10 Tutorials to Take Your WordPress Development Skills to the Next Level

by Steven Snell

November 30, 2009 in Tutorials

As the community of WordPress designers and developers continues to grow, and as new versions of WordPress are released, there are more opportunities to learn different techniques and tricks that you can apply in your own work. In these 10 tutorials you will find strategies that should prove to be very useful in your own theme development.

1. Using Custom Taxonomies to Create a Movie Database

Custom taxonomies in WordPress are similar to tags and categories, but they provide almost endless possibilities. In this tutorial Justin Tadlock shows a practical use for custom taxonomies while working on a movie database website. He shows how to set up custom taxonomies for actor, director, genre, producer, studio, and writer. This will make it easier for visitors to navigate the site as they can click on the actors name and see all of his/her movies. Justin also wrote an introductory post to Custom Taxonomies in WordPress 2.8.

You can also find more about custom taxonomies in Chris Coyier and Jeff Starr’s new book, Digging into WordPress, which I highly recommend.

Using Custom Taxonomies to Create a Movie Database

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How to Determine if You Should Accept a Freelance Project

by Steven Snell

November 25, 2009 in Business/Freelance

When I first started freelancing I was happy to take any project that came my way. At that time without an established network and even without a portfolio site, most of the clients I picked up came through word-of-mouth referrals from friends and family. When I finally got to the point of getting a significant number of leads and inquiries, one of the most difficult things for me was to determine which projects I should take and which ones I should turn down, or at least delay until another time.

Before long I found out the hard way that just blindly taking projects was causing unnecessary stress (I still had a full-time job at that point and not much time for client projects) and more significantly, it was preventing me from doing my best work and taking the time to learn as much as possible through the experience, which should be a priority for any designer who is just getting started.

One of the best ways to learn is by making mistakes, so I did pick up some valuable knowledge that I have been able to use ever since. However, if you are facing situations where you are unsure about accepting a project or unclear about what factors you should consider, I hope that my mistakes can also be a help to you.

Unfortunately, making decisions on which projects to take (and also on pricing) is not always easy. In this post I’ll cover a number of different factors that I feel should be considered. Keep in mind that each situation is different, so not all of the factors will apply, and in some cases the significance of specific factors will vary greatly.

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Critical Resources to Help Designers Get Organized

by Steven Snell

November 24, 2009 in Resources

One of the most important aspects of running a freelance business is getting and staying organized. Most freelancers wear so many different hats and have such a wide variety of responsibilities that organization will be one of the critical factors in determining what percentage of working time can be dedicated to income-generating activities.

Organization is key to achieving optimal productivity and efficiency, which of course are important for any freelancer who wants to earn a living without working ridiculous hours. In the life and work of a freelance designer there are many different aspects that must be well organized. In this article we’ll take a look at a number of different ways that freelancers need to be organized, and I’ll point out some helpful resources along the way.

Inspiration Organization:

Designers rely on inspiration to help them achieve the best possible results with their work. This includes online inspiration from other websites through web design galleries or design blogs, and it includes a wide variety of offline sources, such as nature, magazines, newspapers, brochures, photographs, and the list could go on. With the amount of inspiration that is available, particularly online inspiration it can be easy to experience “inspiration overload.”

Avoiding inspiration overload requires some organization, plus the willingness to limit your sources of inspiration to those that are really helpful and productive for you. For offline inspiration, I wrote a post at Vandelay Design about using a notebook to compile and organize your sources of inspiration. I have found this to be very helpful for keeping track of things that I like and having them readily available when they’re needed.

Evernote is a great resource that will allow you to organize your inspiration by grabbing screenshots by using tags and/or notebooks.


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