Creating the Ideal Home Design Office

Home Office 01

Working from home has its advantages, but if you don’t have a good office space, it can be very challenging. If you are thinking about putting your skills to work from home, there are several things to consider first, starting with your potential home office. From web and graphic designers, the following tips will help you create an office that is conducive to work.

Choose the Best Space

Home Office 03It is crucial that you create a dedicated office space. Informal offices, such as setting up at the dining room table, tend to result in subpar work.

When deciding where your office should go, consider the size of the space in relation to what equipment you will need, as well as lighting and proximity to the hub of your home. For example, if you spend a lot of time talking on the phone, it wouldn’t be a good idea to put your office next to your children’s bedroom.

If it is impossible to get away from the noise in your home, consider investing in some soundproofing or good pair of headphones to isolate you from the inevitable intrusions. You can find tons of ideas to soundproof your office room at Soundproofing Tips.

If your home has limited space, you may have to get creative. You could transform a small closet into an office by adding shelves, a desk, and chair. Replace the door with a curtain so that you can fit comfortably, while still being able to close up your office space at the end of the day. Additional options include making the spare corner of a room into your office space or even setting up a space in the garage if it is temperature controlled.

photo credit: Urban Cabin – Home Office via (license)

Choosing Furniture

You will want to start with your desk. There are thousands to choose from, so look for one that will be most compatible with the way you work. Just like in a workplace, choose a chair that you can comfortably sit in for hours at a time. Make certain that your feet will be able to firmly rest on the ground or on a stool. Be aware that you may have to spend a little more for a high quality ergonomically designed chair, but it will be well worth the cost.

Determine what other things you will need, such as file cabinets, a printer, fax, phone, etc. You may want to purchase a small table to sit your printer, phone, and other extras on to keep your desk cleared up for work.

Don’t forget to stock up on the little things you will need. After all, you have to supply the office supply closet. This includes pens, staples, paperclips, post-it notes, labels, etc.

Focus on Lighting

Natural light has been shown in innumerable studies to improve your mood and productivity. If at all possible, try to create your office close to a window. Your overhead light should be adequate for earlier or later hours. It is also a good idea to purchase one or two table/ desk lights for additional lighting options.

Get Creative with Storage


If you have room for a file cabinet, then this is always a good option.

If you do not, look up. Hang shelves above your desk and purchase see through bins so you can easily identify what is in them.

You can also use a bookcase or even a child’s library style display shelves. In a worst case scenario, you may need store files, books, etc. in a separate room.

photo credit: Man cave office via photopin (license)

Create a Relaxing Environment

If your work requires a good bit of reading or thinking and you have the room for it, set up a small reading space. Choose a comfy chair, ottoman, table, and lamp. It’s much more comfortable for reading, taking notes, etc. than sitting at your desk chair. If you have young children at home, I have found a good pair of children’s headphones can really help them to relax, and professional headphones for yourself can help to melt away outside noise at times when I need my full focus.

Sometimes a little airflow and white noise can improve your home office environment. A good tower fan with passive noise reduction can keep you cool during the hot and humid months. You don’t need to spend $400 on a Dyson because there are some really good ones to be had for around $100-150.

Set Professional and Personal Life Boundaries

Use a separate phone line for your business, whether that’s an added land line or a cell number. Everyone answers your home phone and your message is likely one that reflects you family life. This can be confusing to potential clients.

It’s also important to set clear cut rules for your home office and explain them to your family. For example, establish home office hours and make sure your children know they are not to interrupt you during this time. Be aware that you have to stick too. When working from home, it is easy to lose track of time and realize that you have worked well past the time you intended to stop. Keep a clock in your home office and when the day is over, close the door or pull the curtain shut.

Working out of a home office can be extremely beneficial. Just be sure that you have a home office that works for you.

photo credit: Home Office via (license)

WordPress or HTML, and How to Choose

Wordpress or HTMLSmall business owners like you are tasked with making a wide diversity of decisions, many of which may involve developing a new website for the business. Based on your level of expertise, you have the option of designing the site yourself or hiring a professional developer that has the skills and abilities to design a successful website.

Regardless to your circumstances, there is one specific decision that you as a business owner are faced with deciding and that is choosing the software development tools that will be used to build the site. In some cases, a free website builder is a fine choice, but if you want more control and ownership over your web presence, then you have to decide between using self-hosted WordPress or HTML.

Themes and Minimal Customization – Use WordPress

The decision that you need to make is also based on several factors. One in specific involves how complex the site design should be to accommodate the needs of your business.

For instance, if the website that you need is a simple design, you may choose WordPress as a viable option for building the website in a short time frame.

Because WordPress offers templates that can be modified to fit your business’s needs, you can choose the best style that will make it easy to make changes and deploy it to the web.

Complex and Diverse Customization – Use HTML

On the other hand, if the design of the site is complex and not simple, a WordPress template may not be appropriate for the project. Instead, you may prefer to hire a professional web developer that can design the code for the site using HTML.

HTML is normally the best decision when you will require a lot of customization to design it correctly. For instance, if the site that you need involves lots of calculations and interactive features, the developer that is tasked with completing the project will have more freedom with the design by using HTML to write the code from scratch.

How Frequent Will the Site Be Updated?

WordPress is a blogging platform first, intended to be extremely easy to post blog updates and articles, while also being visually attractive to your customers. If you think you will have lots of things you want to share with your customer base, then hands down WordPress is the way to go.

If you simply want a static website that displays locations, hours, and phone numbers, then it may be a good idea to go with a basic HTML site, which won’t require the updates and plugins that a WordPress site would.

WordPress vs. Squarespace vs. Weebly: Which Is Best For Small Businesses?

Three websites come to mind when small business owners want to create websites or blogs for their companies: WordPress, Squarespace, and Weebly. But if you’re a small business owner, how do you know which of these websites is the perfect fit for you?

Here are some pros and cons of each of these choices, which will help narrow your choices down depending on your own needs and wants.


wordpress-logo-stacked-rgb is one of the easier websites to use, as adding content such as images, separate pages, etc. can be done very quickly.

+ Your website is 100% customizable, from the color scheme to the overall look.

+ You have the option of logging into your WordPress account from any computer that is connected to the internet, allowing you to manage your website from anywhere at any time.

+ As your small business grows, so will your WordPress website. You can have as many pages of content as you wish, and your website will not crash or slow down in any way.

+ If you wish to allow your management team to have access to the website, WordPress gives you the ability to enable the ability to set up multiple users, as well as assign things like access levels and other capabilities for them.

+ If you wish to create a blog for your business, WordPress already contains this ability, completely eliminating the need for you to create something through a secondary website.

– While the overall theme of your website is 100% customizable, it will not be “unique” in the sense that you can only use what WordPress provides to you.

– Pages created using WordPress may often show unwanted ads for other companies, which could, in turn, cost you business.

– You receive virtually zero assistance with the creation and development of any content.

– Creating a website through WordPress requires a great deal of time, which could take you away from your business.

– Perhaps the biggest con is that even though the WordPress site you create is for your business, the website is still owned by WordPress, meaning they can delete it at any time and for any reason.


squarespace-logo-stacked-white+ All templates and pages provided by Squarespace are fully customizable.

+ Squarespace gives you the ability to adjust content when your browser window resizes, which can help when people use mobile devices to view your website.

+ You can drag and place content such as photos anywhere on the webpage that you create.

+ Squarespace uses professional-style templates, which can make your website appear to have been professionally designed.

– Squarespace does not have a wide selection of website design options to choose from.

– You must pay a monthly fee to be able to use more features.

– Since Squarespace is not yet a huge company, updates and improvements for the website can take longer than expected to get released, which can lead to you being unable to update much of anything.


Weebly logog+ Weebly has a vast array of templates available to make your website look more professional.

+ It is considered to be the easiest “drag and drop” website creator to use.

+ You can construct a fully functioning website without really needing to upgrade to a premium service.

+ While advertisements are placed on your website, they are very small and are placed at the page’s footer, thereby making more room for content that you wish to have on your page.

– Should the need arise for you to back up your entire website; it cannot be re-uploaded to any other service provider, including Weebly.

– Weebly does not allow the installation of any outside software on their websites.

Weebly sets many limitations for blog posts, including not posting the name of the author, inability to select a certain layout, and only displaying the latest ten posts you make.

– Inability to properly manage all of the separate pages on your website.

– Weebly does not allow you to manually delete any files from your website unless you submit a ticket to the company’s support team.

The fourth option, would be to hire a web design studio, like your truly 🙂  In that scenario, you will get a custom HTML website, designed with your business in mind, and

What is HTML5?

What is HTML5

Keeping up with the latest technological developments is just as important to the small business owner as it is to the large corporation. In order to do this effectively, however, the website that is designed for the business and their daily operations must adhere to specific standards that’s set by organizations like the World Wide Web Consortium’s (W3C). With that said, you need to know what HTML5 is and how it affects you as a small business owner and the plans you make for your sites.

New Standard in Website Development

HTML5 has been in development for many years now. Its overall purpose is to fill in some of the gaps that causes the development of websites to be more complex to implement and maintain. Therefore, based on the support that HTML5 is receiving, it is currently being referred to as the next generation of markup language that is used to create webpages.

Advanced Capabilities

Currently, web developers are tasked with building dynamic webpages that have the capability to use all kinds of video and audio features. In order to this in today’s web development environment, web designers are required to use plug-ins and other workarounds to obtain the look and the interactive features that’s requested. With HTML5, however, these problems are being addressed and resolved since this next generation language will allow the developer to embed videos in the pages without the use of third party plug-ins and other innovative work around. Which means, the latest technology is similar to embedding an image in the code.

With the new standards and the advanced capabilities, small and big business owners alike are tasked with keeping up these latest developments in creating web pages. Therefore, as a general rule of thumb, it is important to remember that HTML5 is being positioned as a major player in developing webpages.

photo credit: HTML5 mug via (license)

Are Facebook Pages Worth It Anymore?

Are Facebook Pages Worth It?

Facebook has taken the internet by storm since its release date in 2004. An estimated 1.35 billion people use Facebook actively each month, which means if you have a business page on Facebook, you are bound to receive lots of exposure. It seems like a good deal, right? Well, whether you’re aware of them or not, there are in fact some downsides of running a business Facebook page. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of running a business page on Facebook.


  • It’s free to set up, which is a huge plus if you’re a small business with not a lot of extra money to spend.
  • If you choose to purchase ads, you’ll generate more “likes” and potential customers.
  • Facebook shows you your page insights. You’ll be able to see the reach of your posts, page likes, post performance, post engagement, demographics of fans, etc. Facebook also lets you see how your present insights compare to past insights. You wouldn’t have access to these types of insights if you were to pay to post your ad in the newspaper, etc.
  • A lot of people use social media to find businesses. If you constantly post informational and entertaining posts, you’re bound to gain loyal followers.
  • If you have a website, you can use your Facebook page to traffic visitors to your website. For example, if you are a photographer, you can create a post highlighting some discounts you’re offering. Use a few words such as “visit the website for more ways to save”!
  • By having a business page on Facebook, Facebook modifies your page to be accessed from a desktop or mobile phone.
  • You’re able to see what your competitors are up to. Use this opportunity to learn from their marketing strategies.


  • You need to monitor your page frequently to ensure you’re not getting spammed. Some people may take it upon themselves to try and sabotage your business by posting negative or offensive comments. People associate what they see and hear to a particular business. Even if you address the issue, you may have not acted fast enough to ensure not many others saw the negative post.
  • Just because your page is growing in “likes” does not mean the same amount of people see your posts. If someone “unsubscribes” from your page, they will not see new posts unless they physically visit your page.
  • If you choose to purchase advertisements, you need to bid higher than what your competition has bid. Otherwise your posts will not have a good chance of being seen by potential customers.
  • It’s time-consuming. If it’s your only source of advertising, you may need someone specifically to manage and monitor the page. This may not be entirely realistic for some small companies.


Should you go ahead and create a business page on Facebook? It really depends on how you’ll be using it and if it’s your only source of advertising. There is no harm in making one since it is free to setup. But if you’re spending more money and time by advertising the page and little money is coming in, it’s probably best to consider another avenue of marketing.

photo credit: thierry Ehrmann : Quand Facebook rencontre notre Jolly Roger DDC_9916ret via (license)

What is a Parallax Page and Do You Need One?

If you follow web design long enough, you will see that certain techniques and styles fall in and out of popularity every year.  One of the more popular trends in recent years, is something called the parallax page, or parallax scrolling.  How long will this trend last?  It’s hard to say, but regardless, you should learn about this concept, and understand if it’s worth implementing on your business website.

The Concept behind a Parallax Page

“Parallax Scrolling” is an animation technique to give visual depth to a 2D-animation. It is done by moving the images that are supposed to be closer to the viewer (the camera) at a faster rate than the images further off into the distance; this needs at a minimum of two layers but can have as many layers as desired. This creates the illusion of depth (3D) because of how eyes perceive the movement of the objects.

What is a Parallax Page?

This Parallax Scrolling technique has been applied to webpages such that as a user scrolls the background and image layers move with parallax to create story-telling, stylized navigation, impressive animations, and so forth. For example a site may have computer parts come together and come apart accompanied by information as the user scroll. However, not all results are created equal.  Here is a basic gif animation of a parallax page to give you a basic understanding, and no doubt you will realize you’ve already seen these types of pages on the web somewhere.

Is it Necessary?

A number of pros and cons need to be weighed and understood before deciding whether it is worth the time and investment.


  1. Due to its interactive nature the page increases the time the site visitors spend on the page.
  2. The page can have very impressive elements that can draw and engage the visitor’s attention.
  3. If done well, the page can increase the navigability and interactivity of the site improving user engagement.
  4. The page can have Call-to-Actions (CTA) built into the scrolling to get better results from visitors.
  5. It can help guide the user through a story or a series of useful information (texts, images, etc.).


  1. Site load times increase which can lead to unhappy visitors affecting current and future visits.
  2. Parallax pages are not SEO-friendly. This is due to being primarily a single page, generally lacking internal links, a single URL and header. Various people are working to find workarounds using things like jQuery. However, that is not perfect so this is considered a drawback. Moz has a collection of possible solutions to SEO issues.
  3. Parallax pages do not support responsive web design. This means the webpage does not automatically adapt to all types of screen types and devices visually or in terms of navigation and usability.
  4. Cross-browser compatibility is another issue that would need to be addressed adding to development and support costs of the site.

When is Parallax Scrolling Best Used?

An example of a good use of Parallax Pages is the Nintendo Mario kart history page:

Note that this page not only is a story information board with catchy visuals and videos, it also minimizes the scrolling. A single stroke takes the visitor to the next stop. There are shortcut links for those that do not wish to scroll. There is a scroll bar as a click and drag option. Finally, there is a button to return the visitor back to the main site. This doesn’t compromise the SEO, provides information, gives the necessary “pop” for the site, and is a valuable addition.

There is often the temptation due to the impressive visuals for Parallax Pages to be the main page of a site. However, a more useful approach of it would be as a secondary page. This could be a page that navigates the visitor through the history of the company or perhaps an alternate overview of product or services offered and their benefits.