Category Archives: WordPress design

The FASTEST Lightweight WordPress Themes Review – UPDATED 2017

Why do we want a lightweight theme? Besides getting rid of unnecessary visual clutter, they help your website load super fast which is especially important in today’s ADD society and especially important in today’s rising mobile-browsing trend. Fortunately, this trend has forced all themes today to be written with cleaner and lighter code.

NOTE: I’ve tried over 100 themes from well-known established companies to unknown developers. Ultimately, I would say a theme isn’t useful in the long run without a big community to support it. You’re bound to run into issues without any solutions and won’t be as inspired to evolve your theme regularly.

I feature my favorite 5 lightweight WordPress themes, from fastest and lightest to most “full-featured” (but still light): Continue reading The FASTEST Lightweight WordPress Themes Review – UPDATED 2017

99designs Graphics Design Contest Review

99designs is a company that’s been around for many years now. They were toted as a cheap way to get many design ideas for your business and to get up and running with a unique/creative logo relatively fast. Some people saw it as a PRO for all since clients get a good design for cheap and new graphics designers get to practice their talent. Other folks saw it as a CON for all since clients were getting a rushed concept (design contests only lasted 7 days) and designers doing such a low-pay/no-pay job were undermining the market for existing professional graphic designers.

I can see and do agree with both sides of the debate. As of today, the prices have corrected closer to market rate. Gone are the days of getting an entire website designed for only $500. I would say the prices are still pretty cheap. Most countries around the world have a lower cost of living, so they can afford to do higher quality work at a lesser rate than designers in expensive Western countries. With all the desktop/mobile variations, and demands for better/cleaner logos…the level of contest designers have improved but the prices have gone up as well. It’s still great deal, btw!

I would say if you know absolutely nothing about design, 99designs is a great way to get good concepts fast and cheap. And if you ARE design-savvy, it’ll be much easier for you to get a GREAT DESIGN…since you can help refine each design by giving feedback. The best advantage of all IMO is that the contests help you find a great designer for your business, one that not only has the style you want but also understands your feedback. Once you’ve found a great designer, it’s better to work with them 1-on-1 to give them more time to produce better concepts.

The best advantage of design contests is to find great designers, more so than great designs.


How Important Is Your Website Design?

Does your site have to be the most fancy thing to make money? To what degree should you stress over your website’s design before going live?

Design DOES matter, not because of how pretty it needs to look but what it communicates to your reader. Ugly, but functional, is actually not ugly at all. All the people saying “design doesn’t matter” are misunderstanding the point of design. (HINT: it doesn’t mean load up the most bloated JS-heavy super-theme you can find.)

With that said, it also depends on what you’re selling. If your website is a simple blog intended to look like an honest one-man-show posting affiliate links for marijuana periphernalia, that’s going to have a very different design requirement than one intended to sell wedding photography.

Design = communication, not flash. Therefore…Amazon, Reddit, Facebook, and whatever other sites the commenters mentioned are actually VERY WELL DESIGNED. It’s too bad most clients and low-level freelance designers are wasting their time copying the latest design trends instead of actually understanding what design really is. True quality design more closely follows timeless UI/UX principles, not latest graphic design trends.

AVADA vs DIVI vs X Theme – Premium WordPress Theme Framework 2016 Review

AVADA is the clear winner for me.

I’ve read reviews on both AVADA, DIVI, and X theme. I installed both AVADA and DIVI and played around for 15 minutes. My experience is mostly with Thesis but I do understand the idea of frameworks.

DIVI for me is the weakest choice out of those 3, many people complaining about styling limitations or hard to deal with if you want make a large site. AVADA and X Theme are the best.

Why I like AVADA best:
– Easier to use and understand than DIVI or X.
– It’s far more easily customizable than DIVI or X. Divi has a problem of always feeling like one theme.
– From the way, it’s organized, I feel it’s easier to splice a PSD into AVADA theme.
– Friendlier for developers. If you know how to work with code, AVADA won’t get in your way.
– I hear it loads faster than others.
– I hear they have great support, I never used it.
– I hear their team has only AVADA. This means all their energy and support goes into one theme instead of multiple.

REAL LIFE UPDATE (9/9/16): AVADA is major bloat. I’m going back to Genesis or Thesis. It’s great to use AVADA if you need inspiration. But to have a clean well-designed website that runs fast…use a cleaner framework that doesn’t focus on trying to be everything.

Remember that you only design your website once and then a few minor tweaks later. Most of your website will be running and loading, rather than designing. At the end of the day, as attractive as it may be try not to choose a framework built for design rather than for function.

How long does it take to copy another website?

The answer is VERY LONG!

Every now and then people get this genius idea of copying a really large site and thinking it’s easy to do. I remember once developing a Yelp clone but for bars. It took forever!

Somebody on WarriorForum asked…”how long will it take to copy”

Here was my reply:

This is a huge site. It was custom built to fit their needs and when you do yours, it will have to be custom built to fit YOUR needs.

The problem with time and cost is not so much to design and code the site, but rather to figure out what it is that you want. I highly doubt that you will be able to decide even within 1 year what features you want and don’t want. What visual aspects you want and don’t want.

I’ve built several large websites before and every time they ask a tough question, you will easily lose 1 day or several days of work. For example…let’s say you hire somebody in India or Eastern Europe because you can’t afford an American programmer….he will come on at 2am to ask you a question like…….how much traffic should the database be designed to scale to? What aspects of the site do you want to cache? How many dropdowns do you need on this page? How many pages do you need here? Do you prefer this box on the left side or right side? Will you be using a CDN? Etc, and etc. And just to answer those questions alone, you can easily lose one day if you’re not even awake to answer their question right as they ask you. Now imagine them asking 1,000 similar questions.

Even a simple…”how big is your logo?” will take you some days to figure out. In many scenarios, you won’t know, and so they’ll send you 3 mock-ups. And then it’ll take you time to show these mock-ups to your family, friends, and business partners for a second opinion. Again…imagine repeating this process a couple hundred times. There’s no way you can get this done WITH quality in 6 months.

To develop a site of similar complexity to CUSTOMIZED TO YOUR NEEDS will probably take you $20,000 and 1 year (and that’s assuming you have experience in developing websites and KNOWING WHAT YOU WANT). That’s my opinion. It’s possible to do it for less but then you’d be suffering somewhere. Maybe the design will suck, or the programming will be done in a way that’s very ineffective, slow-loading, or hard to alter later on.

Popup Domination or Not?

I’ve been an internet marketer for some time and pretty much torn between using Pop-up Dominator or not. Many websites have used it with great success and boosted their email newsletter sign-ups tremendously but still, I resist.

PROS of website pop-ups

  • it actually works
  • builds your email list very quickly
  • can help you increase profits

CONS of website pop-ups

  • annoying


My verdict?

I’m not going to annoy my customers. I think my content is good enough for them to come back and eventually buy my products after investing themselves in my site over time. I don’t see bigtime corporate companies using pop-ups and why should I? I can see smaller blogs and smaller businesses/websites that fail to make an impression in a crowded market but I don’t think I have that issue…at least not yet.