Mad about web design?
Choosing the top ten web design blogs and websites is like choosing only one favourite food to have exclusively for the rest of your life. It goes beyond difficult when there are literally thousands of truly fantastic web design blogs out there. In fact, most endeavours to list the best rarely have less than 100 entries for this reason. However, traffic rating is a great indicator so this list endeavoured to locate those with an Alexa traffic rating of under 5,000 (three are even under 1,000!) which shows just how popular they are with web design professionals. Read up on web design news, learn a new trick or two, get advice for growing your web design business or check them out for some inspiration. They are bound to make a difference!
1. Tuts+: http://hub.tutsplus.com/
Global Alexa Rating: 603
This website is loaded with tutorials, videos and inspiration with new content being added regularly. They have seven categories: Design & Illustration, Development, Music & Audio, Photography, 3D & Motion Graphics, Computer Skills and Arts & Crafts. The last category has nothing to do with web design but is fun nonetheless for those that want to balance their web design activities with learning something completely new such as crochet, knitting, paper crafts or sewing. While the basic portion of the site has plenty of aids users also have the option to become a premium member for just $19/month or sign up for a full year at a discount. Premium membership includes access to nearly 700 hours of courses, almost 100 top-selling ebooks, new content weekly and professional guides. There is also an area on the site where users can find a job or post a job.
2. Hongkiat: http://www.hongkiat.com/blog/
Global Alexa Rating: 770
Hongkiat.com began back in 2007 quite humbly by Hognkiat Lim in Malaysia pretty much as a hobby but it has grown from that one-man show to a blog with more than 90 permanent writers and freelance contributors. It receives about 6.5 million pageviews each month. The site has blogs about lots of different topics including Photoshop, Icons, Design, WordPress, Tools, Inspiration, Graphics, Wallpapers and more. The design tab is loaded with blogs about web design that will be helpful to designers and developers. Users can also subscribe to their newsletter. The most recent additions are on the homepage and the site is well organized into categories as well as having the ability to search by keyword. Links to the ten most popular blogs are on the right side of the home page.
3. Smashing Magazine: http://www.smashingmagazine.com/
Global Alexa Rating: 923
Well known by web designers, this blog has been around quite awhile. It is a popular place to go for groundbreaking ideas giving web designers an edge over the competition. Besides the various blogs that are free to read, the site includes information on their books and ebooks that can be purchased. One popular tool is a Smashing eBook Library annual subscription which includes not only all the ebooks currently in the library but 24+ new ones every year when users renew. It is a great bargain over purchasing the ebooks separately. Users can download the catalog list of those included prior to purchasing. They also conduct workshops in London, Berlin and Zurich. Users can subscribe to their newsletter which is sent out the second Tuesday of each month. Their job board includes openings all over the world.
4. CSS-Tricks: http://css-tricks.com/
Global Alexa Rating: 1,039
5. Codrops: http://tympanus.net/codrops/
Global Alexa Rating: 1,402
One of the most unique aspects of Codrops is their Playground section which features open source code for download and tons of free plugins along with articles that offer new ideas, problem solving and overcoming challenges. The tutorials section is also very useful with a number of in-depth lessons in web development and web design. On the Blueprints tab users will find a template collection of basic and minimal layouts, components, plugins and concepts that can be used for inspiration or to serve as a beginning point. Another useful tool is their weekly Collective which features new things such as an inspiration website of the week and other latest resources. This is a very well organized site with plenty of unique tools for web design.
6. Web Designer Depot: http://www.webdesignerdepot.com/
Global Alexa Rating: 2,378
For a site to call itself a ‘Depot’ gives the impression is a warehouse of sorts and this site is not illnamed as that is exactly what it is. It is loaded with resources organized into various categories including branding, business, contests, comics, deals, design, freebies, funny, how to, HTML, inspiration, JavaSctips, mobile, news, WordPress, typography and social media. The most recent blogs and the most popular posts (this week, last week and last month) are right on the main page. They currently have over 400,000 subscribers to their free weekly newsletter. They have dozens of freebies and also some deals on things such as courses, ebooks, fonts, icons, software, themes and more. This site is especially helpful for beginners.
7. Treehouse Blog: http://blog.teamtreehouse.com/
Global Alexa Rating: 3,581
Although this is a fairly new site it is gaining in popularity with those looking for education in technology including building websites, learning to code, building iOS or Android apps and even how to get started in business. Training includes videos, workshops, quizzes and a lot more. They have some introductory courses for free so users can see how their training works before signing up. They offer two levels of subscriptions – Silver and Gold. Silver is $25/month or $250 for a year. It includes 1,000+ videos, practice in real time with their Code Challenge Engine, and a members only forum. There is plenty of content both for the beginner and those with experience. The Gold level is $46/month or $490 for a year and also include conference talks by professionals and workshops. There are also a number of blogs on the site that are free to read and users can also sign up for their newsletter which comes with some great gifts.
8. SpeckyBoy: http://speckyboy.com/
Global Alexa Rating: 3,699
For those looking for a site that is constantly up to date this is one to follow as they add at least one new blog article every single day. It is also easy to pull up archived articles from the category archives section or search by keyword. There are also two tabs – popular and recommended – for getting right to the best of the best. Users can also sign up for their newsletter or get their iOS app at the App Store for reading on the go. This site is well organized and simple to use with most of the content aimed at design and web graphics but also some articles about web development techniques and freelancing.
9. Web Design Ledger (WDL): http://webdesignledger.com/
Global Alexa Rating: 3,762
This site has more than 1,000 blogs including tutorials, trends, tools, tips, resources, freebies and inspiration. That is a lot of blogs! It is the sheer number of articles that makes this site a great place to visit regularly. New content is added nearly every day and users can also subscribe to their newsletter. All articles are written by web designers to be useful to web designers and they also welcome people to contact them about submitting content. A nice feature is that users can post comments to the blogs. All content including the tutorials is open for all viewers with no membership required.
10. Noupe: http://www.noupe.com/
Global Alexa Rating: 4,642
The jungle animal theme of this blog is an enjoyable touch but would mean nothing without fantastic content which they do quite excellently. The categories for this site are AJAX, CSS, Design, Photshop, Tutorials, WordPress, Tools, Inspiration, Freelance, Showcases, Photography and Wallpaper. The Showcase area is amazing with topics of relevance no matter what stage of web design a user is in. Quite frankly there isn’t a category that isn’t extremely well orchestrated. Noupe also has a social aspect with a presence on Google+, Facebook and Twitter. There is a section on the homepage dedicated to the most popular articles as well as a link to the Smashing Job Board.
Web design blogs seem to come and go with hundreds being launched each year but only a few make the cut and stick around year after year gaining in popularity. These ten are popular enough, visited enough and have new content added often enough that they will be useful web design blogs that should stand the test of time. Whether you are curious what all the glamour is about with web design, want to get started with learning about it, want to build your knowledge into a career or just want to stay on top of new techniques these ten will be a great place to start.