How To Add Soul To Your Rental Property


Written by: Maggie Gacy

There are a lot of reasons why someone wants to purchase a home and in their search for houses, there are two things involved – you can either buy a house or rent one. In most cases, people want to rent a house because of the stress involved.

As a homeowner, you know that houses – both for sale and for rent – are in high demand. If you’re hoping to draw attention to your property and attract new tenants, here are 5 ways to make your rental home stand out in this competitive market.

Rearrange Your Furniture

When hoping to attract new tenants, don’t be afraid to shake up your existing design. Since you’re not going to be renting the house to yourself, there is a very high possibility that your future renter might want to arrange things differently.

Consider changing the location for some of the furniture in the home like a bedroom dresser in the living room or adding Ready-to-Assemble Cabinets to the kitchen for additional storage.

If you need to take your furniture with you, consider offering a furnished home to your renter with options from CORT Furniture Rental. CORT offers Move-in-ready packages for every room in the home that start at $99 a month. This cost could be included in rent each month.

Buy New Hardware

One thing that can discourage a person from renting a house is the presence of items that no longer serve a purpose. From the bathroom to the kitchen, the HVAC system, and other things in the house, make sure to remove older or out-of-service items that will make renters overlook your property. Little changes like updated showerheads in the bathroom, newer cabinets in the kitchen, and doorknobs around the house go a long way. This will make the house look modern and attractive to people looking for a house to rent.

Repaint

When you successfully rent your house, it is very likely that your tenants will repaint the house to a color that they prefer. But before getting there,  make sure that the walls are ready for the tenant by repairing any damage and removing all dirt. If you plan on asking your renters to not paint the walls, consider choosing light and easy colors like blues, greens, or beige that blend well with most furniture pieces and will make the house look beautiful and positively affect the mood of your prospective tenant.

Arts and Plants

After painting your walls, you can bring extra beauty to the house by adding pieces of art to the wall. It makes the walls look adorable and will attract anyone who wants to rent a house. You can also make use of plants to brighten up the house. Put plants in places like windows and make sure that you take care of them. Plants help to bring life to any space.

Change The Rug

If your house has its flooring exposed, that can make it unappealing to certain people who looking to rent. Consider adding new or second-hand rugs around the home to bring warmth to the house and help you conceal the flooring.

With these small changes, you switch up your house from being the place where no tenant wants to visit into a hot item on the rental market.

 

 



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Flowering Herbs that are Beautiful and Delicious


Although many of the herbs you use in the kitchen are green and leafy, others bloom with beautiful flowers during certain parts of the year. Flowering herbs are nature’s double-duty plants: not only are they lovely to incorporate into your garden, but many also have a variety of uses, such as in cooking and aromatherapy. If you’re interested in dedicating part of your garden to flowering herbs, take a look at some of the top candidates:

Thai Basil
Unlike the sweet basil you may already be growing in your garden, Thai basil is a little spicier, smells like licorice and boasts gorgeous dark purple or reddish-purple blooms during the spring and summer. (Sweet basil is another flowering herb – you may have noticed small white blossoms on yours). Thai basil leaves are often used in – you guessed it – Thai food. If you use your Thai basil for cooking, you may want to pinch away some of the earlier flowers to allow the plant to grow more leaves.

Lavender

Lavender is one of the most commonly used flowering herbs since it’s used for aromatherapy, medicines, cooking and even in cut bouquets. Lavender blooms during midsummer, growing the small and pretty purplish-blue blossoms that are so recognizable (both by sight and by their unique, sweet scent). 

Looking for an arrangement to send to a loved one today? Send them Teleflora’s Lush and Lavender with Roses, a bouquet featuring purple roses, hydrangea, alstroemeria and, of course, lavender spray.

Feverfew

​Starting in summer and throughout fall, feverfew blooms with delicate-looking yet hardy white and yellow blossoms. The flowers are actually somewhat similar to daises in appearance, though much smaller. Feverfew isn’t only nice to look at, though – it actually has several medicinal uses. These flowering herbs are most commonly used to treat migraines and headaches.

Rosemary

If you don’t already grow rosemary yourself, you may not have known that the popular cooking herb blooms during the early summer. Rosemary is often used to season chicken, and the plant’s flowers are delicate-looking and most often either white or soft purple in color. If you’re adding this flowering herb to your garden, start with seedlings instead of seeds for the best results.

Catmint

Catmint is a less common flowering herb because it doesn’t have very many purposes other than being beautiful in gardens and cut arrangements. However, as the name suggests, cats love this beautiful flowering herb, so you may have some feline visitors if you start growing it. Expect rustic-looking purple blossoms that grow in cone-shaped clusters when your catmint blooms during the summer.



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Wall-Bracing Alternatives to Help Designers and Builders Navigate the Lumber Shortage


As lumberyards continue to recover from pandemic-related supply issues, there’s been an ever-increasing shortage of building materials, creating many challenges for building contractors. These shortages have impacted availability of wood structural panel sheathing and, as a result, our field engineers and sales team have received many questions about potential alternative solutions to meet the wall bracing provisions within the International Residential Code (IRC). Simpson Strong-Tie Branch Engineer Silvia Dyer has researched these provisions and compiled this useful information for our team. At Simpson Strong-Tie, customer service is one of our top priorities. Our engineering team is always available to discuss your wall bracing situations and to help you investigate unique wall bracing solutions. Read Silvia’s research and suggestions below.

Wall bracing is fundamental to preventing failures such as racking, sliding, and overturning from horizontal forces that a structure may encounter throughout its life. The most common forces are wind and seismic. The IRC has prescriptive wall bracing requirements and methods in section R602.10 to address lateral bracing including continuous and intermittent methods. Note that the code has specific requirements for each wall bracing method, and the length of braced wall panels vary depending on the method used. A designer may evaluate the following wall bracing methods as potential solutions when asked to reduce the amount of wood structural sheathing products in a project.

For all the methods in the code, including those mentioned below, you can use our Wall-Bracing Length Calculator to determine the minimum length of braced wall panels you would need on a braced wall line based on the method used. In addition, you can use our Strong-Wall® Bracing Selector to select one of our code-listed prefabricated shearwall products that meet the intent of the code while providing a narrow wall solution.

Code-Prescribed Wall Bracing

LIB (Let-in-bracing) Method

      • Applicable to projects up to two stories high in low seismic regions.
      • Panel heights up to 10′.
      • The 1×4 wood can be replaced by Simpson Strong-Tie metal straps – WB/WBC/RCWB (see below).
      • This method eliminates wood structural panel (WSP) sheathing; however, it requires gypsum wallboard installed on the side of the wall opposite the 1×4 or metal strap per section R602.10.4.3 with of 8″minimum edge fastener spacing for the gypsum board.
      • Minimum full wall lengths per panel:
        o   55″ for 8′ walls
        o   62″ for 9′ walls
        o   69″ for 10′ walls
Table R602.10.4
      • Simpson Strong-Tie WB/WBC/RCWB straps satisfy the “1×4 wood or approved metal strap” for the Let-in-bracing (Method LIB) in IRC Section R602.10.
      • Our catalog and evaluation report ESR-2608 provide supporting information for these straps — see section 2.3 of ESR-2608. Method LIB is also shown in Detail 2 of detail sheet WBW1 in our wall bracing detail sheets. I provide them in pdf, dwg, and dfx format for your reference and use.
      • Note that WB/WBC straps must be installed in pairs. RCWB must be let into a saw kerf cut in the studs.

WSP (Wood Structural Panel) Method

      • Applicable to projects up to three stories high with no seismic region limit.
      • Requires a 3/8″ wood structural panel (WSP), but the WSP doesn’t need to be placed continuously.
      • Including gypsum on the opposite side of the WSP is optional; however, omitting it will increase the required length of bracing by 50% in seismic applications and 40% in wind applications.
      • Panel heights up to 12′.
      • Minimum full wall lengths per braced panel of:
        o   48″ for up to 10′ walls
        o   53″ for 11′ walls
        o   58″ for 12′ walls
Table R602.10.4
    • Method WSP is also shown in Detail 1 of detail sheet WBW1 in our wall bracing detail sheets. I provide them in pdf, dwg, and dfx format for your reference and use.

Simpson Strong-Tie Wall Bracing Solutions

These solutions may be ideal for narrow wall segments or if you don’t have enough length of wall to meet the prescriptive requirements of the IRC:

Strong-Wall® Portal Frame System (PFS)

      • All applications where the PFH — Portal Frame with Hold-downs — method can be used.
      • For projects up to two stories high in SDC A-C.
        o   Garage Portal Application
      • SDC Do, D1, and D2 for single-story application.
        o   Garage Portal Application
      • No sheathing is required for the portal frame portion. Sheathing would be required if a pony wall is needed.
      • Maximum opening height 10′ — and with a pony wall, up to 12′ total wall height.
      • Minimum wall length of 10″ or 12″, with an equivalent of up to 8′ feet of braced wall panel length.
      • Post-installed anchor solutions.
      • Use either sawn lumber or LVL to build the frame onsite. (The only part Simpson Strong-Tie provides is the holdown and straps.)
      • Our literature and evaluation report ESR-4455 provide supporting information for this portal frame.
Example from Strong-Wall® Bracing Selector

You can use our Strong-Wall® Bracing Selector to select the frame kit for your project

Steel Strong-Wall® Shearwall (SSW)

This solution can be used in the following applications:

      • Can replace each alternative braced wall panel noted in the IRC or 4′ of wood structural panel sheathing (Method WSP of IRC). SDC A – D and up to the first of three stories.
        o   Garage portal application
        o   Balloon framing application
        o   Standard framing application
        o   Two-story stacked
      • No sheathing is required.
      • Wall lengths of 12″, 15″, 18″, 21″, and 24″.
      • It is 3 ½” in width so that it fits within a 2×4 wall.
      • Post-installed solutions are available.
      • Our literature and evaluation report ESR-1679 provide supporting information for this wall.

You can use our Strong-Wall® Bracing Selector to select the Steel Strong-Wall® kit for your project.

High-Strength Wood Strong-Wall® Shearwall (WSWH)

This solution can be used in the following applications:

      • Can replace each alternative braced wall panel noted in the IRC or 4′ of wood structural panel sheathing (Method WSP of IRC). SDC A – D and up to first of three stories.
        o   Garage portal application
        o   Balloon framing application
        o   Standard framing application
      • No sheathing is required.
      • Wall lengths of 12″, 18″, and 24″.
      • It is 3 ½” in width so that it fits within a 2×4 wall.
      • It can be trimmed at the site.
      • Rake wall application.
      • Post-installed solutions are available.
      • Heights up to 20′.
      • Our literature and evaluation report ESR-2652 provide supporting information for this wall.

You can use our Strong-Wall® Bracing Selector to select the WSWH kit for your project.

General Reminders Regarding Wall Bracing Code Requirements

  • Note that the IRC requires minimum locations of wall bracing panels within a braced wall line — see Figure R602.10.2.2 of the IRC.
  • If braced wall line is greater than 16′, it requires a minimum of two braced wall panels.
  • All perimeter walls shall be part of a braced wall line.

Other Considerations

When an intermittent wall bracing method is used instead of a continuous sheathing bracing method, using foam plastic sheathing products such as Poly-ISO between wall bracing panels will allow residences to be more energy efficient.

Reference Links

IRC 2018
Simpson Strong-Tie Wall Bracing Details
Wall-Bracing Length Calculator
Strong-Wall® Bracing Selector
Wall Bracing Technical Bulletin

The following links will bring up PDFs with summaries of the different IRC 2018 Wall Bracing methods and general requirements.

Wall Bracing Methods – 2018 IRC
Minimum and Effective Lengths 2018 IRC

I hope you find this information useful. If you have questions, please contact your Simpson Strong-Tie territory representative. If you don’t know your territory representative, please call us at 1-800-999-5099. I’m certain we can work together to come up with a solution during this interesting time.

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FootGolf Courses in Virginia – Virginia’s Travel Blog


The popular sports of golf and soccer combine to net you footgolf, one of the fastest growing sports in the United States. Footgolf is played with a regular size soccer ball with the rules of golf. The goal of the game is to get the ball into the 21-inch diameter hole in the least number of strokes. Like golf, footgolf is a precision sport where players must learn the roll of the ball along with navigating the different terrain that each course presents. The first known footgolf tournament was organized in the Netherlands in 2008 and made its way to the United States in 2011 when the American footgolf League was founded. The sport has been regulated since 2012 by the Federation for International footgolf. Virginia has quite a few golf courses that have started offering footgolf as an additional activity, you can find a few of them listed below.  

Winton Farm Golf Course

Best known for its open fairways and challenging greens Winton Farms is surrounded by mountains and has a lake on the course, you can expect beautiful sceneries while you play 18 holes of Foot Golf. Located in Amherst, most recently the course was used as the competition site during the 2019 State Games of America.

Kiskiack Golf Course

This Golf course in Williamsburg is set along the ridge of a natural bluff, Kiskiack has spectacular views that will surely leave you in awe, it’s a relaxing and enjoyable course that has two lakes and will take your through mature hardwoods and over natural rolling hills.

CN19112109P_403.JPG

Pinecrest Golf Course

Located in Fairfax County, Pinecrest is a narrow course peppered with hills and ponds. It is the only Footgolf facility in Fairfax County and is the first American Footgolf League certified course in Fairfax County. The par 60 course is 1965 yards with and consists of 18 holes.

Independence Golf Club

Recognized as one of the premier public golf courses in Richmond by Golf Digest, Independence Golf Club has something to offer for everyone. A truly beautiful property that offers not only Golf but a variety of sports such as footgolf, disc golf and cornhole.

Windy Hill

Located in Midlothian, this facility started with just a driving range, miniature golf, and batting cages in 1989, however over the years the facility expanded to 150 acres which included a regulation 9-hole course as well as a lighted par 3 course. Guests can play Footgolf at the par 3 course at any time.

Lake Ridge Park Golf Course

An American Footgolf League certified course located in Woodbridge; Lake Ridge Golf Course has a beautiful 9-hole footgolf course that spans 952 yards. Set along the scenic Occoquan River, the terrain of Lake Ridge Golf Course will challenge the beginner footgolfer.

Ole Monterey Golf Club

Built in 1920, Ole Monterey Golf Club is the second oldest club in the Roanoke Valley. With picturesque views of downtown Roanoke, Mill Mountain Star, and the Blue Ridge Mountains, Ole Monterey Golf Club makes for a great place to play 18 holes of footgolf.



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Make Cake Toppers with Layers: Rainbows & Mermaids!


Instructions

STEP 1: GET MY LAYERED CAKE TOPPERS DESIGNS

First, download Design #313 from my free resource library — this is my Layered Cake Toppers design. If you are going to cut your own cake topper on your cutting machine, upload the file to your design software. Here is what my Layered Cake Toppers file will look like in Cricut Design Space:

Design space view of my layered cake toppers

Tip: If you are not sure how to upload an SVG cut file to the Cricut Design Space, watch this helpful video training series I made. If you are on an iPad or iPhone, here is how to download and upload SVG files to the Cricut Design Space app.

STEP 2: PERSONALIZE YOUR LAYERED CAKE TOPPER USING OFFSET IN CRICUT DESIGN SPACE

I want to show you how to personalize your custom cake topper using the Offset feature in Cricut Design Space, but please note that Offset is on Design Space for Desktop only, and it’s still in beta so it may not work for everyone.

Let’s start creating by ungrouping the designs in the Layered Cake Topper SVG. To ungroup the SVG, select the design and click on the Ungroup button at the top of the Layers panel.

Ungroup the svg file for my layered cake toppers

Next, choose the design you want to create and hide or delete the one you don’t need. To hide or delete click on the “eye icon” next to the one you don’t want to use in the Layers panel on the right.

In Design Space hide or delete the image you don't want for my layered cake toppers

Let’s start with the Mermaid Layered Cake Topper. I have sized this cake topper at about 7″ wide x 6.75″ high. If you choose to resize the design to meet your needs, make sure to hit “Group” first in the Layers panel so that all of the elements of the design will change size together.

Then click on the “Lock” on the bottom left-hand side of the bounding box to unlock the design which will allow you to resize. Next click on the “arrows” on the bottom right and click and drag to change the size. Once you are happy with the size you can “Ungroup” again to personalize.

how to change proportion and sizing on my layered cake toppers

Choose the topper to cut and ungroup the design for my layered cake toppers.

Of course you will want to personalize your layered cake topper with the name of your celebrant. You will notice that I have offsets around the text on the cake topper. If you want to create offsets for your text, we can now do this in Design Space with the new Offset tool. Yay! We are all doing a happy dance now that we can create offsets in Cricut Design Space! We now have a way to easily create offsets. The new Offset tool allows us to create outlines both inside and outside of our text, images and even shapes.

We can find the Offset button in the top menu bar of Design Space in between the Edit and the Align buttons.

TIP: The Offset button will not be active (clickable) until you have an object selected on your canvas.

Offset button is not active unless something is selected on the screen for my layered cake toppers

Since we are working with text for our cake layers, I will demonstrate using the new Offset functionality with text on the Mermaid Layered Cake Topper. Check to make sure you have ungrouped the design and delete or hide the objects you do not want. I am going to delete the name on this topper and add a new name. I will also delete the numbers that are on the topper as well so I can change them. First, I will type in my new text. You can use any font that you would like to use for this part of the design. Using the Text tool, I typed the name I wanted to personalize my layered cake topper with.

Use text tool to type in name for my layered cake toppers

After I typed the name and it was still selected, I changed the font. To do this I clicked on the down arrow under the font menu on the upper left-hand side of the screen and selected my desired font. I used the Letter Spacing button to adjust the space between the letters.

Adjust the font and the alignment in design space for my layered cake toppers

Once the letters are close enough, you can ungroup the text to fine tune the spacing. This allows you to move each letter individually so you can get everything just right.

ungroup text to adjust for my layered cake toppers

Now that I am happy with my spacing, I grouped and welded the text while it was still selected.

after all text adjustments group and weld the text for my layered cake toppers.

In Design Space the default color for text is black and I wanted to change that. To change the color of the text, while the text is selected, click on the color picker box to the right of the Operations button and select the color of your choice.

How to change color of text in design space for my layered cake toppers

Now we are ready to add the offset. With the text selected, click on the Offset button and you will see the offset added to your design. Remember, if the Offset button is not clickable, you don’t have the object that you want to add the offset to selected. When I first clicked on the offset, a .25 offset was added to my text. I wanted a bit smaller of an offset, so I clicked on the circle on the slider bar and slid to the left a bit to get a smaller offset. Be sure to click the Apply button to accept your the offset once you are happy with it.

clicking on offset button to offset text for my layered cake toppers

adjusting size of offset and clicking apply for my layered cake toppers

TIP: If you change your mind on the offset size after you have clicked apply, you will not be able to change the offset distance. You will need to delete that offset and add a new offset set to your desired distance.

To change the color of your offset, click on the box to the right of the Operation button in the top menu bar and choose your offset color from the color picker. With both the outline layer and the text layer selected, you can use the Align button in the top menu to center them horizontally and vertically if needed. Once you are satisfied with how the offset and text look, group the two layers together while they are both still selected.

Changing color of offset for my layered cake toppers

align and group the offset and text layer for my layered cake toppers

Size the image to fit in place on the cake topper by selecting the image and using the arrow in the lower right hand corner. Remember you can also unlock the lock in the bottom left hand corner to adjust the size if you like.

how to size the image to fit the topper for my layered cake toppers

To add the celebrants age, I ungrouped the number set provided in the design and selected the number(s) needed. Delete or hide the remaining numbers from the design before cutting. Follow the same process from above to create an offset, set the offset color, align and size to put in place.

ungroup the numbers and delete the ones you do not want for my layered cake toppers

TIP: If you are using more than one number, group those numbers together before creating your offset so that your offset will be based on the set of numbers and not each individual number.

be sure to group numbers before offsetting them for my layered cake toppers

design is ready for cutting for my layered cake toppers

Once the design is ready to cut, and you have decided on paper colors, the fun begins.

STEP 3: CUT YOUR CAKE TOPPER LAYERS ON YOUR CRICUT

Now that I have all my edits completed, I am ready to click the “Make It” button in the upper right hand corner of Design Space.

Click on the Make IT button to cut my layered cake toppers

On the Preview screen, make sure to select the correct size of paper you are using on each mat so that your design cuts properly and and nothing gets cut off. Click the Continue button.

select paper size and click continue on preview screen for my layered cake toppers

Next, make sure you have the right cutting machine selected and choose the Base Material setting needed for the material you have chosen. I used 65 lb. cardstock for most of my cuts so I used the Light Cardstock setting. Medium Cardstock would also work here. However, when I cut the glitter cardstock I used the Glitter Cardstock setting for my Base Material.

Select the machine used to cut design and select base material for my layered cake toppers

I always select “More” Pressure to assure my cuts are nice and clean.

Select More pressure for clean cuts for my layered cake toppers

Load the mat into your machine and press the flashing button to cut your design.

STEP 4: ASSEMBLE YOUR LAYERED CAKE TOPPER

For the Mermaid Layered Cake topper, I first assembled the seaweed onto the solid background (not the backer layer with the cuts for the skewer). Apply glue sparingly onto the seaweed and place onto the background, leaving a bit of a border around the seaweed.

put a small amount of glue on the back of the seaweed for my Personalized Cake Topper

position seaweed on the topper so there is a little of the background border around it for my Personalized Cake Topper

Next I applied the white layer for the tail over the top of the seaweed, again leaving a bit of the background border around the tail. I then applied a small amount of glue to my Happy Birthday lettering, applied the lettering to its offset and glued the pieces to the solid background as well. I also glued my celebrants name to its offset and set it aside for attachment later.

I applied the patterned layer of the tail to the topper using foam dots to give the topper some dimension. Place the foam dots on the back of the tail, remove the paper backing from the foam dots and place the tail in place.

apply foam dots to back of patterned paper for my personalized cake topper

remove the paper from the foam dots for my personalized cake topper

position patterned tail on my personalized cake topper

Once the tail is in place, I put the celebrants’ name on the topper. Again, I used foam dots on the back of the offset to make it pop off the topper. Apply the foam dots as before, remove the paper backing from the dots and center the celebrants’ name on the wave part of the topper.

use foam dots on back of name and place on the topper for my personalized cake topper

The last piece I added to the front of the layered cake topper is the cute starfish. First glue the two layers together, then again use foam dots to apply it to the topper. I stacked two foam dots on top of each other for the starfish, as it needed some extra height to rise above the mermaid tail.

attach starfish to the topper for my personalized cake topper

starfished attached on my personalized cake topper

This topper is almost complete! The last thing to do is to put the backer onto the topper. You will notice that the backer has some horizontal cuts on each side of it. These are for the skewers to slide through. Apply glue to the backer, being careful to glue around these cuts. You want them to be free so you can easily slide the skewers into the back once it is glued in place. Place the backer piece in place pressing it down well. Once the glue has dried well enough, slide the skewers into their slots. I didn’t glue the skewers in place at this point because I wanted the freedom to be able to adjust the height of the topper once I placed it on the cake.

apply glue to the backer for the top avoiding the cuts on both sides for my personalized cake topper

apply the backer to the back of the topper for my personalized cake topper

insert the skewers in the back of the cake topper for my personalized cake topper

As an optional step, I added a little glitter glue to the mermaid tail, which was just the fun touch it needed. Also, I placed the celebrants’ age, that I had created an offset for above, to the end of the mermaid tail. However, you may place that wherever you desire.

optional to add a little glitter glue to tail on my personalized cake topper

And look how cute!
topper on cake for my personalized cake topper

Next we’ll assemble the Rainbow Layered Cake Topper. The preparation steps to cut it out are the same as the Mermaid Layered Cake Topper. I have sized this topper at about 8″ wide x 4.50″ high. If you choose to resize the design to meet your needs, you will want to do that now, before you ungroup the design. Otherwise, go ahead and ungroup the design as shown above.

You can now personalize your cake topper just like we did for the Mermaid Cake Topper Design.

Once you have all your edits completed, click the “Make It” button and follow the same process we did in Step 3.

The first step in assembling the Rainbow topper is to glue the rainbow outline to its corresponding back.

TIP: It’s a good idea to figure out which side of the outline piece gets the glue! I lined them up before applying glue to make sure I was putting the glue on the right side. I chose to use adhesive spray on my outline, however you can use any type of glue.
do a test line up of your pieces to be sure you are putting the glue on the right side of my personalized cake topper

lining outline topper up with its corresponding back piece of my personalized cake topper

the outline piece and its backing glued together for my personalized cake topper

Now the fun begins! Add each rainbow color! It is just like putting together a puzzle. Apply glue sparingly to each rainbow piece and glue it into its place on the rainbow.

glue rainbow pieces into their place for my personalized cake topper

placing rainbow in place on my personalized cake topper

all colors in place on rainbow for my personal cake topper

Next I added each of the clouds. Again, you will line them up so there is a little border of the blue around each cloud. I glued the first layer of clouds to the rainbow and then layered the smaller clouds on top of them using foam dots, just as we did above for the Mermaid Cake Topper. Apply the foam dots, remove the paper and place the clouds in place.

placement of clouds on the rainbow for my personalized cake topper

both clouds glued in place on the rainbow base for my personalized cake topper

placement of top clouds with foam dots for my personalized cake topper

I personalized my topper by adding the celebrants’ name and age to the clouds on each side. Of course you can put them wherever you like.

glue name on cloud before layering it on top of the base cloud for my personalized cake topper

glued the age of the recipient on the other cloud for my personalized cake topper

I also glued Happy Birthday to its offset and then used foam dots on the back of the offset to adhere it to the rainbow. The curve of the offset for the Happy Birthday and the Congratulations included in the file were cut to fit right above the green rainbow.

happy birthday glued to its offset for my personalized cake topper

use foam dots on the back of the Happy Birthday offset for my personalized cake topper

place above the green rainbow for my personalized cake topper

All that is left is to glue the backer onto the topper and add the skewers. And we do that exactly like we did the Mermaid Cake Topper above.

don't glue too close to the cuts in the backer for my personalized cake topper

apply glue to the back of the backer avoiding the cuts on both sides for my personalized cake topper

slide skewers into place once glue is dry on my personalized cake topper

finished rainbow topper for my personalized cake topper

STEP 5: SHOW IT OFF!

Customer cake toppers are such a cute, fun way to decorate a cake!

rainbow topper on cake for my personalized cake topper



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Introducing the newest Parallels Desktop for Mac Business Edition



The brand-new Parallels® Desktop 17 doesn’t disappoint. In fact, with myriad point solutions available today, Parallels continues to excel in the virtualization space and provides business users with a fast, easy and powerful application for running Windows on a Mac—all without a pesky reboot! It’s downright simple to get up and running in minutes, toggle between Mac and Windows applications with ease, and enjoy incredible performance that supports Windows applications without compromise.   

This latest release is packed with power and delivers a whole host of new features re-engineered to support the new Intel-based and Apple M1 Mac computers. From transparent licensing with mass activation key and multiple deployment options to fit organizations of every size and style, to a command line interface for advanced administration, users will find everything they need to take their productivity to the next level. Plus, 24/7 premium support is included with purchase, along with 30+ tools to simplify everyday tasks. It’s truly no wonder users worldwide trust Parallels and have for more than 15 years. 
 
Sure to elevate your Windows experience on either an Intel-based or Apple M1 Mac, we’d like to highlight some of the more prominent features that are turning the heads of critics and consumers alike. Read on! 
 

Optimized for new Mac Computers  
Parallels Desktop has been rebuilt and optimized to run natively on Apple M1 and Intel based Mac devices, improving speed and performance. Areas of improvement include: 

  • 38% faster Windows resume  
  • 6X faster OpenGL graphics performance  
  • 33% faster Windows start up on M1   
  • 20% better disk performance 

After all, customers need their software to integrate with and support new hardware advancements and technologies. And, we’ve got you covered. 

Engineered for macOS Monterey 
Designed for the latest macOS release and engineered to support new features, functionality, and deliver exceptional performance. You don’t have to migrate to Monterey but if you do, you’ll be pleasantly surprised that we’ve thought of everything. 

New display driver for Windows 
An improved display driver in Parallels Desktop 17 delivers a smoother Windows UI responsiveness and synchronized video playback. In addition to performance improvements, the new driver boosts frame rate in many Windows games for a greater gaming experience and provides better synchronization with the Mac display. 

Built-in Resource Manager  
Parallels Desktop 17 evaluates your hardware and automatically allocates the optimal number of resources for your virtual machine so that you get the best performance and experience possible. 

For new users, this feature makes it far simpler to discern how to adjust settings to best allocate resources and get the strongest performance from their virtual machine. Pro users often like to adjust VM configuration settings to obtain the optimal performance, but it can be tricky to navigate these settings – even for those savvy to technological nuances. And for IT admin users on the hook for deploying VMs to many different Mac computers across the organization, this is a far easier way to optimize a fleet instead of having to identify issues, one by one. 

Seamless Experience in Coherence™ Mode 
Smooth end-to end user experience with fewer distracting changes in appearance during Windows sign in, shut down, and software updates. We guarantee a stop to unexpected interruptions and frustrating distractions. Shut-downs, updates & sign-ins are now windowed, enabling the user to minimize them and stay focused and productive. 

Content Share Between Apps and OSs  
Drag and drop text or graphics between Mac and Windows applications, seamlessly. And, on macOS Monterey, drag and drop any content from Windows apps to Quick Note as easily as from macOS apps. This saves a great deal of time and streamlines workflows, sparing countless minutes throughout the span of a day. 

Simple Windows Provision on a Multi-Architecture Mac Fleet 
Parallels Desktop 17 now delivers one configuration profile to provision Windows images for both M1 and Intel-based Mac computers. 

Before this release, to provision Windows 10 using a link in Parallels My Account, IT admin had to create two configuration profiles and two sublicense keys and use them separately for Intel and Apple M1 Mac computers. This is a serious management burden! But with this new feature, business admins can use a single profile for all users and Parallels Desktop will automatically decide which Windows image to download based on the Mac chip type. 

Universal Binary for Intel and M1 
When deploying Parallels Desktop to Mac computers using Mac Management tools or Self-service portal, it is necessary to use a Parallels Desktop image that works for Mac. In Parallels Desktop 16, images are different for Intel and M1 Mac computers, and admins had to deploy Parallels Desktop to each Mac group separately.  

Now admins can deploy Parallels Desktop to all Mac computers without dividing them by the architecture type and delivering separate deployment packages for each. 

And, there’s so much more to discover…. 

Parallels® Desktop Business Edition is the leading virtualization solution for professionals, teams and businesses to run Windows on an Intel-based or Apple M1 Mac. Learn more about our new Parallels Desktop user features. Or download a free 14-day trial to try it for yourself. 

With near native performance, lightning speed and incredible efficiency, you’ll find yourself wondering if you’ll ever need to purchase a PC again.  



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How to make video transitions like a pro | Tips and tricks for video transitions


Alright, you’re starting off on one of your first video editing projects. Congrats! You have two great shots which you want to use, but… you have a problem: they don’t really go together.

There’s just something off about the two shots when you abruptly cut between the two. And despite how you trim your clips, or other basic video editing tips that you might try, they just need something extra to help them transition between the two shots.

Well, you’re in luck, as you’re about to discover the wide, wonderful world of video transitions. A concept which we’ll break down and explore, as well as share some of the best practices for adding masterful transitions to your videos. Let’s dive in!

So what are video transitions? 

Video video effects which connect two different shots together in an edit. Basic transitions include fades, dissolves and wipes as a way to transition from shot to shot.

Why are video transitions important? 

Let’s rewind back to the very beginning. In the very early days, there were no transitions between shots. Instead there were simply cuts. You’d have one shot (like a wide shot), which would abruptly cut to another shot (like a close up). These cuts make up the fundamental building blocks of video editing. 

However, as the medium evolved, early filmmakers devised ways to “transition” from shot to shot which would make these cuts more pleasing to the audience.

These early transitions include many which we still use today like: 

  • Fades: which transition to or from a solid color (usually black or white).
  • Cross Dissolves: where two shots transition into each other.
  • Wipes: where the old shot appears to move across the screen to be replaced by the next shot.

When first introduced, these simple transitions were quite revolutionary as they were much less abrupt and more appealing to how audiences perceive film. And just like the original cuts, many of these early transitions are still used today, although more likely in a digital edit and with plenty of new options and controls.

Do’s and don’ts for your video transitions 

As you get started with video transitions, let’s go over some basic do’s and don’ts which should help you add in transitions the way they were meant to be used.

Do: Make it subtle

When one first discovers transitions, it can be quite fun to use early and often. They are very cool, afterall. However, just because a transition can be a great trick for joining two different shots or scenes, they also need to be subtle.

Try using only basic transitions at first, like fades or dissolves, and keep the length to only a few seconds or frames.

Don’t: Add too many transitions

They say that the best edits are the ones that you don’t even notice at all. This is doubly true with transitions as you really don’t want them to take away attention from the greater story at large. 

So don’t add too many transitions to your edits as they can quickly get distracting.

Do: Be consistent with your transitions

Transitions should be used when needed to help bridge unnatural or awkward cuts, or to put forth a cinematic theme. If you’re using them just for fun on every shot they can indeed be a bit too much. 

Instead, try to limit and be consistent with your transitions as they help inform your narrative or story.

Don’t: Distract your audience or pull them out of the moment 

Similarly, you also want your transitions to feel very natural. Transitions usually work best when they’re kept short and happen quickly with the action of your video. If you choose to use transitions which stretch too long or are quite awkward, it can quickly pull your audience out of the moment.

Do: Add dynamic energy

Transitions can be great for adding movement and energy to a dull or boring edit. Fades and dissolves will always be a bit more cinematic. However working with wipes, pushes or pulls can be a great way to add a kinetic energy to your edits which can help them feel quicker, more fun and alive.

Don’t: Fight against natural movement

That being said, you always want to try to follow the natural movement of your videos. Adding transitions with energy is great, but only if you can channel that energy into how your story already flows. Remember, narrative action traditionally moves from left to right, so unless you’re looking to challenge your audience, try to put things in motion across the screen in its natural direction.

Do: Try different transitions

When first starting off, it can be great fun to experiment with the many different types of transitions out there. Depending on what video editing app that you’re using, you might have dozens of transitions to check out. Try out as many as you’d like and experiment with how they look between different shots and lengths.

Don’t: Use too many different types in the same video

After you’ve had your fun experimenting though, it’s usually best practice to settle into just using a few of your favorite transitions types. As stated above, transitions can be fun and cool, but you don’t want to overuse them – and many transition styles aren’t simply needed very often at all.

How to add video transitions to your videos

Those are some basic best practice do’s and don’ts, but the real trick to learning how to master transitions comes simply from opening your favorite video editing software or app and trying them out for yourself.

In modern digital editing, transitions truly are only limited by your imagination. We’ll go over specific steps for making transitions in different apps like iMovie, Windows and Vimeo Create below, but for many of these platforms they’re really as simple as dragging and dropping.

The real trick is finding the transitions that work for you. Be sure to experiment with different types of transitions (like fades, dissolves and wipes), as well as with length and intensity until you find some transition presets which work for you.

Which video editor has the best transitions?

There are plenty of video editors which include basic transition effects. In a hurry? Go with ready-made Vimeo Create templates which already include stylistic transitions. 

How to make video transitions with iMovie 

First we’ll look at making video transitions with Apple’s iMovie. This app is great for beginners and should be pretty straightforward to learn in terms of basic editing principles. To get started with transitions specifically, follow these steps:

  1. Open iMovie on your Mac
  2. Create a project or open your movie in the timeline
  3. Select the “transitions” tab above the browser
  4. Preview transitions by skimming over it 
  5. Click to add a transition between two clips
  6. Drag the transition to the two clips you want on the timeline
  7. Adjust the settings and lengths as you’d like

How to make video transitions with Windows

If you’re working with a Windows computer, making a video with transitions might be a little trickier unless you’re ready to use a more advanced program like Adobe Premiere Pro. Your best option might really be to use something like Vimeo Create to quickly add templates that include different transitions which are ready to go for your projects.

Still, if you do want to work in Windows, you can always use Windows Video Editor, however this app does not currently include transition effects. Instead you can also try out some of these basic video editing softwares designed for Windows like:

How do you edit a video with transitions?

You can either edit a video with transitions by using an advanced NLE program to add and customize transitions, or you can use a template-based video editor like Vimeo Create which includes flashy transitions already.

How to do cool video transitions with Vimeo Create 

As mentioned above, your best bet for most beginners and professionals alike looking to quickly make videos with transitions is to use Vimeo Create. Unlike many video editing platforms and NLEs, Vimeo Create is template-based and designed for ease-of-use.

Here are your basic steps for creating videos (with transitions) with Vimeo Create:

  1. Choose a template or start from scratch
  2. Add and arrange your videos, images, assets
  3. Choose a style (which include transitions)
  4. Choose your music
  5. Edit as you see fit
  6. Save & share

Be sure to really explore the different templates and styles as this is where you’ll find a wide variety of transitions including fades, dissolves and other wipes. These transitions will be placed in your videos automatically and will even self-adjust based on how many clips or images that you want to use.

How do I make my transitions smoother? 

Transitions work best when they are done quickly and within the natural pace and movement of a video. Try either experimenting with different transition styles and lengths or explore many of the ready-made transitions included in the templates in Vimeo Create.

You’ll also see that transitions are added to your intro and outro clips as they sync with the music to give your videos the feeling of a professional edit – but without all the laborious work.

So, regardless of your video editing app of choice, transitions can indeed be a great way to spice up any video project. Remember though, follow the best practices by only using transitions as a way to enhance your normal edits and cuts without distracting your viewers from your content and story.

If you’d like to try out some ready-made templates which include plenty of flashy transitions done with a tasteful touch, be sure to head over to Vimeo Create to experiment with plenty of great templates and styles to make your videos quick and easy.



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What is It? + How It Can Affect You Getting Paid As A Freelancer


Every invoice comes with payment terms. That’s the section where the merchant lays out how the client is supposed to pay for services or products. One of those payment terms is what you call net 30.

Net 30 is, without a doubt, one of the most common, but also one of the most highly misunderstood and confusing, payment agreements. You see, many customers are used to cash upfront or a credit agreement with a clear due date.

When you start using jargon like “net 30,” it’s almost guaranteed that a majority of your clients will blank out. Add fractions like “2/10 net 30,” and you’ll start to sound like an astrophysicist.

This guide will take you through the ins and outs of net 30. First, you’ll learn what net 30 is and how it’s different from another common payment term referred to as “due in 30 days.” You’ll also gain an in-depth insight into the benefits and drawbacks of using that payment agreement.

By the end of this review, you should be in a position to know whether net 30 is right for your business or not. Let’s get to it!

What is net 30?

Net 30 is a common payment term where a business or merchant gives the client 30 days to pay the total amount of money owed. It is a short form of credit extended to buyers. The merchant provides the products or services needed, creates the invoice, and waits for payment to be made within 30 days.

The countdown in the net 30 agreement starts from the date the invoice was created. Weekends and holidays are not excluded from the 30 days. It’s critical to communicate this information to your client to avert confusion and misunderstandings in the future.

Psst… Can a text message help you reach $100K as a freelancer? Find out here…

But why would a business use such a credit term in the first place?

Running a business on a cash basis has lots of perks. For starters, you don’t have to pay the credit or debit card transaction fees. Secondly, you always have cash on hand.

A cash-upfront system has limitations, though. For example, banks will charge you to deposit money in your bank account. Moreover, you might face issues if you are operating in a market where clients have limited capital.

Delayed payment terms like net 30 help companies with clients or customers who don’t have the money to pay for goods or services upfront. Moreover, your ability to extend the credit can make all the difference when a potential customer chooses between multiple vendors.

percentage of late invoice payments done to SMEsAs you can imagine, running a business with credit terms opens the door to a whole lot of challenges. First, credits are notorious for causing late payments, which leave SMEs struggling.

Top net 30 variations

You should know that net 30 is not the only credit term your business can use. Net 10, 15, and 60 are some of the other commonly used delayed payment agreements.

A net 10 credit obligates the buyer to pay for services rendered within 10 days. The credit is typically a win-win situation when dealing with relatively new clients. It’s also a decent option for small businesses since net 30 can be very risky for freelancers and solopreneurs.

The short credit encourages clients to purchase your services while minimizing your risk. If the client proves reliable after multiple payments, you can upgrade them to a net 15 or 30.

Meanwhile, net 60 and 90 are the better option for your most trusted clients. It rewards them for their loyalty.

Extending a 90-day credit to a client doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to wait for the full 90 days to get your payment. Customers can make a full repayment before those 90 days elapses.

One of the best ways of encouraging clients to pay back sooner is by attaching discounts to the terms. For instance, in a net 90 agreement, you can include a clause that gives the client a 4% discount if they pay within 20 days.

An example of such an agreement is 1/10 Net 30. The merchant extends a 30-day credit with this contract, but the client will get a 1% discount if they pay within 10 days.

Some businesses include fees to discourage late payments, which makes sense when you look at the statistics. According to a PYMNTS report, 27.5% of businesses that received late payments regularly missed their payment deadlines.

the relationship between late payments and meeting business expenses
Should you impose those charges for late payment on your clients?

Well, late penalties would certainly encourage on-time payments, but you must be careful with how you approach and present the charges. A hefty fee can scare away potential clients. That would make the whole credit term pointless.

If you decide to add late penalties, make sure they’re reasonable and communicate them politely to customers before implementing the policy.

Try to be flexible when implementing late payment fees, as well. If a longtime client misses a payment deadline, you might forego the fee. You can generate a lot of goodwill with such an approach.

The difference between net 30 vs due in 30 days

Net 30 and due in 30 days are mostly the same. Both terms expect a client to pay the total amount owed within 30 days.

The difference comes in when a Net 30 payment agreement is offered with a discount. In such cases, the term will be displayed in this format “discount/days Net 30.” A good example is “1/10 Net 30,” as discussed above.

How to use net 30 in your invoice

The use of terms like net 30 may not be a problem when dealing with established businesses like a B2B ecommerce website. However, B2C companies have to be careful when explaining the policy to customers.

Consumers can interpret net 30 in so many ways. Some would think it’s 30 days from receipt of goods or orders. Others will assume it’s 30 days from the day they received the invoice. The bottom line is that net 30 can create confusion.

So, how do you solve that?

First, make sure the customer is aware of what the term means and clearly outline the stipulations. The best place to put net 30 in an invoice is in the terms section of your invoice. It’s good to have it listed as high as possible if you have multiple payment instructions.

best location to place net 30 in your invoice
In addition to making the term conspicuous, ensure the wording is crystal clear and polite. The average customer will have a hard time understanding what 2.5/20 net 30 means. Save them the headache by providing a brief and concise explanation next to the term.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of net 30?

Consider the following pros and cons of net 30 before you rush into extending the terms in the hopes of attracting clients.

Here are the advantages:

It can expand your customer base.

An interesting study shared by Business Wire reports that approximately one-third of small businesses cannot make payroll and pay bills due to cash flow woes. In fact, 69% of small business owners admit to losing sleep due to the issue.

Cash flow problems make it hard for businesses to acquire raw materials and goods for their customers. As a result, many companies are forced to either close shop or take expensive loans to finance daily business operations.

Short credit terms solve the cash flow issues that many businesses go through. By providing this option, it’s almost guaranteed that you will attract new customers. The flexible payment option gives them an incentive to work with you. It helps them stay afloat and escape expensive business loans.

It can increase sales from each customer.

How many times have you found yourself spending more money than usual when you’re paying with a credit card? Multiple studies investigating consumers’ spending habits when using credit cards vs. cash have discovered people spend more when they have access to credit.

comparison on money spent while using credit card vs cash
Psychologists explain this phenomenon through what they refer to as coupling. For example, when you’re using cash, you feel the cost of the item. That’s because the money is leaving your pocket.

On the other hand, because of the delay between purchasing an item and paying for the goods, using credit feels “painless.” That makes you willing to spend more money.

The same concept can be observed in businesses. A client buying goods in cash is likely to spend less than they would if they were using credit. Therefore, by providing a credit payment option, you encourage them to spend more through your business.

That being said, it’s crucial to know the limits of how much credit you should extend to clients. It’s equally important to know which clients are reliable enough to deserve the credit term in the first place.

In an industry where your competitors offer net 30 you are almost obliged to offer similar terms.

If you happen to be the only one providing credit, chances are you will attract new clients from competitors. That should give you enough headstart to create a loyal customer base before other businesses catch up.

Offering customers credit can be a good thing. Many small businesses rely on credit for survival.

The 2020 pandemic increased credit uptake even more. In a survey shared by Bloomberg, 70% of respondents admitted to taking some form of finance to support their businesses, as shown below.

loans taken by small business owners to finance business operations
Offering net credit terms helps you compete with other businesses in the industry and offer better customer experience.

Disadvantages

It can reduce cash flow.

Credit terms can create serious cash flow issues for your company. That’s especially the case with small and medium businesses.

As the business owner, you need to determine whether your company can wait for payment for 30 days. You need to consider the possibility that the client may not make the payment by the set deadline.

how long it takes for some businesses to receive payments
If the risks of offering credit are too high, you’re better off sticking to the traditional cash upfront system. The last thing you want is to sink your business by offering unsustainable lines of credit.

If you must provide credit to remain competitive, consider the best option for your company. For instance, instead of giving out a net 30, provide net 15 or 10. It may not be as enticing as the 30-day credit, but it’s better than nothing. Also, it reduces the risk of cash flow issues.

It increases your work.

You will be required to do extra work if you offer customers credit. For example, you’ll have to figure out how to keep track of credits offered, money pending from each client, due dates, etc. You may even be forced to chase up after clients to request payments.

Of course, none of this is a problem if the system is attracting new customers and everyone is making payments on schedule. But realistically, some clients won’t pay up on time.

Delayed payments will introduce new complications and expenses. That’s why it’s critical to limit credit terms to trusted and reliable clients only. Late fees may incentivize customers to pay on time.

Check out this data from FreshBooks:

the impact of including interest rates on your invoice payment terms
The survey showed that mentioning the term “interest” made clients pay invoices in full 92.15% of the time. The data reveals that penalties are an effective way to discourage late payments.

It may reduce your profit margins.

Discounted net credit terms are usually added to promote quick payments. That’s a nice and reasonable strategy. Unfortunately, any discount will eat into your profits.

That may not be a problem for a big business with lots of clients or good profit margins who can afford to reduce profits slightly. However, for a freelancer who’s barely breaking even and is probably selling products online, giving discounts is far from ideal.

Is net 30 right for you?

When properly implemented, net 30 can benefit virtually every business. However, its impact would vary based on several factors, like the specific terms used.

To determine how well the arrangement may work for your specific company, look at your business finances and the list of clients. If you can afford to wait for 15, 30, or 60 days for payments, well and good. If you can’t, then you’re better off avoiding these credit terms.

If you decide to go through with net 30, vet the clients thoroughly before providing credit. Ideally, net 30 should be limited to trusted clients with a track record of paying on time.

Conclusion

It pays to know about the types of payment agreements are at your disposal. Deferred payment agreements can help drive sales and improve customer acquisition since they serve as an incentive for consumers to transact with you.

Net 30 is one of those payment agreements you can consider. Many organizations across the world use net 30. Deferred payment can give you a competitive edge, help you grow a loyal customer base, and increase sales from each customer.

That’s not to say net 30 is without risks. Credit arrangements can seriously affect your cash flow. It can also complicate your business operations, especially if you’re extending lines of credit to the wrong clients.

Ultimately, whether to use net 30 or not depends on the business’ willingness to take a risk. In other words, it will vary from one business to the next. However, with the help of this comprehensive guide, we’re confident that you, in particular, will make the right decision for your freelance business. All the best!

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14 Best Cheap WordPress Themes 2021


Choosing from cheap WordPress themes can be challenging. You never know what you get. Will it be reliable? Responsive? Customizable enough?

We made an end to the struggle with our review of the best affordable WordPress themes on the market.

These offer EVERYTHING you’d expect from a high-end-priced theme but for a lot cheaper.

Plus, the collection features a wide variety of different styles to fit different businesses and industries.

Achieve the best performance and functionality even if you’re on a budget.

Note: This list may get regular updates due to continuous price changes. (Hint: Bookmark it.)

Best Cheap WordPress Themes

Clenix

clenix cheap wordpress theme


Clenix, hence the name, is a cheap WordPress theme for cleaning services. With 2 ready-made demos, you pretty much have more than enough pre-defined design options at your disposal.

Clenix works OUTSTANDINGLY well out of the box.

That said, stick to the available as is, introduce your details and information and you can be done doing the work. That’s how easy it can be.

Still, if you would like to take things to a different degree, the drag and drop page builder offers you complete customization freedom without coding.

Header styles, eCommerce sections, mega menu, WPML integration, 4 service layouts, and unlimited color options are all that Clenix supports and comes with.

Spread the word out for your cleaning business with Clenix now and grow it accordingly.

More info / Download

Medio

medio cheap wordpress theme


Medio is a contemporary and highly versatile cheap WordPress theme, which you can use for pretty much any medical website. Whether you are building a website for a doctor, a hospital, a dental clinic, you name it, Medio handles it all without trouble.

Right away, you will get hit with a whopping collection of 20 gorgeous and responsive page layouts and more than four hundred ready-made blocks.

Medio 20 twenty header and footer styles, 8 custom posts, multiple blog and portfolio layouts, as well as a child theme.

This theme is also retina ready, SEO friendly and in complete harmony with mobile and desktop devices.

You are just short moments away from having a FULLY functional medical website up and running, thanks to all the content that Medio has in store for you.

More info / Download

Alfena

alfena cheap wordpress theme


Alfena is a cheap WordPress theme ideal for a SaaS startup. However, the tool is also VERSATILE and FLEXIBLE enough for you to use it with some other projects in the IT and software space as well.

The web design is clean and minimal, perfectly displaying all the necessary and then some. Thanks to the King Composer, all you need to perform is to drag and drop elements around to customize and fine-tune the default look of Alfena.

By the way, there are 2 stunning landing pages available for you to put into play right away.

While working with Alfena is effortless, you still have access to a friendly team of experts who are ready to give a helping hand.

In short, you will have a striking online space ready and live in little to no time with the dope Alfena.

More info / Download

ShopVolly

shopvolly cheap wordpress theme


As the name suggests, ShopVolly is a cheap WordPress theme for hammering out remarkable eCommerce websites. It is a multi-purpose website canvas that adapts to different niches without trouble.

In fact, ShopVolly comes with 6 entirely different concepts, and there are many more to come with future theme updates.

You can already start crafting with ShopVolly as it delivers a ton of material and layouts to take to your advantage.

The layout of ShopVolly is mobile-ready and cross-browser compatible. In other words, it will work on all devices and browsing platform LIKE A CHARM. Additionally, you can fully translate it and it supports RTL languages.

Last but not least, your online store will be optimized for search engines from the get-go.

More info / Download

Sheon

sheon cheap wordpress theme


With its multi-purpose approach, you can build almost any type of online store with Sheon. This cheap WordPress theme is ideal for fashion, bags, shoes, sunglasses, furniture, cosmetics and jewelry eCommerce websites, to name a few.

Your imagination is the only limitation you have.

There are 16 demo concepts available for you to put into play. These will save you a ton of TIME and ENERGY when setting up the right online presence for your business.

You can also create stunning slideshows with Revolution Slider for a strong first impression.

Additionally, Sheon supports RTL languages, product quick view, drop-down shopping cart, newsletter subscription widget and testimonials.

With Sheon, you can also create custom layouts from scratch without the need to know how to code. The options are there, take action and you can have your page up in a snap.

More info / Download

Elastik

elastik cheap wordpress theme


Hence its name, Elastik is a pliable and cheap WordPress theme that effortlessly caters to loads of different businesses. With more than twenty ready-to-use demos, you can create SaaS, agency, SEO, landing, event and hosting websites out of the box.

Indeed, you can always add your two cents to the default web design and enrich it with your creativity and personalization.

Furthermore, Elastik includes a CONVENIENT drag-and-drop page builder that will help you rearrange and reposition the existing elements, introduce new ones and do something entirely different, too.

Whatever you think about, let Elastik bring it into being and help you shine online. For a small investment of time, energy and money, you can now LAUNCH your business website quickly.

More info / Download

Toko

toko cheap wordpress theme


If your desire is to start an online business in the form of an eCommerce website, today is your lucky day. Toko is not only a cheap WordPress theme, but it is also an exclusive WooCommerce powered tool that will get you to start taking fresh orders in a small breeze.

Pick the ready-made demo you fancy the most, add your creative touches and items and you can be ready to roll. Yes, it truly is as simple as it sounds.

Toko’s main objective is: To make the experience and the process of crafting an online store as SIMPLE and FUN as possible.

Toko’s other features are Revolution Slider, WPML, Contact Form 7 and full compatibility with all the other major WordPress plugins.

Besides, Toko includes more than 50 shortcodes, six headers, a mega menu, wishlist and product quick view and all the other goodies in between.

More info / Download

Digeco

digeco wpbakery wordpress theme


Digeco is a cheap WordPress theme for startups and agencies. If you are looking for an attention-grabbing design to present your business online, that’s when you should consider Digeco.

The theme equips you with over twenty demos, more than 120 blocks and an additional thirty and counting add-ons.

You can start just by MIXING and MATCHING the available. But to truly get the most out of Digeco, make sure you customize it and brand it accordingly.

Digeco does not miss portfolio layouts, blog modules, testimonials, pricing tables, contact forms and Google Maps. If you are ready for a difference, you are ready for Digeco.

More info / Download

Turitor

turitor wordpress theme


Online education and learning management systems, Turitor is the WordPress theme that helps you sort out an engaging website for your courses and students.

With the ready-made multi-concept samples, you can now kick-start your project with confidence. Even by employing Turitor exactly as it comes out of the box, you can end up with a dope result.

But the possibilities are pretty much endless with Turitor.

Turitor contains all the NECESSARY extensions and page layouts to operate an online education website successfully.

The layout is also fluid, operating on mobile and desktop devices seamlessly. Build a loyal community with Turitor now.

More info / Download

Nimbo

nimbo cheap wordpress theme


Nimbo is a cheap WordPress theme for all the personal bloggers out there. If you are looking to dive into the blogging space, get yourself familiar with Nimbo and enjoy all the perks and goodies it brings to the table.

Out of the box, you can choose between dark and light layouts and other different blog styles to find the right look for your needs WITHOUT hassle.

Nimbo also comes with different headers and menus and has four different areas for 22 widgets.

Whether your readers come from a handheld or desktop device, Nimbo appears stunningly for everyone to get the most out of your online journal. Look no further and kick off your blogging career with Nimbo and shine online.

More info / Download

Blogman

blogman cheap wordpress theme


From the name itself, you already know what you are getting with Blogman cheap WordPress theme. Indeed, it is a theme ideal for all sorts of blogs with a minimal and clean approach to web design.

Blogman rocks a creative layout that you will surely find very remarkable, almost innovative. But the best part is, Blogman keeps things very simple so they will focus on your content 110%.

What’s more? Blogman is also fully customizable and adjustable so you can make it your own without hassle.

Other traits of this theme include Instagram feed, Gutenberg support, newsletter shortcode, different post formats and insanely powerful, yet effortless to use, live customizer.

If you would like to localize your blog, you can do that, too! For a chance to STAND OUT from the masses of bloggers, Blogman is one of the best options to go with.

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Emarat

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Emarat is a cheap WordPress theme for industry, engineering, building and other business websites. It is a highly adaptive theme that you can customize at free will.

No need to stick to the default settings, you can adjust and improve the web design of Emarat however you see it fit your company best.

After all, a website is the online image of your entire firm and if it does not follow your style, people might start doubting you.

On the other hand, do things THE RIGHT WAY and you can win over even more clients and start taking fresh business deals on a regular basis.

When you decide to go with Emarat, you get access to 3 homes and 3 headers, WPBakery and the power of one-click demo installer.

Benefit from the advanced theme options and never feel lost with the included documentation and access to the friendly support team.

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Philos

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Philos is far from being just your regular WooCommerce theme. It presents a clean and minimalistic, yet modern, layout for everyone willing to start selling different items online.

While pushing clothing and accessories is something Philos is best at, you can also edit and adjust it to suit other niches as well. You can use it for constructing all sorts of different eCommerce websites.

This theme has a versatile set of features and customizable elements that you can comfortably tweak to fit your demand. Some of the likable assets of Philos include a powerful admin, newsletter pop-up, unlimited colors, one-click installation, and product wishlist.

You can also start a blog and use it for content marketing, ATTRACTING new potential buyers with Philos.

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Consal

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Consal is for corporate businesses and agencies that are in need of a quick website fix. Aforementioned cheap WordPress theme provides all the MUST-NEEDED features and loads more.

Due to its adaptability and flexibility, you can also use Consal for other service-based businesses that need extra attention from the online audience.

With the smallest amount of work and effort, Consal helps you execute a distinct and original website. You can achieve this in the shortest space of time imaginable.

It offers a unique and vibrant environment that makes Consal aesthetically pleasing and attractive to users.

Using Consal gives you access to the amazing drag-and-drop page builder, Smart Slider 3 and Contact Form 7.

Moreover, enjoy regular updates, 24/7 customer support and do not miss going through the included documentation.

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Conclusion

If you are tired of using a free WordPress theme and would like to upgrade your web space since it is thriving and growing in volume, the tools above are the best alternatives for you.

For a SMALL investment, you can almost instantly craft the exact website you want to rock the online world with.

As a result, make it special and shine online, starting today!

Disclosure: This page contains external affiliate links that may result in us receiving a commission if you choose to purchase mentioned product. The opinions on this page are our own and we don’t receive additional bonus for positive reviews.



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Great looking websites with interesting color palettes


Color has an underappreciated impact on how we see the world around us. Colors, on the other hand, have a lot of power. Brand colors are an important component of every company’s image. Once selected, they form a part of a company’s identity and assist to define how the public perceives it. Every designer’s job is to take a product or project and make it user-friendly while adhering to commercial objectives.

Some of us simply lack the ability to combine colors to create visually appealing designs. As a graphic designer, or any designer for that matter, you must understand the many mixtures and connections that colors have with each other in order to ensure that you are putting them together in such a way that just looks really good.

This is not a simple process. Designers are in charge of everything from interface design and user interactions to fonts and color schemes.

It’s essential to understand why your website’s color pallet is so crucial. It makes no difference whether you’re creating a complete website or a single throwaway print ad. Designers frequently have to experiment with color palettes for a long time before they believe they have it perfect. Colors may elicit emotional reactions depending on the palette used.

Each small aspect in your website design is significant and has an influence on the customer experiences in some manner. It may influence anything from how long they stay on your website to whether or not they click the “purchase” button.

You could also create the ambiance for your website by selecting a color theme that represents the emotions you want your viewers to have. They will be considerably more inclined to stay if your website is cohesive and visually attractive.

Types of color palettes

If you would like your project’s spectators to feel at ease, you should first learn about the interactions that colors have with each other.

Monochromatic color palette

It is made up of several hues, tones, and tints of the same color, all around a contrasting orange color palette. Because they are all based on the same hue, they might be the easiest color schemes to develop. There are practically no danger zones in going this path for your design. However, if done incorrectly, monochromatic colors may be dull. Take a look at architecture portfolios, for example. The colors they choose are intentionally dull so that the images stand out easier.

Analogous color palette

Analogous color schemes are color pairings comprised of hues that are neighboring to each other on the color spectrum. These palettes are generally excellent at showing consistency and uniformity within design. It is advisable not to distribute these colors out evenly in design. Alternatively, pick one hue to stand out and the other to complement it. They’re especially simple to deal with since there isn’t a lot of variation in color.

Complementary color palette

Occasionally, opposites astound us and truly appeal. Complementary palettes are excellent for conveying a sense of harmony. It conveys strongly, so if that’s the mood you’re aiming for, employ this color palette to your benefit.

This type of color palette is something that you usually see in spa websites or in spa WordPress themes as an overall palette for the site. But also for landing pages, or pricing tables, so that they would make the CTA stand out.

Triadic color palette

Triadic color palettes are made up of three hues that are perfectly aligned on the color spectrum. The triadic approach results in a more varied palette. This requires a bit more thought and experimenting since it involves a greater number of opposing colors. Triadic color palettes, on the other hand, accomplish this impact without disrupting the serenity.

You may utilize a variety of website color palette selections, but keep your industry and the colors associated with it in mind at all times. The color palettes of the best brands’ websites are skillfully picked and flawlessly match their brand image and story.

Examples

BarkBox:

BarkBox is a wonderful example of a website that uses a charming website color palette to make viewers feel comfortable and welcome.  Applying complimentary colors to direct users’ eye where you want, it may assist boost the color palette of any website. The calming pink hues are continued across the page, and they combine very well with blue shades used with both the website design and the brand’s symbol.

  • Blue represents trust, tranquility, confidence, and intellect. 
  • Pink is associated with beauty and tranquility.

Marqeta:

A fintech firm that intends to challenge the financial card business. Marqeta addresses the color palette from both an emotive and a technical standpoint. Because Marqeta takes a less traditional approach to consumer lending, their usage of blue deviates from normal corporate branding. Its website color palette consists of dark blue, cyan, and purple.

Because the three hues have commonalities, using analogous colors allows for some color variation while maintaining a sense of harmony.

  • Blue represents trust, tranquillity, confidence, and intellect.
  • Purple represents wealth, ambition, and innovation.

Facebook:

Whenever you think of the social media website Facebook, single hue immediately comes to mind: blue. Facebook initially chosen blue because its creator, Mark Zuckerberg, is colorblind in the red-green spectrum. 

Although this may not appear to be a particularly rational reason, the color choice has had a big impact on our image of this successful startup. White is the backdrop color of the Facebook app, as well as a secondary color utilized by the brand. Plenty of us see the color blue as comforting, friendly, and peaceful, a place where we may escape from the stresses of the outside world.

eBay:

eBay has a diverse color palette. eBay’s color scheme of red, blue, yellow, and green is meant to represent the diversity of its international market. Green is frequently used on their website. The eCommerce business employs the symbology of this hue to represent financial riches, or in this case, cost savings, and to entice viewers to make purchases.

  • Red represents energy, strength, and passion.
  • Blue represents trust, tranquillity, confidence, and intellect.
  • Green stands for ambition, development, freshness, and safety.
  • Yellow represents pleasure, intelligence, vitality, and brightness.

LemonStand:

LemonStand is a website that might profit from utilizing a blue-yellow website color palette. The blues and grays complement the yellow and serve to soften its radiance. They did, though, masterfully blend this vivid hue into the palette without making it too overpowering and disruptive.

  • Blue represents trust, tranquillity, confidence, and intellect.
  • Yellow represents pleasure, intelligence, vitality, and brightness.

Fiverr:

You may have noticed that many businesses reserve a certain hue, in the instance of Fiverr, green, for CTAs and do not use it anywhere else on the website.

  • Green stands for ambition, development, freshness, and safety.

Conclusion

Colors and their many hues play an essential role in website designing. Your website’s color scheme must not only represent your brand, but it should also speak to your target demographic. People may be turned off by your website without even recognizing it. Your color palette will be a crucial component of your brand kit, which is effectively your graphic design bible.

This is a resource that you generate while developing your visual brand identity. It comprises your typefaces, picture styles, and logo. So, while selecting color palettes bear in mind the business you operate in as well as the target demographic. Experiment with the color tools to determine which of the website color combinations best suits your concept.

When selecting a website color scheme, keep emotional response, technical compatibility, and functionality in mind. Using a suitable color scheme, whether strong and brilliant or subdued and relaxing, is the greatest approach to guarantee that impression is a favorable one. Taking inspiration from the businesses mentioned above cangive you some ideas for what colors you might use for your own brand or website.

About the Author

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Bogdan Sandu

Bogdan is a designer and editor at DesignYourWay. He’s reading design books the same way a hamster eats carrots, and talks all the time about trends, best practices and design principles.



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