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Top 5 Uses Of VPS Servers In 2015

The VPS is a full virtual operating system that you can run alongside other virtual operating systems. A VPS essentially runs like a virtual PC, which you can run on Windows or Linux. The great thing about VPS servers is that you can technically run what you want. With the added level of control that a VPS offers, you can tweak a lot more things than if you were on a normal server.

If you are looking to scale up your web host from shared hosting, a VPS server solution is the next step to give you better control. A VPS solution can reduce the risk of any impacts from other sites that you may be experiencing with your current shared web hosting. While you receive the complete benefits of having your own server, you don’t have to deal with managing the server or network infrastructure as this is all taken care of by the web hosting provider.

The VPS option is attractive for those people who need to run several programs or servers. For gamers who want to have access to a server that can run multiple games, and then they have the flexibility of switching from one to the other, then a VPS option would be the right offering.

The evolvement of web servers

The next generation of web servers that are virtual, but provide almost the same benefits of owning and managing a physical server but without the cost and overhead resources required to manage one. Previously, the costs with running your own VPS server was limited to those webmasters who were running profitable projects that could afford higher than average costs. Over the years, the reduction in VPS server costs has made it more attractive for webmasters running both small personal projects, as well as larger and more profitable projects that require the additional power of servers. In some cases, having your own VPS server can be cheaper than renting server space from shared hosting providers. VPS may be the new shared hosting in 2015. Host Geek is one of the companies offering VPS server solutions. Below are some of the top uses that people can use VPS servers for in their online endeavours in 2015.

1. Run an e-commerce solution on a VPS server with Magento

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If you are interested in starting a fully featured e-commerce platform, then Magento is the ideal platform to use for small online stores through to larger retail giants. To ensure that your web store remains stable, fast and provides a good experience for your customers, you can have the store run on a VPS server; which will give you good storage and bandwidth features.

There are a few things that you should consider to make the most of your Magento VPS. You can choose to buy a blank VPS and set it up cheaply. However, it is recommended that you go with a managed VPS solution. The reason being that by having a blank VPS, you will need to tune up the MySQL, PHP, and other settings within the server. For a person who doesn’t know how to operate the cpanel, then it is better to go ahead with a specialist hosting company that can manage the technical aspects of your VPS solution.

2. You run an information website where you can expect spikes in traffic.

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If you run an information website where you may get spikes in visitors from news or your content going viral, then you need to have your website operating on a platform that can handle the traffic spikes. Invest in a solution that can provide you with the bandwidth and control to keep your website online. If you are looking for a solution that will allow your site to operate as an internet giant, then VPS hosting is for you.

3. You can use a VPS as a game server, such as Minecraft.

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With the popularity of Minecraft booming over the past few years, the game’s popularity continues to prosper in the internet community. You can run Minecraft on your own server at an affordable cost. VPS servers are an affordable solution for gamers that need a web server. Partner with a VPS hosting company that understands the requirements of gamers to minimize game ticks and maximise seamless gameplay.

4. Your website’s USP is data security

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If your website is storing sensitive data, then you need to have an operating system that can offer the security that is required for the data that is stored on your website. The virtual machine host can encrypt the virtual disks or files within the virtual file system. Security measures that you receive with a VPS reduce the risk to the threat of hackers and identity theft. Only the hosting staff will have access to the information on your server. Research companies that have a strong reputation with securing data and that they can also secure the physical security of the machine. Ultimately, you will need to have a strong degree of trust between your business and your web hosting company.

5. Use a VPS as a backup solution for your website’s files and data

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Reduce the risk of losing any data and information. You can use it to back up another VPS that you may be running, as well as to use it as a testing and monitoring facility for your main website. Check for features that will allow you to write your own scripts on the backup server side and that you will be able to compress your backups. The backup solution that is available with a VPS is ideal for cloning your current VPS file system or to backup your MySQL database.

These are just a few good ways to leverage the power of a VPS for your web server needs. If you would like to find out more information on how to customize a VPS to your needs, speak to a VPS expert who can point you in the right direction on dedicated servers to get your server up and running for your web venture.

7 Ways to Improve a Small Business Website

As your small business evolves, you need to make sure that your presence on the web follows suit. Don’t worry – it doesn’t mean that you need to completely revamp your website every now and then, just that adding small improvements will over time help you build a great space for creating a strong brand and massaging that resonates with your target audience.

Here are 7 smart and easy ways to instantly improve your website.

1. Provide easier navigation

As a brand, you need to provide a smooth and enjoyable experience on your website. If users are looking for specific information and cannot find it in any of your pages, you’re in for trouble. Good navigation is paramount to your success, so add at least 5 top-level categories like Blog, Contact or About Us and make sure that they all reflect the content included on each sub-page.

2. Tone it down a little

Yes, your website should stand out and be characteristic, but taking this value to an extreme can simply hurt your brand online. Websites with lots of decorative elements, animated gifs, flashy buttons or other colorful and eye-catching details are just bad taste.

In order to stay productive, you should allow your visitors to focus on your products, content and brand. The color scheme of your website should match your logo and be simple. Leaving white spaces will only improve the readability of your content. If you’d like to have a look at the worst website ever published on the web, here it is.

3. Add a call to action

This is the part where you inspire your visitor to take action – join your newsletter, schedule a free demo, download information or purchase a product. What you need to do is take a close look at your website and identify the sections that could benefit from a call-to-action.

A call-to-action can be a targeted message, a visually eye-catching button or something else. The important thing is that you align the purpose of your call-to-action element with your general sales and marketing goals.

4. Write headlines that sell

Reading on the web is usually based on a short attention span. The minute users lay their eyes on the headings in various sections of your website is crucial. If you don’t hold their attention now, they’ll probably soon abandon your website.

Use smart headlines to improve the readability of your content as nobody wants to break through large chunks of text – just make it easy to scan. By including important keywords in your headings, you’ll also make them more searchable, which is always a plus for a small business operation that cannot spend thousands on SEO services.

5. Update meta descriptions

Meta descriptions are important – they’re the first thing users see when searching your website through search engines. Make sure each page has a unique meta description that is full of keywords your target audience considers attractive and clickable.

6. Include consumer testimonials

This is a simple step small businesses take to improve the credibility of their brand, which in turn encourages visitors to make a purchase. You can place consumer testimonials in one page or on various pages of your website – for instance, a bar that appears on the title page and product page.

7. Choose the right visuals

We process visuals way faster than text, so it’s important that you incorporate the right images on your website. Go for professionally-looking, crisp and high-quality pictures. Avoid stock photos that just scream ‘stock photos’. Always think about your target audience and their expectations about visuals.

Improving your small business website doesn’t have to involve considerable costs or time. These small adjustments will have a great impact on user experience on your website and the impressions visitors will have of your brand and products.

Why Your Web Design Platform Really Needs To Be a Business Tool

Web design has never just been an easy to crack process, and has traditionally involved quite a few different pieces of software. For a typical website, I may use the following software:

  • Adobe Photoshop – to design the visual look and feel of the site
  • Adobe Dreamweaver or NotePad++ – to code the initial templates for the pages
  • CMS (usually either WordPress or ExpressionEngine) – to build the website upon and give clients the ability to manage the site themselves
  • FileZille FTP – to upload website files and images to the web server

This is just for the design and development parts of the process. Before we can even get started with these tools, we first have to set up website hosting and register a domain name, which requires connecting with other websites and software.

Once a site is completed and launched, even more software comes into play, including analytics that will report on the traffic and performance of the site and whatever software your business will use to actually bill for all the work you have done.

As you can see, it is pretty easy to become overwhelmed with the variety of software tools needed to design, deploy, and manage even the simplest website. This is why, if you are looking for an alternative to this process, you should be looking for a complete business tool and not just a web design platform.

Doing More With Less (Software)

1webydo

The problem with the typical web design process outlined above is that so many disparate pieces of software are required because each one of those tools does only one specific thing. Photoshop is great for design, but it will not allow you to write code or develop your web pages. Dreamweaver has powerful web development features, but it lacks the visual design components found in Photoshop. For all of these software options, you will find the same scenario – they do one or two things really well, but require other software to be used to complete the full process.

While this scenario is common, it can also be very complicated at times because of the quantity of tools at play. A platform that includes many or all of these features, allowing you to effectively eliminate other software from your process, allows you to actually do more while using less software. This is where a solution like the cloud-based web design platform, Webydo, can really be much more than web design software – it can be a tool upon which you can run your design business.

All Under One Roof

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Created “by designers, for designers”, Webydo starts as a powerful visual design platform with features that you would find in programs like Adobe Photoshop or InDesign. This platform is so much more than a replacement for those programs, however, because its functionality does not stop there. The websites that are designed in Webydo can then be published as working webpages without the need to hand-code anything. Powerful web features like responsive design, parallax scrolling animation, and even Ecommerce functionality can all be added using this same platform – all without the need to write any code. So the design and development aspects of the project are covered, but the platform does not stop there!

  • CMS – Webydo includes CMS-editing features that will allow your clients to manage their own sites. There is even a White Label option that you can use to get your brand in front of your clients and further reinforce that relationship. Ultimately, this CMS feature replaces the need to have a separate content management system like WordPress used in your process, because the same platform used to design and develop the site can also be used as the CMS.
  • Domain Names, Web Hosting, and FTP – you can register domain names and set up hosting all from within the Webydo interface and you can upload your files right through the system too!
  • Analytics – once a website is live, Webydo will report on real-time statistics about traffic to the website and much more.
  • Backups – the “Revision History” feature of Webydo allows you to review older versions of your webpages and restore those versions if you have made a mistake on the current one, eliminating the need to call a hosting provider to try to restore files from some kind of backup file that they may maintain.
  • Client Billing – yes, you can even establish client billing directly from Webydo, making it easier to get paid for your hard work (after all, that is one of the main reasons we do this, right?)

The Freedom of One Platform

Not only does the ability to use one platform to replace all those aforementioned software solutions greatly simplify the process of web design, but it gives you so much flexibility and freedom. Because Webydo is accessible from a web browser, you can login and do work from anywhere that you have an Internet connection.

You no longer need to wait until you are in front of a computer that has your specific design software installed or has your billing software configured – you can login from anywhere and do what needs to be done.

Give It a Try

There will always be a need for different software tools. For instance, if you need to do photo retouching, Adobe Photoshop is still an excellent choice for that work, even if you have replaced it for your web design needs. By combining certain tasks under one roof, however, you can improve your overall process and replace complexity with a more unified and enjoyable web design experience.

You can sign up for a free trial of Webydo to experiment with the platform for yourself and see how it could become the exact tool you need to take your web design business to the next level.

15 Essential Graphics Tools for Online Designers

Great design is a process of hard work and inspiration. There are no shortcuts, but technology offers you plenty of tools to save time and increase productivity. Of course the hard part is actually finding the software that fulfills your needs.

Over the course of the last year I’ve created an online toolbox, composed of software and websites that I use for my day-to-day design needs. These tools streamline my work and increase my efficiency. Today I want to share them with you so you can spend less time working and more time enjoying the things that are important in your life.

Adobe Color Wheel

adobe color

Coming up with the great color combinations can be a challenge. Adobe Color Wheel helps simplify the process. Pick one color and the Color Wheel automatically selects a number of colors that work well with it.

Colorzilla

colorzilla

Colorzilla gives you the power to instantly discover the color combinations used on any website. The software provides you with the hex codes for the color scheme used on the page you are visiting. It’s available as a plugin on Google Chrome and Firefox.

Font Face Ninja

font ninja

Font Ninja is a great online tool. At the click of a button the plugin identifies the fonts used on a website and then gives you the option to download the font (of course you shouldn’t abuse this feature). It is available for Safari and Google Chrome.

Type Genius

type genius

Type Genius suggests fonts that work well together. Select the font you want to use and Type Genius reveals different fonts that work well with it. To help you make a decision the site gives you examples of font pairings so you can see what they will look like alongside each other.

Youzign

youzign

Background image removal is one of those daily tasks that I found myself struggling with before I started to use Youzign. This online graphics design software offers a simple online solution to image cropping. In literally 20 seconds flat you can remove the background of any image.

Convert My Image

image converter

Sometimes you need a simple piece of software to do one basic job. Convert My Image is a great example of this. It lets you change an image to a different format. The nice thing about this software is that it includes a large range of image formats. For example, JPG, BMP, RPG and PS.

Pixlr

pixlr

Pixlr is my go to tool for simple photo or graphic editing. There are three parts to the software; Pixle Editor, Pixlr Express and Pixlr O-Matic. Pixlr Editor offers a range of tools for graphic editing. Pixlr Express lets you add tints and text to an image and Pixlr O-Matic lets you add borders, overlays and effects. That’s a lot of functionality for a free piece of software.

Tiny Png

tiny png

Load time is an important factor for search engine rankings. Tiny Png compresses the file size of your images while maintaining the quality. It’s a small thing, but it does make a difference to page loading speed.

Page Ruler

ruler

Page Ruler lets you measure the pixel dimensions and positioning of online elements. It is a very useful tool for anybody involved in designing software or a website. The plugin is available on Google Chrome.

Perfect Pixel

pixel perfect

This useful plugin lets you add a transparent image overlay onto a website so you can see if what you created is identical to your mockup. The interface is clean and easy to use and is a valuable tool for anyone designing online. The plugin is available on Safari, Google Chrome and Firefox.

Resize Window

window resizer

Resize Window lets you see what a website will look like across a variety of devices (mobile, tablet and desktop computer). There are a large number of screen resolutions to choose from. You can also create your own.

Fillerati

fillerati

Fillerati is a placeholder text generator. It’s a nice alternative for anyone who is bored with ‘Lorem Ipsum.’ Depending on your needs, another option is the ‘Corporate Ipsum’ Chrome plugin that generates meaningless business jargon you could fill a report with.

Light Shot Screenshot

lightshot

Since I started working online I’ve used Light Shot on an almost daily basis. The software lets you take a screenshot of whatever you are working on. You can then add some notes and either upload the image to the server, and receive a url, or download the image to your desktop as a png.

Last Pass

Last Pass

Last Pass stores all your passwords and usernames in one place. Once you’re signed in you can use the software to automatically log into any website that requires login information. The pro version lets you share your passwords and usernames across your team, while not actually giving anyone the actual password.

Stay Focused

stay focused

If you love Facebook or find yourself getting distracted by the Internet while you work then Stay Focused could be right for you. The plugin keeps you productive by blocking access to sites during your working hours. Stay Focused also keeps track of how long you actually spend browsing the Internet while you pretend to work.

I hope you found this list of online tools useful. I know there are plenty of alternatives to the tools I suggested, but these are the ones I personally use. They’ve helped me in my day-to-day business life and I’m sure a few of these tools will help you to.

P.S. If there are any great tools I’ve missed let me know about them in the comments below (I’d love to check them out).

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5 Tips for Creating a Stunning Business Card Design

No matter what kind of business/organisation you run, having a well-designed business card is critically important to your success.

Your business card will often serve as an introduction to your business, and therefore, will be the first thing that potential clients see in regards to you and your company.

They’ll likely see your business card before they see your website, your brochure, your leaflet, or just about any other branded material you might happen to have; yet still, a large percentage of companies choose not to invest in a high quality business card design.

This is crazy. But often, there’s a simple reason for this: it’s hard to know what makes a stunning business card in the first place.

If this is the case for you, then fear no longer, as we’ve created a list of five top business card design tips to get you on your feet. They’re simple, easy to follow, and best of all, easy to implement.

Here you go:

Create a Clear Design Hierarchy

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Source: http://dot-design.com/

Perhaps the most crucial aspect of any business card is a sense of hierarchy within the design.

But what exactly does this mean? Well, it’s really nothing more than a fancy way of saying, “put more emphasis on the most important points, and less emphasis on the least important”.

You can see a good example of this above (the Dot Design business card). You’ll notice that despite the use of the same typeface throughout, the designer has used a large (ish) bold typeface for the person’s name (Gareth Coxon), whereas the job title (Creative Director) is written in the same sized font, but with a regular font weight.

You’ll notice that this sense of hierarchy continues, with the phone number, mobile number, email address, website URL, and twitter handle all being featured in a regular weighted smaller font size.

This is a simple and elegant way of giving more precedence to the most important information (and least precedence to the least important).

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Source: https://www.behance.net/gallery/FF-F/4201995

It doesn’t always have to be this obvious though. For example, this business card (Form Feel & Function) uses the same font weight for much of the text, but there is subtle hierarchy in the order of the information (i.e. name first, then job title, then telephone information, and so forth).

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Source: http://www.blushpublishing.co.uk/

Strangely, not everyone does this, and you’ll often see business cards that make use of the same font weight, size and type throughout, giving no sense of which information is important and which isn’t.

One example of this is above. You’ll notice that initially, the white font colour is used for less important information (i.e. the “an obsessive men’s denim store” subheading), but then further down the card, it’s used for extremely important information such as the person’s name and company website URL.

The problem is that the white text stands out much less than the black text, despite its larger size. It’s also hard to read when compared to the black text.

Make the Business Card an Extension of Yourself (or Your Brand)

Another extremely important aspect of business card design is to ensure that the business card itself as an extension of yourself (or your brand, if your company is particularly large and has many employees).

Your business card will often be the first branded marketing material that potential customers/clients see, so it’s important that it gives them a sense of what you/your company are all about.

Here’s a good example:

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Source: https://www.behance.net/gallery/PERCONTE-Stationery/9667999

To those with a love for more “flamboyant” design, this might look like a relatively dull and boring business card, but it certainly has a sense of class, luxuriousness, and simplicity. It’s also extremely well designed and professional.

It’s the type of business card that appeals to a certain person and therefore, a certain type of client/customer.

What’s more, it gives a great insight into the brand itself. When you look at this business card, can imagine a team of highly skilled designers, all of whom have a professional work ethic and a passion for minimalism and simplicity.

That’s just the impression it gives, and this is intentional.

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Source: https://www.behance.net/gallery/PERCONTE-Stationery/9667999

It also fits in with the rest of their branded marketing materials by using the same typography, colours, styling, etc. (see above).

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Source: http://www.boredpanda.com/creative-business-card-designs/?image_id=creative-business-cards-4-22-3.jpg

Similarly, this business card gives a completely different impression and gives insight into their particular brand.

From this card, you get the sense of a fun, down-to-earth brand that doesn’t take itself too seriously. You get the impression that the owner would be fun to talk to, and likely wouldn’t use big complicated words if he didn’t need to.

It’s also slightly less pretentious than the previous business card.

The bottom line is that your business card should give your customers an insight into your brand by using consistent typography, colours, copy, and overall, giving an impression of the values/traits your company brand has.

Highlight Important Points (with Special Finishes)

Although you’ve already got the basics of your business card design covered (by creating a sense of hierarchy), you can take this even further by highlighting important points even further.

You can use a variety of techniques to do this, but two of the most common are spot UV printing, and the letterpress technique.

Spot UV printing is pretty straightforward: it essentially allows you to highlight certain aspects of your business card using a glossy varnish. It’s a subtle technique and it looks stunning when used wisely.

Here’s an example of spot UV in action:

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Source: http://www.fastprint.co.uk/business-cards/

You can see that it’s used here to subtly draw attention to the logo (which is black text on a black background), as well as the contact information on the back of the card.

It’s extremely subtle, which is what makes spot UV printing so powerful.

Another technique is to make use of a printing process called letterpress printing. This essentially indents patterns/lettering into your card to create a unique and subtle design.

Here’s an example:

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Source: http://www.bryondarby.com/

You can see that there is a subtle repeated design pattern etched into the card; the word “photographer” is also written using this technique.

When used wisely (like this), the letterpress technique is a subtle way to attract attention.

So, not only do both of these techniques add to the sense of hierarchy, but they also give your business card an edge over the competition in terms of the design aesthetic, as most of your competitors likely haven’t put as much thought into the presentation of their brand as you have.

Stick to 2-3 Colours (Maximum!)

This is a really straightforward and simple point that you’ve likely seen reiterated hundreds of times across the web, but still, a lot of people don’t stick to it.

If you look at any of the business cards featured so far in this post, you’ll notice that all of them adhere to this rule: none of them use more than 2-3 colours, maximum.

Why? Because utilising any more colours will usually result in a cluttered and confusing design.

Here’s an example:

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Source: https://wordsonimages.wordpress.com/2013/03/10/bad-business-card/

Now, there’s clearly a lot wrong with this business card (typography, image choices, etc.) but colour is one of the largest issues. There must be at least 5-6 completely different colours in use here and as you can see, it doesn’t look great.

So, stick to 2-3 colours, and not just any 2-3 colours either, but the colours that your brand is known for, like this brand has done:

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Source: http://inspirationfeed.com/inspiration/35-perfect-examples-of-branding-design/

If you were Facebook, this would be black, blue and white; if you were Apple, well, it would probably just be black and white. If you were you? Well, you are you, so figure it out!

Avoid Using Borders

Last but not least, we want to leave you with an exceptionally simple but often overlooked design tip: try to avoid using borders.

Now, this might sound a bit weird, but let us explain:

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Source: https://help.market.envato.com/hc/en-us/articles/202821070-Business-Card-Templates

When your business card gets printed, it’s printed with something called bleed and trim areas (shown above).

As the image quite rightly demonstrates, the trim line is where your business card will get trimmed after the printing process. So, anything outside of this line will be physically cut off.

But, this isn’t always 100% accurate (which is why you have a bleed area, to ensure that no “important” information is accidentally trimmed off).

So, if you have a border on your business card, it might end up slightly uneven on each side after the trimming process.

To demonstrate this, here’s how Sarah (from Sarah Yost Design) had envisioned her business cards to look:

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Source: http://sarahyostdesign.com/blog/category/my-work/

And here’s how they actually looked when she received them:

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Source: http://sarahyostdesign.com/blog/category/my-work/

Not great, right?

This is all because of the issue with the trimming process and the borders.

If you really do want to use borders in your business card design, it would be best to have a chat with your chosen printing company, and ask for a guarantee that the cards will be produced how you want them (or your money back?).

Treat Yourself to One of These Ten Amazing Deals for Designers

Being a designer involves a lot of passion and talent. It also involves a lot of time spent looking for deals on resources and tools to help you be a better designer. We’ve thought we could help out a little and compiled a list of the top 10 best deals we could find online right now.

1. Mighty Deals

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Mighty Deals is a Daily Deals website that doesn’t occasionally offer deals on web resources and occasionally tempts you into buying a stuffed tiger that’s 50% off. Might Deals only offers deals on web development and design resources that you can actually use. The team at Mighty Deals is always looking for new deals to offer you on tools like professional templates (WordPress, Drupal, Facebook), web development lessons, Photoshop actions and more. The discounts they offer range from 40% up to 90% and you can download the resources from their website without having to create an account or pay any hidden fees. The only catch about this deals website is that their offers are only available for limited amounts of time. In order to keep up with everything that’s going up on sale you should sign up for their newsletter. It’s the perfect way to find out about all their amazing deals, like the deal they currently have for Nimva. Nimva is the ultimate WordPress theme, designed to suit both business and portfolio websites. This theme is completely eCommerce ready, comes with the Contact Form 7 plugin, 9 hours of extensive tutorial video to help you set it up and it’s only $27.

2. MyDesignDeals

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What makes the web design industry so cool is that it’s continuously changing. New add-ons, filters and effects are always popping up from different corners of the Internet, created by amazing artists from all over the world. Wondering how to keep posted on the latest releases so that you can stay on top of your game and deliver awesome project after awesome project? Luckily, we have the answer. MyDesignDeals is the best place for designers, built by designers. They offer amazing discounts on a wide variety of high quality design resources. Ranging from calligraphic vector elements and icon bundles to stylish fonts and textures, MyDesignDeals has got you covered. Their site stands out from the crowd because the team insists on quality and tests every item before putting it on sale. Also, each of them comes with a personal review. This way you can get the full picture about the product before hitting the “Buy now” button. Are you ready for staggering discounts on professional quality resources? Then head over to MyDesignDeals to convince yourself of their products’ quality. Also make sure to check out one of the most popular deals of all time in The 164 Best Photoshop Styles on the Planet.

3. Logo Design Team

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Nowadays it’s not easy to stand out from the crowd and get your business noticed. Among all the aggressive marketing campaigns and cheap commercials, the team at Logo Design will help you create the perfect polished logo for your company. Their team has designed over 1 million logos and has helped over 200,000 brands to become well-known and successful. To say they are experienced would be an understatement. They are the best at what they do because they are dedicated to deliver only the best results on every project. At Logo Design Team you’ll be in good hands and your feedback will be highly valued. They have a quick and easy design process and they also handle brochures, banners, flyers, posters, illustrations, caricatures and social media graphics. Their designs are guaranteed to make a long lasting impression on your customers and help you stand out of the crowd with an impressive logo. Don’t miss out the chance to get a 10% discount on any order with the coupon code MYD10.

4. DealJumbo

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DealJumbo is the place where free downloads mix perfectly with amazing deals. This online repository for design resources offers both attractive deals on tools created by the best design shops out there, and a varied array of freebies. If you’re a hard working designer, you deserve to treat yourself to some of these first-rate resources available on DealJumbo. They will not only improve your workflow, they will save you a lot of money. Go to DealJumbo right now and check out the deals they have on bundles like Best Sellers Mega Bundle v2 that features 46 items from 9 premium design shops, 5in1 Mega Bundle v4 with the best custom fonts collected from 5 design shops or the 5in1 Mega Bundle v1 with the best logo/badge templates available. In order to make sure you never miss out on one of DealJumbo’s amazing offers, subscribe to their newsletter right now. Also check out the freebies section for amazing fonts and mock-ups that you can download for free.

5. Hostoople

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Hostoople has been named the best web hosting service in 2014 and it’s easy to see why. They offer a varitey of services like reseller hosting, VPS hosting and collocation hosting at competitive prices. For example, for collocation hosting, Hostoople offers 4 plans: Single Server, 2 Servers, Managed and Managed 2 Servers. Each of these plans comes with 6 IPs, 2 Amps, Single Outlet, UPS Protected Power, Generator Backup power, 1000 Mbps 4TB Bandwith, Free Set Up of Server and more. And this isn’t all they offer. Hostoople has a variety of bundles that are designed to answer your needs according to the type of website you’re making. They have a bundle for eCommerce with CubeCart, Magento or Zen Cart. They have a bundle for blogging with tools like WordPress, Dotclear, Open Blog and more. And they also have a core features bundle with 24/7 support 365 days, unlimited domains, unlimited MySQL servers, cPanel Control Panel and much, much more.

6. Elegant Themes

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Nowadays the Internet is saturated with WordPress themes, but few of these can deliver what Elegant Themes does: unique designs, reliability, impeccable customer service and one of a kind features. The best way to see all these qualities is by looking at their flagship theme, Divi. Meet the most flexible and powerful tool out there that will take your website from dull to stunning in just a few minutes. And you won’t even have to touch a single line of code. Divi comes with a lot of cool features, like the Divi Builder and the Divi Modules, which were created with user experience in mind. The Builder will transform elements in visual building blocks, allowing everyone to understand and edit a page’s layout. In addition to this, the Modules incorporate unique options that will give you full control over customizing your website and achieving the layout of your dreams. Don’t miss the chance to take advantage of their 20% developer subscription discount right now.

7. AnimatedVideo

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Videos are a fun and efficient way to get your point across and really keep your viewers captivated. Unlike a block of text, which is often not read carefully, animated videos are the way to go if you want to increase your conversion rates and raise awareness. AnimatedVideo is a team of professionals who will help you do just that. Enhancing your visibility and standing out in the competition is their specialty. They can deliver any type of videos: corporate, marketing, tutorials, entertainment, kids or even explainer videos. You will be consulted on each step of the video production, so you can rest assured the final result will meet to your every wish. AnimatedVideo will take your ideas and transform them into reality with the help of a creative storyboard, characters, colors and voiceover. It’s up to you if the voiceover is done by a professional voice artist or using software. Either way, your animated video will help you attract viewers quickly and keep them interested.

8. Templates-master

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Looking for a way to increase your conversion rate and your sales figures? The Firecheckout extension for Magento powered stores is fully AJAX based, which makes it fast and highly efficient. Firecheckout gives your customers a great mobile checkout experience, which in turn leads to the increase of mobile conversion rates. To help you improve your clients’ shopping process, Firecheckout lets you add up to 5 custom fields on the checkout page. It also allows you to choose between a minimalistic 3-column layout and a user friendly 2-column layout. The Geolocation feature is supported and it will locate your users’ country, city and state thanks to its awesome geolocation technology. And the delivery date option will allow your customers to choose when to have their order delivered. Supporting all popular payment and shipping methods out there, the Firecheckout extension is available in 11 languages and will help you increase your conversion rates and keep your clients happy.

9. DesignVitamins

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Professional, high quality design resources are a vital part of any designer’s projects. They can get you out of a creative rut by taking your project from dull to awesome. DesignVitamins was created to help art enthusiasts gain access to a huge collection of design items. Whether you need stock vectors, PS brushes, AI and PS add-ons, UI elements, tutorials, backgrounds or textures, DesignVitamins has got you covered. Browse through their impressive library of 33,000 items and take your pick. You won’t have time to get bored by what they’re offering, especially since they add 1000 new elements to their collection each month. If you want to take a look and convince yourself of the amazing quality, try their Rookie plan, which is free and offers you one download. Once you’re ready to commit, choose between their most popular pricing plan, the Designer, or the Studio. Both of these offer unlimited downloads and extended license.

10. Inky Deals

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Inky Deals offers the best deals on design resources you’ll find anywhere. Go to their website and you’ll find offers like Mythical creatures & Greek Mythology vector bundle at a 91% discount, 800 vector illustrations with extended license at 995 discount or 11 WordPress themes at 93% discount. Need we say more? Because there is more. Inky Deals has one of the best money back policies anywhere. If you’re unhappy with your purchase, you not only get your money back, you will also be able to continue using that resource. Inky Deals is also offering one of the most amazing deals with their design bundle that comprises 471 premium resources with full royalties. The discount? 100%. Yes, all those lovely design resources can be yours for free and you will be able to use them any way you like without any additional fees. Check out Inky Deals and see what other deals and discounts look appealing to you.

6 Web design trends to watch for in 2015

Internet can be pretty fickle, we all know that. One day you are in, the next day you may be out. It is hard to follow the latest trends and be up-to-date with the novelties, especially in the realm of vibrant and diverse industry such as web design. Thanks to these predictions for 2015, you will know what is going to be in fashion and you will be able to stay on top of the hottest web design trends for this year.

Parallax scrolling

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Parallax scrolling is one of the trends that has been building up for several years now, so it is most probable that 2015 will bring new adaptations of this technique. The magic behind parallax scrolling is that it creates almost 3D effect while scrolling down the page and making foreground and background of the page move at different paces. Skrollr or ScrollMagic will help you implement all the elements you wish to incorporate. This technique is already in use, successfully serving its purpose across different fields, therefore it’s most likely to take over web design in 2015.

Intelligent designing


Creative ingenuity goes a long way, but will you really need that in 2015? Brace yourselves, as it will be the year of AI design. If the term means nothing to you yet, be sure to check out The Grid. It is the first artificial intelligence platform, still under development, that in the future will create autodesigned websites by analyzing the content users input. Official release is planned for spring, so mark your calendars!

More accessible tools

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Modern website generators will be able to replace human input, allowing to effortlessly boost the design of your website and give it the wow factor it deserves. Pages like Webflow, Macaw or Squarespace allow for code-free design at the highest quality. Needless to say, they make the work of web designers much faster. You no longer need to dig into complicated lines of code to design a professional-looking website.

User interface animations (UI)

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The interactive nature of the internet has made many designers rethink user interfaces. Moving towards not only smarter and more functional, but also more impressive and more powerful websites, UI animations will play crucial role in designing web pages in 2015. The animations and videos will tend to have better quality, too. Drawings and handwritten fonts are going to be equally popular this year, as growing number of customers look for that personalized, unique touch they offer.

Mobile friendly design

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Growing demand for design for multi-device landscape poses a lot of difficulties, therefore we predict that with the advancement of technology, this area of web design will grow significantly this year. Designers will need to rethink their use of responsive design to make sure modern websites are correctly displayed on smartphones, tablets, and smart watches, TVs, and home appliances. All in all, web design is about more than just presentation, isn’t it?

Flat design

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Flat design is an increasingly attractive technique that will grow even bigger this year. Big, bold typography accompanied by eye-catching graphics and intensive colors has attracted attention of minimalists from all over the world. As a result, growing number of users appreciate modern, clutter-free space making the most effective use of keywords and buttons to navigate through the page. It is definitely a trend to watch for.

Each year brings new possibilities. 2014 has witnessed the end of some inspired trends to make room for the new ones. 2015 will definitely bring some excitement to the world of web design, so watch carefully no to miss anything.

Create Websites for All of Your Clients with X Theme 3.0

You know as well as I do that a web designer has to deal with clients coming from different areas of activity, on a daily basis. Professionals from every field of practice, retailers, and even institutions are rushing to join in the onslaught of digital.

From a design standpoint, each of your clients has unique demands. Building the corporate website of a mobile company is a whole other matter than creating a personal blog, or an online clothing store.

Traditionally, web designers scanned markets for the best assets to use in each situation. But the WordPress scene is evolving. Now, we can choose to work with powerful themes, which unite features and designs for all purposes. The best of them have a live editor, and offer multiple integration.

Launch Successful WooCommerce Websites

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The overwhelming majority of projects seem to involve web store creation. So, what are the essentials of designing E-Commerce websites on WordPress?

First and foremost, the products you intend to sell should be showcased using top-grade images. It’s the surest way of tempting viewers into buying them. Your graphics, textures, and fonts should place products in the spotlight. On top of that, every visitor should be able to track down items, and browse category pages with ease.

Integrity, Renew, Icon, and Ethos are the names of four individual designs built into X Theme. They each offer a distinct starting point to make unique websites. For WooCommerce projects, any of them will do. Themeco also started to tailor WordPress plugins around X Theme. Some of them can really come in handy when you’re working on an online store.

Example: if you want to ensure stellar customer service, then all customer requests should be answered fast. No exceptions. An extension like Olark would help you create the perfect resolution center for client queries.

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In addition, X Theme has a very simple way of subscribing users to a MailChimp e-mailing list. Not only that, but you can also customize inviting sign-up forms using the MailChimp integration created by Themeco.

Also, consider marketing offers. What would be the best way to introduce deals? Well-timed videos, potentially. The Video Lock enables full page presentations for a product or service. And you’ll enjoy configuring it. The video would be responsive across devices, and you can add header or footer captions.

The menswear shop showcased below is based on Integrity. It also has a charming motion background at the top of the page (not visible in this image).

Make Your Portfolios Stand Out

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Portfolios require a different approach than vendor websites. The central idea is to carve a professional identity for the online medium, so the website has to be exceptional.

Whether you’re making your own design portfolio, or working on that of a client, the same rules apply. Firstly, you must single out the most impressive and appreciated works. For your portfolio, try to move past your subjective preferences. Only place effective projects front and center. Secondly, make it easy for visitors to peruse them.

Take your pick: Integrity, Renew, and Icon from X Theme can definitely rise to the occasion. What with the 3.0 extensions that are available to you, crafting a sensational portfolio will be child’s play!

If you’re thinking of using parallax backgrounds, then you can enrich them with a Smooth Scrolling feature. With this extension, your scroll bar will never be the same. The best results are seen with viewers who use a mouse wheel to scroll down the page.

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X Theme 3.0 also includes a tweaked version of everyone’s all-time favorite page builder: Visual Composer. Thanks to its speedy drag-and-drop process, your portfolio layout will be ready faster than you can say ‘HTML’.

If you’re going to showcase valuable content, you might as well do it in style. You can set up a fabulous content slide with Slider Revolution, and pick a transition effect. That could be the classic fade and slide, or the dynamic 3D, parallax, and zoom-in.

The Renew stack served as the starting point for this creative’s portfolio. Therefore, it relies on flat design.

Design Blogs that Pull Readers In

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It takes more than *addicting* content to bring in traffic to a blog. Especially at the very beginning. Interface design plays a big part all the way, though. When you have to create a blog website, the colors you use and the logo are important. So is having simple navigation. And when it comes to text, it should be properly organized. The typography you decide on also counts.

Any Stack from X Theme can be used to create blogs. Icon is a modern and minimal design, which allows the written word to take center stage. The sample image that we used in this section shows a recipe blog made with that Stack.

As for 3.0 Extensions, let’s look at three extremely useful plugins for blogs.

The first one would be Facebook comments. Evidence suggests that this social comment system from X Theme is easy to configure and manage. And since readers always respond to interesting posts, you have to make sure they can. Besides, the mere fact that every comment is tied to a social network can bring in so much traffic.

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Secondly, you can use a brilliant Extension to handle external broken links that lead to a 404 error page. Custom 404 helps you take the edge off that unfortunate event. You can insert a background image, and use shortcodes to transform the 404 by adding functions like a search bar. A few words of comfort or clever puns would also go a long way.

My favorite Extension is Content Dock. It’s perfect for letting your readers know that there are other posts they may be interested in. And there is a limit to display dimensions, which prevents content suggestions from taking over the entire screen on smaller devices.

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Team up with Themeco This Year

Buckle up! You and I are both in for an eventful year. We haven’t seen the last of X Theme, yet! Now would be a good time to join the 36K+ users in the community. You’ll see that Themeco is picking up on hints to incur certain updates – and come up with new features that meet the hopes of ever web designer!
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10 Free Design Resources that are Useful

Having a bunch of great designing resources at your disposal can save you a lot of time and money. Pre-developed web templates helps you to avoid developing each and every element from scratch and also assists in significantly cutting down project costs. There are a number of such useful design resources that can prove to be a boon for web designers and should be used every now and then while starting with new web projects. Some of the design resources are as follows:

1. Superlative UI kit

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This UI kit is nothing short of a life saver. Using this UI kit you can sculpt some pretty neat websites catering to the fashion industry, music and arts, modern UI and great restaurants. The kit makes use of minimalistic design that not only makes the website appealing to your audience but also makes it clean and clutter free. The kit can be instantly downloaded and comes with full commercial license.
DOWNLOAD

2. Stylish logo set

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A logo is a really important component as it signifies a brand. This stylish logo set consists of 6 different logos that can relate to various industries such as hotel & spas, medical and health care, fashion industry, to name a few. These logos can be instantly downloaded in different formats and can be edited according to your needs and requirements.
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3. Responsive WordPress template

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Using this template you can design a website with utmost ease. This responsive template flaunts liquid design and comes with a number of interactive sliders. Also the themes of the website can be customized with 7 pre-determined color themes. The template is integrated with various social media accounts which makes sharing your website content relatively easy on various social networking platforms. Also this template is fully compatible with various WordPress plugins thus further reducing the development time.
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4. Business vector badges

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This set of 16 vector badges are the must have design elements for every e-commerce and auction website. These high quality badges have a vintage look & feel to it and can be used to depict the originality, authenticity and quality of various products. These badges provides a lot of valuable information about various products and also enhances the overall look & feel of the websites.
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5. Responsive one page template

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One page websites are the current market trend, given it’s user appeal and usefulness. Using this one page template you can create a complete, elegant one page website fully with an overall responsive design. It supports XML based portfolio and comes with multiple licenses, which can be used over personal as well as commercial projects.
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6. Social media icons

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Social media icons are an integral part of every website. Integrating your website with various social media platforms are really essential to spread the word about your website and also to draw a lot of new customers. But including the same orthodox social icons has turned into a monotonous practice and with these 48 free social icons you can give a new twist and add a certain character to your website. These icons are easy to work with and can be utilized for commercial as well as personal projects.
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7. Banner rotation widget

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Banner rotation widget improves the efficiency of your website by judiciously using the space of your website. This widget can be used to rotate ads, site information as well as display product information and videos. The widget is completely responsive and can support unlimited images and videos.
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8. High resolution vector icons

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This set consists of over 100 high resolution vector icons. These icons can prove to be useful to specify site navigation, implement navigation, for payment gateway and even to share content over various social networking platform. These icons can be downloaded in various formats and can be utilized for personal as well as commercial purposes.
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9. Wedding & edge PSD templates

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These PSDs are useful to design one page website and also to sculpt marriage invitation page. The template adopts minimalistic approach thus rendering a neat and clean website UI. These psds can also be used to showcase your portfolio and are completely responsive.
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10. iPad Air mockups

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This freebie consists of a light weight yet high quality iPad Air mock ups. It successfully depicts the user interface of an iPad Air and can be used in various e-commerce sites and also prove to be useful in various cloud testing sites.
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