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100 Must Read Design Blogs
Inspiration / 8 Jul 2010

100 Must Read Design Blogs

In my daily search for design-related content I’ve come across tons of really stellar blogs. Recently I noticed that the list of sites I regularly check in on had far surpassed 100!

I know there’s no shortage of lists like this but I still wanted to share my discoveries with the Design Shack readers. Some of the blogs below are quite famous, others are fairly obscure. Most are specifically about design, others are more for supporting subjects like freelancing or photography. So without further adieu, here’s my list of over 100 must read (or watch for the video sites) design-related websites.

QuoteRobot: Freelance Job Quoting Made Easy
Business / 6 Jul 2010

QuoteRobot: Freelance Job Quoting Made Easy

Quoting jobs can be a real pain.

As designers we often procrastinate and/or avoid this necessary step simply because it’s tedious and no where near as fun as actually designing something. QuoteRobot is a new tool that helps address this problem by enabling you to quickly get back to what you love instead of being bogged down for hours on end creating custom bids for every client.

We had a chat with Shawn Adrian, one of the founding developers of QuoteRobot, and asked him to explain a little bit about the service and why you as a freelancer should be interested in this product. Below is our full interview. Along the way we’ll toss in some screenshots so you can get a feel for the service.

20 Websites With Carefully Crafted and Convincing Copy
Inspiration / 2 Jul 2010

20 Websites With Carefully Crafted and Convincing Copy

Last week we discussed the importance of copywriting in web design and today we’re showcasing twenty sites that got it right.

Below you’ll find a number of tricks that you can use to create convincing copy for your website. We’ll discuss how to use everything from hyperbole to sarcasm to snag users and score more conversions.

52 Framework: The First Ever HTML5 and CSS3 Framework
CSS / 1 Jul 2010

52 Framework: The First Ever HTML5 and CSS3 Framework

Today we’re going to look at a new project from the Enavu Network called 52 Framework.

It claims to be the first framework built specifically for HTML5 and CSS3. Below we’ll look at some of the basic features and dig into the code to see what we can find.

Web Design Critique #6
Critique / 30 Jun 2010

Web Design Critique #6

Every week we take a look at a new website and analyze the design. We’ll point out both the areas that are done well as well as those that could use some work. Finally, we’ll finish by asking you to provide your own feedback.

Today’s site is Screenfluent, a web design inspiration gallery.

5 Ways to Be an Ethical SEO Expert
Web Standards / 29 Jun 2010

5 Ways to Be an Ethical SEO Expert

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has been a huge buzzword among marketers for years. The reason for this is that search engines can be legitimate sources of mountains of traffic for your site and the higher you rank on them the better.

The problem that arose in the early days of SEO was a blatant abuse of the system. What began as a few innocent tricks to earn more visitors morphed into questions of etiquette and heated debates regarding what should and shouldn’t be allowed. The web design community has come a long way in the past decade but there are plenty of marketers that still follow the tactics of the 90s either through ignorance or defiance.

Today we’ll briefly look at how to engage in SEO in an ethical manner by pointing out five key techniques to avoid.

Why Your Great Ideas Will Fail
Business / 25 Jun 2010

Why Your Great Ideas Will Fail

Everyone has a big idea.

The next Facebook or Twitter is being presented to potential funders by a hundred different startups every year. However, many or even most of these ideas never really get off the ground. So what’s standing between these companies and success?

Today we’re going to look at why many brilliant ideas fail to make an impact and one essential question that could’ve helped them succeed.

10 Tips for Designing HTML Emails
CSS / 24 Jun 2010

10 Tips for Designing HTML Emails

Love ’em or hate ’em, HTML emails are a wildly popular marketing tool and you will almost definitely come across clients that want you to build them.

If you don’t know anything about HTML emails, they’re annoying to develop and break all the rules you’ve ever learned as a web designer, but being able to code them is a valuable skill to possess. Today we’ll look at ten quick and easy tips to get beginners started on the road to creating beautiful and functional emails.

Web Design Critique #5: Aaron Storry Photography
Critique / 23 Jun 2010

Web Design Critique #5: Aaron Storry Photography

Every week we take a look at a new website and analyze the design. We’ll point out both the areas that are done well as well as those that could use some work. Finally, we’ll finish by asking you to provide your own feedback.

Today’s site is Aaron Storry Photography. Aaron is a photographer in Northamptonshire and today we’ll be looking at his online portfolio.

How to Develop Success Criteria for Your Site
Business / 22 Jun 2010

How to Develop Success Criteria for Your Site

Running a website is can be a seemingly pointless and unfulfilling venture if you don’t take the proper steps to ensure advancement.

Today we’ll take a brutally honest look at how you should measure success and develop goals that actually lead to productivity.

5 Reasons You Should Be Writing for Design Blogs
Business / 18 Jun 2010

5 Reasons You Should Be Writing for Design Blogs

You may have notice that this week’s theme at Design Shack has been talents to add to your skill set as a designer. First we looked at copywriting, then marketing, and today we’ll examine blog writing.

Blogging has come a long way in recent years. The practice has transformed from a questionably productive hobby into a popular and lucrative profession. The design blog industry is one of the fastest growing niches in the blogging world and here we bring you five convincing reasons to join the fun and begin writing your own design-related articles and tutorials.

Why You Can’t Ignore Marketing
Business / 17 Jun 2010

Why You Can’t Ignore Marketing

In our last article, we looked at why designers can’t ignore copywriting, today we examine why marketing is the same way.

We’ll discuss why you should continue to better yourself by increasing your talents and how you as a designer should respond to the increasing need of online marketing for small business owners.