Here are great website design tools and informational links that I hope you’ll find useful.
Web Hosting Providers
Website Magazine’s Top 50 Hosting Brands to Know (Feb. 2015 issue, You can read the full article: “Top 50: Web Hosting Providers on Website Magazine’s website)
GeneratePrivacyPolicy.com allows you to create professional privacy policies with their user friendly tools. (First one’s free! Most folks only need one.)
Browser Statistics, W3Schools – The internet evolves, as you know, at blistering speed. So much information, so many analytics to consider in web design. Knowing what browsers, operating systems and platforms people are using can give you insight needed to make sure your website looks and works great, no matter what hardware and settings your visitors use.
What Is HTML5? (Video from Lynda.com)
Inspiration & Showcases
HOW Design Awards & Contest Winners – In the website world, things move quickly. Though latest doesn’t necessarily mean greatest, having a good sense of where current design trends are is key to making sure your website is relevant and effective. Check out this link with particular eye towards the interactive awards. HOW magazine sponsors six graphic design competitions annually, and is affiliated with competitions sponsored by sister publications Print and I.D. This is an archive of galleries of the past HOW competition winners. Enter HOW design competitions.
WordPress Showcase – Visit WordPress’ own website and view a lot of great examples of how the great WordPress website design platform is being used by businesses throughout the world.
Jon Wuebben’s Website – Author of “Content Rich: Writing Your Way to Wealth on the Web” & “Content Is Currency: Developing Powerful Content for Web & Mobile.” Great resources for SEO & copywriting. For those of you who wish to increase your capabilities in these two important areas, pay this site a visit.
Karen Thackston’s Website (“Marketing Words”) – Karen Thackston is a heavy-hitter in the copywriting world. Her YouTube Channel is very useful too! She offers a bunch of videos that can help raise your game as a copywriter. If you want to write your own website copy, visit Karen!
iWriter – Have web & blog content written for you affordably. Here’s their About statement: “The fastest, easiest and most reliable way to have content written for your website. You’ll be able to post a project and 1000s of freelance writers frojm across the globe will have instant access to write your article quickly, professionally, and cheaply.” Content is king…give ’em a try!
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Google Analytics – A FREE tool (although premium levels exist at additional cost) which you ought to be using. What good does it do to have a website or spend a lot of effort directing traffic to it if you haven’t a clue what’s going on once your visitors get there? Google Analytics shows you the full customer picture across ads and videos, websites and social tools, tablets and smartphones. That makes it easier to serve your current customers and win new ones.
Google Keyword Tool – Another FREE tool which can be incredibly useful in developing and honing the keywords which are integral to your online marketing efforts. If you choose to allow Brass Ring Multimedia to assist you in your search engine optimization (SEO), this will be an incredible tool as we collaborate to establish or improve your website’s ranking in the search engines.
WordPress Products (Themes, Plugins, etc.)
Great Premium WordPress Products from ThemeForest – Part of Envato, ThemeForest provides a huge selection of great internet tools including a lot of excellent WordPress themes by reputable developers. Unlock the potential of your WordPress website by utilizing one of their themes, plugins, sliders and other tools.
FREE WordPress Themes – One of the great aspects of WordPress is that, due to it’s “open-code” nature, there is a LOT of development going on: themes, plug-ins & widgets (yes, they call ’em that…plug-ins & widgets are modules of functionality if you will, that add great and useful features to your WordPress site). Many of these are FREE or at relatively low cost. All of the ones you’ll find here are, in fact, FREE! (My favorite price.) If you allow Brass Ring Multimedia to create or assist you with your WordPress website, you’ll find this an invaluable resource in the collaborative process of creating your great website!
Window Resizer (for Google Chrome) – A FREE download. Resize your Chrome browser window to emulate various screen resolutions. This is very handy, so you can see what your website will look like on different size screen resolutions.
Most people don’t realize that in web design, we are tasked with having websites appear in a variety of platforms (PC, Mac, numerous mobile) and browsers (Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari, etc. etc.) along with the fact that users can customize their individual computer & internet settings to display to their liking. To make things worse, not everyone keeps their systems, browsers and software up to date, which can add all kinds of potential complications to the equation as technology marches on.
Color Palettes & Tools
Color Scheme Designer – A FREE cloud-based color wheel software which allows you to come up with different color combinations to coordinate & complement. Using a tool like this can greatly affect the appeal and, therefore, effectiveness of your website design.
Color Hunter – Another great FREE resource. This website is a place to find and make color palettes created from images. One technique I like is to take a key or signature image I plan on using on the Home page and select colors directly from it to put together the website’s color scheme. This makes it easy for you to do that too.
DropBox – A free “cloud” service that lets you bring all your photos, docs, and videos anywhere. This means that any file you save to your Dropbox will automatically save to all your computers, phones and even the Dropbox website. You can use it in two main ways. 1) Download and install their free software and you can use DropBox as a drive. 2) You can just log in and upload, download, share, etc. without the software being installed on your system.
I use DropBox to receive content from clients for their website design projects. Allows us to share big files without the much smaller limitations of email.
DepositPhotos – Great affordable stock photography source. Their website “allows everyone to buy and sell high-quality stock photos, vector images, and videos.” Check them out…their prices are very decent.
Yay Images – AFFORDABLE stock photo source. Stock photography is a great way to increase the visual appeal of your website. Let’s face it, everyone has a camera nowadays, even if it’s on their phone. This does not equate to people take great pictures…most don’t. Much of the photography I receive from clients is just that, mediocre amateur photography, usually poorly composed, usually somewhat blurry, almost always the color ain’t great! Often, stock photography sites can be prohibitive for the modest budget, Yay isn’t! Yay!
PhotoVenture.com – Tips, ideas and inspiration for making the most of your pictures once you’ve taken them. Photoventure focuses on everything post-capture, from improving photos to image management, sharing and more.
Article: 10 Camera Settings You Don’t Use (But Probably Should)
Typography (Fonts, etc.)
Google Fonts – “A web with web fonts is more beautiful, readable, accessible and open.” – Google. These are FREE fonts that can be used for website design providing a lot of styling choices. On this page you can easily view and try out different fonts so you can choose the perfect one to customize your website.
Design Elements & Tools
Creative Market – A platform for handcrafted, mousemade design content from independent creatives around the world. We’re passionate about making beautiful design simple and accessible to everyone. I’ve linked to their “FREE GOODS OF THE WEEK” page which allows you to download (free) design elements that you’ll find handy for your website work.
Gimp – Not everyone can own Adobe Photoshop, usually because of the cost involved. Gimp is a FREE program for such tasks as photo retouching, image composition and image authoring. It can be used as a simple paint program, an expert quality photo retouching program, an online batch processing system, a mass production image renderer, an image format converter, etc.