The Most Useful Tools for Web Design
Web Design Software (Tools: Website Builders and CMS)
I listed this one first, because I consider it to be the most powerful with the most room for customizations and uniqueness. Some new website designers have reported that WordPress is difficult to work with. Although, I do not find this to be the case, I also have years of experience. If you’re new and finding it hard to work with WordPress, I may recommend choosing a simpler platform to begin with, such as Wix, or you can hire me and I will build you any type of website… I can even train you how to use the various platforms, such as WordPress.
I don’t use Wix often because I consider it to be a lot more limited, but I hear it’s awesome for beginners. If you’re not very technical savvy and you just want to “write”, then I would recommend Wix. Wix has a simpler setup process so that you can start writing blog posts sooner. Note: I may mention “blogging” a lot, but remember, these platforms (WordPress, Wix, Weebly, etc.) can be used for a lot more than just blogs. Websites such as Company websites, portfolio sites, social networking sites (with the use of WordPress plugins, etc.), educational platforms (with LMS plugins and themes, etc.), and so many more types of websites. The possibilities are endless… literally!
This website (Jaguar Web Development) is an example of a company website with a blog. What you’re reading right now is my blog… on my company website, Jaguar Web Development. I guess you can also say it’s my portfolio. On the homepage, you’ll notice my experience, past jobs I’ve done, and a little bit about me.
Many people would not consider GoDaddy very user friendly, especially for beginners. I’ve used GoDaddy for nearly 12 years and I have the most uptime of any other host I’ve used, the best resource options (although, it does cost a little more), and once you learn it, the cPanel isn’t that difficult. I recommend GoDaddy, unless you’re looking for the cheaper and easier method. I think GoDaddy is the most reliable and has excellent customer service. Calling and talking to a live person, then resolving your issues is very easy.
SiteGround tends to be cheaper and more user friendly. If you’re a beginner, this is probably the hosting you want.
HostGator isn’t as easy (or as cheap). In fact, I used HostGator last year and they just renewed hosting at a whopping $107. I had no clue a renewal would cost $107. It’s probably my own mistake though. Pro Tip: BE SURE TO READ THINGS!
On Another Note: HostGator also permits adult content (nudity, etc.). If this is your cup of tea, then use HostGator as most other hosts don’t allow adult content.
Microsoft Visual Studio
I’ve been using Microsoft Visual Studios for a couple years now. I mostly like it, with a few exceptions. You have to have an existing project as they don’t allow starting a new project. So, the pain in the butt workaround is to create a file in another program and put it into a folder. Then, go into Visual Studios and open the folder since create a new file isn’t an option.
Also, syntax indenting gets messed up sometimes.
I’ve been using Notepad++ about 11 years. I probably like this better than Microsoft Visual Studio. I recommend changing the theme to a darker background color. If you work for hours on end (like I do), 16 hours a day, 7 days a week, then the darker screen will be more gentle on your eyes and reduce eye strain, in my opinion. According to a Google search, there are varying opinions on this. But, I have noticed a difference in headaches using a darker screen versus a lighter screen.
WordPress and Other Platform Plugins
Plugins is where you gain power. The ultimate power to do whatever you want and be whoever you want to be!
Ok, so maybe I over glorified that! But, simply put, plugins gives your website powerful features and functionality. The best part, many of these are free. Often, you can find premium plugins for cheap. Odds are though, whatever price a plugin costs, is likely worth it. Read reviews before purchasing any plugins. Try to stay at 4 stars or higher and try to stick with more common plugins.
Yes, it is true that quality is better than quantity; however, the more people to have tried a plugin, the more likely bugs have been found… and FIXED. I try to look at plugins that have 100,000 or more downloads. But, I have tried some good plugins that had less than 10,000.
I personally prefer premium themes. Now, I often use free themes primarily because I’m lacking the funds to buy one. Also, some free themes are beyond awesome; however, premium themes often have had extra work put into them. Usually, premium themes have extra functionality, design, and widgets that you don’t always see in free themes.
This article wasn’t meant to be a comprehensive and complete. Above are a few of the tools I use, or recommend. Future articles may go more into detail about each tool.
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