Web Design for the Modern World

When the first message was sent across the Internet in 1969, a million of possibilities were instantly created. However, if the people of this time were to take out their crystal balls and look into the future, they probably would be surprised to see what their invention has become.

As quickly as the Internet does change, it is likely that we will no longer recognize it if we were to look into the future either. For this reason, it is important for those who depend on web design as a part of their business strategy to make some predictions about the future.

Changes in the way we Design

Even though we’ve just kicked off a new year, the future is definitely looking great in the world of web design. Plenty of changes and advancements are on the horizon that will prove to make everyone’s job a little easier.

Throughout the year, we will probably hear more and more about how less is ultimately more. This is probably the first thing you will want to focus on when looking at your website design. Over the past few years, this meant developing a flat design. However, this year, we can expect an entirely new concept, called material design.

Material design was born on the premise of flat design, but takes things one step further. With this design, it is the intent to create a living and breathing space for readers to enjoy. One they can utilize all of their senses for and that will challenge their imagination. This is definitely something we will begin to see more of in the coming months and years.

It’s Getting Real

Just from 2014 to 2015, the number of mobile-only internet users jumped by over 300 million users. This is a trend that isn’t expected to change any time soon. In fact, as easy as it is to be mobile in today’s world, we should probably expect this number to drastically increase over the coming years.

What does this mean for web designers? Quite a bit actually. For starters, it is critical to begin thinking on a smaller scale. Screen sizes are getting smaller because information is now being viewed on the small screens of smartphones. Because of this, information you put on your website needs to easily translate from a PC to a mobile phone and still be easy to read.

Because we are so mobile, we expect our data and information to be mobile as well. To help accommodate these types of things, developers have been quick to come up with ways to give readers access to up-to-the-second information. This has been successfully accomplished with the creation of apps that offer real-time news and sports information.

With these types of apps, web designers must rethink how they deliver some certain types of events and news stories. But, these types of changes could be very positive for businesses. For example, instead of allowing a news outlet to cover an event or business, the business itself would be able to offer real-time information to their followers. In the end, this is something that will help build trust among your fans.

These are just a few of the things we should expect to see in the way of changes to web design during 2016. However, only time will tell how many changes will actually occur this year and what trends we will be looking at in the years to come.

One thing is certain about web design; it is always evolving and changing along with the world around it. Web designers must always stay on their game if they want to ensure they are always on the winning end of the changes caused by trends related to the internet.

Top 30 Bestsellers of January

How to build a professional website for business? It is quite a hard task, especially if you are new in web design and know nothing about coding. Fortunately, today you can easily find a design studio who will have all the job done for you. Sounds great isn’t it? But if you are short on budget it is not the best option as building a site from scratch can be pricy and will take a while.

There is another, more effective and cheap way of creating a website. All you need is a ready made template. It is a perfect solution for both beginners and experienced users. There is no need to write long lines of code, create layouts, designs, etc. Just install it on your content management system and do a few adjustments to make it match with the corporate style of your business.

It is the main reason why you should check out this collection of the top 30 newest bestsellers of January. In the collection you will find solutions for any kind of business. No matter whether you need a regular blog or a multi page online store. There is also a number of themes for different content management systems like WordPress, Joomla, OpenCart, etc.

All the templates are designed by experienced developers and ensure a top of the line performance in all modern browsers. They are also loaded with an assortment of tools and features that give more control over the site and allow you to customize it in the short run. A fully responsive design allows the themes to automatically adapt to all screen resolutions displaying all the content in a proper way. Another great thing is that all the themes purchased from TemplateMonster include 24/7 lifetime support. So, in case any issues with the installation or performance of the theme occur, the team of qualified specialists will be glad to help you

WP Theme for Corporate Sites

Corporate WP Template

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Landing Page Template for Dance Studio

Dance Studio Responsive Landing Page Template

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Template for Transportation Companies

Transportation Responsive Website Template

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WordPress Theme for Business Sites

Business Blog WordPress Theme

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Financial WordPress Theme

Financial Advisor Responsive WordPress Theme

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Business Company Web Template

Business Firm Web Template

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OpenCart Theme for Jewelry Store

Jewelry OpenCart Theme

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Dating Agency WordPress Template

Dating WordPress Template

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Travel Blog Joomla Template

Safari Joomla Template

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Responsive Joomla Template for Fishing and Sports Stores

Fishing Responsive Joomla Template

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Fashion Magento Theme

Fashion Shop Magento Theme

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OpenCart Theme for Clothing Store

Clothing Store OpenCart Template

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Tech Business Responsive Website Template

ISP Responsive Website Template

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Responsive Landing Page Template for Personal CV

Personal Page Responsive Landing Page Template

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Business Website Template

Business Bureau Website Template

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Responsive Joomla Template for Business Sites

Business Responsive Joomla Template

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Cafe and Restaurant Template

Cafe and Restaurant Responsive Website Template

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Recruiting Moto CMS HTML Template

Job Portal Moto CMS HTML Template

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Financial Advisor Theme for Moto CMS 3

Financial Advisor Responsive Moto CMS 3 Template

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Responsive Landing Page Template for Business Sites

Business Responsive Landing Page Template

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Fashion Store PrestaShop Theme

Street Fashion PrestaShop Theme

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Responsive Template for Travel Blogs

Hiking Responsive Website Template

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Computer Service Center Joomla Theme

Computer Repair Joomla Theme

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Drupal Template for Employment and Corporate Sites

Employment Drupal Template

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Dentist and Medical Joomla Theme

Dentist Joomla Theme

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Computer and Tech Store Responsive PrestaShop Theme

Computer Store Responsive PrestaShop Theme

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PrestaShop Theme for Decoration and Furniture Stores

Furniture Responsive PrestaShop Theme

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Personal Blog and CV Joomla Template

Personal Blog Joomla Template

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Joomla Theme for Online Portfolios

Personal Page Joomla Theme

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Design Drupal Template

Landscape Design Drupal Template

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7 Best CodeCanyon Plugins for Turning your WordPress Website into a Powerhouse

If you have spent much time at all working with WordPress, you’re probably familiar with CodeCanyon. Created by Envato Studio, also the creator of ThemeForest and many other successful marketplaces for online design and development projects, CodeCanyon is a great place to find WordPress plugins. Everything listed on the website is unique, as developers must provide exclusive rights and agree not to sell their plugins off-site. That means many of these plugins are unseen and unheard of. Below, you’ll find some of the top plugins for turning your WordPress website into a complete powerhouse.

Visual Composer (and its many addons)

 

Download Visual Composer

 

Visual Composer is a powerhouse of a drag and drop page builder. Forget working with HTML or using the simplistic features of the WordPress WYSIWYG editor. Visual Composer has over 45+ premium content elements that can be integrated into a WordPress page or post in seconds. There’s also 60+ predefined layouts that can be used at the click of a button. As an SEO friendly and responsive plugin, it has all the features you’d expect in a premium page builder. Using Visual Composer you can create highly attractive websites in a fraction of the time it would normally take. It makes it easy to add complex design options to a page and the template system allows you to save and reuse templates for faster page design. There are also several addons available, allowing you to extend its features and use Visual Composer in a wide variety of ways.

EventOn for Event Scheduling

 

Download EventOn

 

Need event scheduling features that can be integrated with Google Maps? EventOn has advanced features but a minimal design, making this one of the best event scheduling plugins for WordPress. It’s the perfect event calendar for businesses that hold multiple events per month or showcase events for other businesses. Easily set the time and date for an event and generate a shortcode to display scheduling options on your website with ease.

Ninja Popups

 

Download Ninja Popups

 

Capitalizing on traffic that doesn’t convert to sales is very important to lead generation. Without popups, there’s very little way to capture the attention of your audience. Ninja Popups provides a way to subtly alert your visitors of an opt-in opportunity. Ask for their name an email and entice them to join your email list by providing a free offer or giveaway. Ninja Popups makes it really easy to generate leads and 40 popup themes, 8 opt-in panels and over 70 animated effects, it’s a powerhouse of a lead generation plugin. You can also use Ninja Popups for providing discounts, coupons and other special offers that will make users more likely to make a purchase.

Easy Social Share Buttons

 

Download Easy Social Share Buttons

 

When your WordPress theme is lacking basic social sharing buttons, don’t fear, Easy Social Share Buttons is here. Supporting over 35 social networks including Facebook, Google +, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest and more, it has over 22 built-in templates for showcasing your social sharing options professionally. It makes it easy to integrate social sharing into your pages and posts. It also provides social metrics like click logging and analytics for tracking your results. Easy Social Share Buttons is also integrated into Visual Composer.

Ultimate Membership Pro

 

Download Ultimate Membership Pro

 

Membership plugins are often expensive and only available through a month-to-month subscription. Ultimate Membership Pro is highly affordable and has all the features you’d expect in a membership tool such as multi-level support, unlimited users, content locking ability and support with all the major payment gateways. It even supports advanced features like free trials, drip content protection, restricted pages and more. If you plan to run a membership site, consider this plugin before expensive alternatives.

WooCommerce Extra Product Options

 

Download WooCommerce Extra Product Options

 

If you use WooCommerce then you know one of the major downfalls is the high costs of its extensions. Fortunately, the community has responded and CodeCanyon features many WooCommerce plugins at a fraction of the price. WooCommerce Extra Product Options is particularly appealing as it provides the ability to create extra price fields globally or on a per-product basis. It supports conditional logic, has a form builder, supports styled variations and has validation features. It’s an advanced tool for optimizing your checkout process.

UserPro – User Profiles with Social Login

 

Download UserPro

 

BuddyPress was supposed to be a user profiles plugin to rule them all. However, UserPro has many of the same features without the clunkyness. With the UserPro plugin you can create beautiful frontend profiles with social login capability. It allows for unlimited custom fields, the ability to manually approve users, it has a member directory with user badges and it supports content restriction. For a basic social community or enhancing a bbPress forum, UserPro is a great plugin to have.

WordPress has many free plugins available at the WordPress Plugin Directory but these extensions can only get you so far. CodeCanyon’s library of advanced plugins has many hidden gems that can work excellently for enhancing your website.

10 Best Web Design Concepts for Digital Users

If you’ve scrolled through apps, searched menus or swapped out colors on animated items before sending them to your shopping cart, then you’ve interacted with some of the ten best web design concepts experienced by early 21st century digital users. Here they are, in list form for your convenience:

1. Empty State

emptystate

This design concept has increased in importance and innovation. Most designers know that an app, or a site, should never dead-end. Users must be redirected or educated in an entertaining manner to either return to the main page or to learn how to utilize the app. Whether the empty state contains an image and a directive, or an explanation and an option, users must feel engaged and not abandoned.

For inspiration on designing your own empty space, emptystat.es is a great source.

2. Interactive

Folks over at The Next Web noted that interactive sites would see a rise in popularity throughout 2015. Their definition of interaction involved storytelling and narrative devices coupled with user interaction and graphics.

See Seattle’s Space Needle site for an example of merging a graphic journey with an informative story.

3. Minimalism

Also mentioned by The Next Web is the rise of minimalism.  Minimalist design has the practical function of speed but also a riveting aesthetic function. Click here for an example.

The site is spacious and incredibly functional. Users know exactly what they need from the site or app and exactly how to fulfill their needs. For a large portion of users, ease and accessibility are high priority.

4. Parallax Scrolling

parallax_scroll_2013_cover

Users are becoming more sophisticated and their expectations are increasing. Parallax scrolling is familiar for anyone who has ever gamed. Incorporating this three-dimensional design into retail sites has become a way to capture user attention.

However, The Boat best showcases how dramatic this design can be for both sophisticated and non-sophisticated users.

5. Long Page

The Boat site also features single page long scrolling, another design trend that was in use throughout the past year. Technology has finally caught up with user preferences and mobile devices have become highly scrollable. This limits the need for short pages with lots of links.

Bounty Beverage proves how exciting a long scroll can be.

6. Customized Photography

High quality photos incorporated into the overall site design is a way to personalize the experience and connect with users. One site that received attention from Hubspot is Four Rivers Smokehouse. Warning: This will make you very hungry. Unless you are vegan, in which case maybe you shouldn’t look.

7. Animation

As you can see from several of the sites above, animation is also an essential design element. Why have a static customized photo when you can animate it?

This trend is everywhere, from the most utilitarian sites, like Paypal, to far more exciting web pages like this.

National Geographic’s Eat: The Story of Food won the 2015 Webby for web site animation and graphics. Not only does the site feature animation but it is also features a long-scrolling, narrative/journey based web design.

8. Responsive

When a website is interactive it invites the user to engage with it. When a website is responsive, the site responds to the user’s needs. This is most often seen in ecommerce and retail sites. A user/customer visits the site with a goal in mind. They want to purchase an item and need to quickly find the tools they need to make the purchase with as little frustration as possible.

Responsive design responds to the device the user is holding and optimizes that user’s experience. Menus fold out from margins making mobile purchases easy. Accordian menus cascade options for the user with limited screen space. These same design features are found on desktops. However, sometimes it can become a bit over done. Here’s an example.

9. Best of Everything Design

The site listed above combined pretty much everything: fold-out menus, animation, interaction, story-telling but it was missing minimalism.

More and more frequently designers are showing off all of their skills but this kind of overkill deadens the user experience. An example of minimal, nuanced design goes to Dropbox. If only those sketches had a bit of movement.

10. AMP HTML

Google’s latest open-source initiative is AMP HTML, a language used to create fast-responding mobile web pages. By eliminating bloat, AMP HTML provides mobile users with quick downloads and aims to include users with limited internet access.

Pinterest has begun employing AMP HTML and TechCrunch reports that the New York Times and other established sites will follow suit.

WordPress SEO – How to Save Time & Money on Search Engine Optimization

Optimizing a WordPress website can be an entirely different experience compared to optimizing an HTML site or another content management system. WordPress is a CMS that’s relatively SEO friendly in its default install but its free plugin database is what truly sets it apart. Below you will find advanced practices that can teach you how to save both time and money on search engine optimization with WordPress.

Settings > Permalinks

Your website’s permalink structure is another way of referring to its URL structure. When you create a new website with WordPress, one of the first things you will want to do is change the permalink structure. You can access this under “Settings > Permalinks.” Using “Post Name” as your permalink setting is highly recommended for SEO purposes. This means any posts or pages will use the post name for determining the URL of the page.

Use Yoast SEO or Another Similar Free Plugin

Rarely is a premium SEO plugin entirely worth its premium costs. Yoast SEO and other free WordPress SEO plugins provide all the basic features you need. The features that are left out and online included in premium versions can almost always be found in other free plugins within the WordPress plugin database.

Yoast SEO provides access to important SEO features such as:

  • Page analysis (Check for image ALT text, content length, meta descriptions and keyword usage across your pages and posts)
  • Technical WordPress SEO (Guided SEO settings for advanced WordPress SEO changes)
  • Exclude tags or categories for Google’s search index
  • Create an XML sitemap easily
  • RSS optimization
  • Breadcrumbs (Create navigable internal links)
  • Editing .htaccess and robots.txt files

Write a META Title, Description and Image ALT Text When Publishing Posts/Pages

Rather than skipping over the META title and description and assuming you will come back to it later, optimize your posts before they go live. It’s better for your rankings to have search engine spiders index your content correctly upon their first visit. If you were to edit the post later with a META title and description, there is no telling how long it will take for search engine spiders to reindex the content and adjust for the changes.

Similarly, if the post has images, go ahead and add image ALT text to the images before publishing. Image ALT text is an important and easy to implement SEO suggestion that is better off done right away.

Write your Content Based Off the Searcher’s Intent

When you write a new WordPress blog post, consider the searcher’s intent and how you might phrase the title and description. Think about the keywords a searcher might use to locate the content you have written and integrate many different variations of those keywords into the content.

You can use the Google Keyword Planner to explore keyword possibilities.

Internally Link with the Yet Another Related Posts Plugin

Internal linking is essential to strong on-site SEO. This is why it’s important to internally link your articles to other relevant articles on your website. You should always have internal links within the body of your content but you can extend your internal linking habits by using plugins as well.

You can use plugins like YARPP to automatically display pages or posts that are related to the one the user is currently viewing. This allows your posts and pages to automatically get linked to other areas on the website that are useful to the reader.

Internal linking can also be accomplish by linking to more pages using your website’s navigation menu and sidebar.

Reduce Image Sizes with Ewww Image Optimizer

The EWWW image optimizer plugin can effectively lower the image file size for images across your entire website. This increases page load times and reduces bandwidth consumption, thus improving the user experience. It is a pretty effective way to improve speed and performance, which has shown to be important to SEO.

Improve Speeds with W3 Total Cache

W3 Total Cache is the leader in caching plugins. It supports caching in the browser, page, object and database level. It also provides support for minify features and works with content delivery networks. Using W3 Total Cache, you can drastically improve page load times.

Manually Build Links to your Website’s Content

SEO companies often charge far too much for the link building and outreach methods they use. Instead of relying on a company or freelancer for link building, you can build links to your website’s content on your own. Utilize some of the below sources and syndicate your blog content there. You can package the content in different forms such as reading your article out loud to create a video or putting it into an e-book or PDF. This allows you to use the content in a variety of ways and by syndicating it to these sources, you can gain exposure and potentially more links.

  • Web 2.0 Sites (Sites where you can create your own blog)
  • Niche Blogs (Independently owned blogs that will share your content)
  • Article Directories (Sites where you can submit articles for exposure)
  • Press Release Directories (Sites that syndicate and share your PR)
  • Social Bookmarking (Sites where you can socially bookmark content)
  • PDF Directories (Sites where you can submit a PDF document)
  • Video Directories (Sites where you can submit a video)
  • Infographic Directories (Sites where you can submit images)
  • Audio Directories (Sites where you can submit recorded audio)

SEO is an important step to generating traffic and increasing revenue with any WordPress website. These tips can help you save both time and money. Before you hire an SEO expert or pay for services, consider whether you are getting full value out of their work.