WEBSITE BUILDING: Free website design tools and resources
MANY people maintain the belief that nothing is free in today’s world. While this may be true in the physical world, there is plenty of free stuff on the web (if you know where to look). This is particularly true with regard to creating and developing your very own website.
Several web developers simply coin it by creating sites for individuals who don’t know any better. Granted there are several brilliant website designers who deserve to be paid well for their expertise. However, there are others who will charge a hand and a foot to create something that you could quite easily create yourself for free.
Blogging is the most free form of beginning a journey in website design and development. One is able to choose a ready-made design from a large library of templates, publish posts to your heart’s content and make use of a variety of free-to-use tools. Taking things to the next level, however, is a different story and often involves having to spend something.
There are several website builders that label themselves as “free” yet there is always a catch. Basically the beginning stages are free, but the hidden agenda becomes apparent once you become excited about website building and want to take things a little further.
Nevertheless, I have come across two website-building sites that I would like to share with anyone interested in self-taught web design. After all, teaching oneself a new skill, whatever that may be, should always result in the warm and fuzzy feelings of self-satisfaction.
Doodlekit is a fully hosted free website builder and content management system that claims to be the quickest and most advanced website tool available. That is a mighty claim which is surely shared with several other website builders.
However, I would agree that Doodlekit is at least easy to use. First-timers may not be able to design a website “within minutes” yet can at least doodle with designing for as long as they please without any charge.
What’s also great is that the site doesn’t require the installation of any software – all aspects of it are done online via the Doodlekit website.
There are some great-looking examples of what some users have created using Doodlekit, such as www.ama-dojo.com
350 pages markets itself as the “quick and easy website builder” that is “fun and flexible”. They’re also convinced that us ‘ordinary’ folk can produce a professional-looking website in minutes, if not “seconds!”.
The site does have some great features though, despite being a little over-appealing (a typical tactic used to rope one in). It is a bit more professional than Doodlekit in the sense that it allows one to fully customise each heading, button bar, logo, divider, image and photo gallery, and even goes as far as allowing the customisation of fonts, styles and colours. Such stylistic changes are often deep in the realm of professional web design.
“If you want to build a web page, but are perhaps clueless when it comes to web design, you might benefit from paying a visit to 350 pages” – 350 pages user
What’s also great about both these design tools/websites above is they don’t require you to do any coding whatsoever. Specifically with 350 pages, layout is as simple as dragging and dropping content using your mouse.
It may be a sad reality for web developers who slogged away for years learning HTML, but a warm welcome to those who don’t know an “<a href>” from an “<align-left>” code.
A particularly pleasant feature of 350 pages is that it offers a library of video tutorials to get you started. The only catch (as the title suggests) is that you can only design up to 350 pages for free before having to pay anything.
Yet this isn’t really a catch, because if you get as far as 350 pages you should have built up enough confidence and web design skills to take things into your own hands. I wish you many hours of happy doodling.