Want to be a great designer? Start with these resources and tools
You’ve probably noticed that no two projects are alike – nor are there two web designers with the same skills, preferences, and opinions. However, despite their uniqueness, chances are most designers have one thing in common: They all think they know the best resources for online materials for their websites. Today, I’ll be sharing with you the tools that every good web designer needs to be successful, from web builder templates to images, stock photos, fonts and icons, all the way to project management tools, Photoshop to HTML conversion services, and even e-commerce solutions. So sit back, relax, and learn what awesome tools are available to you, most at little to no charge.
The perfect website builder can be hard to come by. When you are designing your portfolio, you’re looking for a way to let your creativity shine through, without all the complications of HTML coding. With this in mind, let me urge you to try ALLYOU. On their site, you’ll find web-building templates that are both professional and stylish, not to mention easy to use. Their company was founded in 2011 and they’ve been producing quality templates ever since. Their site is also very easy to navigate; it won’t give you any trouble. Unless you really want to take a ride on the HTML roller coaster, you’ll find everything you’re looking for here. Their drag and drop editor makes modifications easy and seamless. And unless you need to upgrade to their “Carbon” or “Titanium” services, their site is 100% free to use – how about that?
If you’re looking for an always fresh face on the website builder scene, check out the rapidly growing Wix. Their site is incredibly easy to use and their templates are very attractive. Their cloud-based tools will allow you to maximize your creativity without having the headache of dealing with complicated HTML coding. One of the best things about them is that they work with a large number of 3rd party developers and can offer you plug-in’s like social media, e-commerce, contact forms, even email marketing.
Some sites are more difficult to learn then others, but well worth the extra effort. Such a service is Moonfruit. It takes a little bit to get the hang of it, but once you’ve invested some time learning how to use their service, you’ll be glad you did. With their templates you’re able to create some fantastic web pages for your clients. Additionally, they offer some great unique features not found on many other sites, like SEO calibrating and other tools for your website needs.
When you are looking for the best WordPress themes online, there’s really only one destination: X Theme. Their service is first class – they offer superior versatility – better than anyone else around. No matter what type of website you’re looking for – a blog, professional website, online shop or personal portfolio, you can build it with X! Although there are many options for WordPress themes out there, this is one you don’t want to miss. X Theme is one of a kind – with features such as “stacks” which basically lets you create an unlimited number of designs. Once you select their site, you’ll start by choosing the best template for you and going from there. They also have a fantastic live editor that allows you to see changes to your template in real time as you work – perfecto.
There’s no larger selection of website templates around then what you can find on Template Monster – they have over 46,000 templates. There’s no way you won’t be able to find what you are looking for on their site. As earlier as May 2002, they have teamed up Magento, Drupal, WordPress, PrestaShop, Joomla, WooCommerce, and many more. Additionally, their templates are available in a wide variety of formats – HTML, CSS with built in flash, or Photoshop templates. They offer you two options for using their templates: First, you can setup an account with a limited use license, or second, you can buy the exclusive rights to your template. Until today, more than 1 million clients bought from them.
Before we go on, there’s one site we would be remiss if we left out: Crocoblock. They offer a fantastic selection of WordPress themes, over eighty, all response and at a price of $0.65 each. Additionally, their service is incredibly easy to use. No matter what you are looking for build – portfolio, blog, you name it – they have the right template and features for you. What’s also great about Crocoblock is that they are constantly updating their site with new and useful tools like built-in SEO functions, widgets, and short codes with integrated plug-ins.
Now that you’ve found the right solution for building your website, its time to find the right service where to host your website. For a first rate hosting company with industry experience, look no further than Hearthinternet. They’ll provide top of the line hosting for your website, email, and applications. No matter how big or small your company is they have the right hosting solutions for you. Also, their service is among the best out there – you’ll get experienced customer service 24/7 with Hearthinternet. Additionally, none of their labor is outsourced – their entire team is based in the UK.
When it comes to hosting companies, there’s one more name you should know: Pixeno. They offer the highest quality of hosting services for the most affordable prices. You can check them out with their no money down, thirty-day trial to see if they will work for you. They also have a re-seller program that can accommodate clients big and small. Their web hosting service comes with a hosting manager and CPanel to control your hosting functions. Their company is also rapidly growing. Although they are currently based in the UK, they are expanding into the US in the near future. Enter the promo code “DESIGN15” into their site and receive 15% off their service.
When you’re looking for a deal, you want a mighty deal, right? That’s where they come in. Their deals are second to none. Their service only requires you to sign up for their newsletter to use – then they will email you their excellent offers. Their offers range from 50% to even 90% off lots of great goodies for web developers. You can find offers on things like web development lessons, websites templates, fonts, and more. Hurry though; their offers are only available for a limited time.
Although free is the best, sometimes you have to put down a little money for something good. One of those things worth your hard earned cash is the service you can get at Medialoot. For only $14 a month – or $99 a year – you can take advantage of everything they have to offer. They have a ton of excellent resources – you won’t be disappointed. Their selection is huge. They have a large selection of all types of goodies, from web, UI, vector and illustration kits, mobile friendly design kits, tons of icons, fonts and Photoshop add-ons. Lastly, if you enter MEDIATLOOT7 at checkout they will give you 7 days of unlimited free access.
When you are building a website, there are many important elements to consider. Images, layout, enhanced features. It’s quite a long list. One element you never want to forget, however, is a good font. There are few things quite as important as this, which is why you need great resources like UrbanFonts. They have over 8,000 free fonts in their gallery, and if that’s not enough for you, they also have a huge selection of premium fonts available for an additional fee. Check them out today!
Have you ever found the perfect font for your website but had no idea where to download it? Can anything be more frustrating than that? When you are stuck in this bind, look to WhatFontIs to save you. Their service is super easy to use and very effective. Simply enter the fonts URL location or upload a simple screen shot onto their site and they will find your font or something close to it faster that you can say hello.
Just as important as a good font is a good image. And sometimes a good collection of images can be really hard to come by. Shutterstock is one of the best sites around, and I personally have been using them for quite some time. Their site is constantly being updated with new high quality vectors, so you should definitely bookmark it.
The only other name you need to know in images is Vector Open Stock. Their site has over 7,000 vector images waiting for you. Most of their items are available license free (which means you are free to download them and use them however you see fit), however, some are restricted under the Creative Commons License. An interesting element of Vector Open Stock is their social networking element. Within their site, you’re able to like users whose work you enjoy and even follow them, so you can keep up with them on their latest work.
When you are looking for good free stock images, a good source to look into is Unsplash. You’ll save yourself a lot of time going right to one of the best resources on the web. They have a robust selection of content for you to utilize and enjoy. Fortunately, they are always adding to their site so you will never run out of images to work with. And best of all, their images are license free, which means you are free to use them wherever you need.
One final source of images you should be sure to visit is PicJumbo. They have some of the most unique and creative photos online. You will be sure to find what you are looking for on their site, their work is really top notch and doesn’t look generic at all. The majority of their images are free, but if you can’t get enough, they also have a premium option which gives you access to even more content.
Ever feel overwhelmed by your web projects? Feel like you just can’t keep track of all the elements you need to balance to deliver a successful website? Look to Azendoo to solve your organizational problems. Their service is awesome. They have two versions for you to work with. You can access their paid version, which comes with extended storage and some advanced features. Or you can use their free version, which has fewer features, but should be well equipped to handle most projects. Azendoo is very versatile and will sync seamlessly with other 3rd party programs like Google Drive, Dropbox and Evernote, further making their service more enjoyable and well thought out.
We know web designers don’t make the best project managers. It’s nothing to worry about, especially when there are services like Casual to save the day. Casual will meet and exceed all your expectations for project management – it’s really just that good. Once you dig into their site and get familiar with their service, you’ll realize that Casual is really geared towards the creative mind. One of their best features, their “Mindmap” feature, will be your favorite. It really allows you to map out your project and have an excellent visual of it in its entirety.
If you are looking for the best selection of icons on the web, look no further than Picons. Their selection is unmatched. For your large or small projects, they will be a great source of premium vector icons for you. Their icons are perfect for any application – website, mobile app, print materials -you name it. A large benefit of their images is that they were all made in Adobe Illustrator, which means they are vectorized. Best of all, they offer the majority of their icons for no charge. And to keep up with their latest deals and designs, you can follow them on Twitter.
One more name you have to know in icons is Roundicons. If you need it, they have it. Their selection is really unparalleled to anything else online. Their icons range in style and format – they’re incredible flexible. Additionally, they can be used any way you like because they are all under an extended license. Another great feature is that if they add icons to a set you have already purchased, they email you the new icons, at no additional charge.
PSD to HTML services
Once you’ve built a fantastic website in Photoshop, why would you want to take the time to convert it to HTML? Let me tell you, you wouldn’t! That’s where services like Direct Basing come in. They are without a doubt one of the best sources for Photoshop to HTML conversion companies available – their service is unmatched anywhere else. Their team can convert websites made with WordPress, Joomla or Magento e-commerce. Also, while they are converting your site, they will optimize it for search engines and ensure it works well on all the different browsers – internet explorer, Mozilla, Firefox, Chrome, and Safari. And they turnaround is simply impressive.
When you are looking for a PDS to HTML conversion service (and not only), you want one that’s had some experience in the industry. For a name you can trust to convert your site, look no further than XHTMLized – one of the best sources for conversion around with 10 years of experience both as front end and back end developers- they really know what they are doing. When you sign up with them, your property and data are protected by a non-disclosure agreement. You’ll be on a first name basis with the service team at XHTMLized – they will take good care of you.
There’s really only one name in e-commerce you need to know: Shopify. I’m a big fan of Shopify myself and have used them for many of my projects. Their service is first rate – it won’t let you down. Not only is it of the highest quality, its also easy to use and incredibly affordable. Their templates are beautiful and easy to navigate. All your online payments and shopping needs will be handled professionally and smoothly through their robust system. Best of all, you can even try Shopify out for seven days before you pay a dime, just to make sure their service will work for you.
If all you need is to plug in an excellent e-commerce add on to your WordPress website, then Woocommerce is the service for you. Their free service will build in an excellent e-commerce solution right into your site, enabling you to open your online shop up quickly and professionally. Regardless of the type of shop you need – clothing, movies or video games – they will have an option for you.