The Two Best Keyboard Shortcut Cheat Sheets

The-two-best-keyboard-shortcut-cheat-sheetsDo you ever feel like there aren’t enough hours to accomplish everything you need to get done each day? Using keyboard shortcuts is a surefire way to increase your productivity and accomplish more work each day. Here at Designer Blogs, we use keyboard shortcuts like mad women to help us dramatically speed up our design work and processes. We wanted to share with you the two best keyboard shortcuts cheat sheets we’ve found for learning keyboard shortcuts in Photoshop and Illustrator. These visualizers include keyboard shortcuts for most of the programs in Adobe Creative Cloud. You can print them out and pin them up by your computer or download them as a desktop wallpaper for quick reference when you need help remembering a shortcut.


Adobe Shortcut Mapper:

FASTPRINTby FastPrint


Adobe CC Keyboard Shortcuts Cheat Sheet:

SET-UP-A-BLOG-TODAYby Set Up a Blog Today

We think these are pretty great and hope you will too!

Posted by: Erin

Printable | Lemonade Bar

Summertime is almost here and there’s nothing better than sitting outside under the warm sun, sipping on a delicious glass of fresh squeezed lemonade. Add in a few fruit flavored ice cubes and you’ve got the best summertime drink out there.

Take it one step further and create a lemonade bar for your next party or event with our free lemonade bar printable! Blend up some fruit and freeze it in ice cube trays and your guests will rave about the fun drink mix-ins.

LEMONADE-PRINTABLE

lemonadebarprintable

lemonadebarprintable
lemonadebarprintable
3
4

Making simple fruit cubes is really, well, simple!

Here is the recipe:

Lemonade with Fruit Ice Cubes

Ingredients

1 cup water
½ cup sugar
2 cups raspberries (can substitute 2 cups strawberries, 2 cups mango, or 2 cups peaches)
waxed paper
ice cube trays
bottles of lemonade (amount will vary depending on how many people you are serving)

We like to use Simply Lemonade because it tastes closest to fresh. But any type of lemonade will do the trick. Canned, bottled, or fresh-squeezed – you decide!

Directions

1. To make the raspberry ice cubes, add one cup of water and half cup of sugar to a small saucepan and bring to a boil.
2. Once boiling, add the raspberries and let cook for about five minutes.
3. Remove from heat and use a potato masher or fork to gently mash the raspberries. You want some of them to stay mostly intact and others to let out their delicious red juices.
4. Let cool for about 20 minutes and then pour the raspberries and syrup juice into ice cube trays.
5. Allow four to six hours for complete freezing. Makes 30 to 36 ice cubes.
6. Use a spoon to carefully remove the frozen fruit from trays so the cubes keep their shape. Store between sheets of waxed paper.
7. Make sure to wait until you are ready to serve the beverages to remove the fruit cubes from the freezer. If they are left out too long, they will turn into fruit puddles.

Repeat these directions with any fruit of your choosing. Then let the mixing begin!

lemonadebarprintableThe lemonade and fruit flavors are such a delectable combination. My personal favorite is mixing in strawberry and peach cubes. You may have to adjust the number of cubes depending on how much lemonade is in your glass. Just add and stir to your liking. You can’t go wrong!

We’ve created some free printables for you with all of the labels you’ll need for your event. Simply print, cut, attach and you’re done! Included are labels for lemonade, four different types of fruit cubes, and lemonade bar instructions. You can download everything you need right here:

For personal use only.

Posted by: Lindsey

How To Add a Contact Form to Your Blog

Having a way for your readers to contact you is extremely important. Your blog should have an easy-to-find contact page that implements a contact form. You can learn how to add a contact page to your blog using this tutorial (Blogger) or this tutorial (WordPress). Then follow the tutorial below to get a contact form added to your contact page.

HOW TO ADD A CONTACT FORM TO YOUR BLOG - DESIGNERBLOGSThere are countless ways to add a contact form to your site, but today I’m going to share with you a method that works well on both Blogger and WordPress blogs. Blogger does have a new Contact Form gadget which allows you to easily add a contact box to the sidebar of your blog. Unfortunately, the contact form gadget does not allow the form to be added to a page, which is the ideal location for a contact form. In WordPress, there are a variety of great plugins like Contact Form 7 or Fast Secure Contact Form which are easy to install and use–however, they require the use of a plugin and having too many plugins installed to your site can slow it down.

Today’s tutorial will show you how to add a contact form to your WordPress or Blogger blog without the use of a plugin or gadget by using a service called Wufoo. Wufoo is a fabulous online form building service that is super easy to use. It is hosted on a cloud so it doesn’t require you to install anything to your server. Their interface is really fun to use and is extremely user friendly. They also have a great help section with tutorials for just about anything you may find you need help with.


Step 1: Create the Form

To begin, head on over to Wufoo and click the “Sign Up Free” button. Then enter in the info to create a free account.

1

Once your account is created, click on the “Let’s go make one!” link.

2

You’ll definitely want to know the names of the people contacting you, so let’s start by adding a name field. Click on the “Name” button and voilà — the name field will be added. Simple, right?

3

Next let’s add a place for people to leave their email address, so you’ll have a way to reply. Click on the “Email” button to get the email field added.

4

Now you’ll want a place for people to leave you a message, so click on the “Paragraph Text” button to get that added. You’ll notice that this field appears with the title “Untitled.” To title it, click on that field or you can also click on the “Field Settings” tab to edit the options . Give it a title under “Field Label.” You can also select whether or not you want the field to be required. I recommend setting each of the three fields we’ve added to “Required.” You can play around with the different options for each field until you get it looking right. Also, feel free to add any additional fields your form might need.

5

Now you’ll want to title the form, so click on the “Untitled Form” field or click on the “Form Settings” tab to edit the form settings. Change the title to something like “Contact Form.” You can leave the description blank or customize it with whatever you’d like it to say. You’ll also want to click on “Customize Confirmation Message” to change the message people receive when they submit the form. Then click the “Save Form” button at the bottom of the page to save the form.

6


Step 2: Set up Email Notifications

Now we need to set up the email notifications for the form, so click on the “Setup email notifications for this form” button.

7

Enter in the email address where you want to receive the forms. Also, make sure to set “Set Reply To” to “Email.” This will allow you to simply hit reply in your email account to reply to each contact form submission. Then click the “Customize Notification Email” and under “Your Name or Company” type in your blog/company name. Then hit the “Done” button. You can also set it to send notifications to your mobile device if wanted. When you are done hit “Save.”

8


Step 3: Embed Form to Site

Now click on the “Forms” tab at the top of the page and it will take you to a list of the forms you’ve created. On the Contact Form that you just created, click the “Share” button.

9

Now click on “Embed.”

10Copy all of the code.

11In Blogger, find your contact page and then paste the code into the html of that page.

12

In WordPress, find the contact page and paste the code into the Text editor of that page. You can also install the Wufoo Shortcode Plugin and then paste in the shortcode rather than the html code.

13

Hit “Update”/”Publish” and then view your page to see your new contact form! Be sure to test it to make sure that it works.

If you want to change the design of the form to coordinate with the design of your site, go to the “Themes” tab in Wufoo and you can adjust the colors, fonts, borders, etc. there.

14Please let us know if you have any questions about this tutorial or run into any issues!

Posted by: Erin 

Free Monthly Blogger Template | May

free-monthly-blogger-templates
Happy Monday! We hope this months free Blogger template will brighten your day. When installed to your blog, you’ll be able to edit the title, tagline, and menu link titles. All font colors are customizable in this template. Everything else comes as shown in the preview. Remember that by downloading this template you are agreeing to these terms. Enjoy!

free-blogger-template

For personal use only.

 
FOR-MORE-TEMPLATE-DESIGNS

May Desktop Background

may-backgroundWhat is your purpose? What are you living for? Are you chasing the world’s version of perfect or are you fulfilling your true purpose–a purpose greater than having a beautiful Instagram feed, a thriving blog, or a fashionable wardrobe? Living with purpose means sometimes forgoing good things in order to better focus your time on the best things like spending quality time with your kids, serving your neighbor, loving on your husband, etc.

We hope our May desktop background will help remind you to make “it” — your greater purpose — happen each day!

For personal use only.

Posted by: Erin 

How To Dramatically Increase Mailing List Subscribers

Now that you understand how important having a mailing list is (part 1) and you’ve learned how to set up a mailing list (part 2), let’s dive in and talk today about how to dramatically build your list of subscribers and target your dream audience in part 3 of our mailing list series!

how to dramatically increase email subscribersFirst off, we have a confession to make. You ready for it? Here goes:

We absolutely love helping people grow and better their blogs!

Hopefully you’ve already gathered that, but if not, this post is sure to prove that to you because it is packed with several surefire steps to increased traffic and growth!

Now, you have to remember that we’ve only been at building our mailing list for about six months now, so it’s safe to say we still have much to learn, but we have done some key things that have helped us grow our list so exponentially–from 0 to 10,000+ subscribers–in such a short period of time. This month we even broke a personal record and signed up 127 new subscribers in a single day! It was exciting and we want you to be able to feel the same type of excitement we’ve felt as you work to grow your list too!

So are you ready for this?

Are you really ready to learn how to build a killer email list that will dramatically boost your blog traffic and sales?

Then let’s do this.


Step 1: Create an opt-in incentive your target audience can’t resist

An opt-in incentive is an absolute must have if you want to build your email list fast. People are not going to want to subscribe to your newsletter unless you give them a good reason to. Giving your subscribers an incentive like a free download, printable, video, eBook, etc. is one of the best ways to grow your mailing list fast! But you can’t just offer any run-of-the-mill thing. Think about who your dream audience is and then offer something that would be irresistible to that target audience. You don’t want any Joe Blow off the street to be subscribing to your mailing list. You want your subscriber list to only consist of people that actually have the potential of turning into frequent readers and/or paying customers—people that are actually interested in what you have to offer.

Your opt-in incentive is key to attracting your dream list of subscribers, so really spend time developing a freebie that is perfectly related to what you offer. If you offer an unrelated opt-in incentive, you are going to attract an unrelated audience that will most likely click the “unsubscribe” button as soon as they receive your first email. That’s definitely not what you want.

So how do you know what the perfect opt-in incentive is for your site?

Well, it’s quite simple really.

All you have to do is ask!

Here’s what we did to find out what our readers wanted. We took to social media with this post:

facebook-example
The overwhelming response we received from readers was that they wanted a well-designed, very comprehensive blog planner. So we got busy and created the boss of all blog planners that could be used as our opt-in incentive. We poured every ounce of our heart and talent into this blog planner because we knew it would be reflective of the quality of services and products our subscribers could expect from us. Make your incentive top-notch. Make it relevant. Make it irresistible!
 

Step 2: Add a way to supply the incentive to your subscribers when they opt-in

Once you’ve created your irresistible incentive, you’ll need to create a way for your subscribers to automatically receive it once they opt-in. The Double Opt-In For Download (DIOFD) Plugin for WordPress is a great plugin that makes this effortless and easy. The premium version allows you to link the plugin to your mailing list in MailChimp or elsewhere so you can keep all of your subscribers perfectly in sync. They do such a stellar job explaining how to set up this plugin over at DIOFD, that we’ll just let you hop on over there for the instructions.


Step 3: Add strategically placed opt-ins on your site

If you want to encourage people to sign up to your mailing list, it’s important to make it easy for them to do so. These key places will give your opt-in boxes maximum exposure:
 
#1: Lightbox Pop-up

Most people kind of hate these, but it’s a proven fact that they work! However, depending on your niche, they can also kill your conversions because they can be very annoying. If you opt to add a pop-up, choose one (not all) of the following options:

  • Popover style: displays a popup opt-in window on your site. You can set it to pop up as soon as someone lands on your site or set up a delay so it only pops up after a reader has been on your site a certain amount of time. SumoMe is a popular plugin for this.
  • Top bar pop-up: this pins the email signup form to a colored bar across the top of every page. Many Contacts is a good plugin for this.
  • Scroll Triggered pop-up: designed to get the attention of visitors who have engaged in your site by scrolling down. Dreamgrow Scroll Triggered Box is a popular plugin for this.

 
#2: Top of Sidebar

Your email opt-in box needs to be placed at the very top of your sidebar for maximum exposure and engagement. Having it even just partially down on your sidebar will cost you valuable subscribers, so keep it smack dab, right there at the top.
 
#3: On Home Page

If you have a website, you want to treat your home page like an email capture page. Place a big call-to-action button or opt-in form front and center on your home page like we did to tempt and entice your visitors to sign up for your newsletter. If your blog page is your sites front page, then adding one of the pop-up options above is a good home page opt-in alternative.

DB-SCREENSHOT

#4: After Each Post

This is a great way to convert visitors who have stumbled over to one of your posts from Pinterest or elsewhere. If someone makes it to the end of your post, it means they clearly love your content and so why not ask them to opt-in right then and there when they are feeling great about your work? PopupAlly is a great plugin for this.

#5: On Your About Page

If you have Google Analytics installed you’ll probably notice that your about page is one of the most popular pages on your site. So why not take advantage of the traffic going there by adding an opt-in? After reading all about you, your visitors will naturally be head-over-heals in love with you, so why not ask them to opt-in while they are still in that prime early love phase? Ooh-la-la!

Here at Designer Blogs we love all of the above options but we don’t use them all. Here’s why: we only use the ones we’ve found work best for our particular niche. What works for some, might not work for others. So experiment with each of these options and find what creates the highest conversions for your particular niche.


Step 4: Create amazing content

Last, but certainly not least, is the importance of creating killer content. You might have oodles and oodles of subscribers, but if your content is growing stale and you don’t produce anything to keep your subscribers interested, they will quickly start heading for the hills. Don’t let this happen! Amazing content is what will attract people to your site and amazing content is what will motivate them to stick around because it will be the foundation of your regular newsletters, so make it good!
 

Have you enjoyed this 3-part mailing list series? Would you like future series? If so, let us know what topics are of interest to you!

Posted by: Erin

The Hottest New Fonts

Here at Designer Blogs we are always keeping our eye out for the hottest new fonts on the market so you don’t have to! Today we wanted to share with you six of the most gorgeous new fonts around. Each of these were launched within the last two months and will make a stand out presence in any font collection. Most of these include fancy glyphs, which you can learn how to use here. Enjoy these lovelies!

164917RIVEA

167775GO GIPSY

167052ASTERISM CLEAN

166661TT CHOCOLATES

165524CHARLIZE

167366NISTIVER

Posted by: Erin

How to Create a Mailing List and Add Opt-Ins to Your Site

Today in part two of our mailing list series we’ll be discussing the steps to creating a mailing list and adding an opt-in form to your site. If you didn’t catch part one of this series, be sure to check it out here before continuing.

how-to-create-a-mailing-listThere are a wide variety of mailing list services out there but the one we’ll be focusing on today is MailChimp because it’s the one we use here at Designer Blogs. MailChimp is super user friendly, allows you to send automated emails, offers killer analytics, and we highly recommend it.

Best yet, MailChimp allows you to start a mailing list completely free! You don’t have to purchase a plan until you’ve accumulated 5400+ subscribers. From that point on, you can upgrade as your list grows.

So, are you ready to start the magic of a mailing list? Here we go.


1. Sign up for MailChimp

Step 1: Visit Mr. Chimp

Hop on over to MailChimp and click on one of the big “Sign Up Free” buttons.

1

Step 2: Create Your Account

Enter in your email, a username and a password and then click “Create My Account.” You will then receive a prompt to check your email to activate your account.

2

Step 3: Activate your MailChimp Account

Head over to your email account and open the MailChimp email. Click on the red button to get your account activated so you can start the magic.

Step 4: Fill Out Your Personal Information

You will then be directed to a screen that will ask for all of your personal information (name, address, etc.). You must enter this all in before you can continue. When you are done, click “Save And Get Started.”

Step 5: Understand the Dashboard

At the top of the page, you’ll see a menu with several links.

3Here’s a brief summary of each link:

  • Campaigns: shows all of the emails you’ve sent out to your list(s).
  • Templates: shows the different designs & layouts you’ve created & saved for your emails.
  • Lists: this shows the group of people who have subscribed to your mailing list. You can have more than one list.
  • Reports: this will show the stats for each of your campaigns and how your campaigns compare to your industry average. This also shows how many subscribers each campaign was sent to and how many opens & clicks each campaign produced.
  • Automation: allows you to create automated emails (e.g. a welcome email after someone subscribes). This is a paid feature and can only be used once you’ve upgraded your account.


2. Create a List

Before you can add an opt-in form for your site, you’ll first need to create a list. Click on “Lists” in the menu and then click on “Create List.”

4At this point you’ll be asked for the following details about your list:

  • List name: give your subscriber list a name. If you plan to only have one list that consists of all of your subscribers, you can name it something like “Weekly Newsletter.” If needed, you can set up several lists for your different categories of subscribers.
  • Default “from” email: the email address where you want any replies to your newsletter to be sent.
  • Default “from” name: the name that will show up in the inbox of everyone on the list who receives your email.
  • Remind people how they got on your list: what you put here will show up at the bottom of every email you send to your list. You may want to put something like: “You are receiving this email because you opted in at our website.”

 
Finish by checking that your address is correct and then select what type of notifications you’d like to receive. When you are finished, click “Save.”

We’ll talk about how to dramatically build your list of subscribers next week in part 3 of this series.


3. Add Opt-ins to your site

To get an opt-in form created, go to “Lists” and then click on “Signup forms.” Note: It may ask you to verify your email and review your information before proceeding. If so, follow the steps to get your email verified. Then click on the “Signup forms” link again.

5

Step 1: Build the Form

Find “General forms” and click the “Select” button. This will take you to a page that will allow you to build your form. I recommend just asking for a first name and email address because the fewer fields you have, the more likely people will be to sign up. You can click and drag the fields into the desired order.

11

Step 2: Design the Form

Now it’s time to make your form pretty so click on the “Design it” tab. Navigate to the different areas of the form by clicking on the corresponding links. You can then change the colors, fonts, font sizes and font colors. Make sure the colors you choose compliment your site design. If you’d like a custom designed opt-in box like the one at the top of our sidebar, please contact us for a quote.

8

Step 3: Add the opt-in box to Your Site

Go to “Embedded forms” and click on the “Select” button.

9
I recommend sticking with the classic form. I also recommend unchecking the bottom three options as shown below to keep your form looking as clean as possible (you don’t want to distract people from signing up by having too much going on). Leaving the “Form width” area blank will allow the form to take on the width of the area you place the form.

10Copy the html code it generates and then paste it into an html gadget/widget on your site. Now anyone that visits your site can join your mailing list.


4. Send out your first email

Once you’ve accumulated a few subscribers, you can send off your first email!

Step 1: Create a campaign

Click on “Campaign” and then hit the “Create Campaign” button. Select “Regular Campaign.” Next you’ll be asked which list you want to send the campaign to. Select your list and mark the bubble “Send to entire list.” Then click the “Next” button at the bottom of the page.

13

Step 2: Name Your Campaign

Choose a name for your campaign. If you send out a weekly newsletter, you might title it something like “Weekly Newsletter – June 1st.” This is for your own personal reference. Your subscribers will not see the name of the campaign.

You’ll also need to pick an email subject. Be descriptive and creative. Write something that will tempt your subscribers to open it. Your subscribers will see this.

You can leave the other selections as is, except I recommend also checking the “Google Analytics link tracking” option if you have Google analytics set up for your site. Then click “Next.”

Step 3: Select a Template

Look through the visual options and select a template that will work for you. If you don’t like any you see, you can always create your own template using the drag and drop editor in the next step. What you create can be saved as a template for use on subsequent newsletters.

Step 4: Compose Your Newsletter

MailChimp makes composing a newsletter easy peasy. To edit a section, simply double click on it. You can drag over different sections to create the perfect template.

14

Step 5: Customize the Design

Click the “Design” tab to customize the fonts, colors, text sizes, etc. I recommend coordinating the colors of your newsletter to your blog or website to help keep your branding streamlined and consistent. Uploading your logo to the top of the design would also make a great statement. When you are finished designing the template, remember to click the “Save as Template” link at the top of the page to save the template for future use.

15

Step 6: Preview, Test & Send!

I recommend sending a test email to yourself before sending it to your list to double check that everything looks good. Click “Preview and Test” and then click “Send a Test Email.” Enter in the email address to where you want the test email sent and click “Send Test.” Then go check your email to preview the email exactly how your subscribers will see it.

You can also preview the email without sending a test email by going to “Preview and Test” and then “Enter Preview Mode.” When you’ve got everything looking exactly how you want it, click “Next” at the bottom of the page.

16
After clicking next, you’ll see a list of items that MailChimp double checks before queuing your email to be sent. They may list some things that need to be resolved. Resolve those items and then click “Send” at the bottom of the screen. A pop up will appear showing that your email is prepared for launch. Click “Send Now” to send it immediately.

You can also choose to schedule your email at a specific date and time. If you purchase an upgraded account, you can let MailChimp optimize the time the email is sent for maximum engagement, which is a really great feature. Once you have everything set, click “Schedule Campaign.”

Once a campaign has been sent you can visit the “Reports” tab to review the stats for each campaign.


And that’s it! You are now well on your way to building a flourishing mailing list. Remember, we love designing custom opt-in forms for clients, so if you want a form that is more customized than what you can create using this tutorial, give us a holler and we’d love to make it happen for you!

Stay tuned next week and I’ll give you the inside scoop on how to dramatically increase your mailing list subscribers and target your dream audience. You won’t want to miss it!

Posted by: Erin

Printable | Dream Big

dream

How about a printable on this lovely Monday morning?  Dream big is one of my very favorite sentiments.  I don’t know if you are the same way, but I am always encouraging my friends and family to live courageously and to make sure that their dreams happen.  *Cue big “however”.

HOWEVER (ehem),

sometimes I am not great at following my own advice.  It is scary to put yourself out there.  I’ve realized over time though, that the more I do, the more I become my real self.  And although sometimes painful, it is nearly always worth it.

If you need a little encouragement to go for the gusto, you can download this print right here.

DOWNLOAD

Posted by: Emily

Featured Design | The Day Tradette

tdtmoodboardWe loved working with Rachel of The Day Tradette on her new custom blog design. Rachel is a finance guru and offers advice on investing and personal finance for young adults just starting out. Her blog teaches how to budget, save money and invest so you can maximize your money. Her writing is very straightforward so that “non-financey” people can easily apply the principles she teaches.

Rachel wanted her blog design to be clean, professional and sleek but at the same time to appeal to young adults. She requested to work with Erika S. because she loved the work showcased in our portfolio by Erika. Erika went to town and has worked her magic yet again. Here’s a look at the finished product:

screenshot

Erika’s take on the project:

I love working with neutrals with a pop of color, so The Day Tradette was one of those designs that just fell into place for me. I love how the green (a little nod to money, since The Day Tradette is a finance blog) really stands out against everything else. It makes the blog have an air of fun to it. Possibly my favorite part of this design, though, is the sticky navigation! I love sticky navigation bars because I think they really take designs to the next level. They also prompt readers to click around a little bit on the site, which is always a great thing!

Rachel’s Testimonial:

I was looking for a new, custom, design for my blog, The Day Tradette. I wanted a design that was clean, black and white, and as a finance blog, could look both cute and professional. I was drawn to Designer Blogs’, and in particular Erika S.’, clean designs and thought it would be a great fit for a new design that didn’t break the bank.

Erika S. was so great to work with. I was very surprised at how quickly the process went – Erika was always extremely responsive, even when I had a bunch of tiny details I wanted to change. She seamlessly transferred my blog to the new design for me, and was even in touch after the new design went up to answer questions. As a finance blogger I care a lot about value, and it’s pretty hard to beat the value of Designer Blogs.

Be sure to check out The Day Tradette today!