There are over 1.7 billion websites on the web today. Considering how much competition that is, it's important to think hard about how you can make your website stand out and attract visitors.
It’s safe to assume that on and offline, people prefer to see something that’s beautifully designed over something simple and plain. That’s especially true for business sites and ecommerce stores.
Below we’ll take a closer look at why website design is a crucial part of your online marketing presence. Then we’ll look at 15 free tools that you can use to create an amazing website design or improve your existing one.
Why is web design important to your business?
Website redesigns require a serious investment of time and resources so it makes sense to consider why you should redesign your website. How will it impact your business and audience? To answer that question, check out the following reasons for why web design is a must.
1. It sets the first impression.
Your website is often the first impression consumers have of the business. You want to make it a good one, and fast. An outdated or poorly designed website could sour a visitor’s first impression of your brand, and deter them from staying on your site or returning.
You can learn web design best practices through diligent research and practice. To simplify the process and save time, you can also work with a website development company that knows what they’re doing.
3. It sets the tone for your customer service.
By simply looking at your website, visitors can glean insights into how you would treat them as customers. If you thoughtfully include web design elements that make it easier for them to navigate your website, learn about your products, and more, then that indicates they can expect the same thought and care from your customer service.
On the other hand, if no effort was put into your web design, then that indicates to visitors that your business would not put effort into helping them as customers either.
4. It fosters trust with your audience.
If your site is outdated or poorly designed, consumers will be less likely to trust your brand and more likely to view you as less credible and professional than your competitors.
By updating your design, you can build audience trust. This is critical. If you gain their trust, visitors will be more likely to stay on your website longer and give their personal information, which means you’ll have more opportunity to convert them into leads.
5. It builds consistency.
When you are attempting to gain new business leads, you want to generate brand awareness. If your audience is familiar with your business, then they will be more likely to choose you when they are ready to purchase.
Web design plays a huge part in brand consistency. Considering its importance, you might want to work with a web design company to help you create a beautiful design across your site.
Before building or updating your ecommerce site, it’s important to be up-to-date on the latest web design trends as well as the evolving needs and goals of your audience. But that’s not all it takes to create a quality site. You also need web design tools.
15 Free Web Design Tools to Make Your Website Look Cool
With hundreds of tools available, it can be confusing and overwhelming to decide which to use. That’s why we’ve curated a list of some of the best design tools that you can use for free. Let's get started.
Sketch is one of the most (if not the most) well-known and used tools for web designing. It comes with an advanced vector tool, which aids in a collaborative development of interfaces and prototypes. This tool was built particularly for making websites and web apps.
Its prominence among the designer community is at least partially due to its clean interface and high performance; however, it only works on Mac. Since many designers work on Windows, you might be better off with one of the alternatives below.
Launched as a free alternative to Sketch for Windows, Lunacy is now a fully-functional graphic design software that’s rich in features. A couple of years ago, all it could do was open sketch files on Windows. Today, it offers all the standard features of a UI and screen design tool and a library of free, high-quality graphic assets.
Released in late 2015, it quickly became the go-to tool for many in the web design community. Its popularity can be tied to a few reasons.
First, it’s free. Second, it offers a repeat grids feature, which allows you to easily create grids and populate them with images, text, and other one-of-a-kind content. Third, it’s handy for creating and testing variations in spacing between UI elements.
Origami is an interface design tool created by the designers of Facebook. It’s everything you wish that Sketch had when it comes to making high-fidelity UIs and prototypes. It’s tailored to building mobile prototypes, which support all popular mobile interactions and gestures.
Origami truly shines in terms of adding screen interactivity. Most UI design tools offer limited micro-interactions settings, but this tool enables you to fine-tune spacing, timings, triggers, animation types, and more.
Offering versions that work on PC and Mac desktops, InVision Studio’s ubiquity has nearly surpassed Sketch. Since its very first release, this tool has focused on providing a collaborative design experience. Moreover, it’s now on par with AdobeXD in terms of built-in functionality.
You can further extend its functionality by downloading apps from its AppStore. Many of these offer the same functionality as AdobeXD’s repeat grids feature. There are also UI Kits you can download and use to build screens immediately. The extensions and UI kits are all free.
FluidUI is a free online tool that is ideal for prototyping and building UIs quickly. This tool, combined with the library of standard Apple and Google material assets, enables direct editing in your browser. You can also share prototypes via email and share links so that others can review and leave comments on the page.
The component library has buttons, navigation bars, forms, headers, alerts, and so forth. You can simply download the current version of Bootstrap, or load it locally with BootstrapCDN, copy one of the sample templates, and begin customizing.
A cloud-based, free illustration tool with similar features to Adobe Illustrator and Sketch. Vector offers everything you need to get started building complex illustrations, or designing a site or mobile application.
Learning the drag-and-drop editor is easy, and because it’s cloud-based, so is sharing designs. That means more collaboration and feedback without the headache.
The GNU Image Manipulating Program (GIMP) is an open-source, popular photo editor supported by Linux, MacOS, and Windows. Although the interface looks a bit outdated, it packs quite a bit of power and is capable of almost everything Photoshop can do.
It’s a wonderful choice for designers who have limited budgets and need to design UIs or edit photos.
An alternative way of setting up and designing a website to Bootstrap, WordPress is an open-source content management system that makes it easy to set up a website in minutes. There are thousands of free plugins available to download and install so that you can extend the functionality of your site to look and function exactly the way you want it to. This simplifies the entire customization process and means you don’t need coding skills to design your site.
It's important to note that WordPress is free to download, but there are other costs associated with building and running a site on the platform.
Among code editors, Atom is the new kid on the block.Developed and released by GitHub in 2014,it’s been described as the 21st century’s hackable text editor. It has a smooth workflow and quite intuitive as well.
The game-changing features include the ability to set up and customize the settings of your individual and its range of extensions.
Marvel is ideal for producing and refining an interface exactly how you want it to appear and for creating prototypes. It offers a truly innovative way for creating pages and enables you to simulate the design via a prototype.
There are several integrations available that enable you to insert your designs into the project workflow. There is also an integrated user testing feature, which is still rare in the web design space.
An affordable, easy-to-use WordPress alternative, Wix is a website builder offering free and premium plans. Like WordPress, Wix makes it possible to build all kinds of sites, including stores and blogs, in just a few minutes. But the experience of managing a Wix site will be very different from WordPress.
If you opt for one of the premium plans, you’ll get a fully-managed subscription service. Meaning, Wix takes care of all the technical details around site hosting, back-ups, and security. You can also choose the free ad-sponsored plan, which comes with hundreds of options and templates to choose from.
Originally published Jun 9, 2020 1:28:31 PM, updated July 06 2020