Five Tools a Beginner Web Designer Needs And You’re Going To Want Them.
Here is a list of five programs I use to build websites professionally and efficiently. Over the years I have tried nearly everything out there. And some programs are better than others; some are easier to use than others. Here is a mixture of the tools that web designers can all agree upon should be in our arsenal. I have tried to put this list into an order of progression and necessity.
1. Website Domain and Host
When it is time to begin working on a project you need a web server to upload your website template, content, files, products and user database to; a place where all your design can be shown to the world. A service such as GoDaddy(www.godaddy.com) is where you can create new domains and/or sub domains for your creations, otherwise a free domain and host provider such as Host-ed(www.host-ed.com) might be beneficial to place your files on. Be sure the provider uses up-to-date software such as PHP, MySQL, POP3, etc. so you can get the most out of your website.
2. Joomla: Content Management System
Be sure to download the most recent version of Joomla!(www.joomla.com) This system is installed onto your domain/host server and marries your website template, content, files, products and user database into one front-end/back-end system called a Content Management System(CMS). There are a variety of CMS’ to choose from, however, my personal favorite is Joomla! It is one of the most flexible, professional, easy-to-use and modify, whatever your needs are. A huge amount of developers are involved in the Joomla! community who create new apps and modules for websites ensuring you can create any sort of website you desire with little effort.
3. FileZilla: FTP File Uploading
Of course having a way to easily upload your website template, content, files, products and user database to your server is a necessity; look no further than FileZIlla(www.filezilla.com) Using FileZilla I can keep all of my project’s domains organized without having to visit a their individual CPanel every time I want to edit server files. It’s perfect for installing Joomla!
4. Artisteer 4: Template Creator
This program is amazing and it has been a cornerstone of my abilities to appease clients. To give any website a unique, smooth look and feel is more than half the battle for a freelance web designer. Artisteer 4(www.artisteer.com) gives you the ability to create a template across a variety of CMS’ including Joomla! I could go on and on about all the great features the web 2.0 WYSIWYG editor offers, but you should download the software for yourself. Once you start using Artisteer 4, you will enhance the awesomeness of your websites. Your clients will appreciate it as well. Also, you can install templates you’ve made through Joomla’s back-end on your website.
5. PhotoShop CS5: Photo Editor
Many times you will need to develop custom images for your website, such as logos, backgrounds, content, etc. Here is where a powerful photo editor like Photoshop CS5(www.adobe.com/photoshop) becomes handy. The level of professionalism your images will express increases when you learn how to use this program. Over the years, this program has been a favorite of mine, giving me the power to give clients unique logos and websites. If you’re not using it yet, I recommend that you start.
If you are a beginner to the world of web design, the tools I’ve mentioned will help both your creativity and productivity. Continue to work on new projects or expand on your current ones using Joomla! and the modules and extensions the community offers. Of course, you may be using a larger variety or even more advanced tools to build your portfolio. If so, please feel free to give me a list of your top five tools for a web designer.