Most people aren’t going to want to take all this on themselves, which is why the majority of companies will outsource the process to a web design team and end up with a more professional end product as a result.
But if you do decide to build a website yourself, then there are a ton of different tips, tools, applications and resources you should be aware of to make life easier.
Software: For designing your website, the most important piece of software you’re going to need is Adobe Illustrator. This is a piece of drawing software that allows you to create very precise designs that line up, display symmetry and don’t have any jagged edges. If you’ve ever tried and failed to make a professional looking banner in MS Paint, then Illustrator is what’s been missing from your life.
However if you don’t have quite the money to fork out for your own copy of illustrator, then great free alternatives are Inkscape or Skencil.
Tip: A useful tip for designing is to try using moodboards. These are essentially collages you create with all kinds of different elements that you are using for inspiration. By taking images and colours you like from other web designs, magazines and even photographs, you can get a ‘feel’ for what you want your site to be and then start designing from there.
For Your Images
Software: Also important in terms of software is PhotoShop which will be useful for touching up images, and for applying effects/transparencies etc. Again though, PhotoShop is expensive, so you might want to try using Gimp. It’s less intuitive to use, but can essentially do all of the same things.
Tools: In order to take great images for your site you’ll need a good camera (the Nokia Lumia 1020 is a great phone with a 41MP camera – ideal for web designers). Likewise if you want to touch up photos then you’ll want pen input on your computer (think Microsoft Surface Pro) or you’ll want a graphics tablet.
Resources: Another option when getting images is to use stock images. The good news? You don’t have to pay for these necessarily. Head to morguefile.com for… just loads… of free images you can use at will! If you want something custom made though, then a good place to shop is Fiverr where you can get backgrounds, banners and icons made for $5 and just a couple of days.
For Coding and SEO
Tips: You might think that coding is beyond you and opt not to create your own site from scratch in HTML, but don’t be defeatist – it’s actually much easier than you think and all you need to do is to find some free templates to use then start reverse engineering.
Resources: Got any questions about how something works? Then just head over StackOverflow, ask for what you need and copy paste. This is what’s called ‘Stack Coding’. For your SEO needs, track down the ‘Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide’ from Google for the official word. WarriorForum, Digital Point, Stack Exchange and Quora will supply the community help.
Software: In terms of software, Adobe has you covered once again with Dreamweaver which will do everything you need it to. Of course though you need to pay again, so a good alternative is Super Notepad which will provide you with some of the same features. Of course WordPress is also an option, which will provide you with a ready-made blog framework that’s highly customisable and SEO friendly from the off.