Free Halloween Cards

I have been deep in a very corporate web design project for the last few weeks but today have turned to a far more frivolous  graphic design project, Halloween card design

You can download these free cards, print them out using your desktop printer on some good quality card stock for an easy scary card. Click the image you’d like, for a printable pdf .

© 2011 Chicago Web Designer

Free Vector Pattern: contemporary design

A few weeks ago I had an email from a packaging designer asking if they could incorporate this winter theme vector in the packaging for a set of Christmas bowls.  We exchanged a few emails and I agreed it would be perfectly okay to go ahead and use the pattern. I really appreciated the honesty of this designer ( Vibeke Star of requesting permission upfront to use the design! It makes a refreshing change from those who think it is not a problem to swipe stuff from this site.

So in celebration of all those honest designer out there here,  is another pattern for you, a contemporary little number I like to call bubble alert.


©: 2011 Chicago Web Designer

Coupons and money saving tricks for web designers.

Back in May I wrote a blog post “Extreme couponing for web designers” which listed FREE services and applications any web designer will appreciate. Today I am back with coupon codes and money saving tricks for domain names and web hosting.

Coupons for domain names

Without a doubt GoDaddy continues to offer the best prices for domain names and there are plenty of coupon codes out there to get an even better deal.  For example the code cjc749fat will get you a .com domain name for $7.49 . The deals/codes  changes on a regular basis but a good site with up to date information is

Web Hosting

Here are some ways to can save on web hosting

  1. What type of hosting account do you need for your web site? Most hosting companies offer a number of different packages and the more complex your website the more you will need from your hosting company. If you have a simple web site the basic hosting package will probably suffice… no need to upgrade for features and functionality you don’t need.
  2. Before opening a new hosting account always do a Google search to see if you can find any coupons, for the company you wish to host with or the type of hosting account you need.
  3. Committing to an initial 12 month contract as opposed to month to month, will generally give you a better rate and save you money in the long run.
  4. Set up a reseller account, many hosting companies will give you a discount on every site you host with them.

© 2011 Chicago web designer

Extreme Couponing for Web Designers

I watched my first episode of  TLC’s Extreme Couponing last week and was amazed at the ingenuity and lengths some people go to,  to get stuff for free. The internet plays a huge part in their ability to get the best deals on all sorts of products.

So in the spirit of that program I thought I’d do a series on Extreme Couponing for web designers.

Let kick off with What you can get for FREE – no coupons required for this stuff

Google Products:  Google offers a load of free products, from the  igoogle home pageyou can fill with gadgets to manage your bookmarks ( even have a folder for all your coupon web sites), see the weather for the week, read the news etc, to Gmail for your email needs. They even offer free storage of photographs through Picasa and you can build a basic website using Google sites

Blogging Platforms
Google’s blogger is great for simple blogs but WordPress is better for the more complex.

Content Management Systems
WordPress is being used more and more these days as a CMS system ( I read recently that 14% of all new web site being built today are built using WordPress).  Joomla is a great application for building member type web sites, Drupal is another good contender.

Internet Marketing
Set up free social networking  accounts with Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and monitor traffic and SEO efforts with the wonderful Google Analytics

Next time coupons for domain names hosting and stock photography.

© 2011 Chicago web designer

Business Owners, are you using Google Offers?

Moving my web design company to Chicago a few months ago has kick started a re-optimization of my web site to better serve my new Chicago location.  I have also created my business  profile in a number of local business directories such as Yelp and Merchant Circle to build  a local reputation.

In my quest for relevant directories I came across Google Offers today,  a FREE marketing tool which works in conjunction with Google maps.  If you would like to take advantage of this, here is the Chicago web designer’s tip of the day.

  1. List your business on Google Places using your Google account login information. Company name, address, telephone, email and category are required fields. Optional fields include hours of operation, photo upload e.g logo,  description, and even a video upload.
  2. Verify your business. This is easily done by an automated phone system – the quick way or via a PIN sent to the business address. Once verified your business will appear on Google maps.
  3. On your main Google Places Dashboard click “Offers” and select +add  new offer
  4. Complete the offer form and hit submit.
  5. Once your offer is live you can edit, pause or delete it.

Here is the offer I created today: Free website review


©2011 Chicago web designer

A couple of time saving Google Tools

Here are two time saving tools recently launched by Google.

Firstly if you are a blogger and use Twitter to promote your blog posts (it was one of my best uses of Twitter – Can Twitter Help My Business), Google’s Feedburner now incorporates a “socialize function”. This allows Feedburner to automatically tweet any new blog post directly to Twitter. It can be customized in a variety of ways including

  • Post content: Title, Title and body or body only
  • Inclusion of a link
  • Automatic creation of hash tags
  • The ability to add custom text

A nice little time saver, you can read more about it here: AdSense for Feeds: Socializing your feed with Twitter.

Secondly is the Share button built into the latest Google Toolbar, download it here.
The share button enables you to send any page you visit to a huge variety of social networks, blogging accounts, email address anything from Facebook to Yahoo Bookmarks. It provides a shortened version of the URL – particularly useful for Twitter accounts where you are limited to 140 characters.

As usual both of these tools are offered for free. What tools are you using to save time?

Click for more tips and tricks

2010 © St Louis Web Designer