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Articles by ‘Steven Snell’

Design Trend: Blurred Backgrounds in Web Design

While full-size background images in web design have been increasing in popularity for several years now, another variation of this trend is the blurred background image. Recently it seems that there have been more designs popping up that make used of some type of blurred image for a large background or a full-size background. In some cases selective focus is used on a particular object or person, and in other cases the entire background is blurred.

While a variety of different types of sites use this approach, many of the better designs in this style that I have seen are for web apps or iPhone apps. In this post we’ll showcase examples of this trend for your own design inspiration. See how other designers are using blurred backgrounds to create beautiful web designs, and maybe it will spark some ideas that can be put into practice in your own work…

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Blog Design: Does Design Impact Your Success?

Those of use that read and visit tons of blogs everyday have grown to expect certain designs and styles. In many cases blog design tends to be less attractive and less innovative than website design in general. Part of this obviously is because of the emphasis on content rather than appearance. There are certainly plenty of blogs that stand out as being beautifully designed, but these are the exception to the rule. Just how much of an impact does a blog’s design have on its ultimate level of success?

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Desert Photography: Crisp HQ Showcase

In the past we have showcased examples of landscape photography, which includes photos of mountains, valleys, plains, lakes, coast lines, and a variety of other types of landscapes. Deserts may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of subjects for landscape photography, but even a barren desert provides opportunities for beautiful photographers.

In this post we’ll showcase 20 outstanding examples of desert photography from a variety of different photographers. Hopefully these snapshots will serve as inspiration for your own work…

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Steps to a More Engaging Website

The internet has become a very interactive environment for users. Websites need to be specifically built in a way that captures the attention of visitors and keeps them coming back, or they will quickly leave to go somewhere else.Here are 5 steps to creating a website that will effectively engage your visitors and tips on how to improve your UX design with a/b testing…

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Awesome Sites for Finding Web Design Jobs

In our economy there are a lot of designers and developers looking for work, whether it is full-time employment, contract work, or freelance opportunities. Fortunately, there are a number of great places to find these types of positions. In this post we’ll look at several sites that include specialized job boards that include web/graphic design and web development opportunities…

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7 Options for Tracking Downtime

Having your website go down is not only frustrating to you, it can also be an inconvenience for your visitors and customers. Most of us aren’t on our sites all day long in order to know when it is down and how often it happens. Fortunately there are a number of tools and online services to accomplish this task for you. There are some basic free tools that will get the job done for most of us who simply want to know the status of our website. However, there are also much more advanced services for larger companies that may want to track downtime for all of their systems. We’ll take a look at several of the options.



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Pinterest 101: Pinterest Pages for Design Inspiration

Unless you’ve been in a social media black hole for the past few years, you’ll be familiar with Pinterest. The love child of photo-sharing site Flickr and scrapbooking site Tumblr, Pinterest is your online pin board. You literally ‘pin’ images onto a collection of themed boards and their shared with your followers and other users.

As a graphic designer, Pinterest is the online equivalent of being a kid in a sweet shop. There is inspiration for pretty much everything, and it’s all just a click away. You can follow your favorite designers, artists, and photographers, admire their work, and share your own…

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5 Steps to Improved Client Feedback

If you’ve done much design or development work for clients you know that getting effective feedback from the client is critical to the success of the project. Unfortunately, this can sometimes be a challenge. Depending on the types of clients that you work with, you may find that some of them are difficult to communicate with, not because they don’t have opinions, but because they don’t understand very much about the process of building a website…

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Planning a New Website

Businesses that are building a new website or redesigning an existing one should allocate the proper time and resources into planning. By just jumping into the project without the necessary planning, there may be any number of ways that the final product does not maximize its potential. Planning is common for large-scale corporate projects, but […]

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Client Follow Up Tips for Freelancers

Freelancers are always looking for new ways to attract clients and to land new projects. There are any number of ways to find new work, but the ideal situation involves not dedicating a lot of time or money in the search for projects. If you’ve been freelancing for a little while you should have a number of clients that you have done some work for in the past, and they can be a great source of new projects. Maybe they need a full website re-design, or maybe they need some related services that you could also provide.

An effective approach to client follow up will help you to stay in touch with those past clients, to keep them aware of the range of services that you offer, and to secure their business when their need arises for some type of work. And best of all, with an organized approach it doesn’t have to be time consuming or costly.

If you haven’t been making the most of follow up opportunities with past clients here are a few tips that will help you.

1. Keep Track of Contact with Past Clients

In order to be effective with your client follow up you will need a method to keep track of clients’ contact info and to record the dates and details of follow up. You could use a customer relationship management app like Highrise or Zoho CRM, which will help to organize your contacts and all relevant data. For freelancers or independent designers simply keeping an organized spreadsheet could do the trick.

Whatever works for you is the approach that you should take. The important thing is that you have all of your clients’ contact info organized and that you can easily see the details of your recent contact with them. This will help you to know when to reach out to them without going overboard and emailing them too much because of poor organization and record keeping.

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5 Communication Tips for Freelancers and Designers

Communication skills are absolutely critical to designers, and really to any type of client work. Regardless of how skilled you are as a designer you will need to be able to communicate effectively with clients in order to do the best job possible with their projects. And if you are a freelancer or an independent designer, communication is of the utmost importance to the success of your business.

In this article we’ll take a look at 5 quick tips that can help in your own communication with clients and a few tips on how to deal with pricing objections.

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Typography and Text Effects: A Beautiful Showcase

If you’re looking for inspiration for your own work with text effects and typography, there are plenty of amazing examples available. Gallery sites like Typography Served, Behance, and deviantART are great sources of inspiration. In this post we’ll showcase 35 different examples of design featuring typography and text effects. You’ll find work from many different designers, a wide variety of styles of work, and and plenty of inspiration that can be put to good use in your own work…

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40+ Beautiful Free Lightroom Presets to Enhance Your Photos

Adobe Lightroom has been popular with photographers for several years, and in the past couple of years it has also increased in popularity with designers and hobbyist photographers. While Photoshop offers all kinds of possibilities for photo editing there are a few significant benefits of using Lightroom. Most significantly, Lightroom includes very useful features to help you keep your photos organized through its Library Module.

Professional photographers obviously have a large volume of photographs, so organization is critical. For designers and hobbyist photographers, its very easy to build up a large number of photos rather quickly. As you may have found, managing and organizing a growing number of photos can become quite cumbersome. Lightroom helps by allowing you to create catalogs and collections, use keywords, ratings, flags, and color labels to organize and sort your photos. While Lightroom’s Develop Module is where you are likely to spend the majority of your time, the Library Module is really what separates it from Photoshop and other alternatives…

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45 Free Wood Textures

The use of textures can be an easy way to add character to a design. Wood textures are particularly common in web design, and in this post we’ll featuring 45 free wood textures. If you’re looking for a texture to use in your own work hopefully this will be helpful. As always when you are dealing with freebies, be sure to read the license before using it…

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Principal Content Strategies for Top E-Commerce Sites

There are many techniques to transform your business site’s success. A simplest strategy is to create a schedule for news releases and adding new and fresh material to a site. Updated content encourages interaction between a company and the customer. A website can refresh its content by launching enticing strategies for users to interact with each other from the site. Here, we will go through some of the most effective strategies (acknowledged by almost all top business sites), which any business site must have, to keep it fresh and add more value…

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Best Blog Design Showcase: Creative Ideas for Web Designers

The key to any good blog, regardless of the topic or industry, is content that interests readers and keeps them coming back for more. Although content is the number one priority, part of providing a positive user experience involves having an effect design and layout. With millions of blogs already online, and more coming every day, having a unique or high-quality design is a great way to stand out.

In this post we’ll showcase 23 examples of well-designed blogs. These examples should provide you with plenty of inspiration for your own blog designs and for client work. You’ll find a variety of different types of blogs and styles of design here, so you’re sure to find something that you like.

Noel Tock

Noel Tock

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Best Apps for Working Remotely

Teamwork is about sharing ideas, finding better solutions, and having more productive work. Collaboration tools for designers are essential to improve their work with other team members and clients. The apps listed below will let you share your ideas and designs, so that you can communicate easily with clients or other co-workers…

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WPZOOM Coupon Code

It’s not always easy to find a WordPress template that you love, but WPZOOM makes it easier to find a sleek and professionally designed theme to fit your website perfectly. Be sure to take advantage of this awesome WPZoom coupon before it’s too late!

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Designers and Communication Skills: Why and How to Improve

In the past, I conducted a group interview with some top web designers. One of the questions that was asked to each participant was “What do you feel are the most important skills for a designer to have/develop?” By far the most popular answer was “communication skills.” While this is not technically a design-related skill, I was really pleased to see those responses, because I feel the same way. Communication skills can make or break any design project that you’re working on, so I thought I would cover the topic in more detail…

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50+ Business and Corporate WordPress Themes

As WordPress has improved and evolved over the past several years it has become a more viable option as a CMS for corporate websites. It’s no longer just an option for bloggers, as it is capable of doing everything that is needed by most business websites.

Part of the reason that WordPress has become a more popular option for powering corporate websites is the quantity and quality of available themes that have been created specifically for corporate websites. In this article we’ll showcase more than 50 themes that present great options for businesses that want to quickly have a professional-looking website at an affordable price…

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The Best WordPress Plugins for Growing Your Mailing List

If you’re looking to build any top of business online, growing a mailing list should be a priority. However, with so much spam and unwanted email in most inboxes it can be a challenge to convince your website visitors to subscribe to your list. Fortunately, there are some really effective tools that can make your list building efforts exponentially more effective.

If you’re a WordPress user there are a number of quality plugins available that have been created specifically to help with building a mailing list. In this article we’ll take a look at some of the best plugins that can turn your list building frustrations into success..

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Web Designers: Attract More Work from Local Clients

Most web designers work with clients from all over the country or even all around the world. While it certainly allows the designer to expand his or her marketplace, there are sometimes competitive advantages that exist when targeting work from local clients. Because local marketing is sometimes overlooked, I wanted to put together this list of suggestions for doing more work in your own backyard…

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Free Concrete Textures Download!

Concrete textures can be extremely useful and versatile for web and graphic designers. They can be used to create grungy and urban backgrounds, or they can be used subtly to create a soft texture that improves a design without dominating it. Here we have 2 free sets of high resolution concrete textures that we hope will be useful for you in your own design work…

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25 Hilarious and Creative Advertisements

When it comes to advertising design, sometimes it needs to be creative in order to catch someone’s attention or to make an impact. An ad that mixes creativity a strong, clear message and good design is capable of impacting the right audience.

Here we will take a look at a number of ads that display creativity. There are a total of 25 examples spanning a wide variety of different industries, companies, and products. Many of them use creativity along with humor, but not all of them attempt to be funny. Hopefully this showcase of ads can serve as some inspiration that can be put to good use in your own work…

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iStock Promo Codes: May 2016

A few years back I launched what was called “Vandelay Premier” to test my ability to sell “premium” stock graphics. While I would only consider it a moderate success, one main thing I quickly realized was that it was nearly impossible for a blogger like myself to provide enough specific content to make everyone happy. I still get emails every week from our members requesting specific items that I just don’t have the time or resources to provide.

My goal with this website has always been to create enough quality content to keep my readers engaged, happy, and coming back for more. Since it is impossible for me to provide millions of stock photos and graphics in our shop, I might as well send you off to a place where you have a much higher chance of finding what you need…

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Website Redesign Questions & When to Design Against Client Expectations

When clients seek a website redesign, they don’t always know what they want. They know they want a different look, new structure or revised copy, but they may have trouble pinpointing their specific needs. By asking clients some basic questions about their motivations and goals for the redesign before creating a proposal, you’ll enhance communication and understanding so you can develop a clear picture of what the individual truly wants…

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E-Commerce Platforms: Details on Your Top Options

When it comes to choosing a platform for an e-commerce website there are plenty of options. Having options can be a good thing, but in some cases having too many options can make it difficult to know which one to choose. In this post we’ll take a look at the leading options and we’ll provide some details about each. They are actually broken down into 3 categories: hosted, open source, and hosted shopping cart.

Hosted e-commerce platforms will charge a monthly or yearly fee, which will include web hosting, use of the e-commerce system, and support. You’ll have to host your site with them in order to use the system. The downside to this is that you won’t be able to choose your own host, but the upside is that you’ll get support for hosting and the e-commerce system from the same place, and they will know their own system very well. Also, since it is hosted they can take care of most security details.

Open source e-commerce platforms can be downloaded and hosted anywhere. You’re not committed to a particular host, which can be a good thing. The downside is that support is likely limited to a forum or wiki. For designers and developers, open source solutions can be a good choice. End users who are looking to set up their own site will likely face more obstacles with an open source, self-hosted system as compared to a hosted platform.

Hosted shopping carts will allow you to use the CMS and host of your choice, and they will just host the shopping cart and checkout process for you. So they’ll still handle the security details since the payment will be processed through their site, but you won’t host your entire site with them…

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