Articles

Branding 101: How to Get Your Design Business Online

You’ve named your business. You’ve sorted out the visual branding piece. Now, it’s time to get your business online so you can start making money.

In this post, we’re going to look at where your web design business needs to set up shop online and how to get it up and running quickly.

Step 1: Set Up Your Website

As a web designer or developer, having a website is non-negotiable.

Not only does a website provide prospective clients with all the information they need about you, it can help you automate many of those annoying tasks that get in the way of your actual paid work.

So, let’s start here:

Buy Your Domain Name

If you haven’t done so already, use the business name generator exercise to come up with a domain name. You then have a couple of options for buying it.

To Do:

  • Buy it from a domain name provider like GoDaddy or Domain.com;
  • Or buy it from your web hosting company;
  • Check the next step to see which option makes the most sense for you.

Choose a CMS

Use the same CMS as the one you’ll use to build your clients’ sites. That way, clients don’t wonder why you’d use something like Squarespace for your site, but then recommend WordPress for theirs, for example.

To Do:

  • If you use a self-hosted CMS (like WordPress, Drupal, or Joomla), hold on this until you purchase your web hosting;
  • If you use a hosted CMS (like Wix, Squarespace, or Shopify), you won’t need to do the next step. Instead, just sign up for your website builder and buy your domain name now.

Buy Your Web Hosting

If you’re wondering what the difference is between the various types of web hosting, read this post.

Basically, this is what you’re looking for:

  • A hosting company with a good reputation that provides expert and timely support;
  • An affordable starter plan — either shared or cloud hosting;
  • Server locations near you (at the very least, in the same country as you);
  • Top-notch security features at the server level as well as the physical hosting facility;
  • Caching and other speed optimizations built into the server and on-site equipment;
  • Compatibility with your CMS (look for one-click install, too).

Also, look for add-ons like SSL certificates, CDNs, and, of course, a free domain name.

To Do:

  • Sign up for the hosting plan you want along with your domain name and SSL certificate (this is a must for SEO);
  • Install your CMS from the control panel once you’re ready to go.

Build Your Website

Ultimately, you have two goals here:

  1. To build a website that convinces prospective clients that you’re the real deal;
  2. To build a website that prospects would want for themselves.

So, there’s no need to go crazy with outlandish features or futuristic animations and design. Keep it simple. Keep it neat. And give prospects an honest portrayal of who you are, and what you can do for them.

Design It

The first thing to do is take all that work you did to create your visual branding and use it to design your website.

If you’re building a WordPress website, consider starting with one of these multipurpose themes.

Build Out the Pages You Need

A theme will automatically create the pages you need (most of them, anyway). If you’re not sure which ones to start with, these are the ones your prospects are going to be looking for:

You may also want to add separate pages for Testimonials and Case Studies once you’ve accumulated enough of them to show off. For now, you can include samples of your work in the Portfolio page and testimonials on the Home page.

Fill in the Content

Even if writing isn’t your strong suit, that’s okay. So long as the content you write for your site is free of spelling and grammar errors, your prospective clients are going to focus on what you’re telling them, not on how proficient a writer you are.

That said, if you’re nervous about this piece of your website, here are some tips to help you out:

1. Be concise, it’s not just minimal design that goes over well with modern audiences. Minimal copy does, too.

2. Be transparent. Tell prospects what exactly they can expect when they work with you and why your web design services are going to be different from the competition.

3. Consumers don’t trust companies that use meaningless buzzwords and make empty claims. Instead, focus on writing about the real and very competitive skills you have. According to research from NIDO Student, these are the skills employers look for when hiring a designer:

4. Let your images tell some of the story for you. Just make sure you use (or create) images that will impress your audience.

5. After you’ve written your content, take a step back and tackle the structure and formatting from a designer’s POV.

6. Before you hit the “Publish” button, run your copy through Hemingway Editor to ensure your content is error-free.

Add the Right Features

When I talk about features, I’m referring to anything outside the main design and content on your website. These are usually sales and marketing tools like:

  • Chatbot/live chat
  • Contact forms
  • Pop-ups or notification banners
  • Discovery call scheduler
  • Cookies consent notice

Only add the features you absolutely need. In other words, the features that will automate the marketing and sales tasks you’d otherwise have to manage on your own.

Step 2: Optimize Your Website for Search Engines

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a very important part of the work you do to get your business online. Here’s why:

After you launch your business and website, the next thing you’re going to focus on is getting clients. This can take a lot of work as you pore over the following resources for referrals and leads:

  • Your existing contact list (i.e. family, friends, old employers, colleagues, etc.);
  • Freelance job boards;
  • Industry-specific job boards;
  • Social media posts, pages, and groups;
  • Google search results for “we’re hiring”;
  • And so on…

And when you’re not busy cold-emailing prospective clients or talking to them on the phone, you’re probably going to be working on your business’ processes. Running a business is very time-consuming.

So, what happens when you finally start working on website projects? It’s not like the client search ends there. It’s an ongoing thing. Which is why your website needs to be optimized for search.

Once your site gets indexed by Google and starts to generate authority, your pages will rank better and the increased visibility will start generating leads without you having to actively make the first move.

SEO is a huge topic, so I’m not going to cover it here. However, the links below will do a good job of guiding you towards your next steps.

To Do:

Step 3: Get Active on Social Media

Your website is going to play a lot of roles:

  • Digital business card;
  • Authority builder;
  • Marketing vehicle;
  • Sales platform;
  • Content marketer.

But there’s one very critical thing it can’t do and that’s directly converse with your audience and grow your network. This is why you need to spend time building out your social media once your website is good to go.

As for which social media platforms to use (as there are way too many), here are my thoughts:

Become an authority on Twitter.

Twitter is a good place to share daily thoughts and interesting content you’ve found on the web.

Get discovered on LinkedIn.

LinkedIn is useful because it’s another place to get noticed by potential employers, so make sure your relevant work experience and portfolio are up-to-date.

Connect with other creatives on Facebook.

It’s really hard to get noticed on Facebook unless you pay to play. Instead, use it to find groups that you can turn to for support, referrals, and brainstorming.

Share your work on Dribbble.

While you could use Instagram or Pinterest to show off your work, you might get more traction on a design-specific platform like Dribbble. Serve as inspiration for others and potentially get discovered by prospects looking for designers there.

Down the line you might decide to expand your business into recurring revenue opportunities like online courses. In that case, a platform like YouTube would be great. For now, focus your efforts on the main ones above.

To Do:

  • Create your social media accounts;
  • Brand them to match your website — both the visual component as well as the bio;
  • Start sharing content on a regular basis. You can automate sharing with a social media management tool, but remember to log in at least a couple times a week so you can engage with others, too;
  • Be careful not to commit these social media faux pas.

Wrap-Up

I realize this is a ton of information to throw at you. However, if you want to get your new business online and for it to succeed, you need to maximize the opportunities that are available to you.

I hope this three-part guide to starting a new business has been helpful. If you have any questions on the tips provided along the way, let me know in the comments.

 

Featured image via Pexels.

Source


Source de l’article sur Webdesignerdepot

8 Awesome Black Friday 2020 Deals for Designers (Up to 94% Off!)

If you’re interested in a sneak peek of this year’s best Black Friday deals, stick around. You’ll find a few web designers’ favorites, including a stellar deal or two.

This year, more than a few of the popular retail outlets are shifting away from the traditional “camp out all night and bust open the doors when the store opens” shopping model. You might just prefer this less chaotic, ecommerce approach.

All of us are trying to adjust to what may eventually become a “new normal”. We may not like some aspects of this new normal, but there are bright spots as well.

More shoppers are likely going to shop online because of the coronavirus. That means you don’t have to fight the crowds while desperately attempting to socially distance. The shelves aren’t as apt to go bare, and shopping is easy, convenient, and safe.

1. Slider Revolution

You will find the Slider Revolution plugin incorporated in a host of WordPress theme tools and products. This premium plugin can in fact boast of more than 7 million users around the globe.

What you may not be aware of is that it is much more than just a WordPress slider. With it in your web design toolbox, you can in fact create just about anything you can imagine.

Expect to find:

  • A stunning selection of elements including sliders and carousels;
  • Attention-getting hero sections designed to make your home pages really stand out;
  • Single-page websites with layouts unlike anything you’ve seen before;
  • Modular structuring that allows you to rearrange and reuse sections however you choose and the ability to mix and match modules with any WordPress content;
  • Add-ons whose cutting edge features push the boundaries of web design possibilities.

There’s more of course. To celebrate Black Friday and Cyber Monday you can NOW get any Slider Revolution subscription plan or one-time payment at a 33% discount.

Just click on the banner and use the BLACKFRIDAY code at checkout.

2. Amelia

When done manually, booking and managing appointments can be tedious and subject to mistakes and errors. Amelia provides an automated booking process that is oh-so easy to work with and is error free; just what you need to help you acquire more happy customers.

Key features of Amelia’s fully responsive design include:

  • A dashboard system that enables you to track approved and pending appointments, booking changes, and revenue;
  • Zoom Integration, Google Calendar, and Outlook Calendar sync;
  • The ability to accept and easily manage recurring appointments that customers can schedule;
  • Front-end customer and employee appointment and event managing and backend appointment adding, editing, and rescheduling;
  • Email notifications for pending and approved appointments and events.

And much more that will save you loads of energy and a ton of time. Give Amelia a try, and if you like what you see (and you will), take advantage of the 30% Black Friday discount.

3. wpDataTables

wpDataTables 3.0, with its fresh, new look, gives you a host of different ways to generate attractive, customizable, and responsive tables and charts, and a host of different ways to present them.

  • Tables can be created from most data sources, the most common being MySQL query, PHP array, Google Spreadsheet, Excel files CSV files, and JSON and XML inputs;
  • A working knowledge of SQL is not required!
  • Addons include Gravity Forms, Formidable Forms, Report Builder, and Powerful Filter;
  • wpDataTables users can generate Tables and Charts quickly from massive amounts of data (saving hours of effort);
  • Tables and charts are customizable and maintainable (editable once placed in use);
  • Tables can be created manually if you wish.

Click on the banner now and take advantage of wpDataTables 30% Black Friday discount on all licenses and addons.

4. TheGem – Creative Multi-Purpose High-Performance WordPress Theme

In TheGem, the ultimate WordPress multipurpose toolbox, you will find:

  • A rich selection of 400+ premium pre-built multi-page and one-page websites, all available for Elementor and WPBakery page builders;
  • The ability to mix and match any of this demos, layouts and page sections to create your own unique look;
  • Extended WooCommerce layouts & tools for making online shops, which convert better;
  • TheGem Blocks: an ultimate tool for building webpages at the speed of light.

And much more. Just click on the banner and check this 5-star product out.

5. Mobirise Website Builder

Creating a Google-friendly can take time, unless you have Mobirise at your fingertips, in which case you have a number of helpful tools to speed things up.

  • No coding, it’s all drag and drop;
  • 3,600+ website templates are at your disposal plus sliders, popups, forms, and more;
  • Many eCommerce features, including a shopping cart;
  • Latest Google Amp and Bootstrap4;
  • You can download Mobirise for free.

And, because it’s Black Friday, everything is yours at a 94% discount!

6. Get Illustrations

Get Illustrations offers royalty free and landing page Illustrations ready to drag and drop into your web design. You’ll have access to:

  • An extensive library of 4000+ illustrations with more added every week;
  • A wealth of design formats, including AI, PNG, SVG, Figma, Adobe XD, and Sketch;
  • Free updates and new illustrations weekly (included in the bundle).

Click on the banner and use the Coupon Code BLACKDEAL for your 30% discount.

7. XStore | Responsive Multi-Purpose WooCommerce WordPress Theme

For anyone planning on creating an eCommerce store, the XStore name says it all. Key features you’ll find in this powerful and flexible WooCommerce theme include:

  • More than 95 good-to-go-shops plus a full AJAX shop to get you started;
  • 300+ pre-defined shop/page sections, a header builder, and a single product page builder;
  • Elementor, WPBakery and $510+ worth of premium plugins.

Click on the banner and sign up to become one of XStore’s 55,000+ happy customers.

8. Kalium – Creative Theme For Multiple Uses

Kalium is an easy-to-use, easily maintainable multipurpose theme for WordPress users that is always updated to use the latest WordPress standards.

  • Kalium provides its users with a host of professionally-designed pre-built demos and elements;
  • Many plugins such as: Slider Revolution, WPBakery, Elementor, Layer Slider, Advanced Custom Fields PRO, Product Filter for WooCommerce, Product Size Guide,WooCommerce and other premium plugins are included.

Kalium is responsive, GDPR compliant, and gives you full eCommerce and top-quality customer support. It has a 5-star rating after 36k sales on ThemeForest – seriously impressive!

***** 

If you hit the retail stores remember to social distance.

Or, if you would rather take a brief break from the demands of Covid-19, take advantage of one or more of the above ecommerce sales. As you can see, there are some excellent ones!

 

[– This is a sponsored post –]

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Source de l’article sur Webdesignerdepot

Top New CMS Plugins, November 2020

Since there are so many CMS plugins out there, it can be overwhelming to choose the best ones for your website. We’ve done the research for you; this list contains the top new CMS plugins for November 2020. You’ll find useful plugins for WordPress, Craft, Shopify, and Joomla.

Let’s get started…

WordPress

404 Page Editor

404 Page Editor is a simple WordPress plugin that helps you add custom text to the default 404 page on your website. The plugin comes with seasonal and industry-related 404 templates. One useful feature of the plugin is that it backups your current 404 page before changing it. So you can restore the backup page anytime you choose. The plugin duplicates your current 404.php page to wp-content/uploads/404-page-editor/ so you can easily find it. You can also change the text on the plugin to fit your local dialect. 

UnusedCSS Power-Up

Most WordPress themes and plugins load their CSS in the wrong areas of your website. This can slow down your site. A slow website will reduce user experience and lead to increased bounce rates.

UnusedCSS will help reduce the size of your website’s CSS files by up to 95%. The best part is that the plugin works automatically. It will remove any unused CSS when visitors view any page on your website. UnusedCSS will automatically reduce your website’s load times by reducing your CSS files and page size. The plugin also optimizes the performance of other WordPress plugins and extensions. UnusedCSS also works with WooCommerce themes and plugins.

Simple Redirects

Simple Redirects is a WordPress plugin that helps you to automatically redirect requests to another page on your site or any other place on the web. The plugin allows you to easily redirect users from your old web pages to new pages using 301 or 302 redirects. You don’t have to worry about losing backlinks or page rank. Any incoming links to the old web page will be automatically passed along to the new page. The page rank on the old page is also transferred to the new page. The plugin is useful when migrating a WordPress site when don’t want to retain the URL structure. 

HTML Validation

HTML Validation plugin helps you identify any HTML validation errors on your website. The plugin works automatically in the background of your website and will send you regular reports. There is a progress bar on the report screen to show you the progress of the scan. The plugin uses WordPress Cron to scan the content of your website. There is also an option for the plugin to automatically fix any HTML validation issues on your website. You can also choose to fix the issues manually. 

Just Highlight

Just Highlight is a simple WordPress plugin that helps you highlight text in your posts or pages. You can use this plugin to highlight any portion of the page you want to draw the reader’s attention to. You can highlight the background of the page and also add animation to the highlighted text. In the WordPress admin area, you can change the speed and color of the animation. The plugin is compatible with Gutenberg, and the WordPress classic editor. 

DeviantArt Embed

DeviantArt Embed is a simple plugin that helps you embed any work from Deviant Art into a post. The plugin provides a block for the WordPress block editor so you can easily embed the image. It uses a DeviantArt oEmbed API to pull the images and their descriptions, and creates an embedded image. 

Static Optimizer

Static Optimizer is a static file optimization plugin that serves and optimizes static files on your website. The plugin will help you increase your website speed by automatically compressing your static files. It is easy to set up, you just need an API key to get started. Other useful features that the plugin offers include automatic JS and CSS minification, automatic image optimization, and processing of responsive images. You don’t have to worry about losing your files if their server is down. The plugin automatically backs up your files and will load your original files when their servers are down (either because of an upgrade, maintenance, or outage).  By default, only images are compressed when you activate the plugin; you can also choose to optimize fonts, CSS, and JS files. 

RankBear

RankBear is a keyword rank tracker plugin that helps you analyze your SEO efforts. With RankBear, you can track the keywords for each of the posts and pages on your site. While the plugin has a paid plan, you can track up to five keywords for free. On the free plan, you will receive weekly reports on each keyword you are tracking. You can search for the rank and volume of a keyword in every location supported by the Google search engine. RankBear is a lightweight software-as-a-service plugin hosted by Amazon Cloud Services. The plugin also offers the option to download the keyword reports to CSV. 

Table of Contents Block

Table of Contents Block is a plugin that allows you to easily create a Table of Contents for your WordPress posts. The plugin is lightweight and will automatically add a Table of Content in your website’s posts and pages. You can select the heading tags you want to add to the Table of Content. It also has a dedicated support team to assist you. The plugin works fine with all standard WordPress themes. 

Markease For WooCommerce

Markeaze is an all-in-one communication plugin that allows you to add live chat to your online stores. The plugin will help you improve your customer service by decreasing your response times. With the plugin, you can collect your visitor’s contact information via a widget. This feature is useful in building a subscriber database. You can also use the plugin to track customer behavior on your site, inform customers about new products, help customers with active orders, and collect customer feedback. You can also use the auto-reply function to answer commonly asked questions. 

Craft CMS

Image Toolbox

Image Toolbox is a Craft CMS plugin that offers image-related tools for your templates. The plugin will automatically create a WebP variant of the images you upload. It also has a fallback for browsers that do not support WebP images. Other useful features the plugin offers include automatic creation of placeholder images and generation of responsive images with multiple variants. The plugin also supports Imager-X (or old Imager). 

Element Panel

Element Panel plugin allows you to add elements and an eager-loading panel to the debug toolbar. This feature will help you benchmark your templates in Craft CMS. For elements, the panel has a dashboard that shows how many elements are populated. It also shows how many elements are duplicates. The plugin also shows you how many eager-loading elements are detected. Duplicate elements are grouped by field name. 

Shopify 

VStore Shoppable Videos

VStore Shoppable Videos is a Shopify plugin that allows your customers to shop directly from your videos. The plugin allows you to embed your products into any video. Since videos have a high engagement rate, this plugin will significantly improve your store’s conversion rates. 

ProofMotion Video Testimonials

ProofMotion Video Testimonials plugin helps you to easily collect video testimonials. The plugin sends an automated email or SMS requests to customers asking for their satisfaction feedback after making a purchase. The responses are analyzed to determine whether the customer had a negative or positive experience. Customers that offer negative feedback are sent to customer care to help them with the problem they encountered. Happy customers are prompted to make video testimonials of their positive shopping experience. ProofMotion guides the customer through the interview so they can give the best testimonial. They also offer an on-site widget so you can easily share your testimonials. 

Real ID

Real ID is a Shopify plugin that allows you to verify customers’ real identity using a photo ID and facial biometrics. The plugin is perfect for orders that have an age restriction, verifying flagged fraud goods, and selling expensive goods. Real ID will help you identify whether a government-issued-ID is fake during fulfilment. All the customer needs to do is take a selfie on their phone. This way, even if a customer has access to a stolen physical ID, they won’t still be able to make any purchase. The plugin can verify documents such as passports, visas, national IDs, driver licenses, and more. Real ID will help you handle GDPR compliance. The plugin is available in hundreds of countries around the world. 

Joomla

Accessibility

Accessibility is a Joomla plugin that allows your website visitors to easily access your website content. The plugin will remove any barrier between the visitor and your Joomla site. There is no coding required and you can customize the plugin directly from the module manager. The plugin has a useful feature called Dyslexic Readability; this feature allows your visitors to set the entire document font to a dyslexic-friendly font. Visitors can also grayscale the page, resize the fonts, and resize the word space. From the backend module, you can add any custom CSS and JS. The plugin is also available in 12 different languages. 

Reading Time

Reading Time is a simple plugin that will help you easily show the reading time of your Joomla articles. The plugin is easy to set up and does not require any coding. You can customize every parameter, including the text, in minutes. You can also choose to exclude categories, articles, and menu items. Reading Time also allows you to easily add custom CSS code from the plugin parameters. 

 

Featured image via Pexels.

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Source de l’article sur Webdesignerdepot

Implementing MongoDB to Elastic Search 7.X Data Pipeline

In this article, we will see how to implement a data pipeline from an application to Mongo DB database and from there into an Elastic Search keeping the same document ID using Kafka connect in a Microservice Architecture. In recent days and years, all the microservices architectures are asynchronous in nature and are very loosely coupled. At the same time, the prime approach to have minimum code (minimum maintenance and cost), no batch systems (real-time data), and promising performance without data loss fear. Keeping all the features in mind Kafka and Kafka connect is the best solution so far to integrate different sources and sinks in one architecture to have very robust and reliable results.

We will Depp drive and implement such a solution using Debezium Kafka connect to achieve a very robust pipeline of data from one application into Mongo and then into Elastic cluster.

Source de l’article sur DZONE

DIY Cloud Systems

Convenience is the key take away from AWS and Azure, because out of the box, they give you all the stuff you need to get started with your application development. However, creating your own cloud doesn’t need to be that difficult. If you create your own cloud you’ll also get rid of dozens of lockin technologies, such as Azure Functions, Lambda Functions, Cosmos DB, etc. These « features » provides you with few necessities besides the usual lockin. An acquaintance of me once compared these features to « the heroin marketing model, where the first doze is always free. »

If you want to create your own cloud, you’ll need the following features to get started.

Source de l’article sur DZONE

10 Reasons Your WordPress Site Will Get Hacked (and How to Stop It)

A hacked WordPress site is as damaging as having your home burgled. It can completely shatter your peace of mind and adversely impact your online business. 

Why do hackers target WordPress sites? The answer is relatively simple: WordPress is the single biggest platform for website creation these days, so there’s a larger base to attack; this attracts the attention of online criminals. 

So, how can a hack impact your website? 

Depending on the type of attack, your website could suffer any of the following:

  • It could be defaced completely;
  • It could load or operate very slowly on any device;
  • It could completely crash and malfunction;
  • It could display the dreadful “White Screen of Death”;
  • Its incoming visitors could be redirected to other suspicious websites;
  • It could lose all your valuable customer data.

This list is not exhaustive but you get the idea.

Now that we know how a successful hack can impact your website and online business, let us look at the top 10 reasons behind WP hacks and prevent them.

1. An Insecure Web Host 

Like any website, WordPress is hosted on a web host or server. Unfortunately, most site owners do not pay much attention to the web host they select and choose the cheapest they can find. For example, it is more affordable to host a website on a shared hosting plan — one that shares its server resources with many other websites like yours.

This can make your site vulnerable to hackers as a successful hack into any website on the shared server. A single hacked site can consume the overall server bandwidth and impact all the other sites’ performance.

The only way to fix this problem is to opt for a reliable host and a virtual or dedicated server.

Pro tip: If you’re already using a shared hosting plan, check with your hosts if they offer VPS hosting and make the switch.

2. Use of Weak Passwords

Weak passwords are the main reason behind successful brute force attacks that target your account. Even to this day, users continue to use weak and common passwords like “password” or “123456”; if you’re one of them, your website could land in trouble!

Guessing weak passwords allows hackers to enter the admin accounts where they can inflict the maximum damage.

How do you fix this problem? Simple, ensure all your account users (including admin users) configure strong passwords for their login credentials. With at least 8 characters, passwords must be a mix of upper- and lower-case alphabets, numbers, and symbols. 

For added safety, install a password management tool that can automatically generate and store strong passwords.

Pro tip: You can use a plugin to reset passwords for all your users.

3. An Outdated WP Version

Outdated software is among the most common reasons why websites get hacked. Despite being free to download, most site users defer updating their site to the latest version, for fears of updates causing their site to crash.

Hackers take advantage of any vulnerability or bug in an older version and cause issues like SQL Injections, WP-VCD Malware, SEO Spam & other major issues like website redirecting to another site.

How do you solve this problem? When you see a notification about an update on your dashboard, update your site as soon as possible.

Pro tip: If you are worried about updates crashing your live website, you can first test the updates on a staging site.

4. Outdated WP Plugins and Themes

Similar to the previous point, hackers also take advantage of outdated, unused, or abandoned plugins and themes installed on websites. With over 55,000 plugins and themes that are available, it is easy to install a plugin or theme, even from unsafe or untrusted websites. 

Plus, many users do not update their installed plugins/themes to the latest version or do not find the updated version. This makes it easier for hackers to do their job & infect sites.

How do you avoid this problem? As with the core WP version, update each of your installed plugins/themes on your site regularly. Take stock of all the unused ones and remove them or replace them with better alternatives.

You can update your plugins/themes from your hosting account.

Pro tip: We suggest setting aside time every week to run updates. Test them on a staging site and then update your site.

5. Common Admin Usernames 

In addition to weak passwords, users also create common usernames that are easy to guess. 

This includes common usernames for admin users like – “admin”, “admin1”, or “admin123”. Common admin usernames make it easier for hackers to get into admin accounts and control backend files in your WP installation.

How do you avoid this problem? If you are using any such usernames that are easy to guess, change them immediately to a unique username. The easiest way of doing it is through your hosting account’s user management tool, by deleting the previous admin user and creating a new admin user with a unique username.

As the first step, change the default username of your admin user and limit users who have administrator privileges.

Pro tip: WordPress has 6 different user roles with limited permissions. Only grant admin access to users who really need it.

6. Use of Nulled Plugins/Themes 

Coming back to the importance of plugins/themes, users have access to many websites that sell nulled or pirated copies of popular and paid plugins and themes. While these are free to use, they are often riddled with malware. They can compromise your website’s overall security and make it easier for hackers to exploit. 

Being a pirated copy, nulled plugins/themes do not have any available updates from its development team, hence will not have any security fixes.

How do you fix this problem? Simple, for a start, only download original plugins and themes from trusted websites and marketplaces.

Pro tip: If you don’t wish to pay for paid or premium plugins and themes, opt for a free version of the same tools that will have limited features but are still safer to use than the nulled version. 

7. Unprotected Access to wp-admin Folder

To take control of your site, hackers often try to break into and control your wp-admin folder in your installation. As the website owner, you must take measures to protect your wp-admin directory.

How can you protect your wp-admin folder? First, restrict the number of users having access to this critical folder. Additionally, apply for password protection as an added layer of security for access to the wp-admin folder. You can do this using the “Password Protection Directories” feature of the cPanel in your web host account.

Pro tip: Besides these fixes, you can also implement Two Factor Authentication (or 2FA) protection for all your admin accounts.

8. Non-SSL Website

You can easily migrate your HTTP website to HTTPS by installing an SSL certificate on your site. SSL (or Secure Socket Layer) is a secure mode of encrypting any data transmission between your web server and the client browser.

Without this encryption, hackers can intercept the data and steal it. Plus, a non-secure website can have many negative implications for your business – lower SEO ranking, loss of customer trust, or a drop in incoming traffic.

How do you fix this problem? You can quickly obtain an SSL certificate from your hosting company or SSL providers. It encrypts all data that is sent from and received by your website. 

Pro tip: You can get a free SSL certificate from places like Let’s Encrypt, but these provide limit protection that will only be sufficient for a starter site or small site.

9. No Firewall Protection

Lack of firewall protection is another common reason why hackers can bypass website security measures and infiltrate the backend resources. Firewalls are the last line of defence against hackers and work like the security alarm installed on your house. Firewalls monitor web requests coming from various IP addresses, including the suspicious (or bad) ones. 

They can identify and block requests that are known to be malicious in the past, thus preventing easy access for hackers to your website domain. Web application firewalls can thwart various attacks, including brute force attacks, XSS, and SQL injections.

Pro tip: A firewall provides much-needed security and is  your first line of defence. But it’s important to also have a malware scanner installed.

10. Lack of WordPress Hardening Measures

Typically, hackers target the most vulnerable areas or weaknesses within a WP installation, to illegally access or damage the website. The WordPress team has identified these vulnerable areas and has devised a list of 12 hardening measures recommended for every website.

A few of these include:

  • Disabling the File Editor;
  • Preventing PHP execution in untrusted folders;
  • Changing the security keys;
  • Disallowing plugin installations;
  • Automatic logout of inactive users;

How do you implement these hardening measures? While some steps are easy to understand, others require the technical expertise of how WordPress works. 

Pro tip: You can implement hardening measures on your own. However, some measures require technical expertise so in these cases, it’s much easier and safer to use a plugin.

 

Featured image via Pexels.

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Making Minimalism Functional in Web Design

Today, great design isn’t just about conveying the right amount of information in a certain number of pages. 

There’s more to creating the perfect website than experimenting with visuals and sound. Designers need to think carefully about how each element of their site impacts the overall user experience. 

After all, with billions of websites available to explore, it takes something truly immersive to convince your client’s audience that they should stay on their pages. The more convenient and attractive your websites are, the more likely it is that visitors will want to stick around. 

Minimalism, one of the more popular styles of web design from the last few years, can sometimes assist designers in making attractive and effective websites more functional.

The less clutter and confusion there is on a page, the easier it is to navigate. 

So, how do you embrace the benefits of functional minimalism?

Understanding Functional Minimalism

Many webs designers are convinced that minimalism is all about aesthetics. 

They see a website like Hugeinc.com and assume that the minimalist appearance is all about making the website as attractive as possible.

However, the underlying ideas of minimalism in web design go much deeper than this.  The history of minimalist design begins with Japanese culture. Japan has long focused on balancing simplicity and beauty with its architecture, interior design, and even graphic design. In the Western world, minimalism got its day in the sun in the web design environment, after customers endured years of cluttered and complicated web pages with difficult navigation, overwhelming information and clashing graphics. 

Designers began to experiment with the idea that less really could be more — particularly when it came to the digital landscape. 

The Functional Rules of Minimalist Web Design

For a while, minimalism was the most popular style for a website. During 2018, in particular, minimalist web design soared to the top of the designer demand list, as companies fell in love with a combination of white space, simple navigation and bold text. 

While now, there are other design trends stepping into the industry, designers can still benefit from exploring some of the essential rules of functional minimalism. After all, visual complexity has been proven to damage a person’s perception of a website

Additionally, a study conducted by the EyeQuant group found that a clean and simple design can lead to a lower bounce rate. Minimalism gives viewers less to contend with on a page, which can allow for a simpler and more straightforward experience. Additionally, a clean website can also drive additional benefits, including faster loading times, better responsivity between screen sizes and more.

Because you’re only using a few images and well-spaced text, you can even experiment with different strategies, like graphics and dynamic fonts. Look at the Manuel Rueda website, for instance, it’s a great example of how a minimalist design can be brimming with activity.

So, how can any designer use the principles of functional minimalism?

1. Focus on the Essentials

First, just like when designing a landing page, designers need to ensure that they’re concentrating only on the elements in the page that really need to be there.

This means removing anything on the website that doesn’t support the end-goals of the specific page that the viewer is using. Any pictures, background noise, buttons, or even navigation features that aren’t going to support the initial experience that the visitor needs, must go. 

Think about what’s going to distract your visitors from the things that are important and concentrate on giving everything a purpose. For instance, the Plus63.org website instantly introduces the visitors to the purpose of the website, then allows users to scroll down to get more information. The data is spread clearly through the home page, pulling the viewer into a story. 

2. Embrace the Positives of Negative Space

Negative space is one of the fundamental components of good minimalist web design. 

Every part of a good website doesn’t need to be filled with noise to make a difference. White, or negative space can help to give your viewer the room they need to fully understand the experience that they’re getting. 

From a functional perspective, it’s the difference between placing someone in an overflowing storage container and asking them to find what they need or placing them in a room where items are carefully spaced out, labelled, and waiting for discovery. 

The Hatchinc.co website uses negative space to ensure that information is easy to consume. You can find the different pages of the site easily, the social media buttons, and the newsletter subscription tool. Plus, you get a chance to see some of the work behind the site.

3. Make it Obvious

One of the biggest problems that consumers have encountered in recent years, is the concept of “choice overload”. 

Whether you’re in a store, or on a website, you’re never sure what to do first. Do you check out the blog posts on the site to learn more about the authority of the company? Do you visit the “About” page, to see where the brand come from? Do you head to their product pages?

As a designer, functional minimalism can help you to make it obvious what your audience should do next. As soon as you arrive on the AYR.com website, you’re not overwhelmed with choice. You can either head to your bag, “shop now”, or check the menu. 

Since the “Shop Now” CTA is the biggest and most compelling, the chances are that most visitors will click that first, increasing the company’s chance of conversions. 

4. Simplify the Navigation (But Don’t Hide It)

The AYR.com example above brings us to another concept of functional minimalism. 

While minimalism and simplicity aren’t always the same thing, they should go hand-in-hand. When you’re designing for functional minimalism, you should be concentrating on helping visitors to accomplish tasks as quickly and easily as possible, without distraction. 

That means that rather than overwhelming your audience with a huge selection of pages that they can visit at the top or side of the screen, it may be worth looking into simpler navigation options. A single menu icon that expands into a full list of items remains a popular design choice – particularly in the era of mobile web design. 

For instance, look at the simple menu on newvision-opticien.com.

With this basic approach, designers can ensure that visitors are more likely to click through to the pages that their clients want their customers to visit. They can still find what they need in the menu, but it’s not taking up space on the page, or distracting them. 

5. Set Great Expectations with the Top of the Screen

Functional minimalism can also help today’s designers to more quickly capture the attention of their visitors from the moment they click into a website. 

The content that’s visible at the top of the page for your visitors is what will encourage them to take the next step in their online experience. Make sure that you’re providing something that keeps your audience interested and gives them the information they need. 

That way, you’ll lower the risk of high bounce rates for your clients, while also taking advantage of minimalism’s ability to deliver quick access to information for your audience. 

At the top of the page, the Kerem.co website instantly introduces the visitor into what the website is all about, and what they should do next. 

You can even deliver more information in one chunk at the top of the page, without cluttering the environment, by using good UI animation. 

Consider implementing a slideshow of pictures that flip from one image to the next, or a font section that dynamically changes as your audience has chance to read each sentence. 

6. Use Functional Minimalism in the Right Spaces

Remember, functional minimalism isn’t just for home pages. 

Depending on what you want to accomplish for your client, you could also embed the components of minimalism into landing pages, portfolios, and squeeze pages too. 

After all, when there’s less clutter and confusion on a page to distract a potential audience, there’s a greater chance that your visitors will scroll to the bottom of the page and complete a conversion. For instance, look at how simple and attractive the Muzzleapp.com landing page is.

The page provides useful information and tells customers exactly what they need to do next. There’s no confusion, no complexity, and nothing to hold visitors back. 

Just be careful. While functional minimalism can be very useful, it won’t be right for every website. A lack of elements can be harmful to websites that rely heavily on content. That’s because low information density will force your user to scroll excessively for the content that they need. Using functional minimalism correctly requires a careful evaluation of where this technique will be the most suitable. 

Minimalism Can be Functional

A minimalist design isn’t just an aesthetic choice. The right aspects of minimalism can simplify interfaces on the web by eliminating unnecessary elements and reducing content that doesn’t support an end goal. 

The key is to ensure that you’re focusing on a combination of aesthetics and usability when creating the right design. An easy-to-navigate and beautiful website can be a powerful tool for any business.  

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Source de l’article sur Webdesignerdepot

Top New CMS Plugins, October 2020

Plugins offer a ton of benefits to developers and website administrators; from flexibility, to saving time in development, the right plugin is priceless to a project.

In this article, we’ll cover a list of the best new plugins for October 2020. You’ll find useful plugins for WordPress, Craft, Shopify, and Joomla.

Let’s get started.

WordPress

Sticky Post Expire

Sticky Post Expire is a simple plugin for WordPress that allows you to add an expiration date to your sticky posts. When the expiration date you set on a post expires, the post will automatically no longer be sticky. All you need to do is install/enable the plugin and a meta checkbox will appear in your posts admin area. It’s in this checkbox you will set the post’s expiration date.

Product page shipping calculator for WooCommerce

The Product Page Shipping Calculator plugin allows your customers to calculate the cost of shipping before adding the product to their cart. The plugin also allows customers to see the available shipping methods for their area. If the product cannot be shipped to the customer’s location, the plugin will notify the customer. All calculations are done using Ajax, so you don’t have to worry about the plugin slowing down your site.

Payment Page

Payment Page makes it easy to collect payments on your WordPress website. The plugin allows you to connect to any payment gateway platform of choice. You can also receive one-time or recurring payments using Payment Page. The plugin comes with beautifully designed templates that you can customize to fit your brand and style. The form builder helps you increase your sales and conversions. You can collect payment in any currency. After payment, customers will also receive a confirmation message.

WP Roadmap

Wp Roadmap is a product feedback board for WordPress. The plugins allow you to display your company’s product roadmap on your WordPress website or blog. The plugin will display your new products, business developments, upcoming events, achievements, awards, and future projects on your site. WP Roadmap also gives you the option to collect and create feedback boards. The plugin comes with an intuitive interface and works with any WordPress theme.

LiveSession

LiveSession is a session replay plugin for WordPress. The plugin allows you to record everything happening on your site, including clicks, scrolls, and mouse movements. This plugin helps you understand how your visitors interact with your website. You can rewatch the videos as many times as you like. Instead of recording every single visitor on your site, LiveSession will record visitors with a high engagement score.

The plugin also comes with a feature called Rage Clicks. This feature helps you identify when visitors encounter Javascript errors. The plugin also has a beta feature called Clickmap. It helps you identify the specific elements on your site that visitors clicked and how many times. There is also a heatmap feature that identifies which pages on your site get the most interaction. The plugin is very useful in improving your user experience (UX) and conversion rates. It easily integrates with Google Analytics, Segment, Intercom, LiveChat, HelpScout, Olark, Wix, Shopify, and WooCommerce.

Auction Feed

Auction Feed makes it easy to display eBay items on your WordPress website. Visitors to your website will be able to search and buy products directly from your site. The plugin comes with a variety of styles to fit any WordPress theme. You can also add a product description above or below the product image. Customers won’t have to leave your website before making their purchases. The plugin is also free to use.

Floating Related Posts

Floating Related Posts is a WordPress plugin that allows you to display a banner with a list of related posts on your website. The banner can appear at the top or bottom of the web page. You can set the banner to pop up using a time filter or scroll trigger. The plugin is also compatible with Google Analytics. You can customize the banner background color, font size, button style, and text color. The plugin can be translated into any language.

Simple Restrict Content

The Simple Restrict Content plugin allows you to restrict the content that visitors can access on your WordPress site. You can choose who can access content on your website by setting up roles. The simple lightweight plugin restricts different content types, including, posts, web pages, and WooCommerce products. The plugin is available in Spanish and English.

Easy Video Publisher

Easy Video Publisher is a WordPress plugin that allows you to easily publish YouTube videos on your website. You can import YouTube videos from multiple channels. You can also schedule the YouTube videos to automatically upload to your website. Note that a YouTube API key is needed to import multiple videos at a time from a specific channel. The plugin allows you to use multiple API keys.

Preloader Awesome

Preloader Awesome is a preloader plugin for WordPress that allows you to create a page preloader interface while the rest of the webpage is still loading. Preloaders are interface elements that notify visitors that your website hasn’t crashed, just processing before serving content. Some of the features of the plugin include 14 page transition styles, progress bar, GIF support, 10+ default CSS loader, progress status counter, unlimited color, and counter font size options. The plugin is responsive and works on all modern browsers.

Menu Hover Effect

The Menu Hover Effect plugin allows you to add hover effects to the menu bar on your website. With this plugin, you don’t need to learn CSS. This plugin gives you 20 CSS menu hover options to choose from. It is a lightweight plugin and won’t affect your website speed.

Better Comments

The Better Comments plugin allows WordPress users to easily customize the comment section of their website. With the plugin, you can customize the look of your comment form fields, match the submit button with the colors of your site, and hide the comment’s date. The plugin also allows you to create a comment policy section. You can further customize the comment fields to highlight when they are selected and typed in. If you find rounded avatars common, the plugin also offers a hexagonal avatar option.

WP Pocket URLs

WP Pocket URLs is a handy WordPress Plugin that helps you manage your affiliate links. The plugin allows users to automatically shorten and track any affiliate link on their website. You can also manually shorten the links on your website. Each time a visitor clicks on a link you get access to information like click date/time, country, IP address, etc. You can also categorize your links and also create custom permalinks. There is also a dashboard widget that displays your top 10 links. On the “Reports” page, you can generate clicks reports. You can filter the reports by Month/Year, link category, country, and link title.

Craft CMS

Formie

Formie is a Craft CMS plugin that allows you to create user-friendly forms. The plugin comes with a drag and drop builder for creating forms. You can store user form submissions in your control panel in case you want to review them later. When a user submits a form, you will get an email notification. Formie also has an in-built keyword blocking feature to protect you from spam. The plugin has several integrationS: API for Elements, Address Providers, Captchas, CRM tools, Webhooks, and Email Marketing software. You can also create your custom integration. You can add over 25 fields to your forms using Formie.

Craftagram

Craftagram is a Craft CMS plugin for adding any Instagram feed to your website. Since the plugin uses the official Instagram API, you don’t have to worry about your website getting blacklisted. Craftagram also handles pagination for your Instagram feed. 

Shopify

We’re Open

We’re Open is a handy plugin for Shopify users. The plugin lets your customers know when you are open to receive new orders. Once your business hours are close, customers won’t be able to make new orders. A message will be displayed in your store that you are closed. The plugin ensures that you only receive orders when you are open. It works in any time zone and the API easily integrates with mobile apps.

Punch Metrics

Punch Metrics is a Shopify Plugin that helps you track your store’s visitors and also analyze their behavior. The plugin offers real-time data on your site’s visitors, the pages that see the most engagement, and which devices are the most popular. You can also record and replay visitors’ sessions so you can know exactly what they did on your site. Punch Metrics also has a heatmap tracking feature to understand which elements on your site get the most clicks.

Joomla

Simple Sliders

Simple Sliders is a content plugin for Joomla. The plugin allows users to easily create accordion sliders in their articles. You can add the sliders to your Joomla articles by adding this code:

{s​lider title="Slider 1 Title" class="blue"}
Slider 1 content.
{s​lider title="Slider 2 Title" class="red"}
Slider 2 content.
{/s​liders}

Jitsi Conferencing

Jitsi Conferencing is a video conferencing plugin for Joomla. The plugin will allow you to host meetings and easily connect with your clients. The module is simple and effective to use.

 

Featured image via Unsplash.

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The Low-Code and No-Code Movement Can Transform Your Startup Into Category Leaders

No-code and low-code technologies have been making inroads for years but have never quite delivered on their promise as reliable alternatives to traditional software development for complex, business-critical applications. Then COVID-19 forced a new, expedited timeline for moving analog in-person processes to semi- or fully-automated online ones. At the same time, IT and engineering roadmaps have been thrown out the window as technical teams scramble to adjust to new distributed working conditions while juggling multiple "hair on fire" problems. As a result, operations and business teams have been left with urgent needs for new business applications and scant developer resources, creating the perfect storm for no- or low-code solutions to emerge as the savior of productivity. But decision-makers should be wary of treating these platforms as a panacea to avoid costly failures and lost time.

What Are No-Code and Low-Code Technologies?

To understand how no- and low-code solutions fill the gap between business demand for development and supply of technical resources, it is helpful to understand what those terms mean exactly. No-code platforms allow people with no technical knowledge to stand up complex, cloud-based business applications using simple, drag-and-drop tooling. Relatedly, low-code platforms are also based on the concept of abstraction through pre-built software building blocks oriented towards accelerating time to development by reducing the amount of “original” code that needs to be written in any given application. Perhaps because of their shared DNA, there is a trend towards convergence; as no-code platforms become more powerful and versatile with add-ons and application marketplaces, and low-code platforms build features to require less coding. Given this trend, we can collectively refer to these platforms as Low-code Development Platforms.

Source de l’article sur DZONE

Exciting New Tools for Designers, October 2020

This month’s collection of new tools, resources, and freebies for designers is a smorgasbord of sorts. You’ll find everything from useful APIs to icons to tutorials to fonts.

Let’s get right into it, here’s what new for designers this month:

Tooltip Sequence

Now that your app or website is ready, you might need to help users engage with it. Tooltip Sequence is a simple JavaScript package that helps you create a series of small tooltips that will guide users through product features with a small description of what they need to know. It looks great and the best part is this tool saves you from having to create each tooltip description manually on each page and link them together.

Serenade

Serenade allows you to free up your hands with voice coding technology. Use natural speech and stay productive with this tool that allows you to code without typing. It works across multiple coding languages and platforms. It’s as easy as “add function hello” and the tool knows what syntax to use.

Gazepass

Gazepass, which is still in beta, is a nifty API that allows for passwordless multi-factor authentication for any website or mobile app. It uses biometrics on any device or platform to make getting into apps or websites easier for users.

Filters.css

Filters.css is a CSS-only library to apply color filters to website images. Installation only takes three steps and includes a variety of filers, such as blur, grayscale, brightness, contrast, invert, saturate, sepia, and opacity.

Sidebar Webring

Sidebar Webring is a collection of blogs and websites that are focused on web design. The curated list is handpicked for superb content for designers and developers. But, what’s a webring? It’s a collection of linked websites in a circular structure that are organized around a theme. The term is a throwback to the early days of the web in the 1990s and 2000s.

Wicked Templates

Wicked Templates is a set of responsive HTML templates made with Bulma and Tailwind CSS that you can style and use as you wish. Use these templates to jumpstart projects. Free and paid options available.

WP Umbrella

WP Umbrella will help you keep sites running in a healthy and safe manner on WordPress. Monitor uptime and performance, PHP errors, and keep up with hundreds of websites from one dashboard.

Servicebot

Servicebot helps you create customer-facing embeddable billing pages that work with Stripe payments. This premium tool is quite user-friendly and works with websites or SaaS.

Custom, Accessible Checkboxes with Perfect Alignment

Create custom, accessible checkboxes with perfect alignment every time. This walkthrough shows you how to use CSS to align elements and labels.

Sombras.app

Sombras.app is a nifty tool that creates 3D object shadows. Use the easy on-screen controls to get just the right orientation and shape.

urlcat

Urlcat is a tiny JavaScript library that helps you build URLs with dynamic parameters and without mistakes. The friendly API has no dependencies, includes TypeScript types, and is just 0.8KB minified and gzipped.

Reacher

Reacher is a real-time email verification API that lets you check the validity of an address before you send the email. Reduce bounce rates in an instant. (The personal version is free.)

Swell

Swell is a most powerful headless ecommerce platform for modern brands, startups, and agencies. Create fast and flexible shopping experiences with the API and headless storefront themes. This is a premium tool but does have a free trial.

No Code Founders 2.0

No Code Founders 2.0 is a platform for discovering the latest startups built with no-code and the tools used to build them. Browse startups, tools, perks, interviews, jobs, meetups, posts, and more as part of the no-code movement. The community engages on Slack and requires an email to sign up.

How to Pick More Beautiful Colors for Your Data Visualizations

Beautiful color choices will make your data visualizations that much more impactful. This tutorial by Lisa Charlotte Rost will help you make better color choices on the way to better infographics and charts. Plus, it’s well developed, designed, and packed with useful information.

IconPark

IconPark is a collection of more than 1,200 high-quality icons with an interface that allows you to customize them. It uses a single SVG source file that can be transformed into multiple themes. The library includes cross-platform components and is free to use.

Mono Icons

Mono Icons is a simple and consistent open-source icon set that uses mono spacing. The collection includes 136 icons.

BGJar

BGJar is a free SVG background generator for digital projects. Pick a category and customize the result to fit your project or needs.

HitCount

HitCount is almost too simple to be true. This tiny tool lets you add a hit counter to your website that’s as easy as adding an image. Copy the code and make any customizations you want. Then paste it to your design. That’s it!

Blacklight

Blacklight is a real-time website privacy inspector. The tool by Surya Mattu scans any website you enter in the scan bar and shows what user-tracking technologies are used on the website. This allows you to see who might be gathering data about your visit.

Alter

Alter is a customizable – and experimental – three-dimensional typeface that you can experiment with. It’s as fun to play with as use.

Autobus Omnibus

Autobus Omnibus is a simple all capitals font with new wave styling. The character set has 96 glyphs that are perfect for display use.

Deathmatch

Deathmatch is a seasonal blackletter font that’s ideal for the upcoming Halloween holiday. The character set includes plenty of options and there’s a full version (paid) for commercial use.

Futura Now

Futura Now is a premium typeface and update to a font you may already know and love. The new version has 107 styles in a massive family.

Pumpkin Soup

Pumpkin Soup is a fun almost handwriting style typeface with a cartoonish vibe. It includes a regular and italic style and is most appropriate in limited use.

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