There was a time when you could only create websites if you were a pro at HTML or if you knew how to produce your own graphics from scratch. The only alternative would be to hire a professional to do it for you.
Happily, that is no longer the case. In recent times there has been nothing short of an explosion of website creation tools to cover every aspect of the design process including templates, fonts, banners, icons and everything else in between.
The best part is that you can create a completely professional looking website with minimal specialist skills and all at no cost to you! We are all for democratization of web design and that’s why this guide is here to point you to some exciting tools that you can use to get a website up and running in no time.
Whether you are looking to run an online business, web-based portfolio or even a hobbyist blog, there is sure to be something in this list of value to you.
Wix: End-to-end website creation solutions, all in one place! Wix is a free website builder, which means that it enables you to create a fully-fledged, detailed and functional website from scratch. It provides versatile tools for layouts, text, themes, widgets, banners, icons and so much more.
No matter what industry you belong to, Wix provides material to help you create a professional website quickly and easily. The process is simple. All you have to do is select the elements you like and drag and rearrange them around the template of your choice.
No coding skills or graphic design knowledge required. The Wix team adds fresh tools and options on a regular basis and they provide great support too. Try out their Artificial Design Intelligence feature for a novel experience.
Jimdo: Just like Wix, Jimdo is an all-round website building platform. They offer free website hosting and allow you to create a range of different websites including online shops and blogs as well from a wide variety of templates.
Jimdo offers a mobile app version too, so you can carry on working on the go. Best of all, their designs are optimized for mobile viewing.
This is important to bear in mind as more and more internet users are now using their phones to view websites. Paid versions are available through JimdoPro and JimdoBusiness plans. Some users have raised concerns about the lack of a preview feature, so do keep that in mind.
WordPress: Originally popular with bloggers, WordPress has now grown exponentially to offer a range of solutions for website creation. In fact, WordPress reportedly powers a whopping 26.9% of all websites out there. It is what’s known as a content management system (CMS).
The dashboard and interface are loaded with great features but they are somewhat clunky. WordPress is open-source, which means that any user can tinker with it to generate unique and completely custom templates and plugins. If not, there is already a vast pool of thousands of plugins to choose from.
However, take care to choose ones that are secure and come from reputed wordpress designers and developers.
Google Web Designer: This is a versatile and completely free online tool that supports Linux, Windows and Mac. Even if you are a complete novice you will be able to play with it to produce exciting animated banners and ads for your website.
You don’t need to able to understand and write code in HTML and CSS. Instead, Google Web Designer is what is known as a ‘what you see is what you get’ editor. To begin, you will need to first download and install the software, which is a simple and quick process. Bear in mind, however, that it supports only some mainstream browsers.
PrestaShop: If you are looking for solutions to enable an e-commerce platform, PrestaShop could be the answer. This is a popular shopping cart software which is open-source and free to download.
Users have rated it highly for the sleek dashboard which helps easily manage and view orders, communication, new registrations, reviews, analytics etc. Explore the PrestaShop Official Marketplace for themes, templates and more customizable features some of which are free.
These are designed by users themselves as well as professional partners. As a user, you can also rely on the strong PrestaShop community to address your concerns with expert advice and guide you along the way.
Canva: This is your one-stop solution for visual promotional material, especially if you are a blogger. This tool is best known for the exciting presentations that can be created on it.
Using Canva’s free templates and tools, you can also have a great time playing around to design stunning and professional looking posters, invites, banners, social media content, web graphics and so much more. It works on a simple drag-and-drop basis and even offers a vast pool of stock images to choose from. There is a paid version too, if you’d prefer.
Infogr.am: In love with infographics and data visualisation? Don’t know how to make them yourself? Infogr.am is the internet’s gift to you. This tool helps you generate attractive and data-rich infographics in a range of formats like charts, graphs, timelines, maps and word clouds among others.
Upload your data in the form of Excel spreadsheets or through your preferred cloud service and use free templates to create the infographic of your choice. You also have options to embed layers and tabs in them to make them deeper and more engaging. Finally, export the finished files in a range of formats. Infogr.am also offers a WordPress plugin.
Pixlr: Move over Photoshop, here is a completely free and flexible image-editor that addresses all your needs including filters, correction, cropping, cool typography, bokeh, layers and other effects. Use it to generate social media content, collages and even advertisements.
This tool is browser based, so you don’t actually have to download and install it. Pixlr is also available in the form of an app in both Mac and PC versions. It lets you ‘grab’ images off the web to incorporate into your compositions if you are working in Mozilla Firefox. Pixlr includes a photo sharing service as well, which is great for your social media needs.
IconFinder: Love them or hate them, you can’t deny that you need icons. Whether you are looking for classy and minimalist ones or playful, over-the-top icons, chances are someone has already designed exactly what you’re looking for.
To help you locate your ideal icons, you will need a specialized search engine. IconFinder is just that. Consider it the Google of the icon world, with filters to help you narrow your search parameters as well. You can search for specific file types or colours, too.
Canva Font Combinations: Nothing screams ‘amateur’ louder than poor font choices. But you’re concerned that your typography skills are little wonky and you’re struggling to find the right pairings of fonts for headings and body text. That’s completely understandable.
Canva offers a free tool to address precisely this need. Use Font Combinations to identify the right pairings of fonts to give that pro touch to your website. It is organized just like a typical search engine with the results being displayed along with a preview that helps you envision it as it might look on your website.
‘Free’ does not necessarily equate with questionable quality. This edit has listed out for you a selection of top quality website creation tools that amateur users have loved for their usability and flexibility and that professionals rate highly in terms of performance as well as support.
To make the best of these tools, we suggest that you take some time to dip into tutorials and guides to learn all the tricks that can help you speed up and streamline the process. Best of all, these free tools take the tedious bits out of website design and leave you to enjoy the fun and creative parts of the process.