I have functional experience in several different web design applications including Macromedia Dreamweaver, Microsoft FrontPage, and Dot Net Nuke. Depending on need, I am currently working primarily with WordPress and Joomla. I like WordPress and Joomla because they are both highly customizable and incredibly extensible. In fact, they are so extensible that I started to lose track of themes and extensions that I tested out and ended up liking.
This page serves as a portal for design elements that I find to be useful and effective. As always, I try very hard to use applications that are free.
General Design Tools
Firebug for Firefox – A must-have for identifying the code for visual elements seen on a website. You can take the covers of a website with simple point-and click navigation and understand exactly what code controls what you see. This is very useful for changing elements without sifting through pages of code contained in multiple files.
Download the famous WordPress.org software using the link above to begin building and hosting your own blog or website.
Once you have your WordPress site created, head over to the themes site to help with customizing your site. With over 700 free themes, you can have a field day downloading and inspecting themes to find just the right one(s) for you!
Plug ins allow you to add all sorts of funtionality to your site such as admin menu’s, voting booths, search boxes, widgets, comments, and so on! There are currently over 4000 plug in’s, so make sure to set some time aside to play.
- Maintenance Mode – Adds a splash page to your blog that lets visitors know your blog is down for maintenance. Logged in administrators get full access to the blog including the front-end.
- Admin drop down menu – Replaces admin menus with a CSS drop down menu bar across the top of the admin screens. Saves lots of clicks and page loads.
- Permalink Redirect – Convert the URLs of your pages into meaningful and shortened text.
- Page Link Manager – Adds admin panel to choose which pages appear in the site navigation.
- Category Posts Widget – Adds a widget that can display a specified number of posts from a single category. Can also set how many widgets to show.
- Flexi Pages Widget – A highly configurable WordPress sidebar widget to list pages and sub-pages. User friendly widget control comes with various options.
- Random Posts Widget – Display random posts in any widget area.
- Top 10 – Count daily and total visits per post and display the most popular posts based on the number of views.
- Enhanced WP Contact Form – WP Contact Form is a drop in form for users to contact you. In the message it sends to you it gives the page the user visited before the contact page, as well as the original outside referer.
- Google Analytics – This plugin makes it simple to add Google Analytics with extra search engines and automatic clickout and download tracking to your WordPress blog.
- WordPress.com Stats – Tracks views, post/page views, referrers, and clicks.
Joomla.org is the home site for the Joomla web design software. If you are new to Joomla, you should start here. Joomla is a free, open source, content management system that acts as a great web design tool.
JoomlaShack offers great looking templates – both free and paid – and hosts a very knowledgeable and helpful support community.