graphic designing, Uncategorized, web designing

20 Signs Your Web Designer is Terrible By Marvin Russell.

It’s been 10+ years since I built a website for my first client and I’m not ashamed to say that back then I was a terrible web designer. I was terrible for many years and for many different reasons. In fact, everything you’ll see below, I was guilty of. However, I eventually learned how to perfect the web designing process the hard way, through determination, research and lots of experience. Today, I think it’s safe to say I’m a very good web designer. If you don’t believe me, ask Inc Magazine, Crain’s Business, CBS, ABC, and NBC. Because they’ve all asked for my opinion and advice multiple times on this subject.

I constantly see many web designers making the same mistakes I made 10 years ago so I hope this article will help web designers and those who have or are going to hire a web designer. So, if you’re building a new website for your company, here are 20 ways to tell if your web designer is terrible. If you’re a web designer, pay close attention, print this blog post, email it to yourself, or bookmark it as a reference, because here are 20 ways you can tell if you are terrible.

1. The price is under $1,000 bucks

cheap-web-designIf your website is costing you less than a $1,000 bucks, then chances are your web designer is terrible and your website will be terrible too. We all wish we could spend $1,000 dollars and make millions, but if it were that easy everyone would do it.

Stop being cheap, because, you get what you pay for. You could easily buy a car for $1,000 bucks but again, you get what you pay for. If you still think your website should be under $1,000 bucks, eventually you will come crawling back to the web designer that was too expensive. Only now you’ll have to pay for a good web designer + the costs of your really cheap web designer.

Common Question:

How much to build a website?

My common answer:
Well, how much does it cost to build a house?

2. The “Headset Hottie”

Headset HottieA Headset Hottie is a joke amongst digital marketers. It’s a stock photo of an attractive female with a headset on, ready to take your call. This photo can usually be found on your contact page, in a sidebar, or sometimes even in the header. Terrible web designers have been adding images like this to websites for years. A Headset Hottie won’t increase sales or phone calls. It will only make your website look cheap and silly. So be careful, because your website could end up featured on a website like headsethotties.com.

3. No weekly call

Momentum is the energy and excitement that every new website project starts off with. It’s critical to maintain momentum throughout the course of a web design project. The second your web designer loses regular contact is the second you lose the project’s momentum. Your web designer should be in contact with you weekly if not daily, and if they are not, demand it and agree on a meeting time and day each week until the project is complete.

4. You found ‘em on Craigslist

no-craigslistI advertised for business on Craigslist about 6 or 7 years ago when I was still a terrible web designer. From my experience, I learned that Craigslist is where cheap people can find other cheap people. Of course, every rule has it’s exceptions and I do occasionally post on Craigslist’s job board to see what’s out there but very rarely do I get the quality I’m looking for.

So, if you found your web designer on Craigslist you’re probably also breaking rule #1, by being cheap.

…sorry Craig

5. No copywriting solution

Creating content for your new website is the biggest challenge every client faces. It’s also the #1 cause for delays (in my 10 years of experience). A good web designer will be prepared with a solution and warn you about this at the kickoff meeting.

Possible copywriting solutions:

  • Client creates all content (be careful this takes time and dedication)
  • Client offers an internal resource (a copywriter on their staff)
  • Client hires a freelance copywriter
  • Web designer offers an internal solution (a copy writer on their staff)
  • Web designer offers a freelance copywriter

6. Your web designer’s #1 goal is creativity

Creativity should not be the #1 goal for your website. In a survey by HubSpot, 76% of users said that the most important factor in the design of a website is that “The website makes it easy for me to find what I want.” Only 10% of users said, “beautiful appearance” was the most important thing to them. Organization of content was their number #1 concern for websites, not creativity. The more organized your content is the longer users will stay. The longer users stay, the more likely they will buy. So, make sure your web designer’s priorities are correct.

Web Design

7. Your web designer is related to you

web-designer“Never hire anyone you can’t fire.” You should know better than to hire a relative to work for you in the first place, let alone build your website. However, if you do decide to hire a family member to build your website, they will probably give you an “unbelievable” discount. If they’re a pro, that’s great news; however, the bad news is that the project eventually won’t be worth their time, and you will eventually end up on the back burner.

8. Your web designer is YOU!

Peep author at conversionxl.com says, “If you designed your website yourself and you’re not a designer, it sucks”. It takes years of experience to perfect what we do. You can’t learn this trade in a few hours.

Peep, I couldn’t agree more!

9. You built it using a web design tool

Anyone can learn how to use a cheap web design tool in an hour or so but you can’t learn what a good web designer has learned with years of experience. In other words, learning how to use a website builder won’t teach you how to design a web site that will get targeted traffic, conversions, and sales.

In addition, just because you learned how to use Photoshop doesn’t mean you’re a good web designer. I’ve received so many resumes with people who know the Adobe Suite like the back of their hand, but their work sucks. Again, it takes years of experience to not be a terrible web designer.

10. No project management software

basecamp Project management software keeps everything organized and in one central location for everyone to easily find. It assigns tasks, keeps timelines, organizes assets and holds everyone accountable for their responsibilities.  I couldn’t imagine a web designer not using project management software. But if this is the case, dump your web designer, because he or she is terrible.

What’s my favorite Project Management software? Basecamp

11. They don’t ask enough questions

Your web designer should ask you lots of questions, especially before they start working on your project. They should ask everything about your 3C’s (Company, Competitors, and Clients). Questions should start during the initial sales meetings and kickoff meeting, and then continue throughout the strategy phase of your project. No questions is a RED FLAG and the sign of a terrible web designer.

10 sample questions:

  1. What are your primary and secondary goals for your website?
  2. Who is your target audience?
  3. Describe your typical client.
  4. Who are your online and offline competitors?
  5. Are you doing any marketing offline?
  6. Where is your target audience (local, national, global)?
  7. Do you have brand guidelines?
  8. Do you have a content writer available?
  9. What kind of assets will you provide? (photo, videos, images, brochures)
  10. Can we access your current site analytics?

12. They have too many clients

I used to be guilty of this a lot. I had way too many clients and I could not focus properly on any of them. Therefore, they all suffered. I would jump back and forth on different projects, while ignoring others. It was horrible and stressful. Projects were constantly late and clients were not happy.

Solution:

If you’re a web designer and your goal is to make $500,000 this year, focus on getting 10 clients at $50,000 per project, rather that 50 clients at $10,000 per project. This will give you the same revenue, but with less clients, less phone calls, less personalities, and less headaches.

13. No scope of work

A wise man in project management for 20+ years once told me that 80% of the problems that occur during a project occur because of a poor scope of work. A good scope of work details all work to be performed and delivered. It is critical that both parties agree to the scope of work before the project is executed.

14. No architecture strategy

wireframeLet’s say your family decides to build a dream house. Well, before you start actually building this house, you’re probably going to hire an architect to blueprint the house and all the rooms. Custom web design is very similar to building a house. Before designing any pages, your web design team should map out and wireframe (blueprint) each page of your website and get your approval before designing and developing.

15. No conversion strategy

Has your web designer helped you define what your primary and secondary conversions are? A conversion can be a phone call, email sign up, contact form, e-commerce purchase or a button being clicked. Your web designer should help you define what your conversions are.

Primary conversions are actual sales made on the site or inquiries for sales discussions through a contact form. Secondary conversions are typically forms that capture emails. Your web designer should ask how you want to be contacted and how clients typically prefer contacting you. After all, this is why you built your website.

17. They’re in your IT department

I blame clients and web designers for this one. Nothing is more frustrating than someone in IT calling our agency to inquire about a new website. Shouldn’t someone in marketing be calling us? I will never understand why companies associate IT departments with web design. As Ben Hunt of scratchwebmarketing.com and webdesignfromscratch.com “Web design is marketing”, not IT.

Do us all a favor. If you’re in IT and someone in your company asks you to help build the company website, humbly decline and recommend they talk to someone in the marketing department.

17. The handshaking image

hand-shakeThis is a big red flag. If you see this on your site take it down. I’m speaking of course about the infamous hand shake. This is usually a simple picture of two men shaking hands. It’s cheesy, a waste of space and draws wasteful attention.

19. No SEO strategy

Let’s say you wanted to open a new store that required lots of foot traffic. Would you let your real estate agent sell you a very nice storefront without knowing or telling you anything about the neighborhood? Me either. In other words, if your web designer doesn’t do SEO, they are terrible.

19. No CMS

I can’t think of any good reasons why your web developer wouldn’t build your website on a CMS (content management system). Not using a CMS is not going to save you money. In fact, it could be more expensive because a good CMS like WordPress is built on a framework that has prebuilt functionality saving you time and money.

20. They’re in a different country

outsourcing-web-designI’ve been developing professional websites for about 14 years and I promise that you will need experience to work with web designers and developers in other countries. Yes, they speak english and yes they are cheaper but if you don’t understand how to properly vet designers and developers in other countries you will most likely find a terrible web designer who doesn’t do any of the 19 items above, giving you a very frustrating and infuriating experience.

Conclusion

If you’re a web designer and you firmly disagree with anything I’ve said, there are exceptions to every rule. However, in my experience the above hold true a vast majority of the time. If you hire or fire your web designer by the above set of rules I can safely guarantee your website will be more successful and make you a lot more money.

 

 

 

graphic designing, Uncategorized, web designing

7 Bad Habits That Can Ruin Your Business

It doesn’t matter if you’re self employed, freelancer or if you work for a company, it is always important to stay professional and have awareness of what can go wrong in order to avoid negative impact on your career or business.

Here is the list of 7 most common bad business habits.

1. Procrastination
If you’re procrastinating, stop! It is the worst thing you can do. Plan your work, make reminders, set up an alarm clock, do whatever you need to do to not procrastinate. Emails will keep coming, blogs will keep updating, friends will keep calling. The important part is to organize your activities so that they don’t put your work on hold.

2. Laziness
If you want to kill your business, being lazy is the way to do it. It is one of the worst habits out there. It will affect your desire to work, which will make you put off deadlines, which will affect the quality of your work, which will make your clients leave you.

3. Not caring
If you want to be successful, it is important to be enthusiastic. If you don’t like what you do, it’s probably time to think about a career change.

4. Poor people skills
Another crucial quality is to have people skills. Completing the project on time is not everything there is to a successful business. Let’s face it a smile on the face, or making small talk don’t require too much effort, but it might make someone’s day. We need to remember that we work with people and not robots.

5. Being rude
Now this one goes right along with people skills. It is understandable that you probably think that everyone cares about the fact that you are having a bad day. News flash, nobody does. Clients come to you for quality service, not attitude.
Yes, sometimes we get difficult clients, but it is still our job to stay professional and handle them well.

6. Neglecting mistakes
We are all human beings and we can all make mistakes, and it’s ok. However, it is important to identify the root of the cause. If you lost a client, find out the reasons behind it, if you got a complaint make sure you do everything possible to not make the same mistake again.

7. Ignoring reviews
Most people like to get reviews before they buy something which reveals information about you, your company and the quality of the work that you provide. Having a bad reputation means losing over 50% of your clients. Make sure you always stay on top of what other people say about your business.

Chances are we all make these mistakes sometimes, the key is to acknowledge it and take the necessary precautions. If you have any examples, or just feel like sharing your thoughts, please comment.

For more, visit http://www.psd2html.com

graphic designing, Uncategorized, web designing

14 Classic Business Books You Can Download For Less Than $5

Some of the most influential business books are available for next to nothing (or even nothing) in the Amazon Kindle store.

For less than $5, you can gather timeless wisdom from classics like Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” build your economic background with world-changing texts like John Maynard Keynes’ The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money, and get insight from ancient texts like Marcus Aurelius’s Meditations.

A few modern classics, like Susan Cain’s Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking are also available.

If you’ve got a Kindle and a few bucks to spare, it’s time to get reading.

“The Art of War” (c. 6th century BC)

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons/Hinio

Price: $0.99

Sun Tzu’s ancient Chinese military classic has become required reading for executives around the world.

Rick Wartzman, executive director of the Drucker Institute, writes in Forbes that the book’s influence outside the battlefield is due to the focus on the fundamentals of management and competition. It explains how you can outlast an enemy that is more powerful through patience and a focus of energy.

Buy it here >>

“Meditations” (c. 170 – 180)

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons/NoJin

Price: $0.99

Marcus Aurelius was the great Roman emperor known as the “Philosopher King.” His personal writings from the end of his life have been collected as “Meditations,” and have remained relevant for almost two millennia.

Marcus’ reflections offer timeless wisdom into the nature of human beings, as well as advice on how to maintain self-control and determination in the face of adversity.

Buy it here >>

“The Prince” (1532)

Image credit: Santi di Tito

Price: $0.99

The Italian political theorist Machiavelli’s most well-known work has inspired a wildly diverse group that includes Thomas Jefferson, Napoleon, and mobster John Gotti.

Machiavelli’s outline for being a ruthless and manipulative leader has been interpreted in many different ways and remains controversial.

Buy it here >>

“The Way to Wealth: Advice, Hints, and Tips on Business, Money and Finance” (1758)

Image credit: Amazon

Price: $2.51

“The Way to Wealth” is a collection of whimsical yet wise advice from US Founding Father Benjamin Franklin and is the source of many of his most popular adages.

Buy it here >>

“An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations” (1776)

Image credit: Artist unknown

Price: Free

Adam Smith set the foundation for classical economics (supply creates its own demand) in “The Wealth of Nations,” which is an exploration of free markets, productivity, and the division of labor.

Buy it here >>

“The Richest Man in Babylon” (1926)

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

Price: $3.99

George Samuel Clason uses a series of colorful parables to teach the basics of personal finance.

It remains a top seller, especially as a gift for college graduates just starting out in the real world.

Buy it here >>

 

“How To Win Friends and Influence People” (1936)

Image credit: Amazon

Price: $2.99

There have been over 15 million copies of Dale Carnegie’s book sold since it was first published.

It offers timeless advice on how to rise through the corporate hierarchy or establish your business by selling a story and making important connections.

Buy it here >>

“The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money” (1936)

Image credit: Amazon

Price: $1.99

This is widely considered the economist John Maynard Keynes’ masterpiece, and his theories have significantly shaped modern macroeconomics.

Paul Krugman is one of today’s most vocal Keynesians.

Buy it here >>

“Think and Grow Rich” (1937)

Image credit: Amazon

Price: $0.99

Napoleon Hill’s guide to success is one of the best-selling books of all-time.

Its key takeaways on how to be more likable, resilient, and productive will never go out of date.

Buy it here >>

“Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy” (1942)

Image credit: Amazon

Price: $1.99

Joseph Schumpeter was one of the most influential economic theorists of the 20th century, and this is his most widely read work.

Schumpeter is responsible for popularizing the term “creative destruction” and was one of the first to explore the role of entrepreneurship and innovation within capitalism.

Buy it here >>

“The Greatest Salesman in the World” (1968)

Image credit: Amazon

Price: $4.59

Og Mandino tells the story of a poor traveler in the ancient Middle East who works his way to a life of abundance. Its charming story and valuable insight on motivation and salesmanship have made it a bestseller.

Academy Award-winning actor Matthew McConaughey has said that the book inspired him to never take “no” for an answer.

Buy it here >>

“Thinking, Fast and Slow” (2011)

Image credit: Amazon

Price: $2.99

Nobel Prize-winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman splits human thought into two categories: one is fast, intuitive, and emotional, and the other is slow, deliberate, and logical. In addition to exploring this concept, he explains how fast and slow thinking can be balanced to maximize success in the workplace.

The book topped many publications’ best books of 2011 lists, including the New York Times Book Review and the Wall Street Journal.

Buy it here >>

“Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking” (2012)

Image credit: Amazon

Price: $2.99

Susan Cain’s book on introversion is a rejection of the traditional idea that only extroverts can be leaders in their fields.

It explains how managers can maximize the value of their quieter and more withdrawn employees and how introverts can best communicate with extroverts.

Buy it here >>

“Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead” (2013)

Image credit: Amazon

Price: $4.99

Men vastly outnumber women in high-level executive positions across the world, and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg says that women need to take charge of changing it themselves.

Sandberg’s book started her “Lean In” movement for female empowerment, which helped initiate a global conversation about women’s equality in the workplace.

Buy it here >>

graphic designing, Uncategorized, web designing

10 Things Your Website Needs If You Want to Attract the Wealthy Customer

In his book No B.S. Marketing to the Affluent, business coach and consultant Dan S. Kennedy shows you how to re-position your business, practice, or sales career so you can learn how to attract customers for whom price is not a determining factor. In this edited excerpt, the author reveals what your website needs to contain in order to be an effective marketing tool for your business.

Your company’s website should be a place of vast (current) information. But first and foremost, it should represent who you are and what you do. So often I see websites that are more like static brochures than dynamic, personality-driven, multimedia websites.

To be a marketing website, your site must have these 10 things:

1. Personality.

Most affluent buyers aren’t on the hunt for in-depth technical product knowledge; they’re in search of the go-to experts they can trust to make the best decisions and advise them on the best solutions. Adding personality to your website through photos, video, and your writing is about building that relationship with consumers and solidifying their belief that you’re the person who’s going to make their life easier.

2. Credibility.

Credibility is one of the leading factors in becoming trustworthy. When dealing with the affluent market, you can’t have a website that displays you as a “sleazy salesman.”

What makes you a credible expert? Have you been seen in the media? Are you involved in trade associations within your niche? Are you a bestselling author? All these factors play a vital role in showcasing your credibility.

One of the best ways to establish immediate credibility is through the use of recognizable logos. Displayed correctly, logos from media appearances or trade associations can bring immediate awareness and validation.

3. Testimonials.

Testimonials are a powerful third-party verifier and help make you credible through social proof. Wikipedia defines social proof as “a psychological phenomenon where people assume the actions of others in an attempt to reflect correct behavior for a given situation. Wikipedia goes on to say, “This effect is prominent in ambiguous social situations where people are unable to determine the appropriate mode of behavior, and is driven by the assumption that surrounding people possess more knowledge about the situation.”

The best types of testimonials are ones that not only use text to convey their message but also include the person’s photo or video.

4. Lead capture with auto responders.

When people come to your website, you need to capitalize on their visit by capturing their information so you can continue to stay in touch with them. By providing numerous ways for them to get information, you open up your funnel for leads.

5. Keywords and targeted meta data.

Knowing your keywords and putting them into your meta data (specific pieces of code that tell search engines like Google what your site is about) is vital to get your website ranked in the search engines.

If you’re unfamiliar with what your keywords are, Google offers a free keyword tool that will help you discover the keywords that people are searching for and the amount of competition for those keywords. Ideally you want to use  keywords with high traffic and low competition.

6. WordPress.

If your website isn’t on WordPress, get it there! There are a number of great reasons to use WordPress, but first and foremost, it’s great for search engine optimization (SEO) because it’s built with clean code that makes it easy for search engines to spider and index your website. WordPress also offers endless plugins that can enhance just about every aspect of your website.

7. Current, relevant content.

This is important for two reasons. First, it gives the search engines a reason to continually come back to your website. If you don’t have updated content on your website, you give the search engines no reason to come back.

Second, if people come to your website and it’s outdated, the first question that runs through their head is “Are you outdated?” Developing a keyword-rich blog can be one of the best ways to continually add current, relevant content. Effective blogs are ones that have content that acknowledge a problem that’s currently being faced in your industry, mentioning how you’ve been able to take care of that problem for your clients, then providing a mini CTA (call to action).

8. CTA (call to action).

Good content with no action is going to be just as unsuccessful as a website with no content. CTAs should be used throughout your website to take visitors through a predetermined path. By using CTAs on your homepage, you can connect with visitors’ pain points and lead them to an interior page that will solve their problem.

CTAs should also be used on interior pages to get visitors to take specific action. These types of CTAs should be connected to a lead capture device such as a free consultation or special report. If a person has just read an entire page of copy on your website about a particular service, there’s no better time to ask, “Ready to take the first step in becoming financially free? Download the FREE Special Report ‘10 Keys to Creating the Life You’ve Always Wanted Now!’ ”

Remember, it’s about building the relationship—so capturing visitors’ information is crucial so you can continually market to them and stay in the forefront of their mind. Even if they’re not ready to make a decision that day, creating a relationship with them so you’re their “friend in the business” is vital.

9. RSS feeds and social bookmarking icons.

Both of these allow further engagement with your website. RSS feeds allow consumers to simply sign up for your feed, and every time you add a new piece of content to your website, they’ll get it in their inbox.

Social bookmarking allows users to save links to web pages they like. Unlike a private bookmark within your own computer and browser, social bookmarks are public and tagged by keywords, so they can be a great tool for others to promote the content on your website, which helps increase your traffic.

10. Social media icons.

Social media icons allow users to connect with you socially if they choose. Will everyone want to visit your Facebook page? No, but for the consumer who likes to get their information through social media, it should be an option for them.

For more, visit http://www.entrepreneur.com

graphic designing, Uncategorized, web designing

How to manage your freelance cashflow

Here’s seven top tips for taking care of the business side of freelance life.

The relationship between art and commerce is a rocky one, and it’s particularly rocky when you’re a freelancer. For all its many joys, being your own boss also means being your own accounting department and occasional bailiff.

Freelancers face three key issues: staying on top of the paperwork, getting paid and ensuring the taxman doesn’t chuck you in prison. Taking care of all that can eat into the time you’d rather spend on designing. So how do others do it?

01. Start a spreadsheet

One of a series of map illustrations by illustrator Elly Walton

Elly Walton has been a freelance illustrator for 10 years. Her client list reads like a who’s who of the advertising, design and publishing fields, but despite her success, she’s been using “pretty much the same old Excel spreadsheet with my incomings, outgoings and tax payable on it” all that time.

Walton also records “the jobs as they come in, how I got them and whether it was a result of promotion or word of mouth,” she explains. “It makes a nice, pretty graph that I look at occasionally to review my marketing.”

Walton uses an Adobe Photoshop template for invoices, prints hard copies – “I like to have a stack of physical paper to check through and stamp a little ‘PAID’ on it when it’s paid” – and invoices jobs on completion.

02. Don’t procrastinate

Hand Lettering Headlines, by Ely Walton

Procrastination, says Walton, is the enemy: “[Tax] isn’t really that painful, but it’s a hell of a lot more painful if you leave it until the deadline.”

If you’re a sole trader in the UK you’ll pay Income Tax on your profits (sales less expenses) as well as National Insurance contributions; limited companies pay Corporation Tax on business profits; and if you’re turning over more than £81,000 per year (it happens!) there’s quarterly VAT too.

It may be worth registering even if your turnover is less: under the Flat Rate Scheme someone in advertising can charge 20% but only pays 11%.

03. Consider an accountant

An architectural drawing, Belle & Bunting, by Scottish illustrator Willa Gebbie

Doing your own tax return isn’t difficult, but if you’re VAT registered or running a company you might want to consider hiring an accountant. It isn’t too expensive and there’s something enormously satisfying about handing over a shoebox full of receipts and never having to worry about it ever again.

Like Elly Walton, beauty, fashion and portrait illustrator Willa Gebbie used a system based around a spreadsheet, in this case Google Docs, but in 2013 she decided to switch to FreeAgent.

“That’s when I finally got around to having a proper business account as well,” she says. Until then she hadn’t felt it was necessary, not least because business accounts come with a plethora of charges after the first year.

“A normal account will do, as long as you keep your work money and personal money clearly separate,” Gebbie says. “As a sole trader, it’s unlikely that you’ll need the benefits (or costs) of a business account, so it’s better saving those few pounds.”

Gebbie is a big fan of FreeAgent. “I love how it completes my tax return for me, it’s truly a godsend,” she says, adding that “it’s really good at assigning bank payments to invoices automatically, so I can tell really quickly who has or hasn’t paid.”

04. Chase payment regularly

One of a series of illustrated New Year’s Resolutions collected via social media.Linzie Hunter NY Resolutions, by Linzie Hunter

While FreeAgent can automatically notify clients of overdue invoices, Gebbie fears that it could look “spammy”, so she prefers to do the chasing herself. “I write invoices as soon as I’ve finished the job,” she says. “Once a week I check payments and chase outstanding invoices. If they’re really late then I’ll start to chase every couple of days.”

Award-winning hand-lettering artist and illustrator Linzie Hunter is another convert to online systems, in her case Wave. As a former “shoebox and Excel spreadsheet” user, Wave has freed up a lot of her time.

“Having a cloud-based system means that I can keep track of payments and invoices easily wherever I am. My favourite feature is the ability to link it to your bank and PayPal accounts, so I no longer need to enter everything manually. It’s also good at showing you exactly where you are financially.”

05. State clear payment terms

Three fashion illustrations by Willa Gebbie

Tempting as it might be, one feature Wave and FreeAgent don’t currently offer is the ability to send drone strikes after late payers. Elly Walton is unusual – “I’ve been lucky not to have had a non-payer” – but stresses the value of clear payment terms.

“30 days is reasonable,” she says. “As soon as that date arrives, start chasing – as politely as possible, of course.”

Willa Gebbie agrees. “Sometimes clients don’t pay on time, but often that’s because of the finance department rather than the art director… it’s probably quite embarrassing for them.”

06. Settle late payments nicely

A hand-lettered and illustrated Label for Noted, by Linzie Hunter

Going in all guns blazing is never a good idea, but if you’re suffering from acute late payment or non-payment, then the Late Payment of Commercial Debts legislation enables you to charge interest and penalties for non-payment. That can be the nuclear option, however, and it’s always best to try and settle late payment nicely first.

07. Be prepared

Stickers and packaging for Peaceable Kingdom by Linzie Hunter

Our illustrators have all experienced the ups and downs of freelancing. What hard-won advice would they pass on? “If you’re only just going freelance, make sure you read up about how self-assessment works and make sure you understand about paying tax on account,” Linzie Hunter advises.

“Otherwise it can be a bit of a shock to find that you have to pay an extra chunk in the first year. And get used to saving every receipt in your wallet automatically from the start.”

Willa Gebbie agrees. “Even if it’ll be some time before you start paying tax, you can offset the set-up cost of your business against future tax. That’s a really useful opportunity to take.”

Keep your work money and play money separate, Elly Walton counsels, recommending that you put a percentage of each payment into a separate account. “I think if all payments went straight into one account, hoping that by the time the tax bill comes around I’ll still have the money to pay it is a risky strategy.” We can say from painful experience that Walton isn’t wrong.

for more, visit: http://www.creativebloq.com

graphic designing, Uncategorized, web designing

9 tools for creating great animations

These web-based applications will have you creating animations in no time.

Creating animations has always been considered as one of the most complex aspects of graphic design that requires specific software and technological expertise. It is a time-intensive activity that requires heavy software and high speed computers.

However, over the past few years, the emergence of different online presentation and animation tools have simplified the process of creating animations. Most of these web-based tools are very easy to operate and can create animations that are perfectly suitable for everyday applications. Here we’ve gathered together some of the best…

  • Read all our animation-related posts here

01. EWC Presenter

 EWC
More than an animation tool, this is an all-round presentation app and more

The EWC Presenter is not just an animation and multimedia presentation tool. It is any designer’s dream application. It walks you through the whole process of creating stylish animations through its extremely simple user interface and a long list of animation effects.

You can start off with a blank slide and design it from the scratch or choose from a wide range of templates tailor-made for different industries and users. You can add different objects to your slides by using drag-and-drop functions and add a variety of animation effects, from a dropdown list, to your text content, images and objects. And just in case you face any difficulty in understanding this simple application, you can refer to its detailed tutorial videos that will guide you at each step of creating your animations.

The EWC Presenter is an HTML5 based application that runs smoothly on all major mobile and desktop platforms, so you don’t have to worry about any device compatibility issues for your animations.

02. Make Web Video

 Make Web Video
Make Web Video does exactly as it says on the tin

Make Web Video is a specialized online tool for creating high quality animations and HD video presentations in a matter of minutes. It can create highly complex animations in very quick time that would otherwise take hours to design. Users can choose from a number of animation design templates and activate them by adding text content to the templates.

Since Make Web Video is a completely web-based application, users do not need to download any software and can simply create their animations in their internet browsers. This is not an entirely free tool but the amount of time it saves and the quality of output it produces makes it a very good deal indeed.

03. Vcasmo

 Vcasmo
Create stunning HD animations with this tool

Combine HD images, sound clips and videos to create stunningly beautiful presentations and animations through Vcasmo. Vcasmo creates extremely high quality animations that are perfect for corporate and business presentations.

It’s an HTML5 based application that is compatible with all major mobile platforms and allows embedding presentations into any blog or website. It is available both as a free and paid service.

04. GoAnimate

 GoAnimate
Its simple user interface makes creating video on GoAnimate a doddle

GoAnimate is an ideal tool for creating highly engaging and attractive animations for students, teachers and corporate professionals. It is a comprehensive online animation and video presentation solution that makes animation designing an extremely enjoyable experience. It offers a wide range of pre-designed animations tailored for different industries and users. It has a very simple user interface and is ideal for creating high quality animations in quick time.

05. PowToon

 Powtoon
Create impactful animations with PowToon

PowToon is the perfect online application for creating storytelling animations, academic presentations and infographics. It offers a variety of animation effects that users can activate by selecting from a dropdown list. To make things even simpler, PowToon has a number of free templates that can be used to create animations and presentations with minimum of effort. The quality of PowToon animations is immaculate and a number of leading brands use it for creating their animations and video presentations.

06. Mixeek

 Mixeek
Mixeek has a broad range of animation features

Mixeek is a very useful web based animation tool that can be used to create flawless animations with a wide range of effects. It is an online tool that is completely based on HTML5 and runs very smoothly on most browsers. Although it is not the simplest of animation tools available, but the options it offers are extremely flexible and its animation features are rarely found in other free tools.

07. Prezi

 Prezi
Prezi has free and paid-for versions, but the free version is highly capable

Prezi is a stylish online animation tool that creates beautiful presentations through unique animations and graphics. You can create stunning presentations with Prezi by adding images, videos, objects or simple text, and animating them using a wide range of effects. The finished presentations can also be shared directly from Prezi on all major social networks.

Prezi supports all the major mobile and desktop platforms and allows you to run your presentations as executable files as well. It comes both as a free and paid service, but even the free version has all the options you need.

08. Empressr

 Empressr
This presentation tool can also be used to create animations

Empressr is an online multimedia presentation designing tool that offers a wide range of design templates and editing features along with a simple user interface.

It’s a very good tool for corporate presentations and offers a variety of animation effects ideal for business presentations and meetings. It also lets you import content from websites like Flickr to further beatify your presentations. The finished presentations can be shared via email or by embedding into your website or blog.

09. Creaza

 Creaza
This app is aimed squarely at children

Creaza is an animation tool targeted specifically towards school children. It helps you design creative storytelling experiences through highly engaging animations and video presentations. It has 30 built in ready to use themes along with a number of editing tools that can be used to further enhance the look and feel of your animations.

Conclusion

The tools you have will make or mar your animations; just like WordPress is to blogging and IM Creator is to web design, the above are some quality tools for creating beautiful animations.

graphic designing, Uncategorized, web designing

15 Amazing Commercials That Will Inspire the Greatness in You

Do you watch TV? If you do, you would have seen countless commercial clips in between TV segments, where companies frantically advertise their products and services in the 15-45 seconds, hoping to grab your attention and trigger purchase interest.

I don’t watch TV – I find it’s a waste of time due to the low consciousness nature of most syndicated shows today.  I also find most commercials to be poorly made, and somewhat pointless. They are either a self-promotion of a product that’s irrelevant to my needs, or an advert that plays no role in my life whatsoever.

However, occasionally there would be a gem that catches my eye. This commercial would transcend the typical advertisement, going beyond a sales push and instead conveying an awareness raising message that resonates with my soul.

In today’s post, I’ve scoured through lists of commercials and gathered these 15 most amazing, inspiring commercials that will inspire the inner greatness in you. Some of these commercials are funny, some are touching, some are inspiring, some are saddening, and some are mind-triggering. Underneath the different forms of each commercial, is an important message to take away and apply.

As you watch each commercial, ask yourself what is the commercial is telling you and how you can apply that. Just like the inspiring graduations article, I’ve included a commentary below each clip, sharing my personal thoughts and reflections.

Enjoy, and feel free to share the article if you find any of the videos meaningful. :)

 

#1. Penguins (BBC)

* Very Important: Watch the advert first before reading commentary below to get an unadulterated viewing experience.

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The first time I saw the video, I burst out laughing right after the penguins started flying, and couldn’t stop for the next 30 seconds. It was so hilarious to see penguins, which normally wobble about from side to side, to take off and fly with such speed and grace across the sky –  much less across the entire continent!!

If you don’t know, this was a prank video the BBC created for 2008 April Fool’s Day, to promote their BBC iplayer. They pretended to have discovered a new colony of penguins that had evolved and developed the ability to fly. The video was a huge success – it became viral and received over 100,000 views in just the first day.

Why was it such a big hit though? Why were people so eager to spread this to others? What was the huge hoo-haa about? And why did I (or any of us for that matter) have the kind reactions we had (whether laughter, shock or amazement) when watching the video?

That’s because we all have a deeply ingrained belief that penguins can’t fly. That’s like a law of nature, a fact that can never be changed. Or so we thought. And hence when we had that belief broken (even momentarily), a pillar that bounded our reality was crushed, and it resulted in a wild reaction inside us. Laughter, shock or amazement – these are defense mechanisms at work as we try to comprehend what just happened before us.

While the video is a hoax, it invites us to rethink about our beliefs, and whether they are really as true as we think they are. Many times, we have a set of staunch beliefs about how the world operates. While these beliefs help us create a predictable reality to operate in, it also limits us in what we can achieve, and what we can do.

I invite you to think about some of your beliefs right now:

  1. What kind of beliefs do you have about yourself, your goals, your life at the moment?
  2. Are these beliefs helping you or disempowering you?
  3. Are these beliefs true or just self-created boundaries? (Clue: There’s no such thing as a “real” belief – they are all opinions and stances)
  4. Can you think of ways where you have been short-changing yourself with these beliefs?
  5. Do you want to continue holding on to them then?

At the end of the day, there is no such thing as a right or wrong belief – beliefs are just beliefs. Opinions, thoughts. The key is then to always requestion your beliefs, and always ensure that you’re holding the beliefs that best empower you to live your best life ever. (On Days 26-27 of Be a Better Me in 30 Days Program, you identify your limiting thoughts and replace them with empowering ones.)

(For those who are interested, here is the Making Of the penguin video. ;) )

#2. Every Good Thing in Life (Cheers Beer, Thailand)

The first time I saw this video, I couldn’t stop laughing! It’s is a compilation of 3 ads in same series – each featuring a simple yet good moment we face in life . The way they exaggerated each moment is truly classic.

The ad reminds us of those little things we tend to take for granted in life. Yet these are part of the moments that make life beautiful, aren’t they? What are the moments you relish in? What are the things that make you smile? What are the things you’re grateful for in life? Write them down in your life handbook, hold them dear to your heart and never let them go.

(For those who have the Live a Better Life in 30 Days Program, refer to Day 14: A Day of Gratitude for a sample gratitude list that shares the 60 things to be grateful for in life.)

#3. Cog (Honda Accord)

This 2 minute ad follows a chain of colliding parts taken from a disassembled car, ultimately ending off with the final shot of the car (Honda Accord). From the “Cog” wiki page:

“Bardou-Jacquet (the director) wanted to compose the advertisement with as little computer-generated imagery as possible, believing that the final product would be that much more appealing to its audience. To this end, he set two months aside for the creation of hundreds of conceptual drawings detailing various possible interactions between the parts, and a further four months for practical testing and development.

For the testing phase, the script was broken into small segments, each comprising only one or two interactions. Ideas deemed unworkable by the testing crew, such as airbag explosions and collisions between front and rear sections of the car, were abandoned, and the remaining segments were slowly brought together until the full and final sequence was developed.

The final cut of Cog consists of two continuous sixty-second dolly shots taken from a technocrane, stitched together later in post-production. (The stitching appears during the moment when the muffler rolls through the floor.) Four days of filming were required to get these two shots, two days for each minute-long section. Filming sessions lasted seven hours and the work was exacting, as some parts needed to be positioned with an accuracy of a sixteenth of an inch.

Despite the detailed instructions derived from the testing period, small variations in ambient temperature, humidity and settling dust continually threw off the movement of the parts enough to end the sequence early. It took 90 minutes on the first day just to get the initial transmission bearing to roll correctly into the second. Between testing and filming, 606 takes were needed to capture the final cut.”

What’s most inspiring about this commercial is the precision, the intricate details, and massive level of planning and precise execution that must have gone into it to even make it possible. It’s always inspiring to see excellence at its best, and this is clearly a work that’s born of excellence. Launched in 2003, the ad went on to receive more awards than any commercial in history; so many that it was both the most-awarded commercial of 2004 and the 3third-most-awarded commercial of 2003. (Cog Awards)

It shows that with the right attitude, commitment, determination and persistence, even the most impossible of things can be done. It’s not about whether you think it can be done; it’s whether you want to do it or not. For the goals that you may claim as impossible or hard to achieve, perhaps the real question is to ask yourself whether you really want them or not.

#4. Excuses (feat. Warhawk Matt Scott, Nike)

Matt Scott is an American basketball player. He has spina bifida – a disorder that existed before birth and caused him to be wheelchair bound.

Despite that, it has not stopped him from achieving success and excellence in life. When he was 14, he was introduced to wheelchair basketball. At age of 18, he led his team in the National Wheelchair Basketball Association’s to 2 national championships in 2003, and was selected MVP of the season. While he was in university, he led his team to 3 national championships (2004, 2005, 2007). In 2007, he was on the gold medal winning US team at the 2007 Parapan American Games in Brazil – and he was just 21 years old then.

He has taken part in 2004 and 2008 Paralympics (Olympics for athletes with physical disabilities), and is set to be participating in the next 2012 Paralympics.

In the ad, Matt lists a whole bunch of excuses people use every day to explain why they’re not doing things they ought to be doing. Have you heard of the term “excusitis”? It’s a deadly disease where people make excuses for why they’re not living the life they want, rather than take action to create it. Ask them why they’ve not achieved a certain result? Their reply “Oh, because I’ve been busy” or “There’s a lot of things on my plate” or “I don’t really want it” or “There was something else that cropped up in the past few months” and so on and so forth. Endless reasons; endless excuses.

The only time when results happen is when you take ownership for your life and stop finding excuses. In life, either you can either be in the group of people that’s busy out there achieving results they want, or you can be in the group that’s constantly looking for reasons to explain why they’re not living the life they desire. Which group do you want to be in?

#5. Let Your Game Speak (feat. Michael Jordan, Nike)

I think this ad is open to different interpretations. For me, the message is to be the best you can be, hone your craft, supersede yourself every step of the way, and let the results of your work speak for itself. If there are critics, there’s no need to waste time to please them – these aren’t your audience. If there are naysayers, let them naysay whatever they want – you’re not here to get their affirmation.

I believe this is also why there’s no narration for the ad. Having clips of MJ’s best moments (or in this case enacted by child actors), is enough. Likewise, when you’re truly the best that you are, your work will naturally speak for itself too. Don’t bother or worry about defending, explaining or fending off critics – these are irrelevant in the long run. To do that would just be to take yourself away from doing well in your game.

#6. Maybe (feat. Michael Jordan, Nike)

I thought this ad is so simple yet so amazing. It conveys the classic problem of how people constantly try to explain away their ability to create success. This ability has been in there all along, yet they deny its presence, and instead point the finger at other things around them.

Are you actively pursuing and achieving your goals right now, to the max? If no, why not? What reasons are you giving for not doing so?

Believe it or not, we are our own limitations. It’s not our moms, our dads, our brothers/sisters, our partners, our friends, our colleagues, our bosses, our jobs, the governments, the societies, the economy, or anything like that. It’s us. It’s always just been us limiting ourselves all along – whether through conscious self-limitation, or allowing others to limit us (which still links back to us).

The sooner we realize that, the faster we’ll be able to create the life we want. The extent to which we can achieve what we want is directly linked to the degree of responsibility we take for our goals and life. The more responsibility we take, the more results we’ll start seeing from our goals.

#7. Training (Various artists, Nike)

(Ensemble cast of: Kobe Bryant, Cristiano Ronaldo, Roger Federer, Maria Sharapova, Manny Pacquiao, and Xiang Liu)

Sometimes we look at people who are the best in their fields, and we think they have it easy. That perhaps they winged their way to success. Or they happen to be born with that gift or talent. Or they are lucky. Everything seems so effortless when we look at what they’re doing from the outside.

Guess what – the 10,000 hour rule applies. Every top person you see has invested his/her 10,000 hours, or even more, before he/she ever came to be where he/she is today. It’s easy to forget that because we see these people only after they rose to prominence, and not when they were honing their craft. And even for those who have already risen to prominence, they continue to put in their 10,000 hours all the time, day in, day out. We just don’t see them because this happens behind the scenes. But it’s happening no doubt.

So here’s the real deal – Have you invested your 10,000 hours? Are you ready to put in the due work required? Because if you are, that’s when the real action begins.

#8. Dare (Saga)

The ad depicts the moments in life when we experience fear. From performing in front of a panel, to going out in the sea, to being asked to pose nude in front of an art class, to presenting in a meeting, to seeing your partner with someone else.

Is there anything you’re fearing in your life now? Fear of attachment perhaps? Fear of loss? Fear of rejection? Fear of failure? Fear of opening up? Fear of public speaking? What do you do in the face of your fears? Do you shrink away? Or do you face it head on?

The amazing thing about fear is that when you face it head on – when you take the step to confront it, it disappears in your face. This is also why fear is commonly referred to in the self-help arena as False Evidence Appearing Real. Are you ready to start tearing away these false evidence in your life?

#9. Think Different (Apple)

I once knew a coach who made this comment: “We’ve got to be kidding ourselves if we think we think we can change the world. I don’t believe we can ever change the world.”

I don’t know what led her to say that, but I thought she was the one kidding herself. All of us have always had the power in us to change the world. There’s not even a reason to doubt that. This world is ours; our subconsciousness begets us with unlimited resources and power, and we’re all connected as one.

So the question is – what do you want to bring about to the world? What kind of change do you want to create? What revolution do you want to start? What ground-breaking, earth-shattering movement do you want to lead?

What is the impact you want to deliver to this world by the time you are done?

#10. Failure (feat. Michael Jordan, Nike)

Many people know Michael Jordan as the best basketball player of all time. In 1991, he won his first NBA championship with Chicago Bulls, and continued to do so in 1992 and 1993, securing a “three-peat”. In 1995, he rejoined Bulls (after retiring earlier to play baseball) and again led them to three additional championships (1996-1998) as well as an NBA-record 72 regular-season wins in the 1995–96 NBA season.

Jordan’s individual accolades and accomplishments include five MVP awards, ten All-NBA First Team designations, nine All-Defensive First Team honors, fourteen NBA All-Star Game appearances, three All-Star Game MVP awards, ten scoring titles, three steals titles, six NBA Finals MVP awards, and the 1988 NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award. He holds the NBA records for highest career regular season scoring average and highest career playoff scoring average.  In 1999, he was named the greatest North American athlete of the 20th century by ESPN, and was second to Babe Ruth on the Associated Press’s list of athletes of the century. He was elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame on April 6, 2009 and was inducted on September 11, 2009.

(From: Michael Jordan’s Wiki page)

Behind his massive list of achievements, is the experience of failure. This supposed “failure”, is what enabled Michael to grow and become as good as he is today. As what Michael said in the ad, “I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why, I succeed.

Success is built upon failure. Failure is how we gain experience. Failure is how we learn and grow. And it is by learning and growing, that we are eventually able to succeed.

If you’ve been living your life in fear of failure, then you should stop doing that, because keeping away from failure isn’t going to help you succeed – it’s precisely what’s keeping you from success. By being afraid to fail, you fail by default. The sooner you embrace failure, the sooner you can let loose, learn from your experiences, and start making real headway in your goals.

#11. Evolution (Dove, Unilever)

The Evolution ad was created by Dove (Unilever) in 2006 as part of their Campaign for Real Beauty. The ad features the transformation (via physical make-up and digital editing) of a normal, pretty looking woman, into what we’d recognize as the flawless beauty often promoted in magazines, billboards and TV.

Perhaps if the image of women is more realistically and responsibly portrayed in media, less women and girls around the world would feel inferior about who their looks, and embrace themselves. Pretty much everything you see in the world of beauty (cosmetics, skincare, fashion, etc) is the product of serious retouching and airbrushing – including famous celebrities. Unfortunately, those who are not in the industry do not have such insights, and those who are get wrapped up in the illusion of beauty and needing to portray a certain image, so they themselves are the victims too.

I don’t put makeup when I’m going to nearby places, and I put on light-normal make-up when I do. For the most part I prefer to keep things minimal (though it varies depending on situation/occasion). I’m not saying make-up is bad – it has been a great confidence booster for many women, and I love putting on makeup and making myself look better. However, it’s important not to get married to an image of how we should look, because looks are ultimately impermanent.

Our physical body is the shell we use to experience life today, and one day it’ll generate and cease to exist (when we die). Ultimately, the most important thing that makes up us is our consciousness, and it’s our self-development that makes up better people, and lets us live better lives. Focus on that and you won’t go wrong in life.

#12. Real Beauty (Dove, Unilever)

I’m not sure how guys feel about this ad, but as a girl, it really connects with me. The typification of beauty in mainstream media as someone who’s stick thin, is petite, has large eyes, a high nose bridge, airbrushed skin and angular features has created a lot of inferiority complexes in women. I remember when I was in my early teens, I really hated being taller than most girls. I also hated my baby fats, which made me look fat. When I had outbreaks, I’d feel traumatized because that meant looking ugly to the world.

True beauty comes in different forms, shapes and sizes. Besides realizing that beauty isn’t just that 1-type of look, it’s also about realizing beauty isn’t not just what’s on the outside, but what’s on the inside. Do you have a good heart? Do you have a compassionate soul? Are you someone who’ll help others when they’re in need? Are you always putting yourself before others or do you care about others? Do you have a passion toward growth and development of yourself? Do you want to better the world? These are what determine the goodness of your soul on the inside.

#13. You Can Shine (Pantene, Thailand)

A 4 minutes advertisement that tells a story. Given that I used to work in the company that manages Pantene (Procter & Gamble), I was personally surprised to see this ad since it’s not exactly the conventional ad that the company would commission. For one, there’s not exactly any “selling” in the ad; two, it’s 4 minutes long, way longer than a normal advert which is 15-30 seconds long.

That said, the advert tells of a beautiful story of perseverance and self-belief. It’s in Thai but has english subtitles, so you’d have no problem understanding. Have naysayers in your life? Are you short changing yourself because of what others say? Are you withholding who you are on the inside because you try to be someone you’re not? It’s time to start believing in who you are and what you can be. Let the real you emerge; this is what it means to live your life to the fullest.

#14. Impossible is Nothing (feat. Kaka, Adidas)

Kaká (Ricardo) is an international acclaimed footballer from Brazil. When he was 18, while he was playing in a waterpool with his younger brother, he hit his head – hard – on the bottom of the pool – which snapped his neck and fractured the sixth vertebra in his spine. This was an injury that many, including Kaka, feared would leave him paralyzed and unable to walk again, much less play football.

In the midst of these fears, he wrote down a list of 10 goals he wanted to achieve in life, which are the 10 goals you see in the ad. 2 months after the incident, he began to play football again. 1 year later, he played in the final of Rio-São Paulo Tournament and scored the equalizer goal and the winning goal, within a 5 minute time frame.

In 2002, Kaka was the youngest player included in the 2002 Brazilian World Cup squad. He only played 17 minutes in South Korea & Japan against Costa Rica during the group stage, enough for him to win the World Cup that year while barely being 20. (AC Milan Online, Kaká) In 2007, he won the European Footballer of the Year and FIFA World Player of the Year awards. And today, Kaka is one of the top performing and top earning players with Real Madrid.

These didn’t happen by chance. As you may have realized, Kaka has went on to achieve all the 10 goals he wrote, and even more. Because he took the step to reflect on what he really wanted in life, to write down his goals, and then took action on them.

What are your top 10 goals in life? What are you going to do, moving forward, to achieve them?

#15. Cancer (Lance Armstrong, Nike)

And finally, leaving the best for the last – the rare “Cancer” ad featuring Lance Armstrong. This ad features a clip of the 1996 press conference where Lance Armstrong announced he was diagnosed with stage three testicular cancer – at the tender of age of 25.

At that time, the cancer was at the third stage and had already spread to his abdomen, his brain and lungs. From Wikipedia:

“On that first visit to a urologist in Austin, Texas, for his cancer symptoms he was coughing up blood and had a large, painful testicular tumor. Immediate surgery and chemotherapy were required to save his life. Armstrong had an orchiectomy to remove his diseased testicle. After his surgery, his doctor stated that he had less than a 40% survival chance.”

As you can see from the press conference, held 6 days after his diagnosis, he swore that he would beat the disease. By Jan 1998, he was back into serious training; In 1999, he went on to win the Tour de France each year from 1999 to 2005, and is the only person to win seven times, having broken the previous record of five wins. He would then proceed to be named Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year for the years 2002–2005. He received ESPN’s ESPY Award for Best Male Athlete in 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2006, and won the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Overseas Personality Award in 2003.

Lance’s story, both as a cancer survivor, and as someone who proceeded to win Tour de France seven times, is an inspiration to all. He did this because he never gave up on himself. He never gave up on fighting the disease. And most importantly, he never gave up on life. If someone can amass such strength even in the darkest of times, that’s something for us to draw from when we face difficulties and challenges in our life.

Update Jan 20, 2013: As it would turn out, Lance Armstrong had used performance-enhancing drugs throughout much of his career, making his seven-time Tour de France victory an elaborate lie. He has been stripped of his titles in 2012.

However, it does not negate the fact that this guy did indeed beat cancer and achieved some good (inspiring other cancer survivors, setting a foundation which has helped and will continue to help cancer survivors, etc.) even while living this hoax. What we can learn from his story is never to give up on life (based on his cancer survival) and not to negate what’s right and what’s integritous in our pursuit for victory.

graphic designing, Uncategorized, web designing

Ultimate Collection of Free High Quality PSD Mockups To Showcase Your Print Designs

Great presentation for your print design studies plays a vital role in the success of your over all project. It is a matter of presenting your ideas in an attractive and professional manner by which clients can clearly visualize the supposed final output. Seeing your design in a realistic scenario can dramatically help you and your client see all the necessary adjustments or modifications – if there are any – before heading into the final stages of production. Plus having a great mock up presentation can improve your works aesthetically.

Nowadays, mock-up design presentations became a necessity especially for designers working on various print and web design projects for their clients. A professional looking mock up presentation can really boost the value of your work and can aide you to showcase your projects in a visually pleasing way.

Today, we present to you an ultimate collection of some of the best free high quality PSD Mock for print designs gathered across the internet. These contents are absolutely free!  So go load up your ammo of freebies and templates!

 

FREE BUSINESS CARD MOCK UP


 

Business Card Hand Mock Up 01

Wooden Business Cards Mock Up Wooden-Business-Cards-MockUp

 

Letterpress Business Cards MockUp Letterpress-Business-Cards-MockUp

Colorful Business Card MockUp Colorful-Business-Card-MockUp

Business Card Mock Up Business-card-mockup1

Realistic Business Card Mock Up Realistic-Business-Card-MockUp

Business Card 3D Mock-Up (Psd) Bus-Card-Mockup-2

Red Corporate Business Card business-card-mockups-(38)

Creative Business Card Vol 2 business-card-mockups-(143)

 6 Business Card Mock Up Vol – FREE PSD 71beb573d26cae523700541da244683c

Translucent Business Card Mock up Transparent-Business-Cards-600

 

FREE LOGO MOCK UP


 

Free Logo Mockup PSD free_logo_mockup__psd_by_yesimadesigner-d71e4fh

Painted Wood Logo MockUp Painted-Wood-Logo-Mock-Up-600

3D Wall Logo MockUp 3D-Wall-Logo-MockUp-600

3D Wall Logo MockUp 2 3D-Wall-Logo-MockUp-2-600

3D Wooden Logo MockUp 3D-Wooden-Logo-MockUp-600

Cutout Logo MockUp cutout-600

Leather Stamping Logo MockUp Embossed-Leather-Logo-MockUp-600

Close-Up Logo Mock-ups freebie-slide-1396351872-1

Silver Stamping Logo MockUp Silver-Stamping-Logo-MockUp-600

Gold Stamping Logo MockUp Glod-Hot-Foil-Logo-Mock-Up-600

I Love 3D Logo MockUp i-love-3d-600

Leather Stamping Logo MockUp #2 Leather-Stamping-Logo-MockUp-2-600

Letterpress Logo Mockup (PSD) letterpress-logomockup

Metallic Logo PSD MockUp Metallic-Logo-PSD-Mock-Up-600

 

Spot UV Logo MockUp Spot-UV-Logo-MockUp-big

Vintage Metal Emblem MockUp Vintage-Car-Emblem-Mock-Up-600

Window Signage MockUp Window-Signage-Mock-Up-600
17 Logo Mockup (Psd) All

FREE POSTER MOCK UP


 

Free Flyer / Poster Mock-up

Poster_Mockup

Poster Mockup Template (PSD) poster_mockup_preview_lrg

Poster Frame Mockups (Psd / Vector) Poster-Frame-Mockup-X

Poster Frame PSD MockUp Poster-Frame-PSD-MockUp-600

Poster Frame PSD MockUp Vol. 6 001_antique-vintage-old-retro-frame-picture-poster-presentation-mockup-vol-6-psd

Free Poster Mockup Studio

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FREE MAGAZINE MOCK UP


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FREE PACKAGING MOCK UP


 

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FREE SHIRT MOCK UP


 

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FREE BRAND IDENTITY MOCK UP


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For more ideas, visit http://www.youthedesigner.com

graphic designing, Uncategorized, web designing

Ultimate Guide To Setting Up Your First Online Shop

E-commerce is the most popular business trend in our futuristic society, as most modern cities have Internet equipped and it’s such a simple process to send payments anywhere in the world via Internet connection. Along with these technologies have risen hundreds of thousands of new digital web stores which sell both physical and digital products to one global marketplace.

setup online shop
(Image Source: Fotolia)

Business means trade, and trade means transaction. For Internet buyer, what they really care about is probably the security, as there are overwhelming fraud issues happening all around the world nowadays. So setting up web store is not like your regular Blogger blog, it requires careful planning and guided installation with hardened security in mind.

But hard doesn’t mean that it’s impossible to do it yourself. For any aspiring webmasters hoping to get into the e-commerce game, this post will serve as the guide mentioned above, to ease the transition a bit with full of helpful tips and recommended service, so don’t wonder anymore, let’s get down to business!

The Process of Building

Before even considering to launch your website it is crucial to spend some time away from the computer and build your idea. What kind of products will you be selling? Are there any competitors in this niche? Ideally how should your website’s user interface look?

building idea
(Image Source: Fotolia)

These are all very important topics of discussion which you should consider deeply. It will also help a lot to build a brand name in these early stages of development. You can purchase the matching domain name ahead of time to secure your company name and logo.

If you’re a businessman and interested in working online you may also wish to set up some profiles. A new Google account can help on multiple levels for a new corporation. With Google you’ll gain a brand new email account under Gmail and access to each of Google’s apps. This includes Google Docs and Google Analytics for tracking your web page traffic. YouTube accounts also tie into Google via OAuth, so it’s possible to market your store with video media too.

Registering a Domain

Once you have a rough idea of how your shop will work it’s time to make some bold steps. Registering a domain name and finding a web host aren’t very difficult tasks. Yet they are monumentally important steps in the overall launch process.

namesilo

Spend a lot of time considering your domain before purchase. Once you buy one it’s usually set for 1 year (or more if you choose), so you’re stuck with it! Personally I am a fan of NameSilo for registering new domains. Their user accounts let you set up portfolios and organize your domain names into different structures. Their domain search is also quick and produces to-the-point results.

Choosing the Web Hosting Service

When it comes to hosting things get a bit more difficult. You’ll want to consider the backend language which your online shop will run, and to choose the proper server settings. If you don’t have any preference or just don’t care I recommend sticking with PHP. It’s open source and supported in mostly 99% of server environments. But just ensure that any hosting account you purchase will support PHP and MySQL databases.

hostgator

Some companies Hostgator and Bluehost offer some incredible solutions for first-time webmasters. The average cost is $100-$150/year for unlimited storage and bandwidth. Now some web hosts do cap their storage and bandwidth limit. But for even the cheapest solutions you’ll generally be using well under their rules.

For more precise guidance, follow our post to help you choose the best web hosting service based on 10 essential factors, and consumer guide on understanding the very truth about web hosting and tips to avoid some annoying hosting troubles.

Choosing your E-Commerce Package

There are two main categories to choose from for building an online shop. Hosted solutions are companies which provide you with everything you need on the backend and host the e-commerce script on their servers. This means you won’t need to perform any programming or file uploads of any kind. You will however still need a domain name to redirect and give your shop a distinct URL.

yahoo merchant solution

Now you can also work with licensed scripts, both paid and open source. These kinds of e-commerce systems are easily customized and make up the majority of online web stores. Even if you aren’t a programmer at heart it’s a very simple process to download and re-upload script files onto your hosting server and follow some installation instructions.

But when you are working with money and payments online there are many security risks to consider. If you feel uncomfortable taking on that much responsibility it may be wise to choose a hosted solution. Many times you can talk with company representatives to figure out site security without any stress. The customer’s overall experience and safety should be held in regard to your bottom-line decision.

Hosted E-Commerce Solutions

Many of the hosted solutions can provide an amazing experience to your visitors with very little work on your end. The administration panel is also uniform to all other scripts, which should provide you an easy interface to upload photos and add catalogue entries.

There are so many choices out there it’s hard to pick just one. But I’ve included 3 below which stand out among the rest. They’re viable options for the average webmaster who isn’t interested in messing around with FTP and programming IDE’s. You do lose a lot of opportunity for customizations, but you are gaining added security and personal staff support.

Shopify

You can check out Shopify for yourself to see this amazing service in action. Their website is designed beautifully and contains some wonderful demos. If you are on the edge with choosing any company, Shopify may possibly be the best option. Their features include a personal app store, SSL security, unlimited server bandwidth, a custom mobile template and a whole lot more!

shopify

This is one script which offers a lot more user customizations than others. In the admin backend panel you may choose between dozens of themes to implement onto your live website. If you understand HTML/CSS it’s possible to edit the raw website design online. The editor is similar to WordPress theme‘s editor and offers a very simple UI for beginners.

Shopify also includes live chat and contacts 24/7 for any support. Check out their huge examples page if you’d like to see a few Shopify-powered stores. By looking at some templates it’s difficult to even tell what script they’re running.

Pricing can range from very cheap to very expensive over the course of their 5 plans. Compare details and see if any would stack up to your credentials. Ideally I would recommend Shopify if you have some standard knowledge of HTML and are looking for a fully-accountable staff to back up your new launch.

Yahoo! Merchant Solution

For small businesses Yahoo! Merchant Solution may also catch your attention. The layout for your standard Y!MS account is fairly straightforward and easy to customize. They provide custom traffic analytics and split testing right from your admin panel. The most popular payment gateways are supported, including PayPal, money orders, checks, and credit cards.

yahoo merchant solution

Yahoo! is a great company to partner with if you’re choosing to go the hosted route. They spur large bouts of traffic through organic search and ad clicks, quite honestly only rivalled by Google. You can set up a small marketing account and help spread the word of your new store. Additionally if you’re looking to work with a skilled web designer or developer the small business network includes these features. Yahoo! can practically manage your entire store deployment and launch.

BigCommerce

The BigCommerce shop software could be compared to Shopify with trimmed features. They offer a clean user interface which clears up a lot of confusion in the signup process. It’s a breeze to add in new features, products, users, and take payments online in just a few minutes.

bigcommerce

Granted if you are a developer the team has spent time building an online API. Check out the integration and API settings on their website for details about page plugins. You may include details from many accounts around the web such as Facebook, eBay, 2Checkout, MasterCard, and PayPal. The staffs offer plenty of template customizations to choose from so you’ll never be worried about branding.

To see a few stores in action check out their live stores showcase, updated regularly and spurring some of the finest e-commerce designs in modern Internet layouts. There are a lot of features to go through when you’re first working with BigCommerce. Consider e-mailing the developers or get in touch with somebody at the company to answer questions you may have. I have only heard very positive reviews about their customer service and support for clients.

Custom-Owned Scripts

On the flip side to pre-hosted solutions it may be easier for developers to work within their own boundaries. Of the many scripts online to choose from there are only a handful worthy of testing. Although I’ve included 4 of my personal favorites here, check Google and do a bit of research if nothing suits you, alternatively check out our featured open source e-commerce shopping carts.

magento.

Each website launch is unique and will require unique conditions which another e-commerce solution may provide. In popularity these 4 scripts rank very high, so I’m sure you’ll find most things you need.

Zen Cart

Possibly one of the best known brands for e-commerce scripts on the web, Zen Cart is written in PHP and supports mostly all hosting environments. It’s free to download and install on as many websites as you’d like. The only retributions which they require is leaving the “Powered by Zen Cart” link open in the footer area.

zen cart

Working with Zen Cart provides connections into other services. Some of these are included as modules and it’s possible to download them from their website. Others are simply companies which have tied into the Zen Cart software. Check out their personal recommended services list to see if anything jumps out.

If you know API development yourself there’s a simple XHTML templating system applied onto each website. It is incredibly easy for your standard web developer to create a custom theme.

Additionally the support community is alive and constantly buzzing. Zen Cart has personally sponsored an entire wiki devoted to the script and common topics. Their support forums are also often active with helpful members. You can ask questions ranging from setup and installation all the way to custom module controls.

Magento

Magento has developed a very fine script for e-commerce websites. Their whole script is written on PHP and includes plenty of details for getting started. If you’re familiar with active development and FTP deployments check out the current SVN. It’s updated frequently and gives you a great way to access raw PHP files.

magento.

Certainly it’s possible for non-programmers to work with the Magento suite. But I would recommend checking out another option if you aren’t at least well-versed in HTML/CSS. Truly those looking to customize an amazing store with brilliant functionality should check out their product features and weigh the options. It won’t be a simple task to learn the Magento backend, however if you are familiar with PHP or a similar programming language you should be very comfortable within 2-3 weeks.

This is one company which provides a lot of support for users. Aside from the free edition there are many alternative options which you can pay per licence. Enterprise and Professional edition stand out as the two best-featured scripts. If you’re torn check their charts on the comparison page and choose what you think is best suited for your business need.

To get started with your learning spend a bit of time learning about their system, which includes screencast videos and some technical documentation. One area the Magento system isn’t lacking is in documentation.

WordPress eShop

Classic WordPress CMS has stood among many challengers in its day. Yet today there are millions of websites powered by WordPress, both static content and live blogs. So it only makes sense that over time a team of developers would create one spectacular e-commerce solution tied into WordPress. I believe WordPress eShop provides everything an e-commerce site would need, from orders to shipping to discount codes, all running within the WordPress admin.

eshop

If you’re a bit confused browse through a few of their tabs. The developer has provided amazing documentation and examples. Their installation process is also very simple, yet an elegant way of handling such a complex task. They have included a brief FAQ tab demonstrating some of their finer features.

With this method you will have to concern yourself with security and updates. It is of the utmost importance that your website stays secure and hack-free. SQL injections are all too common, and in this day personal user information and credit card numbers are much too important to lose. If you’re looking for a place to start on this, WordPress hosts support forums with many related topics. Try out their search feature to see if anybody has asked similar questions before.

Interspire Shopping Cart

Interspire is an Australia-based web development company. They create custom scripts with administrator backend support and CSS3 templates. These products include a general CMS, email marketing software, and a powerful shopping cart featured here. They do charge a hefty fee for their software out of the box ($295 per license), but you’re given amazing possibilities for customization.

interspire

Interesting enough the software which powers Interspire Shopping Cart is the same which powers BigCommerce discussed earlier. The only difference with them is a paid hosting account and you don’t have any access to editing the server files. But Interspire is such a complex system it may be a lot easier this way. For developers, Interspire is a goldmine of creativity.

They have released some brand new features in version 6 which will blow you away. They have hundreds of modules and templates to choose from. And their list of accepted payment gateways is enormous in comparison to many other scripts.

If possible try out their demo install, both frontend and administrator panel. You’ll fall in love with the features immediately and recognize if this is truly the best option for you. Your ideas will change depending on the needs of your shop, but for the average web developer the Interspire Cart is easily the best solution.

Taking Merchant Payments Online

Credit card payments are possibly the largest out of any other style. Many digital sources like Google and PayPal have started to corner the market, but credit card companies are still raking in the profits. And it’s obvious as credit cards provide a simple solution for your customers and you to pay online.

network solutions

You’ll probably want to sign up for two different accounts and include your new business name on file. An Internet merchant account is used to receive funds over the web for goods or services. Similarly a payment gateway or payment provider is a service which connects your store with your merchant account. This means you’ll be able to accept instant payments via credit card whenever your customers buy something.

To sign up for a merchant account you may try checking your local bank. Banks offer a signup process to credit your website and create an Internet-based merchant account. But if this isn’t an option try a merchant account provider. These 3rd parties work as the middle man transferring payments from your site to the bank of your choice. There are a few merchants to choose from. I’ve listed the most popular companies below:

After you have successfully created a merchant account you’ll have to choose a gateway. These are companies which securely transfer the data your customers input into your merchant account.

Sometimes banks will provide you with the gateway, although there are plenty of options to choose from otherwise. The most credible company for those based in the United States is Authorize. Their website includes some standard information and forms which should help clear up any questions you have regarding their services. Additionally eWAY is a new launch targeting the international audience.

Alternative Payment Methods

If you won’t be taking such direct payments from clients, it may be easier to work in the short term. Digital payment methods have become a lot easier to work within the past decade. PayPal is the obvious leader among the pack and can be featured on almost all of the most popular e-commerce empires, with strong assisting guides laying everywhere, even from Hongkiat. Amazon and eBay are another two best known for this feature.

paypal

Many of the runner-up services work just as well as PayPal but haven’t gained enough attention. Specifically Google Checkout offers a very secure and speedy transaction process. If you’re already using Gmail or have a Google Account it’s simple to tie into a new Google Checkout account. Their backend supports widgets which you can add onto your page for a nicer design.

Both PayPal and Google Checkout support solutions for invoicing. This can be useful if you’re planning on purchasing modules or further domains. Try staying with a single account and use this for all your business transactions online. It’s a lot quicker than waiting for payments or working through shady non-secured payment pages.

Add Content and Products

After you’ve got a domain, hosting, and you can view your script live online then you’ve really made it far! Moving past this process you’re merely required to perform some maintenance and building of website structures. Not too bad for a first e-commerce setup.

add content and products

Familiarize yourself with the administrator panel and how to work with product pages. It’s important for your viewers to receive the best user experience on your website and hopefully land the sale. If you notice any image size limits or set proportions consider spending some time pre-cropping your product images. Or at the very least standardize the image size so your products will display evenly in rows/columns.

Along with product listings you’ll want to begin working on your page copy. Written content on your website is vitally important to get your message across and land sales. Visitors will be interested to hear about your company and many will hope to get in contact with you. These are just a few base pages to consider building, but you may focus on a few more as time goes on. For example a privacy policy page is very important concerning how you’ll handle user information.

Marketing and Beyond

After this point your first shop should be online and full of new content. Congratulations! It’s a difficult process to build and launch a full-scale e-commerce solution. But now the fun really picks up as you start taking orders and marketing.

google analytics

Nobody is going to find your website without some form of marketing. If you haven’t signed up for a Google account yet I highly recommend creating one for Google Analytics. They provide completely free tracking software which boasts some incredible features you can’t find anywhere else! With their tools you can find your most trafficked pages and biggest referring websites. Alternatively you can also try out some worthy analytic tools to find the one which best suits you.

If you feel that a professional marketing strategy would provide some prosperous results I recommend joining with a few publishing agencies. Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo! are the top 3 contextual ad publishers in the whole Internet. Google AdWords is obviously very well known and trusted amongst hundreds of marketers – and for good reason! Google AdWords provides large traffic numbers and laser-targeted click results for whatever products you’re selling.

Additionally Microsoft’s AdCenter and Yahoo! Advertising Solutions have really taken off the ground in recent months. These are viable options for smaller online stores with a much smaller marketing budget. You’ll be able to afford a lot more ad clicks and garner attention from a wide audience. Once you’ve run a few successful marketing campaigns your traffic numbers will slowly raise and you are sure to grow success in your online e-commerce shop.

Conclusion

This guide provides a conclusive walkthrough of the major steps to creating your first e-commerce store. It’s not an easy process to complete start-to-finish. Even professional web designers struggle when sitting down to create new e-commerce stores. But once you’ve gone through this a few times things seem a lot more efficient and will flow easier.

The solutions offered here are just some of the many opportunities for e-commerce developers. In addition if you have tips or strategies for launching an online store please share them in the discussion section below, we do appreciate them!

For more, visit; http://www.hongkiat.com

 

graphic designing, Uncategorized, web designing

40+ Beautiful & Free Responsive WordPress Themes to Build Awesome Websites 2015

WordPress is indisputably the most preferred CMS platform on the web. Due to the popularity and development of WordPress CMS, themes that are specially made for sites powered by WordPress also gained considerable fame in the market. Users love WordPress themes because it is painless to set up and can be used to create a website like blog, personal, corporate and portfolio site. However, quality free WordPress themes are not easy to find that is why I decided to gather some of the finest free WordPress themes on hand. Most of these themes include astonishing features that will certainly blow your mind. So, here’s the list of the best free WordPress themes that you can use for your next project:

Zerif Lite

zerif lite - corporate theme

Zerif Lite is a clean and modern one page WordPress theme well suited for web agencies, digital studios, corporate, product showcase, personal and business portfolio. Zerif Lite is optimized to support many popular WordPress plugins such as WooCommerce for eCommerce and WPML plugin to create multilingual WordPress website. This theme is SEO friendly, optimized for all mobile devices and features a clean W3C validated markup.

More info / Download Demo

Sparkling

Sparkling - Free WordPress theme

Let your website sparkle with sophistication with Sparkling free WordPress theme. This modern and flat theme is designed based on the latest bootstrap technology. Sparkling looks amazing on any mobile devices due to its sharp design and fluid layout. This WordPress theme also includes heaps of great features that you can find in premium WordPress themes. It boasts its full-screen slider that allows you to lay greater emphasis on your splendid photos and other creative content. It supports powerful plugins such as Contact Form 7, Gravity Forms, SEO by Yoast, W3 Total Cache and many more. Sparkling is a blend of beauty and efficiency.

More info / Download Demo

Dazzling

Dazzling - Free Business WordPress theme

Dazzling is a stunning Free WordPress theme based on Bootstrap 3, which pride itself on its unrivaled responsiveness and mobile-friendliness. The theme comes with an optional full-screen featured slider, which is very serviceable in building striking business or creative websites. If you are fond of flat design with mint green accent colors, then you should really check this out! What’s more, Dazzling includes added optimization for several popular plugins WordPress SEO, Jetpack, Contact Form 7 and more.

More info / Download Demo

Travelify

Travelify - Free Travel theme

Travelify is a free theme that generously provide premium functionality and excellent support. It is a sleek, trendy and responsive WordPress travel theme that can to contend against first rate premium WordPress themes. This theme is bristled with pixel perfect design, incredible featured slider, custom page and blog templates and lots of other great features. It also includes countless theme options to alter different theme aspects. The best thing about this theme is that you can use it free of charge for your personal travel blog or company website.

More info / Download Demo

Unite

Unite - Free wedding theme

Unite is a clean and stylish free WordPress theme that comes with fully responsive flat design. It is created using the latest Bootstrap 3 and designed to provide a minimalist and user-friendly framework for your site. With Unite, you are able to customize some aspects of your theme such as footer, navigation menu and fonts with ease. This elegant theme is not only suitable for wedding websites/blogs but can also look wonderful on other creative sites that gives more focus on images.

More info / Download Demo

Constructzine Lite

Constructzine WordPress theme

Constructzine Lite is a beautiful and fully responsive WordPress theme well suited for corporate websites. This theme features pixel-perfect design that will look awesome on smartphones, tablets and desktop. Theme settings can be tweaked via simple yet powerful options panel. Constructzine Lit theme has social menu, footer and sidebar widget areas and clean blog template. Its is designed and developed to be used for business websites but it can be used for blogs, portfolio, hobby or any other websites.

More info / Download Demo

The SSMAG

ssmag portfolio theme

The SSMAG Theme is a grid based layout theme, it’s super easy to use just plug and play. This theme was made for content creators wanting to go viral. SSMAG as a big empathise on social sharing and the design layout is also optimize to keep readers exploring your site further.

Like most themes created in 2015, SSMAG is responsive so your site will look good on all devices. Not only that but you also get, custom widgets and optimize ad placement built in. This theme also comes with social menu icons to further promote your Twitter, Facebook profiles etc. The SSMAG theme support embedded video which you can use instead of a featured image on a post page.

More info / Download Demo

BookRev Lite

bookrev - book review theme

BookRev Lite is unique and well crafted WordPress theme designed for book reviews. It will allow you to review any book and allow users to leave their feedback about these books as well and your can monetize all your efforts through affiliate links and sell books from Amazon or other online book stores. With some tweaking and design changed you might as well review other affiliate products such as gadgets, online services or other digital products. BookRev Lite theme features simple yet powerful theme options to tweak this theme functionality without your own code. Theme is SEO friendly, allowing you to make most out of your book or other product reviews.

More info / Download Demo

Simple Theme

Simple - WordPress Theme

The Simple theme is an eye-grabbing business/corporate WordPress theme. Gracefully responsive and built on Bootstrap’s v3.x front-end framework, the Simple theme looks fantastic on the smallest mobile phone and the largest desktop monitor. A powerful theme options panel provides you with the ability to fully manage the look and feel of your website. Choose from over a hundred fonts that can be further refined using weight, color, and style options. The frontpage template provides the option to display a Parallax-style or static banner along with featured pages, page content, and a custom post layout. If you’re looking for a professional, modern WordPress theme, then the Simple theme is a must-see!

More info / Download Demo

Opulus Theme

Opulus WP Theme

The Opulus theme is a super versatile portfolio and business WordPress theme designed for creatives, small businesses, and professionals. Opulus is fully responsive and built on the Bootstrap front-end framework using valid HTML5. This responsiveness ensures that your website will look amazing on the smallest mobile device and the largest desktop monitor. Take advantage of the built-in portfolio to show off your work, and choose from six portfolio layout options. The powerful theme options panel will enable you to modify your website’s look and feel by choosing from more than 100 fonts and infinite color combinations.

More info / Download Demo

Esteem

esteem - minimal & flat corporate theme

Esteem is a simple and easy to use website template that you can use for your blogging, showcasing a portfolio or blogging. You can set this theme into boxed or wide layout. It offer users unlimited theme color options to help them change the look of their website and set their brand apart from the competition. This theme includes 2 custom templates: the first one is custom-built to display your content or products, while the other one is created as your contact page. Esteem supports custom logo and site title, to supplement the changes that you made in the color scheme of your theme. By taking advantage of its custom logo and title, you are able to attract the attention of your target audience and establish brand recognition.

Esteem theme has a completely customizable header image that lets you display contents or images that could boost user engagement in your website. Esteem supports WordPress custom background feature and custom CSS. It has a full screen slider right at the homepage of your website. This theme also offers 3 different blog options, 5 custom widgets and Contact Form 7 ready. This theme has implemented the breadcrumb trail, an alternative navigation scheme that arranges your website in a hierarchical manner. This theme is translation ready, perfect for individuals, agencies or businesses that are targeting local market. Lastly, they offer brilliant support to assist their users in building and managing their website.

More info / Download Demo

Ample

ample - fullscreen business theme

Ample is a free multipurpose theme developed to help you achieve an eye-catching and professional looking website. It is feature-rich and comes with tons of customization options that helps you build the site that you want. You can set this theme into boxed or wide layout. Personalize and make your website easier to remember by adding logo and header text to your website, with the themes incredible logo and header text options. This free theme offer users a primary color option, which you can use for changing the color scheme of the theme to suit your website design as well as online branding needs.

Ample theme comes with awesome slider that helps you present your website in an elegant way with slide effects and splendid transitions. It includes 4 custom widgets that are carefully designed to provide you a presentable business template. Ample has 2 custom menus, one on the primary header and the other on the footer. It also supports the WordPress custom background feature that you can take advantage of if you opt to use the boxed layout option. It comes with custom css to help you tweak the look and design of your website. This theme is translation ready, just create language files and use it in your own language. In case you encounter technical problems in the installation of your website, just leave your inquiries on their support forum.

More info / Download Demo

Accelerate

accelerate - minimal portfolio theme

Accelerate is an attractive and super flexible theme created to provide you a theme with premium look that you can use free of charge. This theme is crafted to make your content stand out and send a clear message to your target audience. It is suitable for portfolio, business, blog, personal, travel, corporate, business services or any other kinds of sites. It has a fluid and flexible layout that enables you to create a portfolio or corporate website, where you can showcase your previous works or display your products. It has a flat and straight forward design that blends perfectly with any types of content that you would like to publish in your website. Moreover, its fully responsive theme makes certain that your website runs smoothly on different type of mobile devices and retina ready to give your audience an optimal viewing experience.

Accelerate theme is designed to flaunt the strengths of your website and let your brand leave a good impression to your target audience. This theme comes with an extensive homepage slider where you can place eye-catching featured images that will certainly grab the attention of your visitors. This theme also support multiple post formats, which means you are able to display different types of content such as images, videos, quotes, links, audio, and short snippets called “asides” to your site. Manage the overall appearance of your portfolio using its theme options pages. Customize your theme by modifying the custom header image or setting the background image or color that represents your trade name. It also allows you to integrate a contact form to your website to help you build a network and help your prospective clients contact you directly.

More info / Download Demo

Inkness

Inkness photography theme

If you’re look for a stylish yet functional framework for your web design, Inkness could be the one for you. This exquisite free WordPress Theme is built with the most recent Twitter Bootstrap frontend framework and integrated with countless features. It is fully responsive and offers an adaptable layout design that let your site fit on any types of mobile devices. Its minimalist design gives more space for highlighting your content. The theme include handy features that offers great customization options such as responsive slider, 4 page layouts, immense theme options, tons of font options, terrific CSS transition effects and clean HTML5 design structure for better SEO. With a right choice of images and suitable theme customization, Inkness can serve as a wonderful theme for any kind of blog.

More info / Download Demo

Fullby

fullby - free template

Perhaps, Fullby theme seems familiar to you. Well, I guess that is because its creation was inspired by Twenty Fourteen. You’ll love the layout design of this fine theme even at first glance. Its framework was based on latest Bootstrap framework, fully responsive and features a grid style. This lightweight theme includes two customizable images. It also offer assorted column layouts and provides a good platform for your content. If you prefer to include your most recent post in the featured section, you can just check the “featured’ option in your post. This marvelous theme also incorporates gallery and video support that you can make use of in building a stunning website.

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Arcade Basic

Arcade - free full-screen theme

Arcade Basic is a lightweight yet fully responsive HTML5 WordPress theme. It features an extensive and high-flying header image that can instantly capture the interest of anyone who comes to your website. Its amazing theme customizer let you modify your page layout, header image, site width, etc. It also includes JetPack to your site that can be useful in impressing your site visitors with your eye-catching galleries on a tile view and jQuery carousel. Arcade Basic supports bbPress & BuddyPress plugin that could help you set up an interactive forum within your site. The theme’s framework is also built based on Bootstrap 3, SASS and Compass. Arcade Basic provides a wide range of font options to perk up the typeface readability.

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StanleyWP

StanleyWP - Free blog theme

Stanley is one of the most remarkable free WordPress theme brought to us by BlackTie. Stanley employs the best Twitter Bootstrap technology with minimal integration of color in its framework. Stanley proved free stuff isn’t always substandard and could provide first-class functionality. This meek free WordPress theme is overloaded with great built-in features such as user-friendly theme options panel, drag and drop homepage builder, three page templates, Font Awesome 4.0.3, fluid layout design and portfolio post types. This theme is specially designed to help you showcase you stunning success in a simple way.

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Romangie

romangie - blog theme

Romangie is a chic and minimalist free WordPress theme. Each aspect of this theme is retina-ready and built based on Bootstrap Framework to guarantee wonderful browsing experience, regardless of what device your website visitor prefers to use. Romangie choose modest and simple design to give more attention to your site’s speed and let your content take center-stage. It may look plain from the outside but it is actually teeming with incredible features such as Twitter embedding, categories, nice navigation menus, galleries, commenting and a calendar.

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Flat Theme

Flat Theme For Business

Flat Theme is deemed as the finest free WordPress theme built with twitter Bootstrap 3.0. Its highly developed theme option with shortcodes generator is beyond compare. This simple theme allows you to customize the logo and favicon to go well with your website’s brand. It provides several color and font customization features that could help you give your website a major revamp. It also comes with various theme options such as contact page settings, change admin logo, google analytics and so on.

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Lawyeria Lite

lawyeria - free WordPress lawyer theme

If you are looking for free WordPress lawyer theme then Lawyeria Lite is the best choice. It is designed specially for primate attorneys and law firms but it can be used for any consulting or regular business website. Developer have made this theme SEO friendly which means that it will help you get more visitors from search engines such as Google and Bing. Thanks to its clean code base this theme loads incredibly fast and that is going to help to improve user experience and what can be even more important? Lawyeria theme has everything to take your business to the next level, so the choice is yours if you want it or not.

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Metro Creative X

metrox - free blog theme

Metro Creative X is a beautiful and fully responsive metro style WordPress blog theme. This theme is based on Masonry grid which makes it fully responsive and optimized for all devices. This theme features a clean code base and valid HTML5 and CSS3. This theme doesn’t have many advanced functions but this also works as an advantage because it loads faster than many other themes on this theme collection. This is the right theme if you are looking for simple and SEO friendly blog theme.

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Ward

Ward - customizable theme

Ward is a lightweight and fully responsive WordPress theme created by Bavotasan.com. This theme would be an ideal framework for any types of blog, portfolio or business site. The theme is built with Twitter Bootstrap, which includes tons of great design elements. This unique theme offers heaps of font options that improve your website’s readability. It exhibits an exceptional layout and provides support for post formats. The entire framework of this theme is easy to modify, thanks to its built-in customizer. Lastly, Ward allows you to install a forum in your site since it supports both bbPress & BuddyPress.

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Customizr

Customizr - Free business wp theme

Customizr is a clean and responsive WordPress theme that offers tons of fantastic features that can be found on premium website template. This free theme makes building a unique and attractive website a child’s play. The theme has been designed to give fully functional theme options, so everyone could manage it with ease. Moreover, it built with clean HTML5 and CSS3 (from the Twitter Bootstrap) and cross-browser tested. Customizr is also translation ready and gives strong support for WooCommerce and bbPress. This fully responsive free website theme is perfect for creating portfolios, blogs, small businesses, landing pages and corporate sites.

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MERIS

Meris - free WordPress theme

Meris is a new free WordPress Theme suitable for any types of businesses. It is retina-ready and offers a responsive layout in order to fit with the recent trends in web design. This theme is built with Bootstrap 3 to function impeccably on different mobile device. It also provides a striking design, packed with useful widgets, full-screen sliders and portfolios to give your site an outstanding design. Meris is an ideal theme for travel, food, sports, portfolios and business websites.

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Virtue

Virtue - free multipurpose theme

The Virtue theme is overloaded with amazing customization options for your website. This simple yet well-designed theme is built with clean HTML5 and CSS3. It also adapts a responsive framework from Bootstrap to help your website become fully responsive and mobile friendly. It provides support for WooCommerce that is essential in building an online store. Virtue’s flexible framework goes well with any kind of businesses, online store and portfolio.

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Tracks

tracks portfolio WP theme

Tracks is a bold and beautiful free WordPress theme that comes with inimitable design. This theme uses panoramic featured images to convey a unique visual effect to website visitors. The homepage presents recent posts and a brief description for each full-size and bold images alternating down the page. If you are searching for a simple and easy to customize theme, Tracks is the one for you. It offers great built-in customization options that help you create a website in a flash. You can upload a logo image, set the navigation menu, insert site title and tagline and opt for a static front page. Tracks is 100% responsive.

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Make

Make - free business theme

Make is a responsive and retina-ready theme fit for building corporate, agency, nonprofit, freelancer or general business website. This theme is built with Bootstrap technology and well coded. It’s easy to build and customize, you can modify layout, styling, colors directly from the website’s backend. Make also comes with powerful Shortcode Generator that provides a convenient interface for creating pages. The theme includes lots of customization options that help you to easily modify the background, layouts, fonts, colors, and logo of your site. Moreover, Make incorporates a functional page builder. This versatile free WordPress theme also supports cool plugins such as Woo Commerce, Gravity Forms and Jetpack.

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Responsive

responsive - most popular free theme

Responsive theme is offers an intuitive foundation with a smooth grid system that spontaneously adjust the framework of your website to any mobile devices to give you an excellent user experience. This theme includes 9 Page Templates, 11 Widget Areas, 6 Template Layouts and 4 Menu Positions that you can use in organizing the main structure of your theme. It also provides simple yet fantastic theme options for full CMS control with easy logo upload, social media integration, incredible webmaster tools and many more. Responsive is also WooCommerce to help to establish your own online shop without much effort. Other great features of this amazing theme include Multilingual Ready (WPML), RTL-Language Support, Retina-Ready, Search Engine Friendly, W3C Markup Validated and currently translated into 45 languages. Responsive is by far the most popular free WordPress themes with over 1 million downloads and counting.

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Spacious

Spacious - free WP template

Spacious WordPress Theme is a versatile template that can be used for blog, portfolio or business website. It offers vast customization options given its multiple page layouts that provide utmost flexibility as well as six different page templates, and 13 widget areas. It also includes five custom widgets suitable for creating business-oriented sites. Its features such as slider, a boxed and a wide layout, a light and a dark color skin, and a color scheme option that you can use in designing a decent website for your business or portfolio. To finish, the theme is designed proficiently to run with precision on different mobile devices.

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Vantage

Vantage - free app showcase theme

Use Vantage theme to your advantage! By far, Vantage is the most innovative free theme that you can exploit for different purposes. This modern theme is overloaded with nice features that can also be found on premium WordPress themes. It has a page builder integration that makes building a professional website a piece of cake. Vantage also features a MetaSlider, an incredible free slider plugin that lets you effortlessly manage and tidy up your sliders. You should make best use of this feature to show your visitors what you’ve got. Last but not least, Vantage supports WooCommerce that can be serviceable to you in building an online store within your website.

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Semicolon

Semicolon - free magazine theme

Semicolon is a super clean and fabulously designed magazine-type WordPress theme. This is one of the most sophisticated and organized magazine theme that you can use for free. Semicolon is on the Underscores starter theme and features a responsive design. With its exceptional grid layout, legible typography, social profiles menu and widget areas, this theme manages to stands out from the crowd in an elegant way. You can customize the theme by adding your preferred background image or changing the background color using WordPress customizer. Semicolon also supports two menus: a primary navigation menu and a social menu that utilizes the Genericons vector icon webfont.

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Hueman

Hueman - Free Magazine theme

Hueman is a responsive WordPress magazine theme that comes with oodles of modern features. It’s a rare chance to find a proficiently designed, super flexible and user-friendly theme that you can use at no cost. Its vast styling options and adjustable layout settings allow users to incorporate personal touch to their website. Moreover, Hueman is designed to adapt on any screen sizes. This trendy magazine theme also supports 10 post formats, has unlimited widget areas, built-in social buttons and a lot more!

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Interface

Interface - free business theme

If you want to build a simple business site and you want to incorporate the flat-style mint green design trend, then choose Interface WordPress theme. This theme comes with a responsive layout and retina-ready. It is also compatible with both BuddyPress and bbPress, so you can set up a forum to your site with no trouble. With its built-in theme option, you can easily change the appearance of your website to suit your business needs. This theme also includes many different building blocks for customizing your business site such as homepage Featured slider, various layout options, diverse page templates and many more. It also supports popular plugins like Breadcrumb NavXT, WP-PageNavi and Contact Form 7. Without a doubt, Interface is the ultimate free WordPress theme for your business website!

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Radiate

radiate - free parallax theme

Radiate is a clean, creative blogging free responsive WordPress theme. This theme supports a fancy parallax header image. It integrates primary color option in the theme customizer page that allows you to manage all links and icons in your site. Let your creativity and ingenuity radiate by flaunting amazing photographs in your WordPress Gallery. Change the overall design of your theme with ease using custom CSS. Other features include: custom background, front page featured section, widget area etc.

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Adventurous

Adventurous - portfolio theme

Adventurous is an eye-catching free WordPress theme brought to us by Catch Themes. It offers a flexible framework that can be used for corporate, photography and blog sites. This theme features a minimal and clean layout design to give more focus on your content. Adventurous is built with HTML5, CSS3 and is very easy to use. This versatile theme is packed with fantastic features and options to help you create an outstanding online presence with this theme. It also includes a powerful theme options that makes theme customization so easy. Adventurous comes with other incredible features such as post slider, custom widgets, page templates, dropdown menu, shortcodes, custom CSS, localized for translations, etc.

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Nictitate

Nictitate - Free Business theme

Nictitate is an elegant business WordPress theme that you can download for free. Its flexible and responsive layout is perfect for building portfolios and corporate sites. The theme is built based on KOPATHEME layout manager, which allows you select layout of any pages within your site easily. This feature is very helpful in creating an effective visual hierarchy in your site. You can also define unlimited sidebar for widget areas. With its powerful custom widgets, Nictitate gives you greater flexibility and accessibility to the main framework of your site. With Nictitate, you do not have to give up sophistication only to save money.

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Minamaze

Minamaze - App Showcase theme

Take advantage of the free version of Minamaze multi-purpose professional WordPress theme. This theme offers a great template for business or general blog site. The theme is built with responsive layout and HD retina-ready to adapt and function marvelously on different mobile devices. The theme also includes a dynamic theme options panel that allows you to do tremendous changes within your theme without composing a single line of code. You can use built-in homepage layout to add a logo to your site and build a fine-looking homepage. The theme also comes with a full width easy to use slider that you can utilize in promoting your work or product.

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EvoLve

evolve - multipurpose theme

EvoLve is an excellent and flexible One Page WordPress Theme. It is a free theme packed with incredible features that you can use in building an outstanding website. It is fully responsive and runs faultlessly on different modern devices. This theme gives you an option to employ single or grid homepage layout to your website. It was built using Bootstrap with latest HTML5 and CSS3 standards. Google fonts, Parallax slider and theme panel options are just some of the more important features that you can utilize in building a unique website that truly stands out.

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Mystile

Mystile - WooCommerce theme

Mystile is a free eCommerce WordPress theme professionally designed by WooThemes. This clean and flexible WooCommerce theme is designed as a canvas which you can use as-is. You can also this theme to create a unique website design that matches your products or brand. It also provides an amazing support for WooCommerce plugin. It also works smoothly in all browsers and devices, thanks to its responsive layout. Moreover, Mystile is bundled with great features such as custom homepage, several color schemes, custom page templates, threaded comments and custom widgets.

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Artificer

Artificer - free WordPress thtme

Artificer is a free responsive eCommerce WordPress theme tailor made for people selling arts & crafts. Its agnostic design and responsive layout makes it a perfect platform to showcase your hand made products. It was designed to work properly any device and adjust fittingly to any screen size. It is packed with features serviceable to an online store. Moreover, Artificer supports WooCommerce plugin could help you set up an online shop in an instant! This responsive WordPress theme is best suitable for any online product store, online shop or any eCommerce website.

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Serene

Serene WP blog theme

Serene is a simple yet stylish free WordPress theme created by Elegant Themes. Serene is designed for sophistication. It features a very clean and straightforward navigation and rounded social icons. Serene supports unlimited color options that you can mix and match to get the best look that you want for your website. The best part of this responsive theme is its extensive post format support. With Serene, you can effortlessly show off a dynamic feed of articles, videos, audio files, quotes, galleries and links in the most elegant way possible. Other amazing features include WordPress 3.6+ compatibility, a widgetized footer, comment support and more.

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MH Magazine lite

Mh - Free Magazine Theme

MH Magazine lite is an elegant free WordPress theme from MH Themes. This theme is perfect for magazines, portals and online news websites. If you want to make sure that your content gets a significant attention from your site visitors, then this is a theme that you will like for sure. This free theme offers great features such as FlexSlider 2 with touch swipe functionality, dynamic theme options, custom menus, 12 widget areas, built in author box to feature your authors, 404 page, supports featured images and much more. Furthermore, this theme is optimized for speed and major search engines like Google.

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Flat

Flat Blog Theme

Flat is a free WordPress theme that exudes a charm and sophistication. Its minimalist design makes your website look attractive and accentuates your content. It includes Bootstrap 3, HTML5 and LESS that makes the site more responsive and more impressive. It boasts its flat design and other astounding features such as responsive layout, retina ready, an off canvas sidebar, custom background and sidebar color, customizable logo, favicon sidebar and background. If you want to give greater focus on your content without spending a single dollar, Flat is the best choice for you.

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Hemingway

Hemingway - Free personal blog theme

Hemingway displays a very neat and responsive two-column theme for bloggers. With its beautiful colors, legible typography and prominent images you are able to create a unique blog or website. This clean theme is crammed with cool features like responsive design, retina-ready assets, full-width header image with parallax scrolling effect, custom accent color, custom logo upload, custom widgets (video, Flickr and Dribbble), page templates and translation-ready code. Hemingway also provides an excellent post format support.

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