New year, new website. The landscape of web design is constantly changing, so updating your website needs to be done on the regular.
Audit your site’s web design every year or two. See how it’s performing and how it stacks up against your competition. Is it user-friendly and intuitive? Does it respond well to different platforms, displaying well on laptops, phones, and tablets? Does it have SEO focused design and copy? What about backlinks and links to your social media pages and ways to contact you? How about action items, like purchasing goods and services or scheduling a consult or an appointment? More importantly, are the latter easy to find?
You may have been answering yes to these questions for the last couple of years. But if you’re answering “no” more and more, it’s time to redesign your website. Starting from scratch? Starting now with the latest cutting-edge tools is a must. Whether you’re upgrading your existing website or starting a new one, here are the web design tools you should know about.
WordPress is second to none for designing web copy and other written content. Mapping your website structure, designing blogs, and managing content are all possible on WordPress’s basic design platform.
WordPress is also customizable to fit your site’s individual needs. According to Hubspot, its open-source build has earned it a place as the most popular CMS on the web. Since it’s so widely used, it’s easy to find resources to build the perfect site to meet your needs.
That’s not to say that WordPress is perfect. It may be a free web design tool, but you still need to pay for good web hosting and bolster your site’s security. Plus, since it’s very customizable, it can feel really hands-on to manage on your own.
WordPress recently upgraded its structure to be more intuitive. This means that inserting and changing copy is more of a “drag and drop” process rather than navigating a bunch of buttons on the side. Like any change to a platform, the new interface can take some getting used to.
Adobe Creative Cloud/Adobe Suite
The Adobe creative suite is the industry standard when it comes to visuals and visual web design editing. Photoshop is a household name, and it has become ubiquitous with photo editing in general. Beyond Photoshop, Adobe’s creative suite can help with graphics and animation design, too, thanks to Illustrator and InDesign. If you need moving graphics or animated content, Firework and other Adobe tools can help you. For Prototyping, Adobe XD is another great option Adobe’s Creative Cloud offers.
While Adobe is the gold standard for web design, there’s a downside. Adobe costs a pretty penny to invest in. Like a lot of other software, since it’s on the Cloud, Adobe charges a subscription fee to use its web design tools. These fees can vary depending on the package you need, but they’re not cheap.
The good news is that there are free alternatives. We recommend Canva for designing banners and GIMP for photo editing. However, they’re just not up there with what Adobe can do. That said, they’re great options for web design and editing if you’re not sure you want to make the investment in Adobe just yet.
UX/UI web design tools
UX/ UI, or user experience and user interface, steers your customers’ experience on your website. UX is the foundation of your site and guides your visitors through your website’s journey. UI has to do with your aesthetics, from colors and logos to typography. UI should be designed with your personal brand in mind. UX, the foundation of your website, should be geared to prompt your site visitors from the home page to clicking buy or “schedule an appointment.”
Sketch and Lunacy are just a couple great web design tools for user interface. Both of them come with excellent vectoring software and come with a free trial, so you can try them out before investing. Sketch is well-established as better suited for Mac OS while the up-and-coming Lunacy tool is more suited for PC users.
Sketch can handle the entire design lifecycle, from prototypes to developer handoff. However, Sketch only offers a free trial and is really only for mac users. If you have PCs in your company, Lunacy also offers offline editing so you can edit your designs without needing to be plugged into the internet.
For typography, the other web design tools will often have a wide variety of fonts to select, especially Adobe. If you’re looking for more options, sites like fonts.google.com offer a vast selection of free fonts to choose from. We especially recommend fonts.google.com because all their fonts are free and are compatible with the more popular web design tools.
Other sites can also offer licenses for premium fonts that are hard to find. Although premium fonts aren’t free, they can give a unique and personal touch to your branding. However, with the plethora of fonts Google has on their website, you likely won’t have any trouble finding a font that speaks to your personal brand there.
While these tools are helpful, if you want a professional, responsive, and effectively designed website, we can help! Contact us at (248) 684-0500. If you mention this blog, we will include 6 hours of content management with any new web designs. Those six hours will handle any content changes you need after your new website has launched!