100s of premium high quality resources Brushes, Vectors Texture and PSD files


Creative nerds Premium is the premium membership side of Creative Nerds which has tons of high quality design resources,from photoshop brushes to seamless vector patterns. If your a designer or developer this is certainly the ultimately resource to making design a whole easier with great assets to download and use in commercial and personal design projects.

If your not already member why not consider signing up ? I’m sure your love it. Its only $15.99 and you be able to download new and old resources which are added to Creative Nerds Premium throughout the 12 month period your membership will last for.

cnp site 100s of premium high quality resources Brushes, Vectors Texture and PSD files

Why sign Up ?

Creative Nerds Premium is an extension of the blog. The value of becoming a premium member is you will be given access to an exclusive library of high quality design resources. From amazing Photoshop brushes to seamless vector patterns currently available on the site as well as access to new resources, which we frequently add to the site. Check out the huge collection of premium resources currently available to download.

How to much does it cost ?

The membership costs $20(USD) per a year, where you can download all existing resources available on Creative Nerds Premium as well access to new design resources which are added through out your membership.

Can i use the resources in design projects ?

All of the resources can be used in commercial and personal design projects, but must not be directly resold or redistributed under any circumstance without the permission of Creative Premium Team.

Sign up today click here

Here’s just a few  of the design resources, which you will granted access too once you become a member just to et your appetite:

preview3 100s of premium high quality resources Brushes, Vectors Texture and PSD files

preview4 100s of premium high quality resources Brushes, Vectors Texture and PSD files

water color dabs 100s of premium high quality resources Brushes, Vectors Texture and PSD files

cheater patterns preview 100s of premium high quality resources Brushes, Vectors Texture and PSD files

watercolor splashes 100s of premium high quality resources Brushes, Vectors Texture and PSD files

sticker vectors 100s of premium high quality resources Brushes, Vectors Texture and PSD files

clound brushes preview 100s of premium high quality resources Brushes, Vectors Texture and PSD files

vibrant diamond pattern set preview 100s of premium high quality resources Brushes, Vectors Texture and PSD files

oil pastel smudges preview 100s of premium high quality resources Brushes, Vectors Texture and PSD files


Showcasing High-Res Photography: Design Tips & Tricks

Inspired Magazine
Inspired Magazine - creativity & inspiration daily

Instagram, Flickr, Pinterest, Tumblr… the advent of photo-heavy apps and social networking sites reinvigorated an interest in great photography at a time when advances in digital photography have significantly reduced the cost to access high-quality photography tools. Smartphones come standard with cameras, and enterprising amateur photographers can even invest in lenses for these devices, and complete simple, straightforward editing projects using web-based apps and programs.

All of these improvements in photography have largely coincided with improvements in web design, from responsive coding to parallax and other opportunities to display rich, high-quality and high-resolution images. For those wanting to digitally display photos, this is great news, and we’re going to highlight some of the best and cutting-edge methods to use web design to beautifully showcase stunning photography.

If you’re using Drupal or WordPress, there are hundreds of high-quality photography plugins available for you to easily maximize photos on your website, from sliders to  hover-over effects to full-screen coverage. But if you’re wanting to take full control, the following tutorials will help you incorporate high-impact elements with your photo display.

Ghost Buttons

Since 2015, it’s been an increasingly popular trend to use massive high-definition, high-impact photos on home pages. But for home pages with buttons or links, those buttons would often interfere with the visual capital of the image, ruining an otherwise jaw-dropping photo with a pop of unnecessary color. Ghost buttons have no fill color or shadow, allowing minimal interruption of the photo. This leverages the high-impact visual content behind the button, and for savvy designers, provides an optimal user experience by still permitting easy foreground navigation without sacrificing good design.

To begin making your ghost button with CSS, first create a “ghost button” a class. To make a standard white ghost button, your CSS information for that class should look something like the example below:

.ghost-button {

  display: inline-block;

  width: 300px;

  padding: 10px;

  color: #fff;

  border: 1px solid #fff;

  text-align: center;

  outline: none;

  text-decoration: none;

}

It’s easy to modify the properties above to adjust the look and feel of the ghost button. Examples of easy adjustments include rounded corners, color-fill hover-over effects, transitions, and thicker borders.

Touch Content Sliders

More and more web-users are viewing websites from mobile devices, or from computers with touch-enabled interfaces. A great designer should always incorporate ‘prev’ and ‘next’ buttons or arrows for traditional computer users, but there’s an increasing benefit to considering touch users.

To add touch capabilities to a slider or gallery, begin with a simply HTML page, style sheet, sample images, and JQuery and SwipeJS folders. The first priority will be to set up your SwipeJS folders.

Begin by making an ID’d div tag which will wrap the slide.

<div id=’homeslider’ class=’touchswipe’>

  <div class=’touchswipe-wrap’>

    <div><img src=”img/01.jpg” width=”1200″ height=”600″></div>

    <div><img src=”img/02.jpg” width=”1200″ height=”600″></div>

    <div><img src=”img/03.jpg” width=”1200″ height=”600″></div>

    <div><img src=”img/04.jpg” width=”1200″ height=”600″></div>

    <div><img src=”img/05.jpg” width=”1200″ height=”600″></div>

  </div>

</div>

Now, you’ll need to define your “touchswipe” rules, which will help to instruct your page on the optimal size of your slider.

.touchswipe {

  overflow: hidden;

  position: relative;

  max-width: 1200px;

  width: 100%;

  height: 600px;

  margin: 80px auto 0;

}

.touchswipe-wrap {

  overflow: hidden;

  position: relative;

}

.touchswipe-wrap > div {

  float: left;

  width: 100%;

  position: relative;

}

Once that’s done, you can either add the script at the bottom of the page – ensuring the entire document is loaded before the script – or you can add jQuery ready text, like the following:

$(document).ready(function(){

  // Slider = $(‘#homeslider’).touchswipe().data(‘touchswipe’);

});

This should allow the slider which loads to be easily manipulated using touch screens, whether from a tablet, smartphone, or touch-capable computer.

The Bottom Line

Designing great portfolio websites, or even impressive photography-heavy splash pages, can be difficult for beginners and those unfamiliar with JS and jQuery techniques. But these simple tutorials should demonstrate how to correctly incorporate high-impact design and UX elements which can decrease visual clutter on photos and improve the user’s overall experience.

header image courtesy of  stocksnap

This post Showcasing High-Res Photography: Design Tips & Tricks was written by Catalin Zorzini and first appearedon Inspired Magazine.

Fairy tale free seamless vector pattern


This a free fairy tale seamless pattern using our characters featured in our fairly tale illustration icon set. The pattern can be used in a variety different ways from a background on a website to print design. The pattern comes in two different file formats EPS and AI, so can be open in a range of various vector applications.

License Details

The design resources distributed on Creative Nerds may be used in commercial and personal design projects, but may not be redistributed or modified for resell. Any further question or queries don’t hesitate to contact us.


green seamless pattern Fairy tale free seamless vector pattern

light green fairy tale patttern Fairy tale free seamless vector pattern

pink seamless pattern Fairy tale free seamless vector pattern

white fairy tale seamless pattern Fairy tale free seamless vector pattern

Download


40 Essential Halloween vectors and icons


With the spookiest day of the year Halloween approaching we have put together an essential collection of resource to aid as starting point for creating your very Halloween themed designs. The roundup is one certainly worth bookmarking it includes vector, patterns, icons and much more.

Have we missed any great Halloween themed design resources we should have included in the roundup ? Please feel free to share in the comments section below.

1. Happy Halloweenhappy halloween 40 Essential Halloween vectors and icons

2. hand drawn websWEBS 40 Essential Halloween vectors and icons

3. Halloween Iconshalloween orange simple icons 40 Essential Halloween vectors and icons

4. Pumpkin emoticons for Halloweenemotiicons 40 Essential Halloween vectors and icons

5. 100+ Free Halloween Iconshalloween icons 40 Essential Halloween vectors and icons

6. Halloween Freekonshalloween freek icons 1 40 Essential Halloween vectors and icons

7. Halloween character iconscharacters 40 Essential Halloween vectors and icons

8. Halloween pumpkins smileyssmiley icons 40 Essential Halloween vectors and icons

9. Halloween Vector Art Pack Vol2vector pack 40 Essential Halloween vectors and icons

10. Halloween pumpkin free seamless vector patternpumkin 40 Essential Halloween vectors and icons

11. Shlophalloween font 40 Essential Halloween vectors and icons

12. Wicked Wallwicked wall 40 Essential Halloween vectors and icons

13. Halloween character packcharacter pack 40 Essential Halloween vectors and icons

14. Halloween character packhalloween pumpkin 40 Essential Halloween vectors and icons

15. Halloween cute patternshalloween pattern cute 40 Essential Halloween vectors and icons

16. Halloween Outline Vector Iconsoutline vectors 40 Essential Halloween vectors and icons

17. Free Vector Halloween Background Patternshalloween backgrounds 40 Essential Halloween vectors and icons

18. Decorative Hand Drawn Halloween Vectorsframes 40 Essential Halloween vectors and icons

19. 100 Terrifying free Halloween iconsterrying icons 40 Essential Halloween vectors and icons

20. Halloween pumpkin free social media icon sethalloween pumkin icon set 40 Essential Halloween vectors and icons

21. Zombie icons

zombie icons 40 Essential Halloween vectors and icons

22. Halloween Vector Packhalloween resources8 40 Essential Halloween vectors and icons

23. SHLOPhorror font1 40 Essential Halloween vectors and icons

24. Simple cute Halloween seamless vector patternhallween pumkin pattern1 40 Essential Halloween vectors and icons

25. A Seamless Typography Horror Photoshop and illustrator patterntypograhp pattern 40 Essential Halloween vectors and icons

26. Free Halloween icon sethalloween icon set 40 Essential Halloween vectors and icons

27. FREE Halloween Styleshalloween text styles thumb1 40 Essential Halloween vectors and icons

28. Halloween buttonshalloween buttons thumb 40 Essential Halloween vectors and icons

29. Smashing Pumpkins: A Free Halloween Vector Icon Sethalloween icons 40 Essential Halloween vectors and icons

30. Free Vector Pumpkin Patterns pumkin pattern 40 Essential Halloween vectors and icons

31. Halloween decorationhalloween decoration 40 Essential Halloween vectors and icons

32. Before Collapse – free fontcorpse thumb1 40 Essential Halloween vectors and icons

33. Halloween flat iconshalloween flat icons 40 Essential Halloween vectors and icons

34. Awesome Pumpkin And Skull Free Seamless patternhalloween pattern pumkin1 40 Essential Halloween vectors and icons

35. Halloween cartoon charactershalloween cartoon characters thumb5 40 Essential Halloween vectors and icons

36. Evil Halloween pumpkin vectorhalloween pumkin1 40 Essential Halloween vectors and icons

37. Halloween Free Seamless Bat Patternpurple halloween pattern thumb1 40 Essential Halloween vectors and icons

38. Scary halloween fontscary halloween font 40 Essential Halloween vectors and icons

39. Halloween design resource 10 free vector flyer templateshalloween flyer thumb2 40 Essential Halloween vectors and icons

40. Amazing free thick smoke Photoshop brush setsmokebrush 40 Essential Halloween vectors and icons

 


How to export multiple SVG graphics in illustrator quickly


This illustrator tutorial is a great quick tip  on how you can export multiple SVG graphics within illustrator rapidly.  The tutorial is in the form of a screen cast making it a lot easier to follow along with the screencast, and to grasp the technique. If you spend tons of time exports graphics from Illustrator this will be a huge time saver.

Tutorials details:

  • Program: Illustrator
  • Difficulty: Easy

Preview

export svg How to export multiple SVG graphics in illustrator quickly


WIX Website Builder Review: Does WIX Have What it Takes to Strengthen Your SEO?

Inspired Magazine
Inspired Magazine - creativity & inspiration daily

Is your site prepared for the often frustrating world of SEO? Most people interested in building a site have heard of WIX, but we’ve seen some questions regarding the effectiveness of WIX’s SEO.

That got us thinking about it, because many people run sites on WIX, and it would be a shame if they found out that they weren’t moving up in the search rankings as well as with other platforms.

The WIX website builder is strong for beginners and even mid-sized businesses. The templates look sleek, and it’s by far one of the simplest drag and drop page builders you can find on the market.

I’ve looked at some of the SEO tools in the past, but it’s often hard to really get into whether or not search engines are giving favor to some platforms or not.

So, we’re going to take a deeper look into WIX, going past the rudimentary SEO features and truly understanding if WIX has what it takes to give you a solid online presence.

What Can You Expect from WIX in Terms of SEO?

Wix basically takes care of the technical SEO part, so new site owners don’t need to be troubled with it, and can focus on their business. However, users will need to address and customize some of items to make sure that their sites are fully optimized for search engines. Thankfully, they’ve made the whole process pretty easy, so let’s have a look below.

Easy Page Meta Tags and Heading Tags

Every page on the web can contain Meta data, meaning a page’s title and description. In the world of SEO, it is important to make sure that each page on your site has a unique title and description tag as to inform the search engines what your page is all about.

Once the search engine has looked over this info and processed it, your page can come up in the search engine results for a user’s relevant query. The key here is to use the best possible keywords in order to come up in the relevant searches for your business.

Since meta data is displayed in Google search results you really want to ensure that these are useful for both the search engines and for customers. At the end of the day, you really want that click – so make sure your title and description are user-friendly and not just placed there for search engines.

Wix submits your Meta Tag data directly to Google; all you need to do is update the information. All of this becomes extremely easy to do for your business as all the customization possibilities are available through the editor. All you need to do is get to the page SEO settings, and fill in your desired title and description.

pages

In addition, it’s super easy to go in and customize the heading tags. Heading tags provide valuable info to search engines on what the main topics are of your web page. You can think of them as newspaper headlines – the most crucial info about the rest of the content will lie in the title.

You can see that adding a heading tag only tags a few short clicks below, it’s just a matter of knowing which Wix titles are associated with which type of heading tag. Easily enough – you can find all of the needed info about them over here

h-tag

Image SEO

Another item which is useful to customize, is the alt tag of images. As much as the search engines are intelligent, it is still challenging for them to know what images are about. That’s why they need a bit of help, and the alt text is there to do just that! When a search engine crawler will read the alt text, it will be informed and able to bring up your image in a user’s query.So make sure to tell Google or other search engines what’s going on in your image.

WIX does a pretty darn good job of guiding you through this process and giving you quick fields for optimizing images. You can then go in there and modify it within seconds.

image2

The SEO Wizard

Since SEO is not exactly something that people like to spend much time on, it’s useful when you receive a step-by-step guide for going through what needs to be completed.

WIX offers a large number of apps in its app store, and one of them is called the SEO Wizard. Once you install the app it walks you through all the steps you need to take to make your site search engine ready. The SEO Wizard will tell you if your page title and description are filled in and optimized, if your images are missing alt tags and more. It performs a mini audit of your page, to ensure you’re optimizing your page as well as you can. The App is really a must for any Wix user that wants to give their business a push. As we stated before, WIX is wonderful for beginners, and this seems to amplify that belief.

Perform 301 Redirects

Sometimes you need to carry the SEO value of an old page to another page or domain. This often occurs if you’ve created a brand new page or website for the same product or information. Not only does WIX have documentation to help you out with your redirects, but the interface is simple enough for keeping around your hard earned SEO.

Free, Custom Domains

This is one of the simplest ways to get your site to standout in the search engines. Most site builders have custom domains, but sometimes you have to pay for them. WIX gives it to you for free, which is a nice little bonus.

Will You Need to Hire an SEO Professional for Your WIX Site?

Let’s take a look at what an SEO professional generally does for you business. They will usually optimize your site so that the right keywords are attracting the search engines. This can be done on your own with the tools we talked about above.

Another method used by SEO experts is to distribute your links and business information to different local business directories all over the internet. These include Google, Google Maps, Yelp, Yahoo, Bing and others.

site booster

WIX actually offers an app called Site Booster to complete this process for you. I’ve tried it out in the past, and the app does a wonderful job of collecting your information once and sending it out to the various directories. The app pretty much eliminates the need for this service in my opinion.

Another area of concern is speeding up the process of Google recognizing your site. If you launch a restaurant it’s crucial for Google to log your site within the first week. WIX has all the guidelines you need for contacting Google and ensuring your website is registered.

submit url

The SEO Wizard we talked about above has some nice tips, one of them being to submit your website to Google directly.

How Does WIX Compare to Other Site Builders in the Realm of SEO?

Comparing all of the website builders is a tough task, but it’s clear that WIX has some solid advantages over other options like Squarespace, GoDaddy and Shopify. The reason I say this is because the company does a wonderful job of compiling documentation that’s not too complex for when you’d like to see a little SEO boost.

They have imagery and step-by-step procedures that tie right into the simple interface on the backend. Therefore, all you have to do is read the process then complete it inside the website builder. In addition, you gain access to the WIX app store, which provides tools like the SEO Wizard and Site Booster, both of which cut out the need to go out and pay an SEO professional.

Needless to say, WIX may seem simple on the surface, but it provides the proper tools you need to gain traction with Google and Bing.

If you have any questions about the effectiveness of Wix SEO, feel free to drop a comment in the section below.

This post WIX Website Builder Review: Does WIX Have What it Takes to Strengthen Your SEO? was written by Catalin Zorzini and first appearedon Inspired Magazine.

Mozello Website Builder Makes Waves with Free Blogging, Ecommerce and Ad-Free Interfaces

Inspired Magazine
Inspired Magazine - creativity & inspiration daily

Whenever I talk to someone who wants to make a free blog, I direct them to WordPress, Blogger or Tumblr. All of these are pretty easy to handle, and the users can find tons of articles, documentation and other details for learning how to post, edit images, handle comments and design the frontend.

The main problem I have with those platforms is that they don’t give you the best of support. And some of them force ads onto your website.

The good part, however, is that they are all completely free.

So when I heard about Mozello Website Builder it made me rather excited. This is primarily a website building platform and it’s also designed for building a beautiful blog, fast. Not only that, but you can configure a small ecommerce store without needing to go out and pay a monthly fee at a place like Shopify.

What’s more is that the blogs are completely ad free.

However, here’s the kicker: Mozello has an actual support team that treats you similar to a company that would make you pay for the website.

To be clear, Mozello also sells paid plans, so that’s the main reason it has a support team. But the customers who don’t pay a dime also have access to the support lines and documents.

Since this sounds so intriguing to me, let’s take a look at everything Mozello has to offer.

The Best Mozello Features

Support for Rather Large Online Stores

Even with the free plan you can start an online store with ten products. This is extremely rare, considering you generally have to pay for something like this. Implementing your store only takes a few minutes, where you upload imagery, punch in the product details and connect to a payment processor.

Not only that, but unlimited products are available for the highest payment plan. That’s pretty solid for those smaller businesses or blogs that don’t want any limitations on selling.

Impressive Themes

themes

At first glance I thought some of the themes from Mozello looked a little outdated. But once you take a loser look that’s only a handful of the themes. Most of them seem modern and simple, which is perfect for making a quick blog that’s used to share your thoughts.

We also like the themes for businesses, since you have all the branding tools like uploading logos, changing colors and adjusting typography.

Simple Blog Management

blog

When I say simple, I mean really simple. Blogging shouldn’t be all that complicated, so it’s refreshing to see a clean, white interface with just a few fields to punch in your posts. You even have a checkbox to instantly include social sharing buttons on each of your blog posts. This isn’t going to give you all the features you would find in WordPress, but most of the time you don’t need all the bells and whistles.

Visual Editor

visual editor

The visual editor doesn’t have drag and drop features, but you can click around and change around text and fonts. Layouts are customizable, and they have a small editing bar on the left hand side for adjusting the address, design, settings and pages.

Mozello Pricing

As we talked about above, Mozello provides a completely free account, which means that you don’t have to sign up for a trial period or anything like that. The site name is not completely custom, considering it gets hosted on the Mozello server. For example, you might have a site domain that looks something like this: yourname.mozello.com.

Look below to see the details from the free account, along with the two other plans you can choose from:

  • Free – Pay nothing and you gain access to mobile device support, 0.5GB of storage, marketing features, millions of possible designs, an online store for 10 items. Keep in mind that although they don’t display ads on your site, a small Mozello link is shown at the bottom.
  • Premium – For $7 per month you get your own domain name, mobile device support, 50GB of storage, everything that comes with the previous plan, an online store for 100 items and no reference to Mozello.
  • Premium Plus – For $14 per month you get everything from the previous plan, unlimited storage, an online store for unlimited items and no reference to Mozello.

Overall, you can’t beat the pricing here. The Free plan doesn’t have much in terms of storage, but the small online store is something you can’t find anywhere else. Not to mention, you don’t have to worry about any annoying ads.

The highest plan is only $14 per month, and that provides an entire online store with unlimited possibilities. This is even hard to accomplish with something like WIX or WordPress.

Mozello Customer Support

knowledge

Mozello customer support is my favorite part of the product. Not only do they still provide support for the free accounts, but it only gets better for paying customers.

A large knowledge base is there for you to complete your own research, which means that you can go through there and look up some of the questions that other people have had in the past. Mozello has a strong presence on social media if you’d like to reach out to them there, and you also have the ability to send the company an email if you’d like.

It doesn’t seem like Mozello has a chat box or phone number to call, but for the pricing, email support and a knowledge base is pretty darn good.

Who Should Be Using Mozello?

Mozello is excellent for individual entrepreneurs, startups and small to medium businesses.  However, since the prices are so low and the online store features are unlimited, I could see Mozello being useful for mid-sized businesses as well. Think about it: You only have to pay $14 per month for the highest plan, and that gets you a pretty incredible online store with unlimited products.

I’d recommend Mozello Website Builder to anyone who’s not looking to scale up that quickly, so if you have any further questions, feel free to drop a line in the comments below.

This post Mozello Website Builder Makes Waves with Free Blogging, Ecommerce and Ad-Free Interfaces was written by Catalin Zorzini and first appearedon Inspired Magazine.

20 Beautiful examples of Low Poly design illustrations


Low poly illustrations is a design trend, which is really starting to pick up some great momentum. Its design style which originated from video game development, but now been widely adopted into illustrations and poster designs. The beautiful geometric shapes combined  together from  a beautiful eye popping design.

This illustration showcase features designers and artists from all across globe who have done a tremendous of job creating the perfect low poly illustrations design, which will certainly inspire you to create your very own designs.

1. Crystal Beastscheater 20 Beautiful examples of Low Poly design illustrations

2. Crystal Beastspantha 20 Beautiful examples of Low Poly design illustrations

3. Crystal Beaststiger pantha 20 Beautiful examples of Low Poly design illustrations

4. Low Poly’ Portrait Seriesportait 2 20 Beautiful examples of Low Poly design illustrations

5. Low Poly’ Portrait Seriesporttait one portait2 20 Beautiful examples of Low Poly design illustrations

6. Low Poly’ Portrait Seriesportait 2 1 20 Beautiful examples of Low Poly design illustrations

7. Jack Nicholson – Low Polyjack nichson 20 Beautiful examples of Low Poly design illustrations

8. Intersellaintersella 20 Beautiful examples of Low Poly design illustrations

9. Low-poly Artfemale low poly 20 Beautiful examples of Low Poly design illustrations

10. Marina Nerymarina nerve 20 Beautiful examples of Low Poly design illustrations

11. Skullsskull 20 Beautiful examples of Low Poly design illustrations

12. Skullsskulls 20 Beautiful examples of Low Poly design illustrations

13. Taylor Swifttaylor swift 20 Beautiful examples of Low Poly design illustrations

14. David Beckhambeckham 20 Beautiful examples of Low Poly design illustrations

15. Fishlowpoly fish 20 Beautiful examples of Low Poly design illustrations

16. Mustafa Kemalkemmel 20 Beautiful examples of Low Poly design illustrations

17. SabotageSabotage 20 Beautiful examples of Low Poly design illustrations

18. Van Goghvan gouh 20 Beautiful examples of Low Poly design illustrations

19. Charlie Chaplincharlie 20 Beautiful examples of Low Poly design illustrations

20. Suicide Squadsuicide sqaud 20 Beautiful examples of Low Poly design illustrations


15 unique decorative free vector elements Edition #3


This is the third instalment in our popular web freebies series. This set of vector elements is a collection of 15 decorative elements you can use in your print designs or for even constructing patterns the possibilities are endless. Download for free, and I hope you enjoy using in your design projects.

License Details

The design resources distributed on Creative Nerds may be used in commercial and personal design projects, but may not be redistributed or modified for resell. Any further question or queries don’t hesitate to contact us.

Preview

decorative elements edition 3 15 unique decorative free vector elements Edition #3

Download


Is WordPress Ready to be a Business Application Platform?

WordPress was originally built for blogging. Eventually it evolved into a content management system. Now, many say its future is an application framework. It’s now quick and easy to assemble rich functionality using structured data, user management, and integrations with other platforms.

There have been many discussions about using WordPress for consumer targeted applications, but little about internal tools for business which begs the question, “is WordPress not a suitable fit”? Or is the topic infrequently discussed? I have my own thoughts about it, but first let’s see if it’s worth building an internal application at all.

Why build a business application at all?

Before considering if WordPress is a good fit we must consider if you need a custom application for your business in the first place. After ten years of working with all shapes and sizes of businesses, I’ve learned that everyone has a unique approach to what they do. Two companies providing the same type of product or service might have commonalities in outcome but their process leading up to the end result is dramatically different.

There is a myriad of existing tools that handle core business tasks, like accounting, project management, and customer relations. The problem is these tools all are often based around a specific, predefined methodology. Rarely (if ever) does that predefined methodology perfectly align with a businesses internal process. So rather than having a tool conform to how a business operates, businesses conform to how the tool operates. This is less than ideal.

Every Monday at 3.7 DESIGNS we have a meeting to set our weekly priorities. We’re old-school so we use Basecamp (ha!) for project management. Basecamp, however, doesn’t support prioritizing of tasks. To compensate for this missing feature we have a Dropbox Paper document to track weekly priorities. This adds unnecessary complexity–we now have to manage multiple tools to essentially figure out the same thing: what do I need to do next?

This isn’t Basecamp’s fault. They can’t add a feature to accommodate a business that operates slightly differently (which is every business). What we really need is a custom tool built around the way we manage projects that integrates with Basecamp. This would save us time, effort, and accuracy. This is just one example. If you consider your internal workflow I’m sure you can find a need for a custom tool for just about every core area of your business.

So if we can agree that there are massive benefits to custom business applications that match internal workflows, the question becomes is WordPress the right tool for the job?

Can you use WordPress as a business application framework?

If I were to think about what components would be necessary for an effective application framework the ones that come to mind are:

  • A way to manage access and permissions
  • The ability to create and manage structured data
  • The ability to communicate with outside APIs and applications

Obviously there are more less-critical features you’d want, but it’s pretty clear WordPress has the necessary capabilities. With an extendable role and permissions system, custom post types, taxonomies and meta data and the REST API (and tools like Zapier) you have everything you need to quickly assemble a rich, custom tool. You have granular control over access, the ability to store, retrieve and manipulate structured data and can integrate with external applications.

So by these standards WordPress certainly could be used as a business application framework. But, should it?

Should you use WordPress as a business application framework?

You might be thinking “There are a lot of actual frameworks that have the same, if not more capabilities.” True, there are plenty of language frameworks that are stripped down, more flexible, and don’t have the “baggage” that WordPress does. Rails, Node, React, and Larvel to name a few. Yes, there are numerous advantages from using a true application framework over an extendable CMS, but there are advantages to the CMS approach as well. Let’s look through them:

You can put together a prototype extremely quickly

I’d wager that most business applications fail not because they didn’t use the trendiest language, but because they provide enough value to be adopted. The time required to get a functioning prototype means less time testing and more time building. With WordPress you have tools like Custom Post Types UI and Advance Custom Fields to setup and display structured data within minutes. The quicker you get people using the application the more time you’ll have to adjust and improve.

WordPress already has an interface

If your application runs off the back end then you can reuse the bundled markup and selectors to mimic the same interface. No sense spending time and money designing your own interface or buying and adapting a template. If you’re using a front end there are tens of thousands of themes to get started with.

You’re already running WordPress

If you’re already using WordPress it could simplify things to keep everything running off a single instance. This could reduce the number of integrations required for some workflows. Managing contact form leads are a good example. Rather than going from Gravity Forms to Salesforce, everything could be managed right within WordPress.

You Can Take Advantage of the WordPress Ecosystem

There are tens of thousands of plugins and products that already interface with WordPress. No need to create a Zapier integration because it already exists. You might find an invoicing plugin that fits your needs perfectly–no need to build that piece of functionality from scratch. Worried about security, backups, etc…? Well you have a whole range of options to choose from.

You’re already familiar with WordPress

If you’re more familiar and faster in WordPress then your chance of developing a useful, working product is significantly higher. I’m not making the argument you should use a hammer to saw a plank in half… obviously WordPress is not the best fit for all situations; however, based on the previous criteria it can be a great fit in many situations.

Real world examples

Our first foray into a custom business application was Project Panorama, a plugin we developed to solve communication struggles with clients regarding project progress. Later, we built a design-strategy tool that let us quickly record our findings during design discovery so they could be presented and approved later.

website-strategy-application

More recently we’ve built a tool that helps us manage client maintenance plans. We’ve changed what plans we offer over time making it difficult to keep track of what services clients were paying for, when we should perform those services, and when they were up for renewal. We tried spreadsheets, milestones, and to-do’s in Basecamp, and even using a shared Google Calendar. It always ended up significantly more cumbersome than it should have.

To solve the problem we built our own tool in WordPress using the methods described above (a couple custom post types, custom taxonomies, and meta fields). We now have the ability to define service plans and assign them to client accounts, determine what services will be rendered and at what frequency. Because we have legacy clients that only want assistance once or twice per quarter we’ve added an indication when maintenance was last performed and when it should be performed next.

maintenance-plan-manager

Now at a glance we can see who is due for website maintenance this month and what exact services we’ve committed to doing all inside a system we’re already using regularly. While we haven’t tied this into any external services yet, there are dozens of possibilities to make this simple tool more effective. For example, we could integrate with existing plugins to send a new invoice when maintenance is performed, store e-mail responses in a comment thread, etc…

So is WordPress ready?

Absolutely. Obviously I’m biased, but I always advocate practicality in tool selection so this isn’t shooting from the hip. WordPress is a great fit for simple to moderately complicated workflows. It might not be the final solution for complicated workflows, but it’s still a great tool for a prototype. If you have a winning solution you can always rebuild it in something trendy. (That way you can brag to your friends.)

The post Is WordPress Ready to be a Business Application Platform? appeared first on Psychology of Web Design | 3.7 Blog.

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