Online Learning Web Design

Learn through Online Web Design Classes

learn web design online

I started this article a few days ago when everything still felt fairly normal. We are past that now. Some people feel the current measures are an overreaction. Personally, I’d rather go overboard on preventative measures and see very little happen. I feel it’s better than the alternative. This is a practical time to learn a new job that is possible to do remotely. If you are in quarantine right now it’s important to keep your mind active. I hope you find this article helpful. I’ve included a lot of free resources, as I know many people will be feeling the financial impact of this crisis. Stay strong everyone, we can get through this.

So you’ve decided that you want to learn web design, fantastic! Whether you are looking to learn for personal interest or career aspirations, there are a lot of great online resources. Some cost money and some are totally free. I will cover a few of each option and give you some resources to check out. Let’s start with…

Free Web Design Resources

Especially if you are just getting started with learning web design, you don’t need to spend a lot of money to learn some basics. Here are some of my favourite free web design resources:

W3 Schools

Even if you prefer the design side of things, it definitely doesn’t hurt to know some basic CSS. As a designer, I think one of the best corollary skills you can learn is to be able to code your designs into a functioning theme or template. If you get really good at it, you can even make a decent passive income by selling them!

A fantastic free source for those looking to learn some HTML & CSS is W3Schools. What I love about their website is that it doesn’t just have reference materials, there are also examples of working code and exercises for you to do so you get to try it out yourself. Many studies have shown that you retain information better when you read and apply it. Just reading alone isn’t very effective for most learners, myself included! Spend some time on their website, you’re guaranteed to learn something.

CSS Tricks

This website is a perennial favourite of mine for years now. It’s less of a general guide to the basics than a great resources for figuring out how to do a specific thing. That being said, they do have a ‘Guides’ section that includes some great overviews of topics such as jQuery, the Grid system, and my personal favourite “How to center elements using CSS”. I gotta admit, I was pretty bummed when the <center> tag was deprecated. It was just so dang easy to use. But I digress…

They also have an indispensable almanac of all of the CSS selectors as well as properties that you can use as a reference guide. I use this thing all the time, especially the selectors section. Once you have a rudimentary understanding of HTML and CSS (that you picked up from W3Schools above) I find that CSS Tricks really helps you to expand upon that knowledge. They also have videos which tend to be more in-depth on advanced topics. Not necessarily for the total beginner, but they are very well put together and produced.


Okay, so Codecademy does have a Pro account that is pay-to-play. However you can access their Introduction to HTML course for free through a basic account. You will need to sign up with an email and a password, and yes then they will send you a ton of marketing emails. Just unsubscribe and you’ll be good to go.

They have a great setup for testing out code. Lesson notes are on the left, code console is in the middle. Once you’ve typed your code into the console, hit run and the results are displayed on the right. Since it’s an online course as well, it will save your spot when you close the browser or tab and take you back there when you log back in. Very handy! It’s also going to give you the information in a logical order and each lesson builds upon the one before it. I know I’m definitely guilty of clicking around on whatever looks shiny or exciting, which isn’t necessarily the most effective way to learn. (Okay, fine, it’s definitely not!)

And if you do decide that you want to go deeper and learn more skills the Pro plan is $20 a month, but let me give you a hint: they have coupon codes available so you can pay less! I’ll go over the paid options in more detail in the next section.

Paid Web Design Courses & Guides

You can definitely get a very solid basic education without spending a dime. If you’d like to dive deeper into certain topics there are some excellent paid options as well. For more advanced topics it’s definitely beneficial to learn in an organized fashion.

Codecademy, again

We’ll get right back into Codecademy, as it has one of the most extensive libraries of paid courses to learn mode advanced techniques. They also have ‘Career Paths’ which are collections of different courses that will give you the skills that you need for different careers in the tech field. There are also ‘Skill Paths’ for if you would like to learn a specific skill such as how to analyze data with Python or how to create a video game using Phaser.

As the name would suggest Codecademy is mainly about teaching how to code rather than graphic design. If you can put together your artistic and design skills with a solid knowledge of HTML, CSS, and one more thing such as jQuery you will be in very good shape.


EdX is a bit different from Codecademy up above. Most of their programs are either professional certifications or courses offered by prestigious schools from around the world. Their price point definitely reflects this. While their tagline is that they have free courses from schools like MIT and Harvard, an certification in beginner level Python from Georgia Tech will run you around $450. You do get certified though and it is from a name brand institution. There are a few free courses as they say, but you definitely won’t be getting a free diploma from MIT.


SkillShare offers you a few free courses and a complimentary 2 month premium membership to get you hooked. Their website is a bit coy about how much a monthly membership is after that. Just try some free classes, don’t worry about it! If you scroll all the way to the bottom there is a link to where all of the free courses are located.

They do have an entire section just about design of all kinds. Logo design, developing brand identity, visual storytelling, and one just about web design! The course creators at SkillShare definitely focus more on the creative side of things rather than the technical. To be honest, that is the harder skill to teach!

Now the Hard Part…Do the Learning!

Hopefully those are enough resources to get you started. The hardest part of course is actually sitting down every day and doing the learning. If you use one of the courses listed above it’s very easy to track progress and see how much you are doing on a daily basis. My best suggestion is to make a habit out of spending some time on your learning every day, and to specifically schedule it. If possible, schedule it in the morning. I find that the later in the day I leave things the less likelihood there is that I will actually get them done!

Have fun, and good luck!

Web Design

Is a Career in Freelance Web Design Right For You?

freelance web design

I’ve been getting a few questions lately about pursuing freelance web design jobs from site visitors. I typed out basically the same email a few times before it hit me. It would be far more efficient to put my thoughts into a blog post that I can simply link people to. 😉 This will not be a ‘how to get freelance web design jobs’ article. Rather I want to cover what is actually involved and if it would be a good choice for you. Let’s dive in!

Web Designer vs. Web Developer

First of all, let’s clarify the difference between these two roles. A lot of people do a little of both, and you shoud but you will want to be clear on the difference before you apply for jobs. You will also definitely want to make sure that your clients are clear on the difference as well. It’s never fun to have somebody hire you and expect you to be able to do something that is most definitely not in your wheelhouse.

Web Designers

A web designer is somebody who designs the look and feel of the website. The colour palette, the layout, any graphics such as logo, headers and icons. Most website designs are going to be pretty straight-forward in terms of layout. Usually most of the design work will be in terms of branding which the customer may or may not already have. To increase their marketability, a lot of web designers will include branding services and/or light web development in their design packages. Branding services could include things like logo design, choosing brand colours, even down to specifics on what fonts should be used.

Some designers will also build their design into a functioning theme or template. Then that can be put onto a content management system such as WordPress or Drupal. Some people even make a career of selling templates for various content management systems! It’s a lot of work up front, but then a nice passive income source down the road.

Web Developers

By contrast a web developer is typically less concerned with aesthetics and more with website functionality. They might offer some light design work, like taking a pre-existing theme or template and customizing it. Simple tasks like changing colours, fonts, and graphics wouldn’t be unusual. However they typically wouldn’t offer a service like logo design. A developer does more work with creating or customizing web applications. Generally you will find them working in a text editor more often than Photoshop.

Most designers and developers find themselves somewhere in between the two roles. It definitely doesn’t hurt to have a few skills from both sides of the fence. Some people wonder whether it’s better to be a designer or a developer. I think that entirely depends on what you prefer to do! If you like being creative and artistic, focus on design. If you’re a code monkey, go into development.

Now, regardless of which path you choose you will need to consider…

How do you feel about Sales & Marketing?

Since the focus of this article is web designers, I’m going to assume that you are a creative type person. This is wonderful and the world needs your artistic vision, but I’m willing to bet that you prefer a blank PSD to a blank email screen that needs to be turned into a proposal. I see this a lot in creative professionals. “Ugh I hate the business side of things, I just want to make ________!” Here is the problem: you could be the best web designer in the world, but if nobody knows about you then it’s not worth a thing.

In fact, being a creative professional who is great at sales & marketing is probably the best way to stand out and get an edge over your competitors. When you think of sales, how does it make you feel? If you’re one of those people who thinks of super cringey commercials for used car sales lots, you’re thinking of a very outdated way of approaching marketing and sales.

Sales without being sales-y

Try this exercise for me. Think of somebody you know who could really use help with their website. What problems are they having right now that you could help with? Maybe the website looks very outdated, or maybe it’s not mobile friendly so people leave the website very quickly and move on to a competitors. Or maybe information is difficult to find on the website, so your hypothetical customer ends up spending a lot of time answering the same questions via phone and email.

If you offered your services as a web designer and helped your client correct these issue it would improve their business, their income, and quite likely their overall quality of life! Now do you feel scammy or scummy about it? If you come at it from a place of wanting to be of service to others as opposed to making phat stack$ then you won’t come across as ‘sales-y’. I know, we all wanted to go into business for ourselves to get the stack$. But that brings me to my next point…

Are you comfortable with having a variable income?

One of the appeals of having a regular job is that regular paycheck. Every two weeks, no matter what the markets are doing, you get a consistent sum of money. The freelance life appeals to people because they can have more freedom in terms of hours, projects they choose to work on, location, and a myriad of other things. But with great freedom comes great uncertainty. How would you feel if three weeks went by with no income? What about three months? On the flip side, if you got a big client who paid you a big retainer would you be tempted to blow it all right away? Or would you be responsible and drip those earnings out over the length of the contract.

If you think you could handle the variability, great! It’s definitely possible, lots of people do make their living as a freelancers. For any small business including those who work for themselves I recommend reading the book Profit First by Mike Michalowicz. Do I ever wish that I’d read that when I first started out! Would have saved me a lot of trouble. Let me save you the trouble, read it. The author can be a bit much at times, I admit. But, the system is sound so just push through the few bits of particularly obnoxious copy and absorb the incredibly useful information within.

So…what do you think?

There is obviously a lot more that goes into deciding whether or not you want to be a freelance web designer. I think the above two points are where the majority people get really stuck and end up flaming out though. If you’d like some more specifics on the marketing or financial side of being a freelancer let me know, I’d be happy to write more on the subject!

Promo Codes Uncategorized

Tablet PCs and GoDaddy Website Builder Promo Codes

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GoDaddy Promo Codes For Designing Your Own Website.

Designing a website can be tough: there are whole industries devoted to convincing you that you need professional graphic designers and developers who know better and will build a quality site for you or your business.

Building a website doesn’t really need to be that hard. There are drag and drop website builders where you can make a website look the way you want simply by dragging your mouse around. These website builders are pretty intuitive. We’re particularly fond of GoDaddy’s website builder. Although it costs $12/year, it can be much cheaper with the right domain renewal coupon code. Here are some promo codes to help you save money on it:

Design can be used for other things as well. From the Jaguar (vehicle) to Tablet PC’s, creating excellently designed products is a challenge for all industries.

Role of design in creating tablet PCs

Nature doesn’t design in a vacuum; it creates its designs based upon millions of years of trial and error. The saber-toothed tiger fed well on the wholly mammoths of the Siberian plain, but the jaguar is an upgraded model perfectly fit for its environment and time. It has camouflage that blends with the South American terrain, compact and muscular form built to climb trees and chase down peccary pigs, vice-like bite, night vision cat eyes, and the senses of a hunter.

The Jaguar XJ uses similar elements in its design: sleek and stylish body meant for prowling down city streets, seductive lines that flows down the road like the muscles of a predator, 5-liter V8 engine with 385 horsepower that hits 0 to 60 in 5.4 seconds – pure, elegant and powerful.

PC designers can’t work in a vacuum either; they must account for functionality, versatility, style and consumer preferences or they will fall to the evolutionary wayside much like our saber-toothed tiger friend. The world of desktop PCs still exists and will for the foreseeable future (even the wholly mammoth lived well over a hundred thousand years). The tablet PC has caused a revolution in design elements across the board. Externally there is no mouse to click, no keyboard, no serial connections, no number lock, no function keys, and no separate screen. Everything has to fit comfortably in a space no larger than about 10 inches: the iPad2 is 9.5 x 7.31 inches. How does one fit the universe is such a small space?

In tablet design, the user interface is point one, everything else evolves from there. Jaguar XJ designers didn’t design the steering wheel, gear shift, pedals and internal control interface first, those came later. Nature didn’t start with jaguar’s spots and retractable claws; it built the skeleton and went from there. Nature starts at the cellular level and builds inside out.

Where laptops put all the major circuitry beneath the keyboard, the tablet places it underneath the screen. Where users would click with their mouse to open up a variety of programs, they now use an app and much of their information is stored in the cloud. Where they used to write long emails detailing their existence, they now write 140 characters.

According to Derek Lidow, CEO of iSuppli, the iPad “is designed with the UI as the starting point: Apple started by designing the screen, the touch pad and the battery, and lastly focused on the semiconductors and where to put them. This design is what gives the product a unique feel and functionality.” Design is no longer an inside out plan like those from nature and Jaguar Motor Company.

Apple fit the universe into the sleek, elegant and powerful iPad though a design that brings the universe to the user in a lightweight, easy to navigate, crisp HD graphical interface where you only need your fingers to take control of the world. No more problems trying to balance your laptop on your knees, no more sore back from hauling a computer up stairs, no more getting lost in a screen full of icons. The tablet condenses, simplifies and reforms the way consumers experience technology. The jaguar should call up the Apple engineers; maybe they can set it up with easier access to gazelles.

There are many species of cats on the planet, just as there are many types of sports cars, but there is only on jaguar, one XJ and one iPad – nature has a way of thinning out the competition.

Promo Codes

Use Promo Codes and Design a Perfect Date!

dating for web designers

Alright this is a little off-topic from web design, but what can I say it is springtime and love is in the air! I recently attended a local design meet-up group (please don’t try to pick up a date at these, they are for professional networking!) and one of my friends was talking about how he’d been having a lot of success talking with women on online dating services, but when it came time for the first date he was having a hard time coming up with ideas beyond the basics. That got me thinking, I spend a lot of time designing websites, but what about designing a date? Promo Codes

Well first you need a date! I’d definitely avoid those free dating websites, they are full of scammers and can be a little sketchy. You get what you pay for is apparently quite true for online dating. Now don’t worry it doesn’t have to be expensive, for example I found some super good deals at Don’t be afraid to message a lot of people! The wider the net you cast, and all that. Plus I think pinning all your hopes on one person agreeing to go on a date with you is putting a lot of pressure on them, don’t do that. promo codes

Designing the First Date!

So you’ve managed to get that first date with that special someone, but now you have the pressure of planning it. Don’t panic, planning a first date doesn’t have to be stressful all you have to remember is that a first date should allow for good conversation and most of all be fun so you and your date remember it.

Here are a few ideas of things you could do for a first date:

Dinner and a Movie

This one is a classic for a reason. It’s simple but effective, it allows for good conversation in a time frame that isn’t so long that you run out of things to say. The dinner allows for you to get to know each other and the movie allows you to have something to discuss at the end of the date or maybe the second date (also enables the two of you to get close i.e. hold hands or maybe a kiss only if both of you are comfortable with that). Now to take it a step further for the ‘design’ part, the restaurant should reflect the movie. Maybe it’s the cuisine of where the movie takes place, or similar to a restaurant that the characters visit in the film. Failing that you could always go to a movie themed restaurant if you have one of those nearby!

Aquarium, Museum or Gallery

This allows you to take your time and see something new as well as have something to talk about or have an opinion on. It could also lead to a dinner date after which is good as you will always have something to talk about (i.e. what was your favorite fish, piece of art, etc) if you run out of things to say. If you have a museum or gallery of design in your area that might work out great as if your date consistently picks out good designs then you know that you two are compatible!

Go on a ghost tour

It’s new and not many people do it for a first date, therefore, it makes the date more special as well as unique. It will give you something fun to do as well as be memorable and give you something to talk about on future dates or at dinner if you go for a bite to eat after. A good thing about ghost tours is that it allows you and your date to get close either due to cold weather to keep each other warm or just because your date get scared (brilliant way to break the touch barrier). I did one in Edinburgh two summers ago, it was actually very informative and creepy but not terrifying. Sadly I did not see a ghost, but maybe you will!

Ice Skating

Winter dates are great as they are fun and exciting, but also active dates and therefore memorable. Ice Skating together also enables the two of you to get close as you can hold hands as you go round the rink or simply help each other stay up. I’m not very good at ice skating, but I still have fun doing it.

Try a Late Lunch and Be Open for Dinner

Try this out in order to have a more casual and relaxed date, it’s also a good way to squeeze in a really quick date as you can do it on your lunch break from work. If it’s a weekend, you can go do one of the activities mentioned above together afterwards. If it’s going really well, you could event continue on to dinner together if you’d like.

Whenever planning that first date keep in mind what your shared interests are. If both of you like films go see a movie, if you both like comedy go to a comedy club, if you’re both into live music go to a gig (I think you get the picture now). If you go to something you both like you will enjoy it more. Both of you will be relaxed and comfortable in each others presence which will hopefully lead to more dates in the future. Now get designing that date!

Content Management Systems

Is Jekyll a Viable Alternative to WordPress? Plus a Free GoDaddy Promo Code!

You can be sure that you are going to spend a lot of time deciding which platform to use for your site. Most websites and blogs use WordPress, mostly because it is recommended by everyone since it is the most popular, it’s also open source and has a very active community that loves to give out lots of freebies. Not to mention, web developers like its PHP Platform, since it’s fast to code and easy to make their customizations. You’ll still need hosting space for it, so we found some host deals to save you money.

So, why should you look beyond WordPress?

godaddy promo codeWell, in the past, WordPress was a simple CMS for people with simple needs. Lately, it has become slightly complicated and there is a learning curve. It can be a bother for small scale sites and blogs that might be better off using a simpler CMS.

Micro CMS, Static Site Generators are all coming into the market trying to solve an age old problem of content management like Jekyll, Ghost, Typepad, etc.

If you’re looking for a WordPress alternative, and you are not averse to coding, then Switching to Jekyll is one option to consider in my opinion.  Have a look at the interface here.

Can Jekyll compete with WordPress?

It’s not about which is better Jekyll or WordPress because everyone’s needs are different. WordPress can do anything these days and if it’s everything you need then stick with it.

By comparison, Jekyll is a blogging platform. If you only want to run a blog, Jekyll has everything you need. You won’t miss WordPress. You won’t lack any features or functionalities, or be spending countless amounts of time choosing widgets for your site. Not to mention, the writing experience is one of the best.

Jekyll is not for the faint-hearted

It is a static site generator that takes the text files and stitches them together creating static HTML sites. Created by Tom Preston-Werner, the co-founder of GitHub.

You should consider Jekyll if you are a developer that likes working with pure code and are looking for a high-performance publishing solution.

Advantages of Jekyll over WordPress:

1. No need to run tons of PHP script
2. No database or backend logic needed
3. Easy for content publishing
4. Fast loading static HTML pages
5. No need to worry about fending off bot-attacks daily

You can have complete control over the look and feel of every single page on your site. One could argue that it’s possible with WordPress too. True, but with Jekyll, it’s easier and less time-consuming as long as you know what you’re doing.

Web Design

How Hostpapa Coupon Codes Can Improve Your Conversion Rates

5 Web Design Tips to Improve Your Conversion Rates

An attractive and appealing web design is very crucial. However, you cannot afford to lose focus of what your site is actually for: convert traffic into lead-and form submissions, contact-form submissions, phone calls, and sales. Without the mentioned actions, your business is not going to generate revenue.

Generally, the more conversations the website generates, the more revenue the business is going to produce. That’s why we want to lay out the 5 web design tips to improve your conversion rates.

And guess what? We’re going to give you a free tip that isn’t even part of the top 5: make your website run fast. Getting a web host provider with a good reputation for speed is one way to ensure that your customers won’t leave your website because it runs slowly. If a dedicated server is too expensive, you can shop for promotional offers to substantially save on a VPS or even a shared hosting plan. Here’s a link to a good coupon site. llbean promo code

1. Choose a Responsive Design

Nearly 31% of all traffic to top 10 digital properties were generated from mobile devices, according to Comscore’s U.S Digital Future in Focus study (2015). While already significant, this number is going to keep increasing. When your website does not offer a pleasant mobile experience, you’re shooting yourself in the foot.

A responsive website design adapts to fit any kind of screen-laptops, desktops, tablets, and smartphones-in a way which makes all pages, actions, and features accessible, notwithstanding which devices the user is browsing on.

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2. Opt for Some Simple Design And Not Complex Noise

Some years ago web trends went over the top and several animations as well as flash were in vogue. Nowadays, clean plus simple flat designs are all the rage. Then, brands used to overstretch themselves trying to impress visitors with some quirky features, and today consumers are going to appreciate some nice and clean layout.

You should, therefore, impress your visitors with your offerings and contents. Bombarding them with needless animation and flash not only is going to annoy them, but also it ends up slowing down load time of your site.

3. Consider Stock Photos a No-No

Stock photos are ideal for some things, like blog posts. But they have no place in your business’ “About” page.  Consumers and potentials are not going to have much confidence in your brand when you’re trying to convey your professionalism and expertise employing stock photos.

4. Keep Your Navigation Simple

When consumers visit your website, they need to be able to find exactly what they’re looking for within, say, two seconds. When they must search any longer than this, they’ll become frustrated and go to another website.

Therefore, your navigation menu should be as simple as possible. Too many alternatives are going to overwhelm your visitors. Have a clear path to whatever action you actually want the visitors to complete, whether it is a particular destination page or a submission form.

5. Eliminate Your Social Media Feeds

Everyone used to place their social feeds on their sites when social media was still new and fresh. Today, consumers are aware how to connect or link with your brand on the social platform when they need to. Putting Twitter and Facebook feeds on your site just succeed in drawing away attention from your conversion goals.

Put social icons in your sidebar or footer, and link to your account and when a visitor feels inclined to follow, they are going to. You need them to complete your forms, read your website content, and make purchases, and not to scroll through your previous posts and tweets.