4 Simple Digital Marketing Tactics You Can’t Ignore in 2018

4 Simple Digital Marketing Tactics You Can’t Ignore in 2018

Never before has digital marketing been more important. As consumers move from physical to digital channels, engaging content marketing and highly personalized real-time digital communication is the foundation for success.

1. Reach Mobile Consumers with Short-Form Video

Consumers are interacting with content on all forms of digital devices 24/7/365. As such, the dynamics of content marketing have changed. Today, content only succeeds if it delivers what each individual consumer wants, when and how they want it.

One of the most effective forms of content marketing is video marketing. In fact, video marketing is one of the few types of digital content that provides the contextuality, flexibility and entertainment value consumers want while they are on-the-go.

Consumers are consuming more visual media content and financial service customers are no exception. Video content is the ‘low-hanging fruit’ for marketers, offering an advantageous way to humanize and explain complex ideas and concepts using short-form entertainment to get these concepts across.

Video is a highly engaging and palatable medium, and incredibly convenient to consume. Two quick and compelling stats to consider. First, according to Insivia, viewers retain 95% of a message when they watch it in a video, compared to 10% when reading it in text format. Secondly, a survey by Animoto discovered three critical stats: four times as many consumers would rather watch a video about a product than read about it, 1 in 4 consumers actually lose interest in a company if it doesn’t have video, and 4 in 5 consumers say a video showing how a product or service works is important.

What is exciting about video marketing is that it combines the best qualities of digital communication, giving viewers the intimate experience of a face-to-face conversation while providing the non-disruptive, ‘on my time’ engagement style that people love about texting and email. What is more exciting is that this form of communication can now be personalized on a 1:1 level, with highly customizable content that stands out and is memorable.

2. Use Live Streaming to Bring Experts to Mass Audiences

You can move beyond traditional scripted videos by tapping into the live-streaming trend to reach targeted audiences. Live streaming allows viewers to engage with your most respected internal experts or popular influencers on a new level. The impact is multiplied when you allow for live interaction in a form of Q&A engagement.

This form of content marketing is especially impactful in the financial services sector. According to Wainhouse Research, a full 44% of corporations are planning to increase their streaming budgets in 2018. In addition, the entire streaming market is set to grow by 20% each year through 2020. It’s not surprising that financial services, in particular, is leading the charge.

Let’s face it – the nuances, advantages and disadvantages of a complex product like a Roth Ira or small business banking cannot be properly explained with a standard 300 x 250 digital banner ad. Research shows that live streamed videos on Facebook Live get viewed 3 times longer than a pre-recorded video. In addition, a study conducted by Livestream and New York Magazine found that when it comes to brand content, 82% of people prefer live video to social posts, and 80% would rather watch live video than read a blog.

As an added bonus for marketers, data can be collected to gauge individual level of engagement and help optimize and personalize future marketing efforts. Instead of hoping your customers will travel and/or spend money to hear from your key financial experts or popular influencers, why not shift to online conferences and presentations, where they can attend at a time and place that’s convenient to them?

Finally, live video streaming is, by its nature, highly transparent. Viewers can engage with your internal expert or outside influencer in open conversation handled in real time. If you’re looking for a compelling way to build trust with your audience, a live video is a great place to start.

3. Build a Library of On-Demand Webinars

Webinars are becoming the unsung hero for financial brands. They not only draw a captive, deeply engaged audience (the average amount of time spent with a webinar is 57 minutes), they also compliment topics, such as financial service products, that are complex or detailed in nature and provide the education required to convert a lead.

These virtual learning environments are, in essence, a modern, immersive educational experience that can tap vast repositories of content with custom-created elements that can be changed, updated and switched out in real time. They can also be promoted to the right customer or member at the right time, through the right channel using targeting insights built from internal data and advanced analytics.

For example, take a look at Vanguard, who built a library of webinars to engage and teach customers about retirement, investing and estate planning. This library allows customers and prospects to browse and view webinars at their own pace, delivering insights on the topics that truly interest them.

Other companies are using webinars to showcase their well-known internal (or external) experts and as a way to drive traffic to additional content and services. For example, Wells Fargo takes deep dives on personal subject matter like post-college planning, and conduct live virtual seminars on retirement planning and diversification strategies allowing robust two-way interaction – a feature not found in typical static one-way marketing communications.

4. Don’t Forget Mobile Marketing

Last, but definitely not least, in-app marketing provides the opportunity to deliver highly personalized messages and offers using a channel many customers and members access every day – their mobile banking app. Customers and members are just like everyone else … glued to their smartphones. And, they’re not just checking Facebook and texting friends – the number who are banking, making transactions and trading via mobile devices continues to grow.

According to a survey from Bank of America, the number of Americans using a mobile banking app has risen in one year from 54% to 62%, including 75% of Millennials, 66% of Gen Xers, 47%of baby boomers and 40% of seniors. So, it bears repeating, regardless of what content, messaging or offers you are delivering to your prospects, leads and clients, if it is not optimized for every mobile platform, you can guess what will happen. That prospect will simply move on, with lightning speed, guaranteed.

On the other hand, with increased use of advanced analytics to process internal and external data insights, the financial services industry is an enviable position to be able to reach their base in through either a mobile banking app and/or text. And there is virtually zero cost to do so.

With fintech set to grow by 55% through 2020, according to Technavio, and individuals flocking to digital wallets and smartphone credit card readers, all while consuming vast amounts of content on their personal devices, don’t be left in the dust while your competitors find your customers where they live – in real time.

In 2018, it is more important than ever to stand out from the overload of marketing noise, folding these four digital tools into your marketing mix. Each will allow you to better reach your targets through the mediums and channels that are already part of consumer’s busy lives. Focus on the methods that create robust engagement, open conversations and a personal touch, all while providing the scale you need.

The Basics of Branding

The Basics of Branding

Branding is one of the most important aspects of any business, large or small, retail or B2B. An effective brand strategy gives you a major edge in increasingly competitive markets. But what exactly does “branding” mean? How does it affect a small business like yours?

Simply put, your brand is your promise to your customer. It tells them what they can expect from your products and services, and it differentiates your offering from your competitors’. Your brand is derived from who you are, who you want to be and who people perceive you to be.

Are you the innovative maverick in your industry? Or the experienced, reliable one? Is your product the high-cost, high-quality option, or the low-cost, high-value option? You can’t be both, and you can’t be all things to all people. Who you are should be based to some extent on who your target customers want and need you to be.

The foundation of your brand is your logo. Your website, packaging and promotional materials–all of which should integrate your logo–communicate your brand.

Brand Strategy & Equity

Your brand strategy is how, what, where, when and to whom you plan on communicating and delivering on your brand messages. Where you advertise is part of your brand strategy. Your distribution channels are also part of your brand strategy. And what you communicate visually and verbally are part of your brand strategy, too.

Consistent, strategic branding leads to a strong brand equity, which means the added value brought to your company’s products or services that allows you to charge more for your brand than what identical, unbranded products command. The most obvious example of this is Coke vs. a generic soda. Because Coca-Cola has built a powerful brand equity, it can charge more for its product–and customers will pay that higher price.

The added value intrinsic to brand equity frequently comes in the form of perceived quality or emotional attachment. For example, Nike associates its products with star athletes, hoping customers will transfer their emotional attachment from the athlete to the product. For Nike, it’s not just the shoe’s features that sell the shoe.

Defining Your Brand

Defining your brand is like a journey of business self-discovery. It can be difficult, time-consuming and uncomfortable. It requires, at the very least, that you answer the questions below:

  • What is your company’s mission?
  • What are the benefits and features of your products or services?
  • What do your customers and prospects already think of your company?
  • What qualities do you want them to associate with your company?

Do your research. Learn the needs, habits and desires of your current and prospective customers. And don’t rely on what you think they think. Know what they think.

Because defining your brand and developing a brand strategy can be complex, consider leveraging the expertise of a nonprofit small-business advisory group or a Small Business Development Center .

Once you’ve defined your brand, how do you get the word out? Here are a few simple, time-tested tips:

  • Get a great logo. Place it everywhere.
  • Write down your brand messaging. What are the key messages you want to communicate about your brand? Every employee should be aware of your brand attributes.
  • Integrate your brand. Branding extends to every aspect of your business–how you answer your phones, what you or your salespeople wear on sales calls, your e-mail signature, everything.
  • Create a “voice” for your company that reflects your brand.This voice should be applied to all written communication and incorporated in the visual imagery of all materials, online and off. Is your brand friendly? Be conversational. Is it ritzy? Be more formal. You get the gist.
  • Develop a tagline. Write a memorable, meaningful and concise statement that captures the essence of your brand.
  • Design templates and create brand standards for your marketing materials. Use the same color scheme, logo placement, look and feel throughout. You don’t need to be fancy, just consistent.
  • Be true to your brand. Customers won’t return to you–or refer you to someone else–if you don’t deliver on your brand promise.
  • Be consistent. I placed this point last only because it involves all of the above and is the most important tip I can give you. If you can’t do this, your attempts at establishing a brand will fail.
What Internet Speed Should Your Business Be Using?

What Internet Speed Should Your Business Be Using?

Business owners are doing more on the Internet and in the cloud than ever before. Nowadays, small business owners consider higher broadband speed a must-have. In fact, 85% of all businesses need to increase their Internet speed and plan to do so this year.

What’s driving this growth? It’s a wireless world out there. Cloud-based applications. File sharing. Heavy web browsing. And the increase in number and use of wireless devices are all contributing to it… while faster wireless speeds and smart phones are driving employee and customer expectations.

And then there are the bandwidth hogs… Users… maybe your employees or your customers… they’re folks who are using a lot more bandwidth on your network than anyone else. Normal web surfing doesn’t take up a lot of bandwidth. Streaming music, movies, and downloading large files do.

Businesses do so much online nowadays. Even legit activities like voice, email, productivity, accounting and customer service could be deemed bandwidth hogs because they present constant demands on your network.

So here’s a basic rule of thumb for determining the best Internet speed for your business. The higher the number of users, the number of devices in use, and the applications running, the more speed you’ll need.

Once you’ve figured out the best Internet speed for your business, don’t forget to look into setting up a wireless network for your employees and your customers. The right Internet and WiFi solution will make all the difference for your business.

4 Tips to Grow Your Email List Without Email Harvesting

4 Tips to Grow Your Email List Without Email Harvesting

We get it. Running a start-up is a high pressure situation.

You only have one shot to get things off the ground. That pressure makes start-ups vulnerable.

That’s why we were dismayed but not shocked to hear that some well-known startup incubators are pushing email harvesting services on their clients. The sad part here is that many startups are naïve to the risks of email harvesting.

What is Email Harvesting?

Email harvesting is the process of extracting email addresses from public sources. Harvesters capture email addresses in many ways including:

  • Buying or trading lists;
  • Using bots to scrape web pages for addresses; and
  • Directory attacks.

Why Email Harvesting is a Bad Idea

When it comes to email harvesting, the risks far outweigh the rewards. Here are a few reasons why email harvesting is a bad idea for start-ups, or anybody, for that matter.

1.) IT’S ILLEGAL!! – Are you sending emails to harvested email addresses? If so, you’re a spammer according to the U.S. CAN-SPAM Act. In fact, you could be held legally liable for each harvested address that you deploy to.

2.) You’ll probably hit a Spamtrap – Entities like Project Honey Pot exist for the sole purpose of busting email harvesters. Landing your IP on their blacklist and others like it is a surefire way to ensure that your company gets shut down before it even starts up.

Think hitting a spamtrap isn’t a big deal? It could cost you tens of thousands to millions of dollars in lost revenues and customer relationships. Most startups can’t afford that luxury.

3.) Damaged brand reputation – The goal of any start-up is to make a good first impression and establish credibility. Often email harvesting has the opposite effect. Rather than making a royal entrance, they start off on a level playing field with a Nigerian 419 scammer. Not exactly the way you want to enter the marketplace.

The Safe Alternative:

Building an email list is not an easy venture. For lasting success, you’ve got to do it the right way. This requires effort and a bit of tenacity. Here are some tips:

1.) Ask everywhere!

Collect email addresses at every point of interaction. This includes:

  • Every page of your website;
  • Your social media profiles.
  • Every phone call or in-person interaction; and
  • On every order form.

2.) Create a compelling opt-in experience

Explain what value you are offering through email in a clear and concise manner. Remember, people love deals! Craft your offers with care and test often.

3.) Streamline your website opt-in process

  • Make it simple for subscribers to register by making your sign-up clear and easy.
  • Require a limited amount of info (2-4 fields) at sign up. Capture the rest later on in the nurture process or through your preference center.
  • Have helpful error message that guides the user towards the proper input.
  • Don’t forget to leave plenty of room to accommodate long email addresses.

4.) Focus on email hygiene

Want to build a healthy list? You need a hygiene strategy for both acquisition and maintenance. Did you know that?

  • 2% to 20% of emails are entered incorrectly; and
  • 30% of subscribers go dormant every year.

The key here is capturing clean and accurate addresses and ensuring that they stay that way over time. A good email validation service well help you:

  • Capture typos and weed our deliverable but toxic addresses like spamtraps.
  • Uncover bouncing, un-engaged, and previously good, but now bad emails.



55 Web Design Blogs to Follow in 2016

55 Web Design Blogs to Follow in 2016

As a web designer, knowing where to look online for all the best news, tips, tools, freebies, tutorials and other useful resources is pretty important. But with thousands upon thousands of blogs out there focused on web design, which ones are actually worth reading?

Your time is valuable, so wasting too much of it browsing through a large number of mediocre blogs isn’t a habit you want to bring with you into the new year. By subscribing to a few reputable blogs that delivered the highest quality content over the past year, it’s safe to assume that they’ll be doing the same in 2016 – possibly with plans to deliver even better content.

55 Web Design Blogs to Follow in 2016

The following list includes 55 great web design blogs that really shined in 2015. Here’s hoping that they’ll be around for many years to come!

1. Creative Bloq


With a focus on both creative and inspirational tips, Creative Bloq aims to deliver the very best in web design, graphic design, 3D design, digital art and more.

All of its content is geared toward helping readers stay on top of current design trends, with multiple posts published each and every day.

One of Creative Bloq’s most popular posts from 2015 was 6 Tips for Using Grids in Logo Design.

2. Smashing Magazine


Smashing Magazine is one of the biggest design and development blogs that takes pride in emphasizing the quality of its content, rather than the quantity. Everything you read is based on the latest trends and techniques in the industry.

In addition to all the valuable free content you get from its blog posts, you can also purchase books in print or e-book form and get tickets to attend Smashing conferences.

Why Static Website Generators Are the Next Big Thing was one of their most popular posts in 2015.

3. Co.Design


Fast Company’s Co.Design has been around for years and is currently one of the largest design sites online, with more than a million readers every month. The blog puts a focus on both business and design, including all the areas in which the two topics intersect.

An interesting and popular post from 2015 to consider checking out is The Golden Ratio: Design’s Biggest Myth.

4. SitePoint


First launched in 1999, SitePoint has become a central hub for web professionals in all sorts of web-related fields including design, development, programming, product creation, SEO, and entrepreneurship.

The blog also offers a premium membership option for those who want access to thousands of video tutorials and every book ever published by SitePoint.

One of their best posts of 2015 worth having a look at is 3 Things (Almost) No One Knows About CSS.

5. Tuts+


Envato’s Tuts+ is all about hands-on learning; helping people apply the creative skills they acquire in areas like coding, illustration, photography, web design and more.

Basically, if you’re looking for tutorials that you can follow at your own pace, Tuts+ is one place you’ll definitely want to check out. You have the flexibility to dive deep into a specific topic or expand your learning right across a wider range of topics.

One particular tutorial that did really well in 2015 was Blending Models in CSS: Color Theory and Practical Application.

6. Codrops


Codrops is a blog that offers articles, tutorials, blueprints, freebies and all sorts of other great content based on all the latest trends and techniques in web design and development.

While the blog isn’t updated with new posts quite as frequently as some of the other blogs on this list, you can still count on Codrops for only the most useful, inspiring and innovative content.

A popular post from 2015 includes one where they showed off an Animated Map Path for Interactive Storytelling.

7. Hongkiat


Hongkiat has been a popular blog for designers, developers, and other types of techies since 2007.

You’ll find tips, tutorials and inspiration on almost everything. Whether you’re looking to learn more about Photoshop, HTML/CSS, WordPress or even Facebook promotion, Hongkiat has you covered.

One of their most popular posts of 2015 includes 20+ Tools to Create Your Own Infographics.

8. Design Shack


Design Shack has been around since 2003, aiming to provide inspiration in all areas of design with accompanying articles and resources that help readers learn how to create the same examples and succeed more in their work.

The blog offers content on a range of design topics including related subjects like business and freelancing.

A great 2015 post worth checking out on Design Shack is What’s a Logo Grid, and Why Should You Use One?

9. Designmodo


Designmodo is a blog packed full of resources for both designers and developers, offering useful content in categories like coding, WordPress, tutorials, freebies, inspiration and more.

Some of their UI packs are available for free and you can check out their shop for more premium products, ranging from website and design frameworks to icons and WordPress plugins.

One of their best posts from 2015 was Great Font Combinations You Need to Try.

10. Web Designer Depot


Web Designer Depot’s goal is to share only the best and latest discoveries, tips and techniques in web design and development while also covering the business side of design work, mobile apps and working as a freelancer.

Given that it’s quickly grown to become one of the web’s most popular design blogs, you can find all sorts of great, in-depth articles and tutorials on almost anything.

7 Secrets for Enhancing UX with Micro-interactions was one of their best posts of 2015.

11. CSS-Tricks


Back when it launched in 2007, CSS-Tricks was all about just what its name suggested – CSS. Today, however, it has since expanded to include all topics related to web design and web development.

The blog is updated with multiple posts every weekday and in addition to those, you can enjoy video tutorials, community forums, code snippets and more.

One post from 2015 worth reading is The Debate Around “Do We Even Need CSS Anymore?”

12. Speckyboy


Initially launched in 2007 as the creator’s personal freelance web design site, Speckyboy quickly evolved into the design magazine that designers and developers know and love today.

You’ll find helpful tutorials, time-saving techniques, useful resources and inspirational art in all areas of design, development, advertising and mobile.

A popular post from 2015 that you won’t want to miss is 50 Free Books for Web Designers & Developers.

13. Noupe


Noupe is a design and development blog that aims to keep readers informed about relevant news in topics like CSS, Ajax, JavaScript, web design, graphic design, typography, advertising and more.

The blog is usually updated with one daily post. There’s a great “Essentials” section with all sorts of freebies, deals and giveaways you’ll want to check out.

43 Handpicked Services for Completely Free Images was one of their most popular posts of 2015.

14. Web Design Ledger


Written for web designers by web designers, Web Design Ledger’s main goal is to serve as a platform that allows users to share their knowledge and resources on everything from tutorials and tips to inspiration and interviews. This is another blog where you can expect to read multiple new posts each and every weekday.

You’ll want to have a look at The Anatomy of an Invoice (That Gets Paid) if you’re a freelance web designer.

15. Designr Fix


Designr Fix is a blog that caters to literally everyone and anyone who considers himself to be a design junkie.

With a big focus on community, there’s a big focus on the evolution of art in terms of both inspiration and technique. You can take advantage of freebies, tutorials, deals, resources and more.

A great post of theirs from 2015 worth a read is The Absolute Minimum Every Novice Web Designer Must Know.

16. Six Revisions


Six Revisions has been a resourceful blog for web designers and developers since 2008. The blog maintains a minimal look and is updated with new posts a few times every month with only the best content.

You’ll find all sort of posts on topics like CSS, HTML, JavaScript, design, WordPress and more, along with the opportunity to get access to great freebies, useful tools and in-depth tutorials.

Their most shared post of 2015 was 15 Free Books for People Who Code.

17. You the Designer


UCreative’s You the Designer is a design blog for both beginners and seasoned professionals.

Posts tend to lean a little more toward the artistic side of things rather than the technical side, and they’re kept short enough that you can read them in just a few minutes. You can also browse through other categories like business and photography or check out the resource section and freebies available.

A great post from 2015 to read would definitely be 11 Things That Don’t Mean Good Design.

18. Awwwards


Awwwards aims to recognize and promote the work of talented designers and developers who can offer readers useful, innovative and inspirational value. In addition to that, you’ll come across a lot of great posts featuring tutorials, tips, trends, interviews, videos, freebies and more by browsing the blog.

One particular post that did extremely well this year was 100 Greatest Free Fonts Collection for 2015.

19. Line25


First launched in 2009, Line25 is a blog that shares web design ideas and inspiration by publishing tutorials and showing off examples of beautiful site designs. The blog is usually updated with a new post at least every weekday, featuring everything from pattern and texture roundups to WordPress plugin reviews.

25 Interactive HTML Websites That Look Like Flash was one of their best of 2015.

20. Abduzeedo


Abudzeedo is a design blog that’s been around since 2006. It’s focused on collecting resources for visual inspiration and useful tutorials that serve designers.

Collections include topics like illustration, interviews, logos, photography, typography, sites of the week and more. Tutorials are broken down by the software program they focus on while also including longer case studies and shorter quick tips.

One great post of theirs from 2015 was 12 Paradoxes of Graphic Design.

21. MonsterPost


Template Monster’s MonsterPost is a design and development blog that has been around for more than a decade, covering everything in the industry through daily posts.

Stay updated on news, read reviews, get access to useful tools and teach yourself new skills by taking advantage of the tutorials provided by MonsterPost.

Their most shared post of 2015 was Growth Hacking – an Outlaw of Marketing or Efficient Strategy for a Start Up..?

22. 1st Web Designer


1st Web Designer is a popular blog for newbie designers. It aims to teach people how to learn web design from scratch, but it’s still a great resource for seasoned designers too.

The blog’s design itself is very simple and minimal, featuring posts on everything from CSS templates and UX trends to WordPress theme reviews and font collections.

99 Jokes Only Web Designers Will Understand was their top shared post in 2015.

23. Digital Telepathy


Digital Telepathy is a design company focused on marketing sites, e-commerce, platforms, digital products and mobile apps.

All of the design work they do for companies is heavily focused on the user experience, which is what their blog posts focus on as well. Categories you can browse through include design, inspiration, business, philosophy, products, productivity, resources and interviews.

Their most popular post from 2015 was How to Choose the Right UX Metrics for Your Product.

24. Design Beep


Design Beep is a blog that’s all about publishing content for designers and developers looking for inspiration, tutorials, tips and tricks, free collections and anything else that’s related to design.

There’s a great freebie section where you can get access to brushes, fonts, icons, PSDs and so much more. WordPress is also a big focus in the resource section.

A lot of their top 2015 posts are for free stuff, one of which was a free download for a Travel App UI Kit.

25. Inspired Mag


Inspired Mag combines topics related to the web, design and lifestyle and aims to provide each reader with at least one piece of raw material that fuels their inspiration.

The blog features posts in categories like web design, reviews, WordPress and freelancing. There are some great freebies and deals you can take advantage of in addition to the daily posts.

Their most popular post of 2015 was 4 Reasons Why Czar Might Prove to Be the King of WordPress Themes.

26. InstantShift


InstantShift is a community geared towards web designers and developers that covers an array of topics, including WordPress tips, plugin reviews, CSS, Photoshop and JavaScript tutorials. They offer collections of open source fonts and icons too.

Readers are encouraged to submit news that they deem relevant to the site and submissions are always open for writers with an interest in web design or development.

Their breakdown of the Top 22 Designing Trends For 2015 That Are Must For Graphic Designers is well worth a read.

27. From up North


From up North is all about visual inspiration, be it for graphic designers, photographers, or illustrators. Pretty much all professionals who deal any aspect of design are bound to find something that will get their creative juices flowing here.

The idea was born as a simple personal blog curated by Daniel Nelson in 2009, which then garnered enough of a following to be relaunched as From up North, and underwent a final visual makeover in 2013.

One of their all-time most popular posts was 35 of the Best Graphic Design Pieces of 2014.

28. Design Instruct


In-depth tutorials about web development, professional advice for web designers, and round-ups of inspirational tips are at the heart of Design Instruct. It may not publish daily articles, but those that make it on the site are all high-quality pieces.

It was launched in 2010 in a collaboration between Isaac and Jacob Gube (a photographer and a web designer/developer respectively) and the project is open to all contributors with an interest in design or art.

If you’re in the market for a job, 10 Free Clean and Minimal Resumé Templates to Help You get the Job might be just what you’re looking for.

29. David Airey


As you might surmise from its title, this website is all about one man. David Airey is both a writer and a graphic designer who has worked for renowned companies such as the BBC, the Yellow Pages, and the Asian Development Bank.

His website acts as both a personal portfolio and a collection of inspirational pieces for designers, which are brought to life by David’s writing.

In his most popular post of 2015, Airey published a short memorial for Swiss type designer Adrian Frutiger.

30. Spoon Graphics


Spoon Graphics is the brainchild of Chris Spooner, a graphic designer who has made it his mission to share interesting tutorials, in-depth articles, and collections of freebies that other artists can use in their own work.

His endeavor is in part supported by a premium area in which he shares stock material such as patterns, brushes, icons, and fonts for designers who want access to high-quality collections.

If fonts are your thing, you should take a look at his list of 60 Quality FREE Fonts You Probably Don’t Own, But Should!.

31. 24 Ways


24 Ways is a blog built around a unique concept. For 24 days during each December, a team of professional web designers and developers band together to bring you 24 articles focused on the topics they deem most important for workers in their areas of expertise, which are then published a day at a time.

Since its inception in 2005, 24 Ways has brought together over a hundred articles, published over two hundred articles, and given its followers an additional reason to cheer for the arrival of December.

Donovan Hutchinson’s piece, Animating Your Brand, was one of our favorite articles of their 2015 repertoire.

32. UX Booth


UX Booth is one of the definitive resources for UX professionals; covering everything from analytics, to business and content strategy, information architecture, interaction design, user experience philosophy, research information, accessibility, and visual design. We weren’t exaggerating when we used the word definitive.

The publication was born on 2008 and since then it’s amassed a massive collection of writings by dozens of UX specialists.

User Stories: A Foundation for UI Design is a great introduction to the kind of content that you can find in this community.

33. A List Apart


A List Apart is a publication with a long history; I remember reading it when I was but a wee lad. It’s been publishing in-depth pieces centered around web design, development, and best practices ever since 1997, when it was founded as a simple mailing list.

The website was then born in 1998 and since then it has upheld the highest of standards when it comes to content while still remaining on the lookout for new voices who have interesting perspectives regarding web content.

One of their most popular articles of 2015 (and part of their issue number 415) was Quantity Queries for CSS.

34. Creativeoverflow


While Creativeoverflow is, at its heart, a blog devoted to design, they also publish quite a lot of articles regarding work productivity and finances that can be appreciated by professionals from areas.

Their wide range of topics is part of the reason why this blog has amassed such a dedicated following since it was created in 2009 by Jacques van Heerden.

Design professionals will find some great advice in their 2015 piece, Frequent Mistakes Graphic Designers Make And How To Fix Them.

35. Vandelay Design


Vandelay Design is a prolific resource not only for web design professionals and developers, but for all kind of entrepreneurs who want to get a leg up in their respective fields. In their mission statement, they make an emphasis on how education is the foundation upon with all success is built, and as such, their team strives to share the best content with their readers.

Aside from their regular articles, Vandelay Design also offers a shop which is stocked with thousands of handcrafted graphic resources, with everything from resume templates to icon packs.

One of their most popular articles of 2015 was a Blogger’s Guide to Creating Better Content.

36. The Next Web


The Next Web is a leading online publication which covers tech advances, business, and cultural news. Despite not being solely design-focused, they do possess a dedicated Design & Dev section which is essential for professionals of these fields due to its combination of tips, tutorials, and coverage of the latest developments within their fields.

5 of the best interaction design trends of 2015 is a must read for designers with an interest in UX.

37. SiteInspire


SiteInspire has a unique concept: to showcase the very best in website design according to specific criteria. The team that decides which sites to showcase is partial to clean and simple designs, while excluding those that use Flash excessively, or those with obvious visual errors.

Over time, they’ve amassed a collection of over 4,700 sites that’s been painstakingly categorized according to style, type of website, subject matter, and platform (including Behance, Cargo Collective, ReadyMag, Shopify, Squarespace, and Tumblr). This makes it a breeze for designers to search their catalog when they’re looking for inspiration.

One of the latest sites to have been featured in their showcase is Merry Everything!

38. Onextrapixel


Onextrapixel is a Singapore-based online magazine featuring case studies, tips, news, tutorials, reviews, and other useful resources for both web designers and developers. Their case studies and analysis on design trends are particularly insightful, making it an essential stop for design professionals.

The site was birthed in 2009 by a team of design enthusiasts who then went on to recruit authors from across the globe as it grew into the successful publication it is today.

If you’re a creative professional, check out their recent roundup of 7 Ted Talks Every Creative Must See.

39. Little Big Details


Floris Dekker created a simple collection of pieces meant to inspire designers in 2010, with Tumblr as his platform of choice. Five years and thousands of submissions later, he’s now joined by Andrew McCarthy and together they’ve kept their collection growing with a new piece every day.

Their thousands of subscribers help them out by sending pieces for consideration, which are mostly geared towards UX design.

One of their most popular notes is about the icon design of the iOS voice memo app.

40. Creative Market


Besides churning out high-quality articles mostly dedicated to design, Creative Market is also an online marketplace for handcrafted and mousemade (in their own words) content open to designers from all walks of life.

Their articles tackle all kind of subjects, from design trends to inspirational quotes, step-by-step guides to launch your own blog and a fun weekly column called Designer Problems.

In fact, if the idea of reading about designer problems tickles your fancy, you might enjoy another one of their articles titled 10 Things Designers Freaking Hate With a Passion.

41. Naldz Graphics


Naldz Graphics is a little blog with thousands of subscribers and regular readers, who flock to it for their regular fix of freebies which can be used in their own design work, breakdowns of the top trends in web design, and tutorials.

If you’re the kind of designer who likes to browse around for inspiration and keep his arsenal well-stocked with free content, you’ll enjoy your time at Naldz Graphics.

One of their most popular posts of 2015 was the 50 Finest WooCommerce WordPress Themes To Check Out Now.

42. Tutorialzine


This little zine was created by a team of highly-motivated (and talented) web developers and designers from Bulgaria, who’ve been regularly publishing their own step-by-step tutorials ever since 2009.

While their site may look simple, their tutorials are anything but sparse. In their web development pieces, you can follow their guidance as you code, and they include screenshots at every step for better understanding.

As far as design goes, their tutorials are just as in-depth as those focused on development, which you can see for yourself in one of their most popular pieces, Comparing Bootstrap With Google’s New Material Design Lite.

43. Treehouse Blog


Treehouse is well known in the world of web development as one of the best places for people to learn coding online, thanks to their thorough library of tutorial videos and practice platform, as well as their gamification approach to learning.

The Treehouse team also maintains a community blog which has turned out to be a surprisingly good resource for web and app designers and developers. On top of news regarding updates on their learning platform, they also publish advice for new professionals in their field and inspirational pieces about self-taught average people who’ve gone onto success.

One of their most thorough (and popular) pieces of 2015 was 3 Steps to Better UI Wireframes.

44. Happy Cog


Happy Cog is a collection of the musings on web development and design from a team of professionals based in New York, spearheaded by founder Jeffrey Zeldman. A random sample of their articles pulls up diverse topics such as learning how to teach from kids (which could be used to simplify the UX experience), the development process, and print design.

Things I’ve Learned From Working With My First Web Team is one of their most interesting pieces and applicable to professionals working in pretty much any field.

45. WebAppers

WebAppers is a compilation of the very best when it comes to open source resources for both designers and developers. For designers, there’s collections of icons, stock photos, brushes, fonts, and inspirational resources; all categorized according to their licenses to simplify your search.

It’s the brainchild of Ray Cheung, a web entrepreneur who runs several other blogs focused on the same fields.

If you’re on the lookout for high-quality stock photos, check out 15 New Websites to Download Free Stock Photos.

46. Hacking UI


Hacking UI is a goldmine of curated content meant for designers to develop their professional skills. Inside, you’ll find podcasts, step-by-step tutorials where professionals walk you through solving design issues, and unique insights into business-end matters such as scaling a design team.

This online magazine was created by the designer/developer team of Sagi Schrieber and David Tintner, who previously co-founded a web startup.

One of their most popular pieces deals with a designer’s experience after using Sketch for a year, A Year Using Sketch – An Honest Review, which was a follow-up to another one of their articles (which went viral) The Sketch Manual Part 1: How and Why I moved to Sketch.

47. Material Design Blog


Whether you love or hate it, material design has certainly made a big impression in the design world and it’s likely to remain in vogue for a while to come. This blog was founded upon that principle, and it’s made a name for itself by rounding up the best examples of material design out there, as well as publishing tutorials and apps to help designers in their day-to-day jobs.

If you’re a regular visitor to Elegant Themes, it’s probably safe to say you’re interested in WordPress, so you might enjoy this roundup of 11 Free Material Design WordPress Themes to Spice Up your Blog.

48. Design your way


Design your way is a visual feast of tips for web, UI, and UX design, alongside a healthy helping of free resources for designers, and some articles covering typography and WordPress advice.

Its articles are filled with gorgeous imagery and you’ll be glad to find they have very few generic advice articles. Here it’s all about design, covering everything from case studies in good color contrasts, why UX is important for designers, to how to make the best use of blocks in web design.

Curiously enough, their most popular article of 2015 was about food packaging design, Intelligently Made Food Packaging – 50+ Examples.

49. Design / UX (Medium)


Medium hardly needs an introduction. In the past years, the publishing platform has gained enormous traction among bloggers and become one of the de-facto sources of information in the web.

This curated list of authors covering design and UX topics hasn’t been as active lately, but it still remains a good resource for those who looking for a first-hand account from professionals in the field.

Characteristics of a User Experience Designer is one of the most recent and well-received articles from this list.

50. UXPin Blog


The team behind UXPin is most well known for their UX design platform, which is meant to help design professionals go from wireframing to testing in a single app, regardless of their platform of choice.

It stands to reason then that they should know their stuff when it comes to design, which is why their company blog is a fantastic resource for design, UX and project management tutorials and tips.

If UX design is your thing, you might want to take a look at 3 Problems Killing UX Design in the Enterprise (And How to Fix Them).

51. Good UI


Good UI’s website is an experience in and of itself. If you’re expecting a regular blog, you might find yourself confused for a few seconds once you find yourself in their homepage, which as its name implies, is a simple ongoing collection of ideas for good UI design.

Each idea is short and to the point and is accompanied by a graphic example, which makes them all easy to digest. Our favorite part of the website is the counter that tracks your progress down their list of ideas.

Want an example of one of their ideas? Try merging similar functions instead of fragmenting the UI.

52. UsabilityGeek


UsabilityGeek started off as a personal blog created by Justin Mifsud in 2011, who felt that there was a widespread lack of knowledge about how usability affected the quality of websites. Since then its reach has expanded and the array of topics has evolved to cover UX, conversion, human-computer interactions, and information architecture.

Overall, however, the main goal of the site continues to be educating its readers on how to deliver a great user experience. Its most popular article during the past year was 10 UX Design Trends You Shouldn’t Overlook in 2015.

53. Boxes and Arrows


This online journal has been dedicated to the discussion of graphic design, UX, information architecture and business design ever since its creation in 2001. This has been made possible through the contribution of hundreds of design professionals who’ve lent their voices and expertise to further discussion in the topics they feel most passionate about.

Its minimalist design may not turn any heads, but their articles are sure to get you thinking. A good place to start would be their recent piece into how Creativity Must Guide the Data-Driven Design Process.

54. Boagworld Blog


Boagworld is the aptly named suite of resources (from podcasts to books, and the aforementioned blog) devised by Paul Boag, where he and other members of the Headscape team get to talk about web development topics ranging from accessibility, design, marketing, and working in the web.

Headscape is a web solutions company with a diverse team and years of experience in the field (so you should listen to their advice) and their articles are both in-depth and enjoyable to read.

For starters, take a look at this article written by Paul Boag himself, User experience design is not what you think.

55. UX Magazine


Last but not least, UX Magazine has been a staple in the online UX community ever since 2005. For years now it’s been publishing top shelf articles regarding all areas of design thanks to the help of industry leaders who take the time to impart their wisdom to other practitioners.

Among its articles, you’ll find diverse topics such as accessibility, data visualization, storytelling and empathy in design, all alongside the traditional studies into UX design trends.

One of their best and most popular articles (with a title that is sure to raise some eyebrows) is Why Web Design is Dead.


And that’s a wrap! It definitely isn’t always easy to find the best or most up to date information on web design topics, but the above list of blogs can help solve that problem as you move forward with your work in the new year.

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