Imagination is our power

It’s 2013 and Happy New Year!

It’s a time for partying and for celebration but also a great time for some reflection about our jobs and careers.

Here’s a great article (“The Start-Up of You”) that summarizes the new job market paradigm in 2013 and beyond.
Thomas L. Friedman – Pulitzer Prize winner – wrote a great article in the New York Times Opinion pages a little while back that I still remember for its insightfulness.

Here’s the heart of the article as he quotes Reid Hoffman, one of the Co-Founders of LinkedIn.

“The old paradigm of climb up a stable career ladder is dead and gone,”

“No career is a sure thing anymore. The uncertain, rapidly changing conditions in which entrepreneurs start companies is what it’s now like for all of us fashioning a career. Therefore you should approach career strategy the same way an entrepreneur approaches starting a business.”

“To begin with, Hoffman says, that means ditching a grand life plan. Entrepreneurs don’t write a 100-page business plan and execute it one time; they’re always experimenting and adapting based on what they learn.”

“ Hoffman adds: “You can’t just say, ‘I have a college degree, I have a right to a job, now someone else should figure out how to hire and train me.’ ” You have to know which industries are working and what is happening inside them and then “find a way to add value in a way no one else can. For entrepreneurs it’s differentiate or die — that now goes for all of us.””

It’s a hopeful New Year’s message for those of us that can learn to adapt and change. If you think you can’t then your first job would be to expand your horizons and work on changing your mindset.

Please also check out also these great resources:

1) The World is Changing: Are You Ready to Compete?
This white paper provides an overview of the issues and requirements needed to support the foundation for business change. Learn how new foundation is required for companies to support customer expectations for the next decade.

2) How Financial Organizations Can Succeed in Making Critical Improvements
The financial services industry has always been on the front lines of raging battle to understand, manage and process paper documents. Overwhelmed by paper documents, and more, learn how organizations can make improvement to paper-flow and more.

3) Effective, flexible leadership in the 21st century
This paper provides some techniques for developing a culture that fosters innovation and encourages 21st century leadership methods and mindsets.

4) Use Learning to Achieve a Business Advantage Over Your Competition
Research shows that organizations with a strong learning culture outperform their peers in terms of innovation, productivity, quality, and market leadership. If organizations can use learning to achieve business advantage, who should they turn to?

All throughout 2012 there has been an enormous surge in new web design trends. Some of you may remember my earlier post on web design trends going into 2012. Now we can see many of these ideas have come to fruition, and even adopted further increasing levels of novelty. In this article I would like to delve into 20 more design trends for the new 2013 year.

The design influence is merely a reflection of our culture and expectations for user interfaces. Ideally these trends represent favorable ideas in the web design community. However designers will always have their own opinions when it comes to design terms, so take these ideas with a grain of salt.

If you are interested, keep your eyes peeled for examples of these trends and techniques.

1. Responsive Layouts

This topic was my first point in the 2012 trend article, however I feel that responsive web design has been changing to ultimately come to a threshold where layouts are designed to match all forms of digital media. The idea is to support all devices from laptops, desktops, smartphones, tablets, and anything released in the future.

You could think of this trend more like a uniform web design where the goal is to have a single set of codes which run perfectly on all environments. Responsive websites are often thought to cater towards mobile browsers, but that isn’t the sole purpose.

You can have a responsive website which also adds brilliant illustrations and graphics into the layout when the browser window is larger.

The big idea here is to think about website design as a single canvas which is dynamic and fluid by nature. CSS3 media queries allow developers to customize layouts based on limited or expanded screen real estate. Use this to your advantage and see how other designers are using it as well!

2. Retina Support

Along with responsive support for website layouts I have also seen a dramatic rise in people building for retina devices. Apple first engineered this idea with the iPhone 4 and has since applied this screen display onto their other devices, including the iPad and some MacBooks.

Retina screens are basically twice as dense as any average LCD. So they are the same number of physical pixels, but digitally twice as many pixels can be fitted into the same physical space.

This means pixel-perfect web designers supporting retina devices will need to create two sets of First you need to sample your image at double the resolution, then save a “standard” version at half the size. The larger image will be scaled down to the standard resolution and will look very crisp on retina screens.

One of my favorite tools for responsive web design is retina.js. This is a JavaScript library for automatically displaying @2x retina copies of whenever your user is browsing on a retina device.

Although this won’t detect CSS background, it is still the most handy resource as opposed to coding everything in media queries.

3. Fixed Header Bars

Using the CSS position: fixed; property is a great way to staple a header bar onto your website. As visitors scroll down your page this will offer constant support for navigation and a trip back to the home page. This trend has been around for a while but now we are seeing this in full force.

Fixed headers are so interesting because they can work on practically any website. This includes social networks, blogs, and even design studios or private companies. The design is very trendy and looks great paired with most layouts. But aside from the aesthetics, this bar also provides an exceptional user experience without needing to look very far to navigate the website.

4. Large Photo Backgrounds

Photographers or even fans of photography will definitely enjoy this design trend. I have seen countless showcases discussing the ideas of big oversized photography in the background. It’s an excellent way to capture your visitor’s attention and it can look great when done properly.

I am often fond of big photographs since they can be pleasing on the eyes. When blended into your layout, this design technique can give your website a major edge in marketing. On this topic I always consider the ever popular design portfolio of Kerem Suer. This unique background photo behaves as custom branding for everybody who lands on his website.

5. CSS Transparency

The new CSS3 properties have allowed for opacity edits on any webpage element. This means you have control to generate transparency in any modern web browser – no Photoshop required! This trend of web design transparency was recently discussed on Codrops with some very enlivening talking points.

One excellent example is on the Squarespace Blog where the central wrapper is given a background: transparent property. Typically this can be used to generate some other background from repeating, or to setup the background using internal elements.

Another interesting design technique for manipulating transparency is through rgba() color syntax. When designing in CSS you have the option of specifying colors using Red, Green, Blue, and Alpha-Transparency values. So using the syntax rgba(255,255,255,0.6) would generate the color white at only 60% opacity. This is certainly a design trend we can expect continuing into 2013 and beyond.

6. Minimalist Landing Pages

Anybody who has spent some time researching markets will understand that selling on the Internet is just plain smart. You have access to a large consumer base from anywhere in the world. Additionally you can sell products which are not even physical, such as videos or creative resources.

Creating a landing page online is all about capturing new leads for your product or service. New trends are following the idea of minimalism: keep everything simple and focus on your core product.

This is exemplified on the PictoPro webpage which offers a beautiful resource for cheap icons. The page is fairly crafty using vector icons as a background effect. But all the text is easy to read and it’s basically a one-click checkout process. You cannot get much simpler than that.

7. Digital QR Codes

The abundance of mobile smartphones has led to a surge of QR Code apps. This stands for Quick Response Code and has developed from the older UPC barcodes. You will find these tagged everywhere from restaurants to event venues and automobile sales lots.

But very recently I have found a couple of websites with these codes built right into the design. This isn’t something you would normally consider since they are often found in print. But QR codes could become trendy as data transmission becomes quicker over time. You can see a brilliant example of this technique on Keith Cakes contact page.

8. Social Media Badges

Marketing is one of the ultimate determining factors in a website’s success or failure. Social media and viral marketing are exploding in many different websites. Digg used to reign popular in this domain but has since conceded to rivals like Reddit. But these are not the only two popular resources for sharing stories online.

You can check practically any social community for sharing badges and will likely find a great solution. You can position these badges pinned to blog posts and articles anywhere in your layout. These are still used actively by readers and fans who want to share content quickly on places like Facebook, Twitter, or even LinkedIn.

Below I have put together a small list of social media badges you can try in your own website layouts.

9. Detailed Illustrations

Newer design trends are all about catching and holding one’s attention. I feel that illustrations perform this task brilliantly. The problem is finding a designer who can make such impeccable works of art, or even teaching yourself.

Illustrations can be used in many various ways to bring about different moods in your website. Look around the Internet, and you will find many different website galleries and showcases focusing on digital illustrations. You can see these artistic works eventually blend into its website branding almost perfectly. MailChimp is probably the most definitive example with its trademark chimp mail carrier.

10. Infinite Scrolling

Infinite scroll loading has been around for at least a few years. But this technique hadn’t really hit mainstream until this year and I’m sure it will continue into 2013.

Pinterest has adopted this loading technique for their layout and it works beautifully. You can search anything and the results page will continually load as you scroll down. Pagination is basically a non-issue and doesn’t even work as a detriment into the user experience. Talk about designing for simplicity!

But another great example and possibly my favorite example is on Tumblr. You can blog and reblog photos from other people you follow which all appear on your Dashboard. So after logging into your account all the most recent posts will scroll infinitely down the page.

This is an excellent technique which does not work on every layout, but for the right websites this can look and behave phenomenally.

11. Homepage Feature Tours

Sliding image presentations and demo videos are both very common with new products on the web. Landing pages and startups often try to entice potential users with these informational goodies. And they can often work very well, if you know how to construct something that looks good on a webpage.

Looking back over 2012 I would say my favorite example of this trend is on MediaFire’s homepage. The entire top portion of the page rotates between a series of slides. They each explain what you can do on MediaFire and how their features compare with other websites.

What helps this demonstration stand out is also their use of big graphics and icons. This is another trend which will not work on all websites, only for certain products you can draw in loads of attention.

12. Sliding Webpage Panels

Dynamic websites used to be very popular when Flash and ActionScript were all the rage. Now, dynamic effects have moved into the realm of JavaScript/jQuery, and this has in turn affected the way designers build websites. Sliding panels is just one technique I happen to really enjoy and would expect to see more in 2013.

Right off the bat you may not think CaptainDash is any special website. But as you click through the navigation you will learn that each page is loaded in succession pushing from left-to-right. Dynamic effects such as these do not always bode well for mobile users.

But if you can handle them with responsive design techniques or an alternate mobile site then this is a really cool effect worth trying out.

13. Mobile Navigation Toggle

When speaking of responsive design one of the most difficult questions is how to build a solid navigation. You want to give your readers direct access to all your important links, without flooding the page making it unreadable. It is also a good idea to keep your responsive navigation hidden away until it’s needed.

Enter this beautiful design trend of mobile navigation toggle menus. The Treehouse Blog is merely one example of this technique which looks brilliant on your smartphone. And even in your web browser! But there are dozens of websites and design studios who have adopted this trend for their own responsive layouts.

What I like most about the toggled navigation is that you can design menus in so many various forms. You can have links drop down from the top, or slide down, or push content over from the left or right side. Designers have so many options to play with and there is plenty of time for UI experiments.

14. Fullscreen Typography

Earlier I mentioned using big oversized photographs in the background of website layouts. This trend can be extended to focus on typography as well: designing your webpage text so it fills the entirety of the browser. Some users may find this annoying. But this is not often the case if the layout is fitted perfectly for super-large text.

Alex Pierce has a great website layout which does focus deeply on typography. You can see this includes rich text effects using CSS3 properties. Additionally the website is very easy to navigate, and many of the other page elements appear oversized as well.

Big text with unique font styles can stand out just as much as oversized photography. And I am sure this will see more design critiques moving into the new year.

15. APIs and Open Source

Open source software has been around for decades and has been changing the web since its inception. But over the course of 2012 I have noticed more open source software pertaining to webpage widgets, layouts, and dynamic effects. Typically we could also be talking about free website templates, layouts, or CMS software such as WordPress.

Open APIs and resources like Github allow designers to not only prototype layouts, but also animations and effects on the page. jQuery has a practically uncountable number of plugins for free download to be found all over the Web.

And I am honestly not expecting the amount of open source projects to slow down anytime soon. This truly is the greatest era to be getting started and advancing your knowledge in the field of creating websites.

16. Deep Box Shadows

I discussed CSS3 box shadows in our previous post written for 2012, and this trend has proven to be very accurate. In fact, I now almost always expect to see box shadows infused with elements in modern web designs. The effects look amazing and they rarely detract from the aesthetics except when overused.

I believe the problems that designers had to face years ago stemmed from box shadows being too difficult to implement. Back a few years, this effect would require some type of JavaScript or direct background created in Photoshop. Now box shadows can be generated with a few lines in CSS.

I would look out for new box shadow techniques all throughout 2013. I think the trend is already deeply ingrained into the design community, now it is more about who can be the most creative!

17. CSS3 Animations

The CSS3 transition property and all the related browser prefixes offers CSS dynamic effects just like JavaScript. Designers can now animate effects on the page based on different CSS properties. I have seen a lot of nice hover effects and form input fields using these transitions the right way.

Another excellent and very inspiring example comes from a CSS alerts tutorial on Codrops. Notice how you can setup various times and settings for the animations.

This is definitely a trend which offers some promise in the coming months and years with lots of room to advance. I am confident that newer web designers will give rise to booming animations all created without the use of scripting.

18. Vertical Navigation

I was not a big fan of this layout style when I first started noticing different websites adopting this trend. However over this past year I have seen more designers creating elegant solutions with the vertical rhythm still intact. And when done properly, vertical website layouts can be affluent with content and design taste.

The portfolio on Riot Industries is a great example for newer web designers. Check out how the navigation links work and how the portfolio entries are dynamic on hover effects. Also the border textures really show a dividing line between the left and right columns.

This textured effect is apparent in other vertical layouts as well, such as the CSS gallery Design Bombs.

19. Single-Page Web Design

Single page design is a big topic and covered under many different categories. Obviously there have been single-page websites since the creation of the World Wide Web. But over the recent years we have seen this trend evolve to sport a more natural user experience.

I think the website design for Cage App is possibly one great example of many trends listed in this article. They are utilizing a single-page layout brilliantly with content split up by horizontal containers. But you will also notice the very top of the page features a blurred background photo effect.

Plus as you scroll down the page, the navigation bar actually stays fixed at the top of your window. Incorporating other popular design trends into a single-page layout is one solution for drawing attention from visitors and making one captivating website design.

20. Circular Design Elements

The trend of circles within website layouts is something newer and has been given a lot of attention recently. Designers like circles because they are clean, neat, and generally fit into any layout block. You can build patterns and even fix your page elements into circular designs (eg. user avatars, share buttons, post dates, etc).

The portfolio of Lucia Soto is basically one terrific example of circular web design. The website is built dynamically so you are panning horizontally to different segments in the page. You will notice some cute vector artwork dotted along the sidelines as well. Web designers crave these extra tidbits in page layouts because they ooze uniqueness.

You can find a similar example on the homepage for Site Optimizer which uses circular page elements as informative selling points for their services.

Final Thoughts

User interface design is one of the most complex topics when building digital products. This rings especially true for website layouts, trying to match navigations and content styles for a successful user experience. These design trends aim to point designers in the right direction.

I hope you may consider some of these ideas and think about how they do affect modern day websites. You can find examples of these emerging trends, in smaller businesses to global companies and all other websites in-between. If you are thinking ahead of the curve and want to share some insight on design trends in 2013, just drop a comment in our post discussion area.

Many individuals have the habit of collecting attractive domain names but never using them. If so, why not get rid of unused domain names and in the process, make some cash? It is important to understand the whole process of selling domain names. On the outside, the process may look very easy, but unless a trader is well aware of how the whole process works, it is not easy to find a buyer.

In today’s post, we are going to show you how to sell a domain name you can’t wait to let go off, and take you through the steps needed to find a buyer, negotiate for the best price, find a secure payment system and seal your transactions. If you have questions, just let us know in the comments section.

How to Sell a Domain Name

To sell a domain name, one should learn to price it. Many sellers fail to sell names in the marketplace, simply because they overpriced the domain, and thereby lost the chance to sell it. A lack of knowledge leads to erratic pricing. Experienced buyers will not try to bargain, unless you have a very rare name. A seller should therefore, understand how good the domain name is. What price will he get from a buyer? What suffix does it carry? For instance, .com names are likely to sell fast and will bring greater profits than, say .info names. Similarly, .net, .org and .in domain names are the best to make decent profit.

It is much harder to sell names no one has heard of. Short names have the highest value — they are rare, easy to sell and bring substantial profit. Basic and common domain names, which can be relatable, or arouse interest in the market are the best. General names sell thick and fast and also bring considerably higher profit.  Names that are easy to spell will attract buyers, and provide good opportunity to make a decent profit. If you know you have a good domain in your hands, then you are likely to make good profit by selling it.

Sellers should also learn to identify premium domain names. Dictionary names are premium domain names. Domain names with dictionary-singular names are the hottest on the Web, and buyers are willing to pay a lot to purchase them. Names, such as or, will get buyers more easily than long domain names. It is also important to note that unhyphenated domain names have more value. Even product-related domain names also can enable sellers to earn substantial profit. Once a seller has a certain degree of knowledge about the domain, he can start searching for buyers.

Where to find domain name buyers

Once you decide to sell a domain name, it is important to find the best market to sell it. The best way to sell a domain name is to approach buyers secretly. If you know someone who deals with domain names, it is recommended to contact him without going through the middleman. Chances are that the seller will make more profit, as he will not have to pay the middleman.

Selling on auction sites is another great way to find buyers. is perhaps, the most popular place to sell domain names. is another site that allows sellers to find good buyers. If you have premium domain names, become a member at and list your domain name there. The site is a reputed marketplace and brokers deal with thousands of dollars trading domain names. You can also sell domain names through, a site which has its own selling program. has the largest marketplace in the world, and boasts of having a list of the most expensive domain names in the market. It also has a safe and secure escrow service for domain name buyers and sellers.

Engaging and negotiating with a buyer

Once you have settled which marketplace you wish to sell your domain name in, you should try to grab the buyer’s attention. Engaging a buyer is an important aspect of selling a domain name. Buyers are only interested in sellers who have a professional approach.

Hence, sellers should have clear cut knowledge of the domain name they are selling. A seller should also keep track of the traffic the domain name receives as well as the domain’s expiry date. He should also clarify if the domain name earns any money at all, and how much. This will help indicate the domain’s value in the market.

Some buyers are a tough nut to crack and they may quote a ridiculously low offer. Explain to these buyers and convince them why the domain is worth more than the quote. If the potential buyer doesn’t agree, fret not, just move on to the next one until you find a willing buyer. Once you finalize the deal, then it’s time to find the best payment mode for the transaction.

Secure Domain Escrow Service and its Benefits

When you are selling a domain name, you don’t want to suffer because of failed transactions or being tricked by defaulters. Safeguard your monetary dealings; the best way to do this is to take the help of a secure domain transfer and escrow service. The escrow system is highly beneficial because a buyer has to deposit money at the trusted source prior to purchase, and the dealing between a buyer and a seller takes place through a secure domain transfer and escrow service. This makes the transaction safer for both parties with the involvement of a neutral third party.

Domain name sellers are advised to use to list their domain name. The real advantage with is the mandatory escrow service that comes with every transaction. The site charges the seller a commission of 15% per transaction or USD 50, whichever is higher, for domain names featured on the site. Sellers who do not list with but would like to use their escrow service will have to pay the minimum transaction fee of USD 50, or 3% of the transaction, whichever is higher.

Escrow service is useful, and cost effective, but only if the domain names have a high enough value. For names that are priced lower, using escrow service may lead to losses.

Close Transaction and Get Payment

Now it’s time to transfer the domain name. Every site has its own process. Generally, the domain-selling sites require sellers to submit the authorisation code, which will initiate the transfer process. Once the transfer is completed, the seller can transfer funds from the escrow account to his personal account. Do check for the minimum number of days the amount must stay in the escrow account before the transaction can be completed.

Once the amount is due for release from the escrow account, you can transfer the money via wire transfer or even through PayPal to your own personal account. The use of PayPal comes with its own limitations in some countries, and it is better to check the PayPal country regulations.

Copyright is a kind of protection that authors have for their original work. This includes works in the domain of literature, drama, music and other artistic and intellectual creations that are published or unpublished.

It should be noted that copyright is only a protection of an expressed idea and not the idea itself. It gives the owner of the right the sole rights for reproducing his work and distributes or displays it in public. Copyright is automatic and does not need any registration, but you can assert your copyright by marking your original work with the copyright symbol.


Web content theft has been a hot topic of discussion in recent years. It is unethical behavior on the website, where your treasured content catches the fancy of other writers who feel it is their birthright to use it and pass it off as their own. Of course, they could always defend themselves by saying imitation is the best form of flattery. But this kind of flattery doesn’t go well for most, if not all, who find their website content appear on some other site. You have worked hard to create your content and would surely not like it plagiarized.

With respect to copyright on the web, there are basic rights that allow creators to have control over their creations and they can be compensated when others use and enjoy their creations.

Copyright laws – What it Protects

  • Short fiction and short stories
  • Novels
  • Newspaper articles
  • Magazine articles
  • Computer software
  • Advertisements with text
  • Brochures
  • Databases
  • Sound recordings
  • Audio visual works
  • Catalogs

Copyright Laws – What it does not protect

  • Facts and ideas
  • Words and names
  • Symbols, ideas and inventions
  • Processes
  • Systems of operations
  • Proprietary information

However, it may protect the way in which the above are expressed. Words, names and symbols are protected under the trademark laws and proprietary information gets protection from the trade secret law.

Copyright Infringement

Theft of website content can be considered as an infringement of copyright. You can easily find whether someone has been infringing on your copyright by word of mouth. Apart from this, if you suspect copyright infringement of your web content, you can just type out some new material from your web content into the Google search. Use a few words at a time and use them within quotes. You can even r unique find out whether someone is using the unique graphics from your website by entering the file name in Google images and searching for them.

Such copyright infringement can damage your website rankings with search engines, as content used in several websites are not viewed favorably by search engines and will be considered as spamming. This could lead to your website being dropped from the search engine listings or at least dropped in the rankings. It could also damage your reputation, as people might consider your site as the duplicate one.

When the copyright owner’s exclusive rights are carried out by a third party without the permission of the owner, it is infringement. The infringement can be on the complete work or on a part of the artistic work.

Myths Regarding Infringement

There are many myths regarding infringement in the internet. For example, many claim that copying a free advertisement is not infringement. False – The copyright holder has the sole rights for advertising his products. There are many sites where members discuss their favorite television shows and movies online and the big studios send the infringing owner websites warning letters ordering them to shut down their site.

Another myth regarding infringement is that people consider that if a website is free and the owner does not make any money from it, the material on the site can be copied and does not constitute infringement. False – Just because you don’t make a profit from the infringement does not mean that it is not an infringement.

Copyright laws of Online Work

Copyright protection can differ from country to country depending on the nation’s laws. According to the US laws, the copyright exists right from the time of any expression of your work in a form from which it can be reproduced or communicated, either directly or through a device. It is not mandatory to register the copyright with the US Copyright Office. However, registration could have some significant benefits. The work gets automatically protected when it is fixed in a copy, even if the author has not used the copyright symbol with the ‘c’ in it. You can register with the US Copyright Office with an online registration process that is quite fast and cheap by paying a flat fee for submitting your work.

Copyright laws protect written words that appear on your website along with digital formats, digital artwork and so on. Copyright laws are applicable to any content in digital form which is published on the Internet. Many people disregard copyright laws in the digital world and suffer losses in their attempt at copyright infringement. When publishing any content online, it is important to have the permission of the owner in case they wish to publish someone else’s work.

Copyright laws last for a lifetime of the author plus seventy years after the death of the author. There are also some provisions for older works that are unpublished. The author is generally the copyright owner, but in some cases there are also joint owners. In case of employers and work commissioned to an employee, the employer is the first copyright owner, depending on the contract. The date on which the work was created is very important. Copyright can also be transferred to another party or just licensed for use by other parties.

All works that have been published after January 1st 1978 need not get renewal of copyright registration. The duration of the protection depends on the several factors:

  • The time when the work was created
  • The person creating the work
  • The first commercial distribution of the work
  • Works that are created after January 1st 1978 have protection for the full life of the author plus another 50 years.

Copyright Owner’s Rights

The owner of the copyright has some exclusive rights:

  • He can reproduce the work or copy it, imitate or duplicate or transcribe it.
  • He has the right to distribute the work or issue copies to the public either by sale, rental, and lease or by lending.
  • He can communicate the copyrighted work by electronic means or by broadcasting. He has the public display right and can show it in a website, a slide, a film and so on.
  • He can decide whether others have the right to do any of the above.
  • There are several legal aspects that a web writer must be aware of with regard to the US copyright law. There are many misconceptions in this regard, especially to do with web content. If you find a copyright violation, you must write a letter to the offending party and ask them to withdraw the material from the website. If such a request is refused, you can inform the ISP or Internet Service Provider of the owner regarding the infringement situation. In many countries, the ISP is held responsible for such violations and generally, ISPs will respond to such infringement activities on websites.

What is Copyright Registration?

Though copyright protection is automatic, you need to register it in case you want to bring a lawsuit against copyright infringement. There are several reasons for this:

  • In order to sue someone for infringing on your copyright, you need to first register the work with the US copyright office. The registration can also be done after the infringement, but it can only be applicable for future infringements.
  • Those authors who register their copyright within ninety days of the publication of their works can avail all statutory damages provisions for infringements taking place both before and after the registration date.
  • If you register your copyright, you can be eligible for up to $100,000 in the form of statutory damages and also claim attorney fees in case the case is successful.
  • Those authors making a registration within five years of their published work can get it submitted as prima facie evidence in court.
  • Registration is simple and also cheap, as you just have to fill out the application and mail it to the US copyright office along with a copy of the work to be protected.

How to Protect your Copyright?

  1. Protection for Authors: If you have posted any material on a website, it is automatically protected by copyright. However, it would be a good idea to add a copyright statement.
  2. Protection to Host: Those hosting a forum or a web page where there are postings from other members must warn them of the copyright violation or plagiarized material. You will need to post a warning in the site notifying members that any such material will be removed. Any violations should be immediately followed up, so that you can protect yourself from liability that others impose on you. Such liabilities can accrue from the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
  3. If you find that someone has infringed your copyright, you can bring proceedings against them. Civil remedies can involve an award of damages or some penalties imposed on the infringer.
  4. You can also resolve the matter with infringing party by means of a settlement, without bringing it to court, as the latter could be expensive and time consuming.
  5. Seek specialist advice before you start pursuing a claim for copyright infringement.
  6. Though there is no need to go to any legal process for establishing copyright, it is a good practice to keep a record of your artistic works.
  7. You can put the symbol of copyright along with the name and the publication year in the work, as it can be useful while trying to bring about an action against infringement in the future.
  8. You can deposit copies of your work, stamped and unopened, to your solicitor.
  9. All works that were published before March 1, 1989 needed a formal notice for getting copyright protection. However, works published after March 1st 1989 there is no need of any copyright notice.
  10. However, it is important for authors to place a notice saying: Copyright with the symbol, the year and his name followed by ‘All Rights Reserved’, as a practical measure of warning others that the author takes copyright issues seriously and will not entertain infringement, thereby deterring them.
  11. By doing the above, no infringer can claim ‘innocent infringement’ in case of a lawsuit.

When does Copyright Protection NOT Apply? Fair Use

There are several cases where copying of artistic work is allowed without seeking the prior permission of the copyright owner. These are called ‘Fair Use’, as without such a use, it would not be possible to review any book or to study any works of famous people. However, this can be a rather slippery issue. Entire passages can be quoted and can still be considered as fair use, whereas a small amount quoted could be crucial to the work, if it leads to a decline in the commercial value of the original book or content. This is just a general guide and cannot be considered as an exhaustive guide. Using an artistic work is allowed if:

  • You need it for private research purposes.
  • For reviewing and criticism.
  • Reporting of current events
  • Artistic work for the purpose of advertising and for the sale of the work.
  • Educational uses, such as instructions by teachers to pupils.
  • Using it in libraries to help students in research or private study
  • In cases where the copyright has expired or the author or copyright owner has died more than seventy years ago.
  • When the work is done in the public domain and is not copyrightable.
  • Facts that are common knowledge can be copied and reproduced.

However, a compilation of facts that are created in a specific order and with a lot of original content and unique formatting styles have full right to copyright protection laws.

Duties of a Web Writer

Many people intentionally steal another writer’s work, while some do it on account of laziness or ignorance. You are only allowed to copy a work for fair use or in the public interest, such as quoting a passage from a book while reviewing it. This is done in order to prove that you have reasons for giving it a low rating. Critics are, therefore, allowed to include clippings and quotes from books and movies. You cannot, however, copy a full text from any article and send it to all members in the mailing list without adding any commentary or giving any credit. You cannot also just copy and post it in a public forum or a blog. You cannot share or distribute the full work without getting prior permission.

The best policy for writers would be not to copy from other sites. You can, of course, refer to the site for ideas. You can even share the content through your email or a link provided you give a comment or a brief excerpt showing why you need to share it. You can always ask for permission, as it is the author’s right to choose and not yours.


The issue of copyright protection and infringement is a confounded one in case of web content. It is important that authors protect their work with the US copyright office in order to protect their work from infringement. However, when you post your work, it is seen by all people from all over the world and even if it is infringed upon, it becomes difficult for the person to become aware of it. It is also quite expensive to pursue such infringement cases.

Writing an article can be painstaking work and copyright laws make sure that the credit goes to the proper person. No one can plagiarize another’s work by copying it exactly. The protection is given automatically as soon as the work is created even if you have not registered it officially. You have to be vigilant to those stealing your work online, as it is a simple matter to copy and paste content from one site to another. It can pose quite a struggle and you need to be aware of one’s rights as a writer as well as know more about copyright issues and how to tackle them.

Copyright is not just an iron clad lock that prevents you from publishing anything. The main purpose of copyright protection is to protect the author to his right of obtaining commercial benefit from the valuable work that he has created. It also allows him protection so that he can control the way in which his work is used.

The year 2012 has seen an immense burst of creative energy. Many web designers & developers will notice this energy is still carrying us over into the new year. But what have we seen come to fruition over these past 12 months?

Responsive Mobile Layouts

How can we look back over this year without immediately considering the enormous focus on responsive websites. My first introduction to this topic was reading Mobile First & Responsive Web Design from the ALA Book Store. It is a topic which seems confusing at first, but once you understand the purpose it is truly brilliant.

I feel that responsive layouts are setting the precedent for an enormous shift in the way we look at websites. Typically people view websites as either static or interactive from a user standpoint – saving data, uploading photos, sending messages, etc. But responsive designs are forcing us to look at websites as fluid entities, which should work on any screen or monitor in the world.

I feel this is only a good thing and will bring designers closer to a legendary breakthrough. It would be fantastic handling all website traffic with the same HTML/CSS codes. And this very well is the purpose of responsive web design. If you haven’t taken a look into responsive web design I suggest a quick 10-15 minute Google search on the benefits to user experience.

Dynamic Effects and Plugins

I would like to think 2012 has been a year for advancing web technologies. More frontend developers are leaning towards scripting and dynamic coding for interface effects. But this also means we are seeing more open source projects and more plugin releases for popular code libraries.

Earlier this month we covered 50 popular jQuery plugins from 2012 which is a massive showcase all JavaScript developers should check out. Many of these plugins would come in handy for complex web projects. Consider things like form validation, Ajax backend scripts, browser compatibility, and a large list of other fixes.

I think that 2012 has seen a deep-seated interest in dynamic website interfaces. We have moved beyond simple dropdown menus to include fading & sliding effects, box shadows, and transitions for link hovers. You can build practically any effect into dropdown menus these days. And the fun part is that most styles can be accomplished very quickly with just a few lines of code.

Designing Around Content

This is a trend which I feel warrants a solid explanation. I have noticed more styles in website layouts over the past few years, and even more custom ideas from website redesigns.

All of the content is split by large header text and thumbnail images. Also the page content is spaced in chunks down the page as easy-to-read excerpts. All of these pieces from a powerful blog design which is focused on wrapping content nicely in the page. But we can see other related examples of this same idea.

The design studio Whiteboard has an excellent single-page website layout also focused around content. While scrolling down the page you will notice large imagery in place as background photos. These are great shots for pleasant aesthetic effects and to illustrate the company’s theme. You will also find their content is wrapped in small segments in-between these header sections.

The purpose for content-based design is to have an idea of your webpage content first. Sketch out some wireframes and figure out what style of layout would work best for the amount of content you need to share. It is certainly an interesting way to go about building websites. And I feel you can portray an excellent user experience by starting with this method.

Digital Website Media

It’s difficult to know where to begin when it comes to sharing & publishing digital media online. There are so many services for uploading photos, videos, slideshows, presentations, documents, and other digital media into the cloud. All of these services offer various means to embedding high-profile media content into website layouts. And I feel that designers are growing accustomed to these common elements.

Web designers back in the 1990s were not so worried about video media. Or even dynamic photo galleries. Some of these effects began cropping up during the early-2000s with minimal effects. But now querying the phrase “open source image slider” will return thousands of search results. I feel that it is even easier to publish media nowadays with CMS brands like WordPress.

Users who are not very tech-savvy may install a free WordPress site, install a free theme, and begin publishing their own content right away. This would require maybe 15-20 minutes of setup time. We live during an era where anybody can launch their own publication and find quick solutions for sharing text, as well as other forms of media.

And I feel this is a noteworthy design trend because the Internet’s core purpose is for immediate human communication from around the planet. I would have to argue the web has come down a long path since inception, and new designers are just getting started leaving their mark on history.

CSS3 Properties Aplenty

Web designers who remember rounded corners and box shadows from the early 21st century know the painstaking difficulty of working solely with images. It used to be so much more difficult building a container with rounded corners using background images. CSS3 has fundamentally changed the way designers construct website interfaces.

This is definitely a trend which is here to stay well into 2013 and beyond. All modern day browsers support the majority of basic CSS3 effects. Box shadows, text shadows, transitions, along with a litany of additional properties. The days of hacking together solutions are almost over. Unfortunately developers must still handle traffic from older legacy browsers – but thankfully over the next few years these will slowly phase out of existence.

Prospective of 2013

As a user interface designer myself, I am quickly noticing the changes in application design. Webapps and mobile apps are beginning to look a lot similar, although dynamic behavior is still a while away. But how far are we from emulating native iOS animations with in-browser jQuery? Will fully-responsive mobile applications be the future of desktop web applications?

When I think of the future in web design I have to think of one term: accessibility. Designers are more intelligent nowadays, and they have an easier time selecting a market segment. You can build website layouts targeting demographics which suit your company or product the best. Accessible interfaces are always going to vary based on the audience using them.

It is safe to say we will not only see a larger movement for building more accessible websites. But also designers who are willing to push boundaries, creating various instances of brand new UI trends & techniques. Innovation is happening every month with new open source code releases in Github and on blogs around the world. And the best part about these rapidly advancing trends? I don’t see anything slowing down anytime soon.

Final Thoughts

The new year is always an exciting time for solemn reflection on your own skills, and the world as a whole. We have seen tremendous strides in achievement for the web development community which is full of passionate individuals. The newer HTML5/CSS3 rules have set a precedent for enormous change in the future of websites.

I hope these trends and unique ideas can offer some critical design inspiration. 2013 is sure to be an exciting year full of even more trendy user interfaces and experience techniques. I find that some of the coolest ideas start from a small project and begin to snowball elsewhere. If you have similar thoughts or ideas feel free to share with us in the comments discussion area.

Web Design Trends for 2013

At the verge of 2013 there have been talks of what will be pertinent in terms of web design. Some things are disputable while others are undeniable – take web design that used to focus on media options a few years ago, now it’s the era of great usability and classy layout – no one would argue about that. Now if only we survive this year’s end of the world, there is a lot of promising features to appreciate web design wise in 2013

A few points, however, should be highlighted and covered by at least a few words. For that matter you are welcome to read on and share your thoughts in comments.

  • Responsive Web Design aka RWD (it is an approach to web design in which a site is crafted to provide an optimal viewing experience—easy reading and navigation with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling—across a wide range of devices (from desktop computer monitors to mobile phones), © Wikipedia). It is currently on top of the list of trends for the next year, thanks to the ability of this technology to eliminate problems related to the size of the layout. A single design that RWD offers will be enough for multiple desktop and mobile gadgets. It looks promising in terms of working really well on all of the devices and should make things better for all of the web designers. Some call responsive web design not just a trend, but the next web design generation.
  • Vertical scrolling as part of websites optimization will be serving a significant role. These days many websites have both vertical and horizontal scrolling for their mobile versions, which is not always very user-friendly because of too much actual scrolling that a user has to make in order to see the whole picture. Therefore vertical scrolling will be leading in the coming year as an easy and convenient way to navigate the website. It allows scrolling a page down with a header menu at the same time without having to go back to see the menu, which is basically a vertical scrolling of buttons and menus with the same kind of navigation for social buttons and shopping carts. Vertical scrolling will most certainly be in demand due to its user-friendly approach in optimization websites.
  • Oversized objects such as large buttons, headings, full-width images and full-sized sliders are definitely to be expected as the next trend in the year to come. Thanks to touch screens getting more and more popular each day, oversizing of the objects becomes inevitable. And even though this may lead to certain deceleration of the websites, because bigger items need more graphics, there is hope that web designers will come up with a perfect solution in the end, otherwise this trend may set out pretty soon.
  • Simplicity is something to expect from web design in 2013. The motto of the year will be ‘the simpler the trendier’. Front-end frameworks will be seen around as well. Among them are such front-end frameworks as Twitter Bootstrap and WordPress, and many others.
  • Parallax scrolling is all about 2D objects being placed on different layers and being scrolled in the same direction at different speeds with the closest layers moving the fastest. That gives the impression of 3D space. The coming year should see a lot of parallax effects in the use of web design. Even though it has been in the industry for quite a while, it was mostly related to video games. Nowadays it is being used as a refreshing addition to highlight a special event such as  product or website launch, or integrated into general webpages like ‘Home’ or ‘About Us’ to optimize the look and feel of something standard and make it exceptional. In 2013 we can expect to see a lot of parallax scrolling effects on regular websites.
  • Typography will most likely become an essential part of every website before we know it. There is a great deal of fonts to choose from due to widely available typography variations. And designers tend to prefer stylish typography designs to nice images instead of the text when optimizing the look and feel of the websites. After all typography is the foundation of any website so it is only going to win back its positions in 2013.

All of the above is an educated guess based on subject matter experts of web design and development company, which always remains on top of the game through permanent improvement of customer services.

Some Noticeable point’s needs to be kept in mind while appearing for interview are -
Always adopt a professional attitude and professional looking and wearing.

Listen intently about interview questions. Use strong positive language while answering your questions.

Ask the relevant questions and be specific to job related questions only.

Wear a smile at all times even if your answers are unaccepted by interviewers.

Never indicate at any point of time that you’re desperate for a job.

Try to avoid the discussions related to your personal life; the interviewer should respect your trustworthiness and integrity.

Remain calm and don’t rush to conclusion instantly, try to go in-depth of the discussion and answers the question openly.

Don’t play with your hair, clothing, items in your pockets, it leaves a immature ego state and reflect a childish personality.

Try to avoid negative phrases such as: ‘I don’t know’. I’m not sure’. Talk about the issues not about the persons.

Smiling is a good positive sign, as it reflect your good nature. Maintain affirmative eye contact.

Relax do not rush for everything, use the mirror technique of interviewers, if they laugh, laugh with them.

Maintain proactive position, sit in straight posture, don’t slump, but be comfortable.

Always have a confident and honest attitude towards your work and words.

Some interviewers also asked for aptitude test which assesses your abilities.

While judging your Personality which reflects the profile of your abilities. Many employers believe that such tests reflect good idea of whether your abilities matching up job profile or not, and if your personality is suited to job profile of the company.

Aptitude exams test your reasoning skills under time pressure. Generally there are three areas of testing checking different ability, such as verbal reasoning, numerical reasoning and critical reasoning.

The time duration for the test is 30 minutes and the numbers of questions are approx 30. In Personality Tests most of Questions tend to focus on how you relate to other people and how you behave in complex situations, your work nature, and your ability to deal with emotions. Your motivations, interests, determination, enthusiasm, general outlook and your ability, capabilities to handle stressful situations during different situations are evaluated during interview. There is no right or wrong answers in the interview, just be yourself.

Many social media pundits claim that content curation will prove to be the next biggest thing in the arena of online entrepreneurship and obviously, freelancers with specific skills to perform the job of content curation will gain a good fortune out of it.

The biggest reason behind these predictions about the profitable expectations of content curation is the fact that the content on the Internet is increasing rapidly at every minute and according to some experts, within a few years, the content on the Internet will be doubled or more within every 72 hours or even less. Experts believe that this huge amount of content will offer a great opportunity for Internet marketers to gain online influence so that they may attain more customers for the products or services they are trying to market. However, it can prove to be a daunting task to refine the relevant and quality content available on the Internet and this difficulty can prove to be a great chance for the freelancers to gain an important place in the space of Internet marketing. This is the reason why it is important for freelancers to know everything about content curation as an especial skill and how to master that skill.


What is Content Curation?

Internet is a huge pool of a vast quantity of content that can be used for specific purposes. However, it is very important to recognize the quality of content and to arrange it in a meaningful manner so that anyone who is seeking for any information on Internet to share with others to achieve a definite goal may find it easy to attain the right content of appropriate quality. The process of rearranging the huge amount of content available on the web so that it can be presented in an organized and sense full manner is known as content curation. The traditional meaning of curator is a content specialist who organizes the content assets in a cohesive and coherent manner so that the information can be presented in an attractive and explanative manner to attain the interest of the viewers.

Content curation involves the job of refining, cataloging, coordinating, and publishing the information around a specific subject. A content curator goes through all the possible available content and refines it to arrange the best possible content in a definite order of its importance and relevance so that it can be displayed in a proper way. Unlike the popular belief, content curation isn’t just about collecting links and preserving them, rather; it is the job of organizing all the links to present a particular context with proper explanation. A content curator is not just a person who can offer a number of links about a subject, rather; he is the person who has properly researched about that subject and can offer the best, well organized, and highly relevant content on any specific subject online.

What is the importance of Content Curation and who needs it?

The Internet space is continuously increasing and people are now creating and sharing content at an enormous speed and with time, this speed of content creation is going to be increased. Even now, thousands of new videos are regularly uploaded online. People write and publish blog posts at every other moment. There are millions of Twitter and Facebook users who update their status regularly.

To explain the enormity of content creation, let us consider the example of Facebook. The average user of Facebook creates around 90 sets of content in a month. According to Mark Zuckerberg, more than one billion people are actively using Facebook each month. That is, in a month, the Facebook users are creating around 90 billion pieces of content at an average. Add the content on Blogger, Twitter, Orkut, MySpace, WordPress, and other websites and independent blogs and you will find that the data or content on the Internet is getting immeasurable day by day. To put it simply, we are not living in an ocean of content that is expanding at a vast pace. A content curator is the person who knows where are the fishes that a person is looking for in this vast ocean. The content curator can easily offer a quality content of relevance to anyone who is in need of organized information. The role of content curator is certainly important because for a common person, finding the required information and using it in appropriate manner will require a lot of time and attention and in current world; time is the most costly resource that needs to be preserved.

However, who will need this highly specialized information or content assets in an organized manner and why?

According to the Content Curation Adoption Survey of 2012 that was organized by curate, the vast majority of Internet marketers believe that content curation is an important and beneficial strategy and they seek for content curation regularly. The main reasons for why Internet marketers are interested in the process of content curation and why are they actively seeking for content curation can be summarized as follows:

1) Very Little Relevant Information in the Vast Pool of Content

It has been observed that finding relevant content on a particular topic is becoming more difficult while the quantity of content is abysmally increasing. While Internet is a vast resource of content, finding the best and most appropriate content on a subject is becoming more difficult. Internet marketers feel that specific websites that offer curated and properly organized content offers a good solution for their problems. These websites offer links to relevant content and that reduces the burden of marketers to search for the appropriate content. If the best and most relevant content about a topic is a diamond, the curated websites prove to be a mine of diamonds. Those websites that offer regular quality content, gains greater support of marketers.

2) The Race to be the Thought Leaders

With the help of appropriate content curation, marketers can attain success in establishing their position as the thought leader. Marketers want to attain as many customers as possible however, the Internet customers are becoming smarter and they seek for a reputed and trustworthy brand before they may engage in Internet shopping. Those marketers who succeed in providing quality content gains the trust of customers. This content includes original content produced by the marketers and producers specifically to increase their sales and it also include the relevant content from market experts and competitors with their specific presentation and comments. By using this highly refined content, marketers can establish the trust of customers and once they succeed in establishing themselves as the thought leaders of the market, they find it easy to attain regular customers.

3) Increasing Influence of Social Media

As the number of active users of social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook is increasing, people are heavily relying on social media as the perfect resource for relevant and timely information. As a result, marketers are trying to implement the strategy of on-demand news. Since marketers are required to create positive influence on these social media platforms so that they can attract more and more potential customers, they need to keep providing relevant information regularly on these social media websites so that they can share best content online. With the help of content curation, marketers can easily provide relevant content at a swift pace so that they may maintain and increase their influence on social media platforms.

4) Content is the King

Internet is virtually becoming the biggest market of the world and one can attain all major brands of any product or service directly online. These brands are actively engaged in providing relevant information, future prospects, customer services, and online shopping facilities to attain more customers. The success of Dell has encouraged almost all brands to experiment the idea of e-commerce which is increasing at such a high rate that e-commerce is actually offering a tight and tough competition to the biggest retailers of the world. This increasing influence of e-commerce has made it mandatory for online marketers to remain easily accessible and easily notable to those who are looking for specific services and products through search engines and social media platforms.

However, to become significantly visible on search engines and on social media platforms, the marketers need to provide best, most relevant and unbiased content regularly in an organized and attractive manner. To improve SEO, providing original, relevant and organized content is very necessary. Content curation helps marketers to provide unique and most appropriate content in an unbiased manner and that increases their visibility on Internet.

Thus, content curation is very important for the marketers to increase their visibility on the Internet which results in increased potential and regular customers and provides higher profit margins for the brands and their marketers.

Importance of Content Curation for Freelancers

Content curation is very important for freelancers too because marketers often take help of freelancer content providers to attain original, valid, relevant and unbiased content with proper search engine optimization to attain better visibility on Internet.

For freelancers, content curation is professionally essential while it can also be an interesting means of learning too. A freelance needs to provide relevant and latest content about a varied category of subjects. While a freelancer can take help of enormous amount of content easily available on Internet, they need to be especially skilled in acquiring and organizing the relevant content in an appropriate manner so that it can be shared effectively to attain the required purpose. Content curation is necessary for freelancers because it helps them to remain aware of the latest and most important information about any issue that needs to be covered under the content that they have to provide. For a freelancer, content curation is the process of remaining aware and alert about their field and subjects for which they need to produce content so that they can remain efficient at their job.

However, it is not easy to be a skilled content curator. The biggest problem in content curation is the enormity of content available on the Internet that a content curator will have to research to organize it in a meaningful manner within a short period. This can be very cumbersome and distractive but with the help of proper techniques and technological tools, this task can be made easier.

The Process of Content Curation

Content curation is a continuous process and a professional content curator will have to adopt this process in his daily life. The very first step of the process of content curation is to decide for a relevant topic, subject or issue. Once the goal is set, the next step is to seek the relevant information. While seeking the relevant information may seem to be burdensome, it is necessary and yet, it is just a step of content curation. Once content curators have attained enough information about the topic or issue, they need to analyze and refine the available information to make a proper sense out of it so that the content can be rearranged according to relevancy and appropriateness of it to achieve the goal. One may do so by writing a blog post containing the links of organized content to offer a particular meaning of what they have researched, refined and organized.

Making a relevant meaning out of the available content is a tricky job because it is necessary to provide appropriate meaning through your presentation in such a way that it meets the requirements of the content curator’s subject and goal. After this, the content curator needs to present this highly researched, refined, and reorganized content in an appropriate manner so that they may attain largest possible audience. It is necessary for the content curator to confirm that the presentation is in such a simple format that any person can not only understand it but can also make best use of it with ease.

Tools of Content Curation

Obviously, the most difficult and burdensome step of the process of content curation is to find relevant information. While one can search about any topic or issue on any search engine such as Google, one may fail to attain quality information through simple search engines to perform content curation. However, there are enough tools to reduce the burden of seeking appropriate information and a content curator can make better use of the following tools of content curation:



    instantShift -

    The tagline of is “share ideas that matter” and it explains this tool perfectly. is currently considered as the best content curation tool which offers a series of content based on niche subjects and issues. After deciding for their choice of subject, a content curator can easily attain quality content. The next step is to read and analyze the contents and save them as a collection. One can attain everything including articles, videos, Facebook statuses, Twitter lists, and so on.

  2. Storify:

    instantShift - Storify

    Storify is another quality service or content curation tool that can be used to attain optimized results. Create an account on Storify and start attaining the best content including tweets, blog posts, videos, images and so on. Storify itself provides the content in different niches in a series of meaningful presentations that can be used to attain better results.

  3. Pearltrees:

    instantShift - Pearltrees

    Anyone looking forward to be a master content curator cannot ignore the service of Pearltrees, which is one of the finest curation tools. While one will attain a number of images, articles, videos, tweets, and so on to analyze and observe. One can simply use the browser application to “pearl” the content page that seems relevant, attractive, meaningful, and usable. One can easily share their “pearl” pages easily through Facebook, Twitter, Email, or on their own website.

In addition, there are a number of other highly efficient content curation tools such as StubmleUpon, Pinterest, Delicious, BagTheWeb, Bundlr, and so on that can be used by a content curator to attain appropriate content. However, it will the responsibility of the content curator to analyze, organize, rearrange, and represent this set of content about their preferred niche topic in a meaningful manner.

Content curation may seem to be a hefty task but it is becoming a necessity to maintain a grip on the Internet market. The most important aspect of content curation is that it is not a malpractice or activity of plagiarism. A content curator is not expected to copy and paste information from one content page to other. Rather, the job of content curator is to research the available content on Internet, refine it, reorganize it, and represent it in a unique manner with appropriate references and citations for the original content providers. It is very necessary to maintain the ethical lines of the job of content curation because the marketers that are looking forward to make better use of content curation are strictly looking for ways to gain trust of the customers so that they can establish their brands in the market. When a person simply steals some other person’s idea without offering proper credit to the original content creator, he is simply stealing the content while content curation is strictly the job of sharing the best content in a relevant, organized and appropriate manner.

320, 768 and 1024. Do these numbers mean anything to you?

No, it’s not the Da Vinci code, they are the widths in pixels that many designers associate with mobile, tablet and desktop screen widths.

The problem I have with this is that my mobile isn’t 320 pixels wide, my tablet isn’t 768 pixels wide and my desktop screen certainly isn’t 1024 pixels wide. There are hundreds of different screen sizes out there on a variety of different devices and yet we still think of responsive web design as 320, 768 and 1024.


What happens to all those screen sizes in between?

I have seen many sites that use these three breakpoints for their designs and simply create 3 static layouts that centre within the nearest width.

This is better than having an old fashioned, static, desktop only site as they are at least serving a one column, simplified version for mobile and a touch friendly version for tablet but then why would you alienate all other screen sizes by not taking them into consideration?

Sure the design will still work on the other sizes but what happens when you have a tablet that is smaller than 768? They will get the mobile experience on a tablet! And when viewing it on a laptop screen smaller than 1024? We’ll just send them the tablet layout and laugh at them for not having one of the 3 screen sizes that we have deemed worthy.


It’s about percentages not pixels

When you create your responsive layouts, you should always aim to set as many of your dimensions as possible in percentages. This helps to ensure that your content will grow and shrink evenly through different screen sizes and will do so in proportion to the device it’s being viewed on. This approach will also ensure that your content is always filling 90% (or as much as you determine) of the screen instead of possibly 50% of the screen as the content is centred on a screen size that is a few pixels smaller than the next available breakpoint.


Content is king

When choosing your breakpoints, you should always be making your decisions based on where the content breaks and not to device screen widths. Instead of creating a design and then modifying it to fit the iPad screen comfortably, you should find out at what width your content starts to struggle.

I tend to start with a 1400 wide design and slowly make the browser smaller until a piece of content breaks the layout or gets close to doing so. That then determines my next breakpoint. It doesn’t matter whether it is at 1200, 800 or 673, if the content still works then why change the layout?

You will find that you will end up with strange breakpoints such as 477 or 982 and that you may have 2, 6 or 10 different breakpoints. The point is that the content will decide rather than the intended screen sizes that you wish it to be viewed on.

With the array of different devices and screen sizes being released every month, it is impossible to determine a set of definite breakpoints for our responsive projects. The truth is that whilst we are using a variable such as screen width to determine our responsive layouts, we will struggle to serve a perfect layout to every different size but by following a few of the tips above, we can at least ensure that the content is always displayed as best as possible.

Like any other field, a portfolio holds great importance for a website/graphics designer. An eye catching design has great benefits. It reflects your designing skills and attract your clients.

Being a website/graphics designer myself, I have met a lot of designers that don’t even have a portfolio. When they get clients, they just send over some of their recent designs. In this way, there clients are unable to review most of their work and there are more chances that they will back off and find some other designer.


Why Make a Portfolio?

There are a great number of designers all over the globe and it’s one of the most rapidly growing information technology fields with the growing demand of website and graphics designing. This is a vast field and it constitutes of many sub fields. Graphic Designing includes logos, banners, brochures, flyers, business cards and a lot more. Today, there are a lot of individuals or companies that regularly need some kind of graphic design. Whether it be for online uses or printing purposes.

A portfolio for a designer is the basis of clients whether to hire you for their designing needs or not. Your portfolio demonstrates your skills, expertise and talent.

A design portfolio is compulsory for freelance designers as well as those running a designing company.

Designing a portfolio is not something that you just start doing without any preparation. There are a number of things to consider but before you start designing your portfolio, study the reasons why is it important and in what ways will it help you. This will help you in coming up with more creative ideas for your design showcase.

Following are a few points explaining why a portfolio holds so much importance.

  1. Presents Your Skills

    I have seen many designers’ websites without any graphics. They are just full of text and stories. Mentioning what services you offer and what can you do is not enough. You should show a proof of what your are doing. Your client will not be interested to choose you as their designer unless you don’t showcase your work in that specific designing they want from you. Suppose you get a client visit your site wanting to get a brochure designed for their business but don’t find even a single sample of your work.

    Clients need satisfaction as they are spending something to get the job done!

  2. Makes Clients Trust You

    When you display your work; you make new clients trust in you. Get the testimonials from your old clients along with your portfolio so that the new clients get more satisfied from you. This will in turn bring more customers to you.

  3. Represents a Genuine Business

    There a lot of designer emerging nowadays. Many are talented and possess great skills but still there are some designers that don’t have a proper experience in this field. They have learnt a bit of basics and promise their clients to provide quality work. As there work is not worth showcasing, they don’t show a proper portfolio. This simply results in wastage of their clients’ time when they don’t like the unprofessional work.

    In comparison to this, a buyer will prefer some designer showing his/her work.

  4. Prevents Rejection from Clients

    Everybody has their own choice for designs. Similarly all people don’t like some specific kind of graphics. Some will prefer really professional, clean graphics, some prefer 3D, while others want shiny, colorful designs. Suppose you make specific type of designs and you don’t have a portfolio. You get a client and start working on their order. Soon you will come up with a final design and when you submit a preview of it to them, you get bad remarks. This will not only waste your precious time and effort but you will also get a bit frustrated and end up saying bye to your client.

    Showing a portfolio to your clients before taking their order will prevent these situations. Your client will confirm before if they need some variation in their design from the past work you have done.

After getting to know the reasons to make a portfolio and how much importance it holds you must be thinking ways to make a beautiful portfolio. Yes! It should be highly attractive, and force the people looking at your portfolio to choose you as their designer!

Design an Attractive Portfolio

I am going to give some useful tips and tricks that will lead you to come up with a beautiful design and finally some examples for inspiration!

I am not just focusing on Graphics Designer in this article. But this is also to address the website designers! Most of the graphics designers know how to make a graphics template of website. So if you got skills and can come up with a design on graphics software, it will be way too easy for you. And if you have the coding skills it would be a plus.

Don’t worry if you don’t know how to code an image to working website! You can get it done from any coder for as low as $20 for single page!

Most of the designers have their websites setup already where they offer their packages or services. But I have seen a lot of designers that don’t even have their websites. They advertise their services on different forums or websites. They think that they are getting enough customers but they are not aware of the fact that they are also missing a lot of clients due to some flaws.

Firstly they don’t have a website which is a turn down for clients who look for legitimacy.

Moreover they are not providing a proper compilation of their past work to their buyers. Anybody going to pay for something needs a proof, and a design portfolio is similar to a proof for buyers!

So following are the essential tips that you should keep in mind before designing your own portfolio website! These are the things that really matter and will make your portfolio stand out!

  1. Make a Decent Collection

    Before making a portfolio, do enough work and increase your collection till some extent. Your portfolio should be not be empty. This is a great turn down for clients and they will probably think that you are an amateur and you don’t have much experience in designing field. Just to give an idea I would suggest you to have atleast 15-20 items in your portfolio. But still you can have more. But remember don’t overfill it. Just keep a balance.

    You can tell your clients later that you have a lot more designs and you can show them if they want something more.

  2. Filter Your Design for Portfolio

    Take a hard look at your past work. Which of your designs are catchy? Separate the work you thing is best. Don’t include the designs you think are not much attractive as compared to your other work. This may cause your client to loose interest in getting their job done from you.

  3. Categorize Your Portfolio

    Your goal is to convert your portfolio visitors to your customers. To do so, you have to try your best to make your portfolio easy on eyes. It should not become a difficulty for your visitors. Don’t just make it jungle of images. This will just annoy your visitors and they will most probably end up closing the window.

    Separate your designs according to the categories. Like if there are logos, banners, business cards, flyers, brochures, just separate them up under different partitions with a prominent title to distinguish it from other designs. It helps the buyers in a way that they will look for samples in that specific design category they want to get a design from.

  4. Variety in Samples

    As I discussed earlier in this article, that all the clients do not have same choice. Your design may have a preference of one client and it may be rejected by the other so don’t ever do the mistake of adding same kind of designs in your portfolio.

    Have a variety of samples, so your client may have an idea that you will come up with something unique, different and something new for them. On the other hand if you have all same kind of designs with similar effects used in all of them, your client will not be much interested and you may loose them. Also add any photo of your print work. I myself request a photo of printed graphics I design for my clients.

  5. Include Testimonials

    Include testimonials from your past clients somewhere in your portfolio. Don’t just throw it somewhere. Instead be clever and place them in an efficient way so they are as prominent as your portfolio items are. Testimonials help a lot in motivating your visitors to become your client. It is a quick way to build trust with visitors. Many designers ignore this factor but testimonials help a lot. Let your client write a little about how was their experience to work with you.

  6. Show Your Work Properly

    Many designers add small thumbnails of their design work or show a little part of it due to the fear that someone will copy their work. Don’t do that, instead host the full-sized images on your own server and link the thumbnail or small image to the full size image, or make some functionality so that the image may zoom up on clicking. Avoid linking your samples to the clients’ website for which you made that design.

    People do not always keep same designs, they might change it and it will be a problem for your further clients later.

    Same thing applies to the web design projects you have worked on. Host them on your own server instead of linking to external websites, you may give a link though but keep a check if your client has not updated their site.

  7. Make Your Layout Simple

    People in search of a designer are looking for a website with an easy navigation. The layout should not be over done. It should not be filled up with a lot of colors and too much fancy techniques. The layout as a whole should look simple, attractive and everything on the website should be easy to understand. Don’t confuse your clients in any way. Make your contact details easily accessible. Remember contrast is your friend and you have to play with it in a creative manner.

  8. A Little About Yourself

    Having an ‘About Me’ page is also a plus point. Do not take it as granted. You have to deal with your visitors in a friendly way. For individuals, it’s a place to show off who you are as a person. Tell about your qualifications, experiences and expertise in your field. To make it more attractive, add any kind of picture of yours, a portrait, sketch, caricature or anything representing you.

    Moreover giving links to your social networks profiles from here is better. It builds more familiarity and makes you more approachable if the client is in need of a designer ever again.

  9. Keep Your Portfolio Up to Date

    Design your portfolio in such a way that it is easier for you in future to update the pieces.

    It’s a common fact that as you make more deigns and gain more experience, you start to like your new design more than the designs you had made a couple of months or some time ago. So if you think that there is something in your portfolio which seems to be odd to you then there is no need to keep it anymore in there. Just replace it with your new designs. Keep on revolving items. It gives a good impression on returning customers.

I have added some really attractive portfolio designs for inspiration. It will give you a better picture of how you have to get creative and design your own unique portfolio.

In this portfolio, the design has given a very easy way to navigate around. The animation gives access to contents of website with keyboard shortcuts.

The designer has beautifully embed the images in a frame. The frame effect makes this portfolio unique!

This design is full of creative ideas. The designer has wrapped all the necessary components of a portfolio website in a single book shelf. There are no unnecessary items in the shelf. Every item gives the information about that designer.

Simple yet attractive design. This website would have been so dull without the lightning or glow effects used. They have given life to the design. See how little sprinkles and toppings can make your site delicious!

The design is an example of use of many colors in a proper and beautiful manner. The abstract not only contain colors but also represents the name of designer along with easy navigation beside.

Here is another creative artwork. The designer is welcoming his visitors and requesting them to have a seat. This builds a friendly environment and look at the way how designer has introduced himself to visitors. Such techniques leave impressions in the mind of your visitors.

If you have a look at the complete website, you will see how in only a single page, the designer has added all the information a client is seeking for. Starting from his introduction to a few recent designs followed by his service offerings and then finally an easy contact form at the bottom.

And at last, simple yet effective about us page. It consists of a paper background effect, little sketch of the designer, and some introduction to him.

Very first thought – “What is Proofreading?” The word ‘proof’ is used to mean the final trial print that is used for making corrections before printing. Hence, a proofreader goes through the entire text with a fine toothcomb, trying to look for errors and glitches in the document.

Proofreading involves detection of errors, such as punctuation, grammar, and choice of words, spellings as well as other details of font, style and alignment. It involves surface reading.


Grammar and style form the primary focus of proof reading. The hard and fast rules of grammar need to be adhered to, such as dangling participles, typos, tenses, voices and so on. This is important to create the best image of the company or the person. Style is a little more ambiguous and has to do with the tone of the language, such as sarcasm, serious, ironical, and humorous and so on. These are brought about by the choice of words and each piece of writing needs to have a specific tone. Proofreading, in a nutshell, is not just looking out for grammar and punctuation errors ,but rather looking at the document as a whole and see whether all the words fit in together, supplying better options wherever necessary.

Qualifications of Proofreaders

A proofreader needs to do a check on the quality of a publication before it goes into print. There is nothing like a qualification that is officially recognized for proofreading, nor is there any specific course for proofreading. This does not mean that certificates are of no use for a proofreader or that they can be entirely dismissed as qualifications. However, such certificates do not surely form part of the criteria for recruitment as a proofreader.

The experience of the person is far more important in a proofreading job. You need to get maximum opportunities in order to get this experience and then establish a formidable reputation in your niche to get the maximum possible testimonials. A freelancer with a good command over the language can become a proofreader for different types of documents and articles and even novels. Some of the important qualifications a proofreader needs to have are:

  1. A good eye for detecting details and errors.
  2. Excellent knowledge of the English language, along with intricacies of grammar, spelling, punctuation, etc.
  3. A dedicated and systematic approach to the task.
  4. Good concentration skills.
  5. Relevant experience would be an advantage in order to prove aptitude in the niche.
  6. A native speaker of English would also be an advantage, but not essential.
  7. A graduate or an undergraduate working towards graduation.
  8. A good grade in English Literature would be desirable but not compulsory.

A proofreader needs to prove his worth. A freelance job of proofreading done from home can be convenient but you need good communication and writing skills. One needs to go along with the flow and the tone of the piece along with understanding the layout. Freelancers who wish to break into this career need to provide work that people would like to come back for.

Types of Proofreading Jobs

Several websites offer proofreading jobs of various types. There are many writers who want their stories or articles to be proofread. These writers then refer them to others. These jobs can belong to several niches.

For instance, there is technical writing where proofreading is required in engineering and medicine. Several documents are published in these fields and need proofreading. Writers of blogs also require proofreading for their articles. They would like their posts to be perfect in order to draw in more readers and viewers to their blog and attract advertisements. The content and readability of the article can be improved by proofreaders. Many companies also require copyeditors for proofreading their content before it is uploaded to the web. Websites that regularly publish web content are also in continuous need of proofreaders. There are also jobs related to correction of academic papers, such as thesis and other educational papers.

There are sites that allow proofreaders to set prices for their project and only do the proofreading work of those who meet their price criteria. There are several student assignments and advertisements of businesses, such as brochures and newsletters that require proofreading.

There is general proofreading that just requires an overall correction of grammatical mistakes and language errors along with spelling and typos. Journal proofreading needs a little higher skill set according to the requirements of the publishing firm. Apart from this, manuscript proofreading and scientific journals contain more complex studies and need to be properly checked out.

Tips to help Proofreaders to Succeed

  1. Concentration. Concentration is the key factor for successful proof reading. You need to get rid of all distractions and do the work without interruptions. Try to remain away from other noises as well, such as the radio, the television, your email and so on. Even a split second of inattention could cause an oversight and you might overlook an important error.
  2. Be alert to Homonym. There are words that sound similar or those that have the same spelling but different meanings. A proofreader needs to be aware of differences between words, such as ‘complement’ and compliment’ or ‘later’ and ‘latter’, ‘council’ and ‘counsel’, ‘imminent’ and ‘eminent’ and several others.
  3. Errors in Apostrophes. Several errors in apostrophes need to be watched out. For instance, words, such as, ‘your’ and you’re’; its and it’s; there and they’re and so on. These are silly errors, but if they are not taken care of the credibility of the passage is put under great strain leading to a poor opinion of the writer. You need to remember that the apostrophe is only used to show possession and it should not be used in plurals.
  4. Possessive pronouns, such as my, yours, his, hers, ours, theirs and its do not have apostrophe, whereas possessive nouns, such as Jack’s, dog’s, cat’s and other proper and common nouns can take the apostrophe for possession.
  5. Check out numbers/dates. Numbers can play a crucial role in the essay or text. Look out for the number of zeros in a value, such as $10,000 or $100,000; million or billion; 1972 or 1982; 5% or 50% and several other numerical related errors. Wrong statistics could lead to a complete misrepresentation of facts.
  6. Cultivate a sense of doubt. Try to double check your work and keep doubting, so that you will be able to identify all the errors. You need to doubt every word in order to identify each and every mistake. It is important not to take anything for granted while proofreading.
  7. Reading aloud. Read through the text rather slowly and, if possible, try to read out aloud. Read only what is presented on the page and not what is in your mind or what you think is there. Reading aloud helps as it slows you down and you are able to hear the words as well as see them, thereby making use of two sense organs.
  8. Look at the words without just allowing your eyes to slide over the words. Don’t just look at the outer shell of the words, that is the first and last letters of the word, but take in the entire word.
  9. Look out for words having double letters. These usually lead to confusion and spelling errors. For instance, accommodation, embarrassment, omission, occurrence, possession, apparent and so on.
  10. Using a dictionary. Use a dictionary in case of words that you are not very sure about. Select a link where you can quickly check out errors in spelling, punctuation, pronouns, subject verb agreement, periods, sentence fragments, dangling modifiers and tenses.
  11. Choice of words. Instead of using common verbs, such as ‘give’, use ‘offer’ proffer’. Instead of using ‘tell’, make use of a more apt word, such as ‘suggest’ ‘inform’ and so on.
  12. Using Spell check. Spelling errors are the most common ones and are also the most easy to tackle and correct. You can, of course, use spell check and a dictionary for the wrongly spelt word. However, spell check is no use with homonyms, such as ‘accept and except’, ‘who’s and whose’ and so on.
  13. Create a checklist of your own for proofreading. Make a list of the common errors and mistakes that you usually find in a document and refer to this list while doing the job.
  14. Try analyzing one kind of problem at a time or during a reading. First, try to spot grammatical errors, and then look out for punctuation errors, then word choice and then the sentence structure. If you look for one type of problem at a time, you are more likely to do a more thorough job of it. When you look for trouble, you are sure to find it, so the saying goes.
  15. Build a good professional reputation. You need to provide a good quality service of proofreading.
  16. Always complete any project within the given deadline and be professional with the client. You must also do the job accurately and in a committed and conscientious manner, so that you can be set apart from the competition in the particular field.
  17. You could also register with several online proofreading services and submit your resume, but be careful of scams.
  18. To attain success in your niche, you can print your business card and even place them with printers or in the local college boards and other potential clients.
  19. Try to develop your experience by first doing some voluntary proofreading jobs in local schools and colleges. You can also take some online classes or tutorials to develop and increase your skills.
  20. Create a strong resume by clearly listing out your experience, your educational background and any style of writing that you are particularly familiar with. You can also add some samples of your work.

Ten Common Errors to Avoid as a Proofreader

Some common errors to look out for during proofreading are:

  1. Subject verb agreement – For instance – The balls of slime is eaten by ants. Here, the subject of the verb eaten is ‘balls’ and not ‘slime’. Hence, the subject is plural and should be followed by a plural verb – The balls of slime are eaten by ants. Another example – This box of ornaments belong/belongs to me. Here again, the subject is ‘box’ and not ‘ornaments’. Hence – This box of ornaments belongs to me. ‘One of my sister’s friends is/are a doctor. The answer is – One of my sister’s friends is a doctor (because only one of them is a doctor).
  2. Commonly confused words – We often get confused between words, such as advise and advice; farther and further; affect and effect; adopt and adapt; confident and confidante; envelop and envelope; altogether and all together; amount and number; and several others. You can keep a handy list of such commonly confused words and go through the examples in order to get these words straight.
  3. Verb tenses – Verb tenses are very often confused by writers. The passage begins with a tense and then it continues into another tense. These are very often overlooked by proofreaders. You need to identify the situation and check out whether it belongs to the past, present or the future and then use the correct tense. Facts and Universal truths always need to be in the present and wishes need to be conveyed in the past. Shifting and changing the tense in paragraphs continuously confuses the reader.
  4. That and Which – This is another common error that (not which) many authors and proofreaders overlook. There is a simple method of understanding when to use the right connective. ‘That’ is used as a defining clause and ‘which’ as a non defining clause. When you need information that is essential to the subject, the correct word to use will be ‘that’. When the information following is only supplemental and not essential to the subject, we use ‘which’. For instance – XXX is a company that offers proofreading service. Here, the information following is defining and very essential to know about the company. Look at this – XXX is a proofreading company, which delivers all work in time. The second part of the sentence that follows ‘which’, offers supplemental information.
  5. Active and Passive voice – When the subject of the sentence is more important than the action done, the active voice should be used. When the action done is more important and in cases where the subject is unknown, the passive voice is used. For instance, ‘A well is being dug’ and not ‘Some people are digging a well’.
  6. Use of Ellipsis – This is a common error. An ellipsis is a punctuation used to indicate that some text has been deleted or omitted, or it can be used as a pause. It should consist of three dots that are evenly spaced with space between them.
  7. Use of commas – You have to know when to use a comma and when it is redundant. They are used for indicating a pause, when providing additional information, when joining a main clause with a subordinate clause, to separate items in a list and so on.
  8. Article use – a/an/the – When you refer to something specific, use the article ‘the’. When referring to any noun, use ‘a’. I need a (meaning any) pen. Please give me the (particular) pen. However, a general statement in the plural does not need an article. For instance, Pens are useful for writing. Yet, the pens that I bought yesterday were very cheap.
  9. Singular and plurals of nouns – Some nouns in English form plurals by adding an ‘s’; others by adding ‘ies’ ( babies). Some others remain the same for both singular and plural – deer/deer; sheep/sheep; aircraft/aircraft. Some nouns convert ‘a’ into ‘ae’ (formula/formulae); some others convert ‘I’ into ‘e’ (crisis/crises; thesis/theses) and so on.
  10. EI or IE – The rule here is that ‘I’ before ‘e’ except in case of ‘c’. Thus, ceiling and not cieling; believe not beleive; field not feild; siege not seige.


A proofreading job requires an eye for detail along with accuracy, concentration and excellent language skills. There are no other specific formal training required to become a proofreader. However, one should be careful of the common pitfalls and errors that you need to look out for while doing a proofreading job. You need to establish a good name in professional circles to become a successful proofreader. A proofreader needs to be constantly on the lookout for a whole range of mistakes and errors to do with punctuation, grammar, spellings and also the fundamental structure of the sentence and other word usages. You need to know common spelling errors, homophones, apostrophes and other details of grammar to do a thorough and professional job.


There are various types of proofreading jobs available these days and you can easily carve a niche for yourself in the field. However, the competition is fierce and one needs to do a competent and thorough job to thrive in the field. It can be a pleasant rewarding work that you can do from the comfort of your home and is a great career option for the dedicated freelancer.

As strange as this may sound for some, not every designer is a good logo designer.

I’ve met many highly talented designers who are terrible at designing logos. Actually, some of the best designers I know are so aware of that, that they even prefer to not take on this type of project.

The process of creating a logo, at least on a professional level, can easily become a long series of complex tasks that don’t necessarily have anything to do with designing, and to be successful in doing that the designer needs to have a quite peculiar mix of skills.

If you are a designer looking to specialize in the identity industry, this article will help you identify your strong and weak points. If you are an entrepreneur looking to educate yourself before hiring a logo designer, this article will help you understand part of the complexity behind the process of creating a custom logo for your business.


What makes a good logo?

Before getting onto the main subject of this article, we must define what makes a good logo. After all, it’s only by reaching an understanding on that concept that we will be able to go ahead and analyze which skill-set, experience and personality would be required from a designer to be good with the creation of logos.

So what makes a logo, a good logo?

In one sentence a good logo must be fit for purpose, adaptable to a variety of multiple sizes and materials, stand the passage of time without looking old, and be memorable enough that once you look at it, it can be easily remembered.

Overall, when it comes to logo design there’s no right and wrong, but instead just good and bad practices. The diagram below showcases what is widely considered to be the best practices in the identity design industry.

The quick dirty Venn diagram of the brand identity design.

While looking at the above diagram, what skills do you think would help to create a good logo?

One way of answering this question is by analyzing each characteristic separately, and then associating a different skill set to each one. For example, what skills would a designer require to design an iconic logo? Surely understanding the concept and value of iconic design for starters, but there’s plenty more.

Spend a good amount of time thinking about that and you’ll eventually notice that the great majority of skills needed to design a good logo have little or nothing to do with the actual activity of producing design. Surprised? Keep on reading, and you’ll get the idea.


Be good at research

One of the most relevant skills in the process of becoming a good logo designer is the ability to find relevant and useful information. Think about it: without knowing details of the client’s industry, the market and understanding how competition uses their identity to market themselves, how one would know they are designing a relevant logo?

But that’s what the briefing is for, right?

Yes, you’re spot on, but the truth is that the great majority of small clients, and starting entrepreneurs, don’t know how to prepare a briefing. Heck, some of them don’t even have this data available when they approach a designer for a logo.

Sometimes even larger organizations don’t understand the peculiarities of the logo design process, and fail by not providing enough information in their briefings. Knowing where to get the date, and what questions to ask is an essential skill.

Ultimately this skill will help to direct the design to a relevant solution.


Be able to think conceptually

Once the designer has all the information relevant to the project — which should include the client’s briefing and data from the designer’s research at least — the following step would be to analyze the data to define the boundaries of the project.

In order to do that, the designer should look at the data by using analytical tools such as brainstorming, mind-maps, color-wheels, mood boards or any other analytical tool that help to better understand the identity problem and identify what may or may not be a good concept to be explored.

I guess this is easier said than done!

Sure there’s a lot of practical work here, but once the designer has a clear vision of the big picture, being able to find a solution which is aesthetically pleasing but also has a deep conceptual connection to the initial identity problem is, more than anything else, what makes a good logo designer.

Think of it in this way: a logo without a concept is a logo without a soul.

Being able to think conceptually, and find hidden meaning in between what initially would seem to be unrelated data, has a profound impact in the process of creating a good logo, consequently it is this skill that will help to direct the design to a unique solution.


Be able to plan ahead

With a unique and relevant solution in hand, now all is left for the designer to do is to guarantee the chosen solution is versatile. In order to do that the designer needs to be able to plan ahead. Simple, uh? For what its worth, I believe this to be the easiest skill to master.

Quite basically all the designer has to do is to design the logo with context in mind. Will it fit well in a website? A twitter avatar? Printed in a one color brochure? Or full color on a business card? Stretched on a big poster? Or on the side of a vehicle? Reduced to the size of a promotional pen? Or embroidered on a t-shirt?

If the final logo can adapt to all of the above situations—and more—without losing any quality, then job done!

If not, then this solution is probably not the best—usually, is not iconic enough—and a quick look at the briefing topped by exploring another round of concepts tends to solve the problem. Nothing that a few extra hours of design won’t help to solve.

Nonetheless, here, right here, related to this skill, lies a problem.

When it comes to logo design, small businesses owners and starting entrepreneurs tend to not plan ahead, at least in design terms, and approve logos completely out of context, and for that reason they fail to understand why some solutions are just not right for them.

The risk of ignoring the need of versatility is bad for the client as it may result in the need to spend more money to rework their logo, and that’s the least of their problems. I’ve had cases where small business owners had thousands of dollars invested in stock with a logo they learned later on it was not the right for them.

And that’s the cue to the next skill, which in contrast, I believe to be the hardest to master.


Be a good communicator

I’m sure that many would say that being able to communicate your message across with success is not only a skill good for a logo designer, but for any designer, or even anyone in almost any career. That’s true, but there’s a special reason why a logo designer must be a good communicator.

The logo designer is usually the one faced with the responsibility of educating clients about the realities of the design world.

Day in day out, people are starting their own companies, and on the great majority of occasions, starting entrepreneurs have little idea of the role design will play in the success of their business, and usually they place very little importance on it.

Here’s the challenge…

When approached by someone who will most likely have little to no knowledge of the importance of design to a business, the logo designer must be able to help change the clients paradigm towards design, not only for the success of client, but also for his/her own success as well.

Designers tend to overlook this step, as it can be extremely time consuming, and clients, at least initially, hardly put any value to the lengths a designer would go to help educate them about design.

If you are looking to specialize in the identity design industry, this is, as far as my opinion goes, the most important non-design related skill you should be working on; together with a lot of patience too.

The best logo designers I know are also excellent communicators.



Designing a logo, at least from my perspective, has a lot to do with solving a puzzle that allows for many solutions. Some solutions are going to be great and others not so much; but if you don’t know what skills you need to play the puzzle, it becomes really hard to solve it.

With more and more people entering the design industry, it seems that looking for a specialization is becoming common place. If you are looking to specialize in the identity industry, training yourself on each of these non-design skills will certainly put you on the right track, but you must remember that ultimately you must be a good designer first, and for that there’s nothing better than practice, practice and a bit more practice.

We live in such an exciting time in the world of the web. Technology and standards are moving forward at a rate that’s perhaps both faster and more exciting than ever. As things change, so do our habits, and one area that I think has seen bigger changes than most would have to be the change in resolution that our devices are now running.

Resolution is a funny thing to measure; it’s not a physical size change, but a clarity change. It’s not making images, brighter, or more rich in color, but making them denser. It’s also something that people seldom understand the value of until they see it for themselves.

Of course, when we get a taste of high-resolution displays, we’re hooked. And we all want our websites (and the websites of our clients) to look awesome on the devices that are sporting these displays. Many web designers are racing towards that goal by creating images for each new resolution that comes our way. Or, as I’m calling it in this article, “chasing screen resolutions”.


An introduction to SVG

Many of us know what SVGs (Scalable Vector Graphics) are. We’ve seen it on the W3C HTML5 website, under “3D, Graphics & Effects”. SVG is a standard HTML5 technology, that displays images with code. Or something.

At least, that’s the general response I got when I asked people about SVG graphics. It’s not really something people are interested in, because its value isn’t fully understood.

I want to show you how to avoid “chasing screen resolutions”, and it just so happens that the SVG standard can help us do just that.


The state of retina graphics

When I say “retina graphics”, I refer to any devices that have a screen resolution higher than that of traditional displays, sporting a resolution way above 72ppi (pixels per inch).

Apple famously smashed the 72ppi barrier with the iPhone 4, a device that had a fantastic new high-resolution display, that looks unlike anything else we’d seen before. Except when you used it to browse the web… the web looked rubbish.

The web had 72ppi optimized images. At the time of writing this, most of the web still does, two years after the launch of the iPhone 4.

Now, we have all sorts of devices with Retina quality Graphics. It’s slowly making its way across the entire Apple product line, extending to the iPod Touch, iPad and even the latest MacBook Pro. Smartphones are popping up all over the place with high resolution displays, so much so that a “standard” resolution display almost feels old-hat at this stage.

Still resolution dependent

When the web design community overcame the blurry images problem with conditionally loaded @2x images (images that were created to be twice the size of their original counterparts, loaded only on high-res devices), the web looked good again, for the most part. Some designers even advertised their websites as “resolution independent”.

Of course, what they really should have advertised their sites as was “optimized for two screen resolutions”.

Devices will keep on getting better, resolutions will keep on getting better, and and the web will continue to be enjoyed on an increasing number of form-factors. What about the inevitable future @3x? What about @4x? What about if the standard “1x” becomes unnecessary? What makes 3x “@3x” and not “@2.5x”?

Messy indeed.

What’s more, this sort of technique is hardly widespread. I browse the web on the aforementioned MacBook Pro with Retina Display, and most of the web is sadly exactly where it always has been since the iPhone 4: blurry. Creating all of your web imagery again is an arduous sounding task, especially when the whole web design world has been designing with bitmaps for so long.

Unzoomable web

Even today, with our @2x images, we still can’t zoom in on web pages without them going ugly again. Text manages a zoom just fine, but by comparison, images just cry out for those future @4x exports (something that no one will deem appropriate to serve just on the off-chance that someone might like to zoom in 4x on your RSS icon).


Going truly resolution independent

The problem is with bitmapped images. We’ve always known that they don’t upscale, and now is no different. What we need is vector graphics on our websites. Vector graphics are calculated by a series of instructions, rather than baked onto a grid where each pixel represents a color. Enter, SVG.

One size fits all

Since SVG graphics are vector graphics (hence the name “Scalable Vector Graphics”), they’ll look awesome on yesterday’s, today’s and even tomorrow’s screen resolutions. Additionally, due to the formulaic nature of vector graphics, you can zoom in on any device and images will stay looking great.

Faster load times

Making a 2000px by 2000px image, to a web designer, sounds nothing short of ludicrous. It would take far too long to load, it would bring some mobile devices to their knees, and the 4000px x 4000px “@2x” version would be craziness. And as resolutions get better and better, it’s simply unsustainable. With SVG, since it’s a vector format, it doesn’t matter if the image is 20px or 2000px; the load time will be exactly the same. The only thing that makes a difference to the load times is the complexity of each image file.

You can use it today

SVG may not be supported across the board, but Modernizr can feature-detect it. By serving a SVG and non-SVG version, you can reap all the benefits of SVG, while leaving legacy browsers with a @1x PNG. It’s as simple as this:

.no-svg .logo { background: url('logo.png'); }
.svg .logo { background: url('logo.svg'); }


Limitations of SVG

It’s not difficult to create SVG graphics out of any vector based image. Many pro apps such as Adobe Illustrator and Inkscape can export to SVG natively. There are a few things that you’ll need to know about SVGs for the web, however.

They can’t contain bitmap images of any kind.

Sure, you can add them in SVG authoring applications such as Illustrator or InkScape, and save your work as SVGs, but they won’t render where it matters: your web browser. CSS wizardry will be necessary to load a bitmap on top of the SVG where appropriate.

Can take forever to load if complicated

If you make a complicated SVG, you’ll be hit with load times not unlike the aforementioned 2000px x 2000px image. You wouldn’t want to draw a complex painting in SVG format, for instance.

Gotta keep it simple

Apps like Illustrator and Inkscape can do much more than your web browser can handle. They’re full blown illustration apps, not web SVG creator apps. In fact, it’s safe to assume that 90% of the functionality that those kinds of application offer will be unavailable to viewers on the web. If you’re familiar with vector software, you’ll need to learn alternative ways to create the effects you’ve come to love.

Try to learn the language

SVG code isn’t something you can “see in your mind” like you can when you read HTML. It’s a series of instructions mapped respectively against one another, element by element, layer by layer. Unfortunately, as of today, you’ll probably have to dip in there from time to time, since there are some results even Adobe Illustrator doesn’t offer.

For instance, images in Illustrator have a canvas you draw on; it’s a set width by a set height. That’s great, but if you want to control those details in the browser, you need such information to be stripped away from the SVG itself (note: some browsers will interpret your CSS irrespective of any declared SVG dimensions, but not all do). It’s not particularly hard, but it can be a headache. It’s well worth spending a bit of time getting to know the language, so that you can manipulate SVGs even further.


SVG in the Wild


Logos should typically be in a vector format anyway, so they’re a great way to bring SVG into your website designs. By using the markup above, you have everything that you need to take your first SVG elements online.


Icons are a great candidate for SVG. So much so that I’ve created a full icon set using SVG graphics. The scalable nature of SVG means that the icons can be used at any size, accommodating a broad range of site designs.


Animations also make a great case for SVG graphic usage. Since animations are typically tethered to a fixed width and height, SVG goes some way towards helping animations get responsive. Flash used vector graphic elements, now HTML5 animations can too.

Background images

Background images have always been a tricky point for web developers; the potential load times, as I mentioned above, can be crazy. SVG background images can be as big as you like; they still have snappy load times providing they aren’t really complex.


All in all, resolution independence is a fantastic goal for web designers and developers alike to strive towards. It’ll even mean their design tastes will be out of date before their site imagery is. While it’s important to approach them with your eyes open, it’s pretty clear to see how SVG graphics can move you closer to a future of total resolution independence.

When you load up an SVG enabled site on a high resolution device like an iPad 3, and you zoom in, you’ll be sold.

I hope this article goes some way towards encouraging resolution independent thinking in web design and development, and I hope that it has encouraged some of you to think about how SVG can work for your next site.

I’ve been in the SVG pool for a while, and I have to say, the water has never been more lovely.

Visual design is important however, the website’s fate depend more on the usability and its efficacy. While you are designing a website, make sure it is a user-centric design because users’ are the most important aspect behind any website’s success. If your website has a feature that is problematic or non-functional from users’ end, you should simple remove it. Precisely, an effective design will always work best for your website. Thankfully, the designers’ of today has realized the importance of an effective web design due to which web designing industry has seen a significant change in web designing. The best part is that visitors do not have to face those flashy advertisements and loud talking. The websites have become more interactive.

Instead of getting into implementation details of various features, in this article we will be focusing more on significant principles and approaches, which designers should use in a proper way to create an effective web design.

Principles To Follow For Creating An Effective Web Design:

Before you start following any principles, it is important for you to understand the mentality of your users. Start thinking from a user’s perspective and understand their ways of interacting with a website and its features.

Analyze User’s Mind:

Putting yourself in a user’s shoe is not that difficult. Analyze yourself when you are in a store and the way you act as a customer. Yes, this is exactly the way your visitors act when they see your website. Honestly speaking and we all will accept this fact; most of don’t even read the entire text of the website. Your user will quickly scan your website and whatever feature attracts him in the first place, it will be clicked. This is normally how a user will browse through your website. Following are a few things that users’ will appreciate in your website:

–       Quality content:

Users’ are always looking for quality content and if they find desired content on your website, they will ignore the minus points of your website i.e., layout OR flashy advertisements. So, make sure you provide them with quality content.

–       Scanning the content:

Highlight important points in your website. Always keep in mind that users will not read the whole content, they will only scan it.

–       Users are always busy:

Web users do not have much time and patience to explore your website. You should work on providing instantaneous satisfaction to your visitors, as a web designer.

–       Users’ don’t always make the best choices:

Your website should have a good optimization because users’ are used to click instantly on links they like instead of searching in the first place.

Principles of Effective Web Design:

If you want to a have an effective web design, you should follow the rules mentioned below:

1. Simplicity:

Your website will adaptable for users only if it is not-so-complicated. I know and I understand that you want your website to look great however; this does not mean that you should fill your page with nonsense. The distractions will only confuse your visitor. So, make sure that you keep your website simple and if you are a good designer, you will make sure the simplicity looks attractive too.

2. Don’t test users’ patience:

In every feature that you provide to users’ through your website, make sure that requirements from users’ end are nominal. If you pop-up long forms in front of a new user, he will simple leave your website and may never visit again. A very good advice to all web designers would be to keep the requirements minimal related to personal data because this is exactly where a user will get annoyed.

3. Avoid Waffle – Only facts:

As mentioned above effective content if very important for any website. Users’ don’t like it when you waffle and exaggerate the facts. If you want to win the trust of your visitors, make sure you mention everything clearly and precise. Only mention the important stuff and rest of the useless stuff should be scrubbed out.

4. Expose your features properly:

I personally love one thing about modern web designs. They provide a proper guidance to users in order to begin their surfing on the website. You must have seen steps ‘1-2-3’ and this is exactly what I have been talking about. This is a great way to make users’ see the features available in your website and how to reach them.

5. Effective Writing:

The content of your website should be written in web style catering to web users’. You need to talk business and avoid anything else. Also, make sure you use the web terms for specific features on your website. For instance, ‘Sign Up’ is always better than ‘Start Now.’ Effective writing includes; precise and to-the-point sentences, scan-able content, which includes headings and like I said, common web language should be used.

6. Avoid distractions:

If your website doesn’t really have anything to do with social networking websites, try not to add ‘follow’ links on the main of the page. Yes, promoting your website on social networking websites is a great way to get an increase in traffic however; it can always prove to be a distraction for users. If you want your users to focus on their main goal, avoid such distractions and remember these are distractions only if your site does not need them.

7. Effective usage of White Space:

White space’s importance is often underrated. White space can actually make your website look attractive and welcoming. It gives users a break from all the new complex web designs. White space is actually very effective. Why? Because it brings the simplicity effect, is soothing to the eye, makes layout look beautiful and last but not the least, the content can be scanned easily.

8. Web conventions are good:

Just because your website’s design is conventional, it does not make it a boring one. In fact this is a great way to save your visitor from learning and guessing process. Visitor will already know where the features are and they will not have to find them.

9. TETO Principle:

TETO is a casual term used for test early-test often which means testing your website is very, very important. You must know that testing of a website should be a repetitive process. You should conduct usability tests to make sure that your web design is an effective one.

10. Do not make it difficult for users:

Confusing, misleading and putting your users in a difficult situation, is not good. I have seen websites asking for Zip code and not many of us know the correct one so why ask?


Above are a few features that a website should possess in order to be an effective one. Bottom line; if you really want to create an effective web design, follow the above mentioned rules.

Well, the title might bring a wave of thought into the minds of not-so-creative people and they will conclude instantly that being creative is not their cup of tea. A common notion is that you are born creative/innovative or else generating innovative ideas is something impossible for you. Well, I don’t agree with this at all because everyone is creative in their very own way. Yes, you might not be as creative as Thomas Edison however, according to some researches, each human being has a creative capability and all he needs to do is discover it. If you are not naturally creative, you can follow a certain methods of generating ideas and you might even end up surprising yourself with your creative idea.

Idea Conceptualization – Focus on the goal

As mentioned above, generating ideas will definitely require some methods especially for those who are not-so-creative. You need to brainstorm in order to invoke some great ideas into your mind. However, the most important thing to do for idea conceptualization is to stay focused and know your goal. A crisp focus on your goal will help you achieving what you have been wanting to.

Also, make sure that if you are content with one of your ideas, you should plan on improvising it.

Enhancement or Innovation?

Many people try to come up with innovations however, sometimes these innovations are considered to be only an enhancement. Why? It could be possible that it is just an improvement in the product. If you really want to be creative, you should execute your idea as soon as you have it, whether it is an enhancement or an innovation. Proper execution of your idea is very important so the minute you think of something, start working on it before someone else comes up with it.

Now, if you are a newbie in the creative world, let me educate you with few but very useful tools to use and get inspiration from in order to generate creative ideas. These tools are a good way to begin with and once you get going, you will generate innovative ideas in no time.

Generate the ideas by exploiting web:

Web is full of ideas and you can find plenty of things that can inspire you for an idea generation. Random browsing related to your goal can make you think about various perspectives related to your goal. For you, these things can be totally new and you might generate an idea through something you were even unaware of. Always remember that internet is full of information and every creative person looks for inspiration. You never know your inspiration could be somewhere in the web.

Discussion Forums:

Discussion forums are again a great thing for brain storming. Random conversations and discussions can help you a lot with your thinking process. You will also find comments of experts in the forums and they can help you further with your idea generation.

Photo Browsing:

If random web browsing did not prove to be fruitful, you can always browse for various images. Some people are not inspired by words and you might be one of them. Try to focus on your goal and search for something relevant. Images relevant to your goal will help you a lot in generating an idea.

Online Idea Generator Tool:

If you are facing a creativity block, you can visit various online idea generator tools. However, this might not prove to be really helpful if you are focusing on something because such tools provide you with random three word phrases. But this tool is very beneficial for improving your creative side.

Pick an idea from random conversations:

If you are unable to generate an idea relevant to the concept you have in your mind, you should discuss the concept with your friends, family, classmates and lecturer. All you need to do is discuss the concept with a bunch of people you trust so that you can actually listen to them and pick interesting ideas from their conversation. We all know that when several people put their heads together, they are bound to come up with interesting and innovative remarks. These conversations will definitely inspire you in generating an idea.


Sometimes online researches are not enough and if you really want to do something innovative, go for a physical research and face-to-face conversations. By keeping your concept in mind, talk to the relevant people, visit relevant places, if possible. This will definitely give you inspiration.

Defer conclusions/criticisms:

When you are generating ideas, I would recommend you to stop being critical about them. You should not be one of those people who defer every second though saying the execution is impossible. Yes, you can judge your ideas but once you are done with the thinking. While you are generating the ideas, don’t be a critic.

Go for quantity:

I know this might sound strange because we have often heard that quality is better that quantity. However, the more the merrier is the case here. Having lots of different ideas will give you an opportunity to get selective. One or two ideas are bound to be better than rest of the lot, right? You can always select the great ideas and work on execution.

Go for wild/unusual ideas:

If you really want to get creative, allow your creativity to flow instead of taming it down. You will have a lot of time to worry about the execution of the idea so while you are thinking, just think about the ideas and jot them down.

Deep thinking:

Regardless of the fact if you are a creative person or not, we all need our daily dose of deep thinking. Sometimes, staying away from people and technology can bring a lot of good ideas your way. Give yourself some alone time and think.


The above mentioned points should only be considered as a technique to get your creativity going. Honestly, there can never be a single best way to be creative. Every individual will have its own way of generating ideas and it could be totally different from the ones mentioned above. I believe the most important thing is to generate an idea and then execute it instead of abandoning it. Execution will boost your self confidence and it will help you in generating ideas in future.

This post examines an important part of the design process that, for some reason or other, is often omitted from community conversations. Its aim is to get the design community talking about the ‘whys’ — including why they are important.

One advantage the design industry has going for it is its helpful, giving community, and that community’s desire to learn and grow. Just look around at the conversations had at conferences and online. Experiences are shared, techniques are passed along, and so many helpful hints and tidbits are blogged. But one element seems absent.

For all the conversations we are having, we don’t discuss why we make the decisions we make in our projects. It’s our choices that provide insights and opportunities. We should talk about them.


Why ask ‘why’?

Perhaps we don’t realize that the rationale behind our decisions can be valuable to others in the community. Perhaps we don’t think deeply about our decision-making processes because so many decisions are made in the early stages of our projects. We often skip ahead in our retellings; we focus on technique when we share, rather than overall experience, and we show off the techniques that tied the end-solution all together without any explanation about how we got there.

This not only sells our process short, it sells the industry short as a whole.


Help the community learn

Revealing our decision-making processes and discussing why we chose to use various techniques can be useful when teaching others. Our choices offer insight into the problems we run into and the solutions we come up with. If we want to teach others to walk in our shoes, this is vital information. The choices we once made were opportunities for us to learn, and they could become opportunities for others to learn. Why do we give strict instructions for getting from point A to point B instead of just handing over the road map?

Help clients understand

The more we talk about why we made the decisions we made while working on a project, and the better we get at expressing them, the more we’ll be able to help our clients understand why they should side with us when there are clashes between visions. Numerous stories populate the blogosphere that highlight how often this type of situation arises. Clients push for things to be included in projects that could potentially compromise the design’s effectiveness, and we push back.

The better we are at making the case for our design decisions, and the more forethought and research we have put into them, the more credence our claims have. We may even be able to show that our decisions were made in a more thorough manner than those we are arguing against. Our processes are deliberate, and it’s because of the decisions that drive them. Demonstrating this to our clients could be the extra push they need to give us clearance to follow through on our ideas.

Track the creative process

How this profession is perceived is one problem that has been discussed on the web by the community. Web design is often discounted as a whole because some think our work is virtually effortless. People think all we need to do is press a magic button and, suddenly, fully functional, tested and tried products instantly appear online. That is not how it works. Perhaps this stems from the fact that non-creative people do not understand the creative process?

Discuss your creative process. Give your clients a revealing look behind the curtain so they get a sense of the amount of time and thought that goes into our products before we even begin to render anything. Keeping a lid on our own tendencies to gloss over these vital steps could be the beginning of breaking through that mindset.


Add depth of understanding to projects

The kind of conversation I’m advocating gives insight into the full meanings of our designs, straight from those who created them. While there can be an interpretive element to design, recall that specific end goals were set for each project, and shedding light on the way those goals were reached can negate the need for interpretation.

Furthermore, if, from the outset, we expected we’d be having these conversations (if we knew we’d have to provide said road map), then we might consider each of our choices more carefully, and thus strengthen our own grasp of a given project.

This can also benefit the design in other ways — with regard to appreciation, for example. We know that design should not overshadow the brand or service it promotes, but it doesn’t hurt to build functional designs that users can appreciate. The more people understand a design and the decisions that shaped it, the more likely it is that they’ll connect with the design. Connection leads to appreciation, which is intimately connected with success.

Highlight professional expertise

I’ve glossed over this in other sections, but it deserves an explicit mention. A good designer can bring together complementary elements to create an effective design, but a great one can tell you exactly why each of those elements was chosen and just what makes them work effectively with one another. The more we talk with our clients about the why behind the how, the more we highlight our professional skills and know-how. Take the opportunity to demonstrate the expertise that will make you that much more desirable in the job market and give your clients confidence in your skills. These discussions can open doors for us that might have otherwise remained closed.

Success in this business is not so much about price points as it is about clarity of vision. Let current and prospective clients know that we have the talent to back up our asking prices and that the works in our galleries are more than just happy accidents.


Stop holding back

When you start to examine the numerous benefits of sharing your decision-making processes, you might start to wonder what is holding you back. Why haven’t you been having these conversations?

What if we are holding back because we don’t know why we made the decisions we made? Have we become so overworked that we just aren’t doing the research we should be doing in order make the most informed decisions we can make? Maybe too many of us are bluffing our way through the decision-making process.

Even if none of that is true, we have to consider what impression we are giving our clients. Maybe we just don’t have time to spare for more meetings, but it might not be coming across that way. As a community, we should make the time to make these conversations happen.

When I start telling people about the importance of a favicon to their overall online branding strategy, they usually say the same thing: “Aren’t you taking this branding thing a little bit too far?”

My answer usually goes: “Not if you’re serious about your own branding efforts!”

It’s true, favicons are very little things, probably the least important bit of a site, but it’s attention to detail that makes a site stand out; and even if it sounds crazy, favicons are very important from a branding point-of-view.

Considering WDD is a website oriented to a designer audience, my guess is that many of you already know what favicons are and how to create them; but this article may still help you to undertstand why you should make them, and also serve as a good resource page.

I’m sharing a big list with favicon-related resources below, so consider bookmarking this page for future reference. Oh, and if you do, notice the WDD favicon right in your bookmark list 😉

Just in case you’re not a designer, or any sort of black-belt in favicon-arts, this article covers probably everything you will ever need to know about these elusive little 16×16 pixels squares, and even some interesting favicuriosities as well. So enjoy!


What is a favicon?

Favicons are small square images usually 16×16 pixels which are used by web browsers to show a graphical representation of the site being visited at the left side of the browser’s address bar. You have probably seen many favicons before, even if you don’t know what they are. If there’s any doubt, the image below will help.

If you’re interested in understanding a piece of internet history, here’s a interesting fact:

The word favicon is a portamentau made out of the words “favorite” and “icon”, and it was named as such because it was first supported by Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 5 and just in case you don’t use IE, this browser bookmarking feature is called favorites.


What’s the purpose of a favicon?

Back in the early days of the internet, tools such as Google Analytics were mere dreams in the minds of a few web-nerds, so as strange as this may sound, at that time, favicons were used as a way to estimate website traffic by counting the number of visitors who bookmarked the page. (That’s another interesting snippet in the history of the internet!)

But interesting facts aside, the main reason for having favicons nowadays is to improve user experience. Favicons are used in all modern browsers at the address bar, in the links bar, in the bookmarking area and in its browsing tabs. Besides that, a few browsers also show favicons whenever you create a shortcut link for the corresponding website in your desktop and your mobile device.

Surely the main reason to have a favicon is the obvious improvement in user experience. A website without one will show a generic browser symbol on all the points-of-interaction I mentioned above, and if you care about your user experience, you must care about favicons.

But I cannot avoid seeing things through the lense of branding, my area of expertise, so I think favicons are even more relevant from a branding point-of-view. Again, with so many points of interaction, not using them to raise brand awareness is a crime. Truth is that finding creative ways to improve your online branding is always a challenging task, and having a favicon is an easy and simple way of accomplish that. So get yourself one my friend!


How to create a favicon?

Creating a website favicon is easy as pie. As a matter of fact, you don’t even need to be a designer to do that. Surely it helps if you are, as you can put your skills to work and create something that really stands out, but even the less tech-savvy of us can do it in about 5 minutes or less, using the right tools.

The websites in the list below allow you to create a favicon simply by uploading a pre-existent image. So if you want to create a favicon for your brand, all you need to do is to upload your logo to one of the following sites and download the favicon file. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy.

Here’s the Favicon generator list you’re looking for:

The websites above vary a lot in terms of the resulting file you get; especially in terms of file size and extension. If you are looking to get the most compatible file possible, I strongly recommend downloading a image sized 16×16 pixels with the “ico” format.

If you need some inspiration, try checking out the favicon galleries below:


How to use your favicon?

Once you have your favicon carefully designed, installing it on your server shouldn’t take more than a couple of minutes in two easy steps. For that you’ll need access to your website root folder and a text editing tool to change your website HTML code.

Step 1

You’ll need to upload the “favicon.ico” file to your server. In order to do that, point your browser address bar to your FTP server; your URL should look similar to this:

Press enter and the browser will prompt you for an username and password before granting access to the file server. Once you’re in, just upload the “favicon.ico” file to the root folder and you’re done.

Step 2

Now you’ll need to edit your website HTML page to help browsers find your favicon image. Keep your FTP window open, find and download the “index.html” or “header.php” file from your server and follow the steps below according to the file you get:

If your website is made of plain HTML, insert the code below in the HEAD area of the “index.html” file, and don’t forget to change “” for your own website address.

<link rel="shortcut icon" type="image/x-icon" href="">

If you use WordPress, insert the code below in the HEAD area of your “header.php” file.

<link rel="shortcut icon" type="image/x-icon" href="<?php bloginfo('url') ?>/favicon.ico">

With that done, upload the file back to where you got it from. You’re done!

On a matter of fact, most modern browsers are smart enough to find your favicon file even without any piece of code, but only as long as the favicon image has 16×16 pixels, it has been named as “favicon.ico” and is saved in the root folder of your website folder.

How to create a favicon in Photoshop

With so many tools available to help you create your favicon, why would you want to take the hard road and create it in Photoshop? Well, if you’re a designer and want to get the best out of your favicon, certainly that’s the professional way of doing it. The trick is that Photoshop doesn’t natively support “ico” files, so you need to download this plugin from Telegraphics.

Be sure to install it before following the tutorial below. Photoshop will not work without it.

Create a new document in Photoshop selecting the menu item “File” and the following option “New”, then set your canvas at 64×64 pixels. Why? Since the 16×16 final favicon size is so small, having a bigger canvas to work on will help you get your creative juice flowing. Then paste your logo into the document and release your magical unicorn-creative power.

Once you’re done, simply select the menu “Image” and the following option “Image Size” and reduce the image to 16×16 pixels. Remember to click on “Resample Image” and choose “Bicubic Sharper”, this is to make sure the image doesn’t blur when resized. If you don’t like the final result simply undo your latests changes with “AltCtrl/AltCmd+Z” and keep on working on the design until you’re happy with it.

In order to finish your favicon all you have to do is to click on the menu “File” and the following option “Save As”, there you remember to name your file as “favicon.ico”. Once again, job done!



Favicons are one of those little things that we usually don’t pay too much attention to, but the truth is that far from being insignificant, they are a very important part of the web, both from a user interface perspective and a branding point-of-view.

Some say that great things come in small sizes, and I think that applies to favicons as well, because any web designer and/or branding specialist who always take the time to add a favicon to their clients’ sites, even when the client has no idea of what a favicon is, demonstrates a great deal of professionalism and attention to detail; the sort of quality that every client appreciates.

The biggest weakness of the human being is that we are a social animal that needs emotional as well as material support to survive, and perform anything with excellence.

This is a fact that runs from primitive age and no matter how advanced you are and how much time you can spend in silence, it is important to at least, know that there is a support system behind you that you can rely upon at the time of distress.


The support system in question does not only comprise of the support from friends and family who will inspire you in good times and bad while rectifying your mistake at times, but this would also include the material support that varies according to profession and the section of the population you belong to. For a freelance writer, the material support system is in the form of resources while writing, job boards, writers group for relevant information, client database, software for improving grammar and vocabulary and many such small yet relevant things. If you want to be successful in this field of work, you require each of them to be in proper order.

Why Support System Is Important For Freelancers?

Contrary to the common belief, work from home’ jobs are quite difficult, and requires dedication and determination for success. Those who believe that these jobs are easy to find, and you can treat the assignments loosely will never be able to find a job that pays decent amount. Finding even the first client will be difficult if you are not ready to be committed to the job. This does not mean that you require to quite your day job and do rigorous searching for earning some extra bucks. That is where the support system comes into play. There are writers groups such as LinkedIn writers group and many more that you can try out for making contacts. Similarly, there are other forums for specific occupations. You can look through job board such as, Problogger, FreelanceWritingGigs and many more. There are some job portals too, that plays major role in finding your dream job. Until and unless these supports are there with a freelancer, it is not possible to survive in the job jungle. The rule of survival is applicable in the huge market of content writing, and that makes support even more indispensible.

What Are The Support Systems That The Freelancer May Look For?

The word, ‘support’, includes many things and each of them is equally important for the freelancers.

  • Writers Boards: Writers board or job boards are open to all freelance writers and other professionals who are searching for opportunities to make it big in this industry. These boards bear gigs of jobs and small projects uploaded by the requesters. You may find something relevant to your skills in the job boards and if you are a writer with some sort of experience, this can be a great opportunity for you.,, and are some of the well known job boards
  • Writers or designer Groups: Writers groups are online forums where the writers share their contacts, information, skills, tips and many such things that add value to your profile. National Association of Writers’ Groups, LinkedIn writers group, Facebook writers’ community and many such online communities can be joined by a writer searching for relevant information and skill tips. If you are an aspiring writer without any project in hand, then this can be beneficial for you. Communicate with the established writers to find out how to start off and find clients.

    Similarly, you can find designer forums where designers discus on topics and share knowledge. is one such website that can be checked out for additional help.

  • Freelancing Job Portals: Elance is one of those few job portals that are visited by prospective requesters regularly., and many more such websites are there to help you find a job that belongs to your territory. You can choose the jobs that you feel are suitable to you and bid for them. If there is a bidding option given for the job, make sure to bid low or reasonable as a beginner. Make your presence felt in the job portal till the time you are noticed by the requestors and given quality jobs with decent payment.
  • Software for Grammar: You don’t have to be Shakespeare to become a freelance writer, proper grammatical knowledge and sentence formation skills are enough to succeed. However, there are people with flare for writing who don’t have very high grammatical sense. For them grammar checkers can be advised as support. These online and offline programs help you to rectify any grammatical error, and polish your English in such a way that the requestor would never know, that you are not that proficient in grammar. You can check out Grammarly, white smoke, ginger and many such programs for correcting your grammar. Some are available free while some may ask you to take paid membership after free trial.
  • Vocabulary: It is important to improve your vocabulary to adapt different writing patterns. Though English is an international language, and a content writer requires being an efficient English writer, there are several forms of English that you may need to write. English for UK, USA and Australia are different from each other and the vocabulary used in them are also different. Learn American English Online, English Daily 626, BBC Learning English, Learning English via British Council, Englisch-hilfen are some of the websites that can improve your vocabulary and improve you English both written and spoken. Read a lot of articles and online content to have an idea of what the requesters are asking for.
  • Payment Support: If you are a freelancer, then you may get jobs from around the world and it may not be possible for the requester to send payment to your account directly. That is the reason why you require payment portal support that not only receives payment, but also convert it to your home currency and transfers it to your home account. PayPal and Alert Pay are two of the best payment portals that are frequently used for converting and transferring money. You require having an account in one of these portals so that, requesters can transfer you money with ease.
  • Portfolio Website: Freelancers often find it useful to have a website of their own, where they can publish the portfolio and contact information. The website requires having a professional look and if you can optimize the website using SEO tools, then the prospects would surely find you. You can also hire web hosting services along with WordPress blog support for publishing your content. If you are a designer, then a website with your portfolio in it is essential. If the prospects find your designs or projects interesting and suitable to their requirement, they may hire you soon. You can find providers that offer free website or URL with basis services. You require creating a home page, portfolio page, contact page and other pages that you may want to add.
  • Technical Support: A freelance writer does not only require support for vocabulary, grammar, and writing helps, but he or she may also require technical help for building up a website. If you are building a website and want to make it look professional, then you may require support from a website design company or a technical person. You can also seek packages from companies that offer web hosting and website design together. These packages are quite reasonable and once you can grab control of the content market, you will not have problem with the price. It is also possible to get websites and blogs with already prepared themes that can be installed in your website for free. If you are a designer yourself, then this help may not be required for you.
  • Blogs: Blogs help in building the market for the writer. The blogs that are based on a single niche are found to be most effective and these blogs often creates interest among prospects who would like to create a positive impression about their products to the prospective customers. Blogs are form of communication that people trust and if you can build your good name with the blogs, you can ask for decent bucks for writing blogs for companies. Even for a designer, blogs can be used to let people know the area of expertise.
  • Article Submitting forums: There are several article submitting forum where you can submit your articles and receive reviews for them. There are forums where you can publish your article and can sell it for good bucks. There are companies waiting to purchase high quality write ups that are related to the products of the company and informative. is one such forum that you can check out for a great content writing career.
  • Social Media: Social media such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and others are best place for demonstrating your talent. These days, the social media is the biggest support that can either make or break the freelancer.

How to Add On To Your Support System

Freelancers, at some point of time in their career, understand the requirement of support system. However, there are many who find it difficult to add them in their daily work process. Some may also omit them and suffer big losses. There are some other people who quit their job to dedicate time to become a successful freelancer. Don’t worry, quitting your day job is not essential and you can continue to earn some extra bucks. Firstly, you need to determine, what amount of time you would like to dedicate to pursue your passion. Make a schedule for the day and dedicate at least 1 or 2 hours in the beginning. Start working for free and search for contents that let you know about the procedure of making it big. Purchase a website and start building it yourself or with the help of professionals. Check for the response you are getting on the free jobs because this will let you know if the work is suitable for you or not.

15 Advantages of Support System

It has been noted by one and all, that support plays a major role in human life. It can be emotional, mental, physical or material support, but each has a major role to play in the success story of an individual. Not everyone can be a ‘Robinson Crusoe’ doing everything on his own. Support is the backbone of success and the same is applicable for freelancing job. Different supports have different benefits that differ according to the field of work and expertise. The following advantage of support system can be pointed out.

  • A proper support through a proper guide in the same field will make it easy to choose the best path. In case of freelancers, the startup is the most important factor and is he or she can gather required knowledge for starting up, he can actually be successful in the long run. For example, if you want to be a freelance writer and you have the information about the clients who tend to hire new people, you can start your journey successfully. If you are a programmer and you get tips from the experienced candidates regarding meeting deadlines, then you can complete projects on time with fewer errors.
  • If you are thinking of starting as a freelancer, support from a freelancer group would make it possible for you to determine if the job is suitable for you or not.
  • A support system can let you know about your weaknesses. If you have grammatical errors, it would correct it. You will learn some new terms, grammar and much more that would help you in the long run.
  • Support can make you more professional and behave like and expert that is most required in the world of freelancing where perfect competition prevails.
  • Support can help you get a notion of the loop holes of the market so that you can omit them and reach your goal faster. Those who have stumbled through the path have made the path smooth for the newcomers. You can get the direction to run through the path before starting to walk on them.
  • The support through payment portal can make you get payment in time and you prove to be professional and international to your clients.
  • The best part of support system is that you have something to fall back on. Even if you are given to write on a subject that you don’t have any idea on, you can discuss with your community people and you will surely find a point to start. The same is applicable for other job profiles.
  • A support system in the form of groups will let you interact with your rivals and experts in your field. You can judge their strategy and find out a unique path for your own.
  • Support makes your progress bound by calculation. When you have your steps planned, it is possible to reach the goal in stipulated time.
  • Support can convert the beginner to an expert. With support from vocabulary, spelling and grammatical software the English can improve for the beginner writers. Other freelancers can use other such tools that rectify mistakes easily and bring out the proper solution in no time.
  • Support gives you immense confidence because you tend to know that even if you make a mistake, there is somebody or software to rectify your mistake. Confidence is important for selling your talent but the required confidence can be gathers only when you know, your mistakes will be corrected.
  • Support helps in achieving perfection and makes your skills more polished. If you are designing a webpage or writing the code for a new program, expert advice can let you perform the task well. Even if you are expert in the specific field of work, it is possible to make the project look more professional with expert advice.
  • Success is a gradual process and if you have the proper support by your side, you will know the steps in advance. There are forums that would guide you through the steps.
  • Support can improve your skill. Even if you are a novice in writing or programming, software and technical support can make you aware of the market requirement and you would understand what the clients actually want.
  • Support can actually help you get through tricky situations without any hazards and save a lot of money.


The requirement of support system for freelancers cannot be denied, and the good news is that there are numerous support systems available for them to rely on. There are some of them that are relevant to one occupation and there are some that are applicable irrespective of the field of work. As freelancers are non full timer with a specific company to work for, an experience to showcase, a regular salary to rely on, and the requirement for continuous performing is more in this form of jobs rather than the day jobs. However, you have the freedom to determine your working hours, schedule, capacity and you can choose works that you feel would suit you. Nevertheless, your responsibility would always be to choose the proper support system and add them in your structure of work for positive result.

A logo is a symbol or emblem used by commercial enterprises, institutions, and organizations to promote public recognition. In simpler terms, a logo can be defined as the face or brand of a business. Because a logo carries so much significance, the task of designing one becomes that much more important.

Logo designing, therefore, is a major step that a business owner might undertake. Be it a commercial business or an E-commerce business, logo designing is an extremely important task for all. Logo design is not just confined to businesses; it includes schools social organizations, and even individuals.

The fact is that every enterprise that wants to build a brand and leave a mark on public consciousness designs a logo. While schools and institutions might not put a huge effort into designing their logo, business owners who are competing in a fast-growing market spend a lot of money and time in designing their logos. The reason behind this is to attract enough consumer attention toward the design and direct traffic toward their business. Designing a logo, however, is not that simple. One needs to understand various factors and consider many things in the process of designing a logo. This article will discuss ten of the most important things one needs to consider when designing a logo. Before going into those ten magical logo design tips, however, let’s understand a few other things about logo design.

We will start with the benefits of logo design or managing a logo for a website, business, or organization. This section is especially for those who still have second thoughts about designing a logo or are unaware of the benefits of a logo for their business or organization.

Benefits of Logo Design

  • Builds corporate identity:

    To keep it simple, let’s ask this question. How often do you remember a company’s full name and its business description while browsing the Internet or reading a newspaper? I’d guess not that often. In that case, you must realize that your audience will experience the same when it comes to your business. To avoid this issue, you need to build a logo that defines your business and gives it a recognizable image. A logo affects a user much more than content alone and it is more easily remembered. In short, a combination of name and logo better identifies you.

  • Enhances branding:

    Every business dreams about making it big, and a very important factor is having a recognizable logo. . How do you identify a branded t-shirt? The answer is its logo. Nike or Levi’s is not the same until the product has its logo imprinted. Similarly, McDonald’s and KFC burgers are brands, and the logo says it all. In the process of building a business, it is important to build a brand, and this becomes easier with a logo. A logo boosts the brand it represents and, therefore, even television channels put much thought into making the most minute changes to their logo. The fact is that logos really do matter.

  • Makes an advertising plan easier:

    A logo plays an important role in the task of advertisement. Imagine the gateway of a corporate mall or a company’s investor or partner page; the first thing that catches your eye is the logo. You cannot expect your users to read through the entire billboard while crossing the road, nor can you expect them to read a complete description of your business on someone else’s site. In these cases your logo says it all. In many cases, you cannot put up a long description for various practical reasons. Thus, a logo makes your advertising plan easier and yet impressive.

There are additional benefits to creating a logo, the above being the major ones. Now, after understanding the importance of having a logo design, the next major factor is how to create a logo design. If you are a professional designer yourself, by following certain logo design tips you can create your own design. If not, you can hire someone to design your logo. In both cases, there are important factors that you need to consider. Let’s talk about this briefly before outlining the 10 important points in designing a logo.

You design a logo:

When you design your own logo, you must first understand and implement certain requirements, while making sure that the logo conforms to other general considerations. The general considerations of logo design are the factors that you need to consider whether you are a buyer of a logo design or design it yourself. Make sure that you have used the name somewhere in the logo. When names are too long, designers tend to use initials. if you are designing a logo for your website, keep it in Jpeg format and a small size, so that the logo doesn’t increase your web site’s loading time. Make sure that the typography and color combinations work well before confirming your logo. These are some of the important factors one needs to consider when designing a logo. A few other considerations, some being major ones, are discussed in a later section.

You ask another to design a logo:

Now, when you are asking someone else to design a logo, there can be two cases: either you are hiring a designer to do so or going to a logo designing company. In both cases, you need to research and submit your exact requirements. Always look at past logo designs that the company or designer has done. Consider their views, as they are experienced and make your points as well, since the logo design is for your business. Address the issues of typography and color, review samples critically before finalizing, and make sure that the logo represents your business and has the capability to build a brand. When all these things are in place, you are ready to go. But first, there are other important things that you need to consider while designing a logo, and a list of the ten most important factors follows.

Ten Most Important Factors to Consider While Designing a Logo

1. Relevance of design with the business:

Just because you love the color yellow, you cannot simply build a logo in different shades of yellow. The background color, the symbols, in short the total effect, should be in sync with your business. For example, if your business is about cooking, your logo should talk about cooking and not about dresses, shoes or bags. Your logo is the emblem that the public will recognize. One of the main reasons behind your creating a logo for your business is building a relationship with customers and gain their attention. And this benefit is available only when you design a logo with more than 70% relevancy so that people identify your logo along with your business. This also helps building a brand for your business. As users tend to remember images and symbols more so than content, a logo serves to reach out more to customers. The logo should resemble your products in order to increase business. Moreover, the logo color should sync well with the website, so that the resemblance of both can also build traction.. Thus, the better the designs work together, the greater the value of the logo.

2. Future vision of business:

Everyone wants to be successful, and since designing a logo is such an important task for your business, you need to consider this throughout your design work. When you are designing a logo, you can design it for today and perhaps decide to change it tomorrow. Once you create a logo, however, it should be forever. Even though some companies may change a logo, they do it generally to offer a new look often when they are redesigning their site. This includes a huge risk, because your existing customers might not like the new face of your business. It is always beneficial, when designing a logo, therefore, to keep in mind your future vision. Suppose your business offers baby care products. This doesn’t mean that you should necessarily create a logo with a baby in it. You might like to expand your business to kids’ products and maybe young men and women products as well. In that case your baby logo will be irrelevant. You should, therefore, always consider your future vision for your business while designing your logo. Similarly, a company offering k12 education should not specifically create a logo with a k12 imprinted on it when the owner has plans to enlarge it beyond k12. Future outlook and a vision of growth for your business should be considered while you are designing a logo.

3. See through your users’ eyes:

Users of your products are always the priority concern for your business. You are building a business to gain traffic and earn revenue and both come about via your targeted audience. Since your business logo will be the face of your business, when designing a logo you need to consider your audience’s perspective along with your taste. If you are designing a kids’ site, make sure your logo is targeted for kids, and design something that attracts kids to your business. Similarly, if you are creating a design for professionals, you cannot get too funky while designing your logo. Below, examples provide some light regarding this. Though some professionals might be fun-loving and playful at heart in personal life, when you are serving professionals give them only what they expect. For example, even though you love extravagant colors, landing in an educational website with those colors may cause you to wonder whether the site will provide something of value. In that respect, always design your logo in sync with an audience’s thought. The best way to know this is to get reviews from a few people who can be your targeted audience before giving the final green light to your design.

4. Look at competitors’ sites:

Yes, you are hearing it right. You need to do research on your competitors and how they have used their logo. This, however, doesn’t signify that you need to create a replica of it; if you do so, there are many drawbacks. But what you need to do with this research is to think through the process of your business field. You will come across various business products, and one example could be fairness cream. There you might see that fairness cream for ladies should have baby pink and white in it, and when you browse across hundreds of fairness products, you observe only these two colors. The reason is not that one is copying the other, but rather that people relate fairness with white and baby pink, something that is soft and light. You cannot sell a black color fairness cream to a woman; she might love wearing a black gown to a party, but convincing her that a black logo fairness cream will make her fairer is something near to impossible. Another example can be most of the PMP certification related sites that have blue color as most prominent. The reason behind this is PMI, the institute that offers PMP credentials. Similarly, while looking at logos when you do research on competitors’ sites, you need to understand people’s ideas toward the product, and you need to create your logo considering this idea. While you might think that doing research on a competitor’s site for a logo design might not give you significant benefits, ignoring the same will be a mistake. Consider this an important point.

5. Create an immediate impact:

We are all aware of the importance of first impressions. Since we’ve established that your logo is the face of your business, it needs to be creative and attractive to pull customers in. You cannot offer a dull and boring logo and expect crowds to come to your business. Note that “dull and boring” here doesn’t refer to colors. The fact is, you need to be creative and use your imagination when designing your logo, while at the same time staying within the limitations given. For example, the Puma brand has a leaping lion in its logo. A Puma is a feline that resembles a lion. It identifies with personal power. Thus, when the company was considering this logo, they kept in mind all of these factors: the meaning, the symbolic representation, and the resemblance to their product. They have created their products ranging from shoes to bags and dresses with a selling point of power. This creates an immediate impact on users, and they instantly identify the Puma brand with a lion in its logo. Thus, you need to make certain that your logo is striking and impressive when designing your logo.

6. Keep it simple:

Someone once said “simple is beautiful,” and you need to keep this in mind while designing a logo. In order to fulfill the previous priority factor, you should not end up building a complex and difficult logo design. Logos should make users remember them, and in the process of making it impressive, if you make it too complex, it would be more difficult for your user to remember it. You need, therefore, to use a simple approach while designing a logo. You should not experiment with a host of different ideas in the same logo, as that might end up causing confusion. Try, therefore, to keep it simple and subtle. Your preference should be to make your logo easy to remember, and this is possible when you keep your design simple, which would include typefaces, color mixtures, and icons.

Below are the final and most important list of important factors while designing a logo.

7. Size is important:

Just because the logo serves as the face of your business, you cannot create a large icon displaying your business appropriately. Absolutely not. You need to focus on the size of your logo. You logo should not be very large because this might adversely affect your future promotional campaigns. Your logo should be of such size, shape and form that even if you resize it, it does not lose its impact. Besides, when you rescale a larger logo to a smaller size, the letters and the pixels will not be as clear and impressive as it actually is. Keep your logo small and clean and yet attractive. Also when you are using a logo for a website, you need to make sure that the logo is a smaller size so that it does not affect the loading time of your site. Thus, size plays an important role in logos and, therefore, you need to consider size as a priority while designing a logo.

8. Color combinations can be tricky:

While designing your logo, an important thing that you need to consider is color. Color mixtures, however, can be tricky. You need to be an expert or at least need to have knowledge of colors in order to use it for designing. Color combination can either enhance the look of your logo or completely destroy it. Be very careful, therefore, while choosing your colors. An ideal choice would be to go with subtle colors that are not too harsh on one’s eyes. Also, do not go for too many color combinations; select colors that harmonize with your design and complement the site’s theme colors.

9. Using clip art may not be a great idea:

Although incorporating clip art would be an easy idea, you should not generally choose that unless you have sufficient reason to do so. When you use clip art on your design, one of the major disadvantages is that it might look like a duplicate of a previous design created with similar clip art. This will compromise authenticity. Your logo needs to be unique and exceptional, targeted only for your business, and, therefore, using clip art might not be a great idea in this case. Your approach is to create an identity of your business and anything that resembles someone else’s will be a detriment for you. Make sure, therefore, that you stay creative and unique while designing a logo.

10. Logo should be long-lasting:

This subhead is not to confuse you but to tell you that logos are ideally created once for a company. Be sure, therefore, when making your choice in selecting the typefaces, the colors, the shapes, sizes or icons. Anything that is in vogue can be an obvious choice, but think about tomorrow. The same in-vogue choice might not be adored by people at a later time, and in fact considered old and not authentic. Consider, therefore, the longevity of your logo while designing it.

These are the major factors that you need to consider while designing a logo. After designing your logo, always make sure that you have it scrutinized carefully. Reviewers can include your clients, targeted audiences, and experts. All of these people will help to catch the follies of your logo design that you might have missed. With completion of a review session and perhaps some rework, your logo should be ready to get launched as the face of your business.

How to teach strategy to IT

IT’ers tend to be task-driven. This makes it hard for many to see the end business strategies and how their IT work fits in. But it’s vital for CIOs and key IT managers to incorporate business goals into daily technology work, because a better understanding of the business drivers produces better IT work. How do you do this with a naturally resistant staff?

It’s not easy–because many IT staff members are focused on critical technical areas that demand most of their focus. They find it difficult to get out of these mindsets and focus on the “big picture”-especially when they are up against tight deadlines. For many of these IT staffers, meetings are perceived as unwelcome introductions to the “real” work that needs to be done. This perception will likely always be a “fact of life” for folks in the trenches-but it doesn’t mean that they can’t be educated about the business enough so they can understand and explain how their work delivers value to the company.

How do you facilitate this as a CIO or as an IT manager?

#1  Talk about the business in your staff meetings.

Attendance is “required” in IT staff meetings, so you have a captive audience. This is an opportunity for CIOs and key managers to discuss the needs of the business, and how IT projects support those. But CIOs and managers also need to take a page out of every entertainer’s notebook: be careful not to lose the room! Be succinct in your business discussions, and avoid long-winded presentations.

#2  Get IT’ers out into the business.

This practice works with IT staff members who are business analysts or application developers, but not with more technical members of the staff, such as systems programmers, database administrators, etc. The goal is to let user-facing IT members directly experience the areas (and pain points) of the business that they support so they better understand the operations and the workflows that they are designing applications for. During this process, there is also an opportunity for IT staff to become better acquainted with end users. This fosters teamwork and ongoing collaboration.

#3  Define SLAs and incorporate business goals into salary and performance reviews.

Once of the fundamental values IT delivers to the business is keeping systems running. Accordingly, service level agreements should be established for system uptime and performance, and also for problem response and time to problem resolution. These goals are measurable with today’s automated infrastructure software and can be directly incorporated into staff personal goals and salary reviews. Business-directed projects (like a new Manufacturing system) can also be incorporated into performance and salary review goals. These are ways to embed business impact into IT personal reward systems.




#4  Develop “workload” teams.

More and more, applications are being organized and monitored on IT infrastructures as integrated business “workloads” that combine different computing platforms, networks, CPU and disk. IT staff needs to be “integrated” into business workload thinking as well. For instance, if the workload is identified as an Accounting system that supports the business financial functions and there is a problem with the workload, the database administrator, the network guy, the applications people, QA and the help desk all have to work together as a “workload team” to deliver value to the business. Working in different “silos” of IT expertise isn’t going to get the job done and will only delay IT staff from the end business objective-to get that system running. This is a fertile area for CIO and IT manager work-because many IT staff members are accustomed to (and prefer!) working in isolated technical silos where they only have to answer for “their” area. When this is their focus, they fail to extend their concern for the overall health of the system and the business. This is traditional IT thinking that has to change.

#5  Trace all IT goals/achievements back to the end business.

At the end of the year and in periodic updates, most CIOs hold full IT staff meetings to recap the strategic IT roadmap and what has been accomplished. In this forum, the CIO should also plan to extend discussion to the areas of the end business, and how specific IT deliverables have made contributions. This is an opportunity to reinforce “business thinking” in IT.

#6  Let the business drive IT.

There are some companies (Caterpillar comes to mind) that have gone so far as to not take on IT projects unless they are endorsed and supported by the end business first. The strategy ensures that IT work resonates with the business. It is also a way to build in immediate accountability in IT to the end business for projects and services.

Success on the Internet never comes out of thin air. Effective, successful websites are always a result of profound research and diligent, dedicated work.

Although optimizing a web page may seem like a daunting task and real ordeal for many website owners, with numerous manuals and practical advice available for absolutely free on the Internet, optimizing your website is just a piece of cake. This is where search engine optimization, content writing and target audience concepts come into play. It is essential to make your website attractive both to search engines and people. In fact, an average customer should be in a focus for any website, since it is the audience that you are going to interact with or sell goods to. It is impossible to please all Internet frequenters, yet it is possible to find the ones which are in search of information or services provided on your website. Below in this article we are going to dwell upon the importance of understanding your website audience, writing and optimizing your resource to meet your users’ wishes.


In order to illustrate the theory with some practice, let’s imagine that you, being a proficient designer, have decided to move your business online. So, once you have a functioning website and a certain clientele, you may start your research.

1. Use Questionnaires

Gathering demographic data about your website users is probably the easiest and the most surefire method to see what people visit your pages. There exist various ways to implement this. For instance, you may offer a bonus or a gift in exchange for a filled out form. The gift could be an extra cookie, a gift certificate or a discount for example. The questionnaire should not look intimidating. A typical form should include but not limited to:

  • age;
  • sex;
  • marital status;
  • education;
  • geographic location;
  • income;
  • occupation;
  • food preferences (use a drop-down window, if necessary);
  • hobbies and so on.

The questionnaire should include questions which would help you to create a profile of your average website user. For example, it could be ‘a strict vegetarian’ or ‘a busy and overburdened student’.

2. Process the Questionnaires

Now when you have the information, you are ready to think up a successful marketing campaign according to your clients’ preferences, as well as to make slight adjustments in the current company’s policy and goals. For instance, if most of your clients prefer vegetarian pastry or are going nuts for your apple and cinnamon strudels, you may focus on these recipes and hold over the unpopular ones. To surprise your frequenters you may add some new variations of the already existing recipes (the ones which are in demand, of course).

3. Maintain Your ‘Contact Us’ Page

All successful sites, large or small, should have a Contact Us page. At first glance, this page may seem insignificant, but it is the main gateway for your clients to contact you, especially if you don’t have a forum or run a blog. Make sure this page contains the actual, valid data. List all possible ways to contact you: e-mail, Skype, phone number and a physical address, if applicable. By doing so, you will raise your chances to get in touch with your direct customers.

4. Keep in Touch with Your Technical Support

In case you have a tech support which is run by another person or company, try to monitor its work. You can definitely learn a lot about your clientele from the most frequent questions they ask and problems they face when on your website.

5. Create a Forum

Forums are great tools allowing website owners study their customers’ habits and preferences well. It is essential to let your customers write and express their thoughts regarding your service, website and related topics. When creating topics, select several categories and watch which ones are the most popular and which stay untouched. It won’t take much time and effort, yet creating a Forum page can be a recipe for your business success.

6. Encourage Your Visitors to Join the Forum Page

Insert links into your website posts leading to corresponding topics on Forum. Let the most active users be moderators. You may also create a kind of hierarchy, either funny or serious: Member, Silver Member, Gold Member; Strudel Eater, Experienced Strudel Eater, Master Strudel Eater or BA, MA and Ph.D. in Strudenomics, etc. (just a hypothetic funny hierarchy for a cooking website forum).

7. Spark up Discussions

In order to attract attention of your website and Forum customers, you can employ some tricks. Don’t hesitate to spark up discussions: controlled debate is a very good tool for your target audience research. However, you should not go too far when adding fuel to the fire.

8. Create a Contest

Launching an interesting contest not only allows your customers express themselves and receive gifts, but also gives a lot of information about your target audience. The contest requirements should not be very strict, so that an average user could join the competition: a photo contest, a recipe contest and so on. It is essential to point out requirements and think up the prime and secondary prizes. The prizes should have something to do with your business domain: a cookbook, a gift certificate or a weekly strudel supply, etc.

9. Encourage Posts

Allow your customers contribute to your website or blog by uploading pictures and writing articles. Of course, it does not mean you are obliged to post everything you receive. Your customers’ pictures and especially articles will help you to get to know more about them than any questionnaire or forum. It is a really great pleasure for a person to see his or her creation on the web, especially if he or she does not run any web page. Other than that, with ‘third party’ posts your audience can increase rapidly, since contributors will want to share their works with their family members, close friends, colleagues and so on. So, by encouraging your website visitors writing posts and adding pictures you actually kill three birds with one stone:

  • you receive unique papers;
  • you learn more about your target audience;
  • you get free advertisement.

10. Make Sure Your Customers Can Leave Comments

In order to study your target audience well, you need to know your customers’ likes and dislikes. Allow website visitors commenting on your posts, pictures and products. Analyze your users’ reviews and make right conclusions.

11. Writing a Review Page

In order to get the most sincere testimonials, you can create a Review page where everyone would be able to write an anonymous testimonial. Many websites today create such pages to fill them with fake reviews, though there is a more effective way to utilize those: by getting genuine testimonials you will know what gaps you need to fill and what adjustments to make.

12. Create a Profile Database

Although it can be very burdensome and take some time and effort, it is advisable to build a profile database for your customers. A personal profile is a great place to express your individuality and uniqueness. Many will make use of this advantage, because people enjoy seeing their personalized accounts with pictures next to their comments or articles on the web. You will also win from seeing your target audience personalized.

13. Create a Group on Facebook

Today you can hardly ever find an Internet user who has no account on Facebook. It is essential that your website includes different social media networks’ icons enabling visitors to share the information they like. Social media are great tools to promote your business online. You can create your website’s appearance on Facebook, for instance, and post your news there. You can also create events, such as an Open Air Strudel Party, for instance, and use other great functions to remind your subscribers of your existence.

14. Employ Twitter

Twitter does not offer as wide functionality for business purposes, as Facebook, yet it is still a great tool in understanding your target audience. In fact, Facebook ‘Likes’ and Twitter ‘Tweets’ are great tools to calculate your posts success: just scan the recent posts for amount of Likes and Tweets, and you will see which topics have sparked up your reader’s interest.

15. Make Use of YouTube Insights

Did you know that you can gather some info about your clientele with YouTube insights (assuming that the chosen video has enough views)? You can scan the video for Likes, Dislikes, Comments, Favorites etc. It is also possible to track top viewers’ geographical location and demographics. In case you do not have any own video, you can analyze your competitors’ materials.

16. Monitor Your Ads

In case you display your own or third parties’ ads on your website, you can track which ones are the most popular with your target audience. Commercials are a good indicator of a person’s concerns and interests.

In addition to aforementioned manual methods to investigate your target audience, there exist special online tools, both paid and free, allowing you studying your clientele in figures. The data obtained from tools described above are called qualitative, while information obtained with the help of analytics is referred to as quantitative. So, let’s move on to analytics tools you may use to understand your target audience better.

17. Hire a Team

Of course, if you are running a large website or a series of satellite pages with numerous visitors every day, and you take your target audience research very seriously, you may want to hire a professional team specializing in this domain.

However, in case of a small website you can gather some quantitative data yourself. Below we will dwell upon the most useful features of analytic tools, allowing you to see how visitors are arriving at your page, what they are doing once they are on your site, where they are from and much more.

18. Set up Goals

Analytics sites, such as Google Analytics, for instance, offer you an option of settings Goals for your enterprise. Let’s say, you want your visitors to go to the Pastry Catalogue once they are on your website and then go to the Discounts and Special Offers page. So, you can specify this route in your analytics tool. Thus you will get notification each time someone goes through these locations.

19. Measure Traffic

Measuring traffic allows you to see how many visitors come to your site per day. With special analytics tool it is even possible to track this data by the hour. By doing so, you will get information on how your website is performing on the web, such as which days of the week customers are most likely to visit your website. For example, you can notice that on weekdays, when people have no time to cook, they tend to order pastries via your website, while on weekends the clients flow is decreasing.

20. Know Your Bounce Rate

Measuring your website’s ‘bounce rate’ is very important, since it can make you think about adjusting your marketing tactics. Bounce rate indicates whether or not a visitor stayed at your page after arriving there. The lower the bounce rate, the better for your enterprise. High bounce rate shows that you may use wrong keywords or improper ads, and visitors cannot find a product/service/information they are looking for on your website. Bounce rate is an essential figure in understanding your target audience.

21. Know How Your Customers Find You

It is essential to monitor how customers arrive at your website: whether they found your page through paid advertising, search engine inquiry or through another source. Besides analytics, you may use manual methods to get this info: ask your customers how they found you when registering their accounts, for instance. Analytics is undoubtedly a powerful tool, yet it does not encompass cases of offline ads (in magazines, business cards, leaflets etc.), and word-of-mouth recommendations.

22. Join Discussion Groups of Other Websites

Browse around for customer discussion groups and forums related to your business. This is a good idea for those who still have no forums but would like to see what people are talking about. Look for groups which are as similar to your site’s main concept as possible, prefer groups with a lot of members.

23. Make Contact

In case you are running a small family business or anything like this, you can directly ask your customers (your friends, close relatives and colleagues) about what they might search for in the targeted topic, what they would not look for, etc. For instance, if your home bakeshop serves approximately twenty people a day, and all of them are frequenters, you may adjust the menu according to their preferences without any losses.

24. Use Competitors Experience

There is a plethora of data you can glean off of your competitors. There exist special websites allowing you analyzing your rival website performance. Of course, in this case you will not get in touch with your actual audience, but you will be able to pinpoint the type of audience you are going to deal with.

25. Stay Tuned!

It is essential to monitor your website’s performance regularly. Set new goals, measure your traffic, bounce rate and encourage your clients to write and express themselves. Stay abreast of the new developments in analytics and use as many tools as you can handle. Remember, success is 1% inspiration, and 99% perspiration!


Understanding your clientele will allow you to shift your marketing efforts into the right path and accommodate your average customer’s wishes. By narrowing your target market you will increase your sales. Remember, it is impossible to cater everyone’s needs: focus on a specific target, become an expert and be flexible in reacting on your target audience wishes.

Every year, large batches of design students graduate and launch their careers in the market. Some of them land at proper places, which groom them professionally and set a solid career path for a successful future. Then there are designers who are not so lucky, who do not find the kind of professional approach they were looking for.

To help these designers cope with their career decisions, there has been much literal support through books, websites and blogs, and even debates on issues like to be a freelancer or not, to start with a smaller organization or a bigger enterprise and where and how to start professional networking etc.

However, one aspect of professional indecisiveness, which has been observed in many fresh designers, has not been discussed upon very frequently, i.e. to be a jack of all trades and be a generalist designer with multiple skillsets, or to be a master of one specific field of design career.

We will spin our article around this very topic and will discuss its different aspects in detail.

The Root of Argument

Designing, nowadays, is an extremely voluminous concept with hundreds of branches and sub-branches springing up from its core. When asking about your profession, even the most irrelevant of minds would ask “what kind of designer are you?” rather than be content with “I’m a designer”.

There are two kinds of trends seen in a designer’s professional life cycle. Some designers learn a specific skill and once their learning reaches a saturated level, they develop a curiosity to learn its associated skills too.

On the other hand, some designers learn a number of design skills at the start of their career and as they move up the professional ladder, they tend to layer off the extra skills and focus themselves onto one specific skill for the rest of their professional life.

But what about newbie designers? There is bound to be a bout of confusion as to which professional approach to opt for. Here is some food for thought.

The Benefits of Being a Generalist

When you are a “Jack of All Trades”, you are:

I. Highly Sellable

The biggest advantage of having a multiple skillsets is that it makes your profile highly sellable in the market. When you storm into the market with a diverse set of skills, there are chances that your different skills attract clients both individually as well as collectively, and will land a good bunch of projects on your desk.

Moreover, there are a number of clients who prefer to have a ‘one-window solution’. Therefore, it may happen that rather than getting only a part of it, you get the entire project on the basis of your diversified skills which will probably bring in bigger profit margins.

II. A Professional Chameleon

A chameleon has a natural mechanism of changing the color of its skin to blend in with its surroundings in order to deal with a situation. ‘Jack of all’ designers have the ability of being a professional chameleon and modify their profile to suit the needs of the project being offered. Having multiple skills enables them to play any card from their deck of skills and win a project.

III. More Productive

Being highly productive is the biggest concern of a designer from any field or sub-field. For designers, productivity not only means financial gains but is a matter of mental and morale satisfaction. In case of a design generalist, productivity almost never ends. Their multiple skills keep a steady flow of projects coming inwards, and they stay busy for most of their career.

What Could Go Wrong?

Being multi-skilled has its downsides, which includes:

I. Too Much to Handle

As I have mentioned before, although professionals get projects in bulks, everyone has a maximum workload that they can handle. These designers will reach their full work capacity at a very early stage. This situation sometimes results in a serious work burnout leading to chain of non-productive days.

II. No Exclusive Projects

Exclusive projects are every designer’s dream. Exclusive projects relate to a specific field of design, require much focus, are generally paid higher than usual projects and are a gem for a successful design portfolio. However, it happens that the clients usually do not opt for a generalist designer mainly due to the fact they already have multiple projects and might not be able to focus and work exclusively for their project.

III. Weak Project Management

Project management is one of the few add-ons that are required for a smooth flow of design business. Although project management is itself a skill (good to learn for both types of designer being discussed in this article), nevertheless, a ‘jack of all trades’ type of designer, mostly due to the pile of tasks in his plate, cuts a sorry figure in this respect.

Such designers amass design projects (those too with a variance in scope of work), usually end up messing everything up and ultimately eat into their own profit by spending money on outsourcing.

The Benefits of Being a Specialist

Now, let’s take a look at what good there is to being a specialist designer.

I. Depth of Experience

In any field of work, experience is the biggest feather in the cap of a professional. As a matter of fact, professional life is one of the few places where ‘being old’ is a compliment. In the professional life of a specialist designer, working in the same field for years and years, experience becomes his greatest asset. And so when a client is leafing through profiles and portfolios of designers for some project, the ones with more experience readily catch their eye.

Moreover, when a designer works in the same field for a long time, he becomes fluent in it and so, working on a new task becomes less challenging for him.

II. Streamlined Approach

Being a specialized designer helps you in developing a streamlined approach in work flow. As a specialist designer works on projects with same or similar scope of work, new tasks easily get adjusted in his work flow enabling him to stay focused without losing his productivity.

III. Charge Higher

Whenever you add the title ‘specialist’ in your professional profile, this immediately puts a positive impact on the other person’s mind and adds a lot to your value. This is the same case with a ‘master of one’ designer.

When you offer your services to a client by saying that you are a ‘specialist’ in this certain field, it automatically gives you a reason to charge higher than a generalist designer. Also, most clients do not argue on this as well and consider it justified to pay you handsomely for your expertise.

Master of One – Cons

Now don’t get too carried away on being a ‘master of one’ because there are some disadvantages associated with it as well.

I. Lack of Alternatives

The most basic disadvantage of being a specialist is that you do not have a lot to offer your client. For instance, a client works with a web designer and both develop a very good professional chemistry with each other, however as the web designing task ends, the client asks you if you can provide him further services like web development or CMS so that he may not have to deal with people he is not comfortable with, you end up disappointing him as you do not have any such skill.

Therefore, being a specialist designer may result into a relatively shorter business relationship with your clients.

II. Much Outsourcing

The designers who work in a single field of design sometimes get projects that require skills more than their own. In such a situation (and somewhat the kind of situation mentioned above), these designers have to outsource part of their projects.

Although outsourcing facilitates them and fill in the aspects they lack, however, the profits gets divided, sometimes quite unevenly. Also, with outsourcing, you lose control of the overall quality of the project which affects your market reputation.

III. Lower Chances of Business Expansion

In design business, like all other fields, business expansion is the ultimate goal. Particularly from the perspective of a freelancer, there is always a stage when he wants to increase the circumference of his business to keep up with the competitors.

However, with a specialized approach towards design career, this may seem difficult. For instance, if a person with multiple skills would consider business expansion, he will most probably rely on his own skills to offer a variety of services to the client. On the contrary, when a specialist designer would plan for business expansion, they would not be able to do it without external help.


I have tried my best to give a balanced picture of the choice between being a specialist or generalist from the perspective of a designer. This may give you some points to convince yourself to adopt whichever approach suits you. Nevertheless, I also understand the fact that every person has his own situation and circumstances that will mould his career approach preference.

So do share your personal experiences in this regard and let me know if this piece of writing has helped you in any way.

It’s not surprising that The New York Times called twitter “the fastest-growing phenomena on the Internet.” Twitter has quickly become a part of our everyday media and social culture. So how did we get to this point? Twitter began in August 2006 as a micro-blogging site with the sole purpose of answering (in 140 characters or less) this question: What are you doing right now?

In 2006 and 2007, many people were posting items, called “tweets” such as “going to Starbucks” watching television right now” or “looking forward to buying the new Mac laptop tomorrow”. But initially, many users were turned off because there wasn’t a clear explanation on the site about how to actually use it.


Since 2007, though, Twitter has become a valuable tool for entrepreneurs, artists, media personalities, reporters, and marketers. In this article, you’ll learn why Twitter is a terrific way to market your business and services. You’ll also learn about building strategic alliances, attracting raving and dedicated fans, the finer points of Twitter culture and much more.

The Twitter Culture

What used to be a place where you shared what you are doing right now in 140 characters (or less) has turned into a place of sharing tips, tricks, information, motivation, inspiration and a whole lot of communication. It is a content-rich platform where power Twitterers are wonderful about sharing your name, following you while you promote your business, and potentially, strategically partnering with you.

What do I mean by power Twitterers? They are a very motivated, enthusiastic group who are eager to share, learn, and network. However, they also want to add income to their bottom lines.

You’ll find many different types of people using Twitter – coaches, consultants, celebrities, corporate CEOs, artists, nutritionists, speakers, Realtors, recruiters, and entrepreneurs. You’ll also find airline companies, restaurant chains, hotels, tourism destinations, and media outlets such as radio, TV, and print.

To be successful and keep a loyal following, you must abide by the “unwritten rules” of Twitter culture. Keep these Twitter tips in mind to get loyal followers network, and grow your business:

  • Share information.
  • Care about other users.
  • Provide value.
  • Share your expertise.
  • Be welcoming and generous.
  • Be authentic.
  • Be likeable.
  • Do not plagiarize or “Twagiarize”.
  • Do not spam.
  • Have fun with it.

Keep these tips in mind and you’ll be on your way to becoming a valuable member of the Twitter community.

Blocking People on Twitter

Unfortunately, there are spammers on Twitter who have a very disingenuous way of following and attracting folks. What’s a spammer? Twitter recently released this list that describes who and what is considered spam:

  • Following others to gain attention to your account or links.
  • Creating several accounts to promote the same product or links.
  • Sending large numbers of @reply messages that aren’t really genuine replies, (@reply messages are personal replies to Twitter users).
  • Creating updates just so they show up in search results.
  • Disguising links (similar to bait and switch; writing about one thing but linking to another).
  • Developing a large number of users (relative to those following you) who have blocked you.

If you block someone, you’re saying that you don’t want them following or contacting you.

How do you block users? You’ll find this by clicking on their photo, or avatar, in the Followers section on your own profile. On the left side of the page, you’ll see an Actions heading. You can click Block to keep that person from following you.

You also have an option to block a user when you receive an e-mail notification that you have a new follower. You’ll see a link – block Jane Doe – in the e-mail. If you already know this is a spammer, click the Block link and you’re free of this pesky follower.

Why You Should Join Twitter

Although Twitter is a social networking site, it has also been called an information site There is so much great content on Twitter that’s being passed around from tweeter to tweeter. Think of it as a giant cocktail party where people share tips, resources, links, videos, and inspirational quotes. If every true “cocktail party” was like that, everyone would want to attend, right? And no one would want to leave. That is the appeal of Twitter.

More often than not, it’s not just what you know, but who you know. Twitter is an amazing resource for all-around networking and getting to know people from all over the world. In one day, you could have a conversation on Twitter with someone from Scotland, California, and Australia. The more people that you know and who know you, the more empowered you become with information, new ways of looking at things, and new ideas. You’ll eventually find new champions for your business and even new customers!

Imagine that your competitors are on Twitter and they’re experiencing amazing conversations, sharing their expertise, and making a lot of new connections. Wouldn’t that make you feel a bit behind? Well, even if they aren’t on Twitter today, chances are they will be soon. Here’s your chance to be a leader in your industry!

As of this writing, Twitter has already merged into the mainstream television media where reporters on CNN are saying, “Follow me on Twitter.” Larry King has a live Twitter feed going across the bottom of the screen during the middle of his show. You almost can’t go to a conference without finding someone twittering away from their seat.

In fact, at a technology conference, you’re more likely to have conversations on Twitter than you are in person – even if you’re both attending the same conference. Does it now seem like the whole world is “a’tweeting”? If it isn’t, it may soon be.

Okay, so let’s get down to the details. How can Twitter help your business?

Twitter is an amazing tool for the following:

  • Using PR strategies for your business
  • Marketing your business
  • Networking for your business
  • Driving traffic to your website
  • Getting others to talk about your business
  • Attracting and keeping loyal customers
  • Asking your followers/customers questions
  • Staying informed by reading what people are thinking

Twitter Terms You Need to Know

Twitter has an entirely new language, which has emerged as the short “sound-byte chatter” within the Twitter culture. If you’re new to twitter, you might feel like you’ve entered The Land of the Lost when reading tweets like this: “Thanks for the RT on #followfriday see u at the Tweetup.”

Here’s the translation: Thank you for the retweet (sharing my tweet to your network and referencing me) on Follow Friday (the day that tweeters recommend people to follow). See you at the tweetup (also called a meetup – a location that was decided we were to meet through tweets on Twitter).

As Twitter folks merge their tweets into other social media sites such as Facebook, the Facebook “language” is also shifting as people update their Facebook status via Twitter.

Don’t worry; you’ll be a savvy Twitterer in no time. To get you on your way, here are some terms that every Twitterer simply must know:

Tweet: Commonly referred to as a status update or what’s on your mind. People use this to post links, share thoughts, and give information, all in 140 characters or less.

Retweet (RT): An RT is the same as quoting someone on Twitter. Simply use RT@(person’s username). Example: RT@SalesLounge (then repeat the tweet). An RT is the forwarding of a message out to your followers, which helps it become more viral. The fun part is when people start RT-ing what you write.

Hashtags: This is simply a way to group or “tag” tweets together to be searched for later or followed by others interested in that topic or event. A Hashtag is preceded by the # symbol and is usually made up of an acronym of letters for an event or cause.

Trending Topics: This describes what the Twitter users are talking about most often. The Trending Topics are always changing depending on what is happening in the news, entertainment, or online worlds.

Followers: These are the people who are “following” your tweets. These can be your potential friends, advocates, champions, business referrers, strategic partners, customers, and fans.

Peeps: Another term in Twitter culture for your followers.

Updates: Twitter keeps track of how many times you post a tweet. They are referred to as updates.

Direct Message (DM): This is your inbox on Twitter. Someone might send you a Direct Message via Twitter, which is only seen by you and that person, if that person chooses to send it to you privately. A Direct Message can be automated or genuinely typed and sent to you by someone on Twitter. It is good to know, however, that if both parties are not following each other, you cannot DM that person privately. Any messaging would be public until both parties are following each other.

#FollowFriday: Each Friday, power Twitterers recommend people to follow by putting the #FollowFriday in front of usernames of folks they want to recommend. #FF is also commonly used.

Example: “Great Peeps for #FollowFriday,@efame,@eddierents @ RuthSherman,@MeredithLiepelt, ©BarbaraWayman.”

By recommending people to follow, you’ll quickly become likeable in the Twitter culture. When someone from another network, city, or even country recommends you on Follow Friday, you know you’re doing something right on Twitter. One of your goals should be to eventually be on the #FollowFriday list.

Tweetup: A term a Twitterer uses when she wants to meet in person.

Tweeting: This is the act of posting a tweet.

Tweeps: Another word for the people who follow you; same as peeps. It often refers, more generally, to the people (or tweeple) who participate on Twitter.

Twictionary: An unofficial listing of Twitter terms. Find it at

How Twitter Helps Your Business

When initially viewing the Twitter landscape, many entrepreneurs and business owners just cannot imagine how typing in 140 character comments on a site can help their businesses. So if that’s how you feel, you’re not alone. My best advice is to look at this as a free networking and PR avenue for your business.

If your ongoing tweets make use of the Twitter tips that we’ve already talked about, you’ll begin attracting new followers and then some of their followers will start to follow you. There’s a natural progression that occurs after you get those first followers.

Here is what usually happens next: after someone recommends you to his or her network, you will get even more followers. Your new followers simply tell their network how great your services or products are. Next, the tweeps in your new follower’s network decide to check out your website. At that point, there’s a good chance you’ll land a new client or at least develop a solid prospect. All this takes time, of course.

Why don’t you try this goal? Get five new people (tweeps) to follow you during your first week on Twitter. (Hey, that’s five more than you had last week!) In the second week, you shoot for five more; then in the third week, you shoot for 10 more, then 20 more, and so on. All you need to focus on are a few tweeps at a time.

Okay, let’s get into the nitty-gritty about how Twitter can help your business.

Creating a Tech-Savvy Image

In today’s business world, you can’t afford to look like a dinosaur. You want to be seen as an on-trend and in-the-know entrepreneur. In fact, some say if you aren’t using Twitter, your business savvy might appear suspect to others. Conversely, after you’re on Twitter, you’ll look like a savvy techie (even if you aren’t). You will be marketing yourself and your business while networking with the tech-savvy in crowd of tens of millions.

Communicating Information about Your Business

Twitter also helps you quickly send information out to your followers. Let’s say you’re speaking at an event, holding an open house, running a big special, or announcing a new client partnership. Or maybe you’re closing your business early on Tuesday for some reason. Now you can send that message out with a few simple keystrokes and-voila! – You’re done.

Building Your List

Another Twitter benefit is that it can help you build your list. In the past years, the list referred to your mailing list. Today, it refers to your e-mail list, but you can also gather office and home address as well. To the small business owner or entrepreneur, your list is your gold mine. You want to build a list with which you can regularly communicate with folks outside of Twitter and other social media platforms.

Twitter helps you by driving people to your website, where you invite them to sign up for your e-zine or newsletter.

Networking with Colleagues, Clients, and Prospects

Twitter is also a great place to build rapport with folks you’ve been networking with. Let’s say you meet someone at a networking event. Find out if he or she is on Twitter. If so, tell him or her you’ll become a follower. More than likely, people will follow you back and you’ll begin building a rapport. You’ll share your expertise, tips, and information with each other. This approach also builds credibility and, hopefully, likeability, which certainly helps every business owner.

More Ways Twitter Helps Your Business

You’re a busy professional who wants to ensure that your social media choices give you a lot of bang for your buck. To help you decide if Twitter is for you, here are a few more quick tips suggesting ways to use Twitter:

  • Use Twitter as a PR tool to promote your business as a great place to work or to do business with. Tweet something good about your employees or clients. This will give you not only happy employees and clients, but it just makes you look (and feel) good!
  • Share interesting links or information about your industry to position yourself as a subject matter expert. Let’s say you run ABC Catering. Instead of only tweeting about ABC, tweet about an article you’ve read that covers new trends in wedding cakes. This approach also shows you’re willing to be a “sharing resource” which will ultimately expand your business reach.
  • Create a sense of community around your business. Commenting on fellow entrepreneurs, business owners, clients, and followers will make them feel more attached to you and your business, We’ve talked about how networking can bring you new business and help you retain your clients. But if your tweets show genuine interest in others, this engenders a neighborhood feel.
  • Create top-of-mind awareness for your brand. By tweeting each day, you will keep your name and business in front of people. When genuinely used, a daily tweet or two can be an incredible source of PR, marketing, and branding for you and your services. Companies pay a lot of money for advertising. Remember, Twitter if a free way to get some advertising for your brand or company name.
  • Learn what your community, customers, and market are looking for. When you read and have dialogue on Twitter, you’ll know what your followers want and what they have to say. You’ll learn things that will help you make decisions about the direction of your business.
  • Invite your current clients and prospects to follow you on Twitter. They’ll learn from you and you can follow them back, which will ultimately make you, your clients, and your prospects feel more connected.

What’s in a Username?

Before creating your Twitter account, think about your Twitter username. Your user name on Twitter is your handle or your call name. It’s the word that will be placed directly below or next to your photo, or avatar. It can also be an instrumental part of your branding strategy.

In fact, a great Twitter username will be part of all of your marketing. It will go on your business cards, your e-mail signature, your Facebook and LinkedIn pages, and your blog. So think carefully about it. Oh, one more thing – you have only 15 characters for your username.

This requires thinking a little differently from what you’re used to. When we all first got into computing, our usernames were not made public. We wrote them down and filed them away. Well, with Twitter, it’s very different. Your username on Twitter is very public.

So as you begin thinking about your strategy and why you want to use Twitter, carefully plan your Twitter username to attract your target audience. There are also many ways your chosen username can help you reach out to the people you want to follow you.

As you get savvier on Twitter, which will happen faster than you can imagine, you’ll learn that one way to find people is to type in an industry within the Find People tab on

Here’s an example: Say you want to find someone in sales or a sales expert. Well, if you type in the word “sales” using Find People, anyone with the word “sales” in their username will pop up. Most people who use “sales” in their username have something to do with sales. The same is true with the word “realtor” or “financial. So your username could include the name of your industry.

Another way to find people is to search by their business name or actual name. Many people use their business name for their username. When setting up your account, it’s important to include your actual name so that people can find your Twitter profile.

You might want to brand your own name, such as @JohnDoe. That’s fine, too. Or you may want to use the name of your business as your username. That’s also fine.

The Least You Heed to Know

  • Even if you don’t immediately understand how it will ultimately help your business, get on Twitter and become involved in the conversations.
  • Don’t be in constant sell mode, because the Twitter culture hates spammers.
  • On Twitter you need to relate to others, share information help others, be yourself and reflect a positive image of your business.
  • Participate in #FollowFriday, which involves recommending people (or peeps) to follow.
  • Retweet someone when you can to show that you’re part of a community, that you don’t always have to take credit for everything, and that you’re willing to give the spotlight to someone else.
  • Think about your overall Twitter marketing and branding strategy when you select your username and photo or avatar.

The choice of a domain name is considered as one of the most important decisions that can help in establishing an online business or personal website. Every online entrepreneur prefers the top level domains for their website and in some cases; they prefer using special top level domains.

General Top Level Domains (or gTLDs) include common domains such as .com, .info, .org, and .net. For specific business websites, one may use special TLDs. For example, a company engaged in air travel, tourism, and air transport business may use .aero. While online entrepreneurs often try to garner global customers, if an entrepreneur wishes to stress more on native or local customers, they may also decide to use country code Top Level Domains (ccTLDs) such as for India, .bn for Bulgaria, .ch for Switzerland and so on.


An attractive domain name that represents the uniqueness of a business and its business ethics can hugely influence the business outcomes and that is why online entrepreneurs try to select the best possible domain names for their personal or commercial websites. An online entrepreneur is required to take care of every aspect of making an online website in such a manner that it may offer them a unique ability of search engine optimization. While one may use any general domain name for their website, choosing a distinctive, unique domain name may prove to be beneficial especially if potential customers can easily recognize it, remember it, and search for it. Thus, for a commercial website, such a domain name that can easily offer an idea about the business is always preferable. Such domain names are often called as generic domain names. Instead of providing information about a person, these types of domain names offer direct information about the business subject of the website. The domain name should be smaller and easy to be remembered. However, while choosing a domain name for a commercial or personal website, one should be very careful about choosing the domain name. One should avoid using the trademarks of other businesses and using a well-known trademark for a website can be termed as a violation of Intellectual Property laws. The IP laws of almost all countries maintain that registering the trademark of a well known company or person as a domain name of commercial website not belonging to that company or person is a violation of IP rights and it is considered as trademark infringement.

Brief History of Domain Name Registration

While the Internet is establishing itself as the strongest and fastest growing media, the history of Internet is not very old. In 1960s, people started connecting their computers with each other with the help of Wide Area Networks or WAN’s. One of the most commonly used WAN of those times was ARPANET. Gradually, the number of people using WAN facilities kept increasing and people realized that a systematic identification is necessary so that any system can be easily accessed. Initially, there were very few users of computers who made use of networks to connect with others and all these network users were associated with the U.S. Department of Defense and similar authoritative institutions. However, the number of network users kept increasing at a faster pace and it became necessary to offer a strong way to regulate and keep an eye on all available domain paths working on the network.

To facilitate the means of identification for each network user, the U.S. Defense Information Systems Agency evolved the concept of Internet Assigned Numbers Authority or IANA. The main job of IANA was to offer a unique code number or address to each network users so that they may regulate every computer that can be connected through the Internet network with others. Within a year, the concept of Internet Protocol or IP addressing system was developed and it became necessary for every computer connected with the Internet to have a proper IP address.

However, with increasing number of Internet users, the problem of addressing everyone through IP address became problematic and this problem was solved by the development of first name server in 1984. Within a year, the use of IP numbers to address network users became obsolete and it was replaced by the domain name system. In 1985, all major Top Level Domains such as .com, .net, .org and others were introduced and that gave a chance for Internet users to maintain their uniqueness.

In 1990, Tim Berners-Lee released the concept of World Wide Net with the help of CERN and within a month, the first commercial domain name server started offering domain name registration services for interested Internet users. In 1998, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced the proper transfer of management of domain registration systems to private companies and it increased the competition in the market of domain name registration services and that in turn increased the number of people using Internet. At present more than 19 million people are enjoying the facility of domain name registration and according to some estimates, more than 40 thousand people get a registered domain name every day.

Types of Domain Name Extensions

Domain name extensions are also known as Top Level Domain Names. We have already discussed about TLDs in brief. Let us take a look about 15 major types of Domain Name Extensions.

Initially, .com was the most commonly used domain name extension. Since there were not many Internet users at initial stages, the domain name servers used to offer mainly six types of domain name extensions to offer unique information about specific websites which were,

  1. .int
  2. .net
  3. .org
  4. .edu
  5. .gov
  6. .mil

During those days, .com was commonly used as the Top Level Domain. However, with increasing number of Internet users and with the advent of Internet shopping and marketing, DNS providers realized the importance of offering generic Top Level Domains. In general, these domain name extensions are often used by special interest groups. Some of these domain name extensions are..

  1. .biz
  2. .jobs
  3. .info
  4. .mobi
  5. .tel
  6. .name

With the advent of World Wide Net, Internet became the fastest growing global phenomena and the use of country code Top Level Domains became popular. Some very common ccTLDs are

  1. .in (India)
  2. .br (Brazil)
  3. .fr (France)

Generic Top Level Domains such as .com, .info, .net, .org, etc are the most commonly used domain name extensions and they are also known as unsponsored Top Level Domains or uTLDs. In addition, one can also choose a sponsored Top Level Domain or sTLD such as .museum. These types of domain name extensions are specifically used by specific companies or institutions within a business or industry.

Why a Short Domain Name is Better Choice

While choosing a domain name for a commercial or personal website, it is necessary to consider about the uniqueness and charm of the proposed domain name. In addition, one should also stress more on choosing a small domain name. The benefits of using a short domain name over a longer domain name can be summarized as follows:

  1. A short domain name is easier to remember. Thus, once a visitor arrives at your webpage, it will be easier for him or her to remember the web address of your website so that he or she may revisit your website.
  2. A short domain name for a commercial website will offer greater ease in submitting your website address in various directories. Directory submissions are profitable as they can offer great benefits of search engine optimization.
  3. A short domain name for a business website can help in establishing the website as a brand name. This offers better chance of Internet marketing and business.
  4. A long domain name of a website increases the chances of misspelling. Thus, even if a website succeeds in impressing the visitors, it will fail to attain any promotion through those visitors if they misspell the long domain name of the website. On the other hand, the risks of misspelling of shorter domain name of a website are pretty less. A short domain name can attain a huge praise and promotion through the words of visitors in their personal discussion with their friends, colleagues and family members.
  5. Shorter domain names can easily be promoted through social media platforms while longer domain names of websites are often ignored by social media users.

Certain Tools that help in registering an effective domain name

It is not easy to select a short, attractive, and appropriate domain name for a commercial or personal website. However, there are a number of software and tools that can help a person to choose the best possible domain name for their websites.

Every day, more than 40,000 new domain names are being registered on an average. This huge flood of registered domain names makes it difficult to select an attractive domain name for a new website. However, one can use innovative and effective tool that can help a person to know about other TLDs that have been used to create very popular websites such as In addition, such tools will also provide full information about the available classy and catchy domain names to be selected for a new website. Some of the very effective tools that can help a person to find, select and register a charming, short and attractive domain name for their website are Domainr, Dot-o-mator, BustAName, Domize, Ajax Whois, Stuck Domains, squURL, and many others. All these services are very effective and any of these can be used by a person to make domain name hunting and registration process pretty rapid, easy and effortless.

How to Find a Good Domain Name Registrar

Before deciding for a domain name registrar, it is essential for a person to confirm that the registrar is trustworthy. The registrar should provide complete information about the whole process of domain name registration and how it works. Certain tips and criteria that will help in choosing the best domain name registrar are as follows:

  1. While a person can easily attain services of an online domain name registrar for their website, it will be beneficial to use services of such a registrar whom the registrant already knows. It is better to take help and advices of friends and colleagues and ask for their experience with the domain name registrar if they have had used the services in past.
  2. Looking for customer reviews about a domain name registrar may help a lot in finding the right service provider. A person may know if the domain name registrar offers proper customer care services for their clients by going through the customer reviews.
  3. A good domain name registrar will actively help in choosing a good, short, and attractive domain name for a new website. Communicating with the registrar before choosing his services will provide better idea about how good his services can be.
  4. Ask about the security systems for the domain name to avoid any fraudulent transfer or stealing of domain name. A good registrar should also offer proper information about the facilities of domain transfer in future.
  5. Going through the websites of different domain name registrars and comparing the charges for their services can help a person in choosing the best and cheapest domain name registrar effectively.

Mistakes to be Avoided while Registering a Domain Name

  1. Before registering a new domain name, one should confirm that the domain name they are choosing is not a trademark of any well known company. Avoiding any trademark infringement is very necessary as trademark infringement is a criminal act.
  2. One should confirm that the domain name registrar is reliable and he will provide proper security for the domain name to avoid any fraudulent domain name transfer.
  3. While registering a domain name, one should avoid choosing such a domain name that provides no information about the objective of the new website.
  4. Often people fail to find any short domain name for their new website and they give up too easily. One should try their best to find a short domain name for their website as it will help in establishing the website as a brand.
  5. If an attractive domain name is not available with the common TLD .com, one should try to choose such a domain name that is available with .com. While all generic TLDs offer same services, online visitors often show more attraction towards websites with TLD .com.
  6. Before registering a domain name with a registrar, it is necessary to thoroughly check the contract and terms of conditions offered by the registrar. This will avoid chances of losing a domain name because of some terms of the contract were violated.
  7. In general, domain name registrars offer services for variable durations such as 1 year, 2 year, 5 years, 10 years, and so on. One should avoid registering a domain name for more than one year especially if they are not fully confirmed about the quality of services offered by the registrar. Registering for longer periods will reduce a person’s chances of transferring domain name legally and he may also face difficulties if the registrar goes out of business within the period of their registration.
  8. Even after paying for domain name registration, one will not be able to use the domain name immediately because it takes time to update the official registry in the set of DNS information. One should confirm the authenticity of domain name and domain name registrar in advance and should ask how much time the registrar will take to get the new domain name officially registered in DNS information record.
  9. One should avoid using explicitly racial or abusive terms in the domain name of a new website.
  10. One should avoid using hyphenated domain names for their website. People often forget to use hyphens while typing a domain name to visit the website.
  11. One should not forget to use specific keyword or keywords in the domain name of their website.
  12. An online entrepreneur who is looking forward to achieve global customers should avoid using country specific domain name extensions.
  13. One should not chose a domain name registrar in haste and should invest enough time to research about the best, cheapest and reliable domain name registrar.

Top Domain Registration Websites

As you may know, it is the domain name that turns the raw IP address of a website into a human-readable piece of text. It is very important to register your website with a quality domain registrar. Your website could be your business. It could be your life. Do not take any risk. Play safe by avoiding cheap registrars. Here are a few quality domain registrars for you to choose from!

When you ask a freelancer why he or she started freelancing, you’ll get answers like ‘I wanted to work for myself’, ‘I love being my own boss’, ‘I freelance for the flexibility it provides’ etc. At the heart of it, all those answers mean the same thing: they wanted to escape the cubicle nation.

While freelancers may indeed have escaped ‘imprisonment’ in a cubicle, they can’t completely escape all the things that made their corporate life difficult. Actually because you’re out on your own now (in freelancing), you have to do all the things that your colleagues in their respective departments do on behalf of the company.

In any case, you should know that there are elements that remain the same in both the corporate working life and when you are out of it, and prepare accordingly.

1. Salary/Rate negotiations

In a corporate job, 9-to-5′ers get a fixed salary and structured pay raise. On the surface, freelancers are the exact opposite. They set their own rates and can raise them whenever they want. In reality however, regular employees negotiate their salary much like how freelancers negotiate their rates with clients.

The only difference is that 9-to-5′ers only do it when accepting a job or negotiating a raise; freelancers do it on a regular, client-by-client basis. So unless you have fixed rates stated on your website, you’re actually negotiating more on your rates than you ever did over your full-time job salary.

2. Accountability

Freelancers boast of not having to be accountable to anyone but themselves. I beg to differ. We’re accountable to our clients. Sure, no one asks us what we’re doing with our time, or checks in on us throughout the day, but on the day of the deadline, the client expect to get their results from you.

Ultimately, a freelancer is accountable to his/her client. Miss a deadline and you can’t simply say ‘Oh sorry, I wasn’t able to meet the deadline.’ Explanations must be given and in most cases, a client is well has the right to dock pay due to your tardiness.

While full-timers report to their superiors, freelancers report to their clients. The accountability cycle is there – it’s just the names and designation of who we report to that has changed.

3. Responsibility

While you might not be completely responsible for a single project or deadline, working in a company gives you a bit of a safety net as far as taking the blame is concerned, when things go wrong. In a corporate setting, the manager takes the rap for a failed project regardless of which of his or her subordinates made the fluke.

In freelancing, congratulations, you get to shoulder ALL the blame regardless of your job function, when things go wrong.

4. Office politics

Office workers deal with office politics and the different behaviors and personalities of their colleagues on a daily basis. From the passive aggressive co-worker to the know-it-all colleague, the limelight hogger to the boss’ pet. If you have ever worked in an office setting, chances are you have seen them all.

Freelancers see these characters every day too – only instead of co-workers, they experience them in their clients. Gather two or more freelancers together and the topic of client personalities invariably comes up.

5. Working after hours

If you started freelancing because you wanted the flexibility of working your own hours or less hours, then it probably didn’t take you long to discover that you actually work more hours as a freelancer than you did as a full timer.

Even though plenty of people work after-hours in a corporate job, for freelancers, it’s basically a must. Freelancers often find themselves working nights and even weekends to meet deadlines. If they want to make a success of their freelance business, working long, hard hours is a requirement.

6. Getting a promotion

In a corporate setting employees get promotions as recognition of their hard work and dedication. For freelancers, it’s pretty much the same, except they give themselves the promotion, or a break, or a raise, or a new gadget etc. Getting a raise in their rates, and handling bigger clients, etc are all part of that promotion.

7. bigger and better opportunities

Whether it’s within the company or with another, corporate employees are always on the lookout for their next big break – be it a new designation, job, benefits or environment. Freelancers are the same.

We’re always on the lookout for our next big client. We’re always looking for bigger and better opportunities that’ll help us earn more. Just as no employee sticks to one company for his entire life, a freelancer doesn’t stick to that one client. It’s simply not in the nature of how a freelance business is done. Sure, every freelancer has clients who retain them but that partnership is not indefinite. Eventually they will move on to other clients.

So what’s the difference?

If there are so many similarities, are we just fooling ourselves into believing we’re better off as freelancers? Is making the switch from a corporate full-time job to a freelancing business just a change in the scenery?

The answer is no. There is a big difference between a full time corporate job and a freelance one: flexibility and control. In a full-time job, you don’t have flexibility. You can’t start work later if you want to go to the gym in the morning, you can’t take the random afternoon off and you certainly can’t just turn off your computer and leave work to go pick up your kids in the middle of the day.

Among other things, as a freelancer, you have control over how much you earn, who you want to work with, what days and hours you work. Best of all, you can raise your rates, let go of clients you don’t want to work with and find more, better paying clients. You have the freedom and control to make all these decisions when you are freelancing, and this is what makes it all worth it.

Designers and developers have unlimited potential and opportunities when it comes to side projects. With your skills, knowledge, and experience you can do any number of different things aside from your full-time work to make a little extra money, or just for fun. Some of the possibilities include blogging, designing stock graphics for sale (like icons, vectors, etc.), designing and selling website templates or themes, running a community website, and writing a book or e-book. Of course, there are countless possibilities, these are just some of the more common choices.

Many designers choose to take on side projects because they can provide a creative outlet where you get to make all of your own decisions, rather than just following the wishes of a client. They can also help to give you something productive to do during down time between client projects, or for those who are working to build a portfolio they can often serve as excellent work samples. Side projects also have potential to make some money, and in some cases they can even lead to a full-time income. They can even provide some excellent networking and collaboration opportunities. So as you can see, there are a lot of reasons for designers to consider taking on a side project.

In this article we’ll take a look at seven keys or tips that will hopefully help to make your own efforts with side projects more beneficial.

1. Know Your Purpose

There are any number of different reasons why you could start a side project. Maybe you are just looking for a project that will allow you to do the things you enjoy, but with more creative freedom than your full-time work. Or it could be that you want to learn some new skill and you’re using the side project to gain experience. For many designers the motivation is at least partially motivated by the opportunity for income. You could be looking for a little extra money on top of your full-time income, or it could be that you’re a freelancer and you’re trying to make more productive use of your time between client projects.

It’s important to know your purpose and your motivation because it should dictate how you go about managing the side project. There is no right or wrong motivation. If your main purpose is to have fun and enjoy your creative freedom, you can pretty much work on whatever you want whenever you feel like it. On the other hand, if your purpose is to supplement your freelancing income you will want to approach the side project with a more organized and business-like mindset.

Your purpose will also have a big influence on the specific side project you choose to follow. If you’re looking to make money you’ll obviously need to choose something with the potential for creating that income. If you’re looking for something that will simply supplement your existing income you may want to choose something that offers the potential to start making a small amount of money pretty quickly. If your goal is to ultimately use the side-project to replace your full-time income, you’ll want to consider the long-term income potential of any projects that you evaluate.

2. Be Realistic About Time Limitations

One of the biggest challenges with side projects is the inevitable time limitation. Take a look at your schedule and try to be as realistic as possible about how much time you really can dedicate to a side project. Do you have a few hours that you can dedicate each week? Is your available time more sporadic and not as frequent? It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of an idea for a side project only to realize pretty quickly that you simply don’t have the time needed to make it work. It’s better to consider those time limitations before getting started and chose a side project that will fit with the amount of time that you have available.

3. Consider On-Going Requirements

Along with the previous point, on-going time requirements should also be considered. For example, you may have time available right now to create a WordPress theme or plugin to sell, but will you have the time for on-going support and updates that will be required? The more limitations that exist on your time, the more you should consider projects with a reduced need for on-going time commitments.

Anything that is likely to involve a considerable amount of customer service or support will require that you always have some time available to deal with these issues. This doesn’t mean that you can’t sell any items or products, because some items require much less support than others. For example, designing and selling an icon set will lead to a small amount of customer service emails, and most of the requests you do receive will be things like answering basic questions or helping people who may have issues with downloads or payments. Selling website templates, WordPress themes, or plugins will likely bring far more customer service requests, and many of them will involve more time and effort on your part to research and solve.

In general, things like stock graphics and e-books are good for designers who don’t expect to have much time available for ongoing support and service. And things like templates, plugins, blogs, community websites, an online courses are good opportunities if the need for on-going support is not a problem. Also keep in mind that income potential is not equal for all projects. So while top selling WordPress themes will require support from the designer/developer, they also provide a high potential income.

4. Set Aside Time Each Week

Setting aside the time needed for your side project is important. If you’re working a full-time job or freelancing full-time you’ll probably need to set aside some time during evenings or weekends to focus on the side project. Most people, myself included, struggle to get things done on side projects if time is not designated specifically for that purpose.

Each project will have it’s own time requirements, so you’ll need to consider your own situation. If you’re working on something like a book that will take a lot of time to complete, try to find a time in your schedule that you can dedicate on a weekly basis.

5. Start Small and Build

From my own experience, one of the most challenging aspects of side projects is limiting the scope. In most situations it’s easy to try to do too much all at once, and with a limited amount of time available it can reduce the quality and success of the project. If you’re working on a blog or a website as your side project you may have big ideas and plans that you want to implement with the site. In most cases you’ll be better off if you can keep it basic to get started, focus on doing things well, and then expand and add new features or sections of the site later.

If your goal is to create a template or theme club as your side project, focus at first on just creating your first template or theme and doing the best job possible. Then later you can focus on adding more templates and themes, but don’t try to do too much right away.

Time limitations are something that you’ll always have to deal with on side projects. By recognizing the limitation and appropriately focusing on starting small you can build success over a period of time, and you’ll do it on a solid foundation. If you’re trying to do too much all at once it’s easy to get frustrated and give up before you achieve that success that you’re looking for.

6. Consider Sustainability or an Exit Plan

While you’re thinking about how much time your side project will require on an on-going basis, think not only about the time that you will have available, but also about whether it is something that you will still want to be working on a year from now. Also consider if it is possible for the time requirements of the project to grow faster than the income from the project. For example, you could start some type of community website for designers. It’s possible that the site could grow quickly and require more effort on your part to keep it running smoothly. It’s also possible that the site doesn’t produce significant income for you despite growth in traffic and the amount of time you spend working on the site. If this happens, how will you sustain the site? Will you be able to use the income from the site to outsource the maintenance to someone else? Will you be able to quit your full-time job or scale back on client projects to allow for more time on the project?

In addition to sustainability, you can also consider if the project is something that you may be able to sell. If the side project is a website or a blog, chances are you would be able to find a buyer when you are ready to move on to something else (of course, it’s possible that you may not be able to find a buyer that is willing to pay the amount that you want to get for the site). Obviously, the details of the project’s sustainability and your exit plan can change and evolve throughout the life of the project, but it helps to consider these details early on and at least start to develop a plan.

7. Take Advantage of Leveraging Opportunities

Since one of the biggest challenges of side projects is the time limitation, anything you can do to leverage your time can be helpful. If you are creating and selling some sort of resources (templates, themes, stock graphics, e-books) there are opportunities right now to use deal websites or existing marketplaces to sell your products. In general, I think a lot of designers can make more profit by selling resources on their own rather than using stock marketplaces, but when your time is limited there are some significant advantages to using a marketplace. While the marketplace will obviously have some drawbacks (sharing revenue with the marketplace and the chance of having your products buried by thousands of other items), you also have the potential to start selling items without the need to set up your own online shop or to process transactions. It’s possible to leverage the popularity of a marketplace like ThemeForest to get a great deal of exposure for your product without doing any marketing on your own.

Aside from marketplaces, there are also a number of deal sites that present opportunities for selling products. Sites like MightyDeals and AppSumo have huge customer lists that you can leverage, and there are even more deal sites with smaller audiences that can also produce some sales for you. With deal sites you’ll need to be able and willing to offer a deep discount on your product, and then you’ll also have to share the revenue with the deal site. So you’ll be making significantly less per sale than you would make by selling the product on your own, but the volume of sales can be pretty significant. In general, deal sites work best for selling digital products with low customer service requirements. If your product is likely to require a decent amount of customer support you should consider how much you would be making on each sale and determine if that amount is enough to cover the time and expenses needed to support the sales made through the promo.

Leveraging opportunities aren’t applicable only to side projects that involve selling products. If your side project is running a blog, you could leverage your time by accepting guest posts from other writers. There are a lot of people looking for guest posting opportunities in order to get a link back to their own website or blog (usually in the author bio of the guest post). By accepting guest posts you can get content for your blog without the time requirement of producing all of the content yourself, and without the need to hire freelance writers.

You really just want to look for ways to make the most of your time and to work with other people and other websites to improve the results of your project.


The unlimited possibility for side projects is one of the things I love about the design and development industry. There are always ways to have fun and experiment on your own, and making money with side projects is also possible. However, in order for the project to truly be successful you’ll need to make the best use of your time, and I hope the tips covered in this article can help with your own projects.

I usually write advice for designers based on my career experiences and horror stories but I thought it was time for an article for design clients to make their design needs a bit easier and more efficient.

How to Interview And Work With A Designer And What NOT To Say!

Dealing with creatives is not as easy as it sounds. The difference in those who think with the rights side of their brain (the “creative side”) as opposed to the left (the “business side”), takes some training and understanding for the best results on projects. There are people who have a balance between grey matter hemispheres but it’s rare that the client and creative vendor both have such a balance. Here are some handy tips to make the twains successfully meet.


Finding Candidates For Your Project

You might need a first web site for your business or just want to update your existing one with some new technology, want to establish or freshen your brand or create some paper or digital marketing material. Whatever you need, there are great design studios or freelancers available to deliver your needs.

For the sake of this example, let’s say you need a new web site. How do you find a competent vendor for the development and design?

  1. Ask a professional friend with a great web site who they used. Word of mouth and recommendations are the best and safest way to find great talent.
  2. Google similar businesses as yours and look at their web sites. Is the site well designed? Is the functionality and navigation top notch? If so, scroll to the bottom of the page and see if there’s a link to the designer or design firm that created the site.
  3. Google “web designer, yourtown, yourstate” and then look at their web site. Call the clients of web sites they’ve designed for a reference. If you use someone local, you help your local economy, are able to meet with them face-to-face and they are available for site updates and will become a loyal vendor.
  4. If you want cheap and simple, can do without a creative brief that tailors the site design perfectly to your brand or business and are willing to take a chance on the design, try a site like or They are not the best avenues but they are cheap and usually provide a generic solution you can use. The downside is you will not get the service you may need for uploading or debugging your site or the expertise a local designer or firm will provide. With contest sites or bidding sites such as eLance or oDesk it’s caveat emptor.
  5. Your niece or nephew goes to art school and you think they will give you an acceptable site for free or $50. FORGET IT! If you want a crappy looking site that will make your business look crappy, then go right ahead but if they screw up and something really goes wrong, do you want every relative in the world calling you to scream about how you hurt little Chris’ feelings or spend some awkward family holiday dinners sitting next to little Suzie and her sharp, pointy goth jewelry?

How Much Should You Pay?

As with any business expenditure, be prepared to pay for quality. If you hire an electrician to wire the power for your office and they quote $7,000 do you really want to chance a beating when you tell them “$200 is all (you’re) willing to spend” or go out and find someone who will actually do $7,000 worth of work for $200? If so, keep lots of fire extinguishers handy and insure your expensive computer equipment for when power surges blow out the processors.

This is not to say you shouldn’t shop around. Perhaps a competent electrician with a good reputation can wire your office for $5,000. Well, you just saved $2,000 and will have piece of mind that you won’t die a fiery death. The same goes for any professional service. A friend of mine was so excited to have bought all of her office phones on a New York City Street for a quarter of what she would have to pay in a store. It would have been a coup if the phones actually had any wiring inside them.

Shop around for a designer but make sure they are wired inside. It’s better to have a reliable source in case there is a problem with your site as a reliable designer will solve the problem right away, saving you income if you depend heavily on your site, rather than trying to go through contest or bidding site channels to get in touch with the person two continents away, in another time zone, to solve the problem… after negotiating another fee and creating the paperwork and contract through that site. Time lost and time is money.

Naturally, the bigger the design firm, the higher the cost. True, there MAY be higher service and abilities (a firm can write content, develop, design, program and come up with branding and a marketing plan… but so can a freelancer in many cases). A freelancer, in many cases, may be freshly out of a big design firm and has the experience to give you whatever you need. Check their résumé to see what other clients they have serviced. Talk to them about how they work and what they see for your own needs. As with any service provider, referral or not, shop around. Most importantly, you should feel a comfortable bond with your creative provider. Trust, communication and transparency are the utmost in your relationship.

When price comes in, do some math yourself. Have you set a budget that’s too low for a professional job? If a project translates to paying $10 an hour to your vendor, it’s too low. Keep in mind you are not hiring someone to come into your place of business and move boxes, staff the counter or shuffle papers. Designers have their own business expenses that include office space (even if it’s a home-based business), computers, computer and software upgrades, electricity, insurance, etc., just like any business. As with the aforementioned example of the electrician, a vendor who quotes $7,000 and then agrees to half that amount is most probably going to cut corners. Expect designers to do the same. The old adage, “you get what you pay for” has survived because it’s true.

Different designers have varying contracts and pay schedules. It’s common to pay 30% to 50% upfront for your project. This is the money used for material, salaries and overhead while your project is being designed. There will most probably be what is called “milestone payments.” Milestones are the points in the project where approvals are needed from you, the client to proceed to the next step in the project. Before the next step is taken, a percentage towards the fee will be expected to be paid before the designer or firm will proceed to the next step. For example, a project may be split with 30% up front, 20% at the first milestone, 20% at the next milestone and 30% when the project is finished and your site goes live.

It’s not an odd way of doing business if you compare it to other business models. Your phone company, insurance agent or internet provider will most probably ask for a payment up front and your attorney will definitely ask for a retainer against future services. Design services are no different. You get what you pay for. You stop paying and the work stops. Delays will, in the end, cost you money for lost business.

This is one big sore point I have heard from many vendors and clients. A milestone payment is missed and the designer doesn’t want to stop the progress as the project is balanced against deadlines for other projects, which can cause the designer money for delivering late to other clients and a client feels that a late payment to the designer will just be a week or two. Personally, I’ve worked for small businesses and the largest corporations. A large corporation can have a check cut in 48 hours and a small business either has a checkbook sitting in a drawer or can call their accountant and have a check within two days. Ideally, the designer or firm should give the client notice that a milestone payment will be due within seven days even if it is listed on the contract with all deadlines.


Transparency in the work process is a touchy point for both sides. A competent designer or firm will keep the client apprised of each step of the project. Sometimes just for “hand holding” although daily reposts with attached jpegs may be too much and drive the project price up.

At a talk about design transparency, the firm’s account manager spoke about keeping the client in the loop as much as possible. Such a working method makes sure there are no changes that pop up unexpectedly or confusion about instructions and process. Even in the best of worlds, these can occur from time to time.

At that talk, a freelance designer raised the question of what he labeled, “enigmatic wizardry.” It’s not a term known by any professional and he was asked to explain. He thought it was best to keep a mysterious shroud around the design process. Basically, the client hands over the money and is presented the final project. ALAKAZAM! The magic of design. Nothing could be further from the truth or reality of how the design business should run. It was the first time I had ever heard that odd process mentioned, so chances are, no other designer will have that way of doing business in their head.

As the client, you have the right to ask questions. Call the account manager or the freelancer and ask those questions. Professionals will be happy to fill you in completely. If you are a happy client, it means you will be back for further site updates, collateral material. It’s important to remember that web technology changes quickly and a strong relationship between a business and vendor is essential to keep your web presence up to date and functioning using that technology.


If the project progresses properly, the designer and client will create a creative brief that outlines the client’s “wish list” for what kind of site, expectations of function and brand building should be achieved. Milestones will include a sketch stage with color palette choices, a wireframe of the entire site and/or a site map of how viewers will navigate the site. Site content of images will be chosen, content written and all facts finalized before the stage of final design ever takes place. Transparency should keep all parties on track but sometimes the client will want changes.

Changes can be as simple as wanting a different color for the background and as impossible as the client seeing another site and wanting to mimic that design. Sometimes it’s just a relative or friend who has decided they are a design genius and negatively critiques the proposed design. As the client, it is up to you to decide on the course of action and accept the consequences. Making changes after a milestone has been approved means extra time and extra money. There’s no way around that and you shouldn’t expect anything to the contrary. Consider if your desire to make changes is merely due to your own insecurity, other people’s egos or you made a mistake and didn’t speak up during milestone approvals. If you’re building a house and decide you want to change the layout after the foundation has been poured, you can understand the need for more time and more money. Although a web site is digital and not concrete and wood changes are still work that needs to be done and someone pays for that. If the fault is yours, then you pay. If the designer makes a mistake, you can bloody well count on them taking the hit.

If everyone is open and honest and the process is all-inclusive, there should be no reason for changes down the line. One thing to watch for is the subjectivity of “design-by-committee.”

Design can be subjective. One person likes red, the next likes blue. One has a childhood trauma about clowns and the next wants prancing glitter unicorns on everything in the world. Put that all together and you have one strange web site. While you may decide that all of your employees should have a say in the web site design, act as the boss and make the final decisions as to what YOU want to see for YOUR business. It is possible to distill opinions into a sound direction but it is also important to recognize the expertise of the designer or firm you have hired. They will not just try to saddle you with the easiest way out. If they do their job correctly and provide you with what you NEED to be successful, then you will want to use them in the future. If you don’t succeed, then the designer or firm must create another client relationship, instead of retaining a growing bond with you and your future needs.

It is respect for each other, along with great service and communication that will lead to great and profitable relationships for both parties. THAT is a sound business principle everyone can agree upon.

Technology Marches On

If you haven’t noticed, the web changes at least every year. What you probably don’t know is why. Programming languages evolve, apps are introduced and technological links between computers, phones and digital pads keep evolving. It’s just like your own cell phone. It seems to be obsolete a week after you buy it. Well, the reason you get the phone for free, with a two-year activation is because the phone IS obsolete and the phone company wants you to buy the newest phone with the newest technology while you are trapped into a long contract.

A designer doesn’t have the same devious plan for your web site, in fact, technology advances excites creative geeks and you will be urged to use the latest technology. Consider the advantages of that technology for several reasons.

  1. You will not have to update your site as quickly as using technology that is a year or more older.
  2. You site will function better with changing browsers and apps for mobile web as well.
  3. Your SEO will be improved.
  4. Your consumer experience will be increased and it will lead to greater sales.
  5. You’ll eventually need to catch up with technology again and you’ll have a trust for the designer’s knowledge of web technology.

As mentioned before, if you have any questions about your site or what this technology can do for you, just ask. Your designer or design firm wants to help you and wants you to be happy. If they didn’t, I suppose they would be a branch of the government… like the Motor Vehicles Department.

What’s A Style Anyway?

Coding style is how your code looks, plain and simple. And by “your,” I actually mean you, the person who is reading this article. Coding style is extremely personal and everyone has their own preferred style. You can discover your own personal style by looking back over code that you’ve written when you didn’t have a style guide to adhere to. Everyone has their own style because of the way they learned to code. If you used an integrated development environment (IDE) like Visual Studio to learn coding, your style probably matches the one enforced by the editor. If you learned using a plain text editor, your style likely evolved from what you thought was more readable.

You may even notice that your style changes from language to language. The decisions that you made in JavaScript might not carry over to your CSS. For instance, you might decide JavaScript strings should use double quotes while CSS strings should use single quotes. This isn’t uncommon as we tend to context switch when we switch back and forth between languages. Still, it’s an interesting exercise in self-observation.

Coding style is made up of numerous small decisions based on the language:

  • How and when to use comments,
  • Tabs or spaces for indentation (and how many spaces),
  • Appropriate use of white space,
  • Proper naming of variables and functions,
  • Code grouping an organization,
  • Patterns to be used,
  • Patterns to be avoided.

It’s Personal

The personal nature of coding style is a challenge in a team atmosphere. Oftentimes, seeking to avoid lengthy arguments, teams defer creating style guides under the guise of not wanting to “discourage innovation and expression.” Some see team-defined style guides as a way of forcing all developers to be the same. Some developers rebel when presented with style guides, believing that they can’t properly do their job if someone is telling them how to write their code.

I liken the situation to a group of musicians trying to form a band. Each one comes in believing that their way of doing things is best (their “method” or “process”). The band will struggle so long as everyone is trying to do their own thing. It’s impossible to create good music unless everyone in the band agrees on the tempo, the style and who should take lead during a song. Anyone who has ever heard a high school band perform knows this to be true. Unless everyone is on the same page, you aren’t going to accomplish much.

That’s why I strongly recommend style guides for software development teams. Getting everyone on the same page is difficult, and the style guide is a great place to start. By having everyone write code that looks the same, you can avoid a lot of problems down the road.

Communication Is Key

The most important thing when working on a team is communication. People need to be able to work together effectively and the only way to do that is by communicating. As developers, we communicate primarily through code. We communicate with other parts of the software through code and we communicate with other developers through code.

While the software your code communicates with doesn’t care how the code looks, the other developers on your team certainly do. The way code looks adds to our understanding of it. How many times have you opened up a piece of code that somebody else wrote, and, before doing anything else, re-indented it the way that you like? That’s your brain not being able to figure out the code because of how it looks. When everyone is writing code that looks different, everyone is constantly trying to visually parse the code before being able to understand it. When everyone is writing code that looks the same, your brain can relax a bit as the understanding comes faster.

When you start thinking of code as communication with other developers, you start to realize that you’re not simply writing code, you’re crafting code. Your code should clearly communicate its purpose to the casual observer. Keep in mind, your code is destined to be maintained by somebody other than you. You are not just communicating with other members of your team in the present, you’re also communicating with members of your team in the future.

I recently received an email from someone who is working on code that I wrote 10 years ago. Apparently, much to my shock and horror, my code is still being used in the product. He felt compelled to email me to say that he enjoyed working with my code. I smiled. My future teammate actually did appreciate the coding style I followed.

Leave Yourself Clues

Knowing yourself is important in life as well as coding. However, you’ll never know yourself well enough to remember exactly what you were thinking when you wrote each line of code. Most developers have experienced looking at a very old piece of code that they wrote and not having any idea why they wrote it. It’s not that your memory is bad, it’s just that you make so many of these little decisions while writing code that it’s impossible to keep track of them all.

Writing code against a style guide outsources that information into the code itself. When you decide when and where to use comments, as well as which patterns should and shouldn’t be used, you are leaving a breadcrumb trail for your future self to find your way back to the meaning of the code. It’s incredibly refreshing to open up an old piece of code and have it look like a new piece of code. You’re able to acclimate quickly, sidestepping the tedious process of relearning what the code does before you can start investigating the real issue.

Make Errors Obvious

One of the biggest reasons to have a coherent style guide is to help make errors more obvious. Style guides do this by acclimating developers to certain patterns. Once you’re acclimated, unfamiliar patterns jump out of the code when you look at it. Unfamiliar patterns aren’t always errors, but they definitely require a closer look to make sure that nothing is amiss.

For example, consider the JavaScript switch statement. It’s a very common error to mistakenly allow one case to fall through into another, such as this:

01 switch(value) {
02     case 1:
03         doSomething();
05     case 2:
06         doSomethingElse();
07         break;
09     default:
10         doDefaultThing();
11 }

The first case falls through into the second case so if value is 1, then both doSomething() and doSomethingElse() are executed. And here’s the question: is there an error here? It’s possible that the developer forgot to include a break in the first case, but it’s also equally possible that the developer intended for the first case to fall through to the second case. There’s no way to tell just from looking at the code.

With this style guide, there is definitely a stylistic error, and that means there could be a logic error. If the first case was supposed to fall through to the second case, then it should look like this:

01 switch(value) {
02     case 1:
03         doSomething();
04         //falls through
06     case 2:
07         doSomethingElse();
08         break;
10     default:
11         doDefaultThing();
12 }

If the first case wasn’t supposed to fall through, then it should end with a statement such as break. In either case, the original code is wrong according to the style guide and that means you need to double check the intended functionality. In doing so, you might very well find a bug.

When you have a style guide, code that otherwise seems innocuous immediately raises a flag because the style isn’t followed. This is one of the most overlooked aspects of style guides: by defining what correct code looks like, you are more easily able to identify incorrect code and therefore potential bugs before they happen.

Devil In The Details

In working with clients to develop their code style guides, I frequently get asked if the minutia is really that important. A common question is, “aren’t these just little details that don’t really matter?” The answer is yes and no. Yes, code style doesn’t really matter to the computer that’s running it; no, the little details matter a lot to the developers who have to maintain the code. Think of it this way: a single typo in a book doesn’t disrupt your understanding or enjoyment of the story. However, if there are a lot of typos, the reading experience quickly becomes annoying as you try to decipher the author’s meaning despite the words being used.

Coding style is a lot like that. You are defining the equivalent of spelling and grammar rules for everyone to follow. Your style guide can get quite long and detailed, depending on which aspects of the language you want to focus on. In my experience, once teams get started on coding style guides, they tend to go into more and more detail because it helps them organize and understand the code they already have.

I’ve never seen a coding style guide with too much detail, but I have seen them with too little detail. That’s why it’s important for the team to develop a style guide together. Getting everyone in the same room to discuss what’s really important to the team will result in a good baseline for the style guide. And keep in mind, the style guide should be a living document. It should continue to grow as the team gets more familiar with each other and the software on which they are working.

Tools To Help

Don’t be afraid of using tools to help enforce coding style. Web developers have an unprecedented number of tools at their fingertips today, and many of them can help ensure that a coding style guide is being followed. These range from command line tools that are run as part of the build, to plugins that work with text editors. Here are a few tools that can help keep your team on track:

  • Eclipse Code Formatter
    The Eclipse IDE has built-in support for code formatting. You can decide how specific languages should be formatted and Eclipse can apply the formatting either automatically or on demand.
  • JSHint
    A JavaScript code quality tool that also checks for stylistic issues.
  • CSS Lint
    A CSS code quality tool by Nicole Sullivan and me that also checks for stylistic issues.
  • Checkstyle
    A tool for checking style guidelines in Java code, which can also be used for other languages.

These are just a small sampling of the tools that are currently available to help you work with code style guides. You may find it useful for your team to share settings files for various tools so that everyone’s job is made easier. Of course, building the tools into your continuous integration system is also a good idea.


Coding style guides are an important part of writing code as a professional. Whether you’re writing JavaScript or CSS or any other language, deciding how your code should look is an important part of overall code quality. If you don’t already have a style guide for your team or project, it’s worth the time to start one. There are a bunch of style guides available online to get you started. Here are just a few:

It’s important that everybody on the team participates in creating the style guide so there are no misunderstandings. Everyone has to buy in for it to be effective, and that starts by letting everyone contribute to its creation.

No one likes to hear anything bad about their company, but is unavoidable as an entrepreneur or even a as person doing business online. Your reputation online is almost like a form of currency because people will read about what other people have said before they work with you. If you have been around long enough, someone has probably reported some type of problem with your products or services.

How to Overcome Negative Reviews

You do not have to be perfect, but you should be on track to improve as a business in the face of criticism. Here is an outline of some steps you can take when these things happen as well as some additional facts to consider before you take action.


Trolls vs. Legitimate Complaints

Many businesses tend to assume that any type of complaint against them is from a troll. Sometimes this is true, but the you have to know how to distinguish a legitimate complaint from that of a troll. A troll is usually someone that completely slams your business, your products, and your services. They may not have a legitimate complaint at all in the midst of their remarks and everything they say about you is negative. Surprisingly, some of them may have never done business with you in the first place because they may be spammers or even competitors in disguise. Some people will have this type of reaction if they have had negative experiences, but the difference is that a troll will be inconsolable. A normal customer will usually accept your offer to rectify the situation, but a troll will not. They will continue to complain until the very end. That is the difference. If you are indeed dealing with a troll, then the most that you can do is apologize, make an offer, and then move on. Continue to be the good guy and allow their own actions to speak volumes about who they are. Also, remember that trolls are out to make you look bad by enticing you into saying or doing something inappropriate. People love to hide behind a screen to spout negativity, but few of them have the gall to say anything in person. This goes without saying, but never stoop to their level to make threats, use profanity or inflammatory language.

Should I Call My Lawyer?

That is a good question. Sometimes you should call your lawyer depending on what was said, but it usually is not that serious. People are entitled to their own opinion, but they are not allowed to spread slander, lies, or intentionally try to say things online or offline to destroy someone’s business. Saying that you had a negative experience is one thing, but trying to ruin someone is taking it too far. If someone has left some extremely inflammatory remarks then you may be able to contact the website hosting the reviews to have that particular comment removed. Unbeknownst to many, you have a lot more control than you think on websites like Yelp, Yahoo, and Google Maps because you can not only respond, but have them removed. However, if that does not work then you may need to consult with your attorney to have them contact the web hosting company or even pursue a case of defamation if necessary. You do not want to give people that impression that you are overly litigious or too sensitive, so this should be looked upon as a last resort for a troll, not a dissatisfied customer.

What To Do When You Have A Negative Review

Step 1: Assess the situation

Read the review carefully for a couple of times to assess the situation. You will likely get sort of angry when you read anything negative about yourself, so give yourself a moment to think and reflect before you respond. Ask yourself why this person decided to write a negative review about your product or service. Yes, there are some trolls out there, but that is usually not the case for most of the negative reviews online. Many of the people that leave negative reviews have done so because they felt like they were not being heard. They felt as if they had no choice other than to complain elsewhere because business would not do anything to help them. It is not a poor reflection of you or your businesses’ products and services because it is still one person’s opinion.

What You Ignore Persists?

Ignoring negative reviews and feedback is not to your advantage. If you ignore what people have written, then it may perpetuate a cycle and encourage others to chime in. There have been a number of complaints that were ignored in the beginning, but actually went viral because so many other people got involved. Ignoring these types of remarks will not remove them nor help you improve your business, so you have to say something to correct the problem or it will continue to haunt you.

Step 2: Write a response to the complaint

Only approach the written response after you have cooled down for at least an hour to a couple of days depending on your emotional state. It is better if you respond sooner rather than later, but it is disadvantageous to say anything if you are not in the right place emotionally. It does hurt and it could feel like a personal assault on you, but it is not. Write a response in a writing program like Word or Open Office Writer first because it will enable you to plan out your response better. You do not want your response to have any type of grammatical or spelling errors whatsoever. After you have proofread your text, read it as the customer and think about how you would react to it if you were in their position. This is really important because saying the wrong thing could hurt you more than if you had ignored the comment altogether. It may be a good idea to even have a few people read it over to see how they would respond to it.

Step 3: Apologize for the inconvenience

You must have an apology in your written response even if it was the customer’s fault. There is no way that you can look good as a business owner if you blame your customers. Since you are the entrepreneur, you automatically have to take the fault for whatever happened. Part of the being your own boss means that you have to take responsibility for everything whether it is good or bad. The customer is always right and it never looks good to criticize customers in any way.

Step 4: Discuss your plan to improve going forward

A lot of companies often forget to take this step, but it can actually go a long way. One of the things people want to hear is that you will implement some type of change to improve in the future so that this will not happen to them or anyone else again. For example, if you made an error, let them know that you will change your policy going forward or mention that you or your employees will receive additional training in the area. Follow through with the changes because it will make you a better company because of it.

Step 5: Make an offer

The best thing you can do to improve the situation is to make the customer an offer. You do not have to give anything away, but you should. You want your customers to walk away from the situation satisfied because they will continue to spread the word about your company long after the ordeal. If you can change their opinion now, you may be able to win them over. Offer to do something over again, give them something for free, give a refund, or at the very least offer them a discount. People love free stuff and something like that will usually be enough to help sway their opinion. What would be really impressive is if you got this same person to come back and write a more accurate assessment after they have taken you up on your offer.

Step 6: Learn from the experience

Once you have apologized and made your offer, take some time to evaluate the your performance and improve. Think about the good that can come out of it and notice how you have changed for the better as a result. Encourage future clients to come to you first before they post a review online.

Step 7: Accentuate the positive

Since they have already written a review online, there is little that you can do to get it removed. Accept it for what it is and then focus on the positive aspects of your business in more than one way. Not only make a mental shift, but literally put a spotlight on your positive achievements online to displace the negative reviews. This can take a while, but start creating more listings that talk about new products, services, news, discounts, and partnerships. You can do this via social media posts, blog posts, or even press releases. The more of this you have, the more likely it is that this information will come up first in the search results before the negative feedback. Also, request that some of your satisfied customers write supportive reviews as well. Adding testimonials to your website will also add more credibility to your business.

Never Fake It!

Although it is quite tempting to pay a company to give you positive reviews, that is not really a good idea. It is one thing you have actual customers that are leaving remarks, but it becomes manufactured when you just start paying people. Truthfully, a lot of companies do pay for reviews, but you do not want to be one of them. People can tell if a review seems to be a little over the top and they will likely overlook most of the positive reviews because they may think that all of them are fake. It could backfire on you because they may just believe the negative reviews just because they seem more honest than some of the overwhelmingly positive reviews. Only solicit reviews from legitimate customers and ask them for completely honest and balanced feedback that will be informative to your future customers.

Step 8: Monitor all feedback

People are not just leaving reviews on places like Google Plus or Yelp because most of them will just tell their friends on Facebook and Twitter. If you do not already monitor social media websites, you should because that is usually one of the first places that they will go when they get angry. You can set up alerts to notify you anytime the name of your business is used like Google Alerts. There are also sites like SocialMention and Hootsuite that let you perform searches on a number of social media websites at once. Actively look for people talking about your company and get involved in their conversations even if it is not overtly negative. Some companies will actually give stuff away to people that are caught giving positive publicity to the company if they send a photo of their new product or just tell their friends what a great experience they had.

What More You can Do

Have A Proactive Customer Service Policy

Customer service is really about stopping these types of issues before they start. Check to see if you even have a way for customers to contact if you they have any problems with their order. It could be an email confirmation, contact form, your website design & navigation or even a physical slip that you send them in the mail. Let them know upfront that they can contact you to correct any problems that may have. Also, allow people to provide tips and suggestions regarding your business. Let people feel welcome to discuss their concerns without fear of retribution.

Build Allies and Partnerships

Having allies and partnerships online will help buffer any damage to your reputation. It helps that you have these things in place before any negative attacks, but it is never too late to start. You want to have people on your side who are loyal readers or followers on social media websites or blogs. Try to find at least a few influential bloggers or social media leaders to support you. Getting these types of people on your side is not always easy, but it is worth it in the long run because they will be at your side if and when something happens. Reach out to people gradually and give them something in exchange for supporting you.

Bolster Your Self-Esteem

On a personal note, it is challenging to deal with any type of negative feedback whether or not it is warranted. Everybody makes mistakes even if they happen to be a multinational corporation, so realize that you are not alone. These types of issues can get to you after a while, so go a step beyond just learning from the experience and actively boost your self-esteem in your personal life. This could mean pursuing some projects just due to your personal interest, taking some time off to relax, meditated, or spend time with your friends and family.


Dealing with negative review is not very pleasant, but necessary to your growth as a business. Any time there is a negative review, look at yourself first and think about what you could have done differently. Acknowledge that a mistake has been made and then address the problem with the customer. Just apologize, give them a peace offering, and vow to do better in the future by implementing new policies or procedures. If the situation escalates, then there may be a need to look into legal solutions for the problem, but again it should considered the very last resort to a very serious problem. All businesses make mistakes, but the difference is that the good ones learn from them.

Designing a web in the past was very easy because you only had to design it for one device, the desktop computer. Today, with the great advancement of new technologies and devices, web designing has become tougher as compared to the past. With the increased use of smartphones and televisions, with small and wide screens, developing a website has now become an increasingly difficult task for the web developer.

Responsive Web Design is an easy and effective way to use the benefits of every pixel of useful display property, without switching the mobile layout. For instance, if you pick up the area of your browser and gradually reduce the size of display, you will see the website accommodating the new quality because it was made on a responsive structure that adds and erases content as required. If you use a cell phone or tablet pc, the website will click to the best structure possible for your device. This is very effective because it makes a website very useful, and no cruising or panning is required to study the content or get around the web pages.


Without Responsive Web Design, several turned off editions of the same website have to be designed and toggled by hand or using complex display quality and system recognition programs. This exponentially increases designing costs, and updating the website becomes a major difficulty for web developers.

How Responsive Web Design Works

The best part of Responsive Web Design is that it is a technology-light remedy. It depends on a function of CSS known as “media query” that permits you to select different style sheet features with respect to the screen size that is detected and the orientation of device on which the web page is being considered. For example, you may want your web page to have three columns of the content for viewing it on the desktop. But that would probably be very hard to read on a smartphone. With the help of media query function, you can easily change to different style sheets or call a number of features within one style sheet to your content into just one large column by knowing the dimension of the screen.

Benefits of Responsive Web Design

Responsive Web Design has many benefits that are spreading its use over the online world very quickly. Some of the benefits of Responsive Web Design are as follows:

  • It Saves Money: Before the wide use of Responsive Web Design, website designers and owners had to develop many versions for a single website because of different screen resolutions of different devices. This is expensive. If some companies spend their money making different versions of a single website for the leading devices like iPhone, iPad and android phones, then what would happen when new devices come onto the market?

    That is the beauty and perfection of Responsive Web Design; it allows your site to display all of its features on any size screen, from the wide screens of televisions to the tiniest smartphones. Now, you just have to design your website once, which will definitely reduce costs and save you money.

  • It Saves Time: The reality is that the fact that you have to design and develop your website one time only will also save you time and energy. This consequently results in fewer events, less work, and less stress knowing that you don’t have to repeat this procedure if a new system comes on the market.
  • It Beats Your Competitors: As many web designers do not know much about Responsive Web Design, you can benefit from it. Make a lot of changes and transformations on your website to fit all types of screens in order to gain more traffic. In this way, many visitors will like and visit your website more than the websites of your competitors.
  • Your Website Will Last Longer: By using Responsive Web Design, the life of your website will increase, and people will keep visiting it for a longer time because it will be convenient for them to get needed information with any type of device they have.
  • Increases Conversions: When people come to your website, they will definitely appreciate changes and modifications if you give them a good experience. It means that you have to give them everything they want and with the use of Responsive Web Design, you can easily make conversions on your site to give visitors a better and easier experience.
  • It Gives You Freedom: With all of the benefits mentioned above, you will experience less stress, knowing that your site is working optimally on all types of devices.

Useful Tips

Following are some tips that can help you design a Responsive Web Design effectively:

  • Wireframe: Before making any markups, wireframe your small screen and desktop, as this will give you all the information you need about where and in what order your HTML will need to gain the correct position of your site on small screens and larger desktops. If your website needs editing, then you can easily add and remove elements with the help of JavaScript. You have to be sure that you have put in enough navigation to get to to every page of your site.
  • Make Full Use of Relative-Absolute and Position-Absolute: You may want a specific logo on the menu and below it. You can move your HTML markup or reposition it with the help of JavaScript. It is a very beneficial way to redesign your markup visually.
  • Use of Fluid Layouts: Making use of the percentages in your markup is called flexible layout and fluid layout. Try to use percentage margins in your website. It is very helpful in making a Responsive Web Design.
  • Placing Selective and Important Content for a Small Screen: If your site is informative, then your main aim is to inform people Try to focus on the information provided for researches only.
  • Make the Buttons Large: If your website has may things that a majority of people use to click on, then add huge buttons on your site, which makes it convenient for people who click on small screen devices. Avoid the “fat finger” syndrome by making the action convenient enough for fingers.
  • Scaling Media: Don’t forget to scale media such as images, videos, and embedded objects. Try to put them on a max width of approximately 100%. For this purpose you should know the CSS elastic video process or you can also do it through JavaScript.
  • Selection of Media Format: In this modern era, you can simply achieve this goal by using video distributing software and services that will automatically change to video formats suitable for your site.
  • Use of Appropriate Size Image: If you are about to use JavaScript, then you have to check the width of the browser and choose the most appropriate size image for the desktops and the small screens. You have to request smaller images that allow the user to download it fast enough through small screens.
  • The Process: Any type of project, whether big or small, has a process. The Responsive Web Design process is a little tricky, but by reading and following the instructions of the process below, you will definitely get a lot of help. Following are some of the important items such as development, design, discovery, and deployment that are included in the Responsive Web Design process.
  • Good Start: If you are getting help from a web design company then you should meet with them and discuss all the things that are to be included in your website. If you are designing a web yourself, then collect all the necessary researches and all the paper work needed to start your Responsive Web Design. A good start is very helpful in completing the whole process. Keep one thing in mind; you must be aware of all the tricks and tips in order to perform this task yourself. Otherwise hire a team that could do this for your website.
  • Analyze the Project: Determine all the requirements of your project, from a creative, technical, and organizational point of view. Analyze everything, including, the visual design of your site, writing style, and interface design, and have a complete understanding of the main purpose of your website. Plan everything, from where your website is now and what it will be in the future, and then plan it accordingly This is a very effective part of the process.
  • Content Strategy: Depending on certain conditions, you can make changes and amendments in the content of your website qualitatively and also quantitatively. Make a site map for your site, because it is very important and it helps users to find what they want from your website. Always be concerned about the requirements of users, and keep in touch with them to understand their needs and demands. Remember, your customers’ needs must be your first priority; this is the reason why you are making your design responsive¬–to provide them ease in their search from any device conveniently and without any difficulties.
  • Search Tactics: Develop a responsive site that fulfills all the needs of Search Engine Optimization to make your site appear on the top of search engine pages. This will bring more visitors to your site. Content should include items like URL syntax, content hierarchy, structure of your page, screen resolutions for big and small screens, and media data. Make sure that your responsive design is beneficial for search engines, your audience, and yourself.
  • Compiling Information: Compile all the information you have gained through your research into an abridged content. This content should cover the outlines of content, search, and creative, as well as technical strategies. This content will work as a map for your whole project, which will keep you updated about everything on your website.
  • UX Sketches: Make difficult wireframes, or UX blueprints, for key opinions. This will help in designing the style of the program, while creating a sense of performance.
  • Web Page Tables: One of your main objectives is to keep the content separate from style or demonstration. Your material should never be reliant on a structure to work effectively. So, along with the wireframes, you will obtain a complete set of page platforms for key web pages. These page tablets recognize each content location in order, and recognize the most important information to connect in each area.
  • Interaction Style and Design: Once you have made all the outlines, then you can easily wireframe the remaining views by using benefits from the feature list and page tablets. Every view strategy will be done to make all the features you have planned to visualize. This makes it convenient for both small and large screens.
  • Visual Designing: After wireframing your website, your next approach is to attract people. This can be done by working on the visual state of your website. You should take care of the writing format, color palettes, branding elements, and a lot more. This will give your website a great look. The better your website looks in big and small screens, the more traffic you gain to increase your site rating.
  • Style Guide: Make a style guide that is easy to implement. This guide will demonstrate the personality and design of the system.
  • HTML or Theme Build: After doing the visual designing, it’s time for you to build JavaScript, HTML or CSS themes. For good outputs, make sure that all the work is done by the CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) that forces the browsers to display the websites and web pages the designer wants to show. You can also use JavaScript instead of other software for the interactive elements of your site.
  • Cross-Browser: This is the place where you can test whether your page templates are working well for the desktops and browsers like Blackberry, iDevices, androids, etc. You should make your website so versatile that it will run on any device according to its specifications and screen sizes. If your website works on all devices, then your website will be successful.
  • Writing Content for Your Website: A website without content in it is considered junk. Write content for the publicity of your website and for the ease of users. You can also hire online content writers who will understand the theme of your website and will write useful and meaningful content according to your needs.
  • User Acceptance Testing (UAT): UAT helps you to confirm that your newly edited website meets all the requirements and objectives that are mentioned above, because you need time to know whether everything is working well in your website. Similarly, if the users have some problems with your website, then you can overcome them easily by making edits and adjustments according to their needs.
  • Launching Plan and Publishing: After making the amendments with your current website, launch your plan and release your newly edited website to the Internet. Don’t forget to use the quality checklist as this will tell you whether your website is meeting the requirements or not. Take care of the fact that your new website is handled by appropriate search engines because a website that does not appear in the search engines does not have any value.
  • Updating: Your website is something that continuously grows and changes its face throughout its life. So, you have to update it regularly to make your website user friendly for a long-term basis.


Since the advent of the first web search engines, designers and developers have struggled with issues of how to increase their placement on a search engine results page.

With the major search engines (Google, Bing, etc.) unwilling to reveal their ranking algorithms — protecting them from “black hat” search engine optimizers attempting to game the system — “white hat” search engine experts must play a constant guessing game to determine which tactics will be most effective.

The continuing development of technologies, from HTML and XML to JavaScript and Flash, has made the pursuit of prime search engine real estate a massive industry in its own right.

The introduction of HTML5 has simplified many tasks, but adds another layer of complexity in this area.

HTML5 and multimedia

For many years, web designers and developers have used plug-ins such as Adobe Flash and Microsoft Silverlight to add audio, video and graphics content to their projects. These plug-ins have enabled professionals to create glossy, eye-catching designs that have attracted visitors and won numerous awards.

However, these sites have traditionally suffered from poor search engine ranking due to webcrawler’s inability to index this type of content. Great strides were being made in this area just prior to the death of Flash, but to a large degree, investment in the area of plugin indexing has now ceased altogether.

HTML5 allows for indexing multimedia content, such as menus, audio and video, with new markup tags. The content within these tags can improve a site’s search engine ranking. Indeed an HTML5 site consistently ranks higher than the equivalent site built with a plugin; however there is some question as to HTML5′s suitability for all tasks.

Google frequently tells us to build a site for the user, with ‘natural’ content. We may need to wait for HTML6 for that to be possible.

HTML5 and link types

In previous years, developers would use the “rel” attribute on their link tags to specify which links that a web crawler should not follow:

<a href="no-follow.htm" rel="nofollow">Don't Follow This Link</a>

In HTML5, new values for the “rel” attribute of the link tag allow us to create a context for a document that, moving forward, should provide greatly improved search results for users:

Alternate allows us to specify alternate content, the same text in PDF format for example, or the same content in a different language.

<link rel="alternate" hreflang="es" href="espanol.html">

Author enables us to link to an author’s profile. This is of great benefit on Google if the author is signed up to Google+.

<link rel="author" href="">

Bookmark lets blogs link to an article’s permanent URL, helpful if your articles are usually published on a home page.

<a rel="bookmark" href="">Permalink</a>

Help is designed to be used by third party apps to provide access to help files. Not much use on a blog page, but invaluable for web-based apps.

<link rel="help" href="helpfiles.html">

License provides a link to licensing information.

<a rel="license" href="licensing.html">License information</a>

Next and Prev are used when a document is part of a series, giving context to the current page.

<a rel="next" href="page-2.html">Next</a>
<a rel="prev" href="page-0.html">Previous</a>

Search provides a link to a resource that can be used to search through the current document and its related pages.

<link rel="search" href="">

The full specification for these attribute values can be found on the W3C site.

HTML5 and ranking

In late 2010, John Mueller of Google remarked that HTML5 is “still very much a work in progress” and that the company is still working on ways to index HTML5 content. However, the company is making a sincere effort to incorporate the indexing of HTML5 content into its newest generation of web crawlers.

While Google’s relationship with HTML5 standards remains in flux, and while Google remains the focus of most SEO efforts, HTML5′s introduction of new content and ways of describing that content is unlikely to offer any real SERP benefits.

However, the merits of allowing more content to be indexed with less effort is not in dispute, and with HTML5 rapidly becoming the new standard for web design it is just a matter of time before HTML5 sites outrank xHTML sites. Webdesigners should be planning for that future today.


Do you take full advantage of HTML5′s extra markup? Have you seen any SEO benefit of coding in HTML5 over xHTML? Let us know in the comments.


Now it’s difficult to find a single person over the web community who didn’t hear about Responsive Web Design (RWD). This relatively young technology captured the restless minds of enthusiastic developers, aiming to implement future innovations into our current life. The point became so urgent due to the mass invasion of portable devices into the world market. The most startling fact is that tiny size of those gadgets doesn’t limit their functions. The users are not tired to their home or office computer any more; they are free to cope with multiple tasks from their car or bus or maybe from the park where they enjoy a long walk with family. Positively, each and every gadget whether it’s a smartphone or a tablet, provides internet access. Needless to say how virtual reality has penetrated all spheres of our life, it became the whole world where we are almost omnipotent. No doubt that Internet makes our days more interesting and replete, helps us easily cope with complicated issues, be more efficient and productive.

Unfortunately, here the web community faced the natural problem, rising from the variety of screen sizes and resolutions of mobile devices, users exploit for browsing. The smaller size of the screen was the worse results it showed. Websites looked completely broken and absolutely unreadable. Of course, there are no deadlock conditions and mobile phone website versions were considered as a real way out. As all of us understand, it’s not too convenient to run two website options simultaneously, the full and the clipped one. Furthermore, a website adapted to mobile phone screen size doesn’t cover the needs of the whole variety of other devices.

Keeping in mind everything mentioned above it’s difficult to overestimate Ethan Marcotte’s contribution into web design development, as he was the first who introduced the term Responsive Web Design. The principal goal of RWD is to provide equally qualitative viewing experience across the whole range of portable and stationery devices from desktop computers to mobile phones. Actually, RWD utilizes a set of leading technologies allowing to attain the desired effect. The developers apply fluid grids, flexible images and media queries. If you are interested in studying the matter more extensively, we can offer you to use the interactive Responsive Web Design Infographic, which will guide you through all complicated technical peculiarities in memorable and entertaining form.

To make a long story short, Responsive Web Design is a contemporary goodie giving users and website owners additional possibilities to browse the sites they want from any device they prefer, getting the best possible readability and navigational opportunities.

Unfortunately, responsive online stores are still in minority now-a-days, but we’ve got great news for online merchants. The guys from TemplateMonster’s team started to produce fully responsive designs for two most popular e-Commerce platforms – Magento and PrestaShop. Even if you are very far from statistics, it’s quite easy to predict that the number of customers in such stores will increase enormously, as users will be able to make purchases from their portable devices anywhere in any time.

If you are not the RWD fan yet, we hope that our cool, creative collection of the best responsive themes will become the crucial moment. View the websites, test them on different browser widths and perceive all pleasures of Responsive Web Design!

When it comes to building and managing a successful website there are a number of factors involved in defining that success. Things like the topic of your website, level of engagement, value provided, etc. are some of those elements of a website that you need to focus on if you want to own a successful website.

Another extremely important element of your website that you need to make sure is perfect is your website navigation. Intuitive navigation is an absolutely critical website element that you need to nail if you want to have a successful website.


Intuitive navigation means that your website is designed in such a way that website traffic flows from web page to web page. Traffic simply knows where to go to find anything that they are looking for, and quite frankly, they know where to go if they cannot find what they are looking for. There are a number of tactics that website developers and website designers can employ to ensure website traffic can intuitively navigate their websites. In this article we are going to define intuitive navigation, explain some of the tactics that you can employ to ensure navigation is intuitive on your website, discuss internal linking, explain how to use Google Analytics to track how visitors are navigating your website, and go through the benefits of perfecting your website navigation.

Intuitive Navigation for Websites

Intuitive navigation is defined simply as someone knowing where to go to find the information they want. Intuitive website navigation is the process of website traffic being able to navigate through your website seamlessly from web page to web page consuming the information they want and bypassing the information they do not want. There is a lot that goes into designing a website that can be navigated easily by the majority of people who visit your website. If you can figure out a way to make your website easy to navigate you have a much better chance of people returning to your website, and eventually making it their go to resource for the topic that your website covers. If you want your website to be easily navigated it starts with navigation planning and design. Far too often website designers and website developers jump into the overall design of the website and drop the navigation elements in without much thought. That’s the wrong approach. Let’s go through the right approach.

Designing Intuitive Website Navigation

Designing a website that many consider easy to navigate is an absolute must if you want to have a successful website. Some of the things I write about here at are relatively easy to implement once you know how. That said, designing intuitive website navigation can absolutely be done by pretty much anyone, it is something that is a little more difficult and will take time to fully grasp if you’re a website designer or website developer who builds and managers websites for clients. That said, once you master it you will be able to provide website owners with a much better product. As mentioned above, far too often people jump into designing a website without giving much thought to navigation. Navigation is something that they fit in. I like to go about it in reverse. I like to come up with my website navigation plan first, which will then allow the overall website design to kind of come to life as I’m going through my website navigation planning process. Once I’m finished with my website navigation plan then I move on to the overall website design, which becomes a much quicker process since I already have a good idea of what I want to do based on my website navigation plan.

Website Navigation Plan

I know that there isn’t always time for this, but I like to approach all of the websites that my company builds for clients by creating what I call the Website Planning Spec before we build anything. The Website Navigation Plan is one piece of the overall Website Planning Spec. That said, for the purpose of this article we will stick to discussing just the website navigation plan portion of the Website Planning Spec. Here are the key elements of a solid Website Navigation Plan:

  • Main Navigation Bar – This is the main website navigation and is usually located horizontally across the top of the website OR along the left side of the website. Personally, I prefer horizontally across the top, but it really should correspond to your goals for the website and what you think provides the best user experience.
  • Call-to-Action – What’s the end game? What is the overall goal for your website? If you could pick one web page on your website that everyone who visits your site would read, what page would it be? Once you know your goals for the website and where you want to drive people, you can design a navigation system that funnels all traffic to that page as quickly as possible.
  • Sidebars – Will your website contain sidebars? One or two? Will you have banners within your sidebars that link to landing pages? Will these sidebars appear on all web pages throughout your website on only some of them? These are the sorts of questions you need to ask yourself regarding utilizing sidebars for your website. Then start flushing this out for each web page within your Website Navigation Plan.
  • Internal Linking – We will cover Internal Linking in more detail later in this article, but this is where you can use the copy from your website to link website visitors to other pages within your website. Internal linking is a great way to funnel your website traffic via a call-to-action to the most important pages within your website.
  • Landing Pages – Will your website leverage landing pages? How will you drive traffic to those landing pages? Where do you want traffic to go from those landing pages or what action should they take once they get there? Landing pages can be extremely beneficial in achieving your goals. When then are used properly they can help convert website traffic into paying customers, subscribers, or simply more informed consumers of your websites’ information.

Thinking through each of these elements of website navigation will help you formulate a “flow” for your website. It will help you understand how you want to leverage different components of your website to get website traffic from point A to point B as quickly and efficiently as possible. By doing this you’re much more likely to achieve your goals, which ultimately leads to you being able to classify our website as a success.

Internal Linking As Part of Intuitive Website Navigation

An effective Internal linking strategy is a huge component of intuitive website navigation. Internal linking is the process of using the copy of your website to link to other web pages within your site. When it comes to funneling traffic from one page to the next the best way to do it is through the website copy. Obviously if you’re talking about a specific subject and you want to move visitors from one aspect of your website topic to the next the best way to do that is through the website copy. You can use a call-to-action within the website copy to get readers to click-through to the next page of your website. Remember, your ultimate goal is to get readers to that one main page within your website that will help you achieve your goals. For an e-Commerce website it’s getting website traffic from every other page on their website to their online store. For some websites it might be to get people to a sign-up form, a donation form, get people to contact you, or maybe it’s simply to get people to read one very important piece of copy. Whatever your goal is, internal linking is a great way to achieve it.

The best way to approach this is once you have defined your goals and your have an idea of all of the different pages that make up your website. You should pick that one page or two pages that you want to drive visitors to. Then start writing the copy for each web page. As you write the copy think of ways that make sense for taking people from the subject that you’re writing about on that page to the page you want them to go. Sometimes it will take you having to take people to one or two other pages first. That’s OK. You want to find the most efficient way to get them to your main web page, but you also want to ensure it makes sense from a user experience perspective and from a copy perspective.

Use Google Analytics to Track Website Navigation

A great tool for tracking how your website navigation is performing is Google Analytics. Google Anaytics will actually show you where traffic originated (ie. search terms, direct, or referrals), which pages that traffic landed on, and then the pages that they navigated to from there. If you have followed all of the steps above, you’ve set goals, you’ve designed your website navigation plan, and you’ve used internal linking with calls-to-action to get website visitors from point A to point B as quickly as possible then you can use Google Analytics to see if your plan is working. You might find out that people are taking a short cut to get where you want them to go. You might find out that people are bypassing your main web page for something that is more interesting to them. Heck you might even find out that people are getting to your landing pages and then dropping off. Whatever the case is, Google Analytics is your tool for finding out how your hypothesis is matching up to real world practice by website traffic. Armed with this knowledge you can then go back to your website, make some tweaks, and then come back to see how effective those changes were. You can continue to do this and over time you will create a very intuitive website navigation system.

Benefits of Designing Intuitive Website Navigation

By designing a website that is easy to navigate, and as long as your content is rock solid, you are sure to have success. People come back to websites where they get great information without having to exert too much energy in finding that information. Here are some of the many benefits you will reap if you take the time to consider website navigation before building your next website:

  • Increased website traffic
  • Increased repeat website traffic
  • Increased subscribers for things like your blog or email newsletter
  • Increased sales if you run an e-Commerce website
  • Increased social media connections
  • More engagement in regards to things like blog comments
  • Higher search rankings for the pages of your website

These are just a few of the many benefits that await you after taking the time to design an easy to use navigation system for your website.

Editor’s note: This is a contributed post by Addison Duvall, author of Food Identities, a blog that explores the crossroads of food, design, and culture. She’s written some things, designed other things, and eaten a whole lot of food.

If you’ve ever come across a client (or 20) who refuses to pay you what you know you’re worth, you might start to think that there’s no one out there who knows the value of good design. And you’re definitely not alone – so many designers compete on price that those who want to compete on quality often feel left out.

Many non-designer clients just don’t see what the big deal is about design, and they’ll often go for the cheapest, rather than the best. In this article, we’ll explore a few theories on why that is, and what designers can do about it.

Designing the Unknown

The good news is that people love design. According to the results of this design attitudes research done by MarketingWeek, people know that good design is effective and necessary, yet for some reason, they don’t personally feel it’s worth paying for.

There are several reasons why that might be, but, arguably, the most important has to do with psychology. People, at large, like to believe that they are creative on some level, even if their profession has absolutely nothing to do with design whatsoever.

As long as designers are up against this kind of overconfidence, they will always encounter non-designer clients who will not only try to intervene in the design process (the dreaded “design by committee”), but who will also insist that your services aren’t worth as much as you say they are.

The Paradox of an Awesome Design

Design isn’t like accounting or IT. There is no consensus on what constitutes a “good” design, thus we don’t really know how to objectively value it. Also, since design is a lot more creating than accounting, people are often at awe yet still skeptical of a designer’s ability. They may think ‘Wow, what a great design,’ while simultaneously thinking ‘it can’t be that hard to do, can it?’

This is the dark side of creating simple, clean and elegant designs. They look so easy, and yet a non-designer has no idea how much blood, sweat, and tears went into coming up with them.

Misplaced confidence

When people think they can do your job as ‘well’ as you can, they aren’t going to value it as highly, no matter how much you explain the process. Of course, it isn’t all the clients’ fault. The design community has a well-known problem with designers undervaluing and underpricing their own work, and by consequence, decreasing the market value of design in general.

Pricing has a lot to do with how much people value something. The more designers are able to charge, the more seriously they will be taken by their clients. Unfortunately, a lot of clients simply aren’t able to pay for quality design.

Many times, the people in charge of the design budget have no idea what actually goes into creating good design. They rely on the opinion of marketers or managers (again, non-designers) and end up underfunding the design because no one has any idea what design really is. Making design less of a mystery to clients is key to explaining exactly why they should be paying your standard rates.

Stand your ground

Standing your ground as a high-value designer is essential, especially when everyone else around you is caught in a bidding war for the cheapest prices. It might seem like common sense to simply give in and start offering your services for less than they’re worth, but this is actually the worst thing you can do.

Long-term Prices

Sure, you might pick up few clients over the next few months if you charge less than your worth, but in the long run, you might pigeonhole yourself into a pay bracket that you’ll never get out of. Once people know they can get your services fairly cheap, they’ll always want to get them for cheap, even if you’d like to raise your prices in the future.

Dead End

It’s virtually impossible to go from being a low-priced designer to a high-priced designer while working for a client (or a certain type of client). If you suddenly begin charging your clients your standard rate after they’ve become used to a heavy discount, they’re going to laugh in your face, and possibly stop working with you.

Client Expectations

Low-paying clients can be some of the most difficult to deal with, and the less you charge, the more demanding they seem to become. And no client is ever going to call you – their discount designer – when they have a high-budget project they need finished. They’re going to turn to someone who’s not afraid to charge top dollar for the highest-quality work. You can avoid this sad scenario by starting out at the top, rather than the bottom.

Get Your name Out There

Designers who focus on value over price are not only competing with those who are willing to work for cheap or even free, they are also being obscured by these designers’ superior marketing skills. In a dynamic and ever-changing market for design, clients will almost always hire the designers they have heard of, versus the ones they haven’t.

If you’re a developer who design software that can boost user efficiency by more than 200%, you can still be outsold by an inferior competitor if your promotional strategy isn’t up to speed. In this case, pricing isn’t even that important – the right market for your product will probably be willing to pay a premium for what you can offer them – if only they knew you existed.

How to Increase your Worth

Ask for it – if you’re one of the many designers who are uncomfortable increasing their prices, I challenge you to try it just once. If you’re confused about how to go about it, here’s a method you can use to increase your value as a problem-solver.

First, find clients who are willing to pay for quality (no more cheapsters – you can only haggle so much with low-budget clients). Never be afraid to ask for what you know your work is worth. Next (and this part is important), check out their company backgrounds and their target audiences to find out what kinds of marketing problems they have. Interview people if you have to. The more you know about your clients’ markets, the more detailed and valuable a solution you can provide them.

The Bonus

Of course, this means you’ll probably have to specialize in one or two markets, but that’s a good thing. Why? Because it lets you focus only on the clients you know best, which in turn lets you advance up the client ladder and increase your salary much faster. People are always looking for a personalized solution to their specific problems; provide them with one and you’ll have more work than you’ll know what to do with.

Wrap Up

Have you had bad experiences with skeptical or low-paying clients? What methods have you used to resolve those issues? Share your experience with us.

We all know that most design clients are fairly predictable in tastes and not exactly thrilling to work for. I am sure you are not clapping your hands in excitement when designing another site for a wedding photographer or online marketing company that needs to be “conversion optimized.” Nothing about the project itself stirs the spark of creativity that is lying dormant deep inside you. You want to get it designed ASAP, get your money, and never look at it again.

So you go into autopilot mode. Out comes our little banners on the module corners. Out comes Proxima Nova for the 14th time. Out comes that layer style you’ve used 33 times already because you know clients love “the Apple look.”

Idea-less designers have become the industry standard.

While there is nothing wrong with cutting some corners and borrowing a few graphics from other designers (even our past work), I fear that this unmotivated, “idea-less” design has become par for the course in the world, instead of a once-in-a-while exception for that freebie project for your Uncle Bernard.

We have let ourselves become mindless workers on a production line, not fountainheads of ideas. Everyone and their mom can tell us how to design and we don’t even have the energy to ask “why?” The modern web designer has become a follower, not a leader, because our work lacks the conviction of thought, research and imagination behind it. Our only motivation is the carrot of a paycheck dangling in front of us.

We have lost the sense of adventure that we had when we first began designing. There were no limits to what we could (or at least thought we could) do. No 960 grids or theoretical “folds.” No cross-browser compatibility or page load time. Just your imagination at the tip of your Wacomm pen.

Though all these technical concerns are of course, real-life issues that we must take into consideration to design properly, I believe that they can turn into crutches for a defeated designer. We are too afraid (or lazy) to spawn a design based not on someone else’s template, but on what a design should be based on: an idea

We have lost our will to fight… and in turn: the desire to create.

But somewhere along the line we lost our will to fight for our ideas… so we stopped coming up with new ones. We became willing to just complain over and over about nonsensical feedback (“make it pop”) and being prodded at the point of a gun into designing ridiculous interfaces that make us doubt if we even want to continue in this profession. When this feeling of helplessness sets in, we find ourselves consoled by the fact that every other designer in the world is probably going through the same thing. In the end, we have a fresh chuckle at “How a Web Design Goes Straight to Hell” and move on to the next destined-to-be-damned project. At least we have a job right?

However, if you as a designer are content to simply paint with Photoshop in a corner of the office somewhere, your role will become greatly diminished in value… and easily replaced by someone who can paint prettier pictures than you.

A successful designer is motivated by more than time and money. They strive for excellence. And in the design world, excellence is measured in ideas; that spark of creative brilliance formed in the human mind which finds its way to paper and screen.

You can start by treating every project as a fresh chance to create something extraordinary. Extraordinary in the sense that it is the product of your imagination and ingenuity, fueled by an idea. Creativity is birthed in your head, not in Photoshop. You can be more than a producer of graphics if you are not afraid to think for yourself and go with what you think. Your training, experiences and talent should be driving your mind, not just your mouse.

You are what you make others eat.

An employee at a fast food chain can’t get very excited about their product because they are not putting much thought or care into it’s creation. There is no originality or diversity, only the same set of combo meals over and over again. He couldn’t tell you much about the food he is making, because frankly, he doesn’t care about it.

How can a client be excited about a product that its creator is not thrilled to show?
If you want people to appreciate your work, then you need to put more work into its creation.

Think of a professional chef at an acclaimed restaurant. He is exhilarated by the food he prepares. He has chosen the ingredients carefully, testing out various methods of preparing and presenting each dish. He speaks of spices and sauces with an intimate knowledge, showing his keen interest and sincere passion for his craft. He is confident that his food is exquisite, because he knows the steps it took to make it the way it is.

In the same way, a design that is born from an original idea and honed to neat perfection will give you confidence and passion for it. There should be reasons for every “ingredient” in your work. You hand-picked Proxima Nova after scrutinizing its every letter, comparing them side-by-side with two other typefaces. You created that textured interface from scratch by photographing linen paper and pixel-by-pixel editing a carefully selected portion of it. Every aspect of the design looks the way it does because you intended it to be that way. You have no problem talking about your work, defending it from stupid criticisms and meaningless edits by the idea behind your choices. There are no accidents. No cop-outs.

Care more about your design than your client does.

I always like to say that a designer should care more how a design looks than the client does. Why? It is not your money that is paying for it. But it is still very much about you. It is your time, your energy, your thought, your emotion that goes into a design. Your name is on it, meaning that your reputation will be effected by it. Most importantly, your confidence, your self-respect, and your pride and joy in what you do everyday is at stake.

Even if your ideas are rejected or changed drastically, it is not you who is missing out. You have done your best and presented an excellent product that you can be proud of. You have grown as a designer and have gained valuable experience in your field. Eventually people will take notice and you will be given fresh opportunities to “idea-ize” for more appreciative candidates.

Autopilot off.

But it begins with you calling a halt to your own apathy. Turn off the autopilot by putting away the templates and starting with a clean white page where you can be free to create something new. Pay less attention to flash-in-the-pan trends that everyone is doing and more attention to the minute intricacies of type, color, and shape so that you can set yourself apart from the ordinary.

Most importantly, when you know you have a great idea: stick with it. Commit yourself to see it to completion and defend it against those who may not understand it yet. And if designing “combo meals” at a “fast-food” company is not giving your ideas a chance… then perhaps it is time to change restaurants.


Not every company or designer has a lot to say. There are people who believe in letting a product or service speak for itself, and there are some folks who just downright don’t talk much. Sometimes this can translate over to the web via sites that aren’t extremely heavy on content.

The truth is, if a site isn’t a blog or magazine, there may not be a ton to say. With blogs, there are articles for days and pictures and resources and things. Some companies that have been around for ever and have tons of products, but most don’t. Even if you do prepare for lots of content, you should probably scale it down as not to scare an audience.

An issue that pops up a lot with these content-light sites is the way in which it’s presented. Most times, these websites are extremely boring, informational and have very little purpose. That makes it hard to get people interested in your site and learning more about your product or service. In addtion, you’re not going to get people returning or suggesting the site to friends.

What can you do to add some purpose? Whether you are a designer with a portfolio site or just a brand new company, you’ve got to add some purpose and ‘jazz’ to your website. A website can make or break you with potential customers, so you want to make sure you put the best foot forward.

What is purpose?

There has to be a reason you are creating a website. You don’t just create an online presence for fun. And if it is for fun, then that is your purpose. Knowing this in a clear way is going to help you with your online presence. Distinguishing yourself and clarifying your purpose is integral in successful branding. Without that, you have nothing — you can’t build successful customer relationships, sell your product or even be trusted. Having and knowing your purpose and the purpose of your website has to be the first step in maximizing.

So, how do you start?

Add interactivity and excitement

I know you have seen a website or page that was flat out boring. It’s nothing exciting about clicking a link and seeing it just chug along to the next page. There’s nothing fun about staring at text and a few pictures in a cookie-cutter layout. For some odd reason, when websites are light in content, it’s as if people don’t even try to be exciting with what they have.

That’s unfortunate because these are the best and easiest sites to add fun and excitement. We already know you don’t have much content, so find a great way to present it. Presentation is a large reason why people interact with things the way they do. If you want to attract an exciting bunch, then you’ve got to bring your own excitement.

There are tons of effects that make page transitions interesting. You can choose to use Flash or jQuery or whatever you feel most comfortable with. These effects aren’t just cool but they make people continue coming back to your site and share your site.

In this day and age, the Internet exists to make sharing things easier. This is why social media is popular — Twitter, YouTube, Google+, FaceBook and more. All these sites make sharing easier and if your website is exciting enough, then it will be passed along what seems like the endless world wide web.


Add visuals

In referencing “content”, many people tend to believe we’re discussing the amount of copy on a website. While that’s true, content also involves pictures and video. When your copy content is low, people tend to go low on the visuals as well. I say do the exact opposite.

If you’re lacking in one area, attempt to make it up in another. I see many of these low content sites just give up on making a great website because they feel like there’s nothing to use. Adding visuals can be as easy as picking up a photographer, a graphic designer, or even using some stock video or photo. Let the creativity flow and make something worth viewing.

We live in a visual time and lots of pictures and visuals are not detrimental to your purpose. People want to see what they’re about to purchase or what type of services they are about to receive. Not just that, but people want to be able to experience as much as possible. If visuals are not a part of your website’s purpose or content structure, you are giving yourself the best possible chance of failing.


Schedule call backs and appointments

You can guarantee that someone is going to go to your website to try and contact you — at least you hope they will. Every website has a contact form. You can place a contact form on your website to get people to drop in their information, and you’ll get to them when you get it. It’s a working idea, but it seem like there’s a small stigma that contact forms are just ways for e-mails to die.

As a matter of fact, this past week, I used seven different contact forms to contact individuals and companies, as that’s the only option I’m given. Four whole business days later, I’ve only heard from one person. People are haphazard when using contact forms, fill in all that information and then never receive a response.

Giving someone the ability to actually schedule a time for someone to call them is a lot more attractive than taking a shot in the dark with a contact form. Allow your audience to get online and schedule time with you, rather than having them hope and pray you get back to them. This gives you a good time (or times) to get in contact with them. If you really value your potential customer, scheduling the callback or appointment is easy for you.

You may be one of those people that has no problem responding to e-mails. That’s fine, too, but the idea of actually scheduling time and having a purpose sits a bit better with people. It makes them feel important.


Logins and sign ups

If you can find a way to add visual excitement to your website, you don’t necessarily have to put all your good content out in the forefront. Even sites with tons of content don’t do that. So, having a way for people to sign up and subscribe to your content is a good way to get them more interested in your purpose.

Sign-ups, via e-mail or mobile or what have you, don’t have to be just about your company. Again, the reason people use the web right now is to share what they find. There are many ways you can use your list whether that be to make some extra money or share your own exclusive content. Whatever you do, having this feature isn’t to flood your list but to reward them for signing up. Give them things they can’t get elsewhere. Give your list great things so that others will want to be part of it. Having this exclusivity can add or enhance your purpose.

Having a list is great and providing a log-in function can be great too. While I believe it can be utilized better for creatives, any company can use it. For example, as designers, we may have a hard time keeping up with our individual clients. Give them a log-in on your website that allows them to always access their deliverables, receive new quotes, and even check the progress on their new projects.



The idea of having purpose is not to create a reason to have a website, but ways to enhance the actual purpose of what you do. You may be a designer with a portfolio who wants to gain clients or you may be a small business with one brand new product. Whatever you do, you’ve got to make your purpose consistent from your person to your printed brand to your online presence.

These ideas can help you grow and can help understand your brand. Often, people feel useless because they don’t have a ton of content to put in people’s faces. But, the best thing is make sure you have something clear and purposeful in their faces, no matter if your content heavy or light.

For a techie, one of the not so nice aspects of being a freelancer is the fact that you have to work with clients. When you work for an agency, most of this is handled by the account executive and sometimes you don’t have to deal with the client at all. However, when you work for yourself as a freelancer or as a business owner, you do have to deal with clients.

While very often this won’t be a big thing, there are cases, such as when you have creative differences with a client, when you certainly would benefit from any advice how to handle these situations smoothly. I don’t claim the solutions I offer are the best but as my experience shows, they do help to deal with creative differences in a civilized manner.

The Client Is(n’t) Always Right – Why Creative Differences Could Be Good

First, let’s clarify that creative differences aren’t necessarily bad. In fact, they frequently help to make a better product. Client input can be really valuable. You might have decades of experience but still there are always cases when the client has a better idea than you do – be it for a small detail, or even for the design as a whole.

You need to accept this as normal. The worst mistake you can make is to take it personally. No, almost always the client isn’t attacking you, your knowledge, or your skills.

On the other hand, if you believe the client is always right, this isn’t so either. You are supposed to know more about design than the client. This means that when the client has a ridiculous idea, you don’t have to say “Yes, Sir/Madam” all the time just to please him or her. When the client has disastrous ideas and you follow them, the end result will be failure, which in turn will hardly please the client.

As you see, things are not black and white. Sometimes the client is right, sometimes you are right. You both just need to find a way to communicate your thoughts, so that you can arrive at a solution that will make the project great rather than get involved in an ego fight.

Discuss and Explain Your Points of View

The major way to understand each other is to discuss and explain your points of view. Very often this is all it takes to solve differences of any kind. Here are some points to consider:

A suggestion or demand might sound ridiculous till you hear the reasoning behind it

Not everybody is able to verbalize his or her thoughts precisely and this is a common reason for confusion. When you add to this the fact that generally clients are not familiar with design terminology, it is quite possible that what the client really means is quite different from what you think he or she means. For instance, you might find it ridiculous to have fancy fonts for text because you think the text is the text body itself, while the client in reality wants fancy text for the slogan, or for some quotations you will put as an image inside the text. You just need to clarify what each of you means. When you do it, it might turn out you have no creative differences at all!

Accept that the other party also has likes and dislikes

You might be a genius designer but this doesn’t mean everybody else, your clients included, is a loser with no sense of colors and composition. You like red and orange, your client likes blue and green. You like rounded corners and headlines with a background, your client prefers things simpler. These are all natural and they are not a reason to fight. If you are working on your personal project, you are free to choose everything you want but when you work for a client, you do need to respect his or her likes and dislikes.

The worst you can do is to start convincing the client about the cuteness of red and orange and of rounded corners and headlines with a background. You might manage to force your view on the client but basically this is useless – the client will hardly be happy simply because he or she likes different things. Of course, if the client wants a disastrous combination, you should try to convince him or her this combination is not OK but try to use hard facts for it. For instance, you can say that these shades of green and blue don’t go well together and offer to replace them with other shades of green and blue that are a better match.

I remember once I was designing a site for a friend of mine. The guy was obsessed with black backgrounds but I somehow managed to convince him black is not user friendly – text on a dark background is more difficult to read and besides, black is too necrophilic and makes the whole site look depressing. As far as I remember, the site had dark blue background as a compromise for a while because dark blue is less depressing than black, though it is still far from what I would personally choose as a background but later he decided that it is black and nothing else. Of course, I wouldn’t take a gun and make him remove the black background – if he likes it that much, let’s leave it like that, the world won’t end.

Don’t throw in your decades of expertise as a proof you are right

Sometimes it feels easier to convince a client you are right because you have lots of experience. While there are many cases when years of experience can help you, basically clients aren’t interested in this.

When they don’t like something, they don’t care about the hundreds and thousands of sites you have made. If you can use your experience to convince a client something is wrong (i.e. my attempt to convince my friend that many experts think that all equal light text on dark background is more difficult to read, though there are others who don’t think so), this is fine. But if you throw in your experience as an argument per se, it feels like you are telling a child “I’m right because I’m older!”, don’t expect a client in his or her right mind will accept this.

Both of you might need to make concessions

Compromise is the ground to mutual understanding. Of course, it depends on what you have to compromise. If the client wants really stupid things (i.e. text body in 20px font size because this will make it easy to read) and won’t negotiate, there isn’t much room for compromise and you might have to resort to the advice into the last section of the article.

If I continue the example with the site of that friend of mine, the concession he made in exchange for the black background was that he gave up on his idea of animation and sounds. It wasn’t “Look mate, I accepted your black background, now it is your turn to accept my conditions!” kind of negotiations. Rather, I just managed to convince him that these animations and sounds are annoying at best and they are so last century. I know that many novice designers and clients with no knowledge are fascinated by everything that jumps and screams and this was the case with this guy – he simply didn’t have much experience as a user and he was fascinated by sounds and animations.

“If there is a will, there is way.” This might not be true about everything in life but for most cases of creative differences it is. If you manage to communicate your views, than it becomes easier to see each other’s point of view. Of course, don’t bet on a happy end in all cases but more often than not you can solve creative differences via communication and negotiation.

End the Project, If the Creative Differences Are So Fundamental

It is best if you manage to solve the creative differences with your client and work happily ever after, but unfortunately, this isn’t always possible. Sometimes creative differences are so fundamental that no negotiations can bridge the cap.

In this case the only move is to end the project. This is really a last resort but sometimes you just have no other options. If you continue to work together, this will be a torture for both of you. Under these circumstances, the wisest is to end the project, especially if it is still in the beginning and go your separate ways.

Every now and then I’m approached by design students and clients asking me to critique their logos.

While I’m not particularly fond of critiquing anyone’s work, especially when it’s hard to find something positive to say, I’m happy to help students raise their game and charge a consultancy fee to any client looking for a professional opinion.

Specializing in the creation of identities allows me to easily identify —no pun intended — a pattern of common mistakes designers make when creating logos. Some are downright bad, and should be avoided at all costs, while others can be overlooked depending on the peculiarities of the project.

This list contains some of the most common mistakes I have seen in my design career.

Whether you are a designer looking to improve your skills or a small business owner looking to understand the process behind logo design, this article will help you learn from the mistakes of others; and either save you valuable design time or prevent you from making a poor investment.

1. Designing without a briefing

This sounds so wrong in so many levels, that I feel a bit silly even including this advice in this list, but the truth is that we all have done it. I know that I have, on many of my own personal projects, especially when working on something that I’m particularly passionate about.

However, while designing without a briefing is possible, more often than I would like to admit, I have found myself scrapping whatever design I made only to get back to the start and write a proper briefing for it. Ultimately, when creating for oneself, writing a briefing for personal projects saves time, but can in many cases also help to mature the initial idea.

That’s the general advice for personal projects, but client work is a whole different story.

The briefing exists to help designers know what they need to design, and how they need to design it. However, it also has a key role in defining the designer-client relationship. Without it, designers would be overwhelmed by the amount of design freedom, and clients would not know what to expect from the project, or how far can they go in making requests to the designer.

Here’s were I get serious about briefings, and I genuinely mean it. Working without a briefing on client work is a recipe for disaster. If you want to design high quality logos and compete on a professional level, you must have a briefing for each project.


2. Designing for yourself

Design can easily become a highly personal and passionate experience, so knowing for whom a logo is being created can be a hard lesson to learn, and that’s not a challenge just for designers, more often than not, clients are also guilty of analysing a design based on their personal tastes rather than their audience’s needs.

You must understand who your logo target audience is, and then learn as much as you can about them. Whenever possible, get in touch with them and talk about the project your are working on. Listen to what they have to say, and use what you learn from this interaction during the design process.

Here’s a warning especially for small business owners: do not rely entirely on their opinions to create your design. You should only refer to your target audience to extract their perspective, and always hire a professional designer to translate that into something that works. Otherwise, you’ll end up with a Franken-logo, the nightmare of the logo design world.

The truth is that learning how to wear the shoes of the target audience is one of the most valuable skills a designer can learn, and an extremely handy skill for any small business owner as they can apply that to all areas of their business, not only design. Remember, design for your target audience, not for yourself.


3. Not understanding the client’s USP

Each business has its own USP (unique selling point) and that is one of the most crucial things to keep in mind when designing a logo. It can be anything, from a secret formula (Coca-Cola), to being one-of-its-kind (Google), to being highly innovative (Apple).

I’m not suggesting that companies should literally insert their USPs in the designing of their logos, that would be terrible. Logos are not supposed to be literal, but understanding the practical side of a business will more often than not lead into the generation of ideas.

This is an essential part of my own logo design process, and actually, the exact first thing I look to understand. It works every time, just like a charm.

Knowing what is your client’s business USP will help you to find what’s the unique approach you should take when designing their logo. Every business has its own angle, and taking this into account can help you build a successful brand.


4. Not considering the brand positioning

Branding is a concept that stretches far beyond identity design, but in order to design a logo that truly reflects the core identity of the brand for which its being designed, one must understand the positioning of this brand.

Brand positioning is all about the relationship of one brand to other brands, usually primary competitors. The easiest way to make that analysis is by using a marketing diagrammatic technique called perceptual mapping, where you can visually display the perceptions of a brand in relation to others, thus finding the brand positioning.

If marketing is not your forte, that may sound pretty confusing, but is actually simpler than it looks, check out the example below which helps to put some sense into it.

Here I’m analysing the positioning of a few chocolate brands in relation to quality and price, two aspects highly relevant to customers.

It’s essential to understand that one can analyse status, usability, durability or any other dimension that is pertinent to the perception of customers; a well defined brand positioning will be thought from many different perspectives.

With all of that in mind, it becomes easy to see, that the logo you are designing must look like it belongs to the place where the brand is positioned. Thinking about that will raise the chances of your logo receiving a positive perception from customers.


5. Not doing enough research

Understanding your client USP and its brand positioning are essential to anyone looking to design a successful logo, but that’s not all the research you can do about your client’s business.

Allocate some considerable time to do research work, so you can understand what is the context of the business; who are the primary and secondary competitors; how and where the logo will be used; and who is the primary target of the company.

The internet is in your favor, there’s a lot you can learn about your client’s business and market without even having to ask any questions. Remember that Google is your friend, and you can ask him anything you want!

The truth is that clients, more often than not, don’t understand how to use design to their advantage, so they just don’t give you the information you need from start. Don’t be afraid of asking a lot of questions, even if they sound pretty basic.

Always bear in mind that designing a logo without understanding your client’s business, is like shooting an arrow while blindfolded expecting to hit bullseye. While you may be able to accomplish that, it will be all about luck, and that is what you want to avoid. The more information you are able to collect, the better your design will be.


6. Not considering the limitations of reproduction

This is a classic mistake. Here is where the majority of young designers fail, as they don’t foresee future applications the brand will require. There are plenty of things you should consider, but the good news is that this mistake is one of the easiest to overcome.

All you need to do is to ask questions. Will your client need the logo printed on the side of a pen, to use as a promotional item? Or, will it be printed on the company’s vehicles or large scale outdoors? Find out how the logo will be used even before you start thinking about design.

Even if your logo looks fabulous on a website; on the smallest size; and printed in the largest size; there’s always something you may forget. Here’s an example, think about how frustrating can it be if your client loves your logo, and even though is perfectly scalable, the design you chose is impossible to embroider on a t-shirt.


7. Showing too many options

If there’s one piece of advice I truly wish I had understood earlier in my career it is this one. It would have saved me a vast deal of time, but on the other hand, whenever I talk about this subject with other designers it seems to be a mistake we all need to experience.

Young designers need a great deal of practice to sharpen their skills, develop their own aesthetic language, and learn enough about the trade to feel confident enough to present fewer options. That’s pretty hard to accomplish without a great deal of experience.

On the other hand, some designers choose to show many options as a way to raise the perceived of value of their own service. I understand why they are doing that, but I don’t think there’s real value in showing multiple options.

The end of the story is that clients will only use one of the solutions you show anyway, so wouldn’t be more productive to come up with one idea that you genuinely think is the best, instead of dividing your time and effort in creating multiple solutions? Think about it.

But clients ask me to see multiple options! What should I do about that?

Well, that’s true, some clients will ask you for that, but then it comes to you to take the initiative and educate your client on how identity design works, and why getting fewer options is actually better than getting many options to choose from.

Whenever I’m working on an identity project, I always have many ideas of what to design, but hardly present more than the idea which I believe to be the best solution for the project I’m working on. Because I spend a considerable amount of time thinking about the brand I’m going to design, I feel quite comfortable explaining, in the finest of the details. It’s easy to justify why the option I’m presenting is the best solution for my client’s business. That’s more value than showing multiple options.

Perhaps this particular mistake is more about a process of gaining experience that every designer needs to go trough to raise their game. On the other hand, I’m sure about one thing: avoiding the other mistakes I mention on this list will raise your confidence about your own work and presenting fewer options becomes more natural.


8. Relying on digital trickery to create a logo

What happens when you remove the gradients, reflections, drop-shadow effects and change the color to white over a dark background? Is your logo still there? If you are still able to see your logo perfectly, the chances are you have designed a good logo, but if not, then it’s time to start thinking about it all over again.

Using digital trickery to make a weak design look strong is one of the easiest things to do,  all you need is Photoshop, and knowing which effects to apply, but these types of logos are just not good long-term identities, they don’t help to build brand value.

The rule of the thumb here is to design the logo in its simplest form. Once the essence of the logo is working, then you may consider adding some trickery to better fit the logo to specific applications, but never as an essential part of the design.


9. Not being able to explain your design

It’s terrible when a client questions a feature of your design and all you have to say is “I designed it this way because I think it looks good”. Bear in mind that if you use the “I like” argument, you are also allowing your client to do the same, and that can easily turn the discussion into a battle of “taste”. Guess who’s going to lose…

Every single pixel of a logo must be thought-of, it must have a concept behind its looks, and the overall result must show a solid understanding of the proposed briefing. If you have followed these steps carefully, be not afraid, as I’m sure you will be able to answer any question that may arise once you show off your logo to the world.

If your design is based on actual knowledge and experience your client does not share, you can position yourself as an expert in your field; and your clients are going to respect your choice because they lack the argument to contest something they don’t understand.

That is what separates the wheat from the chaff in the design industry.



To paraphrase Eleanor Roosevelt, you can’t possibly live long enough to make all mistakes by yourself, so learning from the mistakes of others is pretty good advice.

I must admit however, that I’m a strong advocate for empiric experience. There’s nothing better than learning from your own mistakes, so don’t be too hard on yourself when you do something wrong, there’s no shame in it. Mistakes are there to help us grow, not to drag us down.

1. Don’t make your bedroom your office

This is the first advice I heard when I started freelancing. No matter what you do, don’t have your office in your bedroom.
Forget an office, I didn’t even have a desk when I started freelancing. I’d work in bed or on the dining table. When I did get a table a month later, it was placed in my bedroom.

The reasoning behind the advice is sound. Working in bed is bad for your posture, and it doesn’t make for a healthy work environment. After a couple of hours of working from your bed, you just feel like lazing about – absolutely not productive.

But when they are starting out, many freelancers don’t have the funds or the room to have a separate home office. So the advice is actually redundant. It’s impossible to follow advice you can’t afford.

How to make it work for you

If you’re working in your bedroom, make sure you sit up straight and have a breakfast table to put your laptop. Get up every half hour to stretch to avoid feeling drowsy or lazy.

If you have a desk in your room, try to set it near a window. If you don’t have a window, make sure you set the table so that your back faces the bed when you’re working. Add an easy to maintain, real plant on your desk and keep it clean. The aesthetics are important when one is strapped for space.

If at all possible, avoid working in the bedroom. Instead, choose the dining room or the kitchen table. It’s closer to the coffee!

2. Don’t work for free

New freelancers don’t always have a portfolio. To have one, they need clients who’ll give them work and to get work, they need to find clients. It’s a vicious chicken-and-egg thing. The only way out of it seems to be to work for free in the beginning – at least for the first couple of clients!

But popular freelancing advice says that you should never work for free as it undervalues your talent and sets a precedent for future compensation. What’s a freelancer to do? How are you going to build your portfolio?

How to make it work for you

Instead of working for free, create your own samples. Better yet, volunteer your services to a non-profit organization. Not only will it look good on your resume, the organization would be eternally grateful to you and when you ask for testimonials, they’ll be offering glowing examples.

3. Always take a deposit

How many of you took deposits from clients when you started out? Me neither. In fact, this is something I still don’t do unless the project is a substantial one.

Yes, I got stiffed once and yes, I should ideally take a deposit before starting work. But clients don’t always agree to that and it also really depends on how you do business. Granted, chances of you not being paid are high if you don’t take a deposit but it’s not always feasible to pass over a client just because they don’t pay an initial deposit.

For me, this advice only works with big projects. I simply explain to the client why it’s a big risk for me to start work when a big amount is involved. They usually understand and send over a 20% deposit (at least) or whichever amount we’ve agreed upon.

How to make it work for you

Never hand over a finished project. Always hold something back. If it’s a design project, put your watermark on it. If it’s a website theme/template send them screenshots and if it’s a writing project, ask them for the payment after the draft has been approved.

Whatever kind of work you do, find a way to either put your mark on it or hold something back until you receive the full payment.

4. Have a freelancing contract

Every freelancer, freelance blog and business book out there says the same thing: Working without a contract is inviting disaster to dinner. Yet there are countless freelancers who work without a contract. I know because I was one too. Legal mumbo jumbo scares the best of us.

As new freelancers, we’re eager to get started. “What’s the point of a contract until I have clients?” you think. And then suddenly, you have a client and you’re so excited you forget all about the contract.

Or maybe you’re scared to bring up the topic of a contract. You’re uncomfortable bringing it up when everything seems to be going smoothly. Just because this advice is popular doesn’t meant it’s not right. It just doesn’t work with a big percentage of freelancers.

How to make it work for you

Always communicate via email. Even when you’ve talked to the client over the phone, send them an email recapping your chat and ask them if you’ve missed anything. An email exchange might not be a contract but it’s the next best thing.

Should you come up with any problems, you can always refer to the emails and tell the client that this was what was decided and agreed upon about the rates, scope, payment terms. Better yet, once all the details have been finalized, send your client all the details in an email recapping the entire deal.

5. Charge what you’re worth

Freelancers either charge what they’re worth or they don’t. Most often, they don’t.

The internet is riddled with advice on charging what you’re worth. We’re told that the kind of clients we attract is directly related to our rates – and it’s true.

Unfortunately it’s very rare for a new freelancers to even know what the going rate is in his niche, let alone, his worth. This knowledge comes with time and confidence in your work.

How to make it work for you

Charging what you’re worth might be stretching it a bit. Stick with charging the going rates. Use Twitter and LinkedIn to find other freelancers in your niche. Check out their websites to see if they’ve listed their rates.

While not all freelancer list their rates, a few do which is enough to give you a general idea. If you’re still unsure, email the ones who don’t have them listed and ask them. Some won’t reply because they guard their rates but there are plenty of freelancers who will.

Online forums are also a great source of information. If there’s a freelancing forum you frequent, ask about the going rates there. You’re guaranteed to get plenty of help!


The beautiful thing about being a freelancer is that we’re adaptable folks. If something doesn’t work we either work around it, or find a way to make the best of the situation, without being taken advantage of. Have you ever been given advice about freelancing that didn’t work for you?

The assumption that your web design is responsive can only be made true when the users using different operating systems and podiums to access the website, are able to do it successfully. The web design which is responsive is becoming more famous as it removes the need of constantly updating, or adding additional features to the mobile website. Some website owners and designers even think that using responsive web design removes the need of a mobile website.

How Responsive Web Design Could Become an Alternative for Mobile Websites?

Experts state that the responsive web design actually consists of flexible layouts, media questions and fluid grids that make the website more accessible and easy to use. If one does not use this responsive web design, there are chances that the website owner will have to provide the visitors with different URL’s compatible with different devices.


The best thing about the responsive web design is that websites needs to be designed only once to be accessed with the different devices and operating systems. It is even simpler than any mobile website or template, since the whole website is designed in a way which makes it suitable to adjust to any screen resolution.

Let’s Have Few Words about the Working of the Responsive Web Design

The word “responsive”, when used for the web design, means that the whole website is constructed in a way where it fits or adjusts according to the resolution of the screen, used by the user for accessing the website. For example, let’s say that you are reading something on your tablet, and you have to switch to another device to read the same thing; in this case the responsive web design will actually re-size that page or website according to your other device. If you are frequent user of these devices, then this is a great feature for you. The responsive web design actually gives you a new experience of looking at a thing, irrespective of which device or platform you are using to access the website. This design also works well with large websites that don’t support Java Script.

Mobile Websites have Become Need of Hour

It is a given fact that most people, today, use a mobile to access websites. Tablets are also mostly preferred by students for the task of note taking etc. It is much more preferred than the non portable PC. So designing websites for the mobile has almost become a necessity.

While making a website, when you start coding for a specific resolution, the usual end result is a mess of too many style sheets. The media queries, actually, help build a resolution match for an I-phone in both portrait and landscape view through CSS3. As you can predict, you can restore any HTML template, on the mobile website of your now website to your original one, at any time.

Making a website for a mobile, with the help of a responsive web design, automatically takes care of the different aspects of mobile. This means that you do not have to configure the CSS properties separately for both mobile and desktop version of the website.

The only thing you need to be on a look out for is how to display the website on the smallest of the screens with perfect resolution. A program known as Google Analytics can provide you with a lot of help in this matter.

It is a fact that your website might not, 100%, successfully work on each and every device. But obviously, your goal should always be to have your website work on the maximum devices with an average screen resolution. I-phone models using 320 by 480 resolutions have also attained it. A screen of 240 pixels or even smaller is more preferable.

Eradicating the Default Zoom of Mobile Website

While browsing a website on your mobile, you might have noticed that certain websites automatically zooms itself out to go beyond the size of your mobile screen. It is somehow best for the user, since not every website is compatible with the mobile browsing. Thus, getting a full view of the website this way is a better option. But sometimes, the default auto zoom can really trouble your lay out components. It can make the images or certain layout elements of your website either appear too big or too tiny on your screen. The perfect solution to this is using Meta tagging. It can be added into the document header in certain Android and I-phone devices which actually rearranges it.

This is sometimes also known as viewport Meta tagging, in which a few custom variables are added in the content. Apple has certain meta tag variables present in their documentations which are compatible or made just for the websites opened through I-phone operating systems. The starting scale value is very important as it redirects your website to 100% zoom when you open in on your device.

Designs Used For Touch Devices

Sometimes while producing the layouts or web designs, developers forget that the time of the keyboard mobile phones have long gone. They now need to shift their focus towards smart phones that have a touch system. Instead of having a drop-down menu, it is best to have the menu displayed on the right hand side of the mobile as a single menu since it is easier and comfortable to tap the menus on your right hand side using your right thumb.

instantShift - Designs Used For Touch Devices

Instead of using the jQuery codes, it is much easier to link the menu applications through indent margins. It is really important to increase the size of navigation links. People using mobile phones, do not have big screens or desktops to view the things; so, keep the text on the mobile websites large, readable. This may also be changed when the user might change the mode of viewing from landscape to portrait or vice versa.

Reason for Dynamic Image Scrambling

Images are a very important to any website, as they attract the visitors. Even though not always to stream videos, mobile phone users surely use their mobiles to look for images. When it comes to the layout of a mobile, this surely offends many.

According to the standardized CSS rule, all images should be scaled to maximum width property. The images are always perfect at 100%. If a user re-adjusts the size of his browser smaller than your image, it will automatically re-size its width to best fit the size of the browser. Sadly, the internet explorer does not understand and read this property, so one will have to manually customize the IE stylesheet to get this feature in action.

You can get good and stretched images with the help of Java Script and jQuery plugins. Many of the expert developers have put too much of their time in producing a responsive image content.

Turning On/Off the Extra Toggle Content

Including web forms, active menus, and image sliders, there are certain heavy sizes of text available. The best way to adjust them with the decreasing size of layout is to hide them altogether into a minimized content division. This could be done through either CSS or JavaScript, but the need for JS code is, ultimately, inevitable as it is also needed to create a toggle button.

This is the best solution for keeping your webpage fully lively and rich with media content. Instead of removing the content with drop-down navigation or re-adjusting it, you just have to minimize them into a content div. If someone needs to use those items, they may just tap the toggle on/off button to view or hide them.

The formatting is really simple, interesting and spontaneous to do for touch screen devices. Inside the div, you can put each menu side by side in columns. This would make them even easier to separate. Even if size of the window decreases, they will eventually get in line above and below each other, eventually leading to the increase in height of the window. Then you can slowly lead to the closure of the whole menu with just a single tap. For dynamic image, re-sizing this toggle div is the best option.

Choosing the Custom CSS Designs

It is very important to choose your design or layout for the website and get your content adjusted to it. For example, in case of side bars and content area, you should set their sizes in percentage and let them get adjusted to the layout. But if you set a minimum width, it will eventually lead to the breakage of your side bar content.

So it’s much better to consider making external stylesheets rather than dealing with this problem which might affect your whole design or layout. But there is always a possibility that you might run your content in such a small resolution, that your screen would not be able to extract the content out of it. So, this is the best time to add certain customized CSS properties which will re-format or adjust the content altogether, according to the screen of the device.

What Benefits Responsive Web Design Can Provide?

There are certain different benefits of the using responsive web designs which include:

  • They eliminate the need to add different website visitors with different URL’s, using different devices to access the website.
  • With different URLs, it becomes difficult to maintain multiple different sites. It can even add to the costs as well.
  • It eliminates the need to design different websites for different devices.
  • If you need to bring about any changes or modification on any of you web pages, you can do it with responsive web designs. People, not using it, may find themselves having to change multiple websites or pages just to modify a single page or website.
    There are also certain consequences or bad points of using a responsive web design which include:
  • Sometimes the web design actually leads you to download certain extra markups which are not necessary. These extra markups only result in extra cost and a waste of space.
  • Rather than just adjusting and reformatting the existing website with the help of responsive web design, making and providing a whole website for a mobile device is much more advisable and suitable.
  • The websites that are made for mobiles have proved to be more efficient and responsive than the ones made or re-formatted with the help of responsive web designs.


So these benefits and features can make responsive web design a suitable alternative for mobile websites but here you must consider one thing that it does not ends the need for great mobile sites at all.

Working with clients can be tough. There can be a lot of back and forth communication and many requirements. Every client has their different level of standards and can make bouncing from project to project a bit difficult. One client’s idea of good is another’s idea of average and they’ll want more.

Some of us make our living off doing client work and accepting new projects. While all of us are different in the amount of work we can do and handle, it’s no secret that we don’t want to spend lots of unnecessary time stuck doing revisions and trying different designs. It’s always nice to have a client that can at least see the potential in a design instead of throwing it out to the wolves.

Having a design looked at and immediately disproved can be crushing. Providing the best design the first time around is often rare. However, providing a design the client likes and can see the potential in is obtainable. There’s no such thing as an immaculate, “perfect” design, but there is an idea that a design has “perfect” potential, no matter the client or the project. Below are a few things you can do to help make better designs for your clients.

Know the brand

This is the single most important and also most over-looked thing when it comes to creating designs, especially if you don’t use design briefs. When I first started designing as a freelancer, I asked clients what type of design they needed and mainly what colors they liked. I usually knew the business industry, but past that, I didn’t really concern myself. I felt like it didn’t matter with what I was doing. After sending my concept to the business, they typically had tons of revisions or wanted me to give it another try.

I thought that was normal until I started to actually concern myself with the business I was working for. Asking questions about the business and what they actually do gives a better and deeper understanding to their needs. Once you grasp the actual need, then you have to find out the types of things they like. Once you know that, it’s easier to move on and create something specifically for that brand.

There’s no limit to the amount you can know about a brand you work for. Some think it’s frivolous, but I even know the start dates of some of my clients. It lets me understand their brand and who they want to attract. All these things are extremely important in making a design for them. Design should solve a problem, so you must be very well familiar with every aspect of the problem so that you can pose the right solution. In math, you can’t correctly solve an equation if you don’t understand the numbers. Design is the same thing. Know as much as possible.


Research the industry

The second most important and over-looked thing for some freelancers is researching the client’s industry. Once we know the needs of the client, we are ready and prepared to design what we think should be designed. It’s great to be anxious and ready but it is extremely important to know what is going on in the client’s industry.

Firstly, we know how trendy design can be. There are going to be certain trends in one industry that are and are not acceptable in another. In a big corporate lawyer firm, I’m not going to find a ton of watercolor logos. It’s not about finding ways to blend in, but it is about making sure you don’t negatively poke out like a sore thumb. There has to be a balance. You don’t want to make your client the laughing stock of their peers and you don’t want them to confuse potential customers and clients.

Secondly, you research to find out what is and is not popular with the consumers. You are honestly designing for them more than the client that is paying you. You’ve got to make sure you understand the industry’s consumers so you create something that gets them excited and ready to move. Perhaps you’ve noticed things they respond to well and things they don’t. You’ve got to try to use that to the strength of the company. Even in creating brochures and flyers, you must know what makes them excited and present it in a manner to do so.

The best part about researching the industry is the ability to notice areas that need improvement. If there is an opportunity in an area that your client is interested in, they’d be foolish not to tap into that industry. If consumers are begging for new features or designs, you can use that to your benefit and eventually to your client’s.


Be creative

What do we all do when we’re ready to create something? We probably get online and go through hundreds of pages of design inspiration. When we’re tapped out on the blog, we then go to our favorite showcases and rinse and repeat. You can find inspiration anywhere online and it’s almost endless.

I love inspiration and tell designers as well as clients to look at some things to see what they like. However, after finding something you love, many end up copying rather than being creative. Someone can make a design and say it’s merely inspired by another design, yet it looks similar. Someone else can do the same, and the designs will look completely different. I’d tell you the latter was truly inspired while the former mimicked a design.

The difference is inspiration is really a feeling that taps into a certain corner of your creativity. It wakes that area up and pushes it to do new things. The interpretation of that inspiration should solely be yours. Perhaps you’ve incorporated an element or two from the original design—that’s cool, too, but true creativity isn’t work that’s been borrowed.

The benefits of being creative and trying new things is the affect it has on the design and who sees the design. Good creativity and good design can often lend itself to the beginnings of innovation. Re-inventing and re-designing the norm in order to provide the same purpose has had a great effect on our modern lives. Changing the norm to provide a better purpose creates great effects as well, many of which can start with a good, innovative design. Why? Creativity and innovation are contagious and can create new outlooks for your client as well as others who see the design.


Pay attention to detail

I did something so embarassing once: I sent a client a design concept and completely misspelled the name of the company. While they didn’t make a big deal out of it, I was beyond upset at myself for letting that one slip. Something like that could have cost me the job with any other client. That’s why paying attention to detail is extremely important.

Why did I make such a stupid mistake? I was actually rushing through the process as I was trying to meet a personal deadline. I’ve found myself and other designers often rushing and cutting corners with designs in order to get things done faster. The design outcomes are fair, but the risk of messing up the details are not.

Clients and consumers look at everything, so it’s best to be as detailed as possible. Take your time when creating and try to think everything through. Don’t always use your designer brain, but step back and look at the design and say, “Would I purchase this if I were a consumer? Would I remember this? Does this make sense?” These questions will keep you from making stupid mistakes like the one I made. It also helps you notice things you normally wouldn’t when designing.


Explain your design

While this idea has less to do with the creation of a design, it’s still helpful. As designers, we love and understand our designs and why we did it. For us, everything makes sense and goes together cohesively. Unfortunately, we don’t always communicate these things when we send off design for approval.

Sending an explanation of a design with a design (rather than in defense of a design) is helpful because the client has a chance to understand your design right there. For example, with my logo design concepts, I often write a small paragraph in the design that explains what my design is doing. Some believe the design should speak for itself, but in our first stages, it doesn’t always happen. Why not give them the immediate opportunity to understand it the way you get it?

Doing this gives the client less time to develop negative feelings towards the design, because they typically understand it better. Even if it is disliked (which it shouldn’t be if you followed the previous steps), there’s a chance that they’ll stick with and see and understand the potential.

Don’t be afraid of revisions, because again, they come with the territory. A quick hint here: always try what the client asks for. If you hate the idea, when you try it out, they’ll probably hate it, too or you may end up liking it. Either way, there should be open lines of communication between both parties so that explanations along with revisions can be clearly understood and accepted.



Again, there is no such thing as making a design that needs no revisions at all. Creating a design often gives whomever sees it some new ideas and they’re going to want to add to or take away from what you have. The idea here is to create something the client will actually like.

Using these ideas is helpful not only to the design, but also to your rapport. Asking clients lots of questions actually builds trust, plus who doesn’t like talking about themselves? They understand and respect that you really desire to create something for them and not just a general design for whomever.

Many amateur freelancers don’t hit all the above points and end up wasting a lot of time. Hitting all these points not only creates a better design for the client, but also starts to make you a better designer. We should all strive to be as great as we can in the positions we’re in.

Sometimes, you just don’t want to do your work. It can be such a hassle to get up, start up the computer, fire up the software, and do what needs to be done. You feel tired and bored, having lost sight of why you chose a career in design in the first place, and you find yourself wondering whether you should just give it all up and become a dental hygienist. It can be really demoralizing to lose your motivation part of the way through a project, but what do you do if you absolutely have to get something done regardless of how you feel about it? Today, I’m going to tell you about a technique you can use when you’re feeling burnt out and you simply can’t bear to think about taking one more step to complete that big, hairy project staring you in the face.

Riding the Rollercoaster

Emotions are not permanent. Sometimes you’re exuberantly happy, and other times you’re depressed enough to cry. This is normal – it means you’re human and not a robot. Most people realize that their current emotional state won’t last forever. However, most of us seem to conveniently forget that fact when there’s a pile of work that needs to be done, and it isn’t going to do itself. It doesn’t matter if the work is for a client or boss, or just for ourselves. We can usually find a way to get our work done when there’s a paycheck involved, but sometimes even that isn’t motivation enough to press on. Procrastination is a problem that affects us all, but for some people it can be more devastating than usual. Believe it or not, people have lost their jobs, homes, and families because they couldn’t bring themselves out of the trap of procrastination. Procrastination usually occurs when the emotional side of our brains – the side that loves to laze in front of the television and eat ice cream – overtakes the rational side of our brains. The rational side no longer has control, and the emotional side is now telling us that there’s nothing more important than catching up on our favorite show or finishing that new video game we just bought.


If this sounds painfully familiar, I have some news for you. First of all, you should realize that procrastination, despite being an annoyance and a major waste of time, is perfectly normal. Really. You’re not some lazy freak of nature if you procrastinate now and then. There’s no real cure for procrastination, and to be honest, as a creative person, you probably wouldn’t want the cure even if there was one. Why? Because procrastination is a major source of distraction, and distraction is what allows you to be creative in the first place. Think about it. If your life was merely a series of tasks from your to-do list, which you did flawlessly all the time, where would you find the time to be creative? And what are you usually doing when you’re at your most creative? Are you getting things done productively, like a good little automaton? Or are you goofing off – staring into space, doodling aimlessly, thinking about crazy, abstract things that have nothing to do with the task at hand? If you’re anything like me, the answer is almost always the latter.

The problem comes when your procrastination lasts longer than the period it’s required to be useful. If you find yourself avoiding your work for no other reason than you’re just not motivated to do it, there are a few things you can do to get yourself back on track and complete the work that needs to be completed. First of all, it’s important to understand the nature of human emotion. Don’t worry – this isn’t some esoteric psychology lesson. It’s actually quite simple: there’s no way you can maintain the same level of enthusiasm for the entire duration of a long-term project. It’s just not possible. Your brain will eventually run out of energy, and you’ll find yourself exhausted and demotivated. This is normal. And like procrastination, there’s nothing you can do about it. What you can do, however, is something that many people refuse to do: accept that it’s normal and that you can’t do anything about it.

Once you accept that something is inevitable, you’ll be much better prepared to deal with it when it happens. If you’ve ever lost a loved one to a long illness, you’ll probably recall how, after a certain period, they will begin to make preparations for their own passing. They’ll update their will, and set everything in order for the day when they’ll no longer be around. There’s nothing they can do to stop what’s coming, but they can accept it and make things go that much smoother. And if a terminally ill person can accept their own mortality, you can certainly accept that you’ll have to continue working regardless of how you feel about it at any given time.

In order to continue working on a project once you’re past that stage of initial enthusiasm, you have to prepare yourself ahead of time to deal with your fluctuating emotions. It’s important to realize that you won’t always be at the same level of excitement, and that that’s perfectly okay. That way, when you lose steam halfway through, you’ll have a system in place to deal with it and you won’t be completely lost and frustrated. A lot of people say things like “it’s not the destination that matters, but the journey.” After you get through wanting to punch those people in the face, take a moment and really think about what they’re saying. If you’re too focused on your goal, you won’t even notice when your enthusiasm runs out and you’re no longer able to rely on it for motivation.

Set Realistic Expectations

Many times, we lose motivation to work on a project because we just aren’t seeing the results we thought we would in the allotted time period. If you took on a few freelancing jobs in hopes of saving up enough money to take that trip around the world you’ve been wanting to take, or even to just pay some of your bills that have been piling up, and you haven’t gotten as many clients as you hoped you would, you can easily become discouraged. If no amount of marketing or niching down your target client base has been showing results, perhaps it’s time to reevaluate the amount of time you’ve given yourself to reach your goals.

Are you expecting to double your income through freelancing within six months? If so, you might want to sit down, because I have some bad news for you. Building a successful freelance career takes time – time that you might not have given yourself in the beginning. Use your “down time” of minimal motivation to reassess your goals and create a more realistic scenario. When you’re feeling defeated, it can be much easier to accept that your goals will take you longer than you thought. Why? Because you give your brain hope that they can eventually be reached, rather than thinking that everything is doomed and you’ll never be successful.

Doomed If You Do, Doomed If You Don’t

If you’ve been successful at completing projects before, you might recall that, though you can laugh and joke about it all now, you probably experienced feelings of doubt and anxiety about the success of your project. Doubt is one of the biggest killers of motivation, because it robs you of the confidence needed to complete any task. Even if you’ve planned your goals carefully and rationally, and you haven’t miscalculated anything in terms of time or effort required, if you feel you’re still not getting the results you were hoping for, you can start to lose your enthusiasm. You may feel as though you’ll never reach your goals…until you do reach them. Then, you become totally confident again and nothing can stop you. Right?

Well, sometimes. I don’t know about you, but even when I’ve been successful with a project, I’ll still get a nagging feeling that I just haven’t done enough to secure my success. If you experience anxiety about succeeding, you can feel as if you’re a fraud, hiding behind a curtain of false confidence like the Wizard of Oz.

The good thing about these feelings is that they’re usually temporary. Most people have them, and they’ll eventually go away after awhile. If you began your project for the right reasons, those reasons will always guide you through the wilderness, and you’ll eventually meet back up with your confidence.


Creative people are natural born risk-takers. Everything we do – from finding freelance clients to generating valuable work those clients will love – involves a risk of some sort. Even if the only risk is you feeling demotivated or unenthusiastic from time to time, it can still prove too much for you to handle. But imagine how our lives would be if nothing involved any kind of risk. If everything you touched turned to gold and you could never fail, ever.

Ranking your website and blog is very trending these days. Everyone is  searching for good SEO techniques and blog improvement methods to get higher rankings in search engine. This become more in consideration due to strictness of quality maintaining by Google search engine. Continuous coming giant Panda and Penguin updates increase the thirst fire of blogger to think critically about SEO ways to let them survive and maintain their sites.

The table lipstick using old styled websites based on HTML tables are outdated now. Very fewer sites are left with tabled structures. Due to lack of browser support, tables cause problems while CSS is well supported by most of browsers and is upper hand in the race, and is very beneficial in SEO. In this article we have outlined some very useful and interesting about the fact that how CSS aids you in your SEO practices and help you improve your impact. For those who are already familiar with HTML and CSS will get more understandings in comparison with white minds.

The Fact

Be clear about the fact that writing quality content is the key factor for the success of any website not just the SEO practices. What CSS will do in SEO is to make your page structure more convenient for search engines to read and crawl your content and hence will results in better page visibility. The one who’s waiting for miracle should stop now and start building good quality content.

Major CSS benefits of SEO

We see a lot of misleading articles on Internet with a label “CSS to boost SEO” and similar one. In actual below are the major possible benefits of using CSS for SEO.

Making the page lighter and fast loading

The main purpose for using the CSS is to make the pages load faster by minimizing the server requests and images. This increases the website opening speed and make it more efficient for search engines to be crawled. This ultimately results in quick and better indexing of your site’s content.

Using search engines recognized standard tags

There are defined HTML tags for headings <H1>, <H2>,.. Make them more prominent and visible using CSS. Search engines perceive them as the indicator of important content. Avoid using the old fashioned <font> tag for decorating the headings.

Working on Menus to make easily crawl-able

Search engines recognized the <ul> and <li> items as links to other important content of our site, so use these HTML standard elements in making up of menus to help search engines crawl them easily.

Important content first using CSS

This is the old and effective method in times. Using this method one can show important content first on the website using CSS to returns the important paragraph first but not to users. This is not that effective now but in terms of easily crawl-ability.

Best CSS Practices that aids SEO

For WordPress users, many things are done automatically in SEO like if you’re using some good reputed WordPress theme then solves half of the hurdles. Below are some good practices that can help you add more value to your SEO practices.

1- CSS Sprite

CSS sprites are very recommended when we talk about quick page load and faster web-page loading speed. Google page speed emphasis every website developer to use the CSS sprites to minimize the server load and help the web-pages load quicker. Let’s have quicker view on what CSS sprites does mean? CSS sprites the name is little weird and misleading, they are not small images but one large image that contains different smaller images in it. With the help of CSS background position, we can show users specific part of the image. This way we can make hover buttons, images and icons.

Why they are important?

Previously there was a conception that the smaller images will load faster for the users but that approach was wrong. By CSS sprites method, there will be only one HTTP request rather than multiple HTTP-request for each image which increases the response time. Once the main image is loaded completely, then that will be used in all over the website easily.

If you need a complete tutorial on what are CSS sprites, how they work and why they’re cool. Check this tutorial.

2- External CSS Files

Adding external files help web-pages load faster. When creating the web-pages, the developer have a choice to add in-line styles of to wrap them all in some separate file. The right choice is to go with external CSS files. The same rule applies for JavaScript files.


Yeah right ask, they’re really important. First and most important importance is that you don’t have need to write the same CSS code again and again in all over the pages. It saves the developer from scratching the separate web-pages for a single color change. An amazing experiment reveals that the external style sheets load way faster. This can also help you rank well in SEs on content to code ratio.

Another important benefit is that when you reload the pages the external files does not reload. This way the web-page even if reloaded will connect to already opened external CSS file which will boost the opening.

3- Easily Crawl-able Content

Use the standard HTML tags to indicate SEs about the important content of your web-page like <H1> rather than using fancy <font> tag. Further for creating menus and navigation, consider the standard menu tags <ul> and <ol>. and further the <li> and <a> elements to link to the other important pages of your website. The CSS thing is revolving around better crawling option. The content to code ratio (In comparison how much is your code with content in a web-page) should be well managed. SEs consider this a key factor while ranking websites.

The website with outdated HTML code can never be ranked well in the search engines because of less crawl-ability and complex invalid code. The bad and good examples are below.

Bad Example or Old HTML


<font size="30px" color="#eee">
All about SEO and CSS

Optimal and Recommended HTML/CSS



<h1 id="myheading">
All about SEO and CSS



#myheading {
font-weight: bold;
background-color: #eee;
font-size: 30px

Some bad practice to avoid

CSS can ruins your SEO at the same time if you’re using some spam techniques to cheat the SEs. Search engines have became way more intelligent than minute minds of spammers. Below are some bad practices observed that should be avoided.

1- Using CSS to Hide Text

This is one the technique that SEs treat very angrily. Can also be used for keyword stuffing. Any website that intentionally contain any hidden text to deceive the search engines may be removed from Google index and may not appear in search engines. Using display:none; or margin:-999px like commands can hide the text from end users but seen by search engines. Using them will ruin your SEO practice if you’re using them to spam.

2- Using CSS to replace images

Replacing images using CSS is a good way to show good designed image to users while a complete text to search engines. Mostly used in logo and tag-line part of website and blog. Below are a sample way to do so.


<div id="mylogo">
<h1>My Company Name</h1>

And writing some CSS like below


#mylogo {

background: url(/images/logo.png) no-repeat;
#mylogo h1 {
display: none;

Using this technique is fine but this can be abused by stuffing a lot of keywords in the title and tag-line/description. Adding too many keyword will get your site spam and may be blocked by search engines. You must use this feature with good intentions or you will be the only person who will get affected.

Another option is to use the alt tag on all images to let search engines know about the image content.


CSS is a lovely option which is adopted for creating up-to-date websites which are optimal in size so that load faster and to base on standards. Clean written code not improves your code to content ratio but helps the search engines to crawl your pages with more ease which ultimately results in better rankings. One can separate the HTML content from a lot in in-line code stuffing which makes the code way lighter, cleaner and faster which is purely search engine friendly with losing the design requirements. A very recommended combination!

We all know basic tenets of user-centered design. We recognize different research methods, the prototyping stage, as well as the process of documenting techniques in our rich methodological environment. The question you probably often ask yourself, though, is how it all works in practice?

What do real-life UX design processes actually look alike? Do we have time for every step in the process that we claim to be ideal? In this article, I’ll share a couple of insights about the real-life UX design process and speak from my own experience and research.

User-Centred Design: Truth Vs. Fiction

A few years ago, I joined one of the biggest e-commerce companies in Eastern Europe. When I entered my new office, I immediately spotted a huge user-centered design (UCD) poster on the wall. The whole process was described in detail that left hardly any doubts about the step-by-step approach to design. Exciting interior design for an aspiring UX designer, right? I stared at the poster with great hope and imagined how exciting following the ideal UCD process would actually be. Guess what? They didn’t apply a single step from the poster to the actual process. They never did any research, nor any serious analysis of user behavior. Yikes, they didn’t even prototype! This fancy poster simply hung shamefully on the wall.

For the next three years, we worked hard to put user experience design at the heart of a developer-driven culture. We forgot about the poster and structured our own process, which fitted well with the company’s capabilities and allowed us to constantly optimize our main service. Why didn’t we use the crystal-clear theoretical approach? Because we couldn’t afford to go step by step through a classic UCD process with a lot of different activities. It would have taken too much time, and therefore it was economically invalid — the budgets for our projects were way too tight.

To deliver a user interface on time, we were forced to get really lean. We used a classic UCD process as inspiration and created a process that was simple but actionable for the company. We defined the problem, defined the scope of the project, iterated through paper prototyping and wireframing, pushed code to production as fast as we could, and always used multivariate split-testing and detailed Google Analytics event tracking.

Post-launch was the time to measure and plan optimization, which we executed immediately. Unfortunately, only huge projects had budgets for qualitative testing. Huge projects were also full of preliminary diagrams (site maps, flow charts, conceptual diagraming) — a enormously recommended activity to find order in a complex mess of information.

All in all, our process was simple but efficient. Of course, in general terms, it was a UCD process, but compared to any popular approach and a famous UPA poster, we used about 20% of the recommended tools and studies. We assumed that users don’t benefit from poster unicorn processes. Users benefit from the hard work of a product team; therefore, a simplified process is better than a robust unactionable theory.

Suddenly, I started to wonder how others managed to apply UCD. There’s a lot of talk about wireframes, but what does our work look like beyond wireframes? Was I the only one with a simplified approach? What can we do to create successful designs? What does the process beyond “the poster” look like? Is there a pattern that works well for the majority of designers?

The Reason For Research

Luckily enough, I was about to find some answers to my questions about the design process. I was forced to perform a worldwide reality check on my opinion about the classic UCD approach and design processes. Sharing this reality check is the raison d’être of this article.

  • If you’re fresh in the UX design world, learning how more experienced designers work might be useful.
  • If you’re a seasoned designer, treat this article as an incentive to reconsider your approach to design. We’re all rushing our designs every day. This is the time to take a breath, see what others are doing and think about what works and what doesn’t work in our real-life approach — beyond a UCD poster.

You may wonder what force persuaded me to revise my approach to the design process. The answer is simple: my own startup. Together with my friends, we created paper prototyping notepads to make our process more efficient, and then we created our own collaborative wireframing application. We suddenly became quite popular, took VC investment and decided to face the challenge: to create a user experience design toolset to support teamwork in the design process.

We felt that we were trying to fight Godzilla (or Tywin Lannister, if you prefer Game of Thrones to old Japanese movies). If my UX teams couldn’t apply a classic UCD approach, how could I be sure that using any theoretical framework would enable me to design a toolset that fits anyone’s real-life process? I couldn’t. Is there any pattern in design processes that we actually apply in our companies? I had no idea.

We felt that we needed to find out the truth about real-life design processes and we needed it now. It appeared to us that our research might be of vast importance to the community and even beyond. A simple equation: a great tool for the design process equals less work for designers on the tools side, equals more time for creative work, equals better designs for all of us.

The stakes were great, and there was just one right thing to do: get out of the building, get our hands dirty with research, find out and learn about the real-life design process (if it exists), and literally hunt out pain points in it to make the work of our team much easier and more pleasurable. We packed our stuff and crossed the great pond, so to speak, to do some serious research in San Francisco and Silicon Valley. Read on if you want to know what we found out about the design process!

The Customer Development Process And Tons of Individual In-Depth Interviews

The life of a modern startup is full of UX design work, even if the founders don’t realize it. Drake Martinet (Wall Street Journal, Stanford University) considers the whole lean startup movement to be a mere application of design principles to the business environment. I couldn’t agree more.

When starting a new project, you actually need to talk to people from your target group. Here comes what are well known as IDIs (individual in-depth interviews): moderated, individual interviews in which you try to learn as much as you can about the problems of your interlocutor in a particular area of their life.

Our target group was user experience designers, so we scheduled above 50 interviews (personally and via Skype). Each focused on the same theme: the real-life UX design process. We asked designers to tell us stories of their usual process based on one of their projects. During the interviews, we asked a ton of in-depth questions to learn as much as we could about the process.

We hardly asked about problems in the design process, though — we tried to spot them in the stories on our own and then confirm our judgment by asking questions (for example, “I understand that X was troublesome in this particular project?”). We tried as hard as possible not to push any views onto our interlocutors. Letting them speak was important.

We interviewed UX heroes Mike Kuniavsky, Indi Young, Luke Wroblewski, Peter Merholz, Brandon Schauer, Jeffrey Kalmikoff and John Zeratsky and some lesser-known but excellent UX designers. Among our interlocutors were in-house UX designers, designers from consultancies and freelancers. Surprisingly enough, the problems that usually trouble UX designers were similar in all three groups.

It was an intense learning experience, and I highly recommend considering such preliminary research in every project. It will give you a ton of ready-to-use knowledge — a kind of canvas to work from.

The Process That Emerged From Designers’ Stories

First of all, we didn’t find any unicorns, but we did find racehorses in excellent condition. While all of the processes that emerged from the stories were somehow simplified UCD processes, they were tailored to the specialities of the designers. Flexibility is what helps us survive in the diverse jungle of projects. Processes morph to fit projects.

The approach to an e-commerce website differs from the way we design mobile apps in the healthcare industry (guess where context analysis matters most?), and government clients differ from corporate stakeholders and startup entrepreneurs, and so on. With few exceptions, though, the process looks surprisingly similar. There is a visible pattern that we all use to design interfaces in different environments:

1. Collecting Information About the Problem

Every UX designer needs to be a kind of detective in the early stage of a project. We need to find out as much as we can about the three Ps (people, problem, project). Activities in this stage, in contrast with the classic UCD approach, are vastly simplified:

  • Meeting with the client (no matter whether externally or internally) and identifying the product’s requirements (often in the form of a standardized product requirement document);
  • Benchmarking and trend analysis (oh yes, most of the designers we interviewed do that).

We seldom perform user interviews, but writing user stories is one of the commonly accepted attachments to the product requirement document. Our user stories are sometimes created based on personas, which are hardly ever backed up with data. Field studies and task analysis are hardly used by any of the designers we interviewed.

2. Getting Ready to Design

This is clearly the ideation part of the process. It’s completely conquered by analog tools. I haven’t met a single designer who doesn’t use quick messy sketching or some other paper prototyping form at the early stage of a design process!

Designers try to act on the material gathered in the first step of the process and find a design worth refining. This stage is not about documenting; it’s about artistic fury and creative explosion. Many of us use Adaptive Path’s multipage templates to quickly create very generic sketches.

Unfortunately, testing lo-fi prototypes is not popular. We prefer to take the risk of choosing one option with a stakeholder and begin the refinement process. Not very UCD-like, but that is the reality.

3. Design

In contrast to the anti-documentation agile approach, most of the interviewed designers create wireframes and prototypes to document the experience and then hand them to the developers.

Refined sketches from the previous stage are still rather lo-fi and are usually not tested. Hi-fi design is left for visual designers. In Aristotelian terms, we create the form, while developers and visual designers fight to create the matter. Heuristic evaluation is definitely out of fashion, while expert review backed up with a cognitive walkthrough is quite popular.

4. Approval

This is surprisingly an important part of the design process. Research documents and deliverables usually also serve as persuading factors in the “buy-in” process. This does not differ between in-house UX designers, freelancers and folks from consultancies.

Buy-in is the unfortunate peak of our process. None of us want to see our work go directly to the trash, and I’ve seen some great projects rejected just because the story behind the design process wasn’t particularly persuasive.

And guess what? A lot of the interviewed designers actually create a special presentation to tell stakeholders the design story. The presentations show stages of the process, deliverables and interactions, and they aim to give stakeholders lazy access to all of the information.

The four points mentioned above form a pattern visible in the majority of design processes that we went through with our interlocutors. You might have noticed that not a lot of iterative research is done in these processes. Sadly, the classic usability study is not a permanent part of the process. Why? The answer is simple: budgets are tight. Problems that appeared in the company that I used to work for appeared to be common. Tight budgets are forcing UX designers to tailor their processes and skip costly research.

I believe the best answer to this problem is guerrilla research methods. Startups do adapt guerrilla research as a part of the customer development process, but more “mature” companies, in my opinion, are strangely afraid of spontaneous and methodologically questionable yet efficient and cheap research methods. One of the challenges of the UX design community in the coming years will be the popularization of guerrilla research methods and bringing them into our real-life design processes.

Houston, We Have Several Recurring Problems

During our research, we tried to spot recurring problems in the design processes of our interlocutors — a so-called pattern of pain. Surprisingly enough, similar problems appeared in almost all individual interviews. Apparently, a lot of us live arm in arm with three tough unresolved problems that tend to slow us down:

  1. Spreading an understanding of the design process
    How to engage the whole team in the process and show them that UX designers are not people who lack talent in visual design yet still insist on drawing something? How to teach that there’s user experience beyond wireframes?
  2. Communication within the team
    How to communicate with a team throughout the process and actually use different perspectives of teammates to evaluate design deliverables?
  3. Demonstrating the process to get buy-in
    How to present the design process to stakeholders and developers to actually get buy-in, both formally and psychologically?
    One of the UX designers we interviewed said the following:

    Do you know what the most painful thing is in my job? Bureaucracy. Having to go to meetings. I would rather design than fight over the picky details. We should make at least part of the workflow online instead of in person. Have the approval process online, instead of in a meeting.

    Another said this:

    It’s really hard to show the process to clients and spread some understanding of the importance of design.

    We have probably all tried to solve these problems countless times, but we still lack efficient and fast methods. This results in less time for creative work and research.

    My hypothesis is this. We as UX designers need to resolve the three painful problems identified above to have more time for creative work and research. We need to demonstrate our work beyond wireframes, spread understanding of UX design and, in fact, sell ourselves both internally (within the product team) and externally (outside the product team, in front of clients and stakeholders). This is the recipe to increase our effectiveness.

    Our real-life UX processes need adjustment, and since we share the pattern of the process and the pain points, we can solve them together. This is most likely the most positive outcome of this research.

    Outcome Of The Research

    The research shows that UX designers are constantly modifying the classic and complex UCD approach. Less emphasis on iterative usability studies and a narrower range of design activities (compared to classic UCD) are the main traits of the current real-life design process that have emerged from our research.

    A process tailored to the capabilities of our companies and our clients proved to be generally effective, but it still causes some recurring troubles that should be eliminated.

    This is, generally speaking, the state of our field. Don’t get me wrong: I don’t mean to criticize classic UCD — it still serves as an inspiration for our work. After all, I’m happy that I worked in that office with “shame” hanging above my head (yes, I mean the UCD poster), which constantly reminds me of the need for adjustment in the process. I’ve learned that what matters, though, is an actionable process — possible to use, adapted to the company’s culture and financially effective.

    After talking with dozens of UX designers, I’ve started to wonder, however, whether we should actually create a poster that shows this version of the process. It could help a lot of aspiring UX designers take their first steps in the field and could be effective as an educational tool for our internal and external clients.

This is the final segment in our four-part series on effective web design principles, concluding with the topic of proximity. The previous topics and segments in the effective web design principles series covered Contrast, Repetition, and Alignment. Guiding the user through your website with proper flow, effective use of white space, positioning similar content closer together, and providing clear structure are all facets of the proximity design standard.

Proximity, prox-im-ity, [prok-sim-i-tee] noun, nearness in space or time, order, occurrence, or relation, closeness in a series, vicinity, order.

Spacing and relationships

Proximity for web design purposes means that similar or related elements should be grouped together, while those that are unrelated or dissimilar should be separated. The physical relationships and spaces between web design elements create a level of emphasis, and include other factors such as isolation, similarity, eye movement and direction, continuance, and persistence of vision.

As elements overlap or touch, the top layer typically gets the primary attention. Did you notice the “Proximity” piece of the puzzle above? Did your eye gravitate to the purple puzzle piece first, and then move up and to the left to scan the remaining pieces? However the overlapping object suddenly becomes overshadowed if the other objects close by are in stark contrast; as objects become closer together the contrasting elements will stand out. Striking a balance between closeness and contrast, and even manipulating the two principles can achieve varied results. Take a look at Figure B below and see where your eye gravitates. Did you first notice the “Repetition” puzzle piece?

Every object or element has a gravitational pole in relation to the other objects that are nearer to its center, and the closer an object is to another also affects its weight. Just as a planet’s gravity affects its moon orbit, the positions of elements to each other on a web page can change the weight given to it and other elements on the page.

White space

An additional proximity factor is the effective use of white space on the web page, spacing elements utilizing effective margins, gutters between columns, and padding creates a balance between the content and the space between elements. In general, too much white space and the web page looks irregular and void of content, with no direction. Of course, if your web design requires a level of artistic license to accentuate open space with an undeniable void of content for dramatic effect, then go for it.

Proximity and typography

Above, I talked about the negative effects of too much white space, but too little white space can make the web page appear cluttered and cramped. As a rule of thumb, a balanced white space is generally more attractive and pleasing to the eye. Below are two examples which demonstrate both ends of the white space gamut. Figure C, for example, is too much white space, and Figure D has too little.

Figure C

Figure D

An intuitive flow of content reveals a balance of white space and the typographic elements that comprise the textual content. Take the first example of the IT Course List shown below in Figure E, and try to step through the list of courses available.

Figure E

Now, take a look at the same list below, which now has each logical grouping defined with appropriate white space, appropriate headings, and unordered lists as displayed in Figure F below.

Figure F

The second list is easily delivered and provides the reader various sections and sub-sections of the course list; each of the courses is in close proximity to the associated and related sub-section header.

Employing the proximity principle of effective web design helps to organize content elements on the web page utilizing space, order, size, relationships, color, and effective use of white space and sectioning throughout typographic elements.

A website can be well designed but if it is not fast enough, it is of no use. Today, in this article, we have decided to jot down some tips and techniques to reduce the website loading time as much as possible. Google is one good example of a fast website and all search engines are striving to reach to its level. If you have a website and it is fast, you will have tons of satisfied users’ in comparison to well designed but heavy websites. The tips that we are going to discuss in this article are implemented by SmashingHub and they can really help a web master in giving its visitors a fast web experience.

As per a few recent experiments and researches, it has been observed that if web search latency has increased it will definitely affect the daily number of searches. If a user has experiences latency frequently, he will avoid the website even when the issue has been fixed. So, it is very important to resolve the speed issue before your user notices it.

Choose A Decent Web Host

Server is an integral part of any website so while choosing a web host it is important to make a wise decision. A professional web host works as a base for your website and starting off with professional configuration can really help you take off. Now let’s get onto tips and tricks for speeding up your website.

Recommended Reading:  How to choose a Web Host by wikiHow.

1.   Control Browser Caching:

Setting expires header will make your website load a lot quicker. Expires headers helps the browser in recognizing if the website can be fetched from browser’s cache. The benefit of expires header is that it stores all heavy files such as images in browser’s cache and when the user returns to the website, website is bound to load faster.

Recommended readings:

2.   Enabling Keep Alive Signals:

A keep-alive signal plays a very important role in the internet world. Keep-alive basically sends a signal after some time in order to find out if visited link is working or not. If the signal does not receive any reply keep-alive assumes that the link is down for now. Once the link is assumed to be down, another path is used to route the data. It helps in reducing the latency of the website so you need to discuss this feature’s availability with your hosting company.

3.   Enabling gzip compression:

Compressed HTTP Response

Gzip needs no introduction because this is the most famous and till now most effective way to reduce the website’s load and increase its speed. All the famous browsers support gzip. It is a great way to reduce HTTP’s response size. If you want to make the page light weight you can simple add the following code in your htacess.file.

<em># compress text, html, javascript, css, xml:</em><em>
<em>AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/plain</em>
<em>AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/html</em>
<em>AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/xml</em>
<em>AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/css</em>
<em>AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/xml</em>
<em>AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/xhtml+xml</em>
<em>AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/rss+xml</em>
<em>AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/javascript</em>
<em>AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/x-javascript</em>
<em># Or, compress certain file types by extension:</em>
<em><files *.html></em>
<em>SetOutputFilter DEFLATE</em>

Also, PHP code given below can also be used at the top of your HTML/PHP file:



<?php if (substr_count($_SERVER['HTTP_ACCEPT_ENCODING'], 'gzip')) ob_start("ob_gzhandler"); else ob_start(); ?>


Or, simply use plugins for your CMS (like the WP HTTP Compression plugin for WordPress).

4.   Cacheable Redirects:

Cacheable redirects are again a great way to reduce the load on your website. Once the user has visited your website, on next visit, the website will load faster thanks to cacheable redirects. You should go with 302 redirect having validity of 24 hours. Also, make sure that includes a user agent and cache control.

Since, smashinghub does support web responsive theme for smart phone users. It can’t have any problem for mobile users.

5.   Using a Content Delivery Network:

CDN is basically a huge compilation of web servers distributed wisely across various locations in order to deliver website’s content with efficiency. You can try Amazon CloudFront or MAXCDN. You can manage your Cache using W3 Total Cache Plugin.

Content Elements

Even as a web master you won’t be having a total control over your server. Content elements are easy to manipulate.

1.   Minimize Redirects

Minimizing redirects in your website will help in reducing the latency of your website. You should only implement those redirects which are highly important and there is no alternative for it. These are Google’s recommendations:

  • Do not give references of URLs that will redirect to other URLs.
  • There should be only one redirect to reach to a destination point.
  • Avoid any useless domains which won’t serve the user with content.

2. Query Strings

If you want to increase the speed of your website, remove any extra query strings from stagnant resources. You should be using query strings only when necessary and that too with dynamic strings only.

3. Specifying a character set

When it comes to HTTP headers it is important to specify a character set. Following code should be added into your header in order to serve the purpose:



<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="</em><strong><em>text/html;</em></strong><em> </em><em>charset=</em><strong><em>utf-8"</em></strong><em>>


4. Use minimum codes

Minify your codes

You need to minify your codes in order to speed up your website. Remove any HTML comments, CDATA sections, useless empty elements and white spaces will increase your website’s speed.

Recommended reading

Avoid Redirects by Google Code gives you a good overview on the matter.

5.  Avoiding bad requests

Make sure there are no broken links on your website because they make 404 and 410 errors. Such useless and wasteful requests will slow down your website’s speed further. Broken links and images will require your special attention so make sure everything is fixed up. Use online broken link checker or use WordPress link checker for free.

6.  Serve resources from a consistent URL

If a single resource is being shared on multiple pages, make sure that all are linked to the same and identical resource. If a source is share on various pages via different domains it will increase the cache’s load. You can check out Google’s recommendation:

7.  Reduce DNS Lookups

DNS lookups take a lot of time and browser will not perform any action unless it is done with lookups. Reducing DNS lookups will definitely increase your website’s speed. You can measure yours, by using Pingdom Tools.

CSS, JS and Images Optimization

Here are few points, if you can consider it, you can get good results for your website.

CSS and JavaScript Optimization

1.   Specifying Image Dimensions

If you are a technical person you must be aware of the fact that a browser begins to submit a page way before the images are loaded. Specifying dimensions will make your browser reflow. In order to avoid this make sure you add height and width tags.

2.   Optimization of images

Images can contain a lot of content which could make the image heavy. If you keep the images of minimum size, you are making things a lot easier for the user. Always try to save and upload images in JPEG. You can use a CTRL+SHIFT+ALT+S shortcut to save an optimized image in Adobe Photoshop, use Yahoo!, or if you are using WordPress, you can install the WP plugin.

3.   Put CSS at the top and JS at the bottom

In order to avoid progressive rendering you should put stylesheets in a document head. This will help different browsers in blocking useless rendering which means browsers will not have to redraw the elements on the page being loaded. Till the original page gets load, users will only see a white, blank page.

Optimization For WordPress

From time to time, we monitor, benchmark and analyze the performance of our WordPress blog. If the site is running slow, we need to know why. Here are some basic changes we’ve done and we figured will significantly increase the speed of your WordPress blog.

1. Cache Your Worpress Blog

WP-Cache is an extremely efficient WordPress page caching system to make you site much faster and responsive. We also recommend WP Super Cache which enhances from the previous mentioned plugin and too does a great job.

2. Deactivate And Delete Unused Plugins

When you notice your blog is loading real slow, see if you have a lot of plugins installed. They might be the culprit.

3. Remove Unnecessary PHP Tags

If you take a look into your theme’s source codes, you will find a lot tags like these:


 <?php bloginfo('stylesheet_directory'); ?>

<?php bloginfo('description'); ?>


There are a lot of ways to speed up your website but the above mentioned ones are the most affective ones. Speed might not be the most important thing but as mentioned earlier, it plays an important role in any website’s success. If you plan to make any changes to reduce the load, make sure to have a back up.

Websites can have many requirements. The purpose of your web page—that is, what you want to accomplish with your web page—is important to identify before any work is started.

A web page is a kind of device that can offer many features. Your web page can be an informative web page, such as by starting an online site where individuals discuss thoughts in groups, forums, or boards. You can also consider a web page for your company to improve cost performance and attract more customers.

Your web page may have an efficient element such as enabling individuals to buy items safely online, which also helps develop client comfort. In this way your company can obtain the benefit of reduced operational costs while pursuing more aggressive product pricing.

Based on these aspects, having an effective web page is really necessary.

A web page is a kind of device that can offer many features. Your web page can be an informative web page, such as by starting an online site where individuals discuss thoughts in groups, forums, or boards. You can also consider a web page for your company to improve cost performance and attract more customers.


Your web page may have an efficient element such as enabling individuals to buy items safely online, which also helps develop client comfort. In this way your company can obtain the benefit of reduced operational costs while pursuing more aggressive product pricing.

Based on these aspects, having an effective web page is really necessary.

Many CIOs have found or are looking for opportunities to elevate their departments to “business enabler” or “business multiplier” status, with all the rights and privileges therein.  These rights and privileges often include increased respect from business partners and, even if the IT budget doesn’t fully escape the axe, a better understanding for the potential impact of such cuts.

Many of these efforts take the form of business process improvement initiatives designed to improve the efficiency of existing work, which could mean having that work take either less time, less money or both.  In many organizations, CIOs and the IT department are well positioned to take the lead on such efforts.

Unfortunately, even with the best of intentions, even the most sought after business process improvement project can fail.  Here, I will outline five reasons that these efforts often fail and provide some advice for CIOs that want to avoid such failure and see their projects succeed.

Lack of support from the top

Regardless of organizational size, attempting to initiate a significant process improvement effort without clear, direct and publicized support from the top will more than likely result in either total failure of the initiative or the eventual outcomes not being everything that they could be.

Lack of support from the top can be perceived by staff as the initiative not being important and not being deserving of the full time and effort that is required to ensure success.  Business process improvement projects can be difficult, so reinforcement from the top that the efforts are necessary and appreciated is critical to the team’s success.

Mitigation: Get clear, public support for the overall initiative before starting any work.  Get real support, too, not just words.  Ensure that the leadership team is truly ready and that they won’t simply back down when the going gets tough.

Organizational culture

I’ve been in organizations in which the culture itself made process improvement efforts extremely difficult.  In short, for pretty much any task, individual employees were empowered to simply opt out or refuse to take part.  Given the process improvement efforts have the potential to sometimes uncover individual weakness or group challenges, it’s not a surprise that there may be some angst when improvement efforts are undertaken.

In one organization, I was stunned to discover the kinds of items that people could simply refuse to do, seemingly without repercussion.  In that environment, the process improvement efforts were extraordinarily challenging and required much more dedication and time from the project leadership team than I’ve seen in other efforts.

In another example, for a substantial process improvement effort, a VP had promised access to certain members of her team for a period of months with a verbal promise that no other significant objectives would be put before those people until our efforts were complete.  As you may have guessed, that promise did not hold and the team was pulled in too many different directions, resulting in failure since no one would budge on the due dates for any initiative.

Mitigation: In these environments, take a slow, measured approach to the initiative and make certain that leadership is squarely on board before proceeding.  Ensure that the importance of the project trickles throughout the organization.  Consider tying awards or some kind of compensation to outcomes to ensure reasonable participation.  Further, get all commitments in writing along with fallback dates that are automatic in certain conditions, such as when a team member falls ill or when a promise is not kept.

Non-cooperative team members

In some cases, organizational culture is to blame for the failure of some efforts and for the shortcomings of some members of the team.  However, when the organization itself is sound, you may have a team member that is either hostile or less than engaged in the overall effort.  Because the team is theoretically comprised of those with a stake in the process being discussed, everyone needs to be fully involved in order to get the best results.

Mitigation: Find out what’s behind the hostility.  If your organization starts the process improvement efforts with the hope that some people can be downsized as a result, don’t expect a lot of cooperation from the individuals whose jobs may be at stake.  Further, if you’ve decided to undertake a BPI project to correct a personnel situation rather than dealing with the personnel situation directly, expect failure.

Project team is not representative

If you want to see what failure truly looks like, attempt to reengineer a process without ensuring that all of those with a stake in the process are represented during the effort.  Perhaps the most important task is selecting the team that will work on the project.  All stakeholders, from start to finish, need to be represented.  Even if a person has just a small part in a large process, the insights and experience from each individual part of the process must be understood in order to improve it.

Mitigation: Easy!  Be inclusive, even if you’re inclusive to a fault.

Initiative is too IT-focused

Although CIOs may be well suited to lead process improvement efforts, the outcomes may not be about technology at all.  Bear in mind that IT plays a supporting role in a company’s process efforts; it’s not all about IT.  What is important is leveraging technology assets in ways that optimize a company’s efforts.  If the process discussion is slanted to a point where it looks like IT is taking over the process, you will end up with one of two scenarios: 1) Failure or 2) IT being saddled with “responsibility” for everything that happens in the organization.  Neither is desirable.

Mitigation: CIOs need to wear their business hats when leading process improvement efforts.

Repetition typically shows up on websites as repeated visual elements that appear throughout the pages on the site. Elements that can be repeated with effectiveness are colors, shapes, textures, fonts, typography, graphics, images, videos, spatial relationships, line thicknesses, headers, footers, navigation, sidebars, widgets, and on. Repeated elements in a consistent manner help to promote the organization of the website and reinforce continuity. The use of regular or irregular, even, or uneven elements can be utilized, as long as they are deployed in a uniform manner. Components can also be repeated in a gradation or progression state, where elements either get larger or small as they are repeated, as in the example of “Repetition” above. Variation in repetition helps solve the challenge of websites becoming humdrum and boring.

Repetition is important to the flow of web design

Repetition is a common part of nature; for instance, next time you are outside take time to study a forest of trees, and notice how many of the same species are counted. Ever notice a flock of birds as they fly south in the winter — the patterns they make are repeated with variation in the familiar “V” shape, and the repeated variations found in a herd of zebras at the local zoo is an example of repetition with variation. Notice the repeated pattern of stripes on the two zebras in below, yet also note that each strip has variation, and no two stripes are exactly alike. Repetition without variation on a website makes it a monotone, dull, tiresome, and all too familiar haunt. Give your visitors a reason to return to your websites and avoid the chronic broken record routine.

Repetition also gives your visitors a sense of site recognition and consistency. Using a repeated logo and keeping the headings, fonts, colors, sizes and styles the same across all pages adds a repetitive continuity that enhances the flow of the website. Flow is created by the movement or rhythm of elements as they occur throughout a website. Repeated use of elements, which have a common attribute, create a pleasing visual pattern, and slight variations to a simple repetition will enhance the visitor’s curiosity and attention.

Repetition creates continuity and looks professional

Consistency is gained from the repetition of similar elements such as navigation sections that remain in the same location as you go from one page another. This helps the visitor feel comfortable that each page will respond with similar functionality and maintains equilibrium throughout the online experience.

What if every time you approached a roadway intersection the rules changed with every traffic light? On one intersection you might find that the lighted purple square means go, at another intersection in the next town, the rectangular blue light means go, and in yet another, a round flashing pink light means go!

While the above analogy is extreme, try to remember any websites you have visited recently that lack that same level of continuity and balance. When very few elements get repeated, the flow and rhythm becomes more like a faltering heart beat on life support. Repeating consistent elements including navigation, footers, typography, graphics, and overall styles within a website gives the visitor a road map, and a way to navigate confidently around your websites. Visitors who are comfortable with the repeated design elements will most likely stay the course and revisit your site time and again.

How do you use repetition in your web design and elements such as font, color, images, graphics, navigation and such?

If you’ve been a web designer for any length of time, chances are you’ve run across the mysterious “.htacess” file at one point or another. Others may ask, what’s an “ht” and why do I need access to it? Whether a beginner or pro, though, knowing what the htaccess file does and can do for you, can enhance a site’s performance, security and more.

How to Get The Most Out of Your .htaccess File

Standing for “hypertext access,” the htaccess file is simply a configuration file sitting on the directory level of your website that lets you manage the server’s configuration. In WordPress installations, one of the file’s key jobs is simply to tell the server to recognize and run WordPress. But here’s what else this nifty little jumble of code can do for you. And beginner or pro, ALWAYS backup the file before you proceed.


1. Prohibit directory browsing

While being able to browse directories can be useful, leaving them open for everyone to browse poses some pretty big security risks. Stopping directory browsing is as simple as adding the following to your htaccess file somewhere between “# BEGIN WordPress” and “# END“:

1 Options All -Indexes

2. Stop Hotlinking

Text pirates who copy your website’s content are bad enough for all sorts of reasons, but image hijackers are equally bad although they don’t actually steal your graphic content, but borrow it by linking to and loading images from your site. Again, it’s a practice that gives rise to a number of security concerns and uses up your bandwidth, too. Prevent it by adding the following to your htaccess file, replacing “” with your own.

1 RewriteBase /
2 RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^$
3 RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http://(www.)?*$ [NC]
4 RewriteRule .(gif|jpg|swf|flv|png)$ /feed/ [R=302,L]

3. Display a custom error page

There are all sorts of reasons for displaying custom error pages. While many WordPress themes let you easily set custom pages, you can also quickly do it in your htaccess file by adding one or more of the following:

1 ErrorDocument 404 /404.html
2 ErrorDocument 403 /403.html
3 ErrorDocument 500 /500.html

Of course, you’ll also need to create and load the custom pages as well.

4. SEO optimized 301 permanent redirects

Anytime you change the URL structure of website during a redesign or server migration, you may need to redirect old pages. Just add the following with the old address followed by the new address to preserve a page’s SEO rank.

1 Redirect 301

5. Block unwanted visitors from referring domain

While no webmaster usually wants to block traffic to a site, there are times when it’s necessary. The following added to the htaccess file will block traffic from a specific domain.

1 RewriteEngineon
2 RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} [NC]
3 RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} [NC]
4 RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} baddomain. [NC]
5 RewriteRule .* - [F]

The first line checks if the referrer is, the second for subdomains, and the third for any domain extensions such as .org, .net., etc.

6. Block visitors from specified IP addresses

You can also block specific IP addresses or blocks of addresses. The following, for instance, blocks traffic from and subdomains of the IP block 012.43.4.

1 allow from all
2 deny from
3 deny from 012.43.4.

7.Allow accessonly from certain IP addresses

Use the following to allow visitors from specific IPs or a range.

1 orderdeny,allow
2 deny from all
3 allow from 128.338.488.011
4 allow from 496.742.011

This code denies access to everyone except users with an IP address of 123.456.789.012 or in the range

8. Changing a directory’s default page

Need something other than index.php or index.html to be the default page of your website? Then add this line to your htaccess file

1 DirectoryIndexnewpage.html

9. Specify upload limit for PHP

If you’ve ever run into issues with large files being uploaded to your site, use the htaccess file to set parameters. The first value in the following refers to the maximum file size that can be uploaded, the second the maximum size of post data, the third the maximum number of seconds a script can run before being terminated, and the last the maximum time a script can parse input data.

1 php_value upload_max_filesize 30M
2 php_value post_max_size 30M
3 php_value max_execution_time 400
4 php_value max_input_time 400

10. Force file caching

Speed up your website for repeat visits by telling visitors’ browsers that content won’t change for a set period of time. The following sets three different time spans for different type files (all times in seconds).

1 # 1 year
2 <filesMatch ".(ico|pdf|flv|jpg|jpeg|png|gif|js|css|swf)$">
3 Header set Cache-Control "max-age=31536000, public"
4 </filesMatch>
5 # 2 days
6 <filesMatch ".(xml|txt)$">
7 Header set Cache-Control "max-age=172800, public, must-revalidate"
8 </filesMatch>
9 # 2 hours
10 <filesMatch ".(html|htm)$">
11 Header set Cache-Control "max-age=7200, must-revalidate"
12 </filesMatch>

Note that the revalidation prompt forces browsers to check for changes after the initial period.

11. Add a trailing slash

Some experts say a trailing slash helps SEO while others say it doesn’t. But since it doesn’t hurt:

1 <IfModulemod_rewrite.c>
2 RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} /+[^\.]+$
3 RewriteRule ^(.+[^/])$ %{REQUEST_URI}/ [R=301,L]
4 </IfModule>

12. Add expires headers

Like forced caching, expires headers tell browsers files won’t change for a certain time, meaning those browsers don’t have to reload them each time.

1 <ifModulemod_expires.c>
2 ExpiresActiveOn
3 ExpiresByType text/html "access plus 2 days"
4 ExpiresByType image/gif "access plus 60 days"
5 ExpiresByType image/jpg "access plus 60 days"
6 ExpiresByType image/png "access plus 60 days"
7 ExpiresByType application/x-javascript "access plus 60 days"
8 ExpiresByType text/css "access plus 60 days"
9 ExpiresByType image/x-icon "access plus 360 days"
10 </IfModule>

While the default time is specified in seconds, you can also use minutes, hours, days, weeks, months and years.

13.Password protect directories

You’ll need to first create a text file called “.htpasswd” and place it above your root directory so it won’t be accessible at In this file you’ll add password information for your site with the username followed by the password:

1 username1:password1
2 username2:password2

Next create a new “.htaccess” file and upload it to the directory you want to protect with the following:

1 AuthUserFile /path/to/htpasswd/file/.htpasswd
2 AuthGroupFile /dev/null
3 AuthName "name of directory"
4 AuthType Basic
5 require valid-user

The first line is the full server path to your htpasswd file. If you want a specific user only to have access, you would replace the last line with:

1 require user username1

14. Password protect individual files

To block an individual file, you’ll need to create or add to your existing htpasswd file and create and upload an htaccess file to the directory in which the file you want to protect resides:

1 AuthUserFile /path/to/htpasswd/file/.htpasswd
2 AuthName "Name of Page"
3 AuthType Basic
4 <Files "thepage.html">
5 require valid-user
6 </Files>

15. Protect htaccess files

For an added layer of security, protect your htaccess file with the following:

1 <Files .htaccess>
2 Order Allow,Deny
3 Deny from all
4 </Files>

A 403 error file will be displayed. The file name can be changed to whatever file you wish to protect as long as it is in the same directory as a specific htaccess file.

16. Disable display of download request

If you don’t want visitors to have the option of viewing or downloading certain file types, add the following so files automatically download:

1 AddType application/octet-stream .pdf
2 AddType application/octet-stream .zip
3 AddType application/octet-stream .mov

17. Compress with mod_deflate

Speed up downloads and loading times for visitors with Apache mod_deflate module that compresses output by as much as 70%.

1 <ifmodulemod_deflate.c="">
2 <filesmatch ".(js|css|.jpg|.gif|.png|.tiff|.ico)$"="">
3 SetOutputFilter DEFLATE
4 </filesmatch>
5 </ifmodule>

18. Remove category from a URL

Want to shorten a url like to just Add the following:

1 RewriteRule ^category/(.+)$$1 [R=301,L]

19. Google Text Translation

Need certain pages on your site to translate to another language? The following redirects pages ending in “.fr,” “.de,” etc., to the Google translation for that language.

1 Options +FollowSymlinks
2 RewriteEngineOn
3 RewriteBase /
4 RewriteRule ^(.*)-(fr|de|es|it|pt)$$2&sl=en&u=$1 [R,NC]

20. Use a different file extension

Want to change your file extensions from .php to .wow or anything else for that matter? Add:

1 Options +FollowSymlinks
2 RewriteEngineOn
3 RewriteBase /
4 RewriteRule ^(.+)\.zig$ /$1.php [NC,L]

21. Delete file extension

This example removes the .php file extension

1 Options +FollowSymlinks
2 RewriteEngineOn
3 RewriteBase /
4 RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f
5 RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-d
6 RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME}.php –f
7 RewriteRule ^(.+)$ /