Web Design: The Basics


The basics of web design are crucial. Olympia Web Design is updated regularly with new functionality and relevant content. Websites that are not regularly updated will perform less well than websites updated frequently. A website that is not up-to-date and confusing will confuse visitors, leading to lost sales. You should make sure that your website is updated at least once a month to ensure it runs smoothly. Also, check for any bugs and ensure it works properly. To improve your website’s performance, you should make the necessary adjustments. These updates can include new visual content, additional pages, SEO, accessibility audits, and many other things.web

Web designers should also be aware of the site architecture. Users should find it easy to navigate the site. Users should be able to navigate the site if the navigation is not easy to use. Multimedia elements such as videos and images are important for your website. Interactive elements will make your website more user-friendly. Visitors want to spend as much time on your website as possible.

Website architecture must consider user interface (UI), navigation and search. These elements must be easily found so users can navigate the site and find what they need. Your website must be compatible with all browsers and devices used by your audience. These elements should be easy to incorporate into your website. Your website should be simple to use and appealing for visitors.

Design must be flexible enough to meet the needs of users. The structure of your website is crucial. It is important to think about all aspects of the site’s architecture. This includes the ease of navigation as well as the user’s mental model. Speed is an important aspect of any website’s information architecture. A website that takes longer than three seconds to load will have a higher bounce rate. Users will abandon your website if your page takes longer than 3 seconds to load.

A website’s architecture should be flexible and compatible. Sites should be easy to navigate and provide the ability to find what they need. Users should be able to choose how they want to navigate the site. This will increase the likelihood that your visitors will make a purchase. You might consider changing the layout or removing content from your website if it doesn’t work with their browser. Although this can be difficult, it is a good idea to ensure your site is functional and compatible.

Your visitors’ needs should be considered. Users should be able to easily navigate from one page to the next on your website. Your website navigation should be simple to understand. While the design shouldn’t be too complicated, it should still be easy to use. Mobile-friendly websites are also important. The website must be compatible with different browsers. This will make it easier for users to navigate the site quickly. Content is the most important aspect of a website.

Website layout is crucial to its success. The layout of a website determines the way that material is presented on pages. It is easier to navigate a website that is responsive than one that isn’t. The website layout should be easy to use. The website design must appeal to the user. Simple and effective designs are more likely to convert customers into buyers.

Navigation is an important element of any website. Your users will leave if it is difficult to navigate. This can also impact your SEO. It is important to get to know your users before making any design changes. Websites must be accessible from every device and browser. It should be easy to use. It should be easy for the user to navigate around the site. These are all important aspects that a good designer must consider.


The 2021 WordPress Year in Review

Each year, the web is full of new ideas, tools, and trends. But for WordPress, 2021 may be looked upon as one of great foundational shifts. Changes that, while still in their early stages, promise to have a lasting impact on how we work with the content management system (CMS).

That applies not only to the core software but to its massive community and ecosystem as well. There were moments when it felt nearly impossible to keep up with the flurry of movement and acquisitions in this space. For a time, WordPress was akin to an open-source Wall Street.

Now that we’ve reached the end of the year, let’s take a look at the biggest developments as they relate to WordPress.

Blocks Take Over the Back End

The Gutenberg block editor was moved into WordPress core way back in 2018 (has it really been that long?), but 2021 saw the feature go beyond pages and posts.

Block Widgets

The venerable WordPress Widgets screen’s familiar drag-and-drop UI saw wholesale changes this year. As of WordPress 5.8, Widgets are now block-based.

The transition to blocks is more than just cosmetic. It also means that virtually any block can now be placed within a sidebar. This greatly expands the content options available to site owners.

The standard core widgets that come with WordPress were refreshed, while some new additions have also been integrated. Older widgets still work and are available through a Legacy Widgets block.

However, this change may cause issues for some sites that rely on legacy widgets. Thankfully, the Classic Widgets plugin can restore things to their previous state.

It’s a big transition. One that has me thinking about the future of this longtime staple of WordPress.

Full Site Editing

Full Site Editing (FSE) was perhaps the most buzzed-about WordPress feature of the year. It offers the ability to design and edit every aspect of a theme – right from within the block editor.

The potential impact is hard to ignore. WordPress themes are going to look a lot different in terms of how they’re structured. And, with more power in the hands of users, it will be interesting to see how the theme market shifts to take advantage.

FSE could also change the design process itself. Since so much can be achieved via the browser, where does that leave traditional wireframing tools? Some designers may decide to skip them altogether.

As exciting (or terrifying) as this all sounds, FSE is not yet a part of WordPress core. It’s scheduled for full release in WordPress 5.9, which has been pushed back to January 2022.

Here’s a look at what you can expect from WordPress 5.9 when it comes to Full Site Editing.

Popular WordPress Plugins and Providers Change Ownership

The other major storyline involves the business side of the WordPress ecosystem. 2021 saw dozens of plugins, agencies, and hosting providers changing hands. Among close observers, heads were spinning at the sheer number of transactions taking place.

There are several theories as to why there were so many acquisitions. The pandemic, a maturing market, along with the growing complexity of WordPress were among the most common. Some combination of all three seems like a safe bet.

What does it all mean? In the short term, there are user concerns over what will happen to the software and services they rely on. It also means some well-respected members of the community have decided to move on. People such as Elliot Condon (of Advanced Custom Fields) and Pippin Williamson (of Sandhills Development) are two prime examples.

Looking out further, many of these acquisitions have been made by a handful of companies. This consolidation of assets could impact competition. How difficult will it be for a solo entrepreneur or small agency to enter the market? What (if any) influence will these large companies have on WordPress core? Will the acquired products themselves suffer or flourish?

Only time will tell. But it will be interesting to see if this trend continues in 2022.

A person using a credit card.

WordPress Passes 40% Market Share

Early in 2021, WordPress surpassed 40% market share. And it continues to grow at a healthy clip. As of this writing, it has a nearly 40-point lead over the second-most-popular CMS (Shopify).

I put together a few thoughts on the milestone back in February. But it is worth revisiting as we look back on the year.

These usage numbers, along with the aforementioned acquisitions, show that WordPress is a space people want to be a part of. That’s a testament to its relative stability, dedicated community, and continued flexibility.

However, it’s that last piece that concerns me the most. To remain a top choice for developers, WordPress should keep providing multiple paths to build a website. That includes the ability to opt-out of features such as Gutenberg and Full Site Editing.

The idea that a web designer can build in a way that suits the needs of their clients is still attractive. And while I find blocks exciting, I also understand that not everyone is on board.

Having alternative methods to accomplish your goals is what has always set WordPress apart. Hopefully, that will remain the case over the long term.

A 3D chart with WordPress logo.

Laying the Foundation for the Future

Odds are that at least one of the developments above impacted you in 2021. Whether it was wrangling that new widget UI or seeing your favorite plugin change hands, it was an eventful year for the WordPress community.

But the immediate impact will likely pale when compared to how these shifts will affect the future. The way we create content in WordPress has already changed. Next comes the way we go about building websites.

The future of the various product and service acquisitions will also be felt for years to come. Some will inevitably turn out better than others. Here’s hoping it brings energy and innovation, with minimal disruption.

Buckle up, WordPress fans – what we saw this year is just the beginning of something much bigger.

The post The 2021 WordPress Year in Review appeared first on Speckyboy Design Magazine.

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30 Free Logo Mockup PSD Templates for Creatives

A logo is an important part of every brand identity, which is why the presentation of logo design matters. After all, the logo could be used not only on stationery items and a website but also on packaging, billboard ads, product tags, and more. That’s why you need to present the logo in a way that showcases how it will look in a variety of situations and applications.

In this post, we’ve gathered various free logo mockup templates that will help you showcase your logo design beautifully.

3D Wall Logo MockUp (Photoshop PSD)

Create a unique display of your logo design with this 3D wall logo mockup. The template is easy to edit and helps your clients visualize how their logo will look on their office building.

Cracked Logo Mockups (Envato Elements)

Use this logo mockup template to showcase vintage logo designs. The template is a part of Envato Elements and can easily be edited with smart objects.

Cracked Logo Mockups Photoshop PSD Free

Sketchbook Letterpress Logo Mockup (Photoshop PSD)

Show your clients how their logo will look like on a notebook, notepad or any other stationery item. This mockup is perfect for presenting letterpress logos.

Sketchbook Letterpress Logo Mockup Photoshop PSD Free

Logo Mock-Up Paper Edition (Envato Elements)

This logo mockup template is available as a part of Envato Elements. It comes with 11 templates and is a great choice if you wish to showcase logo design on paper products.

Logo Mock-Up Paper Edition Photoshop PSD Free

Shop Facade Logo MockUp (Photoshop PSD)

This shop facade logo mockup is a great choice for any logo that will be used for a storefront. The template includes smart objects so you can easily add your own design and wow your client.

Shop Facade Logo MockUp Photoshop PSD Free

Fabric Embroidered Logo Mockup PSD (Photoshop PSD)

If you know the logo will be used on fabric, this template will come in handy. The template is easy to edit thanks to smart objects and you can change the colors as well.

Fabric Embroidered Logo Mockup PSD Photoshop PSD Free

Burlap Logo Mockup PSD (Photoshop PSD)

This is another great choice if you need to present your logo design on a fabric. The template features burlap and uses smart-object layers for easier editing.

Burlap Logo Mockup PSD Photoshop PSD Free

Plastic Logo Mockups (Envato Elements)

Thanks to this mockup, you will be able to present your logo design on a variety of plastic surfaces. The template includes 7 different mockups, all with smart objects for easy editing.

Plastic Logo Mockups Photoshop PSD Free

Full-Color Logo Mockup (Photoshop PSD)

Whenever you need to present your logo in full color, a white background will ensure that your logo design pops. With this template, you will be able to showcase the colored logo versions.

Full-Color Logo Mockup Photoshop PSD Free

Vintage Logo MockUp PSD (Photoshop PSD)

Use this logo mockup if you need to showcase a vintage logo. The template includes smart objects and instant handmade grungy ink impression for a spectacular result.

Vintage Logo MockUp PSD Photoshop PSD Free

Free Shop Sign Mockup (Photoshop PSD)

Consider this logo mockup template to present a logo as a shop sign. The template comes with smart objects and is a great choice for restaurant, bar or shop logo presentation.

Free Shop Sign Mockup Photoshop PSD Free

Letterpress Logo Mockup Templates (Photoshop PSD)

Use this logo mockup if you want to showcase a letterpress logo design. The template is easy to add as all you have to do is drop in your design onto the smart object layer.

Letterpress Logo Mockup Templates Photoshop PSD Free

Street Wall Logo Mockup Template (Photoshop PSD)

Check out this street wall logo mockup if you’re looking for a bold and creative way to show off your logo design. The template works great for vintage and retro logos but it can also be adapted to suit more modern designs.

Street Wall Logo Mockup Template Photoshop PSD Free

Hanging Wall Sign Mockup (Photoshop PSD)

Present your logo as a hanging wall sign. The template includes smart object layers so you can easily add your own design and customize the colors and shadows to suit your needs.

Hanging Wall Sign Mockup Photoshop PSD Free

Logo Mockup PSD Templates (Envato Elements)

Be sure to check out this logo mockup template if you want an elegant logo presentation. The template is a part of Envato Elements and includes 8 different designs as well as smart objects.

Logo Mockup PSD Templates Photoshop PSD Free

Free Identity Logo Mockup PSD (Photoshop PSD)

This set of two logo mockups includes two different designs that you can use to present your logo. The template was designed in high resolution and comes with smart objects.

Free Identity Logo Mockup PSD Photoshop PSD Free

Leather Stamping Logo Mockup Template (Photoshop PSD)

Thanks to this logo mockup, you will be able to showcase your logo embossed on a variety of leather items. Present your logo on leather folios, wallets, and more. The template is easy to edit thanks to smart objects.

Leather Stamping Logo Mockup Template Photoshop PSD Free

Retro Logo Mockups (Envato Elements)

This set of logo mockups comes with 12 different designs created in retro and vintage style. This is a great choice if you want to showcase a retro logo design.

Retro Logo Mockups Photoshop PSD Free

Engraved Wood Logo Mockup PSD (Photoshop PSD)

Check out this engraved wood logo mockup for any retro or nature-oriented logos. The template includes smart objects as well as a special filter that you can apply to the design for a more unique look.

Engraved Wood Logo Mockup PSD Photoshop PSD Free

Natural Paper Printed Logo Mockup (Photoshop PSD)

Present your logo design beautifully with this realistic natural paper logo mockup. The template can be customized with smart layers and you can easily adjust colors.

Natural Paper Printed Logo Mockup Photoshop PSD Free

Vintage Leather Book Logo Mockup (Photoshop PSD)

With this logo mockup, you will be able to showcase vintage logo designs and make them stand out. The mockup includes a smart object for easy editing and you can even change the background colors.

Vintage Leather Book Logo Mockup Photoshop PSD Free

Paper Logo Mockup Templates (Envato Elements)

This beautiful set of paper logo mockups includes not only smart objects but also lighting effects that will make your logo designs stand out. The template comes with 5 mockups.

Paper Logo Mockup Templates Photoshop PSD Free

Grunge Wall Logo Design (Photoshop PSD)

Add some texture to your logo design presentation with this grunge wall mockup. The template is designed in high resolution and gives your logo design a weathered and rough look.

Grunge Wall Logo Design Photoshop PSD Free

Linen Logo Mockup Template (Photoshop PSD)

Present your logo on linen for a classy and timeless look. The template uses smart layers for easy editing and you can easily change the colors and drop in your design.

Linen Logo Mockup Template Photoshop PSD Free

Logo Mockup PSD Template (Photoshop PSD)

This clean and simple logo mockup template is a great choice if you’re looking for a minimalist template. Thanks to the simple design, the template will allow your logo design to shine through.

Logo Mockup PSD Template Photoshop PSD Free

Logo Mockup Set (Envato Elements)

This logo mockup set features a variety of mockup designs that you can use to showcase the design of your logo. The template includes smart objects and a helpful tutorial to help you customize them.

Logo Mockup Set Photoshop PSD Free

Logo Label Mockup Template (Photoshop PSD)

Use this logo mockup template if you need to showcase a logo design on a label or a product tag. The template can be customized through smart layers and you can even change the colors and the shadows.

Logo Label Mockup Template Photoshop PSD Free

Identity Design Logo Mockup (Photoshop PSD)

Use this logo mockup if you have a retro logo design to present. This type of logo presentation is great for cafes, restaurants, breweries, and any other type of business that wants a vintage design.

Identity Design Logo Mockup Photoshop PSD Free

Logo Mockup PSD (Photoshop PSD)

Here we have a simple and clean logo mockup for Photoshop that works well for a more complex logo. The template is easy to edit thanks to smart objects and you can adjust colors and shadows for a more realistic look.

Logo Mockup PSD Photoshop PSD Free

Perspective Logo Mockups (Envato Elements)

If you want a unique way to showcase your logo design, try this perspective logo mockup. The template includes 6 different mockups and smart object layers.

Perspective Logo Mockups Photoshop PSD Free

Indoor Sign Mockup Template (Photoshop PSD)

This logo mockup template features an indoor sign which is great for corporate logos. Your client will be able to visualize how their logo will look on their wall and all you have to do is open the mockup and drop your design onto the smart object layer.

Indoor Sign Mockup Template Photoshop PSD Free

Logo Window Mockup (Photoshop PSD)

If you’re working on a logo for a restaurant, cafe or a beauty salon, you need to show your clients how their logo will look on their window. Use this template to make it happen.

Logo Window Mockup Photoshop PSD Free

Vintage Logo Mockup PSD (Photoshop PSD)

Any vintage logo will look great on this logo mockup featuring a corkboard stamp. The template can be edited with smart objects and was designed in high resolution.

Vintage Logo Mockup PSD Photoshop PSD Free

Hand Lettering Logo Mockups (Envato Elements)

Hand lettered logos are a trendy design style and thanks to this template, you will be able to show your clients how their logo will look in real situations. The template is a part of Envato Elements.

Hand Lettering Logo Mockups Photoshop PSD Free

Brick Wall Logo Mockup (Photoshop PSD)

Showcase your logo on a brick wall. Simply drop your logo design onto the smart object layer and export the file. You can even change the background color.

Brick Wall Logo Mockup Photoshop PSD Free

Weathered Logo Mockup (Photoshop PSD)

This logo mockup is a fun and unique way to showcase a logo concept. It can be used, for example, to show how the logo will stand the test of time. Easily edit the template with smart objects and adjust the colors.

Weathered Logo Mockup Photoshop PSD Free

Restaurant & Office Signs Mockup Templates (Photoshop PSD)

Present your logo on a restaurant or office sign. This solution is a great choice not only for restaurants and corporate logos but also doctors, dentists, beauticians, and other industries.

Restaurant Office Signs Mockup Templates Photoshop PSD Free

3D Logo Mockup PSD Template (Photoshop PSD)

Easily make a 3D mockup of your logo design with the help of this logo mockup. The template has smart object layers for easy editing and you can easily adjust shadows, colors, and other elements.

3D Logo Mockup PSD Template Photoshop PSD Free

Metal Branding Logo Mockup (Photoshop PSD)

Add some shine and polish to your logo presentation with this metal branding logo mockup. The template has an elegant design and has smart objects for easy editing.

Metal Branding Logo Mockup Photoshop PSD Free

Building Facade Logo Mockup (Photoshop PSD)

Show your clients how their logo will look on the side of the building easily with this logo mockup template. Featuring smart objects, all you have to do is drop in your design and export the file.

Building Facade Logo Mockup Photoshop PSD Free

Take your logo presentation to the next level with the help of various logo mockup templates. Most of the logo mockups on this list are free, so there is no excuse not to download them and use them the next time you need to showcase a logo design.

The post 30 Free Logo Mockup PSD Templates for Creatives appeared first on Speckyboy Design Magazine.

Tips for Running a WordPress Multisite Network

The concept behind WordPress Multisite is simple: it gives you the ability to run multiple websites – all from a single installation of the popular content management system (CMS). Whether your “network” consists of two sites or two thousand, everything is administered in a centralized location.

It’s a powerful tool for large, multi-faceted organizations and those who want to build online communities. Everyone from universities and governments to niche bloggers can benefit.

At its core, a Multisite network is still WordPress. Each site features the same familiar styles and settings you’re accustomed to. A network settings area adds a way to create new sites and tweak specific settings that have a broader impact.

But running a stable and secure WordPress Multisite network is a whole different animal. There are plenty of unique considerations that depend upon your specific needs. Items such as user permissions and plugin and theme choices need to be thought about ahead of time. In addition, it’s important to determine whether Multisite is even the right choice for your project.

Today, we’ll share some tips for ensuring that your Multisite network is the best it can be.

Is WordPress Multisite the Best Fit?

The thought of being able to run multiple websites under a single WordPress installation can get your creative juices flowing. It might lead you to conjure up all sorts of potential use cases. However, there are some situations when utilizing Multisite isn’t the best option.

Freelancers, for example, may think about hosting all of their clients under a single network. Imagine the ability to hop from site to site and perform updates with ease. Sounds pretty tempting, right?

This is not a recommended use for WordPress Multisite. Why? If something goes wrong, it has the potential to negatively impact every single site in the network. Since all sites share a database, a crash or bad case of malware could be particularly disastrous. Not to mention the possibility of server downtime.

WordPress Multisite generally makes sense when the network of sites has something in common. Think of a retailer with multiple locations or a sports league where every team needs their own website.

There should be some solid logic as to why these sites are being combined into one installation. Short of that, it might be best to avoid using Multisite altogether.

Be Judicious with Themes and Plugins

The common thread between websites goes beyond organizational. While each site can run its own unique theme and choose from an installed pool of plugins, there could be some concern about what can or should be allowed.

Ideally, each website will have similar requirements when it comes to both looks and functionality. This makes it easier to install only the items that will be utilized throughout the network.

Of course, there may be times when a particular network site needs a theme or plugin that won’t be used by the others. An online store that requires a shopping cart is a prime example.

That’s OK, as the network’s Super Admin can limit the availability of those items to just the site that needs them. This lessens the possibility of a theme or plugin being misused or taking up precious server resources.

This doesn’t mean you should go wild with plugins, however. It’s still important to choose carefully. Installing a plugin with security flaws or lots of bugs can bring about network-wide problems.

Speaking of which, WordPress Multisite includes the ability to network activate plugins. Any plugin with this designation will automatically run on every website within the network. Therefore, you’ll want to reserve this for items that you know you’ll need on each site.

As with any website, themes and plugins can affect your network’s security and performance. Determining what gets installed and who has access to it should be at the top of your to-do list.

WordPress Multisite Plugins Screen

Provide Back-End Users with Access to What They Need

Just like a traditional WordPress website, Multisite networks support various user roles and capabilities. Likewise, you can also create custom roles if need be. This empowers Super Admins with fine-grain control over every site and the network as a whole.

But for large organizations with a lot of sites, managing users can be tricky. This is particularly so when a user needs access to multiple websites.

By default, all registered users are assigned to the lowest user level (subscriber). That won’t allow for any meaningful access in the back end.

Thus, there may be a temptation to assign them to the Super Admin role for the sake of convenience. That allows a user to access everything. It’s not the most solid policy in terms of security, though.

The more secure option is to assign users only to the sites they’ll need access to. This can be done by first creating the user account via the Network Admin Users Screen. From there, visit My Sites > Network Admin > Sites and assign each user to the appropriate sites via the Edit Site link.

If a user only needs access to a single site, it’s easiest to visit the site’s dashboard and navigate to Users > Add New.

As always, carefully consider which user role each person should have. Think about the permissions they’ll need to do their job and assign them to the appropriate level.

Editing Users for a Network Site

Ensure That Your Server Can Handle the Load

Multisite networks, particularly large ones, can eat up a lot of server resources. They can push storage capacity, memory, bandwidth, and processing power to their limits.

That’s why web hosting is one of the most important components of a healthy WordPress Multisite network. Without the right configuration, your sites can take a massive hit in terms of performance and reliability.

Choosing a web hosting package can be challenging. Even if your initial choice appears to have enough resources, future growth also has to be considered. You don’t want to find out that you’ve outgrown your hosting a few months down the road.

Cost is also a major factor – but you tend to get what you pay for. Sure, some managed WordPress hosts charge a premium for Multisite installs. However, you may have access to a larger pool of resources.

Traditional shared hosting typically allows WordPress Multisite installations. That may work well enough in some instances. But don’t expect great performance for large, heavily-trafficked networks.

The bottom line is to know what you’re getting into before you sign up for hosting. Make sure that you’ll have the horsepower you need both now and in the future.

Computer Hardware

One WordPress Installation, Many Websites

There are plenty of similarities between administering a standard WordPress website and a Multisite network. But this special configuration does come with its own set of challenges.

First, the web hosting requirements are generally greater. Multiple sites mean a bigger database and more strain on server resources.

In addition, it can be difficult to keep track of plugins, themes, and users. Maintaining great performance and top-notch security requires constant vigilance. Administrators must take care to cut down on overhead and ensure that users have only the permissions they need.

That being said, the potential for a Multisite network is awesome. The added convenience and interoperability allow both developers and organizations to achieve some incredible things.

The post Tips for Running a WordPress Multisite Network appeared first on Speckyboy Design Magazine.

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How Designers Can Market Themselves to the Clients That Best Suit Their Niche

We’ve all heard the saying, “a designer is only as good as their clients.”

Some designers, regardless of skill level or experience, seem to always have the most interesting assignments that are creative, challenging, and highly paid, while others, who may have more experience, technical skill, or talent, get stuck working for peanuts on unfulfilling, low-level work.

Why is that? Why do some mediocre designers seem to always get the best jobs, while good, talented designers struggle in obscurity?

The answer almost always has to do with marketing. Every designer’s Achilles’ heel, marketing is nonetheless a vital part of freelancing success.

Today, I’m going to share some tips on how good designers can market themselves to exactly the kind of clients that will best suit their services.

It’s All Sales

What’s the difference between a good designer and a great designer? Notoriety, of course. There are literally thousands – possibly millions – of designers out there whose talent and technical skills rival or even surpass those of the tiny handful of designers who are “well-known” or famous.

Are those well-known designers doing something especially different that the talented designer “misses?” Well, yes and no. We already know they’re not necessarily better designers – perhaps their style is more in line with current trends and thus they’ve gotten more recognition in recent years, but good design is good design.

Trends come and go, but a strong understanding of basic design principles will never go out of style. So how do these famous designers differentiate themselves?

If you’ve ever worked in an office, you know that the management positions don’t always go to the most capable or competent leaders, hard workers, and visionaries.

In my time as a corporate employee, I saw brilliant, talented, creative people get passed over for promotions and high-level work by incompetent, lazy, belligerent jerks – over and over again.

Why? Because the jerks knew exactly how to market themselves to their superiors. They knew what to say and how to say it. Every job is a sales job.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a lawyer, an artist, or a Sunday school teacher – we all have to sell something to someone. And we all have to make ourselves known to the people who can help further our careers.

This applies doubly to those of us who make our living freelancing, as there’s no framework or built-in networking platform vis-a-vis a corporate job.

Selling the Experience

Designers who compete for freelance jobs have quite an uphill battle to fight. They constantly have to convince potential clients that they’re the best person for the job, while simultaneously diverting the client’s attention away from the zillions of other designers out there who provide essentially the same service.

Now, I’m about to say something that might depress many of you out there who are hoping for a freelancing miracle.

The sad truth of the matter is this: the typical design client knows next to nothing about design, and couldn’t care less about your technical knowledge, years of experience, or brilliant design sense.

Yup, it’s true. They just don’t give a damn. You say you’re an award-winning branding manager who’s been featured in industry publications? That’s nice. Don’t call us, we’ll call you. Standards-compliant web developer? Eh? What’s that?

It can be extremely frustrating when a client simply doesn’t care about the work you’ve put into perfecting your craft.

designer drinking alcoholic drink

I could be smug and suggest that you only work with clients who do care, but that would be pretty irresponsible of me. No matter how far up the freelancing ladder you go, there’s always going to be a discrepancy between what you think the client should care about, and what they actually care about.

The key to selling yourself as a talented, capable designer lies in the way you present your skills.

The first thing to go should be the idea that you can somehow convince a non-designer to care about the intricacies of design. You can’t. Save it for your fellow designers, and instead focus on the experience you can provide your clients.

Your technical skills and knowledge are not experiences for your clients – they are merely attributes.

Put another way, when you see a television commercial for a pizza shop, do you ever see the inside of the actual pizza kitchen anywhere in the ad (not the fake set meant to sell you on “authentic Italian cooking” or some such nonsense)?

Do you ever see what kind of knife the chef uses to cut the pepperoni and other toppings? Or the Serv-Safe certificates of the pizza-making staff? Of course not.

What you see is a delicious-looking pizza, complete with sizzling sound effects and mouth-watering, rising steam, possibly being paraded in front of the camera on a round dish by an attractive, young actor dressed up as a server or a pizza chef.

In the background, you might see a laughing group of diners seated at a table, pulling apart their pizza slice by cheesy, gooey slice. You’re being sold an experience, not a simple list of attributes or qualities.

If your clients are decent and treat you with a reasonable amount of professionalism, they’re going to expect that you know what you’re doing. They will take it as a matter of course that you have all the necessary skills and know-how to complete the job adequately.

A simple list of the things you can do isn’t going to impress them. You need to sell them an experience – the sizzle, not the steak, in other words.

pizza experience restaurant oven

Having a Backup Plan

You’ve probably heard of the recent business phrase “multiple streams of income.” It’s become quite a popular goal for business owners and freelancers, especially since the internet has become a powerful and simplified way to make multiple income sources a reality.

But you don’t have to be a fast-talking, greasy-haired entrepreneur wannabe to take advantage of this important idea.

Today’s economy makes it challenging for even the most established freelancers to stay afloat, and if your client base is too small, you could find yourself in real trouble if one of them stops calling.

Creating an exclusive niche for yourself is important, but it’s equally important to have a large enough pool that you can easily generate new business.

Keeping up with your marketing efforts, even if you can’t currently take on the new work, will ensure that you always have prospects lined up just in case one of your current clients falls through.

Also, don’t be afraid to ask your current or past clients for referrals. Generally, people are happy to spread the word about freelancers who have done a remarkable job.

And as a bonus, you’ll widen the net of clients who are similar to those clients you’ve already worked for, since people tend to talk to their friends in the same industry.

The post How Designers Can Market Themselves to the Clients That Best Suit Their Niche appeared first on Speckyboy Design Magazine.

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The Idea Generation Process of Scribbling on a Napkin

Millions of us around the world eat at restaurants every day with our family, friends, co-workers, clients, parole officers… just kidding. Restaurants serve an important purpose in our lives – a purpose that has less to do with food and more to do with the way we connect with one another.

The restaurant has been around, in some form or another, since ancient Rome, and its function – to bring people together over a conveniently cooked meal – has changed very little in all that time.

There’s another benefit of restaurants that specifically applies to designers and other creative people, and that is to stimulate your creativity. That’s right – it’s been proven that socializing improves your intelligence. Not just academic intelligence either – interacting with friends and peers actually helps to make you more creative.

When you go out with others, you’re exposing yourself to an influx of new ideas that can’t help but positively influence your creative process. And food is a natural bonding agent, which is why so many creative ideas are born around a lunch or dinner table with other designers, artists, musicians, writers, et cetera.

Today, I’m going to explore the idea generation process familiar to so many designers who eat out with friends: the “awesome idea scribbled on a restaurant napkin” process.

It’s very high-level stuff. No, really! The lowly napkin sketch (or scrap paper or ledger pad sketch) has been used by everyone from babysitters all the way up to top creative executives at Microsoft and Walmart to bring to life important ideas that change the world, or at least bring in more profits.

Some experts say that the business sector is too dependent on language to express ideas that really should be expressed using visuals (i.e., sketches). That’s good news for us designers, but how exactly do we adapt it to our working process to make things easier for ourselves and our clients?

We designers all know the advantages of sketching: it’s a way to sort out our preliminary ideas and eliminate the ones that aren’t right for the job.

Of course, you don’t have to sketch on a napkin, but any kind of sketch is more useful than just thinking about the idea, because it requires you to use a different part of your brain.

web design flow sketch
Image Source

When you think, or read, or write, you’re nurturing the connections your brain makes between the different thoughts you have (called ‘neural pathways‘), and increasing your brain’s “elasticity.” When you add drawing to that process, you’re exercising important motor skills that can actually feed your creativity.

Personally, I prefer to sketch on paper. Why? Because it allows me the opportunity to step away from the computer for a brief moment and collect my thoughts on something I can touch and hold in my hands.

That’s important to me, and to a lot of designers whose work almost always ends up on the computer one way or another.

We humans respond to things that are interactive, and that allows us to make a direct impact on something. Ever wonder why more and more vending machines are see-through, rather than opaque?

The working mechanisms of those machines are engaging to our brains – we love to put our money in the machine, and literally see our desire (to have a refreshing beverage or snack) being fulfilled right before our eyes. It’s fun.

And guess what? Your clients are the exact same way.

Logo Design on Napkin
Image Source

If you’re a designer or art director redesigning a company’s brand identity, how do you make sure everyone there understands the creative vision you have?

Well, you could tell them. But most people aren’t going to take notes and will end up misinterpreting what you said at some point or another.

You could show them a presentation, which might work for some people. But I think that printing out handouts of your sketches, and walking people through them is the best way to involve them in the decision-making process.

Sometimes, sketching can be used to effectively communicate ideas to people – designers or non-designers – in ways that far surpass, say, a PowerPoint presentation.

Think about what you’d rather have in a department meeting: a dry, preachy collection of slides, or a sketchbook to work out your ideas about the company’s creative direction?

Just like a clear-windowed vending machine allows us to see the effect our money has on it, involving people with live sketching gives them a democratic insight into how design decisions are made.

It can turn a lofty, complicated mess into something that’s easy for everyone to understand. And we all know that an informed client is a happy (and oftentimes repeat) client.

You don’t want to just talk at your clients and lecture them about things that are going to go over their heads. Your clients aren’t stupid (well, hopefully not).

They are running a company, after all. Clients like to feel creative, or at least like they’re contributing to something to the creativity of their businesses. And what better way to make grown adults feel powerful and in charge of something than by handing them some paper and making them draw like grade-schoolers?

All joking aside, people love that stuff. It creates a feeling of harmony and democracy in the company, as anyone, from the janitor to the CEO, can make a sketch.

As Lou Levit explains in his article, How Sketching Will Take Your Design Process to the Next Level, sketching allows you to “dig deeper” with your idea process, uncovering more design solutions that often work much better than the initial ideas you start out with.

Silicon Valley Napkin ideas
Image Source

Another downside to simply absorbing information via presentation is that it tends to lead your client through the design process with minimal challenge to their own imagination.

Because of this, your client may not really understand your reasoning behind a more nuanced design solution, and may fight you on it. Presenting sketches is one way to quiet those feelings of misunderstanding. The more your client can see of your process, the more likely they are to trust your judgement.

The key to engaging your clients with sketching is to think of your design meeting more like a restaurant date with friends. Obviously, you should probably keep the celebrity gossip and alcohol consumption to a minimum, but the general feeling of creative camaraderie should be the same.

Engage your clients with spontaneous sketches, draw things out for them that you might otherwise just dryly explain, and observe the difference yourself in their level of understanding, engagement, and trust.

You don’t have to make them draw too, though, as I mentioned before, many people do love that. But just like passing around a napkin at the restaurant table to your friends can result in weird and wonderful new ideas, incorporating sketches in your meetings with clients can propel your projects to heights that you never would have expected.

The post The Idea Generation Process of Scribbling on a Napkin appeared first on Speckyboy Design Magazine.

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Fresh Resources for Web Designers and Developers (November 2021)

One thing that I love with Web development industry is that we, as developers keep innovating to make the web better. This is why we’ve always found new exciting tools and resources to feature on our list.

In this round of the series, we have a tool to create nice realistic shadows using CSS3, several new frameworks and libraries for React.js, and PHP.

Without further ado, let’s jump in to see the full list.

Fresh Resources for Web Designers and Developers (October 2021)

Fresh Resources for Web Designers and Developers (October 2021)

We’ve been running this series for several years now and it feels like we never run out of… Read more

Shadow Palette

A little GUI tool that allows you to create a more realistic drop shadow for your website. You can customize several of the shadow properties such as the light position, color, and opacity. The tool will generate the CSS rules that you simply can copy and implement on your website.

Firefox Relay

Relay is a service from Firefox that allows you to create an email alias of your real email address. You can create several email aliases of one email address, and use them when signing up on websites like e-Commerce, membership, and subscription, etc. It’s a great service to protect your online privacy further.


A little online app to convert raster images into SVG easily. The tool supports several image formats including JPG, PNG, and WebP. It’s built with the “Progressive Web App” approach, which means even if you’re offline, the app is still going to work. Simply drag-n-drop any image onto the app and it’s all set.

A Look into: Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG)

A Look into: Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG)

Vector graphics have been widely applied in print media. In a website, we can also add vector graphics… Read more

Framework X

A simple framework to create a reactive application using PHP. Internally, it leverages some PHP extension like Coroutines and Fibers (available since PHP8.1) to handle the concurrent and async operations akin to Node.js. You can use Framework X everywhere that runs PHP including shared hosting.

Shopify Hydrogen

Hydrogen is a new React.js framework from the team at Shopify. It comes with building blocks to create a custom Shopify storefront such as utility functions, custom React.js hooks, and components.

If you’re looking to build a Headless store with Shopify, this framework has got you covered with the necessities.

Frappe Charts

A lightweight JavaScript library to create a chart. You can install it as an NPM module or simply load the JavaScript file on your webpage like in the old days.

It supports several types of charts including bar and pie charts. It’s also responsive and fast since it is not dependant on other external JavaScript libraries.

20+ Useful Online Chart & Graph Generators

20+ Useful Online Chart & Graph Generators

Most people, like me, do not understand mere numbers and statistics and for such people charts and graphs… Read more

Chrome DevTools Recorder

Google Chrome has just made an improvement to the DevTools with a feature called “Recorder”. This feature allows you to record your website interaction.

You can replay the recorded interaction or emulate it with certain environment and conditions. It provides a better measure on the real web application performance. This feature will be shipped as a beta feature on Chrome 97.


Remix is a new full-stack React.js framework that provides an abstraction to build a better website. It handles routing, error requests, and other tiny details of building a website with great user experience — out of the box. The framework will help web developers become more productive.

Redux Toolkit

An official collection of tools from Redux that aims to make developing a website with Redux more efficient. It includes some utility functions and configs for common use cases.

This way you can be more productive, instead of befuddling with the configurations and the boilerplates, which can be a bit cumbersome.

Bulletproof React

A collection of tips, advice, and best practices for developing React.js application. Here you will learn a lot of topics surrounding app architecture, project structure, styling, state management, and a lot more. If want to improve your React.js skills, you should definitely have it bookmarked.

Apache EChart

An open-source initiative from Apache, EChart is more than just a chart JavaScript library. It’s a robust collection of interactive charts with animations, and with an overall better visual. This allows you to convey the data to the users better than a static chart.

Awesome Design Tools

This resource contains a massive list of tools for designers from various categories. Here you can find tools for accessibility, prototyping, sketching, stock assets (icons, photots, etc), and a lot more. I’m pretty sure a lot of designers will find this list extremely useful.


Localstack is a fully-functioning local AWS cloud stack. This means you can develop, run and test your AWS application offline. It supports a number of AWS services including AWS Lambda, S3, DynamoDB, Kinesis, SQS, and SNS.

Having AWS stack run locally will help you speed up and simplify the testing and development workflow of your application.

Founder Resources

A collection of resources like tools and content for those who’d like to start their journey as a business or startup founder. Being an entrepreneur is not easy. So get this list bookmarked and get prepared.


A PHP library that makes it easy to validate an email address. It provides several methods of validation including validation through the email RFC, DNS, or you can also write your own validation.

Docker OSX

A Docker image that allows you to run a container with macOS. This is another cool stuff to help effectively test your application and ensure that it runs across different platforms.


An open-source alternative to Twilio. It allows you to run a stack application from VOIP, SMS, mail, chat, and video on your own server. A great alternative for those who’d like to have full control over their platform and the data.


Freescout is a lightweight help desk application built with Laravel. You can use it to help and manage your customer tickets, mailbox, and conversations. It’s open-source, free, and packed with features.

Freescout is overall a great alternative to the paid-platform app like Zendesk and Help Scout, especially if you value and need control over your data.

Laravel Tenancy

A robust PHP library to set up multitenancy in Laravel. This allows you to run a single Laravel application with multiple database connections. It works seamlessly and works out-of-the-box with several popular Laravel packages like Vapor, Nova, Livewire, and a lot more.


A modern JavaScript library to create a slider. Designed and intended to be used on mobile websites and apps. SwiperJS is framework agnostic which allows you to use any framework including jQuery and Zepto.

On top of that, it also provides official integration that allows it to work out-of-the-box with some of the most popular modern frameworks like Vue.js, React.js, Svelte and Angular.

The post Fresh Resources for Web Designers and Developers (November 2021) appeared first on Hongkiat.

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Love a WordPress Plugin or Theme? Pay It Forward.

WordPress is an open-source application with an enormous ecosystem. The sheer number of available plugins and themes (many of them free) benefits developers and everyday users alike.

If, for example, you need a plugin to help with SEO, you’ll find plenty of options. Even if the first one you try doesn’t do everything you need, you can easily uninstall it and switch to something else. Want to update the look of your site? There are a seemingly endless supply of themes to check out.

The process of enhancing your website with a few clicks is something to behold. And it has also become second nature. If you’re a frequent user of the content management system (CMS), it’s easy to take all of this for granted.

What’s often missing is the act of sharing some love with WordPress plugin and theme authors. Many of us simply don’t take the time. But, by paying it forward, we can positively impact the people and products that help make our websites better.

Need some ideas? Keep reading for some simple ways to say “thank you”!

The Potential Impact

The WordPress developer community is highly-dependent on happy users. Whether they’re established commercial veterans or newbies sharing their first project, a simple act of gratitude from us can go a long way.

Consider a recently launched plugin or theme. It can be incredibly difficult to gain traction in a crowded marketplace. How can a WordPress product find the growth required to stick around for the long term?

Solo entrepreneurs and small agencies can’t necessarily afford to pay for publicity. That makes word-of-mouth from users especially valuable. Each shout-out could mean another handful of users who come on board. Over time, that can add up to something significant.

Even larger players can benefit. Momentum is often fleeting and can lead a product to languish. In a competitive environment, falling behind could mean a slow death. Positive feedback could be the difference in whether your favorite plugin remains actively developed.

Now that we know a little bit about what paying it forward can do, let’s look at some ways to put it into action.

Write a “Thank You” Note

So often, plugin and theme authors don’t hear from users unless something’s wrong. That makes sense, as people tend to go about their daily lives when things are working well. It’s not until a problem arises that we start to take notice.

Let’s meditate on that for a moment. As a developer, you might start to feel a bit underappreciated if you only hear the bad stuff. It could deflate your enthusiasm for sharing your work at all. Eventually, you may throw in the towel.

One simple way to counteract this is by writing a quick “thank you” note. Contact a plugin or theme developer and let them know that you enjoy the product. Point out how it made your website better and any particular features that you enjoyed.

It doesn’t have to go into great depth – even a few sentences will get your point across. But just think about the impact this positivity can have on someone’s day. It could be the affirmation they need to keep moving forward.

A sign that reads "Thank You".

Leave a Product Review

People pay attention to reviews. Whether they’re buying a new toaster or looking for a helpful WordPress plugin, the thoughts of other users can influence their decision.

Reviews especially help in a space with so many options. How, for example, can you tell which WordPress membership plugin is worth your time? Positive reviews are one way to filter out the best of the best.

Thus, if you’ve had a good experience with a plugin or theme, take a few moments and write an honest review. Point out your project goals and how the product helped you achieve them. And, if there were any shortcomings, it’s OK to mention them as well. Constructive feedback is helpful for future improvements.

Where can you leave a review? Items in the official WordPress plugin and theme repositories have designated places for feedback. If the item is part of a larger marketplace, they might also offer a reviews feature. Fail that, the product’s own website is also a possibility.

Star-shaped artwork.

Spread the Word on Social Media

Social media is a great place to sing the praises of a favorite plugin or theme. You can instantly reach a network of like-minded people who may be looking for such recommendations. In fact, there’s a Facebook group for precisely that purpose.

Again, you don’t have to go into great detail. A few words about why you like the product is more than enough.

In addition, it’s nice to tag the developer in your post. This allows them to easily find your feedback and even jump into the conversation.

Social media apps displayed on a phone.

Make a Donation or Go Pro

There are certainly many popular commercial products run by big companies. Still, a significant portion of the WordPress ecosystem is powered by solo developers or small teams.

These developers often make a lot of sacrifices to get their products out there. There’s the time spent writing code, supporting users, and marketing. And the burden can be especially large for free plugins or themes. Some trade a chance at more lucrative ventures for something they’re passionate about.

Providing a little financial support to the author of your favorite product can mean a lot. Even a small amount of money shows appreciation and may help them justify the time spent on the project.

On completely free products, you might see a call-out asking for donations. The WordPress plugin repository also provides space for this. If you have the means, dropping a few dollars into their virtual tip jar is a great gesture.

Otherwise, it may make sense to upgrade to the “pro” version, if one is available. You’ll likely gain access to more robust features and technical support. Even better is that you’ll be supporting the developer’s work. This will help them sustain the product into the future, which benefits everyone.

A person holding coins.

Support the Developers Who Support You

If you’re a WordPress plugin and theme user, think about what those items have meant to you. Have they helped you serve clients? Perhaps they’ve played a role in powering your business?

The amount of time and money you earned (and saved) because of these products can be significant. That’s an awesome thing and shouldn’t be taken lightly.

Therefore, it’s worth making the effort to sing the praises of a product you love. You’re helping other users by recommending something that might benefit them. Plus, you’re giving the author some warm-and-fuzzy feelings. It’s a win-win situation!

The post Love a WordPress Plugin or Theme? Pay It Forward. appeared first on Speckyboy Design Magazine.

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Clients Make Too Many UX Decisions. Here’s How to Stop Them.

The boundaries between a web designer and their client can often become blurred. Designers, in an effort to please paying customers, put client feedback into action – even if it leads the project in the wrong direction.

A client may be pleased with themselves and happy to get their own way. But at what cost? The ensuing results aren’t always pretty. Crowded layouts, inaccessible design elements, and a general sloppiness can seriously harm the user experience (UX).

For example, consider a client who meddles in the design details of their eCommerce website. Leaving UX decisions regarding product layouts, calls-to-action, and hero areas to a non-designer could be disastrous for sales. And yet, any potential fallout may land squarely on your shoulders. Fair? I think not.

Therefore, it’s up to us to prevent such silliness from happening in the first place. Let’s explore some ways to keep clients at a safe distance from UX.

Define the Stakes

User experience is a critical factor for every website. Yet, clients aren’t always fully aware of what’s at stake. As is often the case, it’s up to web designers to provide some background.

It’s worth taking the time to talk about the importance of accessibility and ease of use. How the design of each element within a page needs to be measured against these factors. Oh, and the massive roles that performance and mobile compatibility play as well.

Then there’s the matter of personal preference. Clients often (and unwittingly) put their own opinions above the needs of the average user. Sometimes, implementing their preference is a detriment to everyone else.

The importance of UX and its contributing factors should be brought up from the very start. When clients are informed, they’ll be more likely to follow your lead.

Welcome Feedback, but Set Boundaries

How does a client go from providing useful feedback to taking over a designer’s job? It’s often subtle and can happen quicker than you think.

To be sure, some people insist on having control of a given situation. They may be just as likely to stand over the plumber fixing their leaky pipes as they are to pester a web designer.

In other cases, the mere fact that a client is paying good money for your services gives them a certain sense of entitlement. And although they may be well-meaning, it can lead to overstepping boundaries.

The dilemma is that getting a client’s feedback is necessary for a successful outcome. But it can also be fertile ground for such a takeover. So, how do you prevent it from happening?

The key is in setting clear guidelines. For example, defining goals for a particular item and asking for feedback based on those parameters.

Consider the hero area of a home page. Let’s say you’ve built something beautiful and need client approval. You might approach them by saying something like:

“I’ve set up the hero area, please take a look! Here is what we were hoping to achieve:

  • Introduce branding elements, including the logo, colors and fonts;
  • Encourage users to subscribe to the mailing list;
  • Mention the 20% off discount for new subscribers;
  • Keep the entire area accessible, easy-to-read and concise;

What do you think?”

The example above isn’t all-encompassing. But it puts the stated goals into a client’s mind. This helps you to narrow the scope of their feedback and (hopefully) avoid anything that distracts from the desired outcome.

A sign that reads "We Hear You."

Put UX Back Into the Hands of Experts

Don’t get me wrong – clients should absolutely be involved in the design process. It’s their brand, after all. And things usually turn out best with their input.

But the heavy lifting of UX should be done by experts like you. Your job is to turn a client’s vision into something that is highly usable. It’s about establishing a brand while helping users get to where they want to go.

If all goes well, they’ll take the path to conversion – whether that means sales, contact, or a subscription. That’s simply too important to leave to client whims.

Instead, educate and work with your clients in an effort to drive home UX best practices. Provide them with parameters to work within. The result will be a website that benefits its owner and users alike.

The post Clients Make Too Many UX Decisions. Here’s How to Stop Them. appeared first on Speckyboy Design Magazine.

What Are the Biggest Threats to Freelance Web Designers?

For freelance web designers, change is a way of life. Tools and technologies come and go, as do design trends. If anything, we may be better equipped to handle a rapidly-evolving world than most.

Take, for example, the COVID-19 pandemic. Chaotic as it has been, it’s led to some important realizations. Perhaps the biggest one is that we are indeed essential workers.

Not on the front line, mind you. But our expertise has played a vital role in helping our clients adjust to a new “normal”. We have also served as liaisons, spreading important information to the masses.

One could argue that web designers are as relevant as ever. Still, that doesn’t mean that individual freelancers are immune to the ever-shifting landscape. Long-term survival in this industry is not a guarantee.

As someone who has spent over two decades freelancing, I do see some potential threats ahead. That said, I also believe designers can prepare for them. Here are a few items to watch out for, along with ways you can mitigate their effects.

The Growing Complexity of Building Websites

Building a custom website is becoming more difficult. The development techniques behind the latest functionality trends are vast. In addition, the expectations from clients have also grown.

But, aren’t things supposed to be easier as technology improves? Well, yes and no.

WordPress is a prime example of this. The Gutenberg block editor has evolved to the point where crafting a custom page layout is relatively simple. Thankfully, extra plugins and hard-coding theme templates are no longer 100% necessary.

Yet, if you want to natively develop custom blocks, it’s not necessarily a straightforward experience. There is a steep learning curve for those who are not already proficient with JavaScript and the React library.

Then there is the whole concept of the “headless” website, where a content management system (CMS) feeds into a static HTML front end. Both the setup and maintenance processes are a whole new ballgame for many web designers.

You can still achieve quite a lot using visual, no-code tools. But going fully custom means digging deep into code. Understandably, that’s not everyone’s strong point.

How to Prepare
Experiment with different technologies and find ones that will benefit your business. That will be the key to providing your clients with cutting-edge service.

Another benefit: the more you know, the more you can charge! The ability to take on complex projects is a great way to boost your bottom line.

One-Stop Agencies

Web design is an ultra-competitive marketplace. Yet, it seems like there has always been enough work to go around. That’s a comforting thought.

But it ultimately depends on the types of clients you want to work with. For a certain level of clientele, a niche freelancer is becoming a less attractive option. Why? Because we don’t do “everything”.

Some organizations see a benefit to having all of their needs taken care of by a single provider. That means their web, print, and social media are in the hands of a one-stop agency.

The appeal is understandable. Instead of having a web designer over here, a graphic artist over there, and an SEO expert somewhere else, one company handles it all. Ideally, an agency will have a single point of contact and a more cohesive strategy.

When, for example, it’s time for a rebrand, the agency is there every step of the way. Even if the cost is higher, the ease of management may be worth the premium.

How to Prepare
Short of expanding your offerings and hiring additional people (thus, becoming an agency), competing in this area is difficult. However, there are some things you can do to stay in the game.

The first is to focus on clients who don’t require an all-encompassing level of service. There are plenty of organizations out there that will see the value in what you do.

You might also find an opportunity to work with an agency, as some utilize freelancers quite a bit. Coming on board means playing a key role in their projects. Plus, these types of gigs can become a source of recurring revenue.

People shopping at a convenience store.

Poor Business Habits

While outside threats get all the publicity, nothing can sink a freelance design career faster than poor business habits. They can lead you to lose money and, ultimately, your business.

There are several things here that can spell trouble, including:

  • Spending too much money;
  • Reliance on a single, large client;
  • Charging too little;
  • Failure to be thorough when creating project estimates;
  • Providing poor customer service;
  • Leaving yourself open to legal liability;

Quite often, it’s not a lack of talent or even a saturated market that kills a web design business. Rather, carelessness can be the biggest culprit. The seemingly small details of running a business mean a lot.

How to Prepare
Running a freelance web design business requires a lot of discipline. Therefore, it pays to be organized and develop processes for every aspect of the job.

In practice, this means accurately keeping track of finances, staying on top of ongoing projects, effectively communicating with clients, and general awareness of where your business stands. This will keep you vigilant and less likely to be taken by surprise.

A cluttered office.

Control What You Can

Some threats to freelance web designers are beyond our control. Market trends and the whims of clients are chief among them. Add to that the ever-growing complexity that defines what a website is and should be. Here, all we can do is try and keep pace.

However, there are many things we can control. We can choose to learn new skills that keep us on par with industry standards. This ensures that we won’t fall behind the curve when it comes to top-notch design and functionality.

In addition, we can run our businesses like a well-oiled machine. Doing so will allow us to stay organized and make the most of the opportunities that come our way. We may even recognize new ones that we wouldn’t have before.

Most importantly, we can choose the direction we want our business to go. This means further developing a niche and recruiting clients who fit our vision. The idea is to find clients who will benefit from our expertise and help them grow.

Yes, there are some existential threats to freelancers lurking out there. But with the right approach, they’ll end up as little more than bumps in the road.

The post What Are the Biggest Threats to Freelance Web Designers? appeared first on Speckyboy Design Magazine.

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