It’s been long time since we updated our blog and we thought that it’d be worth posting inspirational web designs for ourselves and of course for our favorite reader i.e. You! Chicks are synonym for beauty and what could have been a better way than This post to start the inspirational post series (yes! you’d see lots of inspirational posts in upcoming weeks and they’d be regular)? In this post we found fifteen such designs from the web that would attract girls! Feast your eyes with pure awesomeness & some of the web’s most beautiful web designs! We hope that you like these designs and that you’d love to share your opinion about them!

1. Veerle’s Blog

veerle-wordpress-design

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We all saw that how Osama’s death video malware was spreading on Facebook recently and created lot of trouble for the social network users. It’s sad to see that how anti-social elements are trying to socialize in their own manner! Anyway, I’m fully aware of such nasty tricks, so thankfully I didn’t become a victim, moreover, I keep myself safe with the help of fantastic software utilities by some fantastic individuals & companies! Let me share that how I keep myself safe from malicious websites and then I’ll share that how as a blogger/webmaster you should take the responsibility to keep your visitors safe.

Tools to keep yourself safe from malicious websites

1. Internet security softwares – There are some amazing internet security software both paid & free that are doing a fantastic job in keeping the users safe. I personally use Comodo’s free internet security software – even though it’s free – it’s got much more features and has better detection rate than even most popular paid internet security softwares! It’s got antivirus, antimalware, firewall, sandbox technology and what not, I recommend it to everyone.

2. Secure DNS solutionsOpenDNS, Comodo’s secure DNS are some of those services that deserve all the respect in the world! By just making small changes in your internet connection’s DNS settings, you can do tons of good to yourself! These services have a database of malicious and phishing websites and will automatically block them even if you happen to click on a dangerous link. I prefer Comodo’s secure DNS.

3. Web of TrustWeb of Trust is another such service that alerts you about the site’s reputation and the dangers associated with it. Facebook partnered with them, to alert it’s users for bad & dangerous links after it was raided by “social anti-social elements”. They have a plugin for major browsers which alerts users for bad links. It’s a must have for everyone!

4. McAfee SiteAdvisor – I’d be honest, I used to love Siteadvisor like anything, I still love it as it saves me from going to unreliable links and even shows the website’s reputation in search engine and thus allowing me to avoid possibly dangerous websites (It’s very much similar to Web Of Trust). However, now McAfee also install it’s toolbar and changes the search engine – that’s something it didn’t do earlier and I loved that way. Anyway, you can disable those things – so it still has my respect. It integrates well with major browsers and can be a great savior as you can see that which link can be dangerous even before you click it.

5. Sandboxie – Even though Comodo offers sandbox technology, I prefer to use Sandboxie. It’s a free tool that runs your programs in an isolated space which prevents them from making permanent changes to other programs and data in your computer. Check out the Sandboxie’s website to know more about this fantastic concept! Again, it’s a must have!

These tools keep my pretty much safe from most of the threats and I’m thankful to the wonderful developers who’ve made them.

Be a responsible blogger and secure your WordPress now!

As a user, I was safe however as a webmaster, the incident got me thinking that how blogs and websites can also be targeted by malware & virus makers, not that they haven’t done in the past, however – this is where I see it growing even more and a much faster rate! There is a flurry of automated comment submitting softwares in the market, any malware maker can host the malware on a website and then submit the comments with that malicious link on thousands of blogs in a matter of minutes and an ignorant blogger/webmaster can approve the comment which may result in the following -

  • Infect website/blog readers’ computers.
  • Reduce site’s ranking in Google – Google doesn’t like site that promote malware!
  • Bad reputation of website amongst visitors.

These are some points that no blogger would like to see happening to them. I certainly wouldn’t want this happening to me either. So, I decided to find a tool that would alert me of a malicious link before I approve any comment or which scans the links in the comments & posts and gives a report so that I can take corrective measures against those links. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find one!

Then it hit me that why are security companies not making such a tool? Tools like Web of Trust, Siteadvisor, OpenDNS, Comodo’s secure DNS depend a lot on community’s feedback, they certainly are useful and keep people safe, however it takes some time before the community gets to know of a newly created malicious website, what if you visit those sites before they are marked as unsafe? Wouldn’t it be cool if the security companies made a tool, that integrates with famous content management systems like WordPress & Drupal and shows the reputation of outgoing links to the visitor before hand? Not only this will be a win-win situation for bloggers, webmasters & readers; it’ll be a win-win situation for the antivirus company as well -

  • Tons of free data about links. This will only strengthen their commercial offerings! They can directly block dangerous links for their software users.
  • Free marketing – If not for the data, they can at least get the free marketing about their company! If they’ll show reputation of the link then they can always show the following message below it – “Link’s safety checked by XYZ Security Tool“. As a webmaster, I wouldn’t mind such a message, as it’ll strengthen my reputation amongst my readers that I care for them!

I’d given up looking for the tool and had started hoping that some security company will come up with such a tool that’ll show me link security report and will also show the reputation of out going links to my readers. And well, then I came across BitDefender’s Antispam! It’s almost the tool that I was expecting and that too from a popular and reputed security company!

Why Bitdefender Antispam when I’ve got Akismet?

That’s the first question that came in mind when I read the plugin’s name, however I was super happy to find out that it’s almost doing the same thing that I was thinking about, it’s just that it doesn’t take the advantage of free marketing & doesn’t scan the links in the posts. Bitdefender has made this essentially an anti-spam plugin, however I think it’ll gain the edge over Akismet as it will also check if the links are malicious or are phishing sites. The plugin is in beta and doesn’t appeal in terms of usability at all, however I’m still running it for few weeks to see how well it performs in terms of detecting the spam! Of course, I’ll be sharing my experience in the next blog post. Installation instructions for Bitdefender Antispam. Will I suggest the plugin now? Like other security tools that I’ve recommended, I won’t recommend this for now – it certainly needs a face-lift! However, I’m sure by the time it’ll be out of Beta, it should be one of your anti-spam solutions.

Secure WordPress to avoid stupid hacks & avoid becoming owner of a malicious website!

There have been lot of posts written about as to how one can secure WordPress, I’ve covered this topic as much as I could. The guides that we’ve included will not be the ultimate solution for making the site un-hackable, however by following them you’ll save yourself from automated attacks and newbie hackers who try and hack websites for fun. Please follow these links to make your WordPress secure -

I hope that other security companies take inspiration from Bitdefender and well my marketing tip and come up with such powerful tools for webmasters. This way together we’ll be able to make internet a bit safe! After all, we’ll be able to block them at source itself! And I hope that if you’ve not taken steps to secure your WordPress installation, then you would do them right after you share this post on social networks ;)

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Image via http://WPCandy.com

Yes! This post’s title is equally filled with juicy controversy as the one written by Joshua Strebel, co-founder of Page.ly, Is Tumblr the New WordPress?

…[We] just want a blog we can easily theme and post to, not [run] a site primary off it. WordPress is over-complicated over-kill for this, Tumblr works fine and is much easier to deal with…

This was the feedback given to Joshua by one of their corporate customers. Indeed its kind of scary for WordPress to know that people are switching to another platform because the number of features of WordPress can be over-whelming for many users (I’m adding “many” because both Tumblr & Posterous have an awesome user base). However, isn’t it too soon to consider Tumblr as an alternative of WordPress? or to even consider it as The New “Old WordPress” ?

Considering the fact WordPress can do everything that Tumblr has to offer and much more, I believe that Tumblr should be on its toes to fight what can be from “some competition” to “lots of competition” in a short span of time!

To come directly on the point, how difficult can it be a for a big WordPress development agency (I’m sure WooThemes can pull this off, looks like they already are thinking about similar stuff!) or a WordPress web hosting company (I would bet on & would want WPWebhost to come up with something like this) to come up as competition of Tumblr using WordPress? WordPress already has features like Tumblr (read: “Post formats” , “QuickPress” & few others that make Tumblr a good offering) & of course, one can use any existing plugin or create new to extend it the way they want it. Thus, offering a solution like Tumblr can’t be that difficult. In fact, here are ingredients to launch a competition of Tumblr -

  • WordPress multi-site
  • Few good-looking tumblog like themes with theme options
  • A robust hosting solution
  • Some tweaking on the back-end with restricted accounts

I wonder how many of you will agree with me on this one however, I can clearly see various kind of hosted services tailored specifically for WordPress platform coming up in the future. Here’s a deal: Joshua, if at all you are reading this, then come up with an additional service to help customers run Tumblogs on Page.ly & keep them on our beloved platform rather than send them away on Tumblr ;)

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jetpack

Automattic team has yet again proven that why they are such a brilliant and innovative company! This time around they’ve come up JetPack, an innovative idea for a plugin that presents their hosted add-on services of WordPress.com to millions of self-hosted WordPress (wordpress.org) installs across the web.

To put it up simply, its a plugin that bridges the gap between the features offered exclusively to WordPress.com users and self-hosted WordPress installs. Here’s what Scott Berkun himself said in his announcement post -

WordPress.com has grown into one of the most amazing cloud architectures in the world. This has enabled blogs hosted here to have features unavailable on self-hosted WordPress installs. This makes us sad, since here at WordPress.com we want every WordPress install everywhere to be amazing.

Once you install JetPack on your self-hosted WordPress install, you’ll get these additional features on your own WordPress-

  • Gravatar Hovercards – A Gravatar is your profile on the web, and the Hovercard is one way your information is made visible to others. It’s an easy way to help people find your blog, or access your identity on other services like twitter, facebook, or linkedin
  • WordPress.com Stats – All blogs on WordPress.com get our Stats as a free feature. Every time a visitor views a URL on your blog, the visitor’s web browser loads a small smiley-face image from our stats system. The action is logged and the logs are summarized every few minutes to update the statistics, graphs, charts, and lists
  • Twitter Widget – Twitter widget allows you to display Twitter feed in your blog’s sidebar or where ever widgets are supported in the theme
  • Shortcodes – Shortcodes allow you to easily and safely embed media from other places in your site. With just one simple code, you can tell WordPress to embed YouTube, Flickr, and other media. Enter a shortcode directly into the Post/Page editor to embed media. For specific instructions follow the links below.Available shortcodes are: archives, audio, blip.tvdailymotion, digg, flickrgooglevideo, scribd, slide, slideshare, soundcloud, vimeo, youtube, and polldaddy
  • Shortlinks - You may already be using one of the popular URL shorteners, such as bit.ly or TinyURL, to publish links on Twitter or other services. WordPress.com has its own URL shortening feature, wp.me, so that you can quickly and easily get shortened links to your blog posts and pages and share them to the world
  • Sharing – At the bottom of each post and page you can now include sharing buttons for your readers to share your content across a range of social networks/services.
  • Latex – WordPress.com supports Latex, a typesetting system that’s really good at formatting mathematical formulas and equation and finally ….
  • Proofreading – WordPress can check your spelling, grammar, and style using After the Deadline Proofreading technology.

At the time of the launch, above mentioned features are available and more features will be added in future. Well, these features are completely free although we can assume that it will also help Automattic to promote their freemium services like VideoPress, PollDaddy, Akismet and since it can be a single bridge between WordPress.com & millions of self hosted WordPress installs across the web, it has the power to become a very powerful & big platform only if Automattic decides to make WordPress.com anything like Facebook by combing all of its services listed on its homepage. Well, I would like to surely explain that in my next post Smile. For now, I would insist that you should install it as soon as possible as this is one hell of plugin!

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WordPress 3.1 was released couple of days ago with much fanfare and as usual its loaded with improved features, new features and fixes that were reported in previous releases. Matt, Founder of WordPress himself has proclaimed this release as the best release of the World renowned content management system.

There’s a bucket of candy for developers as well, including our new Post Formats support which makes it easy for themes to create portable tumblelogs with different styling for different types of posts, new CMS capabilities like archive pages for custom content types, a new Network Admin, an overhaul of the import and export system, and the ability to perform advanced taxonomy and custom fields queries. With the 3.1 release, WordPress is more of a CMS than ever before. The only limit to what you can build is your imagination.

Believe me or not, this new release will mean a lot to developers than publishers for couple of reasons -

  • Awesome new features – WordCast Team has written a fantastic blog post on WordPress 3.1 and have explained the new features nicely. Check it out to know more about WordPress 3.1. These new features will allow developers to extend and communicate with WordPress to develop rich content sites easily!
  • Support requests – Well, This is something for developers and WordPress users alike. As you have noticed that WordPress 3.1 has got loads of changes in the way Posts are handled; a reason why loads of users are facing problems with broken plugins and themes as soon as they upgrade to WordPress 3.1. Developers should release the fixes as soon as possible by referring to the changes they’ve made. Thankfully! WordPress team has always been awesome with the documentation, so as a developer you should not have much problems.

How do I check if my theme/plugin will work with WordPress 3.1?

Normally, you don’t get issues of broken themes & plugins with WordPress upgrades. With major releases, it makes sense that we don’t upgrade on production/live environment and rather create a test environment and then check if everything works fine or not. Our clients faced issues after the upgrade, although they were quick fixes, their site was down and was giving errors while we were fixing the bug.

I would suggest that one should clone their blog on a test location and then follow the upgrade procedure or try to upgrade it automatically through WordPress auto upgrade feature.

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Cake with WordPress Logo

Automattic has finally made the step that was awaited by thousands of WordPress Designers like us, they are now accepting premium themes in WordPress.com’s theme market place. This feature was discussed back in 2007 during the infamous “premium theme market” debate and although it took 3 years for this to happen, the move has been well appreciated by the community.

It’s a no surprise that WooThemes along with The Theme Foundry were chosen as the pilots for this project in Automattic. Both the WordPress design agencies came up with neat and clean design, although I personally loved Shelf, ThemeFoundry’s theme more because its got unconventional, tumblog style. On the other hand, Headlines is a generic theme with global appeal, nice design, color schemes options and not to forget a powerful and widely accepted framework. This is what Automattic said in the announcement -

We hope to expand the collection of themes on WordPress.com in a big way in 2011. Look for a significant number of both free and premium themes coming your way this year. And, thank you to our WordPress.com community for helping the Automattic network reach the mark of 500 million unique visitors per month. We couldn’t do it without you! [via - WP Market Place]

With a huge user base and virtually no solid competitor, Automattic is going to be obvious choice for blogging. With the launch of the Premium WordPress Design feature,  the current state of premium wordpress theme market will multiply pretty quickly. Unfortunately, neither there is information on kind of features or limitations are kept for the developers of premium themes for WordPress.com network nor any information about the revenue sharing. I’m sure this information will soon be made available to the developers once they open up the market place for rest of the developers to join.

What will be interesting to see is that how exactly market will respond to the new offering, if WordPress.com’s premium themes will be able to utilize the WordPress’ true power then how will if it effect the sales of premium themes that work on stand-alone version and offers more control? I believe that this feature will help Automattic a lot, apart from that it’ll help grow the overall WordPress market as well since premium themes in WordPress.com will be utilizing the power of WordPress CMS and will establish its image as CMS rather than a blogging engine. Of course, “the myth” “WordPress is just a blogging engine” is actually becoming “a myth in itself” as it’s been winning Best CMS Award since couple of years, still in general it is considered less powerful than Joomla & Drupal. With that, do we have any service that offers hosted Drupal or Joomla? I guess, WordPress beats them in that department too ;) I’m sure this step will only convert more web designers into WordPress designers. What are your thoughts about it?

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Cone Flowers.preview
Via – Triangle

Without Inspiration the best powers of the mind remain dormant, they is a fuel in us which needs to be ignited with sparks. ~ Johann Gottfried Von Herder.

Till this time, we got inspired by looking at various header, 404 error pages, footer, post footers, comments designs and learned that what could be used in those sections. Today we’ll discuss yet another important area of the blog i.e. Sidebar. A sidebar is present in almost every blog you come across and rightly so as a sidebar helps in utilizing the web page real estate in a great way and also impact the overall look of the blog. In this post we’ll discuss that what can be achieved from sidebars and will share great examples of sidebar designs of various blogs:

  • Subscription options – In most of the blog designs that you’ll come across , you’ll see that the newsletter subscription options exist generally in the sidebar. This way it doesn’t look forced on the visitors and will attract genuine subscribers.
  • Author’s profiles – On many single authored blogs, you’d find that the bloggers tend to display their small bio along with the links to their social media profiles. This is a great way to showcase the person behind the blog and thus gives the chance to readers to connect with the blogger rather than just the blog.
  • Recent posts – Sidebar is the best place to showcase the recent posts. That way they don’t interfere with the current blog post and ensures that no matter on which post the visitor is, they’d get to see the latest posts of your blog.
  • Categories/tags – In most of the blogs categories and tags are displayed in the sidebar because even visitors are used to seeing categories and tags in that area.
  • Related posts/popular posts – It completely depends on you as to what you want to display in the sidebar. Some bloggers choose to display related posts or popular posts in the sidebar adjacent to the blog post. That way a visitor doesn’t miss them and results in more page views.
  • Recent comments – If your focus is to increase the interactivity with your readers, then showing recent comments in the sidebar is a good option. When a reader sees the interaction happening on a blog, they also tend to take part in it.
  • Facebook/Twitter streams – Facebook & Twitter have become integral part of the blogosphere. Almost every professional blogger will either link to their profiles in the sidebar or they choose to display their streams in the sidebar. This gives readers a good chance to connect with the blogger outside the blog.
  • Blogroll or Credits – Blogrolls were very popular in early days of the blogging, however they’re not used as frequently in recent times (Professional bloggers don’t tend to use it these days), however its still a pretty popular amongst bloggers who maintain blogs as part of their hobby or have personal blogs. Sidebar is the apt place place for pushing blogroll or with affiliate links to webhost or other programs.
  • Advertising – This goes without saying! If you are a professional blogger chances are that you’ll depend on advertising and sidebars are good place to show leader boards or 125×125 image ads.

Inspirational Sidebars of blogs

1. Fuel Your Creativity

fuelyourcreativity

2. Fuzeo

fuzeo 

3. Specky Boy

speckboy 

4. Eco Simply

eco-simply

5. Markos

markos 

6. Fringe Focus

fringefocus 

7. Larissa Meek

larissameek

8. Playstation Blog

playstation

9. Grain Edit

grainedit 

10. WebGP Design

webgpdesign

11. CopyKat

copykat

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