing yourself as a sandwich – maybe your creativity is hummus and your optimism is shredded turkey. Or imagine yourself as a painting – what colors, mediums, and techniques would you use?
No matter what activity you choose (and regardless of how ridiculous it might become) ask yourself “Why” e..
How to combine Flexbox and CSS grids for efficient layouts
In the past, CSS float properties were one of the main methods for arranging elements on a website. And if you’ve ever worked that way, you know that it’s not always ideal for complex layouts. Luckily in the modern era of web design, aligning elements has become much more streamlined thanks to Flexbox and CSS grids.
When Flexbox came along, it made alignment much easier and has since been widely adopted. CSS Grid Layouts have also created a lot of excitement in the web design community. Awhile back, we took a look at how to create a basic CSS Grid Layout. Although it is not widely adopted, browsers are starting to adopt support for it. When it is fully supported, this will have a great impact on designs. Browser support is increasing all the time; be sure to check out Can I Use for the most up to date information.
Now you may be wondering what’s next; after all, Flexbox and CSS Grid Layouts seem to accomplish similar results. It’s not a Flexbox versus Grid debate, however, but more o..
9 tips for staying organized and successfully managing a creative project
Anybody who works in a creative industry knows only too well that creativity flourishes on flexibility. Creative teams blossom when they have the freedom to play, experiment, and explore new ideas. To push boundaries and test the limits.
This can cause a headache for project managers of creative teams, whose job it is to keep a project on schedule and to budget. So how can you maintain the structure and organization of a creative project without smothering the creativity and productivity of your team?
Here are nine tips for successfully managing a creative project.
1. Draw up a project plan Planning is an integral element of any project, so resist the urge to dive right in as soon as you receive a new brief. By correctly managing the planning and research stage, you’ll be much better equipped to keep the project on schedule, to budget, and produce your best work for the client.
Draw up a plan in consultation with your client, determining the details during your initial meetings, ..
How to do a basic accessibility audit
So you’ve been learning a lot about accessibility lately, but now you want to check your site yourself and see where you need to improve. How do you go about doing that? It’s time for an accessibility audit! In this tutorial, I’ll show you the ropes on a basic accessibility audit that will get you on the road to having a more accessible site.
As you’ll recall from my overview series, an accessible website is perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust. Testing to make sure your site hits all four pillars of accessibility does not involve coding, so don’t worry. We may install a Chrome extension or two, but you’ll thank me later. Let’s get started!
NOTE: This tutorial assumes you know how to use the Chrome Inspector, or whichever browser’s basic developer tools are provided.
Start with perceivable because if your site can’t be perceived by the user, they don’t know it exists. Here we will focus on three things: text alternatives, captions, and color.
For every im..
How to use content to promote your design business
When you’re running a web design business, one of the many hats you need to wear as CEO is that of Chief Marketing Officer. And if you’re going to be a CMO worth your salt, you need to get knowledgeable about a little thing we call content marketing.
Content marketing, as defined (very nicely) by the Content Marketing Institute, is the “strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”
Traditional marketing (you know, TV commercials and billboards and stuff) are still very much a part of our world, but content marketing truly is the future of marketing — and you, as a web designer, need to have a finger on that pulse.
So what is “content,” anyway?
Generally speaking, “content” refers to the stuff you give away on your website. The majority of content these days is blog posts, but it’s certainly not limited to that. The..
10 ways to stay positive as a creative professional
Let’s face it — working in the creative industry is challenging. Whether you run a freelance business or work for an agency, there are a lot of non-creative things to keep track of (budgets, processes, client relationships) while also trying to stay newly inspired and constantly creative. And when you’re juggling so many different types of tasks while also trying to keep a nagging client happy, cross off your to-do list, and pay the bills this month, it’s extremely difficult to keep a good attitude.
You do what you do because you love it! But just like everyone else, the stress can be overwhelming at times. Even the best optimists have trouble being positive all the time (and that’s okay!). In order to help you combat the negatives and focus on the positives as a creative professional, I’ve compiled some tips that just might do the trick!
1. Be thankful Thankfulness goes a long way. Being appreciative of what you have, especially your own gifts and talents, is important. Taking a st..Read More
6 tips for establishing competitive pricing
When you’re in the web design business — whether it’s for yourself or as an agency — competitive pricing is a critical element of your success.
Yes, your skills matter. Yes, your portfolio matters. Yes, your ability to “sell” matters. But if your prices aren’t where they should be, it won’t matter one iota how great the rest of your skill set is.
Price too low and you’re not going to be profitable enough to stay in business because you’ll run yourself into the ground. Price too high and no one will hire you, which will also bring about the end of your business’s natural life.
So what’s the sweet spot for pricing your web design services, and how do you find it? Let’s take a look at some solid pricing tips for you:
1. Fixed vs. hourly: which one is right? There’s not always a good answer to the question of pricing by the hour or pricing by the package. That said, I’m a big fan of package pricing with an a la carte option for additional hourly work beyond the scope of the project.
12 side business ideas to help increase your income
If you’re a web or graphic designer, you know how fickle your job is, especially if you work as a freelancer. This month you could be drowning from work opportunities, just trying to figure out which projects to accept. But next month, you may have to deal with absolute silence, begging for work to come along.
There’s a solution to this uncertainty: find a side business to ensure you earn cash on a regular basis. Even if you have a regular nine-to-five job, a side business or a part-time gig means you’ll have extra money for traveling, shopping, or saving an emergency fund. It’s also an excellent way to break out from the monotonous cycle of daily work.
A lot of designers who want to try a side business usually get stuck on one thing: finding the right gig to fit their skill and schedule. That seemingly elusive “idea” makes them feel like there’s a barrier stopping them from earning extra money. The good news is that you have the digital world on your side. If you have a computer or ..
How to make animated screenshots of design work for your portfolio
After your latest web design is done and you’re ready to add the project to your portfolio, it’s time to show it off. Your website visitors (and prospective clients!) will want to see the awesome website or application in action. Great imagery is key, and in the digital space, there will be times when you want to illustrate project functionality. Showing screenshots in an animated format may be the perfect solution.
I’m sure you’ve seen the cool, simple animated screenshots that show how aps or websites work. This gives the user a better idea of how certain tasks are performed while also showing what features are available. Video is certainly an option, and definitely has an important place on the web. In-depth product videos or case studies definitely benefit from a video format. A simpler, more file-size conscious choice may be what you’re looking for, however, such as an animated GIF.
Screenshot setup for GIFs Whether you say “GIF” or “JIF,” it’s important to remember that GIFs ca..