There's now a wealth of website design software to help you manage and create your website.
From simple apps that remove the requirement for any web coding knowledge or design expertise, to advanced software that calls upon developer skills, you should be able to find a tool that suits your business and skill set.
When evaluating web design software, it's vital that you think about your needs both now and in the future. It's also important to choose software that is capable of creating 'responsive' websites that work flawlessly on mobile devices. Thankfully, there are now an abundance of web design tools that offer design templates which adapt automatically to different screen sizes.
Simple website design software
Simple web design software enables you to create your website without ever having to understand or write the complex HTML code that sits behind web pages.
There are two main types of simple web design software:
- Template-based editors. These include pre-designed, pre-coded website templates to which you can add your own content. Template-based web design software often forces you to stick to a fairly rigid design, but can be a good way to create a reliable website with little or no technical knowledge.
- 'What you see is what you get' editors. WYSIWYG ('wiss-eee-wig') website design software makes editing web pages just like editing other documents. Modern WYSIWYG editors are incredibly powerful and swap HTML code for an approachable user interface with which most people will be instantly familiar.
Of the two options above, WYSIWYG editors are becoming more commonplace, and can be found in web platforms such as Wordpress. They're surprisingly flexible and because you don't have to mess with the underlying code, you can be sure of pages that work properly.
Both template-based and WYSIWYG editors are usually web-based, which means you do all of your web page editing directly within a web browser. This means there's no need to spend extra on web hosting or work out how to upload your site; packages usually include everything you need.
Website builders start from as little as £4.50 a month. Popular tools include Moonfruit, Wix, Squarespace and Pixpa.
Most web hosting companies also offer their own site builder tools. In addition, there are many free web design tools that you can use to build and develop your website, including the aforementioned Wordpress.
Web design software for experts
If someone in your business has a good understanding of HTML, you may prefer to use an HTML editor to view and change your website's HTML code directly.
These packages allow experienced web designers and developers to build up websites from scratch. They offer enormous flexibility, but you need detailed knowledge of HTML to use them properly.
Many professional web design software packages combine HTML editing and WYSIWYG functions. This allows experienced designers to build a page quickly, then tweak the code so it works well in all web browsers.
Professional website design software with all the bells and whistles can cost up to £300. However, it should also be noted that most simple website design software tools include some form of HTML editing for the adventurous.
Other ways to create your website
Your choice of web design and hosting software will largely depend on the web design expertise within your business. If your company employs a web designer, they'll be able to use a professional package to create your website from scratch.
Conversely, if your company lacks in-house web design experience, it may be better for you to rely on a website builder package.
Finally, remember that advanced websites can take significant effort to create, particularly if you require custom features. For this sort of project, it's best to work directly with a web design agency so you benefit from their knowledge and expertise.