Top photo plug-in to enhance a WordPress Blog

WordPress is immensely popular among CMS (Content Management System) users because it has a vast number of plug-in. Plug-in helps users to enhance their experience vastly. There is virtually nothing that plug-in cannot do – they can help users to navigate the website with ease, enhance the use of fonts, monitor site performance, help in SEO performance and of course they can make your images and photos look great.

Plug-in can also help to link your blog with social media like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, and even help you optimize your web pages to download faster. This is only the tip of the iceberg, there is more to plug-in than you may have imagined.

Little we need to say about the importance of graphics, images and videos for your website. They not only help to illustrate your writings, but also help you to say everything in a nutshell. Images and photos play a very important role in bringing more visitors to your blogs or website, and more important they must be friendly toward users who may have slow internet connection which can hinder user experience.

By installing special plug-in for photos on your website, you can enhance your WordPress blog by leaps and bounds. You should also consider making your website responsive. By making it compatible with different screen sizes, you will be able to win more visitors, and at the same time be able give them a better experience.

Here are some plug-in you must try on your WordPress blog.

Hammy

The principal object of Hammy is to generate multiple sizes of the images you load on your website. It helps to present the right size to your blog viewers, by resizing them appropriately for their screen. Mobile users will particularly find the feature very useful. Hammy depends on the new WP 3.5 image code for performance and that means it does not have to depend on any external codes to run it.

One of the special features of Hammy is it is compatible with Retina display and re-filters the image every single time, and that makes it compatible with a large number of image sizes. You also get great support for Hammy and it is also easy to install.

Hammy is compatible with WordPress version 3.5 and up to 3.5.1. To download the latest version of the plug-in click here.

Lazy Load

Lazy Load is great when you expect your users to have low internet speed (users with high speed connection also benefit). Lazy Load achieves this by loading the image or photo only when it is visible to the viewer. Installing the plug-in is fairly simple, and all that you have to do is upload the plug-in to the directory and activate it through the Plugins menu in WordPress. You will particularly like the fact that Lazy Load uses jQuery.sonar.

To learn more about the plug-in, installation instructions, screen shots and support click here. Lazy Load is compatible with WordPress version 3.2 and higher up to 3.4.2. More than 35,000 users are already using it. You can download the latest version of the plug-in by clicking here.

Imsanity

The advantage of using Imsanity is you don’t have to bother about resizing the images you upload on your website. It will automatically resize it to a compatible size when sending them to browsers. This can immensely save you time and effort. More than the advantage that accrues to you, it also helps others who may be uploading their images and photos in the same way as it helps you. If you already have a large repository of photos and images, then Imsanity is for you because you can use for bulk resizing as well.

The other features users like are height to width configuration, BMP to JPEG conversion for optimization and scaling. Once the images and photos are resized there is very little attention you may have to give further.

For using Imsanity to work, you should have WordPress version 2.9 or higher up to 3.4.2 running your website. Imsanity has been downloaded more than 20,000 times. The latest version of Imsanity is 2.1.6. To download the plug-in click here.

CW Image Optimizer

CW Image Optimizer is ideal for those who want to resize their photos and images without losing on quality. Another advantage of the plug-in is you can also optimize the images and photos you have already loaded on your blog. The main advantage of using this plug-in is does not compromise on quality in spite of the reduced file size, help make faster backups of images and photos and consumes lesser bandwidth for you and your users. Still a bigger advantage of this plug-in is it does all the processing on your server itself without the need for third-party intervention.

For support and other details click here. The run CW Image Optimizer your WordPress blog must run on version 2.9 or higher and up to 3.5.1. CW Image Optimizer has been downloaded by more than 12,000 users so far. To download the latest version 1.1.9 click here.

PB Responsive Images

No modern website that has mass visitors in mind can ignore this plug-in. If you are already the writing on the walls you must be aware of the fact that blog readers are increasingly using mobile devices to do it. For them images can be problem if they don’t fit well in their screen. PB Responsive Images plug-in solves this problem by resizing the images to fit most handheld devices. Help for using the plug-in is available on the ‘Help’ tab of the plug-in itself. You can make use of the tab for configuring the plug-in to fit your requirements.

Your WordPress installation must be at least version 3.0 or higher and up to 3.4.2. There is a learning curve to the plug-in, but considering the usefulness, you shouldn’t mind that. Users have rated this plug-in high, and you should consider it seriously for your website.

For installation details, screen shots, reviews and information for developers click here. To download the latest version of PB Responsive Images click here.

Your Thoughts

Share your thoughts on which among the listed plugin you have tried & found it to be useful.

Author’s bio:

Kathryn Smith, the author of this post is an all-round blogger, who also identifies various call lookup websites in order to help people stay away from scam calls.

Why You Should Visually Explore the World Wide Web

I have encountered many things during my online adventures, but one of the most fascinating discovery was visual search engines. There is no doubt that the world today is more visual than verbal. People prefer TV to books, games to radio, and infographics to interminable verbosities. It is easier to digest images, than to read blocks of text, and when it comes to visual search engines, images are truly worth a thousand words. I have always been a visual person, and this is probably why the concept of visual search engines sounds so tempting.

How Visual Search Engines Work

In terms of functionality, a visual search engine works pretty much like a regular one. A user can type his query or keyword in the search box, and the software returns the result, with the only difference that the results will come in a list of images or videos through which you can navigate.  A V.S.E. Will look for image tags used by the webmaster, and according to relevancy it will return results. Moreover, although it is focused on finding visual content, this type of search engine will also discover the link between the image and the source. In other words if you find the image interesting, you can link back to the website on which it was used.

The Benefits of Visual Search Engines

Visual Search Engines 2

Most people cannot phantom the idea of using something else than Google for searches, but they might be surprised by the advantages and capabilities of a visual search engine. First of all, although the speed of visual search engines cannot be compared to that of regular ones, it is understandable that images are harder to list. Most people don’t have time to search for information through text-based websites, and visual content might be exactly what they are looking for.

Most such platforms are extremely interactive, which is a plus. They might prove a reliable source of traffic for HTML5 pages or websites that promote a lot of visual content. While some require special software that will reside on the desktop, it usually consists of a small plug-in which is free. For visual users, such an engine might become an online adventure due to the dynamic nature of the many platforms. Some display their results in the form of a list, while others use special arrangements like 3D cubes. Let’s take a look at some of the most fascinating visual search engine platforms.

 

1. Search-Cube

I was especially fascinated by Search-Cube because it displays results in a three-dimensional cube instead of using the classic style. The results appear as small, rectangular previews through which you can easily navigate. Search-Cube can display pages, videos, and images, and it doesn’t require a plug-in to use.

1. SearchCube

2. oSkope

oSkope is another example of visual search engine that has an interesting appearance and intuitive features. According to preferences you can change the way results are displayed. Moreover, this visual search assistant will help you find stuff from Ebay, Amazon, Flickr, Fotolia and Youtube. I believe that it can be especially useful for users that are looking to buy things online.

2. oSkope

3. TouchGraph

There is no better way to visually understand how the web is connected than by using TouchGraph. This platform has made it a mission to display results according to their connection with other pages. It is powered by Google technology, and it promises an interactive experience for users because they can customize their own map. In other words, the visitor can rearrange the map according to his own interests. In order to use this platform you will need a Java.

3. TouchGraph

 4. Cooliris

If you are interested in the latest news about, just about anything, then Cooliris is the visual platform for you. From the moment you open the extension for the first time you will be able to explore a dynamic 3D wall filled with news, images, blogs and many more. This software is compatible with Firefox, Internet Explorer and Safari.

4. Cooliris

5. Compfight

As a blogger I found this visual search engine particularly useful because it lets you explore visual content without having to open up new tabs, download the image and re-size it in order to fit the format of the page. If you decide to use its Word-press plug-in you will be able to easily navigate through Flickr photos. Compfight is the ideal choice for writers.

 

    5. Compfight

For bloggers, writers and webmasters, finding the best image can become a daunting task. Take travel blogs for example. Some people simply don’t have the time or resources to travel all around the world in order to provide users with original snapshots. Some people actually have to search for images, and while Google or Bing offer an enormous collection of images, most of them have been used much too much or are simply irrelevant. Visual search engines use different databases which might provide you with some fresh visual content that will come in handy later.

A lot of visual site owners have had a hard time optimizing their sites for search engine use. The good news is that there are ways to make a highly visual website look better on SERPs with the help of several SEO tweaks. Every business requires certain implementations in order to sell better, and visual search engines make use of these features. Some visual search engines have also been tweaked for people who are also looking for written content.

I haven’t mentioned SearchMe, because it is one of the most popular visual search engines, and because its capabilities are pretty clear. I have to say that I am very excited about the prospect of flipping pages like a book, rather than getting lost through endless pages of keywords and text. If you find something interesting, you can visit the page and find the information that you are looking for. If you are a crafter, blogger, or simply looking for awesome pics, visual search engines are the perfect choice because they spare users from all the useless images that are not relevant to your query.

 

Author Bio:

Anna Robeson is an experienced SEO professional who often consults with several digital agencies in NYC. She has recently decided to pursue her dreams, and she loves to write about social media, internet marketing and search engine optimization.

10 PhotoShop Tutorials Teaching New Skills

Whether you’re a degree-holding designer working for an agency or a self-taught freelancer, or any combination thereof, brushing up on your graphic design skills and knowledge is critical to staying relevant and employed. Photoshop is one of the most popular and preferred graphic design tools, which is why dozens of outstanding new Photoshop tutorials are released every month. Here are 10 new Photoshop tutorials that will help you continue to craft cutting-edge designs.

  1. Make a beautiful landing page with Photoshop

Design Instruct’s Stelian Subotin walks you through the process of designing a beautiful landing page in Photoshop in this detailed tutorial.

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  1. Make cinemagraphs in Photoshop

Cinemagraphs are the new gifs, and they combine video and photo elements to help you draw attention to a specific part of our image or simply to add artistic flair. This tutorial shows you how to make them in Photoshop.

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  1. Create high-quality avatars

Want to design an awesome avatar for your social and Gravatar accounts? This tutorial shows you how to get the most out of your avatar design with Photoshop.

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  1. Underwater Typography with Photoshop

Ever see those black “smoke” columns on the sea floor? You can emulate that style in typography by following the detailed steps in this Photoshop tutorial.

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  1. 3-D gold text

The opposite of billowing plumes, this sharp and bold gold text can help you make your brochure and web headlines stand out. Learn how to make it in this Photoshop tutorial.

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  1. Draw an electric guitar in Photoshop

Amp it up with this ultra-cool Photoshop tutorial from PSD Tuts Plus that shows you how to draw a realistic-looking guitar in Photoshop – from scratch.

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  1. Guitar string typography

Rock out with this guitar string typography, achieved via Photoshop’s advanced editing features. Learn how to do it in this tutorial.

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  1. Compass design tutorial

You don’t have to be a cartographer to chart a new course with this super-detailed compass design tutorial.

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  1. Iron Man

Draw and color an awesome Iron Man mask with this step-by-step tutorial that uses both Photoshop and Illustrator to achieve the final effect.

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  1. Compositing unruly hair

One of the biggest challenges of photo editing is hair. Unruly hair can ruin an otherwise great shot, but you can use Photoshop to tame it in this tutorial.

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Author’s Bio: Brian Morris writes for the PsPrint Design & Printing Blog. PsPrint is an online commercial printing company. Follow PsPrint on Twitter @PsPrint and Facebook.

 

Thinking about Designing A New Website: Top Steps

When you talk about creating a website, you need to follow some specific steps especially if you are among the novices and designing an all together a new site. These steps would act like good guidelines, which can help you work in a right way by keeping the forgetfulness to the least. Though you will see every web designer having its own unique components of designing a site, however, the fundamental things remains the same, which include research, planning, designing, coding, etc. So, if you are keen to design a new site, make sure you follow the given steps as under. Let’s check them out:

  Research and plan

Research-Plan-Action

Research could be called as the basic step, which you need to do before creating your site. Some portion of it would comprise of understanding the needs of the clients and identify with their specific industry requirements. Once you meet your client, you could discuss a couple of things including the target audience, objective, budget, deadline etc. This will further demand you to carry a good market research. Once you are able to understand the project with a good research it’s time to plan things accordingly. This will include the kind of web interface you are trying to adopt for your site along with content. At the end, it’s the content, which will drive your web design, if you are designing a news site; it will follow a different planning, whereas plainly designing the site for any small enterprise would follow another.

The technical requirements

Before you head to design your website, you need to decide upon your project’s technical requirements. Some of the decisions would simply affect the site’s budget, time duration and in some cases even the overall look and feel of any site. You could have different options, which you need to check as per your web site design project requirements. This could include using HTML, which could be simple to use but comes with little amount of flexibility. The other thing you need is a CMS (content management system), which is a must in any website as it helps in putting fresh and updated content on a regular basis by the site owner. You could design these systems from scratch; however, if you are working on platforms like WordPress or Blogger, you get a readymade content management system for free. The next thing you need to decide is the use of Flash wherein you use rich multimedia effects. Though the sites developed in Flash could be complex and time consuming but at the same time could be rewarding and doesn’t require coding.

Create Wireframes

Example-wireframe

The next step is to create wireframes, which are actually simple line drawings required for your website layout. It helps the designers and even the website owner to focus over the placement of elements instead of things like type and color. This is really required and plays a key role in understanding which content requires better focus and attention along with its space requirements over the pages. Hence with a wireframe, you would remain focused without being distracted by the other elements like visuals or some other thing over your website.

Start designing the site

Once your client has approved the wireframes the next step is to start designing the website. Adobe Photoshop could be called as the basic tool for creating your initial designs. You must focus over your site design in order to present the site content, whereas the flashy designs and the animations do have their own place but they shouldn’t overshadow what the users are trying to look for. By having a consistent navigation, you could help the visitors find all your main content areas whereas by using clean types, which is more seen over the text based sites will help the readers to come back. Before you start getting the actual content of your site project, you can add filler stuff to see things how it goes.

Building up the web pages

When your designs are approved, you now need to convert the mockups into the actual web pages, which have to be coded in HTML and CSS. The experienced designers generally take care of the coding part, whereas other designers would focus over the design aspects by working closely along with the developer thus bringing back the site into life. If this is the case, you need to be involved with the website developer from the very first day so that your design goes at par as per the expectations of your client and you embark with effective web layout and the features. Adobe Dreamweaver could help you in turning the mockup into working pages with the help of drag and drop feature and buttons, which will help in adding images and links. In this way, building up the entire required web pages, you end up developing the website by adding the CMS, putting the required content, adding the elements of search engine optimization, etc.

Final word

Developing a website need a number of steps, which you are supposed to first know and follow them to embark with quality site. The above steps would help you in coming up with the best website designs as per your client’s requirements.

About The Author – Margaret is a writer/blogger. She loves writing, travelling and reading books. She contributes to Next Financial Group

 

10 Fantastic New Color Palettes

Your choice of color is at the very foundation of crafting striking designs; picking the perfect hue is paramount to developing a visually attractive design that’s both creative and memorable. For your inspiration, here are 10 fantastic new color palettes you can incorporate into your own web, poster, brochure and other graphic designs.

 

1.Rockets by volvenon

The pinkish “Outdated Milk” adds the perfect contrasting accent to this palate’s darker hues.

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2.Paper Planes by hypaticae

This elegant color palette could be used for anything from a poster to a flyer to a website to a mobile app. To me, it suggests use for a refined men’s style market.

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3.Very Very Fine House by sherrydee846

This bright-yet-smooth palette would be perfect for a home fashion or remodeling website, a corporate brochure, or even a kids-based business brand.

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4.Noa by LittleLadybird

The creamy “Shall I Turn My Face” softens this fun, bright color palette to lend class and elegance.

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5.Horse Fields by love story

Earthy tones match this palette’s fitting moniker. Horse Fields would be an excellent color palette choice to market any company from a style salon to a chocolatier.

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6.Classy Chic by emmy1992

If you cater to a style-savvy women’s market, this soft yet exciting color palette might make the perfect choice.

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7.Some Like It Hot by MLimachino

I love contrast in a color palette, and the oranges in this palette add energy to the dark base.

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8.Coral Lagoon by susanmbaker

Developing color hues that stray from the norm makes your designs more attractive, which is why the fun Coral Lagoon is a fantastic palette for a fashion company or even a high-tech firm.

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9.Franklin by Myers

A refined palette based in grays and blues with the perfect contrasting color: a buttery yellow.

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10.Hot Sauce by manie55

Spice up your design with this bright, energetic color palette inspired by hot sauce.

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Guest Post by Brian

Brian Morris writes for the PsPrint Design & Printing Blog. PsPrint is an online commercial printing company. Follow PsPrint on Twitter @PsPrint and Facebook.