The 12 Best Web Design Software for Your Business in 2023
Web development used to be the domain of skilled programmers. The process once required intense coding skills and knowledge of languages like hypertext markup language (HTML), cascading style sheets (CSS), or hypertext processor (PHP).
However, while many web design tools still require some level of coding proficiency, several new tools make it possible for businesses to build their own websites with little to no programming expertise. This article will introduce you to some of the best web and graphic design software that can help you make a quality website for your business.
How to choose the best web design software for you
Different web design software come with different features and functionalities, so consider your business needs before choosing. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Which type of website design are you going for?
- Do you want an online store or an e-commerce site?
- Do you need templates?
- Do you need a responsive website that looks good on mobile devices without having to design a mobile-only version?
Whether you’re working on your own or have a small business, the following tools may be able to help you launch the website you need.
12 best web design software you can use for your business
Having a solid web presence is crucial to the success of your company. To online consumers, your website is your business. Your site needs to be visually appealing as well as easy to use. The best web design software for you will depend on factors like the type of business you run, its size, and your budget.
These top 12 web design software can potentially help you achieve what you envision for your business website.
WordPress has the most users of any website builder (almost 40% of all websites use WordPress). It’s an easy-to-use content management system (CMS) that lets you set up a website very quickly. It’s simple to install, and a lot of online web hosting companies include a link to install WordPress.
If you have a content-based website, like a blog, WordPress is a great option for you, but it’s also a good option for e-commerce sites. WordPress themes with a single-column layout (content is on one scroll, not separate pages) translate perfectly to mobile phones and tablets, which account for more than 50% of online traffic.
WordPress also has a huge variety of professional themes available at a fairly low price and over 50,000 plugins. The platform has drag-and-drop functionality that doesn’t require any coding knowledge and a really simple syndication (RSS) function that makes it easy for others to share your content.
While using the basics of WordPress is fairly straightforward, understanding which plugins you need out of its vast selection may take some time. Additionally, WordPress offers limited search engine optimization (SEO) integrations, meaning it’s more difficult to rank on search engine results pages (SERPs) without paying for plugins. There are also security concerns involved with WordPress. Its status as the most common webpage platform makes sites that use it a target for hackers.
WordPress is a free software program. However, you’ll still pay for things like web hosting and premium plugins for your site (some can go for over $1,000).
Adobe Dreamweaver is a more in-depth, cloud-based option than WordPress that requires front-end (what a user sees) coding skills. It has a “what you see is what you get” (WYSIWYG) interface that lets you see what your finished product will look like as you’re working on it (without having to open your browser).
Dreamweaver’s text editor highlights different programming languages in different colors, which makes it easy to identify coding errors. It also makes suggestions for coding blocks that you might need to use. For example, if you’re resizing an image to fit your site, it might suggest a block of code that can make your image the perfect size.
Another benefit of Dreamweaver is that it performs code validation and accessibility checks to see if your site is user-friendly and internet-ready. It also automatically organizes your files so that they keep their relationship with each other (where they fall in your website design) even if you change a file name.
Because Dreamweaver requires front-end coding experience for website building, it has a steeper learning curve than some drag-and-drop website builders. And even though it shows you what your end product will look like on your computer, it can’t show how your site will look on a mobile device.
Dreamweaver is designed to have a huge range of functionality, which can be a downside. It has a massive amount of coding suggestions you can use, some of which may be overly complex. Having too much code on your website can ultimately slow it down. However, hiring a front-end developer might be the solution to help you conquer Dreamweaver.
Dreamweaver is $20.99 per month and comes with a 30-day free trial.
Bootstrap has its own responsive website grid that makes it easy for you to fill containers with content and customize breakpoints (where a site will adapt for an optimal user experience). It has a code option that will automatically adjust image sizes and even shapes based on the screen size on which it’s being shown.
Its mobile-first design ensures that your site will run smoothly on a number of devices and its quality documentation (written descriptions of a code’s function) makes it possible for even beginner coders to know what certain blocks of code do.
Bootstrap has large files that can make your website slow if you’re unable to weed out unnecessary code. If you use Bootstrap but don’t make customizations on your website, you run the risk of your site looking like every other Bootstrap page out there. Bootstrap also requires a fair amount of front-end coding knowledge.
Bootstrap is free.
Squarespace is a website builder that has easy-to-use, drag-and-drop features. It has over 100 designer templates and functionality for e-commerce that lets you do things like manage inventory and configure sales taxes.
Squarespace looks great. Its website templates are designed to have the perfect fonts, image sizes, and everything else. They’re also optimized for devices like smartphones and tablets. The Squarespace app for IOS and Android even lets you make edits from your mobile device. The platform has great blogging features like the ability to schedule posts, get user comments, or host videos.
Customizing a Squarespace template can be a hassle. The templates are designed to be professional-looking as is, so any changes you make to them might not look right. And the site won’t let you troubleshoot your website if you have customizations. This means you have to be skilled enough to look through your code and see why something isn’t working.
Squarespace offers multiple plans, which cost between $12 and $40 a month depending on your needs. It does have a 14-day free trial.
Wix is a website builder that has hundreds of free templates. Its drag-and-drop editor makes it simple to manufacture websites in a very short amount of time. It’s great for small businesses and independent workers.
Wix has a huge selection of functions that let you do things like add animations to your text and other elements. You can add several third-party apps to your Wix website, like newsletters and live chat tools.
With Wix, you can make professional-looking websites really fast. The site will also keep your website secure without sacrificing any of its speed. Additionally, it utilizes artificial design intelligence that can help you quickly do things like connect your social media platforms to your site.
The templates aren’t interchangeable. When you start making content on one, you can’t simply transfer it to a different one. You’ll have to completely redesign your current template. You also can’t transfer a Wix website to another website builder. If you use Wix to make your website, be sure to choose something you’ll like for a long time.
Wix has a free plan available, but its paid plans go from $14 up to $39. The benefits of its paid plan include extra webspace, no Wix ads, and premium e-commerce functions like bookings.
Weebly is a CMS that allows you to build quality websites. It’s a great website builder for small business sites and portfolios. Although it doesn’t have the same amount of templates as some of its competitors, it’s known for its easy-to-understand user interface.
Weebly sites are optimized for mobile devices and the platform has a lot of features for things like marketing and e-commerce. Weebly makes it easy to do things like target specific audiences and start email marketing campaigns. Weebly has drag-and-drop design options that make it simple to use.
Weebly doesn’t give you quite the level of maneuverability to customize your site that webpage builders like Wix do. Its simple design means that it has limited capabilities. The platform also will not allow traffic from certain countries like Russia and China, so you shouldn’t use it if you do business internationally.
Weebly has a free plan for basic needs, but its paid plans go from $6 to $26 a month.
Sketch is a digital design app for Mac. It functions as an editor for vector graphics. Its main use is for optimizing user experience and user interface for web and mobile applications. It’s also a great tool to make a mockup, wireframe, or prototype of your website.
Sketch’s functionality with vector graphics lets you resize designs without losing clarity, so redesigns look good on every screen. Its great rendering capabilities will make designs close to what they would be on a finished HTML or CSS webpage. It’s also very simple to make symbols in Sketch that you can easily use in several outlines.
Sketch only works on Mac, so Windows users will need another option. The pricing is a little confusing, as well. While you will only have to pay once for the Sketch software, you will have to renew your license every year to get updates. The software also doesn’t have the photo editing capabilities of tools like Adobe Photoshop.
Sketch offers a “pay once” license at $99 that will let you use the product indefinitely. However, to get updates, you will need to renew your license every year for $79. It has a free 30-day trial.
Webflow is a cloud-based webpage building tool that doesn’t require any coding at all. It’s great for creating responsive websites, blogs, and landing pages. Webflow has its own CMS and hosting platform, as well.
Webflow’s drag-and-drop functionality and free templates make it an easy and effective website builder. It’s great for developers creating sites for a lot of clients. It saves time by allowing you to use classes to change style aspects (font, colors, text, etc.) quickly. This means you don’t have to change the design of every line of text.
Webflow has white-label CMS that allows you to create customized admin logins and menus for clients. This means you can make it extremely simple for clients to react with a webpage.
Even though the basic functions of Webflow are simple to use, the platform has a huge amount of features. There might be a big learning curve if you’re trying to learn some of the more advanced features of Webflow. You might even have to gain some knowledge of front-end coding languages to really understand some aspects.
Webflow allows you to start building websites for free, but you will need to have a paid account to go live. These start at $12 a month for a basic membership and go all the way up to over $200 for large e-commerce businesses.
Canva is a graphic design platform that offers a drag-and-drop interface that easily creates graphics for social media, websites, and any other platforms. It’s perfect for beginners who want to make custom images for any purpose.
Canva has a variety of simple-to-use photo effects that can make your images look great. Its drag-and-drop editor lets you make quick and easy changes, as well. The platform also has a wide selection of stock images and templates. Using Canva’s templates, you can make images for your website, social media, or another platform.
Canva’s templates aren’t very customizable. You can add your own images but you can’t make new shapes. The site can be hard to use on mobile devices, so it might not be for you if you plan to make designs on your phone.
Canva has a free plan and a Pro plan that costs about $9.99 a month.
Framer X is a powerful graphic design software program that is great for prototyping websites. It can generate React code blocks quickly that can save you time by resizing and adapting images quickly.
Framer X has responsive design features that help your designs adapt well to mobile devices and a vector-based interface that makes sure your images keep their quality even as their size changes. You can even add high-quality animations to your site using Framer X. The software doesn’t require coding skills to use its basic features.
Framer X has a 14-day free trial and is $20 a month after that for individuals.
Photoshop is the most popular and well-known photo editing tool around. It has a huge range of functionality. You can use it to retouch photos, alter illustrations, manipulate backgrounds, and do pretty much anything to an image. It also works with several image and video configurations.
It can even alter batches of images at a time if need be. There are several versions of Adobe Photoshop around and it works on both Windows and Mac.
Photoshop has a huge array of graphic design tools available and gets frequent updates. It works well on computers and mobile devices. You can edit files in many different formats from images and animations to video. It also makes resizing images easy.
The software doesn’t have great support for vector graphics. While some versions of Photoshop allow you to work with vector images, you can only create very minimal designs. Photoshop may be hard to master. The basics are easy to use but becoming accustomed to its more in-depth features takes work.
Photoshop starts at $20.99 a month. You can get a seven-day free trial of Photoshop.
Figma is a vector-based prototyping and design software. What makes Figma stand out is its collaborative aspects. It allows several members of a team to work on a design at the same time. It even lets stakeholders write observations on designs and programmers leave code snippets that will help the prototype become a finished website.
Figma supports vector designs for prototyping websites. Its cloud-based model allows users from all silos to collaborate in real time. You can quickly share files with team members and make edits without wasting time uploading.
Because Figma is in the Creative Cloud, you need an internet connection to use it. If your online server goes down, you can’t use it. If you need to make changes, you’ll have to know who made the last round of edits. You can revert a design to a former version but you can’t alter just a few lines.
Figma has a free plan available. Its paid plans start at $12 a month.
Find top web designers for your business
Developing a great website can deliver so much for your business, and finding easy-to-use tools and website design software will save you a lot of stress. If you’re struggling with the workflow of website creation, Upwork offers a global talent pool of top web designers to assist you. Let an independent professional help you create a professional-looking business website that attracts customers and generates value.
Upwork is not affiliated with and does not sponsor or endorse any of the tools or services discussed in this section. These tools and services are provided only as potential options and each reader and company should take the time needed to adequately analyze and determine the tools or services that would best fit their specific needs and situation.