Review: Is an Envato Elements worth the unlimited subscription?
By Matt Lipman ✦ May 16, 2019
TL;DR: Maybe: If you have a need for bulk assets, this subscription can certainly be an
affordable budget way to purchase everything.
Why did I try Envato Elements in the first place?
I was revamping my company website, with an emphasis on updating the portfolio section. I was searching all over the internet for high quality mockup templates for my recent work in web design, branding, and graphic design. I noticed I was wasting my time scouring for free templates and was willing to pay to save time. When looking for paid options, I noticed the challenge to find mockups that were similar in style was still difficult.
I found a smartphone package on Creative Market that had my attention. The appearance was high-quality for a reasonable price point, but I still would need to find a desktop package and other graphic design options. Next I stumbled upon www.ls.graphics (not affiliate link) and their device mockup pacakge for $70. This was everything I wanted for the website side of my portfolio and with little hesitation I purchased the package and was extremely happy. The package deal included customizable multi-perspective high-resolution mockups for most current flagship devices: iPhone XS, iphone XR, iMac, iPad Pro, MacBook, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, MS Surface Studio, MS Surface book 2, Dell XPS, Google Pixel, Galaxy S9 and more.
Sadly, what worked for the website portfolio, didn’t work for logos and graphic design. If you check out my portfolio, you’ll notice I favor minimalist design where the focus is on the design. No random plants, pens, and gizmos, on a desk. Nope. Simply a gray (or muted) background if possible.
The search for branding and graphic design mockups continued.
I considered Envato elements earlier and quickly dismissed the subscription due to their weak selection of device mockups. But, with that piece of the puzzle already solved, I ended up purchasing a month’s access for $33. The subscription worked out and I got what I needed. But overall, I wasn’t thrilled with this service, which I break down in the pros and cons below.
Where Envato elements falls short:
Quality is a mixed bag.
The service provides a huge assortment of stock photos and video, graphics and templates, music and sound effects, fonts, assets for websites, 3D elements and more. Looking through the stock photo section, I got the impression the selection was dated and made of content that didn’t sell. My test to confirm this was searching the term “smartphone”, which revealed the majority of photographs that include a smartphone, indubitably used old iPhone models. My guess would be that 95% of the smartphones photographs feature an iPhone 8 or older.
Envato has a big stake in the stock asset industry and is not going to risk losing sales on it’s money makers. Therefor, the top sellers and highest quality products are unlikely to find its way into the subscription library. However, over the years, Envato presumably amassed a humongous collection of assets that sit collecting dust. This is where subscriptions make sense, monetizing low-selling content and repackaging it to budget buyers.
Finding the right graphic is a challenge.
A large selection of low quality stock means you will have to sift through search results. You will download content, only to find it is not up to your standards. But with the shear size of the collection and various asset types, you will unquestionably find some usable content.
One of the main reasons I am willing to pay for such content is time is money. In my budget days, I would jump from website to website in search for free content without attribution requirements. When the quest for the right shot or angle slows the process down, you waste hours and can still come up empty handed. With Envato Elements, you have access all in one place, but it still feels like you can search hard and long for a specific shot and come up disappointed.
Where Envato Elements rises to the occasion:
Huge library spanning many media types.
$33 for a month access to such a large and diverse collection is an amazing deal. Seriously, I’ve purchased one photo on istockphotos.com for $30. Download a few things and the deal is worth well worth it. Find 10+ things and you’re making off like a bandit, and you have an entire month to find content. Don’t forget, you can even search their collection before you commit. Although, you get better previews to multiple-file downloads when you subscribe.
Compared to searching for free assets from website to website, this is a better experience in that your search is in one place. Also, at least you know when you find something, you already have the license to use it.
Envato Elements is ideal for designers on a budget, agencies with a constant need for assets, or folks like me who have a need for bulk content for a specific project or two. On the other hand, if you have high-standards and seek high-quality content, I recommend looking elsewhere. You may be able to find some perfect assets with Envato, but it is like finding a needle in a haystack.
What is website hosting?
By Matt Lipman ✦ October 12, 2017
Hosting is a service that uses servers to store website files and contents, allowing visitors to download that material and view the website in a browser.
In order for this all to work, a domain name must be connected to the host’s servers. Your host should tell you the information you need in order to point Nameservers to the hosting company. After this step is completed, when you type the domain address into a browser, the host can serve up the website files over the internet.
Do I need to pay for hosting for my website?
The simple answer is yes.
You could technically host your website from your very own computer, people would download files from your hard drive instead of servers. But there are many issues with this setup. When you turn off your computer or lose internet service, no one could access your website. Your computer might also struggle with handling 5-10 users at the same time, never mind 100. Most importantly, would you want to give access to your computer to everyone on the entire internet?
How much does hosting typically cost?
$5, $10, or $15 per month should suffice for most small business websites. Hosting costs are affordable because hosting companies will put multiple websites on the same server. The cheapest hosting option, known as shared hosting, might come with a few speed hiccups at times because other websites might hog the server resources. This might be caused by content hosted on the server going viral, too may websites hosted on the same server, or a ‘host’ of other reasons. If your host doesn’t address a server that is constantly sluggish, you should look for a new hosting company.
The other types of hosting can get a little more pricey. VPS hosting, while still shared with other websites, reserves a specific amount of processing resources for your website. In costs, you are looking about double the price of what shared hosting costs. There is also dedicated server hosting which essentially gets you your own server. Dedicated servers are expensive and typically costs a three-figure monthly number.
Should I buy my domain name from my hosting company?
No. The only substantial reason to buy a domain name from a hosting company is to save money. The hosting company might offer a package deal on buying hosting and your domain name for a full year. That savings is perhaps equivalent to about $10 or $15.
I’ve heard horror stories where hosting companies would hold a website hostage or shut it down, leveraging the domain and hosting in order to address an outstanding issue. In this case, if the owner purchased the domain from a different service, the owner could simply point the domain to a new host to avoid getting their website shutdown.
Top 10 reasons to go mobile
By Matt Lipman ✦ May 4, 2017
You have a website for a reason. You want visitors to get the information they need, often with the ultimate goal of converting into sales or making some other important actions.
Would you expect a visitor to call your business if you didn’t list your phone number? That’s what it’s like to a user who cannot access your website as intended. Even if the right information is present on your website, users can be discouraged from searching if there are obstacles in the way. Sometimes, from a visitors standpoint, it is easier to look elsewhere for similar or competing information.
You may have contemplated why you need a mobile website, here are the top ten reasons to ensure your website is mobile friendly:
10. Desktop features can fail on mobile
9. The user experience is very important
Even if all your website content works correctly on both desktop and mobile, your visitors experience will suffer if your website is not tailored to mobile devices. You are requiring them to zoom, read tiny text, scroll sporadically, and use an interface that might require pin-point precision or multiple attempts to click a desired button.
8. Load times are different
Mobile devices often connect to the internet on the go. They don’t always have the convenience of a home network that gets fast internet. Expecting your website to load quickly on a bad network connections is naive. Mobile design optimizes load time by shrinking file sizes, cutting unnecessary content and removing certain design elements or graphics.
7. Adults stay near their smartphone
91% of American adults keep their smartphone within arm’s reach. Smartphones are changing the way people interact with the world, and more and more people are gaining access to smartphones. Your business cannot simply ignore the fact that smartphones are highly integrated into people’s lives. (source: Morgan Stanley)
6. Mobile searches lead to action
9 of 10 mobile searches lead to action. More than half lead to sales. Mobile users are efficient with their time and ready to make a decision. When they are searching to find a restaurant, they are going to eat somewhere. When they are looking up a phone number, they already decided to call. They also buy products or tickets, look-up hours of operation, message businesses, and share or bookmark web content. (source)
5. Mobile users have specific goals
Mobile phones are called mobile for a reason, their users are usually on the go and often have one simple task. They might want your phone number, address, or hours. Catering your mobile site to address the most common on-the-go tasks can go a long way in satisfying the majority of those visits.
4. Mobile users have different expectations
Your desktop version might expect people to type paragraphs, or copy and paste text or other tasks which are overly complex or difficult on a mobile device. A mobile website can prepare for these situations by making a phone number clickable and so on.
3. Mobile devices are here to stay
Mobile devices are literally taking over the world. According to Pew Research Center, in October of 2014, “64% of American adults now own a smartphone of some kind, up from 35% in the spring of 2011.” (source)
2. Mobile helps you stay competitive
If your competition has a mobile site and you don’t, you’re at a horrible disadvantage. If you have a mobile website, and some of your competition does not, you gain an edge and will likely gain some extra business.
1. Get more traffic though search engines
Google is favoring mobile-friendly websites on searches done on mobile devices. In Google’s own words (2/26/15): “Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change … will have a significant impact in our search results. Consequently, users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices.” (source)
What to do after deciding to be mobile-friendly
The decision is the first step, how to go about the conversion is the next step.
The two main routes to make a mobile-enabled website is through responsive design or a stand-alone mobile site. Bump Set Creative caters to small businesses who generally don’t have the time or resources to manage both a desktop and mobile website. Responsive websites take the same content, and change the layout to fit varying screen widths, making it ideal for a business to change all the content in one centralized place.