One Little-Known ​Gesture That Could Affect Your Client Relationships Big Time

There is one key practice that highly successful service providers do which sets them apart from all the competition.

What’s that one simple way you can improve client relationships, and can you make your work with them enjoyable?

We all have had bad clients, but who’s really responsible for that? Remember that every client is a human, who wants to be heard, appreciated, taken care of. Give and you shall receive.

Businesses have no emotion. People do.”

I want to show you one simple and doable practice that will revolutionize the way you do client relationship management (CRM).

stevejobs

You’re going to learn CRM the way Jobs did through this lesson. We’re going to talk about a few things:

  • Ideas on client relationship management from people leading their industries
  • The disappearance of B2B and C2C marketing, and how everything is becoming about H2H marketing (human to human marketing)
  • How to earn your clients’ trust and preference through one simple practice

Gone are the days when work is strictly work. Client relationship management has become a personal thing.

Gyro.com shares about how technology has forced B2B marketers to become more individualized in the approach by hitting the individual. As Bryan Kramer, CEO of PureMatter, places it well in his article for Social Media Today, “Businesses have no emotion. People do.”

h2h

Business has to be more relational and less rudimentary. To become better in providing design services, we need to act more humanely. It’s one thing that separates the design industry from other industries.

It’s nothing far from what designers foundationally do. Conceptual professionals – designers, marketers, bloggers, etc.- are in the business of managing the perceptions and feelings of others. These are the professionals in making things human. Sadly, many creatives miss out on being human to their clients.

Salah Elkasef, introduces in his LinkedIn article, “H2H Marketing Reduces the Need for B2B and C2C Segmentation”, the concept of human to human marketing. He says,

“While it is true that businesses do not have emotions, the people that are making the purchasing decision do.”

Customer empathy has become necessary and vital in the way freelancers interact and market to potential clients and maintaining client relationships.

Elkasef also notes the disappearance of a B2B and C2C segmentation. B2B transactions are no longer supposed to be ‘corporate’ and ‘heartless’ in nature.

It’s true that many large agencies and a majority of freelancers still remain to be lifeless in their approach. However, this approach is no longer what dominates the market. It is the personal approach that stands out.

Many large media companies such as Vaynermedia now approach client relationship management as a human thing, no longer as a blind, lifeless practice. Client trust and preference are the key. Gary Vaynerchuk, CEO of Vaynermedia, once wrote that empathy is one skill that many people should learn, empathy in the way they deal with clients and with personnel.

Trust and preference build not only for a large quantity of clients, but also high quality relationship with each client. Marketing Metrics notes that the probability of getting business from a new prospect is 5-20% whereas getting business from an existing client is 60-70%. In the long run, depth matters most. Trust and preference brings higher returns at lower costs and effort.

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What is most surprising is that majority of people are human only in their execution, and not in the way they do business.

A large number creatives and designers practice their human voices in the way they execute content marketing, design, writing, promotions and user experience and then treat their clients as issues, not people.

Kristin Smaby in her article “Being Human Is Good Business” points out three strong points about how to treat customers:

  • A customer is not an issue or a channel.
  • A customer uses channels to communicate issues.
  • A customer is a human being.

This is greatly influenced by the traditional notion of ‘business being non-personal’ and seeing it unfit to be friends with business partners or clients. It’s surprising how much your competition does not see the need, or- even worse- treat as a taboo the idea of being friends with clients.

So here’s the burning question for everyone:

“Why do most freelancers perform SEO, design and improve user experience in a human way, and  do client relationship management in a non-human way?”

The compelling case? It’s this simple: You can be friends with your clients.

Robert W. Dempsey puts it well when he asks the question– “What fear drives us to believe that we cannot be 100% ourselves with our customers, and that we must put up a facade in order to attract people to our businesses?”

Human relationship simplifies everything in client relationship management because it injects the trust factor. And, boy,trust a big deal in the industry.

The key to long term engagements with clients is the level of trust that you and your client share.

Trust and preference come in a package called relationship. To build trust, we cannot be disconnected with our clients- both existing and potential. And in a relationship, everything counts.

From the big things, such as ROI, better visual branding, delivering on time, down to the small things, clients will trust designers who hit all areas. Some of the small things clients appreciate include placing captions on wireframes, personally liking the client’s social media posts, and even greeting them on holidays. Sadly, so many designers miss the small things.

 Yes! Greeting clients on holidays. It’s a small practice, but it is one that will revolutionize the way you handle relationships with clients. It has increased the level of trust clients have for me. Ever since I started greeting clients on holidays, birthdays, name days, most, if not all of clients have stayed longer for services.

Here’s an example of an email I sent out to one of my longest and biggest client, Zap.com.ph, as a Christmas greeting last year.

trust and preference example

The Operations Director, Dustin Cheng, has now become more than a client. I have established with him a human-to-human relationship and not simply a business-to-business one. Zap has been a client for more than two years now. Aside from that, he has also referred countless other people to me for work!

I believe that sending out greetings is an effective, simple and sustainable practice for client relationship management. This is so for two reasons:

  • It helps designers stay relevant. Greeting our clients communicates connection and relevance, that we are not just machines that cough-up PSDs and codes. We are people who value our clients.
  • It makes the client feel human. When they feel human, they start acting humanely. They become more forgiving when you make mistakes, more generous when you inform them of increases in rates, when you screw up a scheduled meeting with them and so on.

1WD’s challenge is to have everyone apply this simple practice during the holidays. 1stWebDesigner is giving out a free Christmas card (in various formats, download zip file) for all you designers to download and personalize for your clients. Be as personal as you can with your messages.

trust and preference built through christmas greeting

Here’s an example of what the Christmas Card template 1stWebDesigner is giving out looks like. It comes in various preset colours, and there are five pre-made quotes as well that you can choose from.

colors

The application is simple but not easy. Imagine having to break the status quo. Your client will find it weird. Your partners will find it weird. Even you will find it weird at first! But once you get a hang of it, it becomes life-changing.

You’ll be surprised at how much a simple greeting can do for your career, and client relationship management problems. Your CRM problems will decrease by half!

Human relationships are the key to long-term and successful partnerships with your client. If you get that right, you’ll be an industry leader in no time. Yes it’s important to be great at delivering, but personal relations will trump the business side anytime of the day.

Enjoy everyone!

In case you missed it, click here for the free christmas card template. Tell us what you think of them by putting your comments below!

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Get the Best Out of Your Best: 25 Finest Premium WordPress Themes

The saying ‘You get what you pay for’ applies perfectly for the finest premium WordPress themes. These themes are packed with plenty of features that help you in creating all sorts of websites on WordPress. There are thousands of great themes out there but finding the one that will match perfectly with your need seems like a challenge.

So in this post, we are sharing some fresh and beautiful premium WordPress themes that will help you in finding the best one. These premium themes are best to work with in 2015 because of their features include a shortcode generator, responsive design, and custom widgets, etc.

You will find all kinds of themes ranging from portfolio, magazine, personal blog, music, video, and business themes in this shared list. The good thing about premium themes is that it’s always responsive so it can easily adjust with every screen resolution.

Responsive website design is very essential for the success of brand which is looking to start its business. Premium themes are also SEO-ready so you don’t need to worry about getting your site visible on search engines. But the only thing required is to choose a premium WordPress theme that has such features. So take a look on the list below and choose your favorite one!

1. Zen

Zen

2. ImgBlog

ImgBlog

3. NewsCore

NewsCore

4. Ados

Ados

5. Flipbox

Flipbox

6. Trendy Travel

Trendy Travel

7. Flatize

Flatize

8. Sportify

Sportify

9. Pearl

Pearl

10. Ernesto

Ernesto

11. AMY Theme

AMY Theme

12. Frover

Frover

13. Margot

Margot

14. Quantum

Quantum

15. Cadillac

Cadillac

16. Wunderkind

Wunderkind

17. Akast

Akast

18. Jollyany

Jollyany

19. This One

This One

20. DOIT

DOIT

21. Nerva

Nerva

22. Himeros

Himeros

23. Kitai

Kitai

24. The Agency v2

The Agency v2

25. Spaces

Spaces

All the premium themes featured above can be easily used without any geek skills. Every one of these themes has highest quality that will suit your website. If you want, you can also make adjustments to the theme accordingly.

So I hope you have founded what you were looking for. If you like to share something with us, just leave a comment below.

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13 Business Lessons from Expanding 1stWebDesigner in 2014

I have always found that I enjoy biographies, case studies and stories from people who have been there and done that. What can be more credible than content written from personal experience?

In this article, I will look back at 2014 and analyze what happened and discover the biggest business lessons learned from running 1WD business. This will be a massive post. I thought about splitting it in two parts, but decided to just give it all away.

Those who will want to pick all the massive value from the post will set 20 minutes aside. 13 business lessons will be hidden within the content as I tell you the whole story and put these lessons in the context, so you understand where I am coming from. Oh and in the end of article, you’ll learn more about what we plan to do with 1WD in 2015! Your participation and feedback is required! 🙂

Almost year ago, on March 9th,  I wrote this post – Lessons I Learned Growing a 6-Figure Online Business in 2013. You can take a peek there as this article will be an update of our progress, challenges and lessons learned from this year.

This year was a very rocky ride for me as well as for company. As my friend said: “Education costs money, and you got one hell of education this year”.

This time, I won’t amaze you with impressive growth, numbers, success stories, instead, talk about failure and entrepreneur’s path which you all experience as you are running your business. There is a lot of failure and tough times, especially when you are full-time freelancer working with clients and trying to create a bold project idea you had in mind for years.

In this article, you will get a secret sneak peek on what has happened on 1stWebDesigner behind the scenes this year. You will learn about our challenges and lessons from which you can learn to make you smarter and more successful for the next year. That’s what I promise.

Are you interested and ready to dive in? Let’s go!

Before I start, let me put some context about 1stWebDesigner. Two years ago, I made a decision to move to the Philippines and establish company headquarters there so everybody is in the same location. We could work agilely towards bigger dreams of changing existing educational system for designers and freelancers. We have always wanted to give you real-life education which will help you to work right now, not what worked 5 years ago.

Before this move to the Philippines, I have always worked remotely with our team – be it for full-time team members or  freelancers who either  guest-posted or worked part-time on 1stWebDesigner. During this time, I even established a remote partnership with Spencer Forman to create an online video freelancer training site.

When I moved to the Philippines, everything didn’t go as planned. In the first six months, we only managed to bring the team together by living, eating, sleeping and working together in one house. It was fun, but our goal was to expand our team and create our dream office; the, house was too small for such bold goals. We also spent quite a bit of time arguing about the perfect location for the office.

Angeles City, Philippines have a lot of schools, but the location was very urban. I wanted a more laid-back environment with options to enjoy nature. We found such location in Iloilo, where we also met Grace, who had great experience with human resources.

We opted for that location because of nature. It also provided the chance of getting a chance to work with Grace, who helped great deal with managing finances, running the office, interviewing the new team members and being my adviser as well.

It took several months to find a spacious office with natural lighting but, eventually, we found perfect place! In the photo below, you can see me and Algene working in the office, sitting on beanbags, enjoying the beautiful scenery outside with natural lighting coming in.

At one time, we had 15 team members working in the office (several still remote); we had weekly Ted Talk gatherings, full-day brainstorming sessions as well as team building activities outside the office. This lasted for only six months, however.

But now, since October, we don’t have any office anymore.  I returned back to Latvia; our team consists now of 6 people, including myself, and we are back to an agile, remote environment. I stopped my partnership with Spencer and got new partner, James.

What happened? I am about to tell you 13 business lessons we learned…

office-philippines

1stWebDesigner Growth Strategy in 2014

It’s nostalgic for me to write about 1WD as it has been my project of focus for last six and a half years. During this time, we did many things right and also made a fair amount of mistakes. Before 1WD, I never imagined I will even become an entrepreneur. I lack the education running business, but where I lacked knowledge, I made it up with hard work and learning as I go.

I need to admit, I wasn’t much hands-on with 1WD this year; I let our ex-editor to take the lead with his team. In the meantime, I was learning how to take the business to the next level of creating culture. I was learning about bookkeeping, leadership, hiring, creating systems in business to make work more effective. We established three departments:

  • Human Resources Department – responsible for hiring, firing, running the office, finances and planning team events
  • Editorial Department – responsible for 1WD article writing, proofreading, editing and publishing
  • Design & Development Department – our designer and programmer helped with graphics, and whatever we needed to be coded
  • Marketing Department – included social media communication, email marketing, SEO, replying to business requests and moderating comments

I worked with department leaders to help them get work done smoothly. It wasn’t easy; I am more like a manager, not a leader. That’s actually a big reason why I wanted to work so much with James. While I am number and systems guy, James is an excellent leader. He has excellent people skills. I am introvert; he’s extrovert – perfect duo.

accountability-chart-1stwebdesigner

Looking back, I understood that we wanted to step up to the next level too fast. While expanding, we got an ineffective team that didn’t get the tasks done on time. We had managers and department leaders who didn’t know how to manage or lead effectively. I didn’t even know how to lead bigger team effectively.

I hoped we’ll just throw ourselves in deep waters and learn to swim as we go.

From the book “Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…And Others Don’t”, two biggest takeaways about what makes companies great are:

  • Leadership
  • Getting the right people on the boat and wrong people off the boat and only then figuring out where to go.

My leadership skills weren’t good, and I wasn’t decisive about people we hire, fire or keep in the team. I’ve read many times how great leaders like Jeff Bezos (Amazon), Larry Page & Sergey Brin (Google), and Tony Hsieh (Zappos) were always personally interviewing new hires, and considered hiring their most important task to do in the company. They gave up hiring people only when they grew past 100 people in the team and then only were involved in key hires.

I learned this lesson only later. For example, I allowed team leaders to hire and pick their own team members because I thought they would be the ones working with them, not me. Oh, and did I say I misjudged many people and actually wasted lots of energy, people who didn’t get things done, but just promised the world.

As I said, it’s been one hell of education and learning this year.

What were the lessons learned when trying to expand?:

1. Find the key partner with complementing skills.

If you are not a people person, find somebody who is great with people and actually loves to be around them. I am introvert and constantly being around people drains me. I don’t feel productive either. Lessons – know your strengths as well as your weaknesses and find partner who complements you.

2. Grow slowly.

If you have never run bigger company, expand slowly. Our experience would be far less painful if we grew our team slowly, being very careful about who we let into our company. Leading a team takes a completely different skill set and thinking as opposed to being just one-man band.

3. Be agile.

It’s amazing how a small team can do amazing things online. Staying small and moving quickly is one hell of advantage. I tried to assume I was great leader and understood that growing our team to 20 people, was my EGO. Funny thing was that we got much more done when being just 5 people in the team, than having 20 people.

What happened with 1WD this year?

Let me explain what happened with our content behind the scenes..

We had several good writers in the team and our ex-editor was taking the lead with the Editorial Department. He was pushing a different strategy, unlike what I had in mind when I was still hands-on with 1WD. His goal was to make every article interesting to read – educational and fun. He preferred shorter articles. I had my doubts about how easy it is to generate engagement and shares when creating such articles, but I wanted him to take ownership so I tried his approach.

When I was writing articles myself, my goal was to always aim to write the best researched article about the specific topic.  Every article we published needed to be better than any other article previously published on the Web. I knew this was doable when you do proper research, and take your time. This was what I always tried to translate to the writers but it was hard to find good writers who didn’t compromise on quality.

We had our different opinions with our ex-editor about content but I was optimistic that we could get best of both worlds. The dream was to have great full-time writers team, with which we could publish brilliant articles daily without loosing quality.

We never made it to work, however.

As our ex-editor’s lead articles became shorter and more fun, articles usually didn’t get us much attention and engagement in comments. We  had trouble with effective communication with writers because some of writers who still worked remotely didn’t reply on time. Mistakes were made and content quality suffered more often than we wanted to admit.

We were getting fewer shares and lesser engagement in comments. Our Facebook fans were posting how a few years ago 1WD was so personal and warm – but now, it seems to be so impersonal and cold.

We tried to scale our editorial team, but couldn’t make it without loosing quality.

It was a tough time. We needed to part ways with five team members. There was so much clutter and inefficiencies in the team that it was easier to start from scratch than to try fixing things . Again, it was my own lack of experience in running a bigger team, communicating expectations clearly and hiring the wrong people.

And this brings us where we are right now – we have only one person in editorial team – Ruby, who is both the proofreader and writer.

What were the lessons learned,when trying to expand our editorial team?:

4. Find somebody with your own qualities for leadership roles.

If you want somebody to replace you, make sure you are on the same page about the direction where you want to go. It doesn’t mean that you always need to agree with each other, but whenever decision is made, it needs to be followed 100% without any further questioning.

The leader needs to take responsibility for his own actions, not point fingers to others when something goes wrong.

5. Hire slowly, fire quickly.

When growing your business, it is very important to keep the culture you built.

When you hire somebody who doesn’t have your team values, he is like a rotten apple among good apples. It doesn’t mean that person is bad;, it’s just that he’s not the right fit for the company.

You need to have right people with same values in the team. When you hire somebody you need to be very careful during the trial period. If something doesn’t feel right – fire quickly. If you fail to do so, sometimes you’ll lose years, when battling with this person, trying to work things out. But you will never be happy about the results.

6. People are replaceable – even you.

I’m always worried about how hard it will be to find another person to do the job if I fire somebody who has been with company for years. If the person is the right person for company, you’ll always know it deep down.

If he’s not, you’ll always find yourself making excuses and trying to blame yourself when things don’t work out. People are replaceable and you can always find somebody else to do the job.

This advice would have helped a lot to me earlier when I had to make tough decisions. Turn it around and you also will understand that you can always replace yourself as well. You can find somebody who loves to do the things you don’t enjoy.

Simple example –  If you love programming, but don’t enjoy designing, you can always find a designer who appreciates your programmer skills and loves to design every day.

Moving To Philippines – Pros and Cons

iloilo-riga

I spent in total 1.5 years in the Philippines and this place definitely wasn’t what I expected. People there have completely different mentality from the one I was used to (European) .

Originally, I wanted to setup headquarters in Philippines because many of our existing team members were there and I enjoyed working with them. Since living expenses are much lower in the Philippines, salary expectations were also much lower as well compared to Europe, UK or USA. Great competitive advantage.

I really enjoyed living in Philippines, as it is luxury living for far less monetary value than any other country. But let me drop it down to you in pros and cons.

Pros:

  • People are very friendly, happy and positive – Filipinos might not have much, but they are always ready to help out. They are always smiling, being happy about life. They don’t get angry about traffic jams, for example.
  • Everything is cheaper – It’s twice cheaper than living in Latvia (4x cheaper than living in UK or USA), which might be the reason why so many expats move to the Philippines. From a business perspective, it’s far cheaper to setup office as rental and office supply costs are much lower.
  • You can meet influential people very easily – Filipinos are very friendly towards foreigners and it is very easy to meet, for example, the town’s mayor and local influential business people. I guess it is because not many foreigners go there and Filipinos are just very friendly and open people.
  • It is always sunny and warm – In Latvia, we have cold winters and living in sunny place really lifts you up mentally. Nature in the Philippines is very beautiful, which is amazing if you just want to get out from your work and relax. Even traveling doesn’t seem expensive there!
  • Everybody speaks English fluently – This was another big factor why I liked Philippines.
  • You can outsource everything – You can easily outsource the basic time consuming tasks that fill your day and take your energy – like shopping, office/house cleaning, cooking, etc. This allows you to put all wake-time in productive actions. Many local households have helpers who live with them, act as their personal drivers and help to do all the day-to-day activities. This allows many heads of the family to focus on their work being sure everything at home is in order.

Cons:

  • The Internet is very slow and unreliable – For 6 months, we had challenges with Internet connection.We couldn’t get stable Internet even after having three separate Internet providers at office. I may be biased because, in Latvia, we have 2nd fastest Internet in the world. In hindsight, we had many challenges with Internet connection in Philippines.
  • Average education is not very good there –  Many students receive outdated education in schools, which means it is harder to find high-level people to hire. People are very religious but there are very few cultural events or high-level conferences going on, hurting the chances of getting good education (compared to Europe, USA or UK).
  • People, in general, aren’t hungry to grow – I noticed this difference to be very important. I guess because of the bad weather in Europe, for example, people are much hungrier to grow and succeed in their careers. In the Philippines, most people are laid back; they enjoy their time with families, friends and usually don’t have this big urge to  fight and do big things even if theInternet provides them with this chance. Or maybe many people just don’t know about this opportunity yet, I cannot be sure. The smartest people usually move to USA and live there.
So these were the trade-offs I experienced. I don’t want to offend anybody in the Philippines. I am just sharing what I went through myself from a business perspective. The Philippines may be beautiful place to live due to its cheap living and beautiful nature but that weren’t something that mattered much to me – I was looking to grow my business there. And I met my challenges.
living-in-philippines-pros-cons-700
I am not saying you cannot find smart and motivated people in Philippines. It’s just much harder to do so than in other countries…at least in my experience. That being said, we still have five AMAZING people we work with in Philippines, and I feel very blessed they are with us. My partner, James, is still in the country working remotely and meeting with the team regularly.I am sharing these experiences so if you ever consider hiring Filipino or moving to Philippines you know what to expect. If your business needs basic outsourcing like SEO link building, low quality article writing, niche site building, call center support, the Philippines is a superb place to have such business. It is far more difficult if you are looking to create high level online company from there.I also need to point out that I didn’t live in capital of Philippines; I lived in Iloilo, which is laid-back town. In Manila, you can definitely find smart and ambitious people, but I didn’t want to live there. There is no nature, and it is an overpopulated place with much crime and poverty.We are slowly looking to become international again as it is far easier to find great people all over the world than just in one country.

First partnership experience with Spencer and 1WD.TV

For the last three years, I was partnered with Spencer to create 1WD.TV – a place where you could learn how to become a successful freelance web designer. It was a wild ride and Spencer helped many freelancers to get more and higher paying clients. However, as project grew, we had our own challenges. 1stwebdesigner and 1WD.TV were run as separate companies and this proved to become increasingly difficult as we grew.

Eventually, we agreed to try merging 1WD.TV with 1stWebDesigner by sharing all the resources. This didn’t go well as Spencer was mainly focused on 1WD.TV, and I was trying to juggle between projects. 1stWebDesigner was suffering.

We had our differences with Spencer and we couldn’t find a good way to make this partnership work so we decided to part ways. I and 1stWebDesigner are no longer associated with 1WD.TV.

This was my first experience of partnership and as everything you do for the first time, you try your best, but you screw up royally sometimes.

Lessons to takeaway:

7. Everything happens for the best.

When we parted our ways, a friend of mine suggested to spend time and write all the things I learned from this partnership. It was healthy exercise to look back and understand how many things I’ve learned because of this partnership and stop looking for negatives.

The world around you changes as you look at it – if you look at it as an evil, negative place, everything around you will be negative. If you look at world as this beautiful place with remarkable things happening all around you, with great lessons, you will be able to learn and live a positive life.

8. The same core values

I do repeat myself now. When looking for a partner, make sure your core values are the same. You need to have complementing strengths and weaknesses, but your core values, the way you see and operate in the world should be the same.

9. Constant communication

Talk about issues as they arise. Talk often. If you don’t, you will quickly start having negative thoughts in your mind, when it is only a simple misunderstanding. Don’t talk regularly and you’ll quickly run into problems.

10. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes.

We parted our ways with Spencer on good terms, and it was great experience for both of us. It’s scary to partner up, but it is so much easier to survive entrepreneurial life with a partner than going in there alone. Having partnerships is very similar to relationships – you are in it together and you become very close. While it’s scary to go in there and there are many times when these don’t work, a partnership still equates to 1+1 = 3.

James coming in the picture, taking over as CEO and my trusted partner.

I have known James for several years, but last year we stopped working together when we couldn’t find a way on how we can best work together. However, we stayed friends. We learned from our previous challenges. We learned about each other’s natural strengths, weaknesses and so on. The Wealth Dynamics personality profile test was a huge help to understand how each of us operate.

I cannot say enough how important it is to understand your own natural strengths and weaknesses as well as to know the fact that there are people who are naturally good at things you are terrible at. For example, I am naturally good with finances, and systems but I am terrible with people.

James, on other side, is excellent when working with people. H can meet new people easily- and loves doing so, but he isn’t as good with finances. Finding a partner with opposite strengths has been truly a blessing.

Now I can focus more on polishing my own, knowing that James has got my back on things I am weak at and don’t enjoy doing.

Four months ago, James flew in from the UK to the Philippines and we started working together with this newly gained confidence in each other. James has impressive experience working as freelancer himself. He has worked with very high-level clients.  Also, he has super high standards, always aiming for perfection from himself and the team.

1WD is in good hands now and if you haven’t felt it yet, you will very soon.

AwesomeWeb launch and lessons learned launching new project

awesomeweb freelance marketplace

At the beginning of 2014, we joined forces to create AwesomeWeb. We partnered up with Michael Dunlop from IncomeDiary and Nicholas Tart to create the best freelance marketplace online. 1stWebDesigner attracts freelancers, who are looking for better clients.

On the flip-side, IncomeDiary attracts entrepreneurs who are looking for designers who can complete their bold projects. It was a natural fit to connect the pieces and solve the natural challenges for both 1WD and IncomeDiary.

It took us 9 months to get to the working version as we opted out to build our site on Ruby on Rails, but last September, we finally launched it. We already have more than 400 designers and developers on AwesomeWeb who are getting hired right now. If you are freelancer, you definitely should check out AwesomeWeb.

We are working hard to making AwesomeWeb better and better with each day and we really appreciate the kind feedback we receive from happy users!

Lessons learned:

11. Launch faster.

It always takes much longer to launch project than you ever planned. We spent months working on making AwesomeWeb.

After a while we understood, we will never be satisfied and ready to launch, unless we just launch it. So we did just that and we gave people minimally working version, even if we saw so many things to improve.

By launching earlier we do get some upset users when something isn’t working, but we get  the so-needed feedback. We are very grateful how understanding our users are and we are grateful for all the support we are receiving.

12. Communicate often.

We are doing it right this time, talking three times a week and constantly supporting each other. If we wouldn’t be committed about this communication, I am sure we would be as far as we are now.

13. Meeting face to face

We met each other before we even started working together and that made all the difference. I trust Michael and Nick much more after spending full week with them. Now we plan to meet again in January, and I am confident it will only bring us closer together.

This is very important for remote teams because you work better with people you like, know and respect. Many remote teams have acknowledged this and are meeting once a year for team retreats.

What kind of content will we be publishing on 1WD?

This was another historical challenge of ours. When I started 1WD I was writing about everything I found interesting – sometimes it was photo-manipulation, photography, marketing, web design, logo design, freelancing or social media. I wasn’t focused at all, but, hey, I never expected 1WD will grow this size.

Right now, we have decided to focus only on WordPress and high-level freelance business because we see that’s what you are most interested in and we are most passionate about these topics. We don’t want to write for beginners anymore. If we write very basic tips and tutorials, we get exactly that kind of audience. This was another mistake I made.

These are beginners who mostly aren’t ready to do what it takes to become successful online. They complain about how unfair this world is but aren’t ready to do something about it. Besides, there are far better places for beginners to learn the first steps, and it’s easy to just play around and learn something on their own.

What we want to create here is community of capable designers and freelancers who are looking to step-up their game. We want to help people to get to the next level – help them find high paying clients, help them understand how to position themselves to stand out from crowds, and help with creating and running their agencies where several team members are involved!

If you need babysitting, this is not a place for you, but if you need motivation to step up your game being around like-minded community – we are definitely here for you!

Well, that’s a big reason why we don’t have a writer’s team we had in the past. For them, this change of focus was hard to take in. We hired them on different expectations and, suddenly, we were expecting something completely different from them. Great people can and will love change while some people want comfort and they don’t want to challenge themselves.

There is this amazing book about growth and change, and book title says it all – “What Got You Here, Won’t Get You There”.

Where are we going forward?

going-forward-sunrise

For the next year, we are committed to focus on 1stWebDesigner by writing thought- provoking and high-level articles about growth, business, web design and mindset. We also want to bring our community closer together and share our knowledge. Moving forward, the best conversations do happen in comments section!

We started this movement by changing our outlook a month ago (how do you like our redesign?).

There will also be a lot more personalized video content from James, where he’ll answer your questions and talk about lessons we learned from the past that can really help you. Here is one video, for example:

Another big policy change is that we are no longer willing to accept guest writers, not even in-house writers or journalists. We are working hard to create premium partnerships with hand-picked content curators. Only these people who have a proven track record of being successful, and recognized as thought leaders in the field will be published here.

All of these is in the name of delivering much higher quality, to make sure we can filter out our audience to find out who is serious about web design, development career and who isn’t. It will be fun 2015!

Now, we are going through past content we published before and we are cleaning the house. There is so much outdated content, many articles written by me on 2008, 2009 are being removed. It is crazy to see how rapidly industry changes. For example, I found an article where I was talking about Adobe Flash and its future. Who remembers Flash anymore or even more – who uses it? Crazy, how people argued about this few years ago.

Also we want to be personal again, and this post is the first stepping stone to achieving this goal.

This was a truly rocky year with many lessons learned, but not having much to show for growth. But when I think about 2014 and feel unmotivated to keep going, I remember this Steve Jobs quote: “Stay hungry, stay foolish”. I see so many people who stop growing, learning new things and making mistakes because life has disappointed them so many times. But you need to stay hungry and foolish, and dream about bold goals or you’ll end up depressed, without good goals to live in this life.

But we aren’t one of them. We push boundaries; we challenge ourselves and we grow! Let’s go strong in 2015!

Back to You

What did you go through this year and what was the most important lesson you learned?

Please share your story and let others learn from you as well. I want to hear from you and carry on this conversation in comment section!

If you have more questions about what happened on 1WD, just ask, I will make sure all of our team pitch in and answer each question as best as we can!

P.S. If you managed to make it this far, thank you for reading 🙂 – Dainis

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Integrate Images from Your Instagram Feed to Your WordPress Site

Instagram has become one of the best apps and web platforms for photo and video sharing. If you have a WordPress site, you might be wondering how you can embed Instagram photo galleries and integrate images to your blog.

To help users integrate their photos to their blogs and websites, Instagram has released a public Application Programming Interface (API).

It is a seamless software-to-software interface which specifies how some software components should interact with each other without user involvement during the passing of information.

If you are not a developer, this might scare you and you might think that integrating Instagram photos and videos on your WordPress site is a rocket science.

Worry no more. This article will serve as a guide for both beginners and advance WordPress users on how you can integrate Instagram to the WordPress site using the Enjoy Instagram WordPress plugin.

Resource You Need to Complete This Tutorial

STEP 1 – Installing the Enjoy Instagram WordPress Plugin

To start off, install the Enjoy Instagram Plugin. To do this go to Plugins ->Add New and search for “Enjoy Instagram” WordPress plugin.

install

Next, click the “Install” button and afterwards the “Activate” button to activate the plugin.

activate-plugin

STEP 2 – Registering Application Using Instagram API

Now that you already installed the “Enjoy Instagram” plugin, register a new application on Instagram to be able to use its API.

To do this, first login to your Instagram account and then go to this URL: http://instagram.com/developer/

register

Next, click the “Register Your Application” button. You will be prompted to the “Developer Signup” screen.

Now go ahead and fill up the fields with your WordPress site domain, your phone number and your reason for creating the API.

Don’t forget to accept API Terms of Use and Brand Guidelines by clicking on the check box below the fields before clicking on the “Sign Up” button.

accept

STEP 3 – Registering a New Client

Now that you have registered your API, create a new client to get the API Client ID and Client Secret ID.

To do this go ahead and access this URL again: http://instagram.com/developer/

Click on “Register Your Application” button again.

register

Next, click on the “Register a New Client” button on the top right side of the screen.

register-a-new-client

You will be prompted with the “Register a New Client ID” screen. Fill up the form needed to continue and enter the Captcha details before clicking the “Register” button.

register-a-new-client

Note: You can get the OAuth redirect_uri by going into the plugin settings page on your WordPress Admin panel.

To do this, just go to Settings->Enjoy Instagram and you can copy the OAuth redirect_uri provided for your site.

settings

outh

After clicking the button, you’ll be redirected to the “Manage Clients” page which will contain your Client ID and Client Secret ID for your WordPress Site.

server-manage-clients

STEP 4 – Copying Client ID and Client Secret ID to the WP Site

Now that you have already gotten both Client ID and Client Secret ID, it’s time to paste then on the Enjoy Instagram settings page.

To do this, from the “Manage Client” page on Instagram, copy the Client ID and Client Secret ID and paste it to the form where it says “Enter your Client ID and Client Secret ID”.

31

Finally click the “Authorize Application” button to save it. You will be redirected to the Instagram’s API access request page. Click “Authorize” button to continue.

blurred

After all these steps, you will be then redirected on the plugins success page on your WordPress site, indicating that your Instagram profile has been successfully integrated.

test

STEP 5 – Creating Widgets to Display Instagram Photos on the WP Site

OK, great! You’ve successfully configured the API for Instagram. The next thing to do is display the Instagram photos on the sidebar with the use of widgets.

To do this, go to Appearance ->Widgets. Add the “Enjoy Instagram Grid Widgets” on the main sidebar and configure it to your preferred settings.

6

Now, if you are going to check on the front page, you’ll see that your Instagram’s photos are already displaying on the sidebar of your site.

7

Additional Option: Displaying Instagram Photos via Hashtags

If you prefer to display photos using hashtags instead of your own photos, you can navigate on the Enjoy Instagram settings page under “Settings” tab. Just click on the hashtag radio button and enter the hashtag you prefer.

8

Note: Don’t forget also to click on the hashtag radio button on the the “Enjoy Instagram Grid Widgets” when adding it on the sidebar.

Conclusion

Enjoy Instagram is a flexible Instagram plugin that lets you display your images in a grid or a carousel. What is more great about this plugin, aside from the hashtag additional option, it is also optimized for mobile devices which offers touch support to mobile users .

What tools do you use to easily display Instagram images on your website? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Jack of All Trades? Or Master of One?

In his lifetime, Leonardo Da Vinci was a painter, sculptor, architect, musician, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, botanist, and writer.

Basically, Da Vinci was a one-man wrecking machine. A Jack of All Trades

Four hundred ninety five years after he died, the world has changed so much. Yes, we still have painters, sculptors, architects, musicians, mathematicians, engineers, inventors, anatomists, geologists, cartographers, botanists, and writers (that would be me! Ha!).

But all of these tasks are normally carried out by different individuals.

During Da Vinci’s time, there were no computers and HTML codes. Heck, the Internet was not even conceived during those times. But if it existed, Da Vinci probably became a web designer and maybe a developer too.

da-vinci

Image from Biography

Now we ask, is still possible to have multiple areas of practice nowadays?

Some would argue NO. A number of people say being jacks of all trades is not recommended, especially with our times. What’s best today is to find a specific field, study hard and become an expert.

Some would refute and say YES. Some believe that it is still relevant and possible to become one. It just entails a lot of effort and time.

“Jacks of all trades, masters of none,” the congregation of the masses shout. But what really is better: become a this guy? Or become a master of just one?

Versatility Is the Name of the Game

designer-busy

What does being Jacks of All Trades mean in web design?

Being  Jacks of All Trades guy in web design means:

  • You are proficient in different aspects in web design and development.
  • You are adept in color theories, composition of elements, technical matters and more.

In web design, being an all-around guy means that you are able to adjust on the tasks a client gives you. Be it in simple like banner design to intricate jobs like WordPress theme development. As one of the  Jacks of all trades, you have to be able to deliver in the deadline you both agreed upon.

What Are the Trades That I Should Be Good at?

How does being one of the Jacks of All Trades play in my work?

Being a Jack of All Trades play a major role in how you manage your work. Now that you have identified that you can be good at a lot of things, you will be able to take on different projects concerning different facets of design. That means more money.

designer-on-phone

This is advantageous for budding designers who haven’t found their niche yet. They get the experience they need while being able to test out different waters before plunging right on to them.

However, it can be difficult at times. For example, you are designing on a project that requires expert-level knowledge or skills. Of course, you will still take some time to adjust and learn what you need to learn about that field and it can be very time consuming.

Master of One

web-designer

What does being a Master of One mean in web design?

A master in a specific facet of web design means that you are able to identify your skills and focus on specific projects.

For example, if you are an expert at PHP, then you will be able to narrow your job targets to PHP development.

This is also advantageous because you will have authority over the knowledge that you are a master of.

  • You are the person whom the clients run to when they need a specific problem to be solved.
  • They will always identify you as someone who can be trusted heavily on matters of great importance and specificity.

However, it can hurt because as you are mastering a field that you have chosen, you also tend to ‘unlearn’ and ‘unfocus’ on areas of knowledge you are not mastering. Example, you might be a hardcore expert in Typography but because of this, you lost interest in coding.

How does being a master of one field play in my work?

expert

Image from Flickr

Being a master in one field of design can really help you. Your authority adds to your reputation. In a career like web design, where it’s really not easy to get famous, being an authority in something is a big thing. Example, when we speak of CSS, we may list Cris Coyer on top.

Now, would you want to be recognized as someone who speaks with power? Master that craft.

What’s Really Better?

So, what’s really better? Be this and be just average at everything? Or be a Master of One, be the best at something and suck at other things?

The answer is be a Jack of All Trades.

tug-of-war

Image from Flickr

Being a good at everything is just the most practical choice in our era today. In the present, our world is fast-changing. The trends we may be masters of today may fade away instantly tomorrow. If that happens, where will you be?

It’s better to be good at everything than be the best at something and suck at other things. Clients choose people who don’t suck at anything. Unless the projects are really sensitive, they will pick the guy who can do it all simply because it lessens the costs.

In a world where everybody wants to be masters, the Jack ends up running the show. While everybody keeps on mastering things, Jacks tend to move forward and take what they need.

So, to conclude, if you really want to earn a lot, take a lot of projects, you have to sell yourself as someone who can do different tasks, someone flexible and can adjust in different situations.

In short, pick a modern-day Da Vinci.

Conclusion

Are you a versatile worker? How is it been going lately? Are you getting the same amount or projects as the Masters? Or if you are a master, how are things going? Do you feel better financially and emotionally than the jacks?

Do you agree that Jacks of All Trades are better these days? Tell us in the comments.

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Web Designer? Land High Paying Clients!

The holidays are just around the corner! We’re hoping you’re using the tips and tools we’ve been sharing with you here at 1WD to make the most out of this gift-giving season.  That means having to buy gifts for your mom, dad, brother/sister or your boyfriend/girlfriend. Truly, we hope you’d be successful. 

What is this about?

You’re basically a pro at web designing now. (Or you think you are.) By now you’ve mastered some techniques from different sites, even from us! You now feel confident about what you can do. Then, what?

A while back, our team at 1stwebdesigner sent out a survey to our e-mail subscribers.

We basically wanted to know what our followers had been struggling in their careers as web designers.

We got responses such as:

How do I improve my web development skills?

I need help learning jQuery, CSS3, Javascript.

I’m struggling with getting traffic on my blog.

I am a web designer. How do I get the girl of my dreams?

But after going through the huge number of responses, we were hardly surprised. Majority of the response we received had a familiar tone.

*queue drum-roll

The burning question:

HOW CAN I LAND A HIGH PAYING CLIENT?

It was evident that the skills and talent are there. But how can you land clients?  How do you identify those opportunities that can close a sale? How do you get to ask value of $5000 or more for a project?

Traversing the client acquisition world is a whole new challenge in itself. It involves people, their current challenges, what their problem is and how YOU can solve it.  A bit of psychology, salesmanship and hustle are needed to land those high paying clients.

WE FEEL YOU.

This is the struggle for every aspiring web designer and freelancer.  The challenge is real, and it’s relevant. Good thing is, we’ve been there. It’s not easy but it can be done.

We came up with this FREE video series that takes us through freakishly simple yet effective steps that can help regular awesome people like you land those clients!

The series features James Richman, CEO and Co-Founder of 1stwebdesigner, talking about his first-hand experience with landing high paying clients, tips on identifying opportunities where you can come in and make a pitch and more!  This video series was made absolutely so you can succeed. 

In the first video, James talks about creating perceived value. Why should you be the provider of the solution over the guy next door? Here’s a hint: Stand out in the client’s perspective.

Do you Perceive Yourself as High Value?

In the 2nd video, James talks about the winning competition. He gives solutions on what you can do to get ahead of competition and win over your potential client.

Winning over competition to get clients

In the 3rd video, James talks about getting more clients. He shares some simple tips that can create leads.

Get more high paying clients

What are you waiting for? Get started on the series, take down some notes and start identifying those opportunities.

Consider this our advanced Happy Holidays gift to all our 1WD followers!

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Who’s the Boss in Ecommerce World? Shopify vs WooCommerce

WordPress, as influential as it is in for digital entrepreneurs, provide great platforms to sell products and services. The relatively intuitive functions of WordPress make it a great tool to start an online business.

Now, there are plenty of services where you can use WordPress to build an ecommerce site. However, there are two big players that almost dominate said websites. They are Shopify and WooCommerce.

In this article, you can compare Shopify vs WooCommerce. You’d be looking at these platforms to compare and dissect each of their features. By the end of this article, you may be able to yield a decision on which platform to use.

shopify

Flexibility

Flexibility is, of course, a great issue in an ecommerce business. You also need to add some functionalities to your website to make it more empowered. Of course, you would want your ecommerce business to be enabled with capabilities like blogging.

Now, why is blogging important for an ecommerce website?

The answer is simple: Because content is king. This makes blogging a viable and competitive candidate as the future of marketing.

Here are a few reasons why blogging can become an avenue for marketing an online business:

  • Blogging and content sharing boosts exposure. (More exposure = more leads)
  • Blog posts that rank highly in search engines often give great amounts of organic exposure.
  • A blog gives authority to the brand.
  • Blogs build communities of the same interests and can be able to gather a group of customers for easy access to questions and concerns.
  • Blogging is indirect selling.

online-shopping

In terms of flexibility and blogging capabilities, WooCommerce comes on top against Shopify because the latter is built mainly for ecommerce.  It is never built for bloggers. Because of this, it doesn’t have features that a blog CMS can offer.

In addition to that, WooCommerce becomes a great avenue for blogging because it is used as an extension for WordPress, the best blogging CMS today. Because of this, it can be used with WordPress plugins that may increase and extend the functionality of the online shop.

With over 22.5% of websites today that use WordPress, users will always find it easy to use because of the number of tutorials for the development and troubleshooting of WordPress sites.

Also, the edge of WooCommerce being hosted with WP is that it mixes the power of WooCommerce shop management tools and features with WP intuitive dashboard.

Simply put, in terms of blogging for your website, WooCommerce comes on top.

Pricing

Of course, one of the major concerns right now is pricing, right? We will not go so much into highlighting how prices can affect the decision of a user but to put it in simpler terms: spending less to earn more is better than spending more and earning less.

That is why users would want their deals to be as low-cost as it should be.

Let us compare the pricing of these services:

Shopify

Now Shopify starts its services at $29 per month, where you will be receiving:

  • 1GB of storage, unlimited products
  • 24/7 support
  • 2% transaction fee.

This will be the equivalent of the hosting services provided to you by Shopify. This means that you do not have to use other hosting services.

Then, of course, you would want a theme set up. So, you look at an online shop and choose the theme you want. Let’s say, it’s free, so you cut your cost to $0.

Of course, you would want basic extensions to empower your site. Her are a few paid essential plugins:

All in all, using a free theme and some essential premium plugins, you will be paying $100.98 a month, plus the transaction fees you’ll acquire for the month.

Money-100s

WooCommerce

Now, since WooCommerce is not self-hosted, you will have to register your own domain and find a great hosting service.

As an average, you will most likely spend $10/month at max for a hosting solution that could offer you unlimited domains, bandwidth, and storage (Shopify only gives you 1GB for the price range indicated above).

For the domain, you will most likely spend another $10 for the first year of your registration. So, that totals to $20 for the first month.

Now, since WordPress and WooCommerce are free, you don’t have to spend anything on a CMS. You don’t have to spend anything on a theme either, so you’re saved in those three options. But you can always buy a premium one if you’d like to.

Like with Shopify, you will need basic plugins to empower your website. Now let’s compare the prices of the same plugins we used:

Adding everything up, you will most likely be spending $81.00 for the first month. Since the plugins you bought are not on a subscription basis, you will be able to use them without even minding of recurring fees. And, in the succeeding months, your projected costs will only encumber your hosting payments.

To compare in a long-term point of view, WooCommerce is less costly than Shopify. Plus, the lack of subscription-based plugins is what makes it work in the long run.

Help and Support

calling

One of the most important aspects of any Internet-based service is support. Every now and then, you will be bugged by problems and potential security loopholes. With that, you will be needing sound help and support.

This is where Shopify gains an edge. Because Shopify is mainly an all-in-one solution, you will never have headaches scrambling for help when you need it. Everything is all centralized within one system. Unlike in WooCommerce, you will have to identify which causes the problem before anything else. Afterwards, you will approach the developer of the plugin or hosting service that seems to be faulty, open tickets, talk to them before your site is fixed.

On the other hand, using WooCommerce might spell difficulties in the future as you wouldn’t be able to freely diagnose your site for errors without looking at the other facets it possesses. Also, because WooCommerce and WordPress are relatively free, support isn’t expected to be top billing.

Business Size

money-2

Of course, the size of your business also matters. This is important, especially if you are about to choose whether you’ll use Shopify or do things with WooCommerce. The ability to suit your online store to a size that fits your needs should always be put in mind. That is why, if I were to be asked, WooCommerce has an edge on this.

With the pricing range of Shopify, it is strikingly noticeable that most of its plans are set to a few sites alone. However, if you are to host your store in WordPress and WooCommerce, you will be able to cultivate your website without even worrying about your expanding size and value.

Noting the variety of bIt can extend from small-scale business entities to larger scales.

Which will I choose?

wondering

With all the arguments presented, it is not difficult to see WooCommerce fairly dominates Shopify as the best ecommerce platform there is.

The main edge of WooCommerce over Shopify is how flexible it is and how you are able to use it with other WordPress features.

It also helps your website to be shown higher in search engine ratings. You can also tweak and tinker the looks of your website.

The ace here is that WooCommerce provides a value that suits its cost. With little effort and costs, Woo just trumped any other Shopify webshop.

So, if you will be choosing an ecommerce platform, 1WD advises you to take Woo because it is a flexible, less costly and more expandable bundle than that of its competitor. Also, if you are looking for long-time benefits, I think Woo is becoming a lot more popular.

Conclusion

Which did you take? How does Shopify differ from other platforms? Does WooCommerce deserve this spot? Let us know at the comments section

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Marks of Creativity: Reasons Why You Must Own a WordPress Blog

Almost everyday, thousands and thousands of bloggers busy creating, writing and publishing their own set of creative juices over the Net. It is now becoming a fad to the web industry. Blogging, or having your own WordPress blog, can be all about fun and freedom; it has become a helpful tool and served many purposes.

  • It helps an individual inspire to live a good life.
  • It helps an individual create a sense of branding or identity.
  • It helps an individual understand the little spice about the day-to-day ups and downs.
  • It promotes business.
  • It is changing the face of public relations and advertising.

What is a “blog”?

blog

“Blog” is short for weblog. This is a term used to describe websites that maintain continuous mainstream of information and ideas. A blog features daily “diary” commentaries and may have links to articles of other websites.

Tips you need to know before you start blogging:

  • Define the blog’s purpose
  • Learn to encourage reader response
  • Know the pros and cons of a blog design
  • Learn how to build a blog
  • Learn more about writing catchy and interesting content
  • Develop your blog writing voice and style
  • Know some tips on writing with keywords and search terms
  • Understand how to dealing with comment spam and destructive comments
  • Explore new SEO techniques
  • Learn some tips to prevent blog burnout
  • Learn about the rights of a blogger
  • Tips on online social networking and interaction.
  • Learn how to respond to copyright violations.

6 Reasons Why Everyone Should Have a WordPress Blog

Does this question tickle your curiosity? If yes, then you’re at the right place and time.

In this article, you will learn why you should you have a WP blog. The icing on the cake about WP  blogging is that it is easy to use and flexible enough for just about anything.

This is one of the reasons why most people around the globe have their blogs in WordPress. Based on a survey, WordPress powers 22.5% of all websites on the Internet.

A WP blog is a must for everyone

  • It is highly customizable

WP directly meets the demands of numerous users. It allows everyone to create and modify layouts and applications. Infused with some user-generated extensions, a website is no longer limited by extensions.

WordPress themes are easy to customize because the platform has an options panel that can modify every element of the blog site without writing any code at all.

  • It can handle different media types

Being not limited to encoding text, it comes with a built-in support to cater images, audio, and video content. A WordPress blog is content-rich because it supports embed-enabled websites. It has the ability to put URLs from sites such as YouTube, Instagram and Twitter.

  • It has lower setup and maintenance cost

low

Customization is cheap and the maintenance cost is less compared to other open-sourced CMS. Static websites can have instances of locking down and it will cost a lot of money just to tweak them after initial development.

  • It’s open-sourced with room for expansion

There’s no cost involved in downloading, installing, and upgrading. WordPress can be self-hosted. There are more than 20,000 WordPress plugins readily available to be installed. Moreover, it has an easy website backup & restore functions.

  • It is search engine-friendly

user friendly

Of course, everyone wants a blog that is search engine- friendly. WordPress uses standard and high quality code and makes semantic markup, which makes your site very attractive to search engines. Talking about design, WordPress is SEO-friendly too.

  • It is accessible to everybody

WordPress was developed for non-tech savvy bloggers. Most of the user-interface attributes are user-friendly. Written and recorded manuals are available to gauge individuals how to use WordPress.

Why WordPress Is Better Than Joomla and Drupal

According to WordPress, there are different types of blogs, some of the categories are popular ones.

Here are some points why WordPress is better among others.

  • WordPress has been around since 2003.
  • It has the most sought-after tools for most bloggers.
  • It has an extraordinary features which others generally don’t have.
  • It has also become the content management software of choice by most non-blogging websites.

Support

support

Considering the support system, there is nothing you can ask for. It has WordPress support forums that answer every single possible question an individual could have.

Drupal, on the other hand, is far behind  WordPress when efficiency is concerned . It has a good support system, yes, still, the availability of modules to convert the system is little.

Joomla has a relatively low support for add-on development.

Usability

With every update that WordPress pushes out, the dashboard, editor and overall CMS all get even better. If you want to build a user-friendly content management system, WordPress makes adding content as easy as using a simple rich text editor.

On the other hand, Joomla is still not user-friendly enough for everyone to understand. Many users, beginners especially, are terrified by Joomla’s multitude of possibilities and functions.

For Drupal, user interface is difficult to familiarize with, especially for non-developers.

Search Engine Friendliness (SEF)

WordPress is so SEF-friendly that no other platform will allow the individual to install, host, design and customize an SEO-friendly website for under a few hundred dollars. Basics are included automatically and more control can be achieved through plugins.

Sad to say, Joomla needs a work-out to be search engine-friendly. If you want to incorporate additional meta tags, configuration will not be so easy and complete but you can still extend it by installing some necessary modules.

For Drupal, most of its attributes can be configured but most of it must be done manually for each page. It is time-consuming.

Options

Bookshelf

When it comes to options, WordPress provides multitude of options no matter what the business objectives, level of involvement or budgetary constraints are.

In Joomla, moderate control over most aspects of layouts is highly needed but some content cannot be modified or filtered.

With regards to options for Drupal, the script is not very user-friendly; it requires advanced knowledge to install and modify.

Customization/Design

Who wants limitless designs and modifications? WordPress offers thousands of themes and plugins. Just choose and feel free to customize the design and functionality of your WordPress website. It is incredibly easy.

On the contrary Joomla, it has some frustrating compatibility issues that may occur between some of the plugins. It is impossible to get some functionalities without some serious work on the PHP coding.

In the case of Drupal, it can be extended to do anything but it will require a lot of time to implement all features. It has access to all HTML elements for customization but takes a bit longer to theme them completely. If you’re used to older systems, getting used to this script will take some time.

Why Abandon Blogspot and Go for WordPress

abandon

Although there are many widgets available on Blogger, there are features that are not quite the same with WordPress. This means there are less options for customization. In addition, the Blogspot dashboard is not as intuitive as WordPress, though.

However, there is a huge community of helpful WordPress developers who continuously develop different plugins to enable more functionality on the blog.

Low Key Points of Blogspot:

  • Poor themes and designs
  • Hard to customize
  • Poor networking

toolkit

Blogging Tools

Blogging will never be the same again with the help of these amazing blogging tools. Let loose. Try some :

Blog Out

WP blogging can change an individual’s way of life . But it really depends upon what an individual wants to do. But if someone is craving for interaction and wants effort contribution on a day to day basis then consider WP blogging. It’s worth the choice. How about you?

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The Ultimate Guide to Podcasting Using WordPress

Podcasting has been popular for some time now, especially among the techies. You may have read a lot of articles on how to start a blog, but how can you take advantage of your WordPress blog to convert it and try to start podcasting? Here’s your must-read guide to podcasting using WordPress.

Now that things are beginning to be put online, it’s becoming hard to imagine how and why some companies and individuals are not uploading anything on the Internet.

Podcasts are online audio and video content delivered to users via Really Simple Syndication (RSS) feeds.

There are still more ways to make use of podcasts these days. You can now take advantage of this technology in either of the following ways:

  • Self-Guided Tours
  • Playing Music
  • Airing Talk Shows
  • Training
  • Storytelling

Now, one of the many benefits podcasting offers is that listeners can play this content wherever and whenever they want.

Because of the popularity of podcasting, it has turned journalists into bloggers, and radio personalities into podcasters.

In addition, WordPress has been opened as an avenue not only for blogging but for e-commerce and podcasting as well. It is very easy for a blogger to both perform blogging and podcasting activities.

focus

Things to Prepare

  1. WordPress Site
  2. Audio Player Plugin
  3. FeedBurner
  4. iTunes account
  5. Image Artwork (1400×1400 px)
  6. (Optional) S3 Amazon or Libsyn podcast account

*Disclaimer: This is the least costly method I know that will help you spark up your podcasts. Mostly, these are free services with the exception of your podcast host accounts (in S3 Amazon or Libsyn) and probably, your WordPress site. I’m also assuming that you already know how to start a WordPress site. If you happen to have no idea at all about this, click here.

Let’s start!

Preparing Your WordPress Site:

Let’s face it. Not everybody owns an iPhone, iPad, iPod. Not everybody even has iTunes installed in their computers. Having said that, it’s safer that you resort to hosting your podcasts in a platform that can be available to everyone.

Good thing, WordPress is the perfect fit for that. WordPress has been a potent tool in sharing content. Its uses extend from simple text-based information to rich and dynamic data such as audio and video.  Plus, with the variety of plugins and tutorials about WordPress out there, setting up everything and troubleshooting them is a cake-walk.

To prepare your WordPress site for podcasting, simply create a category by logging in to your account. Hover on “Posts” and a submenu appears. Click on “Categories” then add a new category named “Podcasts”.

You would also want to leave the “Parent” field to none. To finish everything, click on “Add New Category”.

Now that you already created a category, you will post all your podcasts under this one. The links to your podcasts from now on will be filed under: http://yoursitename.com/category/podcasts. Just take note of this.

Next thing you would want to do is to upload your audio files. Now you have a few options to do that.

Using a Plugin

  • Go to your WordPress Admin Dashboard.

1

  • Click on “Plugins” then, “Add New”

2

  • Key the phrase “Audio Player” in the search box and install the plugin created by Martin Laine.

3

4

  • Activate it.

*You also have the option to download the plugin to your computer and install it by yourself.

Other Plugin Options:

Using the Audio Shortcode

You can add a link from your website to a file from another site. You just have to link it to the WordPress audio shortcode ([ audio <space> link]).

You can upload files to your blog’s Media Library and be able to edit, add, or remove the Title, Artist, Caption and Description of the File. If you want to insert it in a post, be sure to select the option called “Embed Media Player” and then click the “Insert into Post” button. It will insert the Audio Shortcode.

Aside from this, you can also create playlists using your Media Library. Using several files that you have uploaded into your server, you can put together a list of podcasts that you want to play. You can even play them on your sidebars.

  • Add files to your playlist. (.mp3)

b

  • Once your files are uploaded, a “Create Audio Playlist” tab will be visible in the “Add Media Window”.

d

  • You can choose which tracks to include and insert in the post.

e

  • Click on “Create a New Playlist” and you will be taken to the “Edit Audio Playlist” menu where you can drag tracks to reorder them. You can also include details in your Playlist Settings , remove or include Tracklists, Artists, Names and Images.

Embedding the Podcast/Playlist on Your Sidebar

  1. From your WordPress Dashboard, hover on the “Appearance” tab.
  2. Click on “Widgets.”
  3. Drag the “Music Player Widget” to your desired sidebar.
  4. Click on the link to upload or choose your media.

Create a Download Link

Another option is to create a download link that will require you readers to download the file to their computers and play it there. This is easier, especially if you are too conscious of the file size of your podcast, but you also need to adhere to copyright laws.

Now that you have already uploaded your podcasts on your blog, they are now ready to be published.

Submitting Your Site to FeedBurner

A feedburner stands between your blog and iTunes. Being able to publish feeds is pertinent because it gives you options to easily migrate to other websites.

According to Google,

Feeds are a way for websites large and small to distribute their content well beyond just visitors using browsers. Feeds permit subscription to regular updates, delivered automatically via a web portal, news reader, or in some cases good old email. Feeds also make it possible for site content to be packaged into “widgets,” “gadgets,” mobile devices, and other bite-sized technologies that make it possible to display blogs, podcasts, and major news/sports/weather/whatever headlines just about anywhere.

That being said, you will be needing a feedburner URL. To do that, go to feedburner.com. For this link, you will be needing a Gmail account.

Google has centralized all services you need, so, having a Gmail account will be advantageous. You will eventually need it to use Analytics, WebMaster tools, AdWords, AdSense, YouTube, and, of course, FeedBurner.

After signing in, you will see a welcome message. Below this is an invitation to “Burn a feed right this instant.”

  • You will be needing your feed address there. (http://yoursite.com/category/podcasts)

feed1

  • Paste it in the address and add “/feed” at the end of it. Check “I am a podcaster!”.
  • Click on “Next.” In the case that you receive an error, that means your XML file is invalid. You need to check your blog is public (check Privacy Settings). Remember, private blogs can’t be submitted to iTunes.

feed3

  • Next, in the “Identify Feed Source” window, you need to select or confirm the appropriate feed. If you see other options, click on the one containing “category/podcasts/”.
  • Then, you need to review the feed article and address. You can always change or keep them. Click on “Next”.

feed5

  • You will now be directed to the “Congrats” page. From there, you need to copy the feed address. (It begins with feeds.feedburner.com and ends with the title you confirmed.
  • Click the Next button.

feed6

  • Afterwards, you need to tick on the check box next to “Include iTunes Podcasting Elements” in the “Configure Your Podcast” page.
  • You will also be asked to select the category and subcategory for this.
  • Click the Next button.
  • Next, you will be asked for the statistics tracking option. Click on “Next” afterwards.
  • You now have your feeds prepared for iTunes store.

Submitting Your Podcast to iTunes

Now that your post is ready and already published, it’s time to let the masses know. For this, you’ll be using the iTunes platform. As you remember, as mentioned earlier, that not everybody uses iTunes. Yes, that is true but iTunes is the most plausible of all the alternatives. If you really don’t like to distribute your work on iTunes, you have alternatives:

As said, iTunes will be the distributor for your podcasts. For this, you will be needing an account. iTunes may also require you to key in your credit card number. But don’t worry, it’s totally free.

Here are the steps:

  1. Go to Apple’s instructions on testing your feed and following them.
  2. Now that you confirmed that you can listen to your podcast using iTunes, submit your podcast.
  3. After submission, your podcast will be reviewed by the iTunes staff. That means your podcasts won’t be readily available.
  4. Once your podcasts are accepted, you will be able to get a link to distribute them through email or website linking.

Some notes on Files

  • Files can be hosted using your current server. It’s the easiest and least costly way to do so. However, when traffic increases, your server is prone to crashing and being permanently suspended.
  • Try using S3 Amazon or Libsyn

Bonus: Equipment You Can Use

To make your podcasts high-quality, you also need to invest in your equipment. Yes, content is all that matters, but bringing in the content in a better way possible is a game changer. Here are a few gadgets you may want to invest in.

Software:

Microphones

heil

rode

mxl

snowball-mic

Mixers and Audio Interfaces

multimix

mw12cx

Portables

zoom

Roland R-05

If you want to learn how to create podcasts, here are a few awesome people who could help you:

Here are some great podcasts for web designers and developers:

Conclusion

You are now ready to Podcast using your WordPress site! We here at 1stwebdesigner are happy to finally see how you roll on those podcasts. We hope that we have helped you in this. If you have some questions, feel free to ask.

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Create a Custom HTML5 Audio and Video Element UI with MediaElement.js

There are a lot of things you can create with custom HTML5. The new elements make it possible to simplify things as opposed in the past that you need to add CSS to make it work or display.

Two of the good examples are the audio and video elements. Although the audio and video element have a generic look, it can be customized using a jQuery plugin called MediaElement.js.

In today’s tutorial, you will code an audio and video player using the UI toolkits made by Rudolph Musngi, CSS3 to style the elements and the MediaElement.js for the functionalities.

OK, let’s start.

Resources You Need to Complete This Tutorial

Custom Audio Player

audio

Step 1 – Download jQuery library and MediaElement.js

To make all things work, you need to download, first, the jQuery Library or use Google’s Hosted Library.

Then, you also need the MediaElement.js script and extract it on your preferred location. Inside the folder of the extracted MediaElement.js, you need the following files:

  • mediaelement-and-player.min.js
  • flashmediaelement.swf
  • silverlightmediaelement.xap

Step 2 – Adding Necessary Links on the Head Section

To start, you need to add the following links to the Head Section. This includes the links to the CSS files, jQuery library and MediaElement.js.

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html lang="en-US">
<head>
    <meta charset="utf-8">
    <title>Creating a Custom HTML5 Audio and Video Element UI with
    MediaElement.js</title>
    <link href="css/normalize.css" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css">
    <link href="css/style.css" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css">
    <link href="css/audio.css" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css">
    <script src="js/jquery-1.11.1.min.js" type="text/javascript"></script>
    <script src="js/mediaelement-and-player.min.js" type="text/javascript"></script>
</head>

Step 3 – The Markup

Now, create the div that will hold the audio element. You will give it a class of audio-player and inside it, you will put a paragraph element for the title and the audio element itself.

  	<div class="audio-player">
        <p>Michael Buble - Everything</p>
    	<audio id="audio-player" src="restheces/Michael Buble - Everything.mp3" type="audio/mp3" controls="controls"></audio>
  	</div>

Step 4 – The Script

Now that you had set up the audio markup, you need to add the code below before the ending of the tag.

Notice that you selected the class audio-player that you used to wrap the audio elements. These are the basic settings set for this tutorial; you can check out the mediaelement.js documentation to learn more about the available settings.

$(document).ready(function() {
    	$('#audio-player').mediaelementplayer({
        	alwaysShowControls: true,
        	features: ['playpause','volume','progress'],
        	audioVolume: 'horizontal',
        	audioWidth: 364,
   	     audioHeight: 70
    	});
	});

Step 5 – The CSS

Next, set up the styles of the custom audio player. First, add some reset styles to make sure that there are no other extra styles on each browser.

.audio-player,.audio-player div,.audio-player p,.audio-player a,.audio-player button {
	margin: 0;
	padding: 0;
	border: none;
	outline: none;
}

Then, style the player container and add the width a height on it and style the paragraph tag for the title.

.audio-player {
	position: relative;
    margin: 0 auto;
    background: #d14242;
	width: 426px;
    height: 120px;
}

.audio-player p {
    position: absolute;
    text-align: center;
    text-transform: uppercase;
	left: 143px;
	top: 62px;
    font-family: 'Open Sans', sans-serif;
    font-weight: 700;
    font-size: 17px;
	color: #fcc;
    font-weight: 700;
}

Next, style the play-pause button. This will be in a form of png sprite image and manipulated using the background-position.


.mejs-controls .mejs-button button {
    position: absolute;
    display: block;
	width: 73px;
    height: 71px;
	cursor: pointer;
    background: #961717;
}

.mejs-controls .mejs-play button,.mejs-controls .mejs-pause button {
	width: 115px;
    height: 120px;
    background: #961717 url(../img/playerbuttons.png) 0 0 no-repeat;
}

.mejs-controls .mejs-pause button {
    background-position: 0 -120px;
}

For the Mute and Unmute Control button, use a png sprite image and manipulate the background-position to display each part.

.mejs-controls .mejs-mute button,.mejs-controls .mejs-unmute button {
	width: 24px;
    height: 23px;
    background: transparent url(../img/mute-unmute.png) 0 0;
	top: 28px;
	left: 140px;
}

.mejs-controls .mejs-unmute button {
    background-position: 0 -23px;
}

Now, add the following styles for the volume slider. Notice that instead of using an image for the circle icon, CSS3 was used instead using the border-radius property.


.mejs-controls div.mejs-horizontal-volume-slider {
    position: absolute;
	top: 33px;
	right: 23px;
    cursor: pointer;
}

.mejs-controls .mejs-horizontal-volume-slider .mejs-horizontal-volume-total {
	width: 232px;
    height: 8px;
    background: #961717;
	-webkit-border-radius: 4px;
    -moz-border-radius: 4px;
    border-radius: 4px;
}

.mejs-controls .mejs-horizontal-volume-slider .mejs-horizontal-volume-current {
    position: absolute;
	width: 0;
    height: 8px;
    background: #961717;
	top: 1px;
	left: 1px;
    -webkit-border-radius: 8px;
    -moz-border-radius: 8px;
    border-radius: 8px;
}

The CSS codes below will set the background color and dimension of the time loaded and current time.


.mejs-controls div.mejs-time-rail {
	width: 380px;
}

.mejs-controls .mejs-time-rail span {
    position: absolute;
    display: block;
	width: 380px;
    height: 12px;
	top: 40px;
	left: 55px;
    cursor: pointer;
    -webkit-border-radius: 0 0 2px 2px;
    -moz-border-radius: 0 0 2px 2px;
    border-radius: 0 0 2px 2px;
}

.mejs-controls .mejs-time-rail .mejs-time-total {
    background: #e26060;
	width: 311px !important;
    height: 12px;
    margin-top: 68px;
    margin-left: 60px;
}

.mejs-controls .mejs-time-rail .mejs-time-loaded {
	top: 0;
	left: 0;
	width: 0;
    background: #961717;
}

.mejs-controls .mejs-time-rail .mejs-time-current {
	top: 0;
	left: 0;
	width: 0;
    background: #961717;
}

Next, add some styles for the time and volume sliders (handle).


.mejs-controls .mejs-time-rail .mejs-time-handle {
    position: absolute;
    display: block;
	width: 10px;
    height: 10px;
	top: 2px;
    background: #330202;
    -webkit-border-radius: 50%;
    -moz-border-radius: 50%;
    border-radius: 50%;
	left: 11px;
}

.mejs-controls .mejs-horizontal-volume-slider .mejs-horizontal-volume-handle {
    position: absolute;
    display: block;
	width: 12px;
    height: 12px;
    -webkit-border-radius: 50%;
	top: -2px;
    background: #330202;
}

Finally, add the styles for the Time Progress Bar tooltip. This will appear when you hover over the progress bar.


.mejs-controls .mejs-time-rail .mejs-time-float {
    position: absolute;
    z-index: 9999;
	color: fff;
	width: 33px;
    height: 23px;
	top: -26px;
    display: none;
    margin-left: -17px;
}

.mejs-controls .mejs-time-rail .mejs-time-float-current {
	width: 33px;
    display: block;
	left: 0;
	top: 4px;
    font-family: 'Open Sans', sans-serif;
    font-size: 10px;
    font-weight: 700;
	color: #f89494;
    text-align: center;
    z-index: 9999;
    background: #bf3737;
    padding: 2px 2px 5px;
}

.mejs-controls .mejs-time-rail .mejs-time-float-current:after {
    content: "";
    position: absolute;
	width: 0;
    height: 0;
    border-width: 10px;
    border-style: solid;
    border-color: #bf3737 transparent transparent;
	top: 15px;
	left: 8px;
}

And that’s really it! Now that you’re done on the custom audio element. On the next part of this tutorial, you will create a custom video element.

Custom Video Player

video

Step 1 – Download jQuery library and MediaElement.js

Just like the custom audio element, you need to download first the jQuery library or use Google’s Hosted Library.

Then, you also need the MediaElement.js script and extract it.

The same with the custom audio element, you will again use following files inside the MediaElement.js folder:

  • mediaelement-and-player.min.js
  • flashmediaelement.swf
  • silverlightmediaelement.xap

Step 2 – Adding Necessary Links on the Head Section

Afterwards, you will add the following links to the head section. This will again include the links to the CSS files, jQuery library and MediaElement.js.

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html lang="en-US">
<head>
    <meta charset="utf-8">
    <title>Creating a Custom HTML5 Audio and Video Element UI with
    MediaElement.js</title>
    <link href="css/normalize.css" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css">
    <link href="css/style.css" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css">
    <link href="css/video.css" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css">
    <script src="js/jquery-1.11.1.min.js" type="text/javascript"></script>
    <script src="js/mediaelement-and-player.min.js" type="text/javascript"></script>
</head>

Step 3 – The Markup

Now create the div that will hold the video element. You will wrap the video element in a class of video-player.

  <div class="video-player">
  <video width="490" height="276" poster="img/video-poster.jpg">
  <video src="resources/Pedestrian.mp4" type="video/mp4">
  </video>
 </div>

Step 4 – The Script

Now that you have the markup set up, add the code for the video controls and settings. Notice that you selected the video element and then used the following settings:

  • alwaysShowControls – This will display or hide the video controls using the true or false value.
  • videoVolume – This will display the volume slider horizontal.
  • features: [‘playpause’,’progress’,’volume’,’fullscreen’] – This set up the control for the video.

For this part, you will use the following settings but you can configure more settings by checking out MediaElement.js documentation page.


$(document).ready(function() {
    $('video').mediaelementplayer({
        alwaysShowControls: false,
        videoVolume: 'horizontal',
        features: ['playpause', 'progress', 'volume', 'fullscreen']
    });
});

Step 5 – The CSS

For the CSS, start by adding reset and basic styles to the elements.

.mejs-inner,.mejs-inner div,.mejs-inner a,.mejs-inner span,.mejs-inner button {
	margin: 0;
	padding: 0;
	border: none;
	outline: none;
}

/* General Styles */
.mejs-container {
	position: relative;
	background: #000;
}

.mejs-inner {
	position: relative;
	width: inherit;
	height: inherit;
}

.me-plugin {
	position: absolute;
}

.mejs-container-fullscreen .mejs-mediaelement,.mejs-container-fullscreen video,.mejs-embed,.mejs-embed body,.mejs-mediaelement {
	width: 100%;
	height: 100%;
}

.mejs-embed,.mejs-embed body {
	margin: 0;
	padding: 0;
	overflow: hidden;
}

.mejs-container-fullscreen {
	position: fixed;
	overflow: hidden;
	z-index: 1000;
	left: 0;
	top: 0;
	right: 0;
	bottom: 0;
}

.mejs-poster img {
	display: block;
}

.mejs-background,.mejs-mediaelement,.mejs-poster,.mejs-overlay {
	position: absolute;
	top: 0;
	left: 0;
}

.mejs-overlay-play {
	cursor: pointer;
}

.mejs-inner .mejs-overlay-button {
	position: absolute;
	top: 50%;
	left: 50%;
	margin-left: -82px;
	width: 158px;
	height: 158px;
	background: url(../img/playbutton.png) no-repeat;
}

Next, you will style the controls. The container will have a width of 100% and a position of absolute. You will use a png sprite image for the play and pause button and manipulate the display of each element using the background-position property.

.mejs-container .mejs-controls {
	left: 0;
	bottom: 0;
	background: #c94745;
	position: absolute;
	width: 100%;
	height: 15px;
}

/* Controls Buttons */
.mejs-controls .mejs-button button {
	display: block;
	cursor: pointer;
	margin-top: -8px;
	margin-left: -6px;
	width: 6px;
	height: 9px;
	background: transparent url(../img/play_pause.png);
}

/* Play & Pause Button */
.mejs-controls div.mejs-playpause-button {
	position: absolute;
	top: 12px;
	left: 15px;
}

.mejs-controls .mejs-play button,.mejs-controls .mejs-pause button {
    width: 6px;
	height: 9px;
	background-position: 0 0;
}

.mejs-controls .mejs-pause button {
	background-position: 0 -9px;
}

For this part of the CSS, let’s style the Mute and Unmute buttons. Again, you will use a png sprite image and manipulate its display position using background-position.


.mejs-controls div.mejs-volume-button {
    position: absolute;
	top: 12px;
	left: 45px;
}

.mejs-controls .mejs-mute button,.mejs-controls .mejs-unmute button {
	width: 11px;
    height: 11px;
    background: url(../img/mute_unmute.png)no-repeat;
    background-position: 0 0;
    margin-left: -14px;
    margin-top: -9px;
}

.mejs-controls .mejs-unmute button {
    background-position: 0 -12px;
}

Now, add some styles to the Full or Window Screen button. Similar with the play and pause button, for the Mute and Unmute button, you will use a png sprite image file to display each side of the full or window screen element.

.mejs-controls div.mejs-fullscreen-button {
	position: absolute;
	top: 7px;
	right: 7px;
}

.mejs-controls .mejs-fullscreen-button button,.mejs-controls .mejs-unfullscreen button {
	width: 10px;
	height: 10px;
	margin-top: -4px;
	cursor: pointer;
	background: url(../img/window_screen.png)no-repeat;
}

.mejs-controls .mejs-unfullscreen button {
	background-position: 0 -12px;
}

Self-explanatory, instead of setting up a pure background width element, you will set it up on an absolute positioning.


.mejs-controls div.mejs-horizontal-volume-slider {
	position: absolute;
	cursor: pointer;
	top: 6px;
	left: 47px;
}

.mejs-controls .mejs-horizontal-volume-slider .mejs-horizontal-volume-total {
	width: 60px;
	background: #330202;
}

.mejs-controls .mejs-horizontal-volume-slider .mejs-horizontal-volume-current {
	position: absolute;
	width: 0;
	top: 0;
	left: 0;
}

.mejs-controls .mejs-horizontal-volume-slider .mejs-horizontal-volume-total,.mejs-controls .mejs-horizontal-volume-slider .mejs-horizontal-volume-current {
	height: 4px;
}

The Progress Bar will have basic styles. The loading rail has an extra feature with a class .mejs-time-loaded. This will display how much time the video file has been pre-loaded via streaming downloads.


.mejs-controls div.mejs-time-rail {
	position: absolute;
	top: -10px;
	height: 9px;
	width: 100%;
	left: 0;
}

.mejs-controls .mejs-time-rail span {
	position: absolute;
	display: block;
	cursor: pointer;
	width: 100%;
	height: 10px;
	top: 0;
	left: 0;
}

.mejs-controls .mejs-time-rail .mejs-time-total {
	background: #ef3a3a;
}

.mejs-controls .mejs-time-rail .mejs-time-loaded {
	background: #630909;
}

.mejs-controls .mejs-time-rail .mejs-time-current {
	width: 0;
}

For the progress bar handle, you will simply create a small circle using the border-radius property with a background color of #ef3a3a.


.mejs-controls .mejs-time-rail .mejs-time-handle {
	position: absolute;
	cursor: pointer;
	width: 10px;
	height: 10px;
	top: 0;
	-webkit-border-radius: 50%;
	-moz-border-radius: 50%;
	border-radius: 50%;
	background: #ef3a3a;
}

Next, you will style the tool tip that will show the current time on hover state. You will use basic CSS for this with the :after selector to create a small triangle pointing downward.


.mejs-controls .mejs-time-rail .mejs-time-float {
	position: absolute;
	display: none;
	width: 33px;
	height: 23px;
	top: -26px;
	margin-left: -17px;
}

.mejs-controls .mejs-time-rail .mejs-time-float-current {
	width: 33px;
	display: block;
	left: 4px;
	top: 4px;
	font-family: 'Open Sans', sans-serif;
	font-size: 10px;
	font-youight: 700;
	color: #f89494;
	text-align: center;
	z-index: 9999;
	background: #bf3737;
	padding: 2px 2px 5px;
}

.mejs-controls .mejs-time-rail .mejs-time-float-current:after {
	content: "";
	position: absolute;
	width: 0;
	height: 0;
	border-width: 10px;
	border-style: solid;
	border-color: #bf3737 transparent transparent;
	top: 13px;
	left: 8px;
}

.mejs-controls .mejs-time-rail .mejs-time-float-corner {
	display: none;
}

Finally, you will set up the background color of the Progress and Volume Bar.

.mejs-controls .mejs-time-rail .mejs-time-current,.mejs-controls .mejs-horizontal-volume-slider .mejs-horizontal-volume-current {
	background: #7c0f0f;
}

Wrapping Up

There you have it! I hope you learned something from this tutorial, and turn the audio and video players into a fantastic modern design.

This can be done using pure CSS3 styles but it still has poor support, especially on the Jurassic browsers like Internet Explorer 8 and its older versions. The best way to go is to use JavaScript like this MediaElement.js plugin.

Feel free to use these codes on your projects. Let me know about your thoughts regarding this tutorial on the comment section.

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