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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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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

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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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How to Find and Fix Broken Links in a Jiffy

If you are running a website, you will surely have put a lot of hard work to make it an important resource. However if you can’t fix the broken links, it can destroy all the hard work you did.

The problem of broken links can be lot worse with outbound links. You will not be getting notified with the change in your linked website. Therefore, you should have a daily check to see whether all of your links are still working.

Broken Links Can Be Very Harmful to Your Site in Two Ways:

  • Destroying user experience. When the users click on a link and find that it’s dead with a 404 error, they will get annoyed.
  • Bringing down the SEO effort. Broken links disturb the link equity flow on the site and makes negative impact on the rankings.

In order to prevent any of these, you need to check for the broken links on your entire site. If you are wondering how to prevent this, we have the solution for you!

Why Broken Links Are Bad?

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If you ask yourself why broken links should be checked and fixed, here are the answers:

  • Broken links make the impression that you don’t care about your own site. When the users get a 404 Page error, the only thing they think of is that you don’t care for the content on your website and the user experience.
  • Broken links can be very frustrating. Visitors may feel like disappointed when they are unable to find what they were looking for. Also, this will prevent you from getting new visitors on your site and blogs.
  • Fixing the broken links will give the impression that you are keeping your site fresh and alive. SEO will be more effective when you are regularly updating your site. This will signal the search engine sites that you are regularly maintaining the site.

Broken links can have a huge impact on your site’s SEO. If all the links on your site are working, it will make the site more accessible on the search engines. But if you don’t fix these links, your site will be rated negative on the search engine optimization.

How Do Links Become Broken?

There are many reasons to which a link may become broken:

  • The web page doesn’t exist there anymore.
  • The server that hosts the target page stops working.
  • There is blockage from content filters or firewalls.

How To Find The Broken Links?

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The good news is you don’t need to do anything to find broken links. Finding them is not something that you can do manually; however, you can fix them yourself!

Plenty of plugins are available that will check both internal and external links.

  • Internal links – The ones that point from your single web page to any other web page that is available on your site.
  • External links – Points to some other website and take your visitors away from your site for further reading.

Increase Your Blog Experience With Un-Broken Links

Fixing the broken links can be very helpful in increasing the experience of your blog. If you are using some plugin to check the links that are broken, you will stay ahead of everyone.

You may think to just remove the old content, but, if you can simply update it using plugins, then, you will make sure that your site is liked by everyone.

By updating you broken links, you are making your place in the SEO results. A good approach is to check on the links that are linked externally from your site. Keeping them updated will help you to increase your site’s experience and bring more traffic to your blog and websites.

Improve Your SEO By Fixing Broken Links!

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Search engines are becoming smarter now; they only promote the pages in their results that are liked by users. Broken links are counted as bad experience by the visitors which can have an effect on the SEO. If there is a page with lots of broken links, it is more likely to get a negative rating from the search engines such as the Google.

The 301 redirect

The most SEO-friendly way to redirect the broken links is the 301 redirect.

The 301 redirect lets the search engine know that following page has been moved to some other location. This will help you pass the SEO properties for old pages all the way to new pages.

In order to put the 301 redirect in place, you will need to have the access to the .HTACCESS file that is located on your website server. However, this will only work for the links that point to the pages on your website that have moved locations.

In today’s post, we are featuring some useful plugins that will help you to check for the broken links on your site. Also, you will get some SEO tips to get rid of the broken links on your site in a fast and easy way. Let’s start then!

Here are some useful plugin that we have compiled for you to check the broken links:

1. Xenu’s Link Sleuth

xenu1

Image from Online Marketing News

Xenu’s Link Sleuth is a free plugin for Windows that scans the entire site for find the broken links. You only have to provide a URL and it will do the rest for you. This plugin runs the complete scan to check for:

  • Broken links
  • Images
  • Frames
  • Backgrounds
  • Stylesheets
  • Scripts

Besides finding broken links, Xenu can also be helpful in finding duplicate content, missing alt text, page depth, site structure, etc.

2. Screaming Frog

screaming-frog1

Image from Screaming Frog

This plugin is available for PC, Mac, or Linux. It can be installed easily. It is similar to Xenu; you will need to give a URL and the plugin will scan the entire site for you. Screaming Frog is meant for site optimization, and goes in depth for page elements like heading tags and the likes. You will be reported on the following:

  • Client and server errors
  • External links
  • Duplicate Pages
  • Page depth level
  • Anchor text

The plugin can be downloaded for free but, the free version has a limit of 500 URLs. Also, the lite version doesn’t give you full access to configuration. You can purchase the full version for £99 per year, which removes all the restrictions.

3. W3C Link Checker

w3c

Image from Flickr

W3C is another useful plugin to check any of the broken links on your websites. Also, it provides recommendations based on the results that are detected.

You have to set a limit of how deep the search should be made or else, it will keep on going. Link checker will look for the issues related to:

  • Broken links
  • Anchor and referenced objects in a web page
  • CSS stylesheet
  • Page depth

You can download the plugin and run on your computer to checkout on all the broken links that are in your site.

When choosing the best plugin among these will depend on your needs.

  • How much complex is your website?
  • Why do you want to check the broken links?
  • How frequently will you run the scan?

Once you know the answer to these questions, you will easily select the best plugin that you can use for checking the broken links on your site.

Conclusion

Everyone can get frustrated when they are going deep for an article on a news story and find that the link to further material is broken.

This post is meant to teach you the importance of broken links and how to find them through different plugins. We also share how important the links are for improving ranking on the SEO charts. We hope that you found the post useful. Please share it with others as well. If you like to add something, comment in the below section.

 

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Are Web Design Schools Losing Their Magic?

Just a few months ago, 1stwebdesigner released its Flat Design course, teaching web designers the secrets in mastering the beautiful art of flat design.

That got me asking: Now that online education is becoming more and more popular, is it still relevant to go to web design schools these days?

This question is perfectly normal to ask. With the advent of web design blogs that teach beginners and experts alike, some people may feel that going to a web design school might no longer be relevant at all.

Why Go to a Design School?

Going to a design school helps in some degrees and cases. It trains you for the basics of web design. Commonly, design schools teach you some basic knowledge like color theory, basics of typography, composition and basics of design.

classroom

Some schools also give you a peek at the basic coding languages like HTML, CSS and PHP. In addition, schools train you to work hard on deadlines. Projects, assignments and term papers condition your mind for the future you will face.

You will learn that this will be a great amount of help for you as you will be dealing with clients. You will learn how to work with tight schedules to a point where you no longer sleep. Somehow, this is foreshadowing to your future fate as a web designer.

One more thing that would make you consider going to a design school are the mentors. Some universities are packed with wonderful professors who do not only teach you but train you as well.

In design schools, you submit projects and professors either critique or appreciate your work. This gives you a lot of leverage because you can readily improve your work without risks of staining your reputation.

web-design-class

Lastly, design schools give you time to tweak and tinker. You may have those designs which may make you hit your face with your palms but those are left at schools. In the course of your stay, you can continually hone your talents and, eventually, become better.

Why Design Schools Are Irrelevant

Online education is now booming. With the Internet becoming a part of daily human activity, pretty much everything can be done online: arranging tasks, ordering food, paying bills and even learning new skills.

  • Diplomas no longer matter

The first reason why going to a web design school might be irrelevant is that diplomas are no longer instant passes for jobs. This goes true despite what most parents say. According to Adecco, a job placement firm, 60% of US college graduates do not find a full-time job in their chosen profession.

job-interview

What does this mean?

Andrea Campbell, now Art Director of Orange Element in Baltimore, may have summed it all when she said that employment decisions are based on interviews and the applicant’s portfolio, and that’s all of it.

This may well be supported as Janna Haggan, a Toronto-based designer said,

“Despite what your teachers or parents tell you, your diploma won’t necessarily get you a job.  Proving what kind of work you are capable of producing through your portfolio or demonstrating passion and potential to an employer will more likely catch their eye; compared to a student who has more formal education. Having a killer portfolio and personality will land you a job anywhere.”

  • Experience is the best teacher

One more thing that they don’t teach at design school is real-life experience. Most classes would just teach you theories on how to deal with clients and you will never know the works until you get one. Sometimes, as a rookie in the world of design, you will have difficult times adjusting from one client to another.

  • There are alternatives now

Unlike engineering or architecture, the online database for information on web design is very rich. With countless design blogs out there, you will never run out of ways to learn. Nowadays, more and more courses are offered where you can learn things that you’ll never learn (or will take a lot of time to learn) in school. All of that, for a more reasonable price, of course.

  • Web Design is a rat-race

Years ago, when you were at design school, flat design probably hasn’t been born yet. You may have never heard of responsive design, either. You probably adjusted a bit in terms of knowledge and style to fit the trend.

Web design is a fast-paced rat-race. You chase the technology and the trends as it move in a constant speed as you are traveling. You can never keep up. That makes sitting on a classroom irrelevant. Your chosen path is continually expanding and you can’t just sit in a classroom forever.

I am a web design student. Shall I drop out now?

For students, this is a pretty difficult question. Honestly, I would sit in a fence regarding this matter. The answer as to whether you should quit design school totally depends upon you.

There are cases where people who quit school turn out to be successful. Take our founder, Dainis, as a great example. However, this doesn’t work all the time.

student

For this, here are a few questions to ask yourself:

  • Am I financially ready to start working?
  • Is my portfolio ready? (or do I even have one?)
  • Am I willing to struggle for long periods?
  • Am I efficient in self-studying?
  • Do I know people that might help me get clients?

You should at least be ready with all of these items before dropping out. But it totally rests upon your hands to steer the wheel.

Alternatives to Design Schools

If you have already quit design school and you want still want to learn, there are great websites that might help you:

My Take

Let me argue that these schools are no longer relevant. With the continuous development and expansion of the uses of Internet, learning new tricks and techniques concerning web design becomes easier, more convenient, and less costly. Imagine this: you can spend thousands of dollars over a four-year education plan that would teach you web design. But then, you can just visit a course, buy it for a hundred dollars or so and learn the same thing for a span of weeks (or even days).

Pondering on this, ask yourself, where would you like to be? In a place where you bury yourself with bills you will pay for in the future? Or in a place where you could learn the same thing in the most comfortable and less costly way possible?

Conclusion

Remember, Web design is a fast-paced race. You will keep on chasing a pot of information that goes constantly increases speed as you run towards it. Will you keep up if you just stay in the four corners of the classroom? Or will you start running?

What are your thoughts? For you, is going to web design schools still relevant? Did you go to one? Let’s discuss.

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Master the Core: Web Design Code of Ethics

Web design, like any other profession, should always be ethical. It should always adhere to a set ­­­of norms set by the whole community. These codes guide designers to perform their tasks in the most honest and professional way possible.

But for the world of web design, being dynamic and fast-paced as it seems to be, still has not recognized a single set of ethics, the web design code of ethics.

authority

That is why we propose these codes in this particular character:

  1. I will uphold honesty and fairness in treating my clients by giving my best effort in finishing projects within agreed time and budget.
  2. I will protect the interests of my clients and refuse to disclose confidential information.
  3. I will play with competition honestly and professionally and never resort to spreading scandalous, libelous and malicious information against others.
  4. I will scrupulously ensure that the designs I publish are not, in any way perceivable, misleading to potential customers.
  5. I will not distribute, use and collect unlicensed or pirated software in my projects.
  6. I will protect the Internet, and its users, against copyright violations, property theft and plagiarism to the best of my abilities.
  7. I will not make use of any spyware, inject codes within websites for my own interests.
  8. I will stay away from looping or using codes to disable the “Back button” and trap the visitors to view a page they don’t want to.
  9. I will not use techniques such as “Web Rings”, and “Black Hat” to optimize my search engine popularity.
  10. I will do away with pop-up windows and technologies that intrude private data for advertising.
  11. I will code in the simplest way possible.
  12. I will not participate, link to, or even provide my services to sites that promote, develop and showcase pornography, exploitation of women, children, racial and ethnic minorities, violence, hate groups and terrorist organizations.
  13. I will design while putting in mind the easiness and speed of user experience.
  14. I will not participate in website redirecting  to pages users don’t expect.
  15. I will design not, in any way, destroy a competitor website.

Honesty and Fairness in Treating Clients

Honesty to clients should be the premier concern of web designers. As a professional, you have to say the truth about what you think and feel about the client and the project. You need to be fair to them and never resort to overpricing, misleading work and all those shenanigans.

If you want your clients to be honest with you, you have to be honest with them first.

Things you should be honest:

swimming-in-cash

  • Pricing

Some clients are cheated in terms of pricing. At times, in the web designers’ wanting to earn more money using the least of efforts; they resort to overpricing their clients.

As a responsible web designer, you should remember to be honest about money. You should be paid at the rate of your work. Don’t put hidden charges. Be clear about additional payments for revisions and more.

How would you price your clients? These articles provide great insights:

rush

  • Deadlines

Deadlines are probably one of the things most designers lie about. Normally, clients have two ways in setting deadlines:

  1. They set the deadlines by themselves.
  2. They ask you how long will it take to design.

Scenario 1.The client sets the deadlines. This option can be pressuring for a web designer. Your client gives you a certain time to finish your project and you have to deliver on or before this said day ends.

That is a privilege you can’t take away from them. They, too, have their own deadlines to meet.Now, what will you do if the client gives you a deadline you’re not sure you can finish?

Most greenhorn designers will surely choose to take on the project, compress the time, cram and rush their task.

Some other experienced ones will still take the project on. But when the deadline approaches, they are unable to finish it.

So, what you supposed to do?

  • If you say yes to a deadline, be sure you can finish it.
  • Plan your time wisely.
  • Ask yourself: Is the payment for this project worth the rush?
  • If you feel you need some extra time, negotiate.
  • If you can’t finish it, don’t take it.

Scenario 2.You set your own deadline. This option gives the designers some flexibility with how will they finish the project. Most designers want this because they will be able to work at their own timeframe.

In this option, designers have choice how to juggle their own time.This gives the designer some flexibility on finishing the projects because they can work at their own timeframes. However, doing this will be prone to procrastination.

This gives the designer some flexibility with how the designer can finish the project. Most designers want this because they will be able to work at their own pace. Because of this, the designer has the ability to juggle his own time. However, being able to set your own deadline can lead to procrastination.

So, what are you supposed to do?

  • If you set it, then finish it.
  • Plan your time wisely
  • Set some extra time just in case things don’t work out.
  • Craft a productive schedule

Client Confidentiality

Privacy has been a well-discussed issue online nowadays. With risks in the divulgence of unsolicited information, confidentiality has become a pressing issue in web design.

An ethical designer will:

  • Always adhere to protect the identity of the clients
  • Not divulge information that the client has requested to remain secret

client-silhouette

Some clients state these things in the contract, and web designers should follow it by the dot.

Following this code would mean that you will not, in any way, discuss to competing clients and other designers the specifics of your project. Doing so might jeopardize the company and you! So, better be careful with what you blurt out.

Here are some articles that you would want to read:

Honest Competition

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Of course, you are not the only person who is into web design. Whether you want it or not, there will be competition. There are some designers who came before you and they could be way better.

The best you can do is to improve your skills and talents to a point where you can compete fair and square.

Ethical designers play by the rules.They don’t engage in dirty tactics like smearing on others’ reputation. They also don’t involve themselves in hacking other designer’s works to destroy them.

To be an honest competitor, you should:

  • Play by the rules
  • Continue to improve your talents
  • Build bridges not burn them

Avoiding Software Piracy and Idea-Theft

Responsible designers are not thieves. Because they know how precious ideas are, they do not support piracy and copyright infringement. To them, using someone else’s work without giving the creator enough credit is an abomination.

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What is Software Piracy?

Software piracy is the unauthorized use and replication of software. It’s the act of using a for-one-computer-use-only software to other computers as well. This is illegal because it cripples the industry that develops the programs.

Imagine if you worked on a software for so long only to find out that days after you released it in the market, it had been copied by pirates. Your efforts, ideas and frustrations would be all for nothing.

Despite the efforts of the government, the stakeholders and programmers, software piracy is impossible to contain. There are existing laws that cover such act but with the great number of Internet pirates, it’s impossible to keep up.

Common types of software piracy are:

  • OEM unbinding
  • Softlifting
  • Hard disk loading
  • Corporate software policy and internet software policy

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What Is Idea Theft?

Idea theft is the act of snatching ideas, using and popularizing them before the victim does first.This act may include code plagiarism, copyright infringement and patent stealing. Idea thieves cripple the industry as they destroy originality in business.

There are a lot of ways to prevent this. Let’s enumerate a few:

  • Don’t reveal too much.
  • Use Non-Disclosure Agreements.
  • Apply for patent (companies or products), register your domain (web development and design) in advance.
  • Trademark your brand.
  • Document everything!

Spyware, Unsolicited Advertising and Black Hat Techniques

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Aside from stolen ideas and software, there are techniques some web designers use to harm others. As a responsible and ethical designer, you have to be knowledgeable of these practices because for all you know, you are practicing them.

Spyware

According to Microsoft, Spyware is:

“A general term used to describe software that performs certain behaviors, generally without appropriately obtaining your consent first, such as: advertising, collecting personal information, changing the configuration of your computer.”

Spyware is often paired with software that uses adware or software that tracks your personal and sensitive information.

How spyware affects you:

  • Often created for different uses, spyware is very difficult to remove.
  • They commonly alter settings in your computer causing it to crash or slow down.
  • They may either change your homepage, search tool or add bookmarks and toolbars without your consent.

Black Hat

Black hat is a famous word in SEO. However, it touches web design too as it is often used in connivance with web designers. When we say Black Hat, we refer to the aggressive use of SEO techniques and schemes to fool search engines and put a certain website in the first pages.

Popular examples of this act include:

  • Keyword Stuffing
  • Invisible text
  • Doorway pages
  • Addition of unrelated keywords to page content

Protection of Women and Children

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As a web designer and a responsible human being, you have to protect the causes of children and women. Designing web pages that can be debilitating for the reputation of women and children should be avoided. As much as possible, you shouldn’t agree to designing pornographic, pedophilic and violent websites.

Conclusion

We build websites to make the world a better place. We adhere to norms that guide us to become better web designers. For after all, we are responsible for what we build. The team here at 1stwebdesigner is one in following this code of ethics. Are you up for the challenge?

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The Noob Guide to Web Design

Web design is so much anchored on technology to a point that it is difficult for beginners to catch up, and if they even try to, it would be very difficult.

For someone who has zero idea on web design, this can be pretty frustrating.

You want to learn something new so you decided to try out web design. Because of this, you immediately looked for tutorials.

To your surprise, there are a lot of tutorials out there. However, browsing through each of those tutorials, you realize that these lessons are actually directed towards people who have designed websites before.

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Your vibe dies and, eventually, you’ll just shrug your shoulders and admit to yourself, “Meh. I didn’t like web design in the first place.”

But would everything change if some article showed you the way? If just some tutorial kindled that small matchstick in your creativity, would you stop designing?

Of course, the answer to these questions depends on a case-to-case basis. However, things might have gone differently if you just saw great newbie guides to web design.

For non-web designers to want to try out web design, a noob guide would be great.

And yes, I’m going to give you one. So, keep your eyes glued in this article and let’s all start learning!

Learning Web Design

Since the Web has soared into popularity, interest in learning web design has also increased exponentially. Right now, there are a lot of people from different corners of the world who dream of building their own websites, and in the near future, earning from such activity.

This exponential growth dominoed into the increase of platforms and courses that guarantee you web design knowledge. There are blogs, forums and courses right here and there for your choosing. You just have to know which is the best one for you.

Here are a few avenues that may lead you to learning web design.

Web Design Schools

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School-based learning is an alien term in the world of web design. Because schools have been traditional and often can’t keep up with the fast evolution of the industry, some think that they are already ineffective.

However, some people just find going to schools helpful.

This may play out to your advantage if you want to learn web design. With the popularity of the subject, you will always find a university that offers web design classes.

Going back to school might prove to be an effective method because it is more formal and systematized. It also teaches in a pace you can keep up with. However, if you are on a very tight budget, this is not recommendedbecause going back to college is not as easy as it sounds.

Reading

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Of course, aside from sitting in a classroom, listening to some guy blabber about web design, you can learn while staring at the letters flashing through your computer monitor.

Reading is one of the many ways you can learn web design. Now that design blogs have become a profitable niche in blogging, web design resources, tutorials and inspirations have become easier to access.

The timeliness of reading as a way to learning something will always remain. As we live in a time where most people can read, it should always be the go-to method in self-instruction.

Although, some view it as a lesser interactive and entertaining way of acquiring new knowledge, some people find it the most effective one.

Some Resources to Check Out:

Video Tutorials

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The prevalence of videos directed towards learning has been notable since the inception of video cameras. For such a long time, videos have become effective ways to teach and learn.

In the world of web design, video-based instruction is very popular. However, there are only a handful of tutorials that offer in depth and high quality teaching. The reason is, it takes too much effort, time, knowledge and resources to create instructional materials with the depth that everyone is looking for.

That may be the reason why some courses are pricy. There are some learning centers that also offer subscription-based learning where you pay a fee for a month to be granted access to a library of web design knowledge.

Resources to Check Out

Web Design Jargon

Businesswomen Celebrate Success on the Laptop in the Kitchen.

A jargon is a special word or expression used in a particular profession or group and are difficult for others to understand.All professions in the world have their own jargons; web design has its own language too.

Here are a few web design terms and their meanings:

  • Anchor Text

An anchor text is the text a link uses to direct to your website. Anchor texts play a big role in increasing and optimizing your website for search engines.

  • Back End

A website’s back end is a facet of the website not visible to regular visitors. It includes information, structure, applications and Content Management Systems that controls everything within the website.

  • Backlink

backlink is a link attached to any element within another websites page that links to your own site. Also known as track backs, these links play a great role in increasing your site’s web search engine ranking.

  • Bandwidth

Bandwidth refers either to the rate the data can be delivered or the total amount of data transferable from a web host on a given time. Measured in bits-per-sec, kilobits-per-sec and other metric measurements, bandwidth can affect how fast your website loads.

  • Bounce Rate

Bounce rate refers to the number of people who browse your website without clicking any other page. This percentage commonly reflects the beauty of your website navigation and content. When your bounce rate goes high, it would only spell something wrong.

  • Breadcrumbs

Breadcrumbs refer to the small elements found in the website’s navigation. They commonly appear near the top of the webpage and shows the pages, sub-pages and other directories the said page is placed. Example, in a website’s breadcrumbs, you see: Home>Blog>Web Design>Inspiration>Post.

  • Cache

Cache are files that are saved, copied or downloaded from the website by your browser to increase the load time the site is visited, it will load faster.

  • Content Management System

CMS as it is famously known, these are backend tools for managing a website’s content. It also separates the content from the design itself and the functions.

  • DNS

A DNS or Domain Name Service’s main function is to convert your IP address into domain names. DNS servers are commonly provided with the IP of your website when you purchase a web host.

  • e-Commerce

Electric commerce or e-Commerce refers to the usage of websites to buy or sell goods. Transactions in E-commerce websites can be physical services or products delivered using email or direct download.

  • Em

An em is a unit used to measure fonts and other web elements within a webpage that relates to its parent. 1em is equal to the point size for the font defined within the parent element.

  • Fold

The fold is the point on the webpage that is shown initially. Anything that you see below the fold are the elements you see when you scroll down.

  • Front-end

A website’s front-end refers to the components of the website that the visitors see. These are pages, images, content and UI.

  • Hexadecimal

Hexadecimals, also called “hex” numbers are a base-16 numbering system used to identify colors. These numbers include the numerals 0-9 and letters A-F. They are written in three set of hex pairs: the first pair defines the red hue, the second green and the third blue.

  • .htaccess

The .htaccess file is a default configuration of the apache server. The configurations contained within the .htaccess determine which file is placed.

  • HTML

HyperText Markup Language is the primary language understood by web pages. HTML is intended to provide the framework and content of website.

  • HTTP

HyperText Transfer Protocol is a set of rules in order to transfer requests between browsers and servers.

  • HTTPS

HyperText Transfer Protocol over SSL (Secure Socket Layer) are set of rules for transferring requests from a browser to the server (and vice versa) only that it uses a secure and encrypted connection.

  • Landing Page

A landing page is the page the visitors see when they enter the website. Landing pages are specifically designed to call action from the new visitor.

  • Meta Data

A meta data is a data contained in the header that shows the information about a web page the visitor is on.

  • Permalink

A permalink or “permanent link” is used on blogs to define the permanent address of a given blog-post.

  • Plugin

Plugins are any bit of third party codes that extend or increase the capabilities of the website. Plugins go with CMS or blogging platforms and make it easier for the developer to have functions added over time without re-coding the website.

  • Really Simple Syndication

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RSS or Really Simple Syndication is referred to as the standardized XML format that allows content to be syndicated between two or more websites.

  • Resolution

Resolution is used to define the number of pixels displayed in the screen.

  • Script

These are portions of code in an HTML page that adds dynamism and interactivity.

  • Web Server

A web server is a computer software that allows a computer to host websites, web and web pages to make them available anywhere.

The Web Design Process

When web designers acquire clients, they follow a series of steps. These steps organize their work and allows them to monitor their own progress as each step is completed.

Here are the six steps in the web design process:

  • Research

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The first step in any web design project is to gather information that may help you in designing. Obviously, the information will allow you to understand the target audience, the possible content and design of the website, all of which are necessary to make the website successful in the future.

Here are a few things you need to consider:

  1. Purpose
  2. Goals
  3. Target Audience
  4. Projected Content
  • Planning

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Planning is one of the most important steps in this process because it’s in the step where the concept of the project is built. This also requires constant communication with the client to determine the details of the project that will be retained or removed.

  • Design Proper

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This is the step where you make ideas real. In this stage, web designers plot the ideas approved by the client into functional visual representations.

Here are a few sub-steps:

  1. Wireframing
  2. Mockup Creation
  3. Designing
  4. Re-designing
  5. Slicing and Coding
  • Development

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In this stage, the web designer becomes more like a shadow as the developer takes over. Because it includes a lot of programming and content creation, this process can be very complicated and distressing. Codes need to be organized, commented and referred to the original concept.

Conclusion

As this article ends, I hope you learned a lot. For newbies, web design is very daunting. But it takes patience, skill and some hard work to become successful web designers. Remember, all web design experts started like you are right now – newbies. If they did it, why can’t you?

Good luck. If you have questions, feel free to ask at the comment section below.

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