In my years working in web and print design I have found that recommendations from colleagues and fellow Communications professionals are my most valued tips. Odds are that if a trick is found useful to one designer then it will be useful to others. I’ve begun a collection of handy resources below and look forward to sharing more with you as this blog continues. Enjoy!
While WordPress.org provides forums and documentation on WordPress, WordPress.com provides analytics for your own site after signing up with an account. From here you can view stats on your domain including views, visitors, comments, locations, clicks, etc.
WPBeginner.com is a beginners guide for WordPress. They share useful WordPress Guides, helpful books, they share deals and coupons on hosting, plugins, services, and themes, and you can subscribes to various interest areas for regular emails regarding resources you are interested in.
BrowserShots.org offers a browser compatibility test for your website on various browsers you may or may not have access to.
Google Analytics is a free web analytics service offered by Google. Google Webmaster Tools helps users identify concerns with your site and can alert you if it has been infected with malware. Both tools require a Google Account to login.
GTmetrix.com gives you insight on how well your site loads and provides actionable recommendations on how to optimize it.
Pingdom.com is a speed test for your site. You can try out a free 14 day trial and they have packages for $13.95 per month for personal websites.
Envato Market offers millions of digital products created by designers, developers, photographers, illustrators and producers. These includes WordPress Themes and Plugins. If you sign up for their email blasts you will also be sent regular emails with free design files for downloading.
Makerbook.net is a compilation of free resources. Sections include Photography (including my favourites Unsplash and Pixabay), Mockups, Graphics, Textures, Fonts (including Wordmark.it, which allows you to preview next in the various fonts already installed on your computer), Colours, Video, Audio, and Tools.
The Adobe Creative Cloud offers a wide range of tools for any digital or print designer. For $49.99 US per month you can purchase the entire collection of 20+ creative desktop and mobile apps including Photoshop CC and Illustrator CC. If you’re looking for specific tools you can purchase a single App, such as Photoshop, for $19.99 US per month. Take a look at the Adobe Creative Cloud Plans for details on which specific package would work best to meet your needs. Students and teachers can save even more with the special offered by Adobe for $19.99 USD per month for all Apps.
While I love Photoshop, beginners who are looking for a free and simple photo editing software would likely find a resource such as PicMonkey.com perfectly reasonable for their cropping and sizing needs.
Adobe Color CC can help you find RGB and HEX codes for various colour themes. The site will also suggest themes analagous, monochromatic, triad, complementary, compound, and shades related to your colour choices. With an Adobe account you can also save your themes for future reference.
Templates for printing, while also available for purchase online from sites like Graphic River, are also available from various print shops including Metropol and Fotoprint here in Victoria. Fotoprint will allow you to choose your desired application prior to downloading, while Metropol will download a zip folder with Photoshop psd and pdf files.
Here in Victoria Camosun College offers courses in Adobe Software such as InDesign and Photoshop, or WordPress specific courses. As WordPress has millions of users around the world there are likely to be local schools offering training in a location near you.
Do you have other resources you love? Leave me a comment with your suggestions!