Here are seven resources that any web designer can use free of charge. All of them offer some sort of shortcut that will allow a web designer to do his or her job with a little bit more ease. They all have a free service or use that a web designer can use, and some of them have a paid function if you decide that you like the tool and would access to all of its benefits. The list is in no particular order because all of the tools do very different things.
1 - WordPress
This is an open source blog builder. Open source means that not only is it free, but you are also allowed access to the base code so that you can change the program if you wish. This free tool can be used to create your blog using a Content Management System (CMS). You can use the tool to create a quick website, because the CMS takes a lot of the work out of making a website. There is little need to write any HTML code because the CMS system does it for you.
There are lots of plugins for WordPress that will allow you to turn your website into something that you designed instead of looking like a WordPress blog. There are plugins for changing the layout, the links and even the SEO (Search Engine Optimization). The great thing about using this tool to create your website is the fact that there are so many plugins available and quite a lot of support available for new and long-term users.
2 - Google Analytics
This is the best free tool on the Internet for the simple reason that it is so good, so accurate and yet still free. The whole batch of webmaster tools provided by Google should be lauded for the fact that they are free, but the analytics are so sophisticated and accurate that they deserve special recognition.
The analytic data that it provides is very good and breaks down on multiple levels. You can give yourself an overview of how your website is doing or you can get bogged down in the details. You may even do your own analysis if you wish. It tells you things such as page views and durations, but also tells you whom is linking to you and where your traffic is coming from.
3 - IconArchive
This is a great resource for people who want their website to look more professional. It offers icons for links and things such as widgets for sharing buttons. They are good if you want to add color and a bit of life to your web pages. You can spend money and buy some great icons but there are so many that are free that you are never forced to pay. Have a look in the IconArchive before you go spending your money on the premium icons.
4 - Font Squirrel
A font can make or break your website. Designing a website is hard because integrating text is often a rough procedure. Many times the text looks boxy or does not stand out enough. Sometimes the text affects the design of the website in a negative way. With this tool you can look up and use the right font for your website. You can look up and add in the fonts that go with the flow of your web design. There are literally hundreds of free fonts with this tool. The hardest part is finding the one that fits your website. They also have a premium service, which is good if you become a hardcore user of the tool.
5 - FreeButtonWeb
As the name suggests this tool gives you buttons for free. There are lots of buttons in different styles and colors for you to choose from. There are lots of blank buttons that you can use too if you want to add in your own text.
6 - Texturise
This resource allows you to generate or copy textures, which you may then add to other elements of your website. Instead of writing the code for it, or instead of creating an image that you tile over an element, it allows you to apply a texture directly. You can use a paper, fabric or wood texture and add it to your sidebars, backgrounds, search bar, etc. You can grab different colors and add them to certain parts of your website in differing textures so that the elements look like they stand out or have depth.
The site has a lot of high-resolution images and lots textures that you can use, such as concrete, plastic and even rust. The images are seamless so that you can tile them in a way that applies a texture across a whole element.
7 - Stockvault
This is a resource that is full of free and paid images that you can add to your website. The free ones have a free to use license. The paid ones come with either an indefinite use license or a limited time use license. Some images may not be altered. It is a good place to find images for your website, as there are quite a few. However, the free images are probably not going to suit every need that your website has.
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