Self-made millionaires like Daymond John, of Shark Tank notoriety, say that the secret to success boils down to one thing, “Work. Bust your butt. Get up before everybody, go to sleep after everybody, and bust your butt. That’s it.”
But that doesn’t mean you need to spend extra time and money in your business’s “lean years” trying to get a great site up.
Designing a great website isn’t the easiest task, but with a few free (or super cheap) design tools available to entrepreneurs like yourself, it can become much less burdensome, and free you up to do all those million and one things that will eventually make you a multi-millionaire.
You can get instant site design inspiration from us at Second Crew, but check out these great tools to help you along, and empower your own site-design skills.
Image-Heavy Website Design Tools
Increasingly, mobile web users are drawn to images and video. While great copy is worth its weight in gold, you can’t get away from having stunning, emotive images and video on your site. They help draw people in, tell your story, connect people with your brand, and improve conversion rates.
The only problem with image-heavy and video-heavy design is that all your images and video need to be optimized so that your pages load quickly.
In a competitive marketplace, you simply can’t afford for your design not to load in seconds. Google will second this fact. Their market research reveals that if a page takes longer than three seconds to load, 53% of people who land on it will just leave.
Google’s research also suggests that the more elements that you have on your pages – text, titles, images, video – the lower your conversion rates will be.
Average Page Weight
Speaking of design elements, let’s talk a little about page weight. It’s a little like an expanding waistline – not so good for a healthy website. Only, many site developers, unlike us here at Second Screw, are oblivious to the ways that they are making your site overweight.
If you want a high-converting website, you’ve got to kill the bloat, and images consume between 60 and 70 Percent of a page’s average weight.
Did you know that:
- 40% of online ads are adding to your site’s page weight and slowing it down.
- The average page weighs 3MB.
- On a typical 3G connection (most common for mobile users), a 1.7MB page will take almost a minute to appear. Not everyone has access to 4G or 5G.
- Google’s algorithm will downgrade your site if it takes too long to load.
This means that you need to choose your design elements with razor-sharp precision.
With those facts in mind, images can be much better at communicating value and information than a block of text. This is why sites like RVLT and Polygon are predominately images.
These sites are extremely image-heavy because it works for them.
It isn’t the only way to design but if you’re going that route (illustrators, designers, fashion bloggers, and photographers come to mind), you need tools that will help you create stunning images that are highly optimized to load lightning-fast.
Here are a few, or super cheap tools you can use to pull that off:
Sketch (Try for Free)
User Interface (UI) design is getting more important for numerous reasons that we talk about internally at Second Crew, but let’s just keep it simple: kick-ass design is evolving to meet the demands of the mobile Internet. Though designers have their preferred tools, like Adobe or Photoshop, Sketch is winning over designers by the droves.
The beginner level is free, and you can purchase a license if you decide you like it more than Photoshop.
Mockplus (Try for Free)
The basic level of Mockplus, is prototyping tool and design tool is free. You don’t need to know code to use it, and some industry leaders already take advantage of its features, like TenCent, Microsoft, IBM, and Oracle. You just use simple drag and drop tools to design just about anything you can imagine, from social media posts to private party invites.
PhotoShop (About $10 a Month)
What’s not to love about Photoshop? It’s been an industry standard for design for decades. When you try Adobe stock you get ten free, high-quality images, but a membership allows you to alter stock photos in any way you like. There’s also a try and buy version, so you can compare it to some of the free tools and choose which tool works best for you.
Canva (Try for Free)
Ideal for designing custom design cards, blog images, and various social media images, Canva is a great web design tool and it’s free to try it. It comes with a photo editor, font and color designer, and many more tools ideal for small businesses or non-profits.
Figma (About $12 a Month)
Figma is a design and prototype tool that can be used for web design, social media image creation, product development and more. You can try it for free, and it’s around $12 monthly for the beginner level.
Other Free Web Building Tools
If your site has more elements in it that just images, and you only need them to support text, then you will probably love these tools:
ai2html – ai2html is an open-source script for Adobe Illustrator that will convert Illustrator documents into HTML and CSS.
AniCollection – a library of css3 animations.
VerbalExpressions on GitHub – helps you to optimize your website for new voice-command functions which Google is creating algorithms to support.
Awesomplete – Allows you to simplify programming language so that your pages load faster.
Or. . . just count on our web designers at Second Crew. We’ve got all aspects of your design covered so that you can get back to running your business. Let us create a jaw-dropping, fast-loading, high-conversion site for you, while you get your grind on.
We know you’ve got a million things to do to become a successful entrepreneur. Let us handle your web design for you.