Website design software

Website design software on a monitorThere are lots of types of website design software to help you manage and create your website

From simple packages that claim you don't need any knowledge of web design to advanced systems that require expert coding skills, you should be able to find one that suits your business.

When evaluating web design software options, think about your needs now and in the future.

It's also important that the software is able to create a site that works on mobile devices. The software might allow you to set up a separate mobile website, or use design templates that adapt to fit different screens.

Simple website design software

Simple web design software allows you to create your website without ever having to see or understand the complicated HTML code which makes up 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. WYSIWYG software does not always handle complex pages well or generate HTML code that displays properly on all computers, so use it with caution.

Of these two options, template-based editors are most foolproof. They can be surprisingly flexible and have one big benefit: because you can't mess with the underlying code, you can be sure your pages will work properly.

Template-based editors are usually accessed online. 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 £2.50 a month. Popular tools include Moonfruit, Wix and Mr Site.

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.

On the other hand, WYSIWYG editors usually take the form of software you install on your computer. They offer more flexibility, but ultimately you still need some HTML knowledge to use them properly. You'll also need to buy separate web hosting to publish your website online.

In any case, avoid creating your website using software which isn't specifically designed for editing web pages. Some office suites and desktop publishing software claim to be able to save documents as web pages, but usually generate pages that display poorly.

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.

Other ways to create your website

Your choice of web design software will largely depend on the web design expertise in your business. If your company employs a web designer, they will 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.

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