As Christmas approaches, many bloggers choose to decorate not only their homes but their websites in anticipation of the festive season.
From decorative blog templates to simple icons and snow effects, there are many ways our blogs can generate some festive spirit. In this post, I’ll share some of the best resources and methods I have found which you can use to enhance your blog design to celebrate Christmas with your readers.
Christmas Blog Templates
The most dramatic way you could update your blog for the Christmas season is to adopt (at least temporarily) a festive blog theme.
Here are some of the best free Christmas blog themes (organized by platform) for you to download:
A simple, wide theme with colored sections in the footer
A two column theme with integrated Flickr feed (perfect for sharing your visual memories of the season!)
A simple yet elegant two column theme which is widget ready.
This elegant theme uses unusual festive colors yet appears stylish and well organized.
A bright three column theme with widgetized sidebars
A two column theme with feative header and sidebar headings
A beautiful theme from Gisele’s “Birdie” template series
Merry Christmas Night by Pyzam
A simple festive template for Blogger blogs
Read more and download
Merry Christmas by Design for Joomla.com
Learn more and download
FNB Christmas by Free Net Builders
A candy-cane theme in festive colors for Joomla
Details and download
Traditional Christmas Joomla Theme by Invision Graphics
Here is a traditiona, Santa Claus inspired theme to decorate your Joomla CMS for the festive season. Note: registration is required to download this theme.
Learn more and download
More free Christmas templates for you to download
For those of you using a different CMS, here are some festive CSS based templates which you could convert for your own platform:
Seasons Greetings by Karen Blundell
Christmas Template by Karen Blundell
Merry Christmas by Greystatic
Festive icon sets
If changing your whole template for the holidays is a bit too drastic, why not decorate with some free festive icons and images instead?
Here is a selection of free icon sets for you to download and use to decorate your blog:
Christmas icons from CleverIcons
This icon set is free to use, even for commercial projects!
Christmas Holiday Icons from N-Design Studio
These cute icons are delivered in PNG, GIF, EPS and ICO format for free use in your personal and commercial projects.
This is free for personal use only (license fee required for commercial license)
19 icons, each measuring 128px square for free personal use
VistaICO Christmas Icons from Vista Icons
Contains 25 high quality icons
Christmas Social Bookmark icons by Dirceu Viega
Includes 17 social bookmark icons with a festive theme.
Santa Claus Hat Icons by Dirceu Veiga
You can configure the speed and number of snowflakes directly within the script, and could even use a different image instead of the snowflake offered. [View/Download this script]
It is best used against a dark background so the tiny snowflakes can be easily seen.
It works in almost all browsers, and requires only one line of code in your blog pages to generate the snowstorm effect.
This simple script allows you to countdown to any date (eg: Christmas, New Year) and is easily configured for your needs. [Learn more and download script]
Countdown to Christmas Clock from EmailSanta.com
This script will add a festive Christmas countdown clock to your web pages which can be seen in action on the Email Santa website. You should be able to configure the images and styling of the clock to better suit the needs of your own blog design.
[Read more and download this script]
This script would take some time to configure for your own requirements, but as a daily reward for yoru readers it could prove a worthwhile addition to your blog 😉
If you still cannot find the festive resources you need to decorate your blog this Christmas, why not check out some of the design and Christmas resources below:
- Over 100 free Christmas design resources
- Design a Christmas themed web layout in Photoshop
- 25 Winter snow and christmas high-res wallpapers
- Free Christmas Holiday Icons Round-up
- 48 Ice, snowflake and Christmas brushes for Photoshop
I hope this article has provided you with some useful
4 Essential Elements of Web Design (No.3 Will Shock You!)
If you’re a small business owner take note of these four elements of web design. They’re essential for boosting your online presence. Click here for more info!
Have you ever wondered why most business websites tend to look the same? It’s like you’ve seen one and you’ve seen them all.
The truth is a lot of business owners prefer the easy route. That means going for a website builder, which offers templated designs.
If you want something different, you’ll have to go custom. But that takes a lot of time. Plus, you’ll have to look for a skilled designer/developer.
Whatever route you choose, you need to understand the elements of web design. After all, it’s your website. If you choose to hire a pro, you need to know what to ask for.
And if you opt to DIY it, then you can steer clear of cringe-worthy web design. That said, here are 4 web design elements that will help boost your online presence.
1. User Journey
You can scroll through countless website design guides and you’ll never see one that says, “ignore what users think.”
Consider mobile apps. Would you download something that’s hard to use and has a lot of annoying ads?
When you design your website, put yourself in your visitors’ shoes. Is your website hard to navigate? Does it load fast?
But how do you know if your user interface is good? Aside from consistency, it has to be simple, intuitive, responsive, and flexible.
This is why it’s good to test different designs first before committing to one. It saves time and eliminates the need for major changes later on.
Designing for the web doesn’t stop when you have a “pretty” website. Sure, your target customers will appreciate nifty graphics and all. But if your content doesn’t offer value, users will leave your website.
Now, this doesn’t mean huge blocks of text that will drown your visitors with information. Opt for conciseness. Give your target audience content that’s easy to digest so they can process it better.
Depending on what CMS you are using, content creation is usually the easy part. This is especially the case when using platforms like Weebly, WordPress or Wix. Since most of these platforms are drag and drop, it’s simply a matter of getting familiar with each platform, and knowing how to create great content. There are no programming or design skills required.
Did you just check the title again? If yes, you may be wondering why this would be shocking. Shouldn’t this be part of any website designing guide?
The thing is there are plenty of websites that use low contrast for text because it’s trendy. But you have to take into account users who have vision problems.
There has to be enough contrast between text and background. And you also need to choose your colors well. You don’t want to alienate color-blind and blind users who use assistive technologies.
Some people approach website design as a separate entity from search engine optimization. But there’s a way to be strategic about the process so that design elements improve the SEO of your site.
The easiest way would be to outsource to an all-in-one design company such as https://www.databerry.com/. When they build your site, they also take care of the backend coding stuff. This ensures your title tags, meta tags, etc work for better search ranking.
Want to Know More About the Elements of Web Design?
Knowing the elements of web design is your first step to a website that looks and functions well. But getting them all right takes a bit of trial and error.
For more web design tips, don’t forget to check out our other blog posts.
Defining the Best Colors, Style and Design for Your Brand Logo
Have you ever thought about why some companies and brands are more successful and well-known than others? In many cases, it comes down to the products or services they offer, but the actual look and feel of the company brand can play a huge part in this as well.
A great example of this would be every brand that currently has a well-known logo design or identity, even though it doesn’t have the actual name of the company within the logo. Names like Nike, Target, Apple, Microsoft, and Starbucks come to mind. Billions of people from around the world can recognize these brands simply by seeing their logo… and they don’t even need to see a name associated with it. You can see some of the most popular brand logo designs and changes they’ve made over the years in this famous logos reference guide.
With all of that in mind, it’s important to create a logo design for your business that not only represents what you do but also one that resonates with your audience as well. To give another example of the many different ways an industry can influence the way logo are created to relate and brand with an audience, let’s take a look at some of the top online survey sites from a site like SurveyClarity.
What do you notice about each of the popular survey logo designs below? Not only are they mostly text-based, they are all different variations of GREEN! WebPageFX.com says the following about the color green in logo design:
Green is Youthful and Earth-Friendly: Health – Tranquility – Freshness. Green represents growth, and evokes a feeling of relaxation and healing. It is the color of healthy vegetation, so it reminds viewers of nature and health. It is also associated with money and wealth.
This is something you will see in many different markets. Another great example is the banking or make money space. Many of the banks will have a green or blue feeling to them — which both represent calm, financial, and fresh feelings and emotions. However, many other brands like Twitter and Dell are using BLUE to represent their compani\y logo and brand as well.
Now that you likely have a better understanding of what different colors are being used in logo designs today, you might be thinking about the different styles, variations, and colors you can use within your own company or site design and branding.
Thanks to the “What Type of Logo is Right for You?” infographic below (provided by Designhill), we are going to break down the many components and choices of logo design, and how to best represent your brand.
To get started with the process, you should first decide on if you want a font-based logo or a graphic design. No matter which option you choose, you can tweak both design types to work with whatever style you’d like to go with.
A “Word Mark” logo design is one that is made up of a stylized type font, yet is also original in design. A few good examples of this would be the HBO, NASA and CNN logo. At their core, they are text fonts — but also with a unique and custom design in the process.
After you’ve given some thought to the different colors, design types, and styles of logos you can create, we recommend you take a look at the new AI-powered logo maker from Designhill. Not only is the tool free to use, it can create an unlimited number of logo designs for you to choose from. Keep scrolling through the designs until you find one that you like, then complete the process by purchasing the fulicensednced version of your logo design, which also comes in a wide range of file types.
How to Find the Right Logo Design for Your Band
As shown in the infographic below, we can answer a few simple questions to see what type of logo you might want to focus your efforts on for your brand. Depending on how you answer each of these questions, you will find a different result for your brand identity.
- Is your business well established?
- Is your business internationally known?
- Do you plan to remain a small business?
- Does your company have a long name?
- Do your company contain a unique word?
11 Homepage Design Features That Will Boost Traffic
It’s never been easier to create a website — and it’s never been harder to get people to stay there. With mere seconds to capture a visitor’s attention, your homepage needs to clearly and concisely state your value, and convince the visitor that your business is worth their time.
One of the biggest website-related challenges for businesses is increasing traffic, whether that comes from organic search, a referral or a marketing campaign. Sometimes encouraging more people to visit your site is as simple as incorporating appealing design elements.
To boost traffic, 11 members of Young Entrepreneur Council share key design features to include on your homepage.
1. Information on the Solution to a User’s Problems
Visitors come to your site in search of solutions to a problem. Information about where they’ll find that solution should be the first thing they see. Too many businesses fill their homepage with irrelevant information that doesn’t help the visitor solve their immediate problem. Evernote’s homepage is a great example of this done well: clear copy, clean design and a signup form above the fold.
2. A Mailing List Sign-Up Form
It’s no secret that a mailing list is one of the best ways to attract regular visitors and customers online. Having a clear link to a contact form on your front page can be the most effective means of increasing traffic. It’s even more effective if you find a way to incentivize visitors to sign up through exclusive offers or opportunities.
3. Your Target Keyword in the Page Title Tag
Whenever I see a website with the word “Home” or “Welcome” in its page title tag, I see a missed opportunity to drive more website traffic. Why? Because the page title tag is an important (and easy) thing to address to optimize a website for SEO. Avoid making this mistake by identifying your most valuable, descriptive keyword, and include that in your homepage title tag.
4. Easy Navigation
If someone is visiting your website, they don’t want to have to search for the content they came there for. Make it easy on them, and you’ll find them coming back for more.
5. Blog Content
People share relevant, interesting content, not homepages. Your homepage is rarely going to be the main traffic source for your website. What brings in traffic is quality content, so you should be funneling people into that. Content will get shared and drive traffic to your website, which will inevitably spill over to your homepage as people seek to learn more about your company.
6. Google Tag Manager
You can’t increase traffic if you don’t know what traffic sources are best. Google Tag Manager is going to give you a much more simplified tagging and management process for your analytics.
7. A ‘Contact Us’ Form
If you’re not getting any leads from your website, then what is the purpose of having one? Implementing a call-to-action form is critical for turning a prospect into a hot lead. If they’re visiting your website, that means they’re interested. Make it easy for them to contact you with a “contact us” form so that you can add them to your mailing list.
8. Client Testimonials
Studies have shown that consumers trust online reviews and testimonials, so showing your social proof is a powerful way to get new customers to trust and believe in you. Rotate new client testimonials often and, if possible, get reviews from known influencers in your niche. These testimonials can improve user engagement signals, which in turn improves traffic and rankings
9. Calls to Action on Every Important Page
Your homepage should be all about funneling people to the rest of your site. Think of your homepage like the lobby of a hotel — a series of well-lit and clearly labeled paths to the things that matter. As a result, your homepage should feature calls to action to every important page or subpage on your site to help people find what matters to them.
10. ‘As Seen In’ Media Logos and Copy
If you’ve been featured in the business section of your local paper or had a profile done on your company in an industry trade journal, consider including an “As Seen In…” section on your homepage that includes a brief excerpt from the story and the logo of the media outlet. By including these proof points, you’re establishing credibility with current and prospective customers.
11. Social Media Buttons
Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media sites are fantastic channels for traffic. Make it super easy for your existing traffic to share articles or your homepage. Simply add a text widget and format social media buttons on a sidebar or footer as well as various content articles on the homepage.
How to Create the Best Content and Site Design Possible
When creating any type of content on the internet these days, it needs to be about user engagement and providing your audience with the value they are looking for. The same can be said about your site design and how users can navigate it. With more than a billion active websites on the internet today, there is no longer a need to push content out there just to simply to ‘put something out there’. At the same time, you also need to consider the different ways users might be visiting your site, such as through mobile, tablets, and desktops. Follow this advice and all of the actionable tips above to find more ROI with your content creation and marketing efforts.
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