At Laing Media we design and build websites on a daily basis to the highest quality standard. However, we can’t do this by ourselves, we need a bit of help from our friend “technology”. Here are our top five tools we use when going through the process of building a website.
Now, you may be thinking, “that’s not a web building tool”, but for us it is equally as important to have a base of professional communication when constructing a website. Most of the time, it needs to be a team effort, a group of creatives coming together to put the building blocks together, so it is vital that everyone is on the same wavelength when doing their part. This is where Slack becomes much more than just a useful tool.
Slack is the place where our team comes together to discuss ideas and share documents. At its core, it is a group messaging service, but it is much more than that. Instant messaging, group chats, video calls are all features on the application which can also be used on mobile devices. It can be integrated seamlessly with sources such as Google Drive so team members can quickly share and edit documents together. The pro version even offers the ability to annotate screen shares live so everyone can be more involved.
This is the application that we have chosen from our daily communication, as we think it is the best for our requirements, but there are other alternatives. For example, Discord could be used for much of this but for the price of absolutely nothing, because it’s free. Discord is generally quite reliable when it comes to audio/video calls and is adaptable in a few different ways, so we would recommend this as an alternative.
We use Adobe XD to create designs and prototypes for websites and apps. What it allows us to do is hand over a few key ideas to our designers who can then build a vision, effectively mocking-up what a website might look like. It provides the full range of creative equipment and the space needed to design a website without the need to worry about the coding and development necessary in the later stages and the final build itself.
Used in combination with plugins such as Anima, it can save a lot of time when it comes to the development of a client’s website.
Figma and Affinity Designer are alternatively we have used, as they are both cheaper while still being effective, but having used all of them, the Adobe product is, in this case, the best way to approach designing the look of a website.
Elementor page builder
After using a tool like Adobe XD, it would be a waste to lose the essence of those designs in the actual website building phase. Elementor Pro allows us to create our sites more visually from the initial designs and allows designers to play a more active role in development.
By combining Elementor with some of our custom code and good optimisations, we can create fantastic websites for our clients with a quick turnaround time, leaving them more than satisfied with the results.
Elementor isn’t the only page builder we use, Webflow is also an incredible tool and used in just as many projects for us as elementor
Getting the base designs and builds of the site is one thing, but it also needs to be filled with the right assets that can stand out in a competitive market. For this, we use Envato Elements as a creative asset library for our website builds.
It includes a large inventory of different fonts to use, as well as an array of icons to integrate within our website builds. They make it simpler to find and implement elements like this.
As with the others, there are a couple of alternatives you can use when looking to implement icons and images onto a website. Unsplash and freepik are also excellent outlets where you can find the right image or icon set for your website without worrying about licensing issues.
However, if we’re talking about fonts specifically, there isn’t much better than Adobe Typekit. Yes, it is another Adobe product, but there’s a reason they are the most used apps for creating digital media.
Typekit is amazing for getting great multi-platform fonts onto your site. A large library and simple integration into other Adobe creative tools, this is often one of the final pieces to the puzzle of producing a website that not only works, but has its own unique personality. The choice of font is a key part of that personality, and Typekit is the perfect application in which to discover it. It comes with a free trial before affordable subscription options which can suit many businesses with us being one of them.
These tools are by no means the only things we use on a daily basis in the pursuit of a great digital marketing experience but without these ones specifically, we believe we would not be able to produce such great results time and time again.
What are your favourite site building tools? Let us know on our instagram @laingmedialtd