Free Website Design Tools

Designing a website can be a costly venture, or not. It all depends on how you go about it and if you choose to use free website design tools.

If you choose to hire a website design firm you can expect to pay thousands of dollars. Even when hiring a firm there is work for you to do. They will need your input, design ideas, content help and your overall knowledge of the business you run or intend to start.

Maybe you want to do it yourself to save some time and learn a new skill. So the first thing you do is start researching just how to build a website yourself. You find out that there a number of ways to do it:

– Write code: This is very time consuming and it’s like learning a new language. If you want to learn, great, but unless you plan on becoming a coding GEEK this is probably not the option for you.

– Computer Software: You can buy software programs to install on your computer that allow you to create a website and then upload it or edit it live when connected to the internet. This is an option but it’s not free and there is a learning curve.

– Online Software: There are many software programs online that you can use to build and host a website. Some are free, some are paid, some are included with your hosting.

So let’s say you pick option three, using online software. Next, let’s explore some of the free website design tools available online:

Website Builders:

Weebly: This is a company that offers a free website builder. The disadvantage to this is that it is hosted on their server, meaning you have less control.

WordPress: WordPress is well known as a blogging platform but it is also excellent for designing websites. You can get high quality templates for free or paid to design a website. WordPress comes free with many quality hosts such as Bluehost.

Photo and Graphics Editors:

When designing a website you usually need graphics to some degree. Photoshop is the program most commonly associated with graphics creation but it is costly. Here are some other options:

Picnik: This is a great online tool to help you add a professional touch to any images you want to include on your website, and it’s free.

Gimp: Gimp is a program you will need to download to your computer but it does a lot of what Photoshop can do, but it’s also free.

There are tons of resources you can find online to help you build your website for free. My absolute favorite for building websites is WordPress.

Photoshop Tutorials: Image Masking

Adobe’s Photoshop is by far the most used image editing application in the world, mainly because it offers extremely powerful editing tools at a minimum price. One of those very powerful editing tools is Image masking: a process that involves the removal of the background for a particular image. Thus, you can change the wall behind you with a beach in Miami, for example. And if done properly, no one will know the difference.

How it works

There are a lot of image masking techniques but the most well-known and used technique is called clipping path: using the Photoshop Pen Tool, expert users can take any object from a photo and make it a standalone object. You can then place that object in another image of your choice. Should the end results not be according to your wishes, remember that you can improve your image’s quality by adding filters or feather effects to smoothen its edges.

How it is done

By dragging the pen tool around the edges of the desired object, you create a selection. After said selection is completed all that remains is to cut the image and paste it into an empty canvas. An empty canvas is another image with no background or other such elements. Save the picture as a .psd file and you will be able to use it in any of your projects.

Advanced Photoshop users can also create multiple clipping paths and split a particular image into layers: for example, you can separate a website into header, body, footer and widget layers. Save it into a .psd file and there you have it: your very own custom made website. You will also need to learn coding of course, but there are always freelancers around who are willing to make the necessary adjustments for the right price. Getting an image to express exactly what you intended is generally a trial and error operation. You will get there eventually but not without multiple attempts.

Too difficult?

Should you find this image editing technique to be a bit too difficult or too time consuming, you can always ask for a bit of help. You can find a lot of experts on the Internet and also there are plenty of online photo editing websites that offer to do the hard work for you for as little as half a cheeseburger. Due to the widespread of social mediums such as Facebook or Instagram, such services are very sought after.

Photoshop for Beginners

If you are attempting to learn Photoshop online, it is quite likely that at the beginning you will be quite confused because you will come across several tutorials and courses that are available in the market. The guidelines given below will help you learn Photoshop online.

Look at the tutorials synopsis. If in the beginning the website proposes to teach you some things like creating special borders or buttons for websites, then this course will not be for the beginners. To get around to doing these things you must already have some working knowledge of photo shop.

Your first lessons after basic introduction would have to contain pointers on how to get around the software and introducing you to various tools that it contains. You will have to be guided through each of the features provided there in.

Once you are thorough with basics, the next level of introduction would have to be to teach you the various feature applications like layering, clone patterns, removal of backgrounds, coloring and shading etc.

You are still learning the fundamental principles and getting to feel your way through the software. This knowledge will build your base and give you a solid foundation to be able to graduate to higher techniques.

Only once you are comfortable and have understood all the features and are full conversant with basic Photoshop techniques, should you proceed to the next level.

Now you can go through the other tutorials available on the internet. Go through both kinds of modules those that take you through case study and practical applications as well as the theory based modules. Now you should start using the software and building your own examples too.

Photoshop requires dedication and time to learn. More over you have got to keep working out practically to get to know each and every tool and features. Unless you are thoroughly knowledgeable about all the tools and their capabilities you will not be able to take up assignments to work on.