Webdesign is constantly evolving, that's why we, the webdesigners, must not work with an old-fashioned method anymore! What would I call "old school" in your opinion? The fact of working with one and the same tool, without perspective of evolution, without the desire to learn more, to try something else, other webdesign tools among others.
It's true that I keep repeating that I work mainly on Webflow. But this does not prevent me from completing it with other webdesign tools. In this article, I let you discover 19 of those I use daily.
By the way, how many tools do you currently use in a day?
Less than 10 (I can't stay focused with several tools, instead I get scattered)
More than 10 (My job requires me to do this, and I'm trying to adapt as best I can)
Other ? Don't hesitate to give your opinion in comments
Freelancing is not only about the work itself. You have your own business, so you manage everything yourself. And I create my websites mainly on Webflow.
I'm only going to give you a short summary of Webflow, but if you want to know more about it, I advise you to read my complete guide on Webflow: everything you need to know. To put it simply, Webflow is a software to design an original website, without having to use code.
It adopts a drag-and-drop system: you choose the feature you need, you drag and drop it to the right place on the page of your website (the library of features is diversified, especially in terms of customization of styles, fonts, colors...).
The concept looks a bit like Wix, Shopify... but its interface is mostly reminiscent of Photoshop, Illustrator... If Wix, Wordpress, Shopify, etc. are aimed at amateurs and professionals of website creation, Webflow was designed for web designers. It focuses on the design and marketing side of a website.
I put Webflow in the Finance category, because you can use the "client billing" module which allows you to have a commission each year on the Webflow subscription that your client will need. So a good way to have a long term passive income. 😏
The first year of freelancing is not always easy. In administration alone, you can get lost if you are not well organized or if you don't use the right tools.
Simpleinvoice is one of the most powerful and simple tools available (from experience).
It is an invoicing software with which you can send your invoices to your customers quickly. After registering your customers' data on the platform, all they have to do is activate their automatic payment. Every month, you are sure to receive your due!
Simpleinvoice is specialized in the management of invoices. That's why it is also possible to export your invoices, to consider different currencies and to issue invoices in different languages (Spanish, German, Italian, Portuguese and French).
You'll need about $10 a month to use it fully. In the meantime, make the most of your free trial period!
Not having the chance to use it, because to date, the tool is only available in France. However, it would have greatly helped me to better manage the admin part of my freelance business.
Freebe's promise 'Freebe.me helps all freelancers get out of the admin mess'
The proposed solutions: Your VAT threshold on line, Sales overrun alert, Invoices to be re-issued, Become a VAT pro.
It will cost you only 84€ for 1 year! But you can also opt for the monthly payment which starts at 11€/month. The calculation is quickly done.
The secret of success lies in good organization. So I'm not shy when it comes to web design tools for organization. They are complementary.
When you work with several people, and sometimes you have to share an account, it is not always easy. With one account, it's already complicated. Then, imagine what will happen with several applications (between social networks and other tools you have to connect to every day). The best solution I could find for this situation is Dashlane.
Dashlane is a popular password manager in the mac and iOS environment. Other operating systems are equally suitable for this software. It is also available online, via a web browser. Since using it, I no longer have to remember or type in my various passwords when I log in.
Today, it allows me to share my passwords with my team in complete serenity.
It proposes 2 plans:
As a web designer, you often work in a team. One day, you'll be managing your own team. In the meantime, you'll have to manage all your clients' projects. One of the best tools to use is Basecamp.
It is not just a simple group chat software. All the tools that a team might need are grouped in there: forums, calendar, to-do list, file storage... You could say that it centralizes EVERYTHING! The key to good organization, in my opinion.
Therefore, it only offers a free Personal plan and manage 3 projects and invite 20 people from your team. If you want to subscribe, you have the right to a free trial, after which you will pay $99 per month.
A tool that we hear a lot about lately is of course Notion. Personally I was able to test the tool, but Basecamp brings me much more. But Notion is in my opinion a great tool that deserves to be tested.
How many applications do you use on a daily basis? For me, there are 19 (at least). I don't know if you can imagine my days. It seems unmanageable, which is indeed the case. But then, how do I do it? Well, I get help from another application: Zapier. It serves as an intermediary.
It consists in connecting different applications between them, which reduces my worries considerably. Some actions are then automated. I'll tell you just one example. Let's say I get an email on my account and it contains an attachment. So I have automated the download of these attachments. So they will be automatically saved in my cloud.
The 2 applications linked here are: my mailbox and my cloud.
This is just one of many examples. Knowing that Zapier is partnered with more than 500 applications, I let you imagine the number of possibilities that are offered to you. Via a main dashboard, you can manage everything. It is good to know that the number of zaps (connection possibilities / automations) is unlimited.
Not only does it save you a lot of time, but you also save money. This customization costs a lot of money if you use a developer. He's going to have to spend a lot of time writing lines of code, so there's nothing more understandable.
For all types of businesses, there is a dedicated subscription. The free version (5 zaps that can be repeated 100 times a month) is a good start! This will not be enough over time. Paid plans then start at $20 per month.
I don't need to describe to you what it does and doesn't do. Its name says it all: pCloud is a cloud storage service. But why him, and not another storage software? Its "lifetime" offer is simply compelling. You pay once (or split the payment over 12 months), and the storage space is yours for life.
pCloud is also easy to use. I use it on all my devices (computer, smartphone and tablets). In fact, when I connect it to my computer, it automatically creates a secure virtual space, so I get extra storage space.
Do you know Google Sheet, Excel and all those other spreadsheet and database programs? Airtable is one of them, but better. For one, it allows a serene collaboration. Each member of your team, if you invite him, will have access to the document concerned.
Second, it is flexible (unlike those products I mentioned earlier). It doesn't just process numerical data. All kinds of information are taken care of:
To this end, the tool in question is versatile: database, shared calendar, code review (for developers), editorial planning...
The free version gives you a taste of what you can get with a paid subscription. However, you need to pay $12 per month or more if you want to subscribe.
Having an assistant to take care of your appointment is great! But having a software that automates everything is even better. That's what Acuity makes it possible to do, an online agenda. But is it really necessary? I find that if you have a busy schedule, it is more than necessary, both for you and for your clients.
They will have access to this calendar without having to log in. All you have to do is integrate it on your website. Your clients will then be able to have an overview of your schedule, and then book the date (still available) that suits them, via this same platform. You will each receive a notification as a reminder when the time comes, in the form of a personalized message.
Let's say your clients have scheduled an appointment. For one reason or another, they have to reschedule or cancel it. They don't need to make a phone call, send an email or contact you in any way. Everything can be done on the platform (whether by computer or mobile).
When it comes time for your prospects and customers to pay a deposit, Acuity's presence is a real asset. You just need to switch to it for payments (Stripe, Paypal and Authorize). As for you, if you want the full service, I suggest paying a subscription starting at $15 per month. Anyway, there is a free version too.
Since a designer often works with a team, it will be necessary to think about specialized tools for teams.
Like all webdesigners, you will find pleasure in using Figma. At least, that's how I feel. Even with several people, me and my team manage to maintain a smooth collaboration.
All changes are made in real time. This is shown by the presence of the cursors of different users, in live. Whether it is for a simple control or if there is ever an error in handling, a versioning system is available (which allows you to see the history of the file).
I use it mainly for creating models and prototypes. Figma offers extra features for its paid version (starting at $12 per month). But if you want to try it, maybe you could start with the free version?
Creating a multilingual website is not easy, especially when you have to use codes. Weglot remedies this situation! Indeed, it allows you to translate a website into different languages in just a few minutes.
3 types of translation are allowed on Weglot:
The goal is to create a professional, quality translation, as accurate as possible. SEO is not left out in all this. Even the translated pages will be SEO optimized.
The good news is that Weglot is available in a free version.
To make sure that a site really meets the expectations of your target, an important step not to be missed: the creation of models and prototypes. With Adobe XD, these two tasks are easier. The software is equipped with a variety of features that are equally practical, such as :
These are just examples, but you can use Adobe XD extensions depending on your needs.
You have the chance to get easy access to Adobe XD if you are already subscribed to Adobe Creative Cloud. Adobe XD is included in the suite. If not, you'll have to subscribe to an offer. There is a 30-day trial, so take advantage of it!
Secondly, no business can be conducted without marketing. Although you are a designer, you also sell a product: your services.
I often talk about SEO while stressing the importance of publishing content regularly. Admittedly, I've focused on text content, but this rule is also valid for audio. You might as well use all traffic acquisition channels.
By posting often on specialized platforms such as Spotify, you're putting all the chances on your side. Listening to a podcast while doing other tasks (driving, working out...) is ideal. It's also an opportunity to discover new professionals through this medium.
If you want to create a YouTube channel to talk about a particular topic, you can convert your videos into audio and then import them into Spotify. It's quick, yet very effective.
After a 3-month free trial, are you willing to pay $10 a month for all these benefits? It's up to you.
Audible is owned by Amazon. Can you see what they have in common? As Amazon is known to be a leader in online sales, Audible certainly focuses its activity on sales. However, it is specialized in selling audio books.
In fact, I highly recommend it! Thanks to it, I was able to listen to some very famous audiobooks, but above all, I discovered many others. From another point of view, this is very important for you as a professional. Who knows, your future clients will probably discover you this way (the principle is the same as for Spotify, you create a visibility in this world).
You have 2 choices:
Anyway, you get access to 2 free books to start. Plus, a 30-day trial is available!
In freelancing, you have to convert your prospects and retain your clients. From my point of view, this is a bit complicated. You will have to write 2 different emails, but still, sort your contacts and send the emails little by little.
Autopilot saves you all this work. This software allows you to automate your emails. They are not simple emails (lifeless and unattractive). They are dynamic, targeted, etc. Moreover, this tool works with different CRM and CMS.
Its main advantage is its ease of use. To automate tasks, there is no need for code. On the contrary, you just have to draw and connect the drawings to each other with arrows.
Although there is no free version, you get a free trial for your first use. After that, the subscription costs $49 per month.
How to evaluate your work? There is nothing simpler than asking for the opinion of the people you worked for, that is, making surveys. There is now an easier way to do it: using automated web design tools such as Typeform.
His name already says a lot about him. Survey forms are not the only thing he can do. He deals with everything that concerns 'forms' (satisfaction surveys, market research, registration...). The list is so diverse, and for a very specific reason:
The tool provides you with several options to compose a customized form, according to your goals and expectations, as well as those of your clients. Since you are a web designer, like me, I guess you would be interested in the fact that with Typeform, the form designs are top notch! They can be customized to match your site or brand design.
Typeform is available in a free version. To go further in features, you have to pay $25 per month (or more).
When I first started using SEMRush, I was easily lost. So many possibilities offered. As time went by, I quickly got used to it so much that it became my main ally in terms of SEO (keyword selection, blacklinks analysis, etc.).
One of the things I particularly love is the fact that I can analyze my competitors' sites. I can then improve the SEO based on this data, and thus, have a better place in Google's search engines.
It's true that SEMRush is a leader in SEO, but that's not the only area it specializes in. I use it for its other facets, especially for social networks and paid ads. A real web design toolbox.
This tool does not exist in a free version. Before you take the plunge, you have the right to a 7-day free trial. In any case, I really recommend it! It's worth the price.
Storychief is compatible with several CMS, including Webflow. It is mainly used for website content management. I've been using it for a few years now to write my blog posts, publish or schedule them and, above all, optimize them for SEO.
Once you finish your article, Storychief will give you 2 scores:
As soon as you manage to get a green light for these 2 parameters, it is already enough. This means that your article is both well structured and SEO optimized.
However, when the light stays orange, Storychief gives you tips for improvement. For example:
Storychief is not free. Given all these benefits, the fact that it is paid (at $90 per month) is understandable. A free trial is also offered in case you want to try it out.
I did not limit myself to my job as a webdesigner. I also offer 2 webdesign trainings: one free and one paid. Only, I could never have succeeded in these 2 projects without these 2 main webdesign tools:
It's already been a year since I started my Webflow training. Before deciding which tool is the most suitable to give online training, I obviously took the time to learn about it. Teachable was the lucky one!
It is a very easy to use training hosting platform. Anyone can use it as no special skills are required. The payment options are automated, for example.
Also, through a single dashboard, you can control the data of your different students, your messaging, the rates you charge, etc. The design of the interface can even be customized.
Finally, there is no free version. Once you sign up (and that's the only free thing), you'll have to choose a subscription before you can take full advantage of the platform. Rates start at $39 per month.
Have you ever had a conversation with someone via email, and explained something quite complicated? Maybe you thought at that time about the easiest way to convey this idea.
I've been there. With a little research, I came across Loom, a video communication tool. More precisely, it is a screen capture video. Very useful for tutorials, this tool saves precious time! Even better, it can be integrated to different communication tools, including Gmail. Once the video has been shot, it is immediately ready to be sent.
How to install it? It appears as a Chrome extension. A simple click on the icon is enough to launch the registration. 2 versions are available:
If I have listed these webdesign tools, it's not to make you use them absolutely! It's only a guide to help you see more clearly the webdesign job and what it implies. Especially since everyone has their own budget, needs, expectations and objectives. There is no point in wasting money on something that will not be used to its full potential.