The competition in any market is fierce, and that’s why you need a beautifully designed website to stand out from the competition and impress your visitors.
If you think you need to hire a professional developer and pay a fortune to get this type of site, think again.
Thankfully, web design won’t cost you anything when you create your own professional website using the following free tools.
- 4 Free web building tools for everyone
- 5 Free website development tools for designers
- Do you need a website fast? We’ll build it for you.
4 Free web building tools for everyone
WordPress is arguably the most popular content management system (CMS) in existence. This free and open-source CMS powers more than 455 million websites across the internet, and for good reason – it’s powerful. It’s also easy to set up without any help from a developer, provided your web hosting plan comes with a quick installation package.
Although WordPress started as blogging software, it quickly evolved into a versatile platform that can be used to build any type of website. Whether you’re running a retail store, an online business, or you just need a virtual calling card, WordPress can do it all.
Even better, there are countless themes that will turn a WordPress installation into specific types of websites, like a knowledgebase, social media platform, discussion forum, document repository, business directory, or even a site that offers online courses.
WordPress core features
A WordPress installation is pretty basic, although it does come with the following standard features:
- A blog
- A membership option
- Gravatar integration
- A visual editor
- Post scheduling
- Unlimited pages and posts
- Categories and tags
- Free design templates
- Multi-language support
You can add more features by using plugins, many of which are free. For example, you can install a plugin for a drag-and-drop editor, better security, control over your on-page SEO, adding product review blocks to your pages, contact forms, and more.
WordPress comes with extra costs
Although it’s free, you will have to pay other fees to run a WordPress installation on your website. You’ll need to pay for a hosting account, a domain name, a theme, and depending on your needs, you might have to pay a fee for plugins to get specific functions. If you need customizations, you’ll definitely need to pay a developer.
However, if you know your way around quick install software and don’t mind taking the time to learn the ropes, WordPress is an excellent choice for building your website.
WordPress.org v. WordPress.com
There’s one last thing to consider. There are two versions of WordPress for building a website. The option that comes pre-installed in your hosting account (or a manual installation) comes from WordPres.org and is the only viable option for a professional website. On the other hand, the web building options on WordPress.com are extremely limited and it’s not suitable for a professional website.
If you’re going to use WordPress, go for the self-hosted option and either download and install it manually or install it from the back end of your hosting account’s control panel.
With a user-friendly interface, Wix is one of the easiest free website builders around. Whether you need to build an ecommerce store, a blog, or a home base, it’s simple and fast with Wix. Compared to WordPress, Wix is more user-friendly for those who don’t have any experience with HTML and CSS.
Pros of using Wix
- Upgrade at any time. When you sign up for a free Wix account, you have the option of switching to a premium, paid plan at any time. This is good to know because if you end up needing more features, you won’t be stuck having to move your entire website over to a different platform.
- No-code design. You never have to touch a line of HTML, CSS, or any programming code ever.
- All–in-one package. Your account includes your hosting and domain name.
- Built-in security. Security is handled on the back end, so you don’t have to worry about anything.
Cons of using Wix
- Limited customizations. Wix is a bit limited in how it can be customized, but you might not need anything too fancy. In fact, many successful business websites have a simple design with no bells and whistles. Whether this is a pro, or a con depends on your industry and specific needs.
- Wix branding. For free accounts, your website will display Wix’s branding.
- No theme swaps. Once you start creating your site, you can’t switch your theme. If you do, you’ll need to build your site again from scratch.
- Limited typography options. There aren’t many options for color and text styles, so this is a con if you need a visually intense site.
Another good free website builder that offers a free plan is Weebly. You can build professional, mobile-friendly, responsive sites quickly with this builder.
- Ecommerce capability. If you need an online store, Weebly has that option.
- Integrations. There are plenty of apps that can expand functionality for your site.
- Easy to use interface. You get a user-friendly interface for both regular and ecommerce sites.
- Beautiful themes. The available themes are professionally designed and look great.
- Limited templates. You only get access to 50 templates with a free plan.
- Not ideal for large stores. If you offer a lot of products, Weebly isn’t a good choice.
- Limited customizations. Unlike Wix, Weebly doesn’t offer extensive customization options.
Unlike other free web builders, Webflow only offers prototyping for free. If you want to publish your website on your custom domain name, you will need a paid plan. However, since the interface is so easy to use, it’s still a great tool since the free plan never expires.
- Ecommerce capability. You can build an online store with Webflow.
- Visual editor. There is no need-to-know code to build your site.
- Integrations. If you need to extend functionality, there are third-party integrations available.
- Limited form submissions. This changes with an upgraded, paid plan.
- No gift cards. Unfortunately, you can’t offer your customers gift cards, which makes developing loyalty difficult.
- Confusing price plans. Many people find the pricing tiers confusing and a bit complex.
5 Free website development tools for designers
1. Framer (for designers)
When you need to create responsive designs quickly, Framer can do the job. As a web-based AI-powered prototyping tool, any designer can use Framer to create complex animations and React components. You can also build an entire website with Framer.
- App prototyping
Pros of using Framer
- Good alternative. If you don’t want to use Figma or Adobe XD, Framer is the next best choice.
- Detailed control. You have precise control over your animations and interactive components.
- Compatible with React. If you love React, you can use your components with Framer.
Cons of using Framer
- Limits. You can only have two editors and three projects on a free account.
- Difficult user interface. The workflow is also complex, so the learning curve is pretty steep.
2. Bootstrap (for designers)
You’ll find plenty of useful features, like a grid system, buttons, navigation bars, headers, forms, and so much more. Once you get a sample template, it’s easy to start customizing your site.
- Build one website. Build mobile-friendly, responsive sites that don’t require separate versions for mobile devices.
- Endless customization options. Build any features or designs you wish.
- Clear documentation. Even new developers can understand the documentation.
- You need CSS knowledge. Bootstrap is for developers and is a CSS framework.
- No extensive options. While you can customize a site any way you wish, the general layout of Bootstrap sites tends to look the same.
- Limited backwards compatibility. You’ll need to use the most recent version of Bootstrap for compatibility reasons.
3. Visual Studio Code (for designers)
Usable on Windows, Mac, and Linux, Visual Studio Code, this is one of the best code editing tools around.
Visual Studio Code Pros
- GitHub integration. Collaborate with other web designers.
- Excellent documentation. Whether you’re a beginner or a pro, the documentation is extensive and well-written.
Visual Studio Code Cons
- Steep learning curve. You’ll need to use this tool for a bit to get the hang of it.
- For developers only. Like other tools, this requires coding knowledge.
4. Sublime Text (for designers)
Many people use this tool to build custom sites with Bootstrap.
Pros of using Sublime Text
- It’s popular. Sublime Text is used by thousands of developers.
- Color-coding. It’s easier to edit your code when it’s colored.
- Search. As a text editor, a search function is a must.
- Plugins add extra features. If you need additional features, there’s probably a plugin for that.
Cons of using Sublime Text
- Short free trial. At some point, you’ll need to buy a license to keep using this tool.
- It’s for developers. This is a coding tool, so it’s not for non-coders.
- You might need plugins. Some basic features are lacking and require plugins.
5. Marvel (for designers)
When you’re making a prototype, it’s important to know how it looks on all devices. You can do this with Marvel.
Pros of using Marvel
- User testing. Not many tools offer this feature, so this is a huge plus.
- User-friendly interface. A good UX/UI is central to efficiency.
- CSS prototypes. The handoff option will translate your prototype into CSS.
Cons of using Marvel
- Project limitations. You’re limited to one project with the free version.
- Branding. Free accounts have Marvel branding on all projects.
- Not for large projects. Users report performance is slow for big projects.
- No HTML handoff. You’ll only get CSS here.
Do you need a website fast? We’ll build it for you.
While free tools are a major plus, if you don’t want to build your own site, we can help. At Website.design, our team of professional website developers can work with any web building platform or self-hosted CMS, like WordPress, to build your website just the way you want.
Just because you can build your site without a developer doesn’t mean you have to do it alone. A lot of work and planning goes into building a website, so if you’d rather get it all done for you, reach out to us today and let’s talk about your project – we’d love to work with you!
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