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15 Best Free WordPress Themes of the Year 2010

It is really difficult to believe that we are at the end of the year. This is the right time to showcase the best work of Designers and Developers who work hard to provide us the best and high quality WordPress themes. Today I am going to showcase some of the best free WordPress themes released in year 2010.

Simple Folio

[ Demo ]

Shaken and Stirred Theme

[ Demo]

Structure Theme

[ Demo]

Koi

[ Demo]

Blue Bubble

[ Demo]

Notepad

[ Demo]

Autofocus

[ Demo]

Lap Of Luxury

[ Demo]

desigPile

[ Demo]

Smooth

[ Demo]

All Tuts

[ Demo]

Lithiumicious

[ Demo]

Designdisease

[ Demo]

Artarius

[ Demo ]

Heliumified

[ Demo]

Article Source:  http://www.cssreflex.com/2010/12/15-best-free-wordpress-theme-of-the-year-2010.html

Use A Custom 404 Page

If you have your own domain name, you can create a custom 404 error page for your visitors. What does this do for you? It can help you retain visitors who may leave if they get the standard “File not found” page. Such a page looks a little like this:

File Not FoundThe requested url /notafile.htm was not found on this server.

That isn’t very appealing to a visitor, and if the person came from another site’s link- that potential visitor may just leave. However, you can make your 404 page much more informative, and provide your visitors with a way to navigate through your site. Instead of a “File Not Found” and not much else, you can send them an error page with a professional appearance.

As an example, click the link below. This will take you to the custom 404 page for this site:

Custom 404 Example

Notice how the page was similar to the other entry pages on the site, with the navigation links and a way back to the front page. This allows the visitor to take a look around, or go to the front page where they can see the details of what the site has to offer.

Now, the creation of the custom page itself isn’t difficult. It is just another HTML file saved with any name you want it to have. To get your custom page to show up on a 404 error requires a little extra work. You will also need to be the one in charge of your web site, and it must be under your own domain name. You will not be able to do this otherwise, because someone else will be in charge of the domain. If you are unsure whether or not you have permission to do this, be sure to ask your web host before you proceed.

To begin, go to the main directory of your web site (where your main page is located) through FTP or Telnet. Look for a file there named .htaccess, it begins with the dot as though it is a long file extension. If you have the file, you will want to edit it. If you do not have the file, create a new text file and save it as “.htaccess”.

If you are creating the file from scratch, simply type the following line into the file, changing the url to the location of your custom page:

ErrorDocument 404 http://www.yoursite.com/custom_page.html

Keep it all on one line, with a space on each side of the number 404. Also, this is case sensitive, so be sure to check the case of the E and D in ErrorDocument before you proceed.

If you already have the file and need to edit it, look for a line like the one above. If it is there, you can just change the url. You may want to ask your web host before doing this, just in case. If you do not have the line, add it in after everything else on its own line.

When you are done, upload your new .htaccess file to the server. Then, be sure to use the CHMOD command through your FTP or telnet program to set the permissions to CHMOD 644.

Also be sure that you have uploaded your custom page to the server, otherwise you’ll get a 500 server error or something similar. Once that is done, you can test your new error page by typing in a url that you know does not exist on your server. You should get your custom page, ready to bring in the lost visitors that may be out there.

Article Source: http://www.pageresource.com/zine/custom404.htm

Important Elements Of A Web Design Contract

Contracts are an crucial part of any web design project. Be it a small start up company or an established firm, contracts are an essential element that defines and documents the core features of a project. Efficient web design contracts include a list of regulations that would further define the contract and list milestones for the same. Here are some important elements that you should include in the same.

Authorization

The contract should open up with an authorization statement that declares that the client is contracting with you to provide a service i.e. the client is authorizing you to perform services on their work processes on their behalf. You may have to access their hosting account and disk space, create and maintain databases or applications or even optimize projects with respect to search engines.

Sole Agreement

This is the point that declares that the work that will be performed will strictly adhere to the time and limitations specified in the contract. If the work needs to be extended for more time or more work needs to be done on the same project, it would need a new contract. You can also list the time limit for the specified prices. For example, the said prices are only valid till 2010.

Confidentiality

The confidentiality of business information exchanged between the client and the service provider should be a key point of concern. Both the parties, the client and the service provider should agree to keep the information secure and not disclose it to any third party.

Project Design Specifications

This point would list and also describe in detail all the services that the service provider is paid to perform. This should be in line of the proposal document that is send my the service provider to the client and should describe in length the nature of services that would be delivered by the service provider. In a web design project contract, you should include all the details about coding, design, SEO strategy, CMS and so on.

Content

Also list the content provision details. Will you be providing the content for the website? Or will you hire an outside copywriter to do the same? Content of the website includes the text as well as the images on the website. Based on this, you can add on a specific price for the same.

Project Assignment

This points imparts information to the client that your have the right to hire subcontractors to complete the task in addition to your regular employees. Include this point only if you know you would need external resources and make sure your convince the client about the confidentiality issues.

Web Hosting

Clarify all the hosting concerns within this point. Do you wish to host the website yourself or do you want to outsource it to a third party hosting service provider? These points are best cleared off in the contract in order to avoid any issues in the future. Also, clarify points of backups.

Domain Name Registration

State the ownership rights of the domain and who will own the website. Also, make it clear to the client that they need to be responsible for renewing the website domains on time.

Article Source: http://www.hooverwebdesign.com/articles/important-elements-of-a-web-design-contract.html

Why microblogging could be the next email

There’s no doubt about it: 2009 is the year Twitter broke. But what’s the point of microblogging and how can it help your business?

You know something’s hit the mainstream when Phillip Schofield mentions it on This Morning. But Twitter’s apparent overnight success took the best part of three years.

A prototype of the microblogging and social networking tool was built in two weeks in March 2006 and was launched publicly that August. A programmer called Jack Dorsey came up with the idea when he was writing software that provided realtime status updates for taxi companies. Twitter eventually became a company in May 2007. It’s estimated that over 1.78 million people are now signed up to the service, compared to just 100,000 a year ago. The company last year turned down a $500 million buyout offer from Facebook.

Its genius is in its simplicity. Users are able to publish messages of 140 characters or less via the web or mobile phones. Collectively, these form a microblog, such at this one from Zeta. Messages – or ‘tweets’ – are read by ‘followers’, who subscribe to your posts and have them delivered to their own Twitter homepage.

The result is a stream of updates on everything from what someone’s doing for lunch to the fact that they’ve just been elected US president.

Twitter may be the best-known microblogging tool but it’s far from being the only one. Facebook’s status updates and wall posts make unwitting microbloggers out of its users. Its recent redesign was a direct response to the growth of Twitter.

Tumblelogs such as tumblr and Soup extend the short-form format to include multimedia content. YonklyJaiku offers an open source take on the genre. Plurk provides a quirky, timeline-based aesthetic. And Yammer, which won last year’s TechCrunch50, is specifically designed to provide an internal microblogging tool for businesses.

With email becoming an increasing burden on people’s time, microblogging offers a compelling business communication solution. “Web 2.0 evangelists… say it can facilitate an open-ended corporate culture that values transparency, collaboration and innovation,” says Forbes.com. “Most important, it can be an effective way to build a customer-centric organisation that not only communicates authentically but also listens to customers and learns from that interaction.”

A tool such as Twitter is ideal for following news on a specific topic or for asking questions of your peers. Meanwhile, being able to update your status on the move benefits employees who need to keep in regular contact with one another: a single text can generate an update that is immediately fed to an entire group of co-workers. With the wealth of access points that microblogs offer – from Firefox add-ons to iPhone applications – it’s an elegant way to keep people connected, irrespective or time zones or technology.

The business-focused Yammer allows companies to host the software themselves but this is the exception, not the rule. Most microblogging services live in the cloud, with all the benefits – and problems – that entails. Twitter, for instance, has grown so rapidly that its servers frequently keel over, resulting in the familiar Fail Whale screen.

It’s also worth considering that microblogging is, essentially, an extremely accessible form of publishing and that your posts can appear in Google search results and across the web. It’s something that this Twitter user resolutely failed to remember, with the result that it cost him his job. There’s also the risk that, if not managed correctly, microblogging serves only to add to your digital clutter – not reduce it.

For many of us, microblogs still have the novelty value of the latest web-based cultural phenomenon. But, like email, tools such as Twitter are destined to become a central part of our working lives. Even if you do use them to update colleagues on your lunch plans.

Article Source:  http://www.pageresource.com/zine/mblog01.htm

Best Free WordPress Plugins Of Year 2010

WordPress is one of the most easiest and highly customizable CMS platform which can provide us with number of options. This CMS platform have lots of plugins, With the help of plugins we can create a full fledged e-commerce site, contact form andwe mention  wordpress SEO plugins listed below.

WordPress has some excellent plugins such as Free E-commerce plugins, wordpress SEO plugins, Contact form plugins, which can be implemented with very few clicks and in no time your store will be up and running. The payment integrations, store drag drop features and many more small tidbits which can make your e-commerce site to look astoundingly beautiful.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is very important to any blog. And if you use WordPress as a blogging platform, there are many WordPress SEO plugins that values SEO. These plugins help you to get better rankings on your blog. But to get higher rankings in search engines, you have to select best WordPress SEO plugins.

Contact Form is one of the most important aspect for all websites. You are running any kind of website you will surely need a contact form so that it can be easy for your users, advertisers or potential buyers of your service to contact you easily.

So, in this article, I gathered 24 Best WordPress Plugins which are easy to use and spam free plugins.

1) Contact Form 7 : Contact Form 7 can manage multiple contact forms, plus you can customize the form and the mail contents flexibly with simple markup. The form supports Ajax-powered submitting, CAPTCHA, Akismet spam filtering and so on.

2) Clean Contact : Clean-contact hides itself from spam-bots by, and optionally will filter messages using Akismet — Capctha and skill testing questions not required. The plugin has minimal configuration and can be used out of the box. It can support multiple recipients and configurable subject and prefix, CC and BCC.

3) MM Forms : MM Forms is the easy form builder for WordPress. It comes with some basic features like field creator, customize form and mail contents with simple markup, html layout possible, Spam filtering with Akismet, captcha prevention, option to create unlimited contact forms.

4) SimpleModal Contact Form (SMCF) : SimpleModal Contact Form (SMCF) is an Ajax powered modal contact form. It utilizes the jQuery JavaScript library and the SimpleModal jQuery plugin. SMCF has options to include certain contact form elements, like a Subject field and “Send me a copy” option for the sender.

SimpleModal Contact Form

5) Scaleable Contact Form : This plugin gives you option to create Ajax and Non-Ajax Contact Form. Some basic features are Captcha but no Akismet, non required Fields can be configured, five different Field Types: Textfield, Textarea, Select, Radios and Checkboxes, all labels and buttons can be modified.

6) ONW Simple Contact Form : ONW Simple Contact Form is a very simple form which you can add to any page or post using either the built in tinyMCE editor, or (for slightly more flexibility) a shortcode. The form is not customizeable, although you can alter the appearance with CSS. It has the option of using reCAPTCHA, or a very primitive version if you don’t want to use reCAPTCHA.

7) WP Flex Contact Form : This plugin offers you to make contacts form in Flex / Flash. This is a spam free solution for a contact form without using a reCAPTCHA.

8 ) Fast and Secure Contact Form : Fast and Secure Contact Form for WordPress. This contact form lets your visitors send you a quick E-mail message. Blocks all common spammer tactics. Spam is no longer a problem. Includes a CAPTCHA and Akismet support. Additionally, the plugin has a multi-form feature, optional extra fields, and an option to redirect visitors to any URL after the message is sent. Does not require JavaScript.

9) Visitor Contact Forms: Create stylish contact forms and sticky contact buttons web 2.0 style. Add all possible ways a visitor can contact you, a single click away.

10) Tiny Contact Form : A very simple contact form plugin you can use with any post or page.

11) WP Contact Form : WP Contact Form is a drop in form for users to contact you. It can be implemented on a page or a post.

12) All In One SEO Pack

13) SEO Ultimate

14) Automatic SEO Links

15) HeadSpace2

16) Platinum SEO Plugin

17) SEO Blogroll

18) Simple Tags

19) Google XML Sitemaps

google-xml-sitemap
20) Meta Robots WordPress plugin

21) Sitemap Generator

22) SEO Title Tag

seo-title-tags
23) SEO Tag Cloud Widget

24) SEO Post Link

PR: wait…    I: wait…    L: wait…    LD: wait…    I: wait…    wait…    Rank: wait…    Traffic: wait…    Price: wait…    C: wait…

Article Source: http://www.webdesignish.com/38-best-free-wordpress-plugins-of-year-2010.html

The Custom Favorites Icon

Have you added a site to your favorites list in your Web browser, and noticed that a web site’s own custom icon was added beside the site’s title in your list? Rather than the plain default icon, this custom icon makes the site stand out from the others in the list. Now, which site are you most likely to click on when you view that list again? Probably the one with the special icon!

If you haven’t seen one yet and you are using IE 5+ or any of the newer browsers, you can take a look at one by adding this page to your favorites list (I know, cheap plug). You’ll notice a pink/purple icon with a big “P” in the middle– the “P” is supposed to stand for Page Resource. Notice how the colored icon stands out in your list, and how it is added to your “Address” area where you type in a web site URL.

So, how can you do the same thing? All that is actually required is that you create a file called favicon.ico and place it in any directory on your site where someone could add your page to his/her favorites list. The trick is in the creation of the icon file.

First, you will probably want to get an icon creation tool to make it as easy as possible. Take a look at ZDNet or CNet and search for an “icon creation program” or an “icon creation tool”. One of these should give you some choices of freeware and/or shareware tools you can use.

Next, get familiar with the program and try a few things. Check your options and paint tools. You’ll need to be sure a couple of options are set to particular values:

1. Make sure the size of your icon is 16×16 pixels. This is the size the browser will expect.

2. Make sure you use only a 16 color palette. Again, it needs to be this way to work properly.

Once you have it ready, create your own custom icon using your paint tools. When you are done, save the file as favicon.ico and upload it to your server in any directory on your site that has viewable html files. Test it out by adding your site to your favorites list. Now, isn’t that a great effect?

Of course, once this becomes commonplace, your icon may not stand out as much. Still, it is a nice touch and will give your viewers a recognizable image when they look for you in their favorites lists. Overall, this is a nice way to get a few more repeat visitors to your web site– and that is always helpful to a webmaster.

Article Soure: http://www.pageresource.com/zine/favie.htm

10 CSS Tips For Website Developers

Working with CSS can be a daunting task. It is a powerful language and once you have considerable expertise of the same, you can craft some great websites. Here are some CSS tips to help you employ its features well.

Browser Compatibility Issues

Browser compatibility is a crucial concern in the field of website development. In order to make sure your website performs well on all browsers and carters equally to all the website visitors, you need to ensure that the layout of the website looks the same across multiple browsers. Different web browsers render web pages in different ways. And that is why your website can look something on one and something different on another. Though the layout is not completely revamped, the placements of certain elements can be altered. This in tuns impacts the layout and causes inconsistencies. When you design your website on a browser and tweak it to perfection, you should note that it may look a little different on other browsers. Therefore make sure you test it across different browsers during the development stages and take constant browser-shots so that you know what the differences are.

Design for Smaller Browser Resolutions

Developers usually work on large computer monitors to create their websites. However, not all people are as lucky. Only a chunk of Internet population may be using the large screen monitors to access the Internet and view websites. Check your analytics program and see what browser resolutions are used by your visitors to view your website. A website looks very different on 1024X768 resolution than what it looks on 800X600 resolution. Therefore, you should be able to make sure that your website looks good on both the resolutions, small and large. Caveat: The problem with smaller browser resolutions is that images and page elements block one another and cause improper rendering of the pages

Use Frameworks

There are a number of CSS frameworks available on the Internet that helps you make bulletproof layouts that are not only cross browser compatible but also tested well. If you don’t need a highly radical solution, CSS frameworks can do the trick.

Use Generic Classes

Instead of naming CSS classes differently each time you develop a website, try making a simple CSS class that can be used repeatedly throughout the design without having to refer back to the previous one. This will make sure that the web design remains constant throughout the whole design.

Validate your HTML

HTML affects CSS. You cannot validate your CSS until and unless you have valid HTML. Moreover, often is the case that HTML causes variations in the website layout and requires to be validated in order for proper rendering.

Validate your CSS

Always make sure you validate your CSS code and eliminate all the errors. This way you can get CSS that is cross browser compatible and that does not break.

Avoid Using Large Background Images

Large images bloat the file size of web pages, we all know that. Therefore, instead of using one large image for your background, use a small one that use CSS to repeat it across the background.

Use CSS Judiciously

CSS is an amazing tool. But that doesn’t mean you go paint the town with it. Use CSS only when and where it is the bets solution available. Using it in places where you could have used another light feature would only hamper your website performance.

Avoid Using Inline CSS

Though it is easy to use and great for testing it doesn’t work well in the production code. Always keep the HTML and CSS separate.

Use Few Files

Using too many CSS files make it very complex for any changes to be done to the layout. The processing time for files are significantly increased because the browser makes special request for every one of the files.

Article Source:  http://www.hooverwebdesign.com/articles/10-css-tips-for-website-developers.html