1WD Foundation: In Order To Speed Up, You Need To Slow Down


Do you know that in order to speed up, you need to take things slow? That’s right, before running, it is smart to warm up and prepare –  check the map, put on the right running gear, and put a drink in your backpack!

You don’t just start coding a website right off the bat, right? Before you create a website for a client you probably send them a questionnaire, discuss the details and draft a contract outlining what you agreed too, right?

Even if you design a website for yourself, don’t you write down what the end result will look like?

Don’t you sketch or create a wireframe before you start coding?

Well, you can choose to skip the preparation stage in the hopes of getting your project finished sooner, but you will likely waste a lot of time if you don’t have clarity and run into creative blocks!

In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.

Dwight D. Eisenhower

And we are doing exactly that with you! Let’s quickly return to check the foundations and basics again – before you speed up! And I can bet even the most advanced web designers and freelancers will learn a new trick! And maybe we will remind you of something you that used to be part of your process, but now you skip.

This happens to me all the time, what about you? You read the same tip several times, but still don’t take the time to include it in your workflow!

You notice what you are doing only when you take stock and pay attention to what you’re doing – this is the time to:

  • document and assess your daily workflow
  • acknowledge and correct bad coding practices
  • question time-consuming parts
  • think about how you can save time by having a good system, or automation
  • start noticing when you are the most creative and how to get there again! Work smarter!

On 1WD we will be focusing on covering the basics for the next three months to help you become a – FIRST WEB DESIGNER!

We will use already published content and put the most useful articles and videos on a separate page for beginners – Web Design 101, Freelance 101, WordPress 101! Then we can move to new, shinier things!

And no worries – it will be a healthy mix of basics and controversial thoughts about the happenings in the web design industry, like the State of WordPress themes!

In this video you will learn what you can expect from 1stwebdesigner now and in the near future. If you really want to change and make an impact to what articles and content you see here, it’s time to step up and say so!

Let’s focus on building a great foundation and let’s enjoy being part of the community and stop being alone! We are here and waiting for your feedback, questions, comments and concerns!

The best stuff happens in the comments! It’s place where you meet other like minded people, start developing connections and engage with us too!

I am waiting for your brilliant comments! Especially, I would love to read your answer to these questions:

  • What is the one thing you absolutely love on 1stwebdesigner and would love to see more of?
  • What is the one thing you really don’t like or miss here, something we can improve upon?


  1. Joel Mercado

    I like the most, the helpful tips and tutorials you have here, and I would like for you to continue helping us improve as you and the team has until now.
    Thanks for everything.

  2. Thank you for this article. I like your design! I’m french, and I often inspired by your work..
    It could be nice to see new design because I would like to inspire my work again. I work in the market “zen”, especially “massage”, do you have design about relaxation..?
    Thanks again or all

    Best regards,

  3. Andrea Venter

    Hi Dainis,

    I really enjoy the practicality of the website, and the willingness you have to share your thoughts and experiences to help us all out a little bit. I’m really keen to become a designer, and had tried my hand at a website for a bed and breakfast, i managed to get it up and running but I know i still got SO much to learn, and it all seems so intimidating. So I started reading through my emails at the mails you have been sending ot recently, and slowly have being getting some idea’s to plan a foundation, and then start tackling the learning. I appreciate your efforts with the videos, but with my very very veeeerrrry slow internet connection, they do not play, so it would be nice to have the option to read whatever was being said in the video as i do feel like i have missed out on a lot.

    Otherwise, i dont have much else to say but keep on going, you’re doing an awesome job thus far!

    • Hey Andrea!

      Oh that is awesome that your ideas are going wild, and you start planning foundation! However remember not to plan too much, but just start – do as you learn, you will make mistakes, but you will learn from them much better than just reading articles or listening instruction, but not checking how they work for you!

      What is your background, and don’t you have website yet? We have created video already on how to have website and WordPress launched in 5 minutes, you will love it! Ah, where is it, should be published soon! Once you have website you can start playing with it, learning and doing exactly what you need – one thing at a time! I suggest that, because well, that’s how I worked and that’s what has been always worked for me!

      Regarding videos – where are you, that you have such slow connection? That is upsetting because we are pushing on videos, pains me to hear you are not even able to watch, hear them! Looks like we will need to start taking care of transcripts then.. But hey- why so slow connection? All world is getting faster and faster, you cannot even see videos on bad 360p, 240p quality???

      If you maybe dont know how to change quality ( worse quality = faster loading time), here is screenshot –

  4. my background’s in marketing and i love the way you respect your visitors. I’m not a website/ design expert but your approach is always accessible. I very rarely feel stupid … or that the skills you’re describing are out of reach. As a newbie, I’m not sure I even know what I don’t know. Because of that, it’s difficult for me to point at anything that might be missing. I do suppose that if there’s one thing, it is making people aware of the need for a plan, a brand/ message strategy and objectives for your site. After all, if you don’t know who you want to talk to, how you want to differentiate, how you want people to think/ feel about your brand or what you want to accomplish…. how will you know what you should do to accomplish what you want. I’m not thinking that you’d ever be the font of marketing / strategy … but it is something people should think about.

    • Susan, thank you for taking time to write this! You are right it is quite hard to describe what is missing if you don’t know what you sont know. Oh, totally – need of plan, differentiating – niching down is super important. Actually I am sure that you need to learn basics of running business, have strategy – when you become freelancer, you are running you own business!

  5. Bálint Polgár

    Finally a place where i can learn everything i didn’t know about webdesign and freelancing.
    I have some knowledge about those things, but i didn’t find a way to take my skills onto the next level… Until now ( i hope :D )

    What i like about 1stwebdesigner? The idea of the new tutorials: teaching from the basics.

    • Balint, oh thank you – definitely, and good place for videos will be also on 1WD.TV kinda like video training module from basics. Keep coming back, keep learning and if you think we are doing something wrong let us know – we are email or comment away!

  6. Nate

    Hi Dainis,
    I really enjoy Michael John Burns tutorials on making web page layouts in photoshop. They have taught me a lot and have helped me improve my photoshop and web layout skills. I do wish there were more articles on how to convert those PSD files into code, and not just HTML and CSS code but how to code the slider images with javascript or jquery. Maybe some more advanced coding too like implementing comment sections, forms, dropdown menus, how to code the social networking buttons and things like that.
    I have become a big fan of your site and I usually learn something new every day!

    • Hey Nate, oh great idea we could create tutorials of hacking those designs straight to WordPress..together with HTML,CSS. I understand you are eager for more complete tutorials – from start to finish right? Great idea1

      • Christina

        Hello Dainis!
        I totally agree with Nate! It would be great to have more of these tutorials!

  7. Dennis

    Hi Dainis, I’m Peruvian and my name is pronounced like your name but written differently :) because of the English pronuntiation, I found your website when I was looking for responsive design and then I realized that you were focusing on freelancing so that makes me feel happy because I wanted to start a career as a freelancer by the way and that is one of the biggest things I’m loving, what I hate could be the design of your site xD, well I mean it’s not responsive or am I wrong? but in spite of that, the content is so great for what I’m looking for now, so keep with the good content and thanks for all!!
    greetings from Cusco / Perú

    • Hey Dennis – haha, amazing – I love name friends – and it’s not that common name as well!

      You keep hitting me by the balls! Yes, site is not responsive..and it is terrible, because we minimised all clutter..and got bad looking site..but just something that works for now. Cannot wait to show off new design, which is fully RESPONSIVE! :) Working hard on finishing tweaks, HTML&CSS, everything is fully ready – WordPress conversion is taking a bit longer than expected.

      Thanks again Dennis, I am sure if you will be coming back until you see new responsive layout – you will fell in love with this site once again hehe!

  8. Nice to meet you, Dainis! I found you guys through a video that Spence did that was so clear and well done (and resolved my problem) that I followed the video to your other sites, emailed him and he gave me this link. I haven’t explored this part over here much yet, but all I can say is that I have found great relief in finding you guys and that I really appreciate your sense of community.

    I’m getting into WordPress kicking and screaming, coming through the back door, doing most things wrong… :) I had set up my site and another friend’s on Frontpage years ago and they were so outdated and ugly that nobody (including us) wanted to look at them anymore. Plus, I had a blog on Blogger and wanted to bring that in to the same place. I get quite a few technology/social media emails and knew that I had to go with WordPress and after watching some tutorials, felt that I could do it. Sure, I “get” it. But, it is not user friendly and I don’t know enough code to feel confident about changing templates or creating my own design elements and the WordPress boards are all technical and about code. I am also setting up a BuddyPress site and that’s a nightmare!

    Meanwhile, even with these limitations, other people have started to ask me to do their sites and my “real” job is running an arts org that makes very little money. I am always stressed about bills and now I see that this can be my bread winner while I build the other business. So, when Spence told me about this web design course that you guys are doing, I jumped on it. What I really appreciate is that you are sharing your knowledge like this. You can obviously make the $300/hour and that you take the time to spread the knowledge and bring in those of us who are flea-bitten and lonely for the ride amazes me!

    I don’t know what the one thing is that I don’t like yet. The other site confused me with the videos as they are out of order and keep referring to past tutorials, so I hope that here the building blocks will be chronological.

    I’m excited!

    • Welcome Rachel,
      Spencer is indeed amazing guy and from now on you can expect a lot more helpful videos being published here. However for now you can browse around, use Google search “phrase site:1stwebdesigner.com” to find what you want to learn about. We have more than 1.500 articles already here for your satisfaction :)

      Amazing that you made the step forward – everything unknown is scary at first, but if we overcome fear and stop being afraid doing mistakes, it leads to such great satisfaction and amazing knowledge,skills!

      When starting WordPress the easiest way to learn it is to get some basics and then just start playing, modifying different themes! And Spencer is already working on start to finish wordpress site building video screencast.

      Oh I understand what you mean..about past tutorials – it’s tempting to link back to highlight past content, but it also needs to be refreshed often (really hard to do with videos). But we will be doing this way – put together pages like Web Design 101, WordPress 101 in natural order where you can just jump on parts you want or go step by step to really nail everything down!

      Thank you for your comment, I better stop talking and get back to work :)

      • Hi, Dainis-

        I did sign up for your email alerts and look forward to what you guys are developing. Meanwhile, I am going to work from the back up and look at your WordPress postings from the back to the front. I know that a lot of this gets outdated quickly, but I’ll skim through and hopefully find some treasures along the way. I’ve got a basic working knowledge now, but still have gaps that I need to fill.

        One of the biggest problems that I am having is setting up the registration for the BuddyPress group that I am working on: http://www.tafaforum.com I followed a tutorial that Spence did and tried to set up the settings by creating a new role for Members (which I created) but now nobody can get in, even ones who registered before. This group is meant to have a private registration for our members. The content can be visible to the public, but only approved members should get access to it. I was hoping that you might direct me to any other info that you guys have on setting this up. All of the plugins that I have looked at allow members to invite other members and I don’t want them to be able to do that.

        I would also like to see something that explains more about what the roles mean, on the page where there is a list of what people can do. What exactly does it mean to be a participant, contributor, etc. I would like members to be able to contribute to the blog, to create groups, to be able to moderate their groups, and to load galleries of images to the portfolio.

        Finally, I have been looking for a plugin that makes all of the fields on the site able to load images and links, behaving like our comment sections on Facebook do. Add a link and get a thumbnail of that link, load images, etc. I did load a plugin from WPMU DEV, but have read bad reviews about them. Spence said that you guys worked with both Ning and Social Go and they have some of the functionalities that I am looking for. I actually tried to set this forum up on Social Go two years ago, but it was so clunky and the navigation was confusing to the members, so we left it. We have group hubs on all of the major social media hubs and our private Facebook group has been the best tool so far, but the life of info shared there doesn’t last very long which is why I decided that we needed this forum again. My main goal is to have a place where members can look up tutorials and info on their business needs and then I don’t have to repeat myself over and over again. I’m sure you guys have the same issues with all of us, which I am assuming is why you are changing your approach.

        So, obviously, I don’t expect to be hand held, but thought that if you can quickly direct me to the info above, great! If not, these would be some topics I would like to see covered in your future tutorials.

        You’re going to need a secretary if you keep answering each individual comment! :)

        • Rachel, I hope Spencer helped you – he said you both were talking, good luck! I am not so much specialist around BuddyPress, so didnt feel I can really respond your questions good enough.

          Ah, I love spending time like this responding and talking with likeminded people..like you :) Well, it takes time, but it’s so much worth it! If you take time to write comment, it’s just fair I am here as well! :) And this is where I get energy to keep doing what I am doing.. :)

        • Hi Rachel
          It’s great that you made it over here, we love your enthusiasm!

          With regard to specific bbPress and BuddyPress questions, I would suggest you have two places that are better for receiving help:
          a) For today: Over at the LabZip Forums or
          b) Later this week: At our new 1wd.tv community forums (soon to be running this week)

          The comments are here would not be so good a place because of the amount of back and forth likely required ;-)

          See you there!

          • Thanks, Spence! It’s a little confusing to figure out where you guys are, but I know that you are going through big-time reorganizing. I so appreciate all of the knowledge and help that both of you are sharing with the community at large.

  9. Wendy

    Hello and Thank you.

    I second a lot of what has already been mentioned here in the comments. I am new to web design (recently built first website and recently graduated from online school/courses (University of Phoenix)). I learned the basics during school but since I performed all of my classes online I did not have the interaction with people on a daily basis. Some instructors were really great with explaining things while others were not. Much near the end of the degree plan I realized that I really had a strong interest in web design and not so much in all of information technology. Unfortunately, I only had a small handful of classes that were language based. You could say I am learning from a clean slate. I have little knowledge of WordPress, HTML, CSS and JavaScript and that about sums it up.

    I am really glad I have stumbled upon your newsletter and videos. I feel like the timing is perfect and am glad I caught them at the beginning of the process. I love the more detailed oriented plan of how the learning/teaching will be carried out. I am one of those that will be asking a lot of questions. I love details. I also learn visually, so the more examples you provide in your lessons the better.

    As for content, anything and everything is greatly wanted and appreciated. Thank you hugely for doing this and providing your time to teach others.



    • Wendy – Oh I had the same exact experience in school! We barely touched web design in last year..and in design academy – there were just one lecture per week..useless. Learned everything online as well, so don’t worry – great place to be!!!

      Oh you will enjoy video tutorials, screencasts then – Spencer..our wordpress and freelance guru has already recorded few cool videos he will be publishing soon..!

      About more detailed plan, with new redesign, we will put on sidebar – pages for learning those basics..and also put all videos in one place for good sequence – http://www.1WD.tv will be the place for that.

      But first of all I would suggest getting your own domain, hosting (little expense, for bluehost it’s 3.95$/mo) so you can start having online presence..and once you setup wordpress you can start learning, getting fun through messing around with different themes, plugins..and real soon, 1-2 weeks we’ll already have great video tutorials for you published you can use to really get serious!

      Here is past published article about first steps in WordPress – we need updated, new ones of course, but to get you started – really great and useful to make first steps, get first understanding – http://www.1stwebdesigner.com/wordpress/wordpress-step-by-step-beginners-guide/

      • I have a question about BlueHost. I see that you guys recommend them a lot and I see their widgets/ads on your site. I have my sites hosted with them, but they have been down a lot (and quickly back up) in the last few weeks. It makes me nervous because another site that I run for my organization was down for two weeks (hosted by JaguarPC) because they broke a node on their server. They lost a lot of data and we lost business, were unable to promote the site, gave a bad impression to our audience for being down so long, etc.

        I have been frustrated by how long the WordPress sites take to load and I did see a tutorial that Spence did on making WordPress sites load more quickly with cache plugins (still above my head but I kind of get it). But, an article I read said that BlueHost and others like it are not great for WordPress because there are thousands of other sites sharing the same server and WordPress has so much going on behind the scenes that it slows it down even more to be on this kind of hosting.

        My question is: Do you really trust BlueHost? If so, would moving to a semi-dedicated option help with making WordPress load faster? Or, are there other hosts that are affordable that you can also recommend?

        • Rachel, the reason why I recommend Bluehost is because it’s great starting solution! Reliable enough if you start fresh and CHEAP! Of course, as you grow and you receive more traffic..then you start thinking about dedicated site, doing regular backups on your HDD or another server to make it foolproof if something goes wrong on god forbid..somebody hacks your site.

          To answer your question -depends from your traffic. I believe if traffic is less than 30.000 monthly uniques (just aprox number), then you won’t feel the change much. For example, in past my cheap server for 1WD started lagging..with 100.000 unique monthly visits..and then I needed to think about more reliable, powerful system. We got dedicated server just year ago..when we got around 2.5 million monthly uniques.

          If server keeps failing you and you notice super slow times – try support..and they will probably explain the cause..maybe too much traffic. To save yourself against loss of data you need to do backups. We do backups once a week.

          • Hee, hee…. No, I don’t need to worry about traffic yet! :) The sites are not super slow, but the WordPress ones do take longer to load than the other platforms that I’ve used. Thanks for your reply. Good info!

  10. Victor Owusu

    Well, Thanks Dainis for your work. I just started checking out this blog and I think it is awesome. I am actually a web developer and that is to say that I do a lot of programming than design. Anyway, how I got to this blog was that I found some pretty useful html5 and css3 templates here and I got to download them for free. I think that is awesome. I have also realized that web design has moved to another level and industry standards are going higher and higher, and so we also got to improve our skills. Thanks for all you are doing about educating everyone about these new technologies. I look forward to more useful articles and tutorials. I think you can even start adding useful video tutorials on JQuery. I look forward to learning that very soon and I would be glad to learn that here. I have not yet seen anything I do not like here on this blog yet. I will let you know if one comes up.
    Until then, keep up the good work!

    • Thank you Victor – keep us accountable haha!
      Oh yes, we will start covering more of jQuery soon! Until that you can check existing articles and tutorials published already on 1WD – http://goo.gl/Z27Hz It should be good start!

      Good luck and thanks for kind words, Victor!

    • Thanks Madin!
      Glad you enjoyed the video – obviously I am still waiting for more feedback on what you want to learn and get out of this site!? :) I am waiting as you know if you watched the video until end haha!

  11. kola

    Hi Dainis,

    I have been seriously enjoying your articles and blog since I came in contact with you. I have aptitude for programming but i have not really been serious about giving it the commitment required, but i just decide i want to start off the design of my website.Please can you recommend a material that can easily guide me all the way to doing this.I can say much for now, but you have really been contributing positively towards motivating in bracing up for my design lessons and blogging.

    • Hey Kola,
      yes! Having your own website is the first, most important start to get into web designing! Playing and trying new things with your site will do wonders in experience!

      Can you tell me what you meant by guiding all the way?:
      – getting domain, site address
      – getting hosting
      – installing wordpress
      – installing first theme, playing around, setting up?

      If that’s what you meant, then in 1-2 weeks we will have video tutorial available doing just that! But the first step is to get your own hosting and think of unique domain name!

      Here is place to pick up hosting – http://www.1stwebdesigner.com/design/only-web-hosting-guide-you-will-need/

      We recommend Bluehost as one of the best and also cheapest solution for your first site. And by the way – you can register your domain using their system..and also install WordPress automatically! If you know your domain name, then you can have your own site up and running in 3 minutes! I am serious!

      Once you have your site, you have online presence, you can start playing with WP, customising, learning what you want to do!

      • kola

        Thanks for your reply,

        Yes I once bought a domain name, which I am presently considering to change. Also buying Host account wouldn’t be a problem. I am however interested in getting any book or other resources that will guide and help me in building my website and blog and other requirements to start my blogging

        • Kola, we are working on first videos right now! Spencer already created video tutorial how he created our team blogs site –

          Actually to start blogging – don’t overthink it! When I started this blog – I used free WordPress theme, which I just customised a bit visual part! Dont think you need all the fluff to start – just start writing, start blogging and only then you will fully understand what kind of functionality you need from your blog!

          And also..it will give you chance to really get familiar with backend..and just play with some customisations! Through trial and error it all starts – I don’t believe any book will help you better instead if you just simply start – not glamorous way, but it works! Look at 1WD now 5 years later!

  12. Zetax

    Hi Dainis.
    what i really like about 1stwebdesigner is the focus you give to bussines. because even if this is our passion and we love to do it, we freelancers ( begginers and proffesionals) don´t really want to learn fancy things for the love of doing it, we also want to be able to live of it.

    Some thing i’ll really like to see is an author in this page more web development focussed. i know this page is more for designers, but some how it looks as if that is somethink is lacking.


    • Hey Zetax.
      Oh yes, this took me long time to understand unfortunately. I always worried that covering freelance will make people complain that it’s not directly web design related. But now of course – every web designer = freelancer, or thinks about doing so! Of course, both sides should be covered – if you freelance, you are business owner..and that is whole new game.

      We want to mix these things – graphic web design parts for basics, web design – HTML,CSS,WordPress,jQuery, freelance – getting clients, having good portfolio, niching down to be unique etc..

      And I will check how you react on business side, content marketing going together with web design. That’s the topic I enjoy and because of running 1WD know the best. For example – there is strong reason, why web designers should blog as well. You may not see results directly at first, but it helps to keep growing yourself, building trust with new clients – where in blog you show that you know what you are talking about..etc.

      What about something you missed from things I talked in this video and article?

  13. Paula

    Hi Dainis,
    I’ve been a subscriber for over a year. While I’m not a web designer, or at least not yet, I’m considering it as an option in the near future. I like your site very much, and I’m finding a lot of useful information. I’m really excited about Spence’s course on how to make money with WordPress.
    Going back to basics is a great idea for both beginners and more advanced designers. I’m looking forward to learning the correct process and tools of web design.
    Thank you, and I wish you all the best!

    • Paula,
      hey, you are in amazing place then! Just don’t stop, keep going!

      Oh yes, talked with Spencer two days ago, you will love videos he will keep working on covering WordPress site building from scratch, showing whole process from start to beginning..and then dive deeper into teaching different customisations!

      Do you have your own site already? If not, then soon enough you will have if you just keep doing. To become web designer besides knowing basics, you must remember that the best stuff happens..as Seth Godin says – when you “poke the box”. Be curious, keep experimenting, modifying different themes, understanding slowly how, what works, how the magic happens!

      Thank you for cheerful comment, really helps to get us going!

    • Hi Paula,
      we are super-excited about the new monetization training…and as you can see in our internal videos at , we are planning the new E-book to be a “Treasure Map” where you can make $300 in 3 days with 3 clients. We will walk you though it every step of the way… should be an eye-opener ;-)

  14. I’m a musician and do websites to promote myself and my music school. I did go to school for webdesign several years ago, and I agree that you get a lot of information, but I feel it’s too much to quick so I didn’t grasp it well enough to feel comfortable using it with clients. I agree with you in that you have to master the basics and only then will you feel solid with yourself as a web designer.
    I like the idea of having a systematic approach to the whole process of webdesign. I also know that a website means nothing unless it brings visitors to it and then converts those visitors to clients, buyers, subscribers or whatever your ultimate goal is. That is something that I would like to master and learn in your site. I know it’s not the most creative aspect of webdesign but that is the whole purpose of a website (to advertise a business or organization for profit or cause).

    And last, I would like to eventually become a freelance webdesigner to supplement my current music business. Can’t wait to get started.

    Mike Baez

    • Hey Mike!
      Practice makes comfortable – school is theory obviously. But basics are important for everybody, and I like to go back and question things, system I am using. Theory without practice is nothing..the same way as practice without theory (basics) isn’t really good.

      Oh part you are talking is very interesting, A/B testing, understanding how people use your website..and then of course, building traffic in the first place. Now you are talking also about content marketing, topic I really love and hope I will be able to touch real soon, once we cover basics.

      Each website is different, each website has different goals, but I definitely can share my experiences of building this very own blog :)

      ..btw really glad about that last part – freelance webdesign. It makes sense for every web designer to become freelancer, if not full-time, but at least as nice side income. And new projects are always fun to work on as well!

      Great, thank you Mike! You gave me good inspiration to rethink on what I can cover myself here. I have became more of marketing/business guy.. Where you find visitors, get them to site and do what you want – FUNNEL. That’s the content marketing I love, just am a bit careful to cover here, because here people come for web design advice.. not so much for business advice, but I will work on finding perfect mix with your help! Thank you!

      • Dainis,

        I, for one, would be interested in business advice. Of course I am interested and excited about the forthcoming web design articles/tutorials to continue my education and improve my skills, but my goal is to be a freelance web designer, full-time so I welcome any business advice on how to get my business off the ground and be successful! How to attract clients, how to price effectively etc…

  15. Nicol

    I am so excited for the articles to come. I love everything that you do and I think it’s perfect.
    I think i joined at a great time where you are going over the basics and I can keep up perfectly and learn new things every time. I am definitely looking forward to learning more about WordPress as it’s such a big part of web design at the moment.
    I can’t think of anything that you could better, you are doing a great job!
    Thank you for being such an inspiration :)

    • Hey Nicol!

      Oh yes, together with redesign, we will add pages for basics, add more contents, question web design theories once again :) 18% of world websites are using WordPress – it totally makes sense to just focus on this CMS – because of awesome community, plugins, themes, resources available all around..and it’s very easy for clients and everybody to use too!

      Nicol, you are too kind! Wanted to ask how do you enjoy this new video format? Do you prefer it compared to textual articles?

      • Nicol

        Yeah WordPress is the only CMS I am really worried about/interested in.
        I definitely prefer the videos! I think people in general have become lazy to read a whole page of text and it’s much easier to just click a video and watch it. I think video’s also make it feel more real as I can see you talking to me so I listen and take in a lot more.
        I have found a guy on YouTube who does something sort of similar to you. You might know him but his name is thenewboston. His video’s are amazing and very educational.
        He’s not as interactive as here but I am also watching him and learning a lot so if you want to you should go have a look.

        • Nicol, thank you – love to hear your thoughts about video! Didn’t know about this guy on Youtube – he obviously is much better on English, but well Spencer who creates WordPress tutorials is from USA as well, and James is from UK, only I am from Latvia, where I still need lots of practice so language is not an issue.

          I will keep eye on his videos, like how he explains things and talks.

  16. I am new here at 1WD, and it looks like I have come around at just the right time. I like the idea of the videos. I learn best when I see how things are done, and it does seem a lot more personal. I feel like I know you just by watching this video. I look forward to becoming part of your community by participating in the discussion and learning from others.

    • Oh yes, Larry – only I need to apologise, that we don’t have those basics pages ready already.. We have most of the basic topics covered already..just they are lost in archives, where nobody sees them!

      Thank you, it is personal indeed, I just cannot wait for time, when readers will start really engaging with other designers, freelancers. But I know that we need to show the lead and that’s what we are trying to do! :)

      Oh such words, really warm my heart – video has been challenging for me for years, but your words inspire me to keep going, keep working on valuable videos!

      It would be awesome, Larry, if you could also tell about your background..and if you are interested in topics we will be covering now? Maybe something you wanted to add there?

  17. Nitin

    Hey Dainis,
    You are doing such a great great task.Congratulations once again.
    Can you please mention what is this course all about?
    I mean is this a tutorial kind of website where you get to learn different existing technologies ?
    If Yes then what are the technologies you will teach? I mean I am a PHP/MySQL developer so will there be any shows on that or just the wordpress.
    Thanks in advance and Thanks Once Again for the great task you are doing.
    Best Regards and Cheers

    • Hey Nitin!

      Glad you asked, there will be courses, separate parts you will be able to learn like WordPress from scratch, freelance – getting first 3 clients..and then moving from there.. And also repeating graphic web design and coding basics and then moving to advanced, more detailed parts.

      We have team around here and each writer is focusing on his topic he knows best – Spencer – freelance, WordPress, Michael Burns – graphic web design, Rakhitha – web design coding, Sufyan – notice web design trends, what’s happening in web design world you shouldnt ignore. And then me – I mix web design with more business, content marketing side. Because you can have the most awesome portfolio, most awesome site – but if nobody knows about it, then nothing happens!

      If you are PHP/MySql developer then it includes WordPress right?

      But to set things straight from technologies – we will focus on (Photoshop – for graphic web design), HTML5, CSS3, WordPress (obviously it includes messing a bit with MySql in some cases) and bits of jQuery. We believe those are technologies each web designer should focus on. And we won’t try to cover more, because if you are good at everything, you are good at nothing.

      This is focus we are choosing. Hoping I answered to your question, Nitin?

  18. I must admit, that signing to your mailing list was one of the best decisions I’ve made recently.
    Thank you for a great reading! :)

    I’d like to add something to this article from my own (maybe not a big one but still) experience. I have noticed one significant thing: when you’re working for a client that says “Hey, I JUST need a website”, they seams to act like the “slow” part of the process is somehow “our fault”. It’s like: “Why can’t we just sit down and do our job. Right here, right now.” While the preparation is actually the key here. Recently I had a pleasure to work with few folks that already know, how important it is to sit down, talk everything over, wireframe the project and talk it over once again. And again if necessary. And believe me, those projects were the most satisfying for both sides. When you know what you are working on, and when they know what you are working on, the drawing/coding part is just a “finishing touch” to all that. There’s nothing worse than preparing ten different projects just because you haven’t specified the details from the start.

    My friend once asked me: “Why is making my website taking so long?”. Why? Well… In order to explain, what amount of job has to be done before he received first projects, I’ve put together all the research, mock-ups, sketches and documentation and gave him a little speech. He wasn’t even hiding his surprise.
    The thing is that not everyone understands this process, because they never had to deal with it. Making it clear can really make our lives easier ;)

    Of course, one’s workflow is something different, and we have to work it out on our own. And it’s not that obvious. I’m impatiently waiting for that part! :)


    • Meghan, excellent story and takeaway! Yes – I have made myself this mistake lots of time..starting without real plan..and then struggling, wasting time for me and client itself. For my own projects – even there preparation is so important. You think you know what you want..until you start.. :)

      Our task as freelancer web designers is to master this preparation process..and then, well we also need to master how to explain it to clients..and get what we need before we even start doing anything!

      It all starts with – Hey, I need SIMPLE website! Sounds easy enough, but not until you actually start..and then demands keep growing, there is no clarity..unless you don’t know the right questions to get from client!

      This is such an art..hard to master! Thank you Meghan, you gave great inspiration for even better understanding, what we can do and cover here!

  19. Dainis,

    Bravo! Getting back to basics on website design is a very smart move. I authored a book on the “5 Basic Keys” for SEO. This is where I believe it all starts. What people see on a screen is nice, but if your content is not structured correctly you web site will be doomed before it ever gets published. I have been working full time as a website designer for nearly 10 years and got lazy with keeping up with everything related to the web. I relied on others to give me advise and many times ran down the wrong rabbit hole. I went back to basics and rebuilt my knowledge base and WOW, what a difference. I now am empowered with a new set of tools, code that is absolutely awesome and most of all customer/clients.

    I will keep checking back on your site! As you said “keep it fresh and simple”.


    Charles Mohr
    Website Designer
    Eagle Studios, USA

    • Charles,
      oh it seems like you could teach a lot here yourself! Cannot agree with your words more!

      We so often keep busy with each next shiny thing and forget about foundations, basics that really matter!

      Would love to hear more about how did the process of returning to basics worked for you! What were exact steps you took to get to good side again? How did you find tools for you and refresh your coding practices?

      • Dainis,

        Ok, the basics. I started with coffee cup, I know terrible, however, that was my start. I moved to Front Page very quickly. I did not allow the war between Front Page and Dreamweaver to get in my path to learn HTML code and structure.

        The main issue I had, was understanding the difference between static and dynamic content. Once I sorted through that everything else fell into place. I am not embarrassed to admit, I do not use Adobe products for photo editing or illustrations. Understanding my business model keeps me inline here. I am not a graphic artist by standard, however, I engage in graphic art creation everyday. Three tools; Paint Shop Pro, Photo Suite and Publisher Pro for Vector Art. I still use Front Page for a visual but code mainly in Ultra Edit, it’s note pad on steroids. One last tool, Ultra compare. Great for comparing to files, side by side.

        OK..now you know that I still work like a cave man, but with a difference. Each of the above mentioned tools has a specific purpose in my work. I learned exactly what each does and why. A website without graphics is like reading a book without pictures. You have exactly 5 seconds to capture your visitors attention or you bounce.

        This is where I turned to marketing. I reverse engineered every “get rich quick” program I could hack, steal and cheat..yes it’s the truth. I figured if the Guru’s could steal your money, I would hack their back ends and figure out how and why their systems worked, or not. Lesson learned here, create interesting and compelling content that pulls at your visitors heart strings. I do the same now but with a twist. I do it with Integrity and Truth, not lies and deceit. This brings me to the second set of tools. Domain acquisition, hosting, payment gate-way and auto-responder. The four most powerful tools you can divide your attention into. With these tools you do not even need a website proper, to make money.

        Now add: SEO, Social Marketing, CSS, Java, Navigation Menu’s, Picture Viewers and Slides, Page Peels and the like. I have about four websites that I use to cross reference or get information I need. I do not have to remember how to do something as long as I know where to get the information. Anything outside of that is Googled.

        Total time invested, about three years part time, transitioning every step of the way. Two years ago I changed my whole program by finally learning the basics of CSS and implementing code into my work.
        I also spent a few weeks learning about footers and making them “sticky”. I could go on.

        Each of these topics can be expanded into further areas that every webmaster needs to know. Where do you want to start? I got to paid to learn what I know. Not orthodox or common by any stretch. My Landlord or the Electric Company does not care if I use Front Page or Dreamweaver. At $1000.00+ per site plus maintenance and residual income from domain and hosting, I love what I do!

        Charles Mohr
        Website Designer
        Eagle Studios, USA

        • Charles, oh didn’t imagine you took so consistent long term changing approach after all of waiting! Love your dedication!

          And first of all – thank you for taking time to share your experience with us!

          It’s very hard to acquire and use effectively all this various knowledge – graphics, coding, seo, marketing – content marketing..email marketing etc. You seem to be a bit similar to me – when you understand the importance of content, seo, marketing, you can never go back to just graphic/web designing. You just understand where the biggest value is!

          With domain acquisition and hosting – just checked your site! So you offer it as standalone service? You mentioned mailing list, I was surprised not to see it on your site, how do you get people on your list?

          Wanted to ask how it works for you offering all the different services? Have you thought about narrowing down and focusing on just parts which bring most money, most clients..and exclude others? Or each part is absolutely crucial for most clients? Full package? Curious.

          • Dainis,

            First, I have to get the timeline straight.

            20 years ago I created a souvenir program book for my magic show business. This is where I learned how to create vector graphics. The original program was called Design Magic. I hated the faxed and third generation art work I was receiving from sponsors so I learned how to re-create their logos node to node..lol

            2004, I was part of a volunteer association that paid me to create my first web site. That is what I call the “coffee cup” deal. I had never created a website, but had a very good understanding of the web. I got paid $300.00 US to make a site for them. After this job I researched the term, WYSIWYG and landed on FrontPage. I admit, many headaches with extensions back in the day!

            2010, I started my journey into CSS.

            2013, Today the business model is simple. I sell package deals business to business.
            It starts with a business card or flyer/brochure. The client is then offered a web package. Includes: Domain, Hosting, DEV and Design with options for SEO and Ad Campaign/SM. I service clients coast to coast here in the US.

            If you poked around hard enough on the eagle site, there is a drop down in the upper right. It handles my contact, newsletter and quick message. I have several unfinished works that this year will all be completed, that is my goal. WP Themes is one of them. I also have an HTML tool I re-coded and gave a face lift that pulls email addresses. the news letter is dated..OMG one more thing to do..LOL!

            I also coach Internet Marketing from an “affiliate” perspective, however, the same tools apply to my B2B business clients. What I learned along the way, a lot of small money = big money. Not having all my eggs in one basket is the reason why I have been able to perform for so long.

            The Domain and Hosting that is offered on my site is through a re-seller program. I push IES to new clients and teach ownership. There is nothing worse than a webmaster who feels they have to control a client’s Domain Name. I have gained so many clients and worked hard to regain control of their Domains. So yes, I make a residual there. I create a client Data Sheet for each of my clients. It describes the entire web enterprise from Domain to Email accounts. They get a copy. No Business should ever be held hostage to a webmaster. Honesty and Integrity is what my business model is based on. I add that to the sale, and gain clients.

            I do not view myself as a webmaster as much as I do an Internet Marketer. This allows me to wear several hats and monetize in different ways. If I need to design a brochure today and add meta tag structure to another company’s site tomorrow, the money adds up.

            I saved this for last,

            If you are a new website designer and are hungry for business and are struggling because you have no business, the reason is, you do not understand business. How can you sell something you do not understand? How can you meet the needs of a client if you do not understand needs, goals and marketing? You may have all the great talent in graphic design and web skillz, but lack the ability to sell. How can you sell the fact that by having a website will promote a business when you have no business?

            Even through the so called “recession” here in the US, I was still working. It had no impact on my business. It was my ability to sell that got me contracts. The services listed on my website is what makes Eagle Studios.

            Here is the answer:

            Learn what you need to offer to a business by having what they need in place. You will need business cards and a website at minimum. Learn from a marketing perspective how to design and make effective sites, not what you think looks good. Learn the basics of sales and sales strategies.


            If a company needs more traffic have a solution that will deliver more traffic. If a company needs SEO work for organics, have a solution that will improve organics. If a company has a crappy business card, have a solution to create a great business card.

            These solutions add up over time, this is what you will market to your clients. I am still very old fashioned and still believe gaining client trust is done face to face. If you can not sell face to face, do not even think about hiding behind a web page to gain business. Eventually you will have to face your clients if you move to higher end numbers. If your clients do not feel easy about what your proposing, they will go with another designer.

            BTW, I love your stats! Me teach you…pfft..your already there…LOL

            Charles Mohr
            Website Designer
            Eagle Studios, USA

  20. I agree, foundations are important. I look forward to a better 1WD site. In the past two years I’ve made the transition from print to web, so my education isn’t formal and sites like yours help further my development. Thanks!

    • Roberto – I personally like self-taught better where you learn what you need. It may seem narrow – but you learn all the things you don’t need, you don’t use or forget – but when you learn just what you need, well then you quickly become pro. High quality information diet! :)

      Great, You can check already Spencers wordpress video tutorials, we will be rolling out much more. And are you freelancing? Because we will be having lots of such advice as well, I hope you will love!

  21. Natalie

    Great point! I’ve been struggling to establish a workflow so any articles that provide some insight into the most efficient ways to build new sites would be fantastic. I also love any WordPress related info (inspirational sites, plugin reviews, tips, tricks, how-tos, etc.).

    • Hey Natalie,
      so nice for you to comment – thank you! Which part of building new website is most challenging for you? Sketching,wireframing, designing in Photoshop, coding, testing? At least I have found that most people dont do first preparation part and just go to action..just finding themselves confused, not creative and stuck. How about yourself?

      Oh great – you will keep loving then Spencers videos here – he is our best WordPress ninja and really successful freelancer – we will be really pushing on WordPress as ultimate CMS to use! :)

      • Natalie

        I have a loosely defined process of sketch/wireframe –> design/code –> launch. I don’t really have a step by step process I follow and I wonder if hearing about other people’s processes might help me define mine. Especially post-launch. I think I usually have a sketch and an idea of where I want things to be. I get stuck in “analysis paralysis” a lot, but once I do get things finished and launched I’m at a loss for what to do next apart from basic maintenance. Testing is definitely a struggle.

        • Natalie, this process you outline – it’s when you design site for yourself or client? I mean how do you know at first what to sketch/wireframe? Where is this questioning what are your goals before?

          I bet you do it, just didn’t mention because it’s not the direct road for web design process.

          Actually testing is the most important part – because that’s where you actually can compare and test – what you assumed..and how people actually use it. No matter how well you prepare, you always get parts wrong. But before we talk about testing – do you write down specific goals you want to reach? If we test anything – we really need to narrow down key goal, key metric.

          For example if for your blog priority would be getting more new email subscribers – obviously you will try popups, try finding perfect place for signup box in sidebar..in above the fold area etc.

          Then after you narrow down key goal – then you split other goals by %, that’s how we decide what we will put in above the fold, what goes in separate pages and what goes to lower sidebar section.

          I would love to hear more about what exactly is struggle in this testing part, because maybe I didn’t get what you meant right? Love this topic btw!

          • Natalie

            That’s all fantastic guidance, thank you. So far I’ve only done websites for friends and family who either just want a website (no real goals) or that wanted an updated look. None of them expect it to impact their business so no metrics or goals have ever been established, let alone tested. The only experience I have to date with “testing” is more anecdotal with my one client who wanted a redesign. I moved his sign up form from about 3 pages deep and added a free e-book offer to the homepage. The email signups have increased but I haven’t done a comparison to see by what percentage. I’m guessing that would be my first step and then check with the client in terms of which leads have converted to sales.

            I guess my main struggle with the testing part is that I haven’t ever really done it. Like I said, all of my “clients” are friends or family, so testing is more of an experiment I’d like to try to boost my experience and knowledge. I don’t know if the area of testing isn’t as extensively discussed or if I’ve just never had the need to pay attention before.

  22. Hello,
    I have been a subscriber for a couple months now, but yet to participate in community! So here’s my first comment! Big thanks to Dainis & his team, found articles are great help and inspiring me. I am on Web Design Development course and hope to complete it in the coming months (I have nearly finished module 4 of 6). Hoping to start out on my own soon. I have done some websites for clients already too.

    Look forward to speaking with everyone and learning more!!


    • Oh hey Mike!

      I am so glad you chose to finally participate! You know you are 1% now! Because 99% of readers never write, participate anything! I cannt get this – it is so hard to work alone, don’t have likeminded people to engage with!

      Where you are taking this webdev course and how it’s working out for you so far? Would love to hear what is your goal then? Self learn web design and then go crazy freelancing and working from home? What kind of websites you have created so far, technologies, programming languages you use?

      Here we will be pushing on most common ones – html5,css3, jquery, wordpress as ultimate CMS.

      • Hi Dainis,

        I am doing a distant learning course with a company in England, I am in Scotland.
        I started it in early 2010 so I learned HTML4.01 and CSS2, I have also touched on Javascript and also some self taught jQuery for some of the websites I have created. I am on my 2nd extension now for the course with a review at the end of April. I have only really done static websites and only learned the aforementioned technologies :(
        I am hoping to finish an assessment in the next few weeks on databases and then I will be learning ASP.NET (I get to choose C# or VB). After the course, I will self learn php and get up to speed with HTML5 and CSS3. I also hope to get into the likes of WordPress, Joomla et al. so can create CMS for client sites and blogs too (I need to get my own blog set up).

        Yes, after course complete, I will be freelancing and working from home. All the work I have done so far is from word of mouth. I did a Business workshop a while back and did a site for a lady on the workshop and word spread from her!

        With regards to a comment you made earlier, I agree that daily articles can get too much. I follow 4-5 designers/blogs (you being 1) and one does produce several articles everyday, it gets too much at times and I feel inundated and forever catching up. I feel your target of 3 or 4 articles a week is a better number.

        • Mike,
          ah I personally hated to learn Visual Basic, Pascal, C++ because I didn’t see myself using them really when creating websites.. Of course, it’s good to learn those basic languages, but heh I would prefer now just to start from PHP and website creation :)

          But you will love to join us then, Spencer, our wordpress guru is already creating start to finish wordpress website tutorials to get you kickstarted to create dynamic websites and don’t mess around with static ones. There is use for them, but I see myself using them rarer and rarer.

          If you mention WordPress and Joomla – I would just suggest to stick to one CMS. And WP makes the most sense – you really can create any functionality website you want with it..and it has such great documentation, backend, easy for clients to use etc,etc.

          After what you outlined, I am sure you will love what we cover here from now on! :) Best of luck with finishing your studies and getting started with WordPress, Mike!

          • Thanks Dainis,
            To be honest, I have questioned whether to continue with the course or to leave it. I decided to continue as I have paid a lot for the course and thought I should do my best to finish it and get my monies worth. I do agree with you, I don;t see myself using VB or C# languages much, if it all. I suppose they are in the course as a lot of employers require these skills – though I don’t see myself working for a company now (due to a few reasons!). I will see how I am doing come my review at the end of April and how relevant the rest of the course is to my future needs- I feel a bit stuck at the moment. I have a lot of thinking to do and decisions to make!

            I agree too, PHP is the way to go and I need to get into learning it, I just don’t seem to have the time at the moment. It is something I will self learn when my course has come to an end one way or another.

            I do look forward to Spencers tutorials then Dainis, I have been wanting to get in to WP for a sometime, but haven’t yet as a) it is not part of my course and b) I don’t know where to start – so I will follow Spencer’s advice!

            One of the reasons I decided to follow 1WD is how relevant your articles where for me, getting ready to start my career in Web Design. Your site, to me, is a source for both knowledge and inspiration. I am also looking forward to your back to basics tutorials. I am hoping by following 1WD and engaging with the community here I will get my career off to a great start – and that I can leave static sites behind!! I can’t wait to build wonderful, dynamic websites. Thankfully the clients I have had so far have only the need for static sites, but I found I was always learning something new on each. Once I have expanded my skills and knowledge I hope to bring in more clients and make a decent living.

            Anyway, I’ll shut up for now – Thanks for your advice Dainis. I am glad I decided to follow (and engage!) and am really looking forward to your forthcoming tutorials and articles.

  23. Bobby Lie

    one thing that I like from 1WD is willing to change and give us (readers) chance to get involve to help 1WD to be better. thing that I don’t really agree that you will cut down the amount of articles published. Web design for me is a passion, not just a hobby. I make time for my passion but I do my hobbies when I have spare time.

    little tips: relax Dainis. You are doing great in this video and as you said don’t speed things up.

    • You know Bobby, but it’s also a bit scary because then we give up part of power..and just hope there will be people willing to join and help us by suggestions to improve the experience. But I hope it all goes well in the end, because slowly and surely feedback has been growing and we act upon it. Only way for best satisfaction we can get :)

      Bobby, about article frequency, but is 1stwebdesigner only blog you read? Usually readers don’t have that much time to keep up with daily article..they cannot keep up, conversations dry up on later articles. And when you cannot keep up from something, often you just stop visiting because you don’t to feel bad about it.

      We are just trying to find the best ratio – and so far it seems like – one article each three days will work the best – 2-3 articles per week. What do you think? In last months we have been slow I admit, lots of changes, working more on system, but now really feels we are set. Have next 4 articles scheduled and ready already :)

      Thanks for the tip, Bobby! Actually this is 30% slower than I normally talk..about relaxing – well, I need more practice – I am not native English speaker and video comes challenging for me after doing just writing for years! Definitely will get better and keep challenging myself for better experience and value for all of you!

      • Bobby Lie

        2 – 3 articles per week will do fine. You got some point there because 1WD is not the only blog I read. another wild suggestion just popped up in my mind. give us (readers) to get involve or contribute like example web redesign competition if you plan to redesign 1WD.

        • Thank you, glad you agree with 2-3 posts! :)

          Heh, for 1WD redesign, design is already finished HTML/CSS, just wordpress version is coming slow. It would be cool to organise competiton for other real project or just fake..maybe with cash price – but once we do that, then people stop taking it serious and talk about crowdsourcing, robbing designers and not paying for work =/ Tricky part. SmashingMag does it great with wallpapers – everybody gets great wallpapers and best authors get great feature.

          With designs – best designer gets featured, gets rewarded, but how to make it really work? Maybe designers submit their latest work – we review it and others are advising too how to do it? But then again DesignShack is doing it already. need to be unique heh.