In this post, I’ll be covering all types of web design software and help you find the right option for the next design adventure.
Creating stunning website designs isn’t something that requires loads of coding knowledge and is confined to experienced web developers anymore. In fact, there is a range of website design software available to help people make brilliant website templates and even full-fledged websites!
But of course “web design software” as a whole is an incredibly broad concept, covering very different types of tools. So right here, on this post, I will cover 3 major types of web design programs – what do they do, what are they for – and then give you some pointers as to which ones to pick.
From custom HTML/CSS code creators to poster generators and website builders, there’s plenty to choose from. Let’s find some of the best design software, both for seasoned professionals and people who never designed anything in their life.
I have divided all the web design software into 3 different categories: coding & development tools, website builders, and graphic design programs. All the
The top 8 best web design software tools, in no particular order, are:
Website builders are extremely useful for web development beginners without a lot of skills. They make it possible for anyone to build their own website, no matter how much experience, or lack thereof, they have. But they’re not just foolproof solutions for complete newbies. Under the hood, all 3 platforms on this list have a lot more going on.
Wix is a super customizable drag-and-drop website builder that lets you place elements in pixel-perfect positions. Because of this, it’s a favorite among people who want to create a beautiful website design without needing any tech skills whatsoever.
As a website builder, Wix also includes a number of other useful tools to make your life easier. For example, all websites built with Wix are fully hosted, which eliminates the need for you to go out and buy a hosting plan.
Similarly, the Wix website editor comes complete with a huge range of features – so many, in fact, that I sometimes get a bit confused when I’m using it. This makes it a great choice for people who prioritize design flexibility, but it can make it a bit hard to get started with.
Also, Wix lets you integrate things like a simple eCommerce store and portfolio features into your website. Its online store builder is a little basic, but it offers the same design freedom as the website editor does.
And, to make things better, Wix even gives you full access to your site’s code files. If you do have some coding skills and want to fine-tune things by adding or removing code, you absolutely can.
Want to go in deeper? Meet Wix Corvid – a web development platform that allows you to build advanced web applications, custom forms, and dynamic pages from the ground up. Not bad for a basic website builder, huh?
There are also examples ready and made, that you can edit and design to fit your needs. Wix offers a solid library for you to choose from, further expanding the possibilities of what can be done with this platform.
How much is all that for?
Wix also offers quite competitive prices. It has a great Free Forever plan that lets you explore its website builder. However, it’s pretty limited and won’t let you publish a proper website under your own domain. For that luxury, there are paid subscriptions starting at $13/month.
All things considered, Wix is one of the best web design programs for beginners. It allows you to put together advanced websites and offers great design flexibility and customization potential.
And if you wish to go beyond making basic websites and build some things on your own – you get all the power to do so.
The result? An ultimate customization experience, allowing you to build a website that behaves just the way you want it to.
Also, Webflow also includes tools to host your site and help you edit and update your content in the future – essentially turning into an all-in-one platform, taking care of all your website needs.
The price of this web design software starts at $12/month – but there’s also a free plan you can use in order to see whether you want to commit to a premium option.
All things considered, Webflow offers a great mix of a code editor, website designer, and website builder, all in one place. It’s an all-in-one option for freelancers, web design agencies, and website building enthusiasts. I loved using it – and I’m sure that you’ll find something to love about Webflow as well.
WordPress.org is the world’s leading content management system, powering over a third of websites in existence today. It’s popular because of its open-source software, complete customizability, and the huge range of plugins and pre-designed themes available to its users.
I myself have used WordPress.org for most of the websites I ever made. And I love using it because of the design flexibility that it offers.
Everything is managed through a powerful dashboard, and it gives you the ability to edit whatever you want on your website.
It’s worth noting quickly that WordPress.org is self-hosted, which means that you will have to choose a hosting provider for your website. This is a positive in my eyes because it means that you have true control over your website and its content.
Now, who is this platform for?
WordPress is a chameleon, offering tools and solutions for pretty much everything and everyone. For instance, if you’re not a wiz coder or web development specialist – WordPress.org is still useful. There are literally thousands of plugins available to help you get started, and add features to your website, which means that you can design an attractive website without having to write a line of code.
One online search – and you gain access to a virtually bottomless gallery of third-party WordPress themes.
I use WordPress.org quite a lot, and I’ve never had any major issues. Anytime I’ve run into problems I’ve been able to find answers online, and there are plenty of forums and help videos out there to draw on.
Overall, WordPress is not a custom design platform, allowing you to build beautiful designs from scratch. But if you want to create a self-hosted website that you have full control over, it’s one of the greatest options out there.
WEB DEVELOPMENT TOOLS
Some web development tools are meant for people looking to code websites from scratch – but do it faster and more efficiently. Sure, these tools do require at least some basic HTML and CSS coding knowledge to be used properly. But the payoff is a massively customizable web design experience.
Adobe Dreamweaver is a seriously powerful tool, that is used by web designers and developers throughout the world. Essentially, it’s a very advanced code editor with a visual interface, allowing you to combine code and website design into one seamless experience.
Before I get too far, it’s worth noting that Dreamweaver isn’t free. However, it does come with a decent free trial that lets you test it out before you buy.
As an individual, Dreamweaver will cost you $20.99/month if it’s the only Adobe app that you use. Alternatively, you can get access to all Adobe apps for $52.99/month, or all Adobe apps and access to Adobe Stock for $82.98/month.
So…Is all that sweet sweet money actually worth spending?
Well – Adobe certainly makes a decent case for it!
I love Dreamweaver because it uses a WYSIWYG (“what you see is what you get”) design platform that keeps things simple. It essentially lets you drag and drop different website elements on one side of the editor, producing a code file on the other.
It’s actually a pretty good way to learn to code, as you can immediately see what changes your specific actions cause. A bit of Pavlov dog training – but for coders!
But, don’t worry if you don’t feel confident about your coding skills – you can create simple websites purely through the drag-and-drop editor.
Similarly, Dreamweaver comes complete with a built-in browser, which means that you can preview the way your site will look online.
It also has a range of pre-designed templates that you can use to start building your site but offers full customizability on every one of these.
Finally, Dreamweaver makes responsive, mobile-optimized design simple. It includes various coding tools to help you create a website that adapts to screens of all sizes, while giving you the ability to check the way your site will look on a range of different devices.
Ultimately, Adobe Dreamweaver is one of the best website design software programs for people who want to create a custom website from scratch and/or become professional web developers. It can be a handful – but the payoff is worth it.
Basically, Bootstrap lets users build custom websites a lot faster than they otherwise would, if they were to write code themselves.
That’s because Bootstrap effectively eliminates the need to write code from scratch, instead letting you take advantage of pre-built components, a responsive grid system, and a powerful jQuery plugin library.
Bootstrap is open source, and in my opinion, it’s one of the best free web design software programs available. However, it is worth noting that there are a few optional things that you can pay for if you would like to.
For example, Bootstrap gives users access to an extensive theme library. These themes are fully compatible with the Bootstrap code editor and make a great starting point for custom websites. Prices range from $39.00 to $79.00, which I found quite affordable (and on par with premium WordPress.org themes).
Looking for something a bit less…premade? Bootstrap also gives you free access to component blocks, which you can use to put together a website quickly and efficiently. These blocks can all be edited, allowing you to fully customize your site.
Ultimately, Bootstrap is a great framework for those who want to code their own website from scratch but who don’t want to spend the time writing completely custom code. You still need to understand how code works – but it’s certainly a timesaver for all sorts of website designers and developers.
GRAPHIC DESIGN TOOLS
No website is complete without attractive visual content. Some smart person once said that “a picture is worth a thousand words” – and if you agree, then these 3 tools are made just for you. Let’s have a look at some of the finest graphic design programs out there.
Canva doesn’t let you design or build websites themselves, but it is a great tool for creating visual content to use as part of your new site. It has both a free and a premium plan, and it’s a solid way of adding a little bit of spice to an already existing online project.
The thing that I use Canva most for is putting together attractive graphs. Its five-step creation process lets you create highly customized graphic images within minutes. Personally, I actually use this sort of content more on my social media profiles than a website, but it might still be extremely valuable for web designers of all types.
Canva also comes with a great image editing canvas that lets you upload a picture and turn it into pretty much anything you want to. Some of the things I’ve use it for in the past include poster creation, infographics, and social media image editing.
The Canva editor is designed for beginners, which means that it’s quite intuitive and easy to use. However, it certainly isn’t basic.
It includes a great suite of design tools and features, including attractive templates to get you started. It also lets you upload your own photos, add text to your designs, and edit your background, among other things.
There’s a free plan available. But if you wish to build a brand kit, use your own fonts, or gain access to Canva’s library of stock images and much more, consider checking out its paid plans: they start from $9.95 a month.
If you haven’t used Canva before, definitely give it a shot. In my opinion, it’s one of the most useful free web design software programs on the market, that becomes even better with a pretty affordable premium plan. It’s something definitely worth checking out.
Pixelbuddha provides access to a huge library of graphic design components, including fonts, graphics, animations, and icons. With both free and paid subscriptions, it’s a great tool for designers who need more material to work with.
There are fonts, there are icons, mockups, and pretty much all sorts of little bits that designers need in order to spice up their website or promote a product.
But among all those options, perhaps one of my favorite things about Pixelbuddha is the range of email templates it offers. If you use an email client that lets you import HTML templates, then you can draw on Pixelbuddha’s designs to help you speed up the email creation process.
Similarly, Pixelbuddha also offers website and landing page templates that are perfect for Bootstrap or WordPress.org users. They can be imported into the editor of your choice and modified until they meet your needs.
It’s basically a cheat sheet for all kinds of visuals. The libraries are massive – and even the free users will have a healthy amount of options to choose from.
However – if you like the freebies that Pixelbuddha offers, then you might be interested in going a step further and checking out its premium subscriptions.
For $10/month you can unlock a whole lot more of huge range of premium design elements and templates, unveiling a world of potential for you and your team.
Sign up for a free account and see how you go, and whether there’s something you’d enjoy using – but I think almost every web designer on the planet will find something they can use in one of Pixelbuddha’s libraries.
I’ve run through several of my favorite web design software tools, uncovering their uses, the things they do well, and the things they…don’t. So, what should you pick, and for what use?
Website builder options like WordPress.org, Wix, and Webflow make it easy for beginners with little web development experience to get started. Once again, they don’t require any special skills, and they allow anyone to create beautiful websites. But even then, all the options on the list allow you to grow and use the very same options to create some seriously advanced things.
Finally, graphic design tools like Canva are great for putting together attractive visual content for your website, while Pixelbuddha gives you access to a huge design element library.
All of the web design programs on this list are either completely free or give you access to a free trial, so I’d recommend trying them out. You might be pleasantly surprised by how much they will improve your website design skills!