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9 Tools to Help You Build Beautiful Websites Quickly and Easily

The help of social media channels can play an important role in getting your message out. That’s well and good, but rarely good enough. There is only one way you’re going to be able to truly represent yourself. It is with the help of a website. A website that sets you and/or your company apart from the crowd. Unlike a page on a social media network, you have total control over the content on a website. You can do a lot more in terms of providing valuable information. You can offer products for sale, and integrate third-party services. Are you a genius at coding and you have all the time in the world to devote to it? Or, do you plan to pay a developer? If not, you need a top-tier website or page builder to make your awesome presence known. Like one of these: 1. Elementor Elementor is the most advanced WordPress page builder designed for businesses looking to improve their workflow and speed up their production time. Its quick and powerful drag & drop editor lets you create professional WordPress sites and landing pages without having to code. Elementor works perfectly with any theme and plugin and will not slow down your site like many page builders. It comes packed with different super useful widgets which you use to quickly build the layout of your site: images, text, sliders, icons, testimonials, social media and more. You can either build your website from scratch using these widgets, or use one of the hundreds of pre-designed Elementor templates which can be easily inserted to any page. More cool features: Pop-ups Advanced forms Integrations: Mailchimp, Zapier, HubSpot, ActiveCampaign and more Clean code Hover & scroll animations 2. Visual Composer Website Builder The Visual Composer Website Builder makes building pages and websites about as easy as it gets. This popular, user-friendly, frontend drag and drop website builder makes it possible for you to design the layouts you’ve always wanted to; layouts that are guaranteed to sell more. You’ll have access to a huge number of templates, content elements, and blocks for landing pages, portfolios, products, and more. Unlike most website builders, these website design features don’t come with the package. They exist in the Visual Composer Hub, a cloud-based marketplace of free goodies you can pick and choose from as you build your website. Choose a page layout, put the new header builder to...

13 Things Your Website May Be Missing

Running a website isn’t always easy. You constantly have to update it to keep up with the latest trends. When that happens, it’s easy to miss popular add-ons that could really benefit your webpage. Luckily for you, we have a list of seven things that your website may be missing. Take a look at the list below to see which idea could help boost your website. 1. Email Sign-Up Email sign-up options are a great way to stay connected with your viewers. Emails are still strongly kicking around, so why not use them to your advantage? When a viewer signs up to your mailing list, you get to send them content directly to their mailbox. That increases the chance of them heading over to your website, adding to the number of viewers you get. 2. Social Media Integration We don’t need to explain how popular social media is in our world today. It basically runs everything around us. So, if you’re website doesn’t have your social media accounts integrated to it, you need to get on that right away. Social media integration also works for sharing things. Having the option to share a post to your Facebook account easily adds to your website’s traffic. 3. Relevant Images Images can make or break a webpage. To start, adding in images help break up words to make something easier to read, all while getting your point across in ways that words sometimes can’t. However, too many images can make your webpage distracting. When adding photos to your website, keep them relevant to whatever you’re attaching it to. If you need something to illustrate your study, make sure it reflects what you’re talking about. 4. Mobile Friendliness Chances are, a good chunk of your viewers are browsing through your website on their smartphone. If your webpage isn’t mobile friendly, it makes it really difficult to follow along. Ensure that your website is mobile friendly, and you can reach out to a different range of viewers. 5. Consistency A website needs consistency. When you continently post on your website, it helps develop a schedule so that your viewers know what to expect. If you plan to post something every Wednesday, ensure you stay true to that schedule. Blogs and websites that don’t post regularly tend to lose their traction. You need to be consistent with your posting to keep your viewers coming back. 6. Easy Navigation A website needs to be easy to navigate. If someone has to constantly...

Online education vs. traditional schools: how to learn in the digital age

When you think about it, the internet was made for online learning. What better place to get an education than a global network of information? But it’s only been until recently that websites have caught up to providing educational content that rivals traditional schools. You can practice languages on your smartphone, watch filmed lectures of entire ivy league courses for free and even get writing tips from Margaret Atwood—all at a fraction of the cost of higher learning. Never before has school been so accessible. Some might say it’s too good to be true. And it may be. Illustration by OrangeCrushCritics of online education call them gamified distractions that rarely get to the depth of the subject matter. They say they do not adequately prepare students for the workplace and end up selling false confidence. Supporters counter those critiques by reminding us  that college puts a massive price tag on learning, luring unsuspecting youngsters into exorbitant debt with little to show for it. Which answer is right? Whether you learn online or through a traditional classroom depends on your specific needs, but the following questions will guide you towards the right decision. How much money are you willing to spend on your education?
— By Dexterous”A high price Money is no object for you. You can take classes anywhere, but you are definitely suited to higher learning, averaged at a hair-raising $25,000 a year. A fair price Money is an object at your disposal. Take classes at your local community college or look into distance learning programs (online education provided by universities, often at a cheaper price than the classroom version). Look into one-off workshops and conferences found on apps like Eventbrite—typically a few hundred bucks each. Depending on your goals and your intended subject, you may also want to consider trade school. A modest price Money is the object in your life. It might even be the reason you’re getting an education, and chances are you don’t want to bankrupt yourself doing so. With traditional schools, there are financial aid programs available, but these are usually in the form of loans. Online learning is by far your best solution. Some platforms use a pay-per-class model, and others use subscription model with free trials. Either way, you can try out the online option at a low financial risk. As you would with any institution,...

6 Tips For Tackling Inherited Code

When you’ve worked in the digital industry for long enough, eventually you’re going to have to work with code that you’ve inherited from someone else. Whether this is part of a handover process from another company, written by a developer that has since moved on or written by a freelancer, sooner or later you’ll find yourself sifting through line after line of code that you didn’t write. When this happens it’s easy to slip into a negative mindset. It might be using a structure you are unfamiliar with, seem over complicated, disorganized, or just different to your regular development approach — it’s rarely plain sailing. Something built using a slightly different approach can quickly become unmanageable “It’s not my fault, It’s already a mess” – letting yourself off easy with this type of attitude can create a Frankenstein’s monster of a website if you’re not careful. Something built using a slightly different approach can quickly become unmanageable if every developer who works on the project adds their subjective approach. Whether it be naming conventions, class identifiers or even JavaScript functions. Below are some tips to help you prepare for and manage inherited websites and see them as something to nurture rather than dread. 1. Ask Nicely for Documentation Documentation for a site will often exist somewhere in some form. Hopefully! It may be out of date but anything is infinitely better than nothing. When receiving the codebase for a site, always make sure this question is raised early to ensure that any and all documentation is provided during the handover process. 2. Invest the Time Early Take the time to understand the code you have received. Don’t just glance at it. Invest the time to really look at the file structure, CMS, task runners and whether or not the site is relying on any template engines. Older sites…can often carry a lot of excess baggage This would be a good time to start some documentation for the site if it doesn’t already exist, or add your own notes to any existing documentation. You won’t be able to successfully carry out updates to a site you don’t understand. The result will be obfuscated, bug-ridden code that will only lengthen the time required to carry out even the smallest of tasks. Make sure you know the site map, how many pages there are, and where the code for those pages is within the structure. This will help...

5 Best Alternatives to Adobe Photoshop

Adobe Photoshop is the most popular software for photo editing. It provides a host of tools, plugins and features that most other photo editing software cannot match. It is one of the best photo editing software for professionals and most popular with web and graphic designers. However, if you simply want to do minor edits to your images or graphics, there are many photo editing software options that you can try.  Below is a list of 5 best alternatives to Adobe Photoshop in terms of features and usability. 1. Gimp: GIMP is a powerful and flexible free Photoshop alternative. It is a very adaptable and customizable software for Photo editing. This Photoshop alternative possesses a range of excellent Photoshop features. You can use features like layers and masking, advanced level filters, color modifications, and transformation. The best thing about GIMP is that the plugins and scripts are created by users. Most of them are already pre-installed and you can  start using them right after installing the software. These plugins are the best alternatives for tools like ‘Liquify’. In addition, there is a whole pack of animation tools that allow you to make your photographs life-like with morphing and blending. If these tools are not what you are looking for, then you can always add Photoshop plugins to GIMP as well! If you find GIMP a little bit intimidating at the start, then you have plenty of troubleshooting guides and tutorials you can use to get familiar with it. GIMP’s new interface combines palettes, menus, and toolboxes in a single window to make user navigation easier. There is a bit of learning curve with this completely free and open-source image-editor but once you have a good understanding of all the tools, you can do just about anything with this software. 2. Paint.NET The journey of Paint.NET started as a replacement for Microsoft Paint. With the passage of time, Paint.NET has become a powerful photo editing tool. Just like other alternates of Adobe Photoshop, it offers features like automatic filters and manual editing tools. It does not offer as many features as Gimp, but it also relatively easier to learn and use. Paint.NET provides features for masking but you have to download a plugin for layers. This software comes with in-built batch editing feature and in addition, it has clone stamp to easily erase blotches and commotions. Paint.NET...

20 Best New Portfolios, May 2019

Hello all, as Justin Timberlake once predicted, it is now May. Now that I’ve subjected you to the latest and greatest in boy band jokes from the ‘90s, let’s check out this month’s portfolios. It should be noted that as I write this, I am working with Internet that I borrowed from my new neighbor (yes, I did ask) and the speed is fairly slow. That’s not a complaint; it’s a warning. It means I’m going to be a lot happier with portfolios that load fast and don’t make me wait behind a preloader…Just sayin’. Note: I’m judging these sites by how good they look to me. If they’re creative and original, or classic but really well-done, it’s all good to me. Sometimes, UX and accessibility suffer. For example, many of these sites depend on JavaScript to display their content at all; this is a Bad Idea, kids. If you find an idea you like and want to adapt to your own site, remember to implement it responsibly. Up Late Up Late is the one of the best neon-soaked portfolios I’ve come across, because it combines those bright and occasionally-flashing colors with considerable restraint in the rest of the design. The one-page portfolio is going to stick in your head for a while. The only thing I might change would be to put a maximum width on the little bit of body text there is. At wider resolutions, it can get a bit harder to read. Platform: WordPress Raphael Aleixo Raphael Aleixo’s one-pager is dark, clean, modern, and short, but still manages to make room for a full case study with each project. This is, in my personal opinion, one of the only acceptable ways to use modal screens. The use of animation is sparing by today’s standards, but that just means the site loads and runs fast while still looking pretty. Extra bonus points all around! Platform: Static Site Artëm Tarasov Artëm Tarasov’s portfolio is modernist and goes hard on the masonry layout. Beyond the home page, it’s all about those classic grid-style lines, and splashes of orange for emphasis. This sort of modernism may not be the most visually exciting of aesthetics, but it’s reliable. Platform: Custom CMS (I think) Rifat Najmi Rifat Najmi has embraced a more classic form of minimalism, and plays into a sort of “design blog aesthetic” that’s all about the typography. Portfolio pieces are displayed like blog posts, which blends them in with the actual blog posts. That might sound a bit confusing, but it...

Popular Design News of the Week: April 29, 2019 – May 5, 2019

Every week users submit a lot of interesting stuff on our sister site Webdesigner News, highlighting great content from around the web that can be of interest to web designers.  The best way to keep track of all the great stories and news being posted is simply to check out the Webdesigner News site, however, in case you missed some here’s a quick and useful compilation of the most popular designer news that we curated from the past week. Note that this is only a very small selection of the links that were posted, so don’t miss out and subscribe to our newsletter and follow the site daily for all the news. The Instagram Aesthetic is Over   25+ Animated Tab Bar Designs for Inspiration   There’s a Big Problem with Joe Biden’s Campaign Logo   Facebook is Redesigning its Core App   5 Things to Consider When Creating your CSS Style Guide   New Logo for Red Hat   Two New Future-proof Features from Sketch 55 Beta   5 Best WordPress AMP Themes for 2019   The CSS Handbook: A Handy Guide to CSS for Developers   Designer First World Problems   Soft Skills in UX - what Makes a Mediocre Designer Great   Design Tips   Uber’s New Design System for Building Websites in React   What it Takes to Turn a Hobby into a Career at Age 40   UX Strategy Explained   U.S. Gov Web Design Language   Five Ways to Design the Perfect Onboarding Experience   It is Perfectly OK to Only Code at Work, You Can Have a Life Too   Lookalike Logos that You’ll Probably Recognize   Inspiration: Sci-Fi User Interfaces   How this One Font Took Over the World   Using Typography to Establish Brand Identity   Typography 2020   How the “Ikea Effect” Explains Today’s Startups   Site Design: Montreux Jazz Festival   Want more? No problem! Keep track of top design news from around the web with Webdesigner News. Add Realistic Chalk and Sketch Lettering Effects with Sketch’it – only $5!

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What Is WordPress Multisite?

WordPress is known for being easy to use and for its ability to leverage plugins for greater functionality. But there is so much more to the popular content management system (CMS) than meets the eye. There are tons of powerful features that lie just beneath the surface. Today, we’ll introduce you to one of the most unique among them: WordPress multisite. We’ll show you what it is, the benefits of using it and some scenarios where it may be a good fit for you. What It Does WordPress multisite is a feature that allows you to run multiple websites (referred to as a “network”) within a single installation of the CMS. By default, many key components are shared. Themes, plugins and even the install’s database are used by each site in the network. However, note that multisite has to be manually enabled. To do so, check out the WordPress documentation for all the details. There’s no hard limit on the number of sites you can run with multisite. But, like any other website, the capabilities of your hosting environment play a big role. The more sites and visitors you have, the more power you’ll need. On the front end, users won’t be able to tell the site that they’re visiting is part of a network (that is, unless you utilize plugins that display network-related information, such as an aggregate of posts from each site). The back end will look very familiar, but with a few multisite-specific menus. Among the biggest differences from a default single-site install of WordPress are: A New Role to Rule Them All The Super Admin role is added to WordPress multisite installs and does pretty much what you’re thinking. It’s the highest-level account and can administer each site in the network, along with the network itself. For instance, a Super Admin can pick and choose which plugins and themes are available for each site in the network. They can assign site-specific administrators, install plugins and can add or remove individual sites. An Address Structure When setting up a network, you can choose how users will access your sites. Your options are: Subdomain
Each new site will be a subdomain of your main website. So, if your main site is www.mygreatwpsite.com, network sites could be steve.mygreatwpsite.com or catphotos.mygreatwpsite.com. Note that each subdomain will need to be added to your domain’s DNS. Subdirectory
Subdirectory installs are easier to maintain...

The 6 elements of design

Good design can sometimes seem magical, like the designer simply stumbled onto a great combination of components that both engage and enlighten the viewer. In actuality, graphic designers use a set of tools, known as the elements of design, to build and hone that perfect design. Remember that every single piece of design is trying to communicate a message. Design can tell us which emails are unread in our inbox, which brand of socks to buy, or even to be wary of falling rocks. The elements of design are tools a designer uses to craft meaning and bring clarity to a muddled mess of ideas. They will make sure your design is as powerful as it can be. So, what are the elements of design? Here is an overview of the six basic elements of design you need to know. The elements of design
— Line Lines enclose and contain the parts of a design by creating outlines. They can be smooth, rough, continuous, broken, thick or thin. Lines also send subliminal messages. A diagonal line, for example, has kinetic energy and movement, while a straight line is more ordered and clean. Lines can be used to emphasize, setting particular information off in a busy composition and drawing the eye to a particular area. They can be formed into shapes or frames (more on both of those a bit further down). The eye will also see lines in other places—think buildings, branches of a tree, a horizon, or a set of train tracks—that offer a natural edge or borders. Color These beautiful and evocative illustrations are made more effective by great color choices. Via netralica and chocoboracer Often designs are undone by sloppy, careless or inappropriate color choices. Color is incredibly important and should never be an afterthought. Even a design set entirely in grayscale needs to be balanced and contrasted appropriately. In addition to hue (red versus blue), consider the saturation and brightness (or “value”) of each color. Learn the basics of color theory to be sure a composition has the right mood, temperature and tone. Finally, consider what color space (CMYK or RGB) is best for the printer or screen where the design will be seen. Shape The diamond shapes in this website design draw the eye toward different pieces of information making it easier for the viewer to digest and navigate. Via arosto.While our kindergarten teachers all hope we know what a shape is, for our purposes, a shape is...

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