A collection of useful tools for a resourceful web designer
There are no two projects that are the same. And just like every project is unique, every designer is unique as well. But despite their uniqueness, all designers have one thing in common: They all believe they know exactly where to find the best resources and tools for their websites. Not only the best tools, but the most affordable as well. If this were true, articles like this would not need to be written. But since it is not true, I’m here to help you navigate all the tools you can find online to help you build the perfect website. We’ll look at web builder services, images and stock photos, fonts and icons, as well as explore project management tools, Photoshop to HTML conversion services, and even e-commerce. So sit back, relax, and take a look at these services.
Chances are, when your looking for an excellent website builder, your looking for one that will let your creativity shine without having to deal with tricky HTML coding. With that in mind, let me point you to one of the best resources on the web: AllYOU. Their site offers professional and stylish website building tools that are as easy to use as they are attractive.
Originally created in 2011, they have developed tools for everyday individuals as well, not just experienced web designers. Their site is very straightforward to use – you won’t have any trouble navigating it. Unless you are really looking for complicated HMTL coded sites you will find this to be a great resource for you. Their drag and drop editor makes modifications easy and seamless. And best of all, their service is 100% free, unless you choose to upgrade to their premium “Carbon” or “Titanium” services, which start at as little as $8 a month.
Another rapidly growing and popular option for website builders is Wix. Their useful and incredibly easy to use cloud-based tool allows you to maximize your creativity without having to resort to difficult HTML coding. Also, they offer a huge variety of third party apps to enhance your website, like social plug-ins, e-commerce, contact forms, even email marketing.
Just like it takes practice to learn to ride a bike, Moonfruit takes a little practice before you can be a master. Your hard work, however, will payoff once you unlock the power of their services. With their web templates, you will be able to create fantastic web pages for your clients that you and they will really love. They also offer some very unique features not found on many of their competitors’ sites, like SEO calibrating and other useful tools for your website enhancement.
For the biggest selection of web templates around, look no further than Template Monster. They are the solution for you! They have over 30,000 templates – you will have no problem finding the right one for your client. They also offer their templates in a variety of formats – HTML, CSS with built in flash, or Photoshop templates. No matter what size the company you’re designing for has, they have solutions for both small and big ones. Additionally, they offer two unique options for their templates. One option is to set up an account with a limited use license, or you can purchase a unique license for your website, which means you have exclusive use of that template FOREVER – how about that?
A WP Theme Club we have to mention is CrocoBlock. They offer an impressive selection of WordPress themes, sporting over eighty responsive web templates. In case you don’t know what responsive sites are, they are websites that adjust to the size device you are working with – be it desktop, smart phone, or tablet. This is a very important feature for any of your clients who are looking to be mobile friendly. Additionally, their service is really easy to use – they have an excellent support team. Regardless of if you are building a portfolio or a blog, they have the right features for you. Additionally CrocoBlock is constantly upgrading their site with useful tools like built-in SEO functions, widgets, and short codes with integrated plug-ins. The price for each theme is as low as $0.65 and they are currently offering 3 free themes for those who sign up for a trial.
For the best source of WordPress themes, look no further than the excellence and versatility of X-Theme. Regardless of if you are looking for a blog, professional website, online shop or personal portfolio, X-Theme has the solution for you. Although there are really many great options out there, this one you don’t want to miss – their service is really one of a kind. Supported by the excellent developers at Theme.co, X provides some really cool and unique features, like “stacks” which allows you to build an unlimited number of unique websites. Another great feature of X-Theme is that they have a live editor built in, so you can see all your changes in real time.
Another UK based company, Pixeno offers high quality hosting for affordable prices. They are very user friendly and even offer a thirty day no money down trial so you can check them out before committing your cold hard cash. They also have a re-seller hosting platform that’s big enough to accommodate clients of all sizes. Additionally, they provide a web hosting manager that comes equipped with their own CPanel account. Their company is rapidly growing – they are currently working on expanding into the US. And just for our readers, we have a special discount code – enter “DESIGN15” at the checkout and receive 15% off of their fantastic service!
Once you’ve built a beautiful website, its time to find a trustworthy web hosting company. A solid hosting company will host your website, emails, and applications. For the best in hosting, look no further than Hearthinternet. Regardless of the size of your client’s website, they will be able to provide you with just the type of service you are looking for. Their offerings are top notch and their service is among the best in the industry – they are there 24/7 to assist you. Also, none of their labor is outsourced – their entire team is based in the UK.
When your looking for a great bargain, look no further than Might Deals – they are exactly the type of service every good designer is looking for. Their venue offers a variety of frequent discounts geared towards website developers. If you subscribe to their newsletter, you will be able to stay up to date on all their latest discounts. They offer great deals, anywhere from 50% to 90% off, a variety of services and products, like website development lessons, professional templates, even tools like software and royalty-free art files and images. Keep in mind their offers are only available for a limited time, so you have to act quickly!
Of course everyone prefers free resources – but don’t be turned off when you sometimes have to pay a little for a service that’s really first rate. When it comes to media, one service worth your hard earned cash is Medialoot. For only $14 a month – or $99 a year – you will have access to their vast collection of excellent resources, all of which have been created by the talented team at Medialoot. Their work is well worth the money, I promise. Their selection includes a vast variety of web, UI, vector and illustration kits, mobile friendly design kits, tons of icons, fonts and Photoshop add ons.
WhatFontIs may save your life. Ok, that’s being a little dramatic, but it might just save your project. Sometimes you are desperate to find a font you love on another site but have no idea where to find it. That’s where WhatFontIs comes in. Their unique service will find your font! Simply enter the fonts URL location or upload a simple screen shot onto their site and they will connect you with the font of your dreams. You’ll really be amazed how fast they find a close or exact match for you.
When you’re building the perfect website, don’t forget the importance of a beautiful font! Sometimes great fonts can be hard to find, which is why you need resources like UrbanFonts. Their fonts are first rate in quality and variety – you won’t be disappointed with their selection. And talk about selection – They have over 8,000 free fonts on their site! I this isn’t enough for you, they also have a large selection of premium fonts available for a small additional fee.
For the best source of free, high quality vector files on line, look no further than Vector Open Stock. Their site has over 7,000 free vector images waiting for you! Although some of their items are subject to Creative Commons License and cannot be used as freely as those under an Open Stock License, they still have a huge selection. One unique feature of Vector Open Stock is that they have a social networking element built into their site. You are able to like and follow others users, to keep up with them and their work!
Another critical element of your project? Good vector images. They can be hard to come by! Sometimes you have to wade through a lot of weak images to find the diamonds in the rough. Head straight for the diamonds at Shutterstock. They have been one of my personal favorites for a long time now. Their site is constantly being updated so you will never run out of fresh images. They also have a huge range of contributors so their supply of images is really almost endless.
One last source for images not to be forgotten is PicJumbo. Their work is unique, creative and high quality – what more can you ask for? Their work is really plush and doesn’t look generic at all. You are able to access a majority of their images for free, but if that’s not enough for you, you can also unlock their premium content for $6 a month.
Another excellent source of online art is Unsplash. You’ll save a lot of time and energy going right to their site and diving in. They have a huge selection of outstanding content for your viewing and using pleasure. They are constantly adding new material to their site – they update their content every 10 days. And best of all, their images are license free, which means they are available for everyone to use.
When it comes to priorities with your new website, few things are as important as organization. That’s why you need a good project management service like Azendoo to trust with helping you stay organized. Without them, you might find your project in a lot of trouble. Their service is very user friendly – they have both a desktop and a mobile option. They have a free version, which gives you a huge selection of features, and a paid version, with enhanced features and extended storage space for larger projects and companies. Best of all, their service integrates seamlessly with other applications like Dropbox, Google Drive and even Evernote.
Let’s face it. We know that web designers don’t make the best project managers. If they did, then there would be no need for services like Casual. This resource will meet and exceed your expectations for project management. Their service is easy to use and visually orientated, which is ideal for designers. This site makes project management super easy to navigate and is really geared towards the creatively inclined. They have a really cool feature called “MindMap” you will love – it allows you to see your project very clearly and take total control.
For the best in free icons, look no further than picons.me. On their site, you will find a huge selection of excellent, crisp and unique icons that will really enhance your website. No matter what type or size of project you’re working on – website, mobile app, print materials. They’ve got what you are looking for. What’s really cool about their icons is they have all been created in Adobe Illustrator, which means they are vectorized. If you don’t know what that means, let me tell you, it’s awesome. Your images can be re-sized as much as you like without them loosing their crisp clean edges. And Picons offers the majority of their icons for free – so keep up with them by following them on Twitter for all their latest news and offers.
There’s only one other name you need to know in icons: RoundIcons. Their selection is unmatched – they have over 5,000 icons. There’s no way you won’t be able to find what you are looking for on their site – their selection is unmatched. Also their icons range in style and format, so they are incredibly flexible. In addition, all their icons have an extended license, which means their use is totally flexible and limitless. Lastly, when they add a new icon to a set you’ve purchased, they email you the new icons at no additional charge.
PSD to HTML services
Chances are, after you’ve built a beautiful website in Photoshop, you have no interest in taking the time and energy to convert it to HTML. That’s why services like Direct Basing exist – so you don’t have to. They are one of the best sources on the web for PSD to HTML conversion for multiple reasons, one being their incredible turnaround. Their team works with WordPress, Joomla, or Magento eCommerce. Additionally, while converting your .psd, they will optimize it for search engines and make sure it works on all browsers.
The other name in PSD to HTML you need to know is XHTMLized – one of the best sources for conversion around. Their experience in the industry is second to none. Additionally, they sign a non-disclosure agreement with you when you sign up with them, so your property and data are protected. You’ll be on a first name basis with your team at XHTMLized – their focus is really customer first service with a smile. You won’t be disappointed with their service – check them out.
For the best service in e-commerce around, look no further than Shopify. As a Shopify user myself I can promise you, their service will not let you down – it’s exactly what online retailers large and small need. Their tools are extensive and easy to use, their templates beautiful and comprehensive. You’ll be ale to manage your stores e-commerce and payments easily through their site. Many large companies like Encyclopedia Britannica and Amnesty International are customers of Shopify, so what are you waiting for?
If you are a WordPress user and all you need is an e-commerce plug-in for your site, then WooCommerce is the solution for you. Free of charge, they will build in an e-commerce function to your existing WordPress website. No matter what type of online shop you have – clothing, food, movies, and sporting goods…it doesn’t matter! They will have a template for you. Their service is flexible enough to accommodate any size business – large or small.