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For web designers, having successful client projects leads to happy clients, more referrals, a proven track record, and valuable experience and knowledge that can be used in future projects. But there is a lot that goes into making a project a success, and simply completing the design on time is not enough. In this article we'll take a look at 10 things you can do to make your projects more successful.
1. Truly Get to Know the Client and Their Customers/Visitors
In order to create a website that maximizes its potential for your client, you'll first have to get a clear understan
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ding of the client, how they do business, how they brand themselves, and you'll also need to become familiar with their target market. Depending on your familiarity with the client and their industry, this may require a considerable amount of time and effort. The better understanding you have, the more likely you will be to create a site that meets the needs of the client and their users.

A common mistake, especially for new designers, is to jump right into the design process without dedicating time to getting familiar with the client. This often leads to a site that may look good on the surface, but doesn't effectively fit the needs and personality of the client.

Different designers have their own methods for getting to know their clients, so do whatever works best for you. Some designers have a standard intake questionare or form that they have clients fill out to get information about their business and their customers. Others meet with clients, discuss and observe. Whatever your process, be sure that you prioritize the need to get to know your clients, and account for this in your estimates and scheduling of projects.
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TN3 Gallery is a new HTML-based customizable image gallery with slideshow, transitions and multiple album options. It's powered by jQuery to give your image galleries and sliders fantastic appearance and usability. They have kindly offered to give three readers of the Vandelay Design blog the Pro License for free. All you have to do to enter the contest is leave a comment on this post. TN3 Gallery comes from the talented people behind Webdesigner Depot, Mighty Deals, and Brush Lovers.

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Some of the most intriguing photographs are those that perfectly capture a moment during intense action. Well-timed photos stop the action and present an amazing  perspective. In this post we'll showcase more than 30 different examples of outstanding action photography.

Action photography can be extremely challenging in order to get quality results, so the photos shown here should serve as inspiration to demonstrate what is possible.

To see a larger version of the photo or to see more work from the photographer, click on the images or the credit links below each photo and
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you'll be led to the source.


Photo credit: Andre Arment
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Every website owner or marketer needs to know what is going on with their website and visitors in order to know how to improve and get better results. Website analytics tools can provide data and show trends that will help you to know what to do to see the results improve over time.

When it comes to analytics you have a lot of options from which to chose. In this post we'll show 11 of the leading free options (of course, there are other options that are not free) and give a brief description of each.
Google Analytics
Google Analytics is leader among free analytics tools, a
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nd with good reason. Analytics is free to use on any website with no limits on pageviews that can be tracked or reports that can be generated. Basic users can get info on how many visitors and pageviews their site is receiving, what sources are sending the traffic, what search phrases are resulting in visitors, and other basic information like bounce rate. More advanced users can set up goal tracking, create custom reports, set up pivot tables and more. For new users Analytics can be a little intimidating because of how much data is available, but the basic reports are easy to find and understand.

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WPSubscribers is a premium WordPress plugin that will help you to attract loads of new subscribers to your mailing list or blog. It has many different features and functions to give you a lot of versitility and control over how you promote your list. The developers of WPSubscribers have offered to give 3 of our readers a free triple license for the plugin, which will allow you to install the plugin on up to 3 different sites, plus free lifetime updates. This license normally sells for $47, and an unlimited license is also available for $97.

WPSubscribers will allow you to int
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egrate your opt-in code very easily, and then you can create several different types of forms to encourage signups. I've been testing the plugin and getting integrated with a MailChimp sign up form was simple. Just copy the form code provided by MailChimp (or another list manager like AWeber, GetResponse, etc.) and WPSubscribers will auto detect the fields and integrate.

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Earlier this week we launched a contest for our most recent product, the Freelance Starter Kit. We had announced that there would be five winners, but since the response was so positive and since there were more people entering the contest than we anticipated, we decided to have eight winners instead. If you're luck didn't come through for you in this contest, don't forget that you can still get $5 off the price of the Freelance Starter Kit ($24 instead of $29) by using the discount code "blogreader".

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Some of the more popular resource packs at Vandelay Premier have been those that are created to be used with hand-drawn or doodled designs. While we aim to provide resources that are as useful as possible, there may be times when you need a specific design element that you can't find anywhere. In that case, you can create your own, and in this tutorial we'll show you how.

We'll be creating a small set of hand-drawn resources, but using the techniques covered in this post you'll be able to create as much or as little as you need. While stock resources can be great for saving t
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ime in your design process, creating your own resources can often be a lot of fun, and with hand-drawn design this is definitely the case.

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We're happy to announce the launch of our most recent bundle of resources at Vandelay Premier, the Freelance Starter Kit! This is a bundle of 20 resources that have been released to Vandelay Premier members, and it's now available in one convenient bundle to those who are not members. Its purpose is to help new freelancers to build their business on a solid foundation. The resources will also be helpful for those who have been freelancing for a while but are looking for better results.

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Many designers choose to work on some projects of their own in addition to work that they do for clients. There are a lot of reasons to dedicate time to personal projects: they can add some diversity to your work, they can allow you to explore your creativity, they give you the chance to be in charge and to make the decisions that you think are best, you can learn new things, you can make some extra money, etc.

Some types of personal projects that are popular with designers/developers are blogs, managing social networking sites, membership sites, e-commerce sites, and designi
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ng stock items. In this article we'll take a look at 11 things you can do to get more out of these personal projects. Hopefully this post will help to illustrate why personal projects can be excellent for your career.

Here are some tips that will help you to get the most out of your time spent on personal projects.
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Business cards are an important marketing tool for many designers, and a lot of web designers also design business cards for their clients. If you're interested in learning more about business card design take a look at the tutorials presented here. Some of the tutorials cover the process of designing the card in Photoshop and others use Illustrator.

For some examples of excellent business card designs please see:

Letterpress Business Cards
Double Sided Business Cards
Embossed Business Cards
Die Cut Business Cards
Creative Business Cards
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/>Creating a Colorful Vibrant Business Card

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Design Buzz is a community for all those involved in designing, developing and running websites, web mastering, etc. Here are featured new design trends, news and events, design articles, design software, webmaster tips and tricks, creative tutorials and hand-picked design stuff from all over the world.

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