Lots of people have raw creativity but it can be difficult to channel it effectively to make a living. Web designers especially have trouble taking their talent and turning it into a business.
It can be done however, you just have to find the best tools to streamline the process; manage the boring stuff and give yourself as much time to be creative as possible.
Here are 10 great tools to help you start and run your web design business …
Before you get to the meat of a web design project you need to have a foundation from which you can plan and prototype, with input from your client. This is where Invision comes in.
The tool allows you to easily build interactive concepts that you can share with your team and clients, who also have the ability to leave notes and feedback. This collaborative skeleton means every project starts off without a hitch and everyone who needs to be, is informed.
When you have a prototype that everyone’s happy with, it’s time to start building the real thing. Modern tools like Webydo are particularly beneficial for creative web designers who don’t want to be hindered by coding.
The platform allows you to create responsive HTML5 compliant websites, with a built-in user-friendly content management system for ongoing management by you or your client. Designs are built on the WYSIWYG principle, making use of drag-and-drop and powerful design features that mirror the likes of PhotoShop.
Although you might want to spend most of your time designing, unfortunately, no business is a success without managing finances. The good news is that tools like Mint do most of the hard work for you. It even integrates with your bank to efficiently create a budget and inform you when bills are due.
If you were to take out a payday loan with direct deposit or use a credit card to pay for some of the premium tools in this list, you can easily monitor the balances and payments with graphs and other handy visual displays.
Clients often expect high-quality imagery without realizing the costs and hurdles of taking or licensing professional photos. Unsplash solves this problem by offering 10 high-res photos every ten days, that are completely free to use in your web design or any other commercial project.
5) Adobe Kuler
Stuck for color scheme inspiration and want a tool that visually displays different combinations? Then look no further than Adobe Kuler. You can easily create your own color schemes by using an intuitive color wheel or browse other people’s creations for inspiration or adoption from the Kuler community.
These can also be easily edited from within the tool and browsed by newest, most popular and various categories.
6) Font Squirrel
Not all designers have the ability to create our own fonts, so that means finding them online without any commercial-use restrictions.
Currently one of the best sites for curated, high quality, free to use fonts, is Font Squirrel. Made by designers for designers, you’ll find links to only the best fonts and there is also a vibrant community forum if you want to dig a little deeper.
You can browse via popular, recent, keyword and classification.
One of the most tedious tasks of a web design business is keeping in contact and managing your clients and team. There are many tools that accomplish different elements of “customer relations management,” but one that brings them all together is Insightly.
It integrates email, social media, Google Apps, third-party services like MailChimp; allowing you to view your full communications history with that contact, related events and tasks, and potential clients you have yet to follow-up on.
Salesforce is a powerful “client relations management” tool that allows you to automate marketing emails, integrate all email correspondence, track sales, and monitor overall performance. You can also fully customize the dashboard depending on how your specific business functions.
Trello is more about the team side of project management, bringing everyone together under one platform to organize, monitor and discuss tasks and workflow. There are sections for ideas, future tasks, tasks being worked on, completed tasks, and custom purposes, and you can attach files to posts, start private and group chats, and assign tasks to members.
It’s also completely free to use, which is great for your business’ bottom line.
Another good project management tool is Slack. As the name suggests it helps you monitor your team and see who’s slacking, but it’s also much more than that. By combining Google Hangouts, Twitter, Campfire and other platforms into one channel, it becomes a powerful group chat application.
You can also attach files or link to outside videos and multimedia, all of which can be viewed on the platform, so everyone is on the same page.
By using the above tools or similar, you can build an efficient and professional web design business, manage your team and projects, cover each step flawlessly and keep your clients happy. If you have any other tools or tips, let us know in the comments below!