More Free Stock Photos Of Perth City

In this post I have attached some photos of the Perth city skyline at night, including long exposure photographs and a panorama shot. These images are released for free under the CC0 Creative Commons license so you may do whatever you like with these photographs.

For more photos of Perth city, check out my other post here: Free Stock Photos Of Perth City


Free Bokeh Textures & Bokeh Tutorial

What is Bokeh?

Bokeh is the aesthetic quality of the out of focus, blurred parts of a photograph. The exact shape and characteristics of this effect is determined by the lens used when taking the photo, but you can artificially achieve a similar effect using photoshop and a texture layer to give your photos some extra character.

If you're looking for an easy way to add some bokeh textures to your next project, then here are some completely free textures for you to use, along with a simple tutorial on how you can use them in your image editing.

Free Bokeh Textures

How To Use Bokeh Textures

So how do you actually use these when you're editing an image? Well, first of all we're going to need a photograph and a texture to work with. For this example, I'm using this stock photo I found on Pexels and one of my own textures that you can find above.

You'll need to import these images in to photoshop. Then you'll simply need to set the layer blending mode of the texture layer to 'Screen'

The result should look something like this.

This looks okay as it is, but you wouldn't normally have the bokeh effect on the subject of your photograph since that should be in focus!

So next we're going to trace around the parts of the photograph that are in focus using the polygonal lasso tool (or the magic wand tool if you're feeling lazy) and remove that section from the texture layer. This keeps the main subject of your image clear and you should end up with something like this.

And we're done. Easy!


WordPress Hacking Prevention

Lately I've been dealing with a lot of hacked WordPress websites.

It's the same story every time. The site was developed years ago and no one's bothered to update it since. The ancient version of WordPress and outdated plugins, all of which are full of security flaws, opened the site up to hacking attempts.

When you're dealing with any kind of Content Management System, this kind of situation would leave you open to hacking attempts. But with WordPress being the most popular CMS in the world by a staggering percentage, you can see why WordPress sites are the most vulnerable.

Don't despair. It's fairly easy to keep your WordPress site secure.

1. Keep it updated.

The biggest security issue in most WordPress sites is having an old version of WordPress and outdated plugins.

However, despite being the most common cause of a hacked WordPress site, it's actually quite easy to prevent. Simply regularly check on your site and ensure that everything is updated. It will only take you a couple of minutes, and could save you some headaches down the line.

Note: Be sure to make a backup of your site before any major updates, as that can sometimes cause it's own headaches.

2. Security Plugins.

When it comes to WordPress, there's a plugin for just about everything.

There's quite a few options out there for security plugins for WordPress. Personally, I use Sucuri and PLUGIN NAME GOES HERE. They have some great features and are both very straightforward to use.

3. Use good passwords.

If you're password is "password" then you've got a problem.

It's not too complicated. All you have to do is use passwords that are complicated enough to be hard to guess, and include some numbers. Oh, and try not to use the same password multiple times.

4. Keep regular backups

Having a backup of the site can be incredibly useful if you actually do get hacked. In some cases the easiest solution is to delete everything and restore a complete backup of the site and a fresh WordPress install of the latest version. That's why you should always keep backups of your sites when possible. Preferably after the site is built, and then again after any significant content or design updates.

These are just the basics, really. There are other things you can do to further protect your WordPress site, which we'll get to in the next post.


Web Design Tools Infographic

The website is the main component of almost any online marketing venture. And if a website fails to perform, a business's online marketing efforts will suffer as a consequence.

This infographic by Nirmal Web Design outlines 13 web design professionals along with their 3 favourite web design tools.


7 Reasons People Leave Your Site

Driving traffic to your website is time consuming and can often be expensive. If you’re going to put time and effort into getting people’s attention, the net logical step is working hard to keep it.

There are a lot of reasons a user might leave your website without hanging around, and in this post we’re going to go over the biggest causes of ‘high bounce rates’. Applying this information to your own website will keep your users interested for as long as possible and ensure you’re not missing out on any leads, customers or enquiries.

1. Your Mobile Website Sucks

Mobile friendly design is often neglected when small businesses develop their websites. This is often the case when business owners and managers don’t do a lot of browsing on their mobile phone or tablet themselves.

The number of people using their smart phone or tablet for the majority of their browsing is rising and rising; this means that that a large chunk of your web traffic will consist of mobile users. If your site doesn’t have responsive design or a separate mobile version, then you’re going to find yourself with a large amount of unhappy mobile users and potential customers.. Keeping these users happy is an important investment for your website.

If you’re concerned about people leaving your site, then ensuring a great mobile experience is a good starting point. Read about more about mobile and responsive design here (Link to Mobile Friendly Blog Post).

2. Slow Load Times

The fact is that no one really likes to wait. Page speed can be a major factor when it comes to high bounce rates and is one of the first things I would suggest to anyone concerned about keeping users on their site and lowering their bounce rate.
The positive effects of faster page speed is well documented, and potentially even includes some SEO benefits.

3. Outdated Design

We’ll get this out of the way first – an outdated design generally looks very unattractive.
Aside from this, a website that hasn’t been updated in a long time can indicate to users that perhaps the information presented on the site is also not up to date. People might even wonder if you’re still in business if your website is particularly outdated. This is especially important for sites that require a high level of trust, such as eCommerce websites or professional services.
This often ties in with the first point, as older sites are often not mobile friendly.

4. Unclear Navigation

When designing your websites layout, you should imagine navigating through it from the perspective of one of your users. If they don’t know how to get to the page they want, then they will get frustrated at the labyrinthine menu structure and leave your site, potentially going to one of your competitors instead.
Your menu layout needs to be perfectly clear to your users and as efficient as possible. Efficiency means allowing your users to get to the information that they’re looking for in as few clicks as possible.

5. Pay Walls, Social Walls & Newsletter Walls

Here’s what you need to know: Everyone hates these.
No one really wants to have to sign up to your newsletter or like your Facebook page before they can even view your content. If you’re forcing your users to do something like this before they can continue, then you’ll find your bounce rate skyrocketing and that a large percentage of the users you worked so hard to get will be leaving frustrated and annoyed.
If the content is good, or if the user thinks it might be worth reading, then the payoff might be worth the sharp increase in drop off rate. However, unless your content really is amazing and your sales pitch is fantastic, then you might find that the few benefits that an unavoidable content wall provides might not be worth what it costs you in the increased bounce rate.

6. Too Many Ads

This one varies depending on the sort of website your run and what topic, niche or industry it might be about, but ultimately the real core issue is trustworthiness. Ads are associated with dodgy websites and the more ads you have, the more credibility you lose.
However, this isn’t a problem for all websites. For example, a blog about technology may include one or two small banner ads related to tech industry websites and not lose any significant amount of trustworthiness. However, a website for your local dentist would look incredibly suspicious if it featured any sort of on-page advertising at all.
Ultimately, you need to think about your brand and how this kind of advertising would be perceived by your users.

7. Auto-Play Videos And Audio.

Although this has become a lot rarer in recent years, some people still insist on having a video or audio file play automatically as soon as the page loads. Most of the time you’ll find peoples first reaction is to immediately exit, especially if it startles them.
Having video or audio on your website is fine, but only if your users initiate it themselves.

Is your site suffering from any of these issues? Or is there another item to add to this list? Share your thoughts in the comments below.