Yes, we’re leaving web design industry, not entirely of course, but the general web design so we can focus on something more precise and current. We’ll explain everything in the article, but first let me congratulate you with Year 2016!

One more year has passed, we really hope your year 2015 was awesome – full with amazing experiences and growth!

If you have just started with web design – congratulations, you took a big leap of faith to become a creator.

If web design is your life-long decision, cheers to being committed and passionate throughout all these years. Web designers are shaping online world and making it better – an important role to play.

Wishing you even bigger growth and achievements in 2016!

Note: Before you keep reading, watch this super quick personal video from James!

What can you expect to find in this article?

We will be reviewing the best content published in 2015 on 1WD, share what we learned together with you. Also we are making a big decision to change our focus to WordPress, and we will explain reasons behind it.

This is becoming a yearly tradition, look what we predicted and promised last year.

We will be inviting 1WD readers to start fresh together with us this year. Let’s start over, question all our previous decisions, improve and then focus again.

If you are subscribed to our mailing list already, awesome – if you are with us, we will be inviting you to rejoin our mailing list to show you are still interested in receiving news, freebies and awesome updates from us.

If you haven’t subscribed yet, then read on to understand exactly what we will be offering and if you would be interested in joining us.

Note: Below is the new signup form, in case you come from our existing email list and just want to rejoin and be done with it quickly. But we do encourage to read full article, especially if you are long-time 1WD reader.

[convertkit]

Please read this article carefully, we will be sharing it with all our email subscribers. If  you don’t subscribe again on email signup box at this page, you will never hear from us again, we will retire existing email list in 2 weeks, around January 15, 2016.

Want to find out what will 1stWebDesigner commits to deliver to you in 2016?

Want to find out what will 1stWebDesigner commits to deliver to you in 2016?

Top 10 Articles From 2015: 1stWebDesigner’s Hall of Fame

On 2015 1WD published 119 articles, that’s a new article every 3 days. We experimented with a lot heavier focus on helping freelancers to learn crafts and arts of running a freelance business. While we had some good response, it wasn’t enough to be just focusing on it.

Then we started talking more about web design trends, UI, UX and mobile design, which also showed random results. All in all, now in review we understand we didn’t focus enough to give any of these efforts true results.

When you think 1stWebDesigner – what’s the first thing, you would say it’s about? If I think about it myself – I would say random topics about web design. What we are missing here – is strong focus, but we’ll talk about it later when discussing our decision to focus on WordPress.

But now, without further ado, I present the 10 of the best and most popular articles from 2015 on..random web design topics:

1. Learn Web Design From Scratch: Ultimate Resource For Every Upcoming Designer And Freelancer

It is a thorough web design guide (11,000 words) for everybody starting out. In that guide we organized all the best articles that we have published over 8 years of our existence, to provide with easy to follow step by step  resource, that could be used to kick-start your graphic design, web design, coding or freelance skills.

Guide is also always easily accessible by using “Start Here” button in header.

I won’t go so much in depth describing other top articles, but here are the top ten.

  1. 80+ Free Web Design Resources You Thought Didn’t Exist – a handy list of free online design resources, that anybody will find handy.
  2. What Are Top 7 Graphic And Web Design Trends in 2015 To Look Out For? – are you aware in which direction design world is heading? Even if you are not applying these trends, it’s important to know about them.
  3. What Are Web Designers Best Sources For Inspiration? – plain and simple, never again you will complain about lacking inspiration.
  4. 55 Best Premium WordPress Themes From 2015 You Will Love – thorough collection of the best themes available in the marketplace.
  5. Learn How to Build A Website 10x Faster Using WordPress Premium Tools – become a productive designer, don’t miss out on being effective instead of being busy.
  6. Most Common Visual Content Mistakes and How To Fix Them – an awesome guide with actionable tips to help you create better websites starting from today.
  7. 50 Cool Responsive HTML Templates & CSS Templates – don’t start from scratch, save time using amazing templates!
  8. How to Use Image-Focused Design to Increase Conversion – images are taking very important role in every web design, understand how to use this trend to deliver results.
  9. What Programming Language Should I Learn in 2015? – looking to improve your coding skills? Find out the best language to learn in 2016.
  10. 60+ Of The Best And Most Popular WordPress Plugins: Ultimate Toolkit – add powerful functionality with few clicks and no need to know any coding. Save your time and use what awesome WordPress community has already created before you.

Hope you enjoyed checking out these articles, but what else is there?

More than 100 various videos, interviews and tutorials available on 1WD Youtube channel!

More than 100 various videos, interviews and tutorials available on 1WD Youtube channel!

Committing To Videos And Podcasts

In 2015 we heavily experimented with video and podcast content to understand if you enjoy it and maybe even prefer video over text. Remember #EspressoMonday? 🙂

Here are top 3 most popular videos, you can watch:

If you missed it, 1stWebDesigner is also on iTunes with 25 podcasts already available, where James interviews smart and successful people. You can easily pick their brain and learn why they are one of the best in their field.

There are interviews with people like Brian Hoff, Paul Jarvis, Paul Ryan, Brent Weaver, Chris Coyier, Jairek Robbins and more.

Oh, if you are not on iTunes, still the most interviews are available on 1stWebDesigner Youtube channel.

Right now we have stopped a bit with these efforts (restarting in 2016), because we truly wanted to review what worked and..what didn’t work. We want to invest time in creating type of videos, that are valuable to you.

1stWebDesigner Moves Focus To WordPress

Okay, so this is a biggie. Let’s face the elephant in the room.

Since the creation of 1stWebDesigner we have been writing about random web design topics and while it seemed to work years ago, it’s not where we want to go. Our goal is that you start coming to 1stWebDesigner, because you know that’s where you’ll find the best non-technical tips to improve your WordPress website.  So whenever, you have a WordPress related challenge or need the best trusted themes, plugins – the first place you would want to visit would be 1stWebDesigner.

We won't be afraid to give up good to go for the great.

We won’t be afraid to give up good to go for the great.

Previously we tried to be a place where you learn web design, a place where you learn how to become a freelance web designer. But web industry is moving to less and less coding – you can satisfy most client needs quickly, by using website builder like WordPress. I say website builder, even if WordPress is CMS. Right now, themes have become so powerful, that they are used as page builders.

We recognize this. There are basically two paths you can take as a web designer – you become a hardcore programmer or you become a hacker.

I am not saying one or another way is better. But for us hacking things together has always been closer path. But for hardcore programmers, or ones who want to become such, there are far better places to learn those skills:

  • Team Treehouse – learn Ruby on Rails, how to build an app and far more.
  • CSS-Tricks –  our friend Chris Coyier is an awesome guy to learn from how to build modern websites
  • Tympanus Codrops – if you wan to learn awesome animation and cool-looking jQuery, HTML5 effects (like this), Codrops is the best place to learn.

In fact, Codrops just published their yearly review article, collecting all the best resources and tutorials they published in 2015. Why not give them a try?

A Look Back at 2015: Round-up of Codrops Resources .

A Look Back at 2015: Round-up of Codrops Resources .

So What Exactly, 1WD Will Be Focusing On?

In short we will be focusing on WordPress tips for entrepreneurs, business owners.

This will be very valuable for you as a web designer, because you will not be selling your coding skills anymore. You will be selling the results you deliver to your clients. You will create, not only beautiful, but also converting WordPress websites, that bring visible results.

This is our motto as well.

This is our motto as well.

For example, we’ll help you to find and build:

  • the fastest WordPress themes, that improve user experience and conversion because of fast loading speed
  • amazing WordPress plugins, that deliver specific functionality like adding security, loading speed, shopping cart, membership website
  • common WordPress mistakes, that can be solved by few clicks in WordPress admin or simple WordPress plugin

We bet on WordPress, because we love the direction Matt Mullenweg is leading WordPress to. Watch this video to clarify.

Public stats, WordPress has decided to share.

Public stats WordPress has decided to share.

Just two years ago WordPress was used by 20% of the web. Right now WordPress powers 25.5% of the web. It’s still growing quickly, and there are no signs of stopping. If you want more impressive numbers behind WordPress growth and influence, read this WPMU article.

Did you know WordPress is used by 30.3% of the top 1000 websites and that in October, 2015 29.7% of all new sites are using WordPress?

We love and have used WordPress in all our projects for past 8 years, why not focus on it? It is important to always do the work you love and it will reflect in outcome.

It's important to do the work you love and are passionate about.

It’s important to do the work you love and are passionate about. (If you like these quotes, we have more here).

Reviewing Premium WordPress Products

Everyone who is professionally involved in this industry or for that matter any other industry must have the business growth mindset which basically translates into: “In order to earn I have to spend.”

Every successful person will tell you that in order to grow their business and earn, they also had to spend money. They had to invest either in their education, tools, solutions, contacts or assets.

There are times, when you can find awesome free WordPress tools, and whenever we will find them, we will let you know. However we will be also focusing on finding the best tools there are in the market, test them and uncover their pros and cons.

There are over 40,000 free WordPress plugins and so many premium ones - how to know which ones to trust?

There are over 40,000 free WordPress plugins and so many premium ones – how to know which ones to trust?

Also our goal is to ensure that we find out what tools other WordPress experts and business owners use, so we always keep you in loop about handy simple techniques and time-saving tools. We want 1stWebDesigner to become source, where you find in-depth, unbiased reviews on some top themes, plugins, WordPress related services in the market.

Hope you are as excited as we are!

1stWebDesigner in 2016: What Can You Expect

We will start this year by cleaning our past articles, right now there are 1200 of them. Many of these articles are outdated, so we will either update or delete them, to have between 200-300 awesome articles in the end.

We won’t be deleting previous font roundups, logo design or coding tutorials, but we won’t be creating any new articles on these topics. Over the next 3 months, 1stWebDesigner should be clear from clutter and ready for full focus on WordPress.

Don’t be confused when seeing new non-WordPress articles popping up as recently published. It will just mean, that we have republished this article, we took from archives. These articles will be old top performing posts, that we have updated, rewritten or merged together from 5-10 average articles.

This is how clean and fast 1stWebDesigner website will feel like :)

This is how clean and fast website should look like.

But after we are done with cleanup works – we will put full focus on WordPress. When we are done in March, 2016 – 1stWebDesigner will be faster, cleaner and filled with ONLY top quality content.

On this note, if you would like to help us, we need some additional help to get this done sooner. If you are from Europe and looking for contract type of work to help us with cleanup works, please email us to hello at 1stwebdesigner dot com.

Rethinking Email Strategy

Over years we have been collecting emails with a promise to keep you updated about web design news, trends and top level content we publish at 1stWebDesigner. In 2016 we want to serve you even better. For that reason, we will be switching from Mailchimp to ConvertKit to ensure better experience for you.

With ConvertKit we will be able to see what kind of content emails you most engage with. Based on this information, we will be able to personalize the emails we send to you. For example if you are a business owner, you will be much more interested in interviews with other successful business people, compared to a list of premium themes.

With ConvertKit we will be able also to create an awesome targeted autoresponder series, where every few days you will receive actionable tips on how to improve your WordPress website. We spend the time to research, all you need to do is spend a few minutes to review that advice and decide if that’s applicable to your work.

Making a decision to move to ConvertKit.

Making a decision to move to ConvertKit.

Sounds cool?

Alright, since we don’t want to email anybody, who doesn’t want to receive anything from us, we will be asking everybody who wants to join the list, join here. If you don’t resubscribe during the next 2 weeks, you will not be receiving anything from us anymore.

I really do hope you decide to stay or join us. Here is the signup box:

[convertkit]

What are your thoughts? Suggestions for 1stWebDesigner?

We would love to hear from you – what do you think about direction we are taking? What are some articles you would love to read on 1stWebDesigner about WordPress?

Do you think we are going completely wrong about this or maybe you are excited about the changes?

P.S. If you have been 1WD reader over past years, would love to read how 1WD efforts have helped you? What were the most valuable things you learned from 1WD? Did you have a bad experience along the way? – help us solve it. We are listening!

Truly yours,

James & Dainis, founders of 1stWebDesigner