10 Free Web Design Tools You Have To Try

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The tools that web designers use today are simply amazing. With the tools that they pay top dollar for, professional web designers never fail to come up with websites that are as highly functional as they are visually stunning. Indeed, the top web design tools in the world today are worth every penny as far as highly skilled and experienced web designers are concerned.

Impressive as these high-end web design tools are, it’s a fact that there are still tons of free ones available out there that are just waiting to be used. While it’s true that they don’t hold a candle to the paid ones in terms of features and capabilities, these free web design tools can still be useful, particularly to people who are still starting to learn the basics of website design as well as those who don’t plan to make a career of it but want to be able to build one.

Good for you if you’re one of the countless web designers who have all the topnotch web design tools at their disposal. But if you’re new to web design or only doing it as a hobby, you sure can use some of the many free web design tools that you can find online today. Here are some of them.

1. Google Web Designer

Not a coder? No problem! There exists a tool called Google Web Designer, and just like most of the tools from Google, it’s definitely free. If you’re planning to build HTML5 creative websites, then you have to try Google Web Designer, a professional-grade HTML5 authoring tool.

Featuring a clear and interactive interface, Google Web Designer makes creating animations easier. You can also do quick prototyping on it.

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How to fix on whether you need to custom develop your website or leverage a site builder

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Websites have become the digital identities for every business and the web development landscape has evolved significantly in the past few years. Entrepreneurs either redesign their existing web presence or create a new website at regular intervals in order to keepup with the latest market trends and fulfill changing customer requirements.

The emergence of advanced tech tools has given birth to website builders which has made it possible for non-techie business owners to create and design intuitive web pages without even writing one line of code. These digital platforms provide businesses with an easy way to  maintain an online presence. 

But have you ever thought whether these DIY site builders have curbed the need to hire an experienced online marketing company?Or is it the other way around? Has the availability of multiple options made it even more challenging for entrepreneurs to choose between custom web development and website builders?

Let's explore these two approaches in detail and identify the differences so that you can make a well-informed decision for your next web development project. 

What is a website builder and how is it different from custom web development?How to define each of these two platforms

Site builders are online tools that allow non-technical users to create a website without doing any web designing or coding. They comprise pre-built templates and visual page editors which you can use to edit all the elements of your website. 

Squarespace, GoDaddy, Wix, and Weebly are a few of the most popular site builders and all have an intuitive drag-and-drop interface. Web development becomes seamless for users who have no prior experience of working with HTML, CSS or any other programming languages.

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7 Principles of Design and How to Apply Them to Your Website's Design

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When it comes to hosting a website, the functionality should always be at the core of your decision-making process. After all, if your website doesn’t function properly, your website’s users will never be able to find the information they need or be able to complete their intended eCommerce transactions.

But in today’s digital environment, “function” means a whole lot more than how the skeleton of your website operates. As it turns out, more and more website administrators are growing to appreciate the role that proper principles of design can play in creating a fully-fledged website. From balance to contrast to unity and more, there are a wide variety of basic design principles that can and should implement into your website today.

In all, there are 7 principles of design that you should remain mindful of as your graphically and functionally layout your website. Derived from traditional art and graphic design domains, these 7 design principles hold the key to unlocking a user experience that is both functionally precise and optimally accessible to all users:

Principle #1 – Balance

The first of several website design principles that you should consider implementing is balance. In graphic design terms, “balance” refers to the practice of arranging visual element such that no one element overpowers or draws attention away from the other elements. There are several different types of balance (including symmetrical, radial, asymmetrical) each of which can be ascertained through an analysis of a completed composition.

(A symmetrically balance web page is shown here, which is divided down the middle)

Source: https://spyrestudios.com/wp-content/uploads/03-adham-dannaway-website-symmetrical-portfolio.jpg

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Things To Avoid When Choosing A Web Design Company

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Are you thinking about creating a website for your business? If you are, then you’re on the right track. A website is still your top option for establishing your brand and a solid presence online. You don’t even have to worry if you have no web design skills whatsoever. With so many DIY templatised services out there, you can certainly create your own website from the ground up.

Still, hiring a web design company is the way to go if you want a website to look, feel, and function in the best possible way. After all, professional web designers do have the skills, experience, and an extensive knowledge of web design trends that might work best for the website you want to build.

Then again, you have to be careful when choosing a web design company. You would want to pick the right one, or you’ll find the entire process extremely stressful from beginning to end, and beyond. Here are some of the things you will want to avoid when shopping for a web design company.

Rates that are too low

We’re fortunate to live in a time where intense competition drives prices down. With so many web designers fighting for their piece of the market, it’s not uncommon for them to charge lower rates for their services to get a leg up on their competition. And if you have a limited budget for your project, intense competition for your business will indeed be your best friend.

However, you have to be on the lookout for web design companies that offer rates that appear to be too low. Chances are, that cheap price tag will only cover the most bare-bones web design they can make. And if you ask to add more features, they will likely charge you more. In the end, you’ll be shelling out more money than you initially intended.

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The Importance of Fold in Web Design

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For those who have been working in the field of web design for some time now, you have probably encountered the phrase “above the fold” more times than you care to remember. If you’re writing content for websites and blogs, you have likely received instructions to put specific keywords above the fold many times as well.

It’s easy to think that “above the fold” is a new thing considering that it seems to be an integral part of what web designers and content writers do. Some even use the concept to improve your SEO through web design. The funny thing is, the concept of “above the fold” has been around for decades.

“Above the fold” came from print

If you take a closer look at any of the newsstands you pass by on your way to work, you will notice that the newspapers on display are folded a certain way, with only the upper half bearing the headline and a big photograph visible. That upper half is what is known as “above the fold,” and the headline and the photo there are meant to attract the attention of people, then pique their interest to make them buy the newspaper.

Eventually, the concept made the jump to websites, and putting the most important and attention-grabbing things above the fold has been a common practice among web designers since.

The “fold“ on a web page

Unlike newspapers, a web page doesn’t have a physical “fold.” The closest thing a web page has to a fold is the scroll bar. The part of the page that visitors immediately see as soon as they get there is what’s considered above the fold. The moment they scroll down, they’ll be going below the fold.

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Website and UX Stats That Could Shape Your Website’s Success

Website_Statistics

Having a good website is a critical part of any business strategy these days, when people are most commonly using Google and other search engines to find the products and services that they need.

However, the definition of a ‘good website’ has so many different interpretations, so sometimes it is just easier to look at plain facts and plan around those. Facts such as the ones shown in this infographic 15 Website and UX Statistics of 2019 will help you to make some important decisions around your website improvements or serve as a reminder of why it is important to spend time on certain areas.

For example, 94% of people won’t trust an outdated website, so it is really important that you spend time to check that your website is up to date. If you have information that is incorrect on your website then people will doubt the capability of your business.

Another stat that might be useful for you to know is that 70% of small businesses miss call-to-actions. If that sounds like something that your website is guilty of, then isn’t it time that you changed that? Adding some powerful CTAs like newsletter sign up forms and other ways to get your visitors to contact your business can have a big impact on your website’s success.

Finally, it takes just 0.05 seconds to form a design opinion, so you really don’t get much time to impress people with your website. Therefore, getting across a strong first impression is definitely worth putting in the effort for. A well-designed, attractive website will certainly help to convince customers that your business is professional and can take care of them, either providing a top quality service or product.

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What is a hamburger menu

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A hamburger menu is the little menu button, made up of three stacked parallel horizontal lines, that you will find at the top of mobile apps and mobile friendly websites ... usually top left.  It is also referred to as a side menu or navigation drawer.

If you're still unsure the screen shot to the right will show how this website looks on a mobile phone with the hamburger menu in the top left hand corner.

It looks neat and sits tidily at the top of the screen and most users are now familiar with it's use and will know to head there when they want to navigate to other pages of the mobile friendly website.

Should you use a hamburger menu on the desktop version of your website

They are now increasingly appearing on desktop websites in place of the menu bar that we're all used to seeing at the top of our websites. They do look neat and it does demonstrate you and your small business website are keeping up with the times, but here are a couple of reasons why you may want to keep your regular menu bar for the desktop and only deploy the hamburger menu on the mobile version.

1 | Click rates for hamburger menus on mobile apps and websites are low

By using it on the desktop version of your website you are running the same risk. Why would you want to take the chance of reducing clicks through to other valuable pages of your website just because it looks current? 

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7 reasons your small business needs a website

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Almost half of all small businesses still don't have a website. Given how much technology and the internet has changed how we research and buy 'stuff' in the last 10 years that is a staggering statistic.

The most common reason for not having a website is that most small business owners think that their small business 'doesn't need a website'.  Here are a couple of reasons why it might be time to consider your options for getting your business online:

1. It's an online brochure or shop window

Unlike that brochure you handed out at the networking event which is now most likely in recycling or buried somewhere in the car if you gave it to me, your website is a permanently available brochure and shop window.

Anyone you meet can immediately check your business online and can return to it at a later date ... it won't get lost.

2. Business credibility

By having an online presence you immediately indicate your permanence. You are serious about your business and you are investing in it.

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When a poor visitor experience on your website costs your business money

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I recently placed an order for some made to measure curtains with a well known high street and online retailer. I ordered fabric samples, measured up and placed my order. There was a long lead time ... over 2 months. I was very excited when the day finally arrived and the box was handed over.

I'll pause here for a moment to explain the reason for this blog post. I want to demonstrate the importance of communicating accurately with your customers via your website as well as making sure that detailed information is presented in a visually accessible way.

Make it clear, crystal clear, what information you need from your website's visitors in order to fulfil their expectations.

So ... back to the curtain story. The courier handed me the box. It felt a little light and I was slightly concerned. Something felt not quite right. I opened the box and drooled over the beautiful fabric and the pinch pleats. I'd been wanting these curtains since I moved in ... over ten years ago. I was allowed to be excited.

I held up one of the curtains. It was nowhere near wide enough. In fact it was about half the width it needed to be. In complete panic (even with the 30% discount these were a big investment for me) I went back to the email confirmation and my tape measure. The curtain width I'd ordered was correct the curtain I'd received was not! 

From the title of this blog post you've probably already worked out that someone made a mistake and in the retailers eyes that was me. In my defence this is the form that I completed when I placed my order.

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How to write great text content for your small business website

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There is an art to writing copy for your website. You may enlist the services of a professional copy writer, but chances are, if you’re a small business on a budget, you may decide to tackle it yourself. After all, you know your business better than anyone.

So you have all the facts about your small business and its products and services, but here are a few guidelines, to help you present all that knowledge in its most effective manner. It’s about attracting the right readers who will convert to customers.

Who is your ideal reader or visitor to your website?

First of all who do you want to engage with the text content on your website? Think about who your ideal customer is and what is most likely to appeal to them. You want to stand out from the crowd. You want them to pick you over your competitors. Imagine you are talking to them as you write and that you’re having a conversation with them through the text content on your website.

Have a clear understanding of your message

People like to read about themselves and your website visitors don’t necessarily want to read about how great you think your products or services are. So with that in mind focus on making the benefits of your products and services personal to your reader. Readers like to feel that they can identify with a problem or situation. Show that you understand their needs and demonstrate how your products and services can help to benefit them.

Have the right headline … make your text eye-catching

Yes you need more than a few magic words to seal the deal, but most website visitors are in a hurry. They don’t want to make too much effort to read long pieces of text and the right headline can convey your key message as well as encouraging the visitor to read the rest of your content.

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Do you need profile pictures on your small business website?

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After all what you look like has no bearing on your ability to do your job and deliver your services.

Think again. You're representing your small business and possibly starting from scratch. You go to those all important business networking meetings and make a whole bunch of useful contacts. You hand out your business cards with all your contact details. You've probably collected a few yourself. Well so has everyone else and your card and details are in amongst them. 

What do you do when you get back from that meeting with all those business cards? I sit down and look at the websites of the people I've met and I look at their various social media profiles. At this point, I sometimes find I'm having trouble matching the faces I've met with the details I've collected and this is where a photograph on a website or social media profile is essential. I never forget a face and I have been to many networking meetings where I've recognised the face of someone I've met before, but can't quite remember how or what they do. With this in mind the photograph really helps lodge that person I've just met in my memory.

Having a photograph on your website is one of the many small things that can help when trying to stand out from the crowd of the many others who are competing for your potential clients.

On the other hand your potential customer could have come across your website and got in contact with you. The next step is usually that all important first meeting. If you're a small business working from home, the chances are this meeting will be in a public place and not at your home. If nothing else that photograph helps your prospective client identify you and saves the embarrassment of accosting strangers in a coffee bar. I've done it!

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