Email marketing services reviewed

Posted on: June 21st, 2011 by patrick No Comments


Selecting an email marketing service can be daunting. There are dozens of solutions to choose from, all with extremely varied options, features and pricing.

Even more perplexing is that many reviewers rate these solutions in an effort to identify the “best” option.

There is no single best option, but rather a lot of great options. You just have to find the one that matches your needs.

Unlike the exhaustive round-ups that cover every option available, I have narrowed the field to what I consider four of the best. All of these are terrific solutions that address a variety of needs.

I won’t mention every last feature of these services. Because they all have the same basic functionality, I will focus on what makes each distinct and what to expect from using them.

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Photography is one of the most potent tools in the designer’s toolbox. It is no surprise that it is used all over the web. And in the small subset of websites featured in this article, we find photography used very prominently. The samples shown here focus so heavily on photography that you hardly notice the brands behind them.

In fact, some of the websites have no apparent branding at all, focusing instead on selling their products, which is actually a bit of a relief. Let’s review how each of these websites leverage the power of photography.

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How to make money from a $3000 website

Posted on: June 6th, 2011 by patrick 2 Comments


I don’t believe that the $3000 client is the lost cause we often think they are. Sure, for most agencies, a $3000 website is laughable; but I would argue that these clients present tremendous opportunities.

In particular, I think web designers can cash in on low-budget deals. I worked in the agency world for a long time, so it took me a while to fully accept this, but I think you will find that it’s possible.

The typical scenario involves a small-business owner interested in getting a new website. They’ll often have unrealistic expectations about how much it takes to design and build a website. Well, these expectations only seem unrealistic to us designers—I say they are undesirable, not unrealistic...

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A showcase of mobile e-commerce

Posted on: May 24th, 2011 by patrick No Comments


Optimizing websites for the mobile web is a chore. And optimizing e-commerce websites for the mobile web is a beast that designers and developers have only begun to tame.

Not surprisingly, larger companies are embracing the medium first, likely because they have the resources and sales flow to justify it. After all, even if an e-commerce website gets sizable traffic, a small percentage of that will be mobile-based. And an even smaller percentage of that traffic will actually complete their sales.

With the momentum only really beginning in this arena, people’s experience with full mobile e-commerce transactions is limited. This makes the niche an experimental one at best. Fortunately, given the nature of e-commerce, success can be carefully measured and tested. This is a medium still in need of definition.

A huge hurdle towards progress is the scarcity of examples. Surfing galleries to find a ton of interesting ideas is not even close to being quick and easy. There are only a few small collections of mobile design, even less for e-commerce. To address this, I have collected 10 fantastic examples of mobile e-commerce...

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The secret power of bookmarklets

Posted on: May 17th, 2011 by patrick No Comments


I have long been fascinated with bookmarklets, and I am pleased to have produced an article for WebDesignerDepot.com on the topic.

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As with any new technology, getting started is often the hardest part.

With this frustration in mind, we have put together some of my handiest tips, tricks and code snippets related to the jQuery Mobile library.

Because this is not a full-on primer for using the library, we will skip over some of the things that become rather obvious as you get started and instead get straight to the items that become rather frustrating or troublesome...

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Traditional typography meets modern techniques

Posted on: May 3rd, 2011 by patrick No Comments


Web designers are raging with excitement and renewed passion for typography as browsers advance, as web services emerge, and as doing fantastic things with text generally becomes a whole lot easier.

Sure, we have had the likes of Cufon and sIFR for some time now, and they continue to be very useful, but typography has advanced far beyond and is a more natural part of website architectures now.

Along with the huge trend in code-based type through the tools mentioned above, I find the resurgence in finely crafted type, much of it reminiscent of letterpress, to be fascinating.

Most such websites blend modern techniques with traditional and beautiful typographic styles. The combination is stunning and inspiring.

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5 incredible hosted CMS’ reviewed

Posted on: April 21st, 2011 by patrick No Comments


I have really developed a love for hosted tools, and in particular content management systems. In this article on WebDesignerDepot.com I dig into 5 powerful hosted platforms for an in depth look at the features that set them apart.

Selecting a content management system on which to run a business website is an important decision. Businesses have needs that are more targeted than individuals, and many of the hosted options available don’t quite fit the bill. Fortunately, there is a range of hosted content management systems that are packed with powerful features. Even better, these hosed platforms tend to be extremely easy to use and quick to develop on.

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If you prefer to get your books for free - and who doesn't - get over to the Web Designer Depot and enter to win 1 of 5 free copies of my latest book.

Visit WebDesignerDepot.com now to enter

Lessons from mobile web design

Posted on: April 13th, 2011 by patrick No Comments


My most recent post on the Webdesigner Depot features a review of lessons we can learn from mobile design.

Mobile development is all the rage, and the interactive industry is in great turmoil as countless tablets and smart phones come to market.Mobile app development gets most of the attention, while the mobile web somewhat quietly creeps along. But the mobile web is making progress every day as more and more developers launch mobile-optimized interfaces.

The great thing about the mobile web is that it is fundamentally built with all of the same tools used in traditional web design and development.

This makes it far more approachable than app development. Also, many users will want to visit a company’s website on the go, without necessarily needing a full-blown app.

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