10 7 / 2014

The Ultimate Incredibly Useful Web Design Checklist
uzra mohiuddin, techmagnate.com
Web design­ing can be a com­pli­cat­ed process, even for sea­soned vet­er­ans. There are sev­er­al things you need to keep in mind, and sev­er­al bases that have to be touched before the design is cal …

The Ultimate Incredibly Useful Web Design Checklist
uzra mohiuddin, techmagnate.com

Web design­ing can be a com­pli­cat­ed process, even for sea­soned vet­er­ans. There are sev­er­al things you need to keep in mind, and sev­er­al bases that have to be touched before the design is cal …

23 6 / 2014

Today there is a whale of WordPress sites on the net. This number has been increasing through the years, and keeps on going in the same direction these days. Want a bit more accurate data? 34% of all websites are powered by various CMS, and WordPress sites are the half of this amount. Does it sound impressive to you? Ease of use and developer support – these are two main factors that have rushed WordPress to the top of most used CMS.

Using WordPress, you’ll never be alone. If you got stuck or need help, big WordPress community (designers, developers, writers, users) can always help you find answers for all questions. This community is a powerful force that pushes WordPress forward on the market.

WordPress is a tool for both amateurs and hobbyists who want to get a blog or a website up and running quickly. Medium or even less design or development experience is enough to create a site on WordPress.  

One more pleasant fact about WordPress is a number of free themes that constantly appear on the web. They are a perfect solution for creating a desired site without extra money investment. Of course, you can find a number of premium variants all around the web, but in focus of our attention are free themes today. The list below will show you the freshest themes that are completely free. The scheme of starting a site on their basis is extremely easy: choose the free theme you like, customize it according to your needs and get your site up and running.

No outdated designs in this compilation! We keep track of the latest and greatest Free WordPress Themes, so welcome the collection of cool freebies. Prepare for getting your inspiration flowing and check out all items from collection below.

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Mixfolio

Looking for a perfect option for a blog or portfolio? Consider this clean modern theme with responsive layout. Notice that this design allows to select any post format you need.

Demo Download

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Tribbiani

A bunch of powerful features like embedded search engine optimization tools, supporting galleries and comments, CSS transition effects, social media sharing options make this theme a good basis for your blogs with a lot of images.

Demo Download

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Fancier

Choose this masonry-styled theme with a cutting-edge look to start a creative blog. Its well-structured design puts emphasis on images, so you can present content illustrated with photos in the most favorable manner.

Demo Download

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Sixteen

Image-heavy blogs will find this responsive theme extremely useful. Easy on the eye layout, a variety of customization options, CSS transition effects, great galleries – find these and much more features in it.

Demo Download

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Openstrap

Here is one more responsive modern theme with a bunch of features: 11 widget and 3 menu options, 6 layouts and 2 front page templates.

Demo Download

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Church

This responsive template is tailored for a variety of websites (business, personal). Customizing with ease its color scheme, header/footer, menus, adding necessary widgets you can get the site you need.

Demo Download

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Adelle

Feminine bloggers will find this minimal design with a nice pink header a perfect fit for their online projects. Responsive layout makes it possible to browse this theme on various browsers. By the way, it was successfully tested across the most-used browsers. Custom menu, blog categories, Twitter and Facebook feeds are a part of design.

Demo Download

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Asteria Lite

Enjoy elegant theme with responsive layout, image & text top slider, Ajax pagination (allowing smooth navigation through posts without a need to refresh the page), also it’s fully translated into several languages.

Demo Download

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Theron Lite

Looking for user-friendly WordPress themes? Consider this stylish responsive template with awesome fonts, easy to use theme option panel, 3 widgets and 5 shortcodes to start a good blog online.

Demo Download

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ButterBelly

For the fans of latest design tendencies, here is a theme to enjoy – clean & clear fully responsive lightweight template offering customization options for logos, backgrounds, intro texts. It also supports several widget areas. Business or whatever blogs can make use of this design.

Demo Download

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Flounder

So flat and so stylish! It’s all about the next free WordPress theme. By the way, it’s responsive and goes with a colorful support for featured posts and a number of other customization options.

Demo Download

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Inkness

This fully responsive premium looking theme can be used for a variety of business websites. It’s retina ready, with 2/3 column layout, features full-screen slider, CSS transition effects and a lot of other useful features.

Demo Download

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Codium Grid

The following highly customizable theme features clean design, wisely arranged content in grids. Built-in SEO tools and Instagram widget make it even more attractive for those who are seeking for a good blogging theme.

Demo Download

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WP Jurist

If a website for law companies is a matter of interest for you, have a look at the ready-made free WordPress theme to start such a website. Simple and effective design with top slider, widgets and a long list of customization options will help you get a project up and running in no time.

Demo Download

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That was the last item in this compilation, but you can be sure that plenty of them will be launched in the nearest future. I promise to share the best of them with you. Stay tuned!

Author’s BIO: The author of this post is Katarina Klementi, a freelance writer with 5 years of experience in web design industry. Visit her to find inspirational collective posts with freebies, design goodies and a lot of creative and useful stuff.

06 6 / 2014

What are all those images on the site for? They illustrate everything that can’t be said with words and constitute a good half of the site content. When chosen correctly, they cohesively play with the written content, highlighting its most important parts and visualizing the main idea. Herein works the rule “a picture is worth a thousand words”. Therewith, text that is enlivened with images looks more appealing for the site visitors, since it’s easier for a person to perceive information of various kinds.

How are all those images organized within the site? Let’s see the most typical places to find them.

Full-width images. They can be found in the top sliders, on background, or a part of ambient video backgrounds. They set the right tone, look impressive and make the whole design look appealing for the viewers.  Using them in modern designs, it’s possible to grab visitors’ attention as soon as they enter the site. Photography and art, fashion, beauty spheres are the first to make use of such images, so as business, architecture and a number of others that want to be presented in never-to-forget way.

Textures, patterns, etc. Most often they are used as a part of background making it sound more cogently. And again, they are atmosphere setters here that work for better design perception.

A part of the content. As it was mentioned beforehand, being harmoniously applied within text area, they illustrate, accentuate it and give a rest to viewers’ eyes in the upshot.

A part of navigation. Icons and various larger images with neat hover effects over them call to action and help to lead the viewers throughout the site seamlessly.

Being an integral part of a site, they become the front points of online shops. What can show a product better than its professional picture? Galleries, sliders, categories, video parts – any online shop can’t live without images. The most used way of presenting them is a slider, and that’s the point of this post which features the most desirable sliders that are completely free and ready to go.

The most common answer to “what’s the best slider to choose for my site?” will be “the one built with jQuery”. They are in a great demand because of small size that gives an opportunity to be loaded faster in a website. Being responsive is another requirement for a good slider. Choosing this one you can be sure that such adaptive slider will be correctly displayed on various mobile and tablet devices.

In the compilation below you’ll find various free jQuery sliders featuring so many useful options. You’ll be able to add some captions, images, whatever transition effects, etc. They come with detailed documentation, so it will not take you much time to customize the chosen one.

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Slippry

This modern responsive slider goes with jQuery functions, CSS3 tricks and HTML5 elements. Captions, pop-ups - you can easily make it look as you need it.

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AnoSlide

Here is a lightweight jQuery carousel plugin you should consider if looking for a well-done responsive slider for your project. Using it, you can implement a carousel that will be viewable from desktop and mobile viewports.

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CraftySlide

The next item is 2kb slideshow built with jQuery. You’ll certainly like an easy way of working with it and a bunch of options like custom width and height, various pagination types, fade time, delay number, etc.

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Orbit Responsive Image Slider

Easy and powerful. What’s more important for a good responsive jQuery slider? It requires minimal HTML markup to function, and Javascript takes care of most of the heavy lifting.

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Triple Panel Image Slider

If you need something original, try this slider with a triple panel. When all its panels are rotating, it creates a 3D look. This effect was created by means of applying CSS 3D transforms with perspective and CSS transitions.

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Simple Multi-Item Slider

This slider will come in handy for all content heavy sites that need a well-done categorization. It will help viewers browse a bunch of products in one place (minimal jQuery slider) with easy on the eye effects created using CSS animation.

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Owl Carousel Image Slider

Nice carousel slider can be done on the basis of this easy-to-work-with plugin. You can choose the desired layout and options that you need, and be sure that this responsive light slider will perfectly work on your website.

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Full Screen Responsive jQuery Image and Content Slider

To arrange everything within categories wisely and present it via slideshow, try this easy-to-construct responsive content slider.

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Modern Slide In

Here is one more solution for showcasing products. This horizontal slider with pagination is fully responsive, so it will be nicely displayed on various handheld devices.

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Glide

The next slider is a great contribution to web design community. It pleases the viewer’s eye with efficient CSS3 transitions and works on all possible devices.

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Responsive jQuery Any Html Content Slider

With 4 transition effects, 3 built-in themes, pager, thumbnails and arrows navigation, this jQuery responsive slider offers everything you need for showcasing visually-appealing images with captions.

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Vertical Showcase Slider with jQuery & CSS Transitions

Whether you have online store or portfolio, this vertical full-width slider will present all images in the best possible way. The items move in opposite directions within this slider. Just enjoy the way it works, and you’ll certainly like it.

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Fullscreen Slideshow with HTML5 Audio & jQuery

This slider comes with embedded audio playback. Choose it to get a wonderful slideshow that can be empowered with the desired audio.

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Awkward Showcase

jQuery plugin for a slider where you can add tooltips, enable thumbnails, activate dynamic height and lots more.

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Slider JS

The last item of this compilation will be a responsive jQuery plugin. It goes with touch and CSS3 transitions.

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If you still hesitate which one to choose, look through their demo versions one more time. It can happen that cool visual effects of the one will grab your attention. Hope, this compilation will help you find the one that is the most efficient for your website.

Author’s BIO: Walk with me to learn all you wanted to know about philosophy, psychology and aesthetics of modern web designs. How to find me? Katarina Klementi on .

28 5 / 2014

We are all sick and tired of all those best-trends-of-2014 posts with long enumeration of the same points that we’ve been talking about for half a year. Sigh with relief, ‘cause this article will not get into the cliché territory. Describing the major trends is just the top of the iceberg, and it’s much more interesting to delve into the question deeply. I want to show you the evident tendencies that are clearly seen in most current designs, but for some reasons are omitted in the list of main trends. For sure, your subliminal perception has caught these modes, and now let’s talk about them overtly. Subliminal, implicit – let’s define these trends in such a way because of their unapparent nature.

With your favor, I’ll give a quick view at all-know-about trends before shifting to the implicit ones. Skip this paragraph, if you’re already drugged with pleasure of reading the same collations, and move to the next one with a list of subliminal trends. So, what are the most obvious of these days?

  • Responsiveness. It’s a must have feature of modern designs in the age of progressive mobile technologies.
  • Cross-browser compatibility. Your clients may prefer any browser of these: IE, Chrome, Safari, Opera, Android, and your site compatibility with all of them should be positive.
  • Minimalism. Actually, it’s the main direction of today’s web space. People are tired of flowery imagery and designs. If you want to make them interested in what you say, use laconic style.
  • Flat design. It springs from the previous point – minimalism. Being clean & clear, flat design approach wins the hearts of millions of designers and their viewers.
  • Content centric design. You appeal to the audience by means of your site design and the information it presents. Put emphasis on the content, make sure that it is readable and well-organized, and it will always be pleasant to read it.
  • Storytelling. Captivating way of presenting your company drives people in. Sites with parallax effect or seamless scroll with Javascript animation offer enjoyable journey around.
  • Vibrant typography. All that headings sticking out the page layout facilitate readability and work for visual division of the content.

The list can be continued with a couple of minor trends, but let’s stop and focus on the key point of the post.

Subliminal Trends of 2014

Hipster Elements

The omnipresent hipster culture couldn’t come by the web space and assumed the shape of hipster designs that you can easily notice among a number of others. They are hyper-trendy, cutting edge, stylish, never dull and extremely popular for today. You can discover that design is a hipster one due to the following markers: mustaches/glass/arrow/bicycles/beard/pointers vectors, washed out colors, vintage elements, styled ribbons. Elements that are widely used here are black & white layouts, large logos, focus on typography and Instagram-like photos. Talking about hipster design I should mention crossed X logos as its most peculiar element. You’ve seen a number of such crossed logos that look like a big X with objects and types arranged around it. In the examples below you’ll see how it’s realized on live sites.

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Buffalo Dandy

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Herrlich Media

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James Pedrazzini

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Muriel Labro

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Oxydo

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Horizontal Projection

Plan view designs or horizontal projection is a noticeable trend of this year that makes a site look like your desktop. Designs with such background photos remind so familiar for all of us workplace with objects scattered around it. It can be various phones, tablets, watches, mugs, pens, and other office stuff of this kind. Such designs communicate a cozy atmosphere and make people feel comfortable and relaxed, like at their own desk at home. These pleasant feelings make visitors return to such sites most of which deal with business, food industry.

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Designabile

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MIJLO

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The First Time

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The Oven

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Gnosh

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Scandinavian Style

Scandinavian design with its cold refined pastel wins millions of designers’ hearts. It comes from Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland countries where nature and weather conditions predetermine culture, art and design. Most of the latter are noticeable for austere tone and “cold” colors. Functionality, timeless aesthetics, clean minimalism are the three characteristics of Scandinavian web design. Uncluttered layouts with simple forms, negative space and focus on the content – this is how Scandinavian hazy designs look like. Blue, green, gray, beige are most used colors in such layouts. You can easily notice them by simple typography, neat logos, light vintage tone.

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This Exquisite Forest

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Colin Grist

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Sydney Copywriter

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Umbruch

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Hello Monday

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Pastel Layouts

Shifting away from gaudy coloration of websites is the most evident trend of today’s designs. Pastel colors take center stage and turn the web into elegant, sophisticated and dreamlike. What’s implied under the term “pastel colors”? These are low saturated designs without strong chromatic content. You can call them soothing, neutral, milky, etc. Being used in website design, they create soft and friendly atmosphere, arousing calm feelings of the viewers. You can see them on background textures and photos, on logos and tiny icons, fonts, frames. It’s a wrong assumption that they are perfect for feminine sites, ‘cause a number of business, personal pages with a strong masculine nature make use of pastel color sophistication.

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We Are Fictitious

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Tailormade

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Petit Mariage

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Fruute

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RuedaFilm

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Ambient Video Backgrounds

Using video to tell your story, you make it more captivating. Actually, there is no better way for storytelling than a good video sequence. It can stir viewers’ emotions thus creating a closer connection with them. Attention grabbing, vivid, these capturing imaginations and driving conversations can be described in many ways. Vast, complex ambient video backgrounds hold the crown of popularity and are widely used here and there on the web. While watching them, the site viewers stay longer at your page, learn more about your company, and services it offers. Some developers can argue about the complete perfectness of this trend because of long loading time (sometimes), but still the trend is popular and thus is worth your attention.

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eClarify

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The Source

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Frick Marketing

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TAG Interactiva

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Story & Heart

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The recipe of a good design is simple. Good imagination that gives rise to creativity, all that skills you’ve obtained, experience and knowing of all the popular tendencies that turn a site into a cutting-edge one. The major trends sound familiar to everybody, but there are those that are quite evident and for some reason are not spoken about. These subliminal tendencies (hipster, Scandinavian designs, layouts in muted colors, video background) are integral part of modern web design that makes it definitely noticeable.

Author’s BIO: Walk with me to learn all you wanted to know about philosophy, psychology and aesthetics of modern web design. How to find me? Katarina Klementi on .

26 5 / 2014

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Want them? Grab them.

Author’s BIO: Katarina Klementi is an author of this post. Visit her to find inspirational collective posts with freebies, design goodies and a lot of creative and useful stuff.

29 4 / 2014

Broadly speaking there are two types of designs in web design.

One is flat design and the other one is skeuomorphic design.

Tim Worstall defines skeuomorphism as follows:

If you’ve ever used an Apple product, you’ve experienced digital skeuomorphic design: calendars with faux leather-stitching, bookshelves with wood veneers, fake glass and paper and brushed chrome. Skeuomorphism is a catch-all term for when objects retain ornamental elements of past, derivative iterations–elements that are no longer necessary to the current objects’ functions.

Skeuomorphic design intends to help users by explaining to them through graphics what a particular element intends to do. So when you use the Notes app on an Apple device, the background of the screen on which you write, opens up like paper. This sends out the visual signal that the screen is ready to take notes and hence you can start typing.

Hence this type of design not just looks visually appealing but also helps the users of the site.

But it has its drawbacks.

Firstly some people are arguing that skeuomorphism is outdated now. They say, when the Internet was new and people were still learning how to browse websites, then they needed help and guidance, which was provided in the form of three dimensional, real world type of designs.

But now who isn’t familiar with the Internet? Every Tom, Dick and Harry is carrying a smartphone today and hence there is no need for all those glossy reflections and fancy shadows on elements.

They say such extra graphics cause delays in design and can increase the load time of the website. Research shows that even a delay of the order of tenths of a second in website load time can cause the visitor to hit the Back button and switch to a different website.

These are the reasons why more and more companies (read - Apple, Microsoft, Mailchimp) are shifting to flat designs.

A flat design is the one which does not attempt to portray any real world images or icons in the design. As such it is free from any three dimensional images and hence doesn’t use any graphics for fancy shapes or lights.

Take a look at flat images design collection of Depositphotos to see what I mean.

A flat design is a sort of minimalist design. It only keeps those elements which are necessary and avoids the use of any unnecessary pomp and show so that attention is not distracted away from the main design.

A flat design almost every time signifies sophistication. The matter is presented in a simple, professional way. Usually lots of white space is used and only those images, buttons, and forms are used which are really needed.

Since it uses lesser graphics therefore load times of flat designs tend to be much smaller and the websites load much faster and quicker and navigation is easy.

Microsoft was one of the first companies amongst the tech giants to use this flat design on their website. Since then some other top notch companies and many other small blogs and websites have embraced it.

A survey showed that 68% of the web professionals said that flat design is here to stay.  

28 4 / 2014

It happens to all website owners sooner or later. Their website stops bringing them the desired satisfaction. It becomes obvious that the upgrading is impending. It’s not a problem today as there are tons of free and paid plugins that can considerably improve your site appearance and functionality. Still, we seldom bother ourselves with a question: “Is there any possibility that this or that plugin will do more harm than benefit to my website?” Such behavior can be called nothing but reckless.

 Imagine yourself at the supermarket. Will you throw everything that is attractively packed right into your cart? Of course, not. You won’t pay for stuff you don’t need if you are not loony shopaholics, purchasing all gallimaufry their eyes fall at.

 We recommend you apply the same selective approach when you choose plugins for your website. Herein under, we will try to enumerate the most frequent issues website owners come across when they install various plugins naively believing that they will improve their site performance. 

Let’s begin with WordPress plugins that can either enhance or ruin your website

Actually, a WordPress plugin is a program that extends the core functionality of the CMS. Why do programmers develop plugins? Their aim is rather noble: to increase WordPress functionality without interfering into its core structure. How many free WP plugins are available now? There are nearly 30,000 of them, so WP can turn almost all your dreams to reality and if it can’t somebody is likely to work on it at the moment. It’s safe to say that WordPress.org plugins helped the CMS climb up the throne. Without its faithful servants, WordPress is a relatively limited platform.

The power of plugins should never be underestimates as a single file can affect the entire WP installation and its further performance. Keep this in mind when you are going to install the next miraculous plugin as your website’s uninterrupted work may depend on it. There are plenty of genius developers creating fantastic plugins that will incredibly boost your site operation, but it’s a big lottery and there is always a chance to pull the unlucky ticket from madcap developer who doesn’t take the burden of responsibility slapping up the new Frankenstein. In fact, when we install a plugin, the consequences are impossible to predict as absolutely everything can happen. First of all, your website’s loading speed can be either considerably delayed or even entirely crashed.

Now, let us say a few words about WordPress.org plugin directory where we search for necessary stuff. It’s a decent place for many reasons, but it’s also not without sins. There are dozens of plugins on WordPress.org, however, the overwhelming majority of them are out of date, buggy, bloated, insecure, or contain a combination of the preceding flaws. As you understood WordPress.org with all its plugins can become either a godsend or an inferno, so, please use it carefully.

Try to avoid these common mistakes while configuring the plugins:

 * There are loads of plugins that control robots.txt (SEO Ultimate, Keyword Statistics, Meta Robots and many others). We don’t want to say that there is something wrong with these plugins. It’s a kind of warning to check if your indexing or caching is enabled. You can argue that not allowing indexing makes Google crawl your site more often, though, it reduces usability as your site may not always be up, or may change.    

 * SEO smart links, YARPP, recent posts and broken link checker are just a few examples of WordPress plugins which automatically create links (in other words, plugins that cause text posted on your site link to other pages inside or outside of it). When configured properly, they are very useful for your blog. The only issue with auto linking plugins is their appropriate placement. An informative article is a great place to insert links to additional content visitors might want to read. But landing or conversion pages containing links may prevent a customer from making a purchase, so such links are considered SEO and sales mistakes, unless you have a good reason to put them here.     

 * Free WordPress caching plugins are great for speeding up websites, however, they also have ill fame if inaccurately configured. The seat of the trouble is in making changes to a site. Many plugins are preliminarily set to auto renew the cache, but some must be set up manually. If the function is not set up, the changes won’t be reflected. That is: changes like fixed links, edited text, uploaded pictures can stay invisible until that cache is cleared out and a new set of static files generated. This sometimes happens with website owners when inexplicable old content is occasionally found in places. With precisely configured caching on your WordPress website, you can take advantage of the additional speed avoiding any of these problems. This is a basic information for anyone using caching plugins. We can even give a piece of advice for WP Super Cache users: when uploading modifications to supporting files, such as headers, footers, CSS, JavaScript and so on, browse to the content tab, and click the delete cache button to make WordPress display your changes.

 * WordPress in its core is an extremely secure CMS. However, things start getting hairy due to outside influence from plugins and users.

*  If a WP user installs a plugin that has a security flaw, the core does not respond for the aftermath, while each and every plugin you install may contain a bomb that will contuse your site in case of exploding.

 * By the way, even the disabled WordPress plugins still affect your site’s loading time. Every time when the user enters any page of your site, the database is reviewed to see which plugins need to be loaded. The disabled ones are also in this check list. So if you are not using a plugin, just delete it to avoid the decelerating of your site and other security risks.   

 * Beware of hacker attacks. For instance, they can search Google for inurl:wp-content/plugins/PLUGINNAME and attack every site using it.  Or they may simply know of a plugin they can break into (doesn’t matter if it’s active or deactivated). Hackers can visit your site and try to open http://yourdomainname.com/wp-content/plugins/yourvulnerableplugin/yourvulnerableplugin.php. That’s it, compactly la comedy!

*  If you use free WP plugins, please keep in mind that they won’t be available forever. The doomsday is inescapable. Freebies rarely last forever, so you should be ready that one day your plugins will close down. The developers of the plugins will cease to respond your queries, the plugins will become incompatible with some of your tools or even stop responding. Just think of WP plugins number you are using on your site and estimate the scale of the disaster waiting for it.

* If you install plugins that are incompatible with one another, it will inevitably lead to conflicts among them. This may cause the irreversible damage of your site contents, so it’s better to back it up on regular basis.

“SEO Smart Links” and similar plugins for WordPress can get you penalized by Google. The goal of this plugin is to improve ranking by automatically linking every occurrence of a keyword or phrase within your WP site to a target URL that you’re hoping to get ranked. Surely, there are some advantageous ways of using this plugin, but you should be a skillful developer in order not to get into the trap. To make a long story short, this plugin can turn half of your text content into links. Suck kind of content reduces the quality of your website and even violates Google’s “quality guidelines” for websites. If such trouble has already happened to you and you are penalized by Google, try to get rid of SEO Smart Links Plugin, apologize and ask Google to reconsider the penalty. Google will see that the plugin is gone, and remove the penalty.    

 * If you are on a shared host as most of amateur bloggers, this point is for you. Please remember, nothing is unlimited even if your host claims the opposite (unlimited bandwidth, unlimited storage, unlimited everything). The pitfall is hidden in how much CPU time and server resources your blog uses. This is not frequently mentioned in alluring web hosting plans. The bitter truth is that on a shared server, your blog occupies the same space as plenty of other websites. This means that there are not too many resources available at any given moment, spread between all those different blogs and websites. Too many plugins or not optimized plugins can crucially increase your blog’s resource consumption. If you let this happen, you will either get a warning from your host, or even account termination, which is very frustrating.

 * To avoid 404 errors in Google Webmaster Tools you’d better set up your Google Webmaster Tools account to check for errors Google’s bot finds with your site. Your WMT account will send alerts to any issues it finds to the email you set it up, allowing you fix the problems asap and minimize any harm to your rankings.

 * One of the main questions of plugin’s serviceability is how it benefits your readers. We are not telling you to avoid the advanced techniques and features if they improve UX. But if your visitors are not interested in some cool (from your viewpoint) stuff like videos or slideshows taking time to download, you should be more selective in content you post and plugins you use for its impressive performance.

 * Cross posting to social networking sites can be rather tedious for your followers. Be merciful to them; don’t send the same automated updates from your site. Some of your social networking locations can have different followers, but most probably the majority of them are the same people, being spammed through all their social media accounts. Don’t forget that main purpose of social media is friendly networking and not being bugged with same information.   

The situation with premium plugins is much better than the one with freebies. But this does not mean that buggy/bloated/insecure plugins are completely absent among this privileged pleiad. What can be advised to cautious users? Buy only from solid, reputed, trusted web developers and you’ll minimize the risk of purchasing a pig in a poke. And one more thing: carefully consider if your site really needs the plugin you are going to install. Carry out a kind of interview with each candidate. Try to fish out the answers to the following questions: “Who developed a plugin? When was it updated for the last time? Is it supported well enough?” Depending on the information, you’ll know what to do next.

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Now let’s skip to the disadvantages of using social media plugins on your website

Share, Comment, Login, Like, Tweet, Vote and other social media plugins have become so habitual at any site. Could you imagine that they are able to harm your business if used the wrong way? Would you like to read some vivid examples? Here they are if you please:

1. When you use social media plugins combined with powerful social media strategy, this may drive more traffic than expected. The flip side of this seemingly positive process can be bandwidth limitation (bandwidth increase for the end user) aggravated by extra costs.

2. Sometimes, the traffic on your site may decrease due to comments and discussions shift to social networks. The conversation on the articles, news, products posted on your website won’t be discussed directly on your website, which can negatively affect the conversion.

 3. Too many plugins often slow down page download speed or even make it completely unresponsive, which is a ranking factor for search engines (yes, it’s the less-important one, but should be considered as shortening page loading time does matter in today’s web realities).

 4. Social networks still keep evolving, but some plugins/widgets (especially like “Add This” for particular post) don’t update automatically and site owner should replace them manually in order to stay current.

 5. It’s better to pick out those blog based plugins which can be removed or replaced for the entire blog as soon as you wish to. This simple hack will save your time and efforts. 

6. Depending on the theme of your site, you might have cookie use by third parties issue with some privacy policies. A possible solution is to review your T&C’s with your legal team.

7. Social media plugins can cause UX issues when page is accessed from behind company internet filtering.

We are not trying to persuade you that plugins are absolute evil. Nor did we highlight global disadvantages as the points above rather look like tidbits. Though, now you understand that plugins overindulgence can really bring more harm than benefit to your website. In the case with plugins it’s better to stick to the golden slogan so popular nowadays: “Less is more”. Make sure that your website really needs the plugin you want to install. Use only updated plugins and protect your site with security features, like WP Firewall2. You can additionally secure your site testing the plugins you wish to install on the backup version on your local computer before applying them on the live site. Do planned stripping of the plugins already installed on your site.

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Here is a possible list of questions worth to consider during the process:

1. Are there plugins you are using repeat tasks/benefits?

2. Are some plugins disabled and just taking up space on your web server?

3. Are the plugins on your web server making your site subject to hacks because they are outdated?

4. Are the plugins you are using prove benefits to your targeted audience?

5. Are the plugins you are using cause loading problems at your web hosting?

If after reading this entry you decided to avoid using plugins, we can whisper you some ways that can help.

Be picky and selective choosing the software and theme that will be used to run your site or blog. It should include all the on-page SEO HTML benefits you need, use search engine friendly construction, there should be possibility to alter programming without using a plugin. Google Analytics script can be added to the footer of your theme. This will let you require one less plugin.  The script is added to each of your pages that use this footer and collects data about each page on your site or blog. Adsense can be added to the sidebar (template) without a plugin. There are several ways to cope with spammer problem without installing something like Akismet (which can legit comments through false positive findings). You can deny access from certain IP addresses or ranges in the .htaccess file (this could ban legit visitors though). If you are using WordPress you can blacklist certain words, IPs, emails and/or domain names.

The choice is always up to you. Think what is more important. Clean the wheat from the chaff. Would you like to use all those plugins just because everyone else is doing so? Or your goal is to create a user-friendly site that loads fast, is not cluttered, provides exactly what users want to see and doesn’t stall because of some 3rd party plugin or feature. We are sure you’ll take the right decision. And, please don’t forget to let us know about it in the comment section. Maybe you’ve got bitter or positive experience with plugins you‘d like to share with the community. Do not deny yourself the pleasure to tell about your progress or failure, here you’ll find all friendly support you might need at the moment.     

*** Brought to you by …. :

Helga Moreno is a learning junkie, requiring a new dose of fresh information every day. She is always keeping her notepad at hand in order not to miss a single thrilling event happening in cyberspace. She diligently puts down all her thought in order to share the most interesting of them with web community in general and TemplateMonster’s readers in particular.        

26 4 / 2014

26 4 / 2014

Philosophy Graphic Posters
by Charlottemarie75, fubiz.net
Basé à Londres, le de­si­gner gra­phique Genis Car­re­ras a fait la série « Phi­lo­gra­phics » dans la­quelle il illustre les dif­fé­rents mou­ve­ments phi­lo­so­phiques tels que l’hé­do­nisme, le sto …

Philosophy Graphic Posters
by Charlottemarie75, fubiz.net

Basé à Londres, le de­si­gner gra­phique Genis Car­re­ras a fait la série « Phi­lo­gra­phics » dans la­quelle il illustre les dif­fé­rents mou­ve­ments phi­lo­so­phiques tels que l’hé­do­nisme, le sto …

26 4 / 2014

Desk 01 is one of the smartest yet simplest desks we’ve seen
Charlie Sorrel, cultofmac.com
You know the old say­ing: “Give a man a router, and he’ll turn a piece of wood into a perfectly-designed desk for the iPad-toting Mac user”?Or was it “Give a man a router and he’ll set up a wire­less net­work in your home office”?No, wait, i…

Desk 01 is one of the smartest yet simplest desks we’ve seen
Charlie Sorrel, cultofmac.com

You know the old say­ing: “Give a man a router, and he’ll turn a piece of wood into a perfectly-designed desk for the iPad-toting Mac user”?

Or was it “Give a man a router and he’ll set up a wire­less net­work in your home office”?

No, wait, i…