Author and video blogger, John Green shares his thoughts on authenticity, creativity, and community in his Connections 2014 Main Stage keynote.
I like talking about stuff that interests me with people that interest me.
Twitter has become increasingly important for businesses and individuals to communicate. People are relying on Twitter to share content and engage with customer support from their favorite brands. After years of neglecting this social network, I decided to tackle it head on with great results that I would like to share. Read more →
Are you struggling to fill your design schedule and make ends meet? Don’t sit in your own filth and get down. You have many proactive ways to get graphic design work out of nowhere, if you just keep busy.
Inquiring about possible work is not annoying if done properly. The key is to only ask when you absolutely need it. I don’t know how many times I’ve been running low and sent a friendly email to my past clients. Something as simple as:
“Hi XXX, Hope you are doing well (or long time no talk). I really enjoyed working together on your last project. I was wondering if you might need assistance with any projects coming up? I’m free this week and next. Thanks!”
Don’t pester your client list on the weekly. You know their personalities, so know the threshold. No mass emails. Make it personal.
Tell your clients how they could improve their business, but don’t be forceful. Respect a “NO,” and thank them for replying. Friendliness will get you the job later down the road.
“I noticed your website isn’t functioning properly. Would you be interested in opening a project to fix that problem?”
Get out and talk. Let people know what you’ve been up to at social gatherings. Check your local AIGA chapter or get together with friends from college. Perhaps you can have a conversation with a developer or entrepreneur. That conversation may end up getting you a recommendation.
Ask past clients or colleagues about learning resources. Recently, I asked a client to recommend an SEO book or resources to me. He replied kindly with a helping hand, but also asked me how my business was doing. He then offered new freelance work.
Blogging is my major outlet. It gives me a reason to learn, prove/share knowledge, and inspire others. I think of my design blog as a resume that mails itself. Keep a contact form button in plain view so curious business owners can send you project inquiries.
Don’t have one? Check out my hosting service.
Make good art. Create things that are truly satisfactory whether you get paid or not. I built my new FreelanceFolio WordPress theme while I was in a drought. There was no official plan to sell it, but I’ve received inquiries from businesses wanting custom WP themes.
Keep yourself busy with self-projects and passive design work. Check out Neil Gaiman’s speech to pump yourself up.
If you don’t know yet, my design blog is managed with WordPress. In the past, I have used tons of widgets and plugins. Now that I’ve managed to cut nearly half of them out, I’d like to share the essential plugins I still use.
Some of them are used only on occasion. There’s no specific order. I actually copied this straight out of my dashboard.
Defensio is an advanced spam filtering web service that learns and adapts to your behaviors as well to those of your readers and commenters. To use this plugin, you need to obtain a free API Key. Tell the world how many spam Defensio caught!
By Websense, Inc. | Visit plugin site
The Disqus comment system replaces your WordPress comment system with your comments hosted and powered by Disqus. Head over to the Comments admin page to set up your DISQUS Comment System.
By Disqus | Visit plugin site
Bring the power of the WordPress.com cloud to your self-hosted WordPress. Jetpack enables you to connect your blog to a WordPress.com account to use the powerful features normally only available to WordPress.com users.
By Automattic | Visit plugin site
Lightbox Plus implements ColorBox as a lightbox image overlay tool for WordPress. ColorBox was created by Jack Moore of Color Powered and is licensed under the MIT License.
By Dan Zappone | Visit plugin site
Most of these plugins have been essential to my blog’s functionality for quite some time. I’m always open to new plugins that will benefit my site. What else do you recommend?
I came across an interesting motion captcha development on Joss Crowcroft’s website while building my upcoming ThemeForest WordPress product FreelanceFolio . Unlike most annoying captchas, it features a more interactive approach. In his demo you click and drag your mouse to verify the image shape.
The only problem here is that it’s not currently working in Internet Explorer. I’ll keep watching this to see where it goes!
Here’s a little preview for a WordPress theme I’m working on called FreelanceFolio. It’s still in development, but I’m looking for some feedback from my reader base if possible.
The theme design is loosely based on my current layout and a comprehensive round-up from other freelancers around the web. What do you desire in a theme?
I’m looking to have this for sale on ThemeForest by next month if all goes to plan. Comments greatly appreciated!
Pinterest is growing faster than almost any site on the web lately. It’s a fun new way to share images that you love with hardly any work at all. That’s why it’s vital to include in your blog’s social sharing toolbar.
In this tutorial, I’ll show you how to add a Pinterest Pin It button to the Get Social Plugin, or wherever you want.
This code has been modified from the code on the Pinterest media section. The button they provide requires that you insert the Pin It button beside each image on the page. My version removes the onClick function to allow the user to pick any image on the page.
You can paste the code anywhere on your blog and it will work just like Facebook, Twitter, etc.
I use the Get Social plugin for WordPress and they have an “Additional Buttons” box. Paste the code in the box and save
Did this work for you? Comments are appreciated!
Starting out a design career is challenging. You can be confused about many tasks beyond strengthening your design process and planning skills. After you have spent months or years collecting quality samples for your portfolio, what do you do?
Many will put their prints in a large book, and lug it into an interview for a print job. That’s “fine and dandy” if that’s what you are into. However, many design students, freelancers, and job-seeking professionals are utilizing the internet to showcase their design work.
Blog portfolio websites, like this one, are awesome for showing your passion, knowledge, and ability to learn. They can also be the gateway to a freelance design career by generating client leads.
Interested now? Follow the steps below.
First thing is first. See if your desired domain name is available.
Choose a web hosting service that provides a CPanel for free. Many companies will only offer a plesk or simple control panel setup charging extra for CPanel. Those work most of the time but can be difficult to figure out for an inexperienced person. A shared unlimited hosting service should cost you less than $10 depending on the features. I’ve worked with most of the shared hosting services during my web design work for clients. A few have proven to have great strengths and weaknesses.
Personally, I’d steer away from GoDaddy after working with them several times. Load times are normally slow (around .85 seconds) and they only offer CPanel as an upgrade.
A few good ones are HostGator (.12-.2 seconds load time), BlueHost, and my own affiliate service theDesignerHost (.12-.2 seconds load time). All of these services are fast and reliable with good support. The main difference is between theDesignerHost and HostGator. theDesignerHost leases our servers from HostGator but provides consulting for portfolio related questions. You won’t get any answers from HostGator about your theme installation because they are technicians, not designers. With theDesignerHost you will most likely be having your questions answered by me personally. That’s great, right? Otherwise, you wouldn’t be reading my blog for design related answers!
Normally, a WordPress installation takes approximately 5 minutes to install using the famous 5 minute install method on WordPress.org. This is true, but it’s not all its cracked up to be. WordPress can pose a lot of problems when installed on a host without all of the proper configurations. A manual install can also be more difficult for new users because they aren’t familiar with htaccess, permalinks, uploads security, and cache folders. For new WordPress users I highly recommend you stick to a service that offers Fantisco Deluxe on CPanel.
Here is the basic walkthrough of setting up a WordPress website with CPanel:
There are tons of free WordPress themes in the WordPress Extend catalog. These will work but may lack some advanced features and quality design. Recently, I published a list of some premium quality Free WordPress themes here. To install these themes, you can go under “Appearance” on your WordPress admin panel. From there you can download them directly to your themes section.
Several market sites have popped up where you can download more advanced WordPress themes for around $40 or less. One example is the Themeforest Marketplace mentioned above. Be sure to read the reviews of the authors and check to see whether they are offering proper support for the theme purchase. A published list of popular portfolio Themeforest WordPress themes can be found here. Once you purchase the theme you want, just download it and upload the corresponding zip file using the WordPress theme uploader under the “Appearance” panel.
If you did not purchase a theme from a theme market place you will need a way of Creating a Lightbox Gallery on your WordPress pages. I’ve tested out most of the well established lightbox plugins. I use and recommend Lightbox Plus from 23Systems.net. You can see an example of a lightbox gallery on my portfolio page.
Installation is simple. Upload the Lightbox plugin zip, or download it from the WordPress catalog. Create a new page called “Portfolio.” Upload all of your images to the page without inserting them. You don’t insert them right away because you are going to click “Gallery” on the upload to insert the whole gallery.
Uploading my portfolio to the web changed my career. Instead of sweating it out trying to find a job I can stand, I ended up doing my design work directly from my home. No strings attached and my own work schedule. You can do the same with a small investment of about $15 in hosting.
Ready to get started? theDesignerHost.com is offering 20% OFF For LIfe on any hosting package, plus a FREE domain at signup (.com, .net, .org). Use Coupon Code: “Friend” to receive the discount!