If you don’t have any design experience it doesn’t mean that you can’t learn a few easy ways to tweak your website if something changes or you want a slight revision. For major companies or a company you’re expecting to grow over the next few years, hiring a designer is one of the most important things you can do for your website, but a little bit of design knowledge on your end can go a long way.
According to a SEOBook article (which inspired this article), those in charge of SEO are usually also asked to handle design work, and the same can be said for the SEO department of even CEO of any small business. Despite the fact that creative designers are not usually used to having to think analytically like SEO experts and vice-versa, they’re expected to do so regardless. SEOBook added:
“While most people understand that it would be ludicrous to expect their doctor to also troubleshoot their plumbing, they don’t seem to understand why they shouldn’t expect the person responsible for their SEO to also handle their design needs from time to time. Unfortunately in the real world, you’re often expected to do exactly that.”
While the quote above may refer to SEO companies dealing with clients, the same can be true for any small business. If you want to create something yourself instead of having to find someone to hire to design it for you, it can help to have a few design resources for the non-designer in your toolbox.
Design Tools for the Non-Designer
All of the tools below are free, and while they may not be quite as advanced as some of the top design tools available, they are obviously not nearly as expensive and they can still offer you a lot of design options to make something look professional:
This is one of the older tools in the book, but it’s still one of the most popular. It works very similarly to Photoshop and allows you to create cool logos and graphics all free of charge. You can work on any size images, do a lot of cropping and resizing, use the fonts you want, use style filters that are build into the tool, and more. It is a browser-based tool, but there is a version for mobile called Pixlr Express.
This tools works very similarly to Pixlr except it is considered a little bit more advanced and more difficult to work with and learn to use. Nonetheless, if you’re familiar with Photoshop and you either don’t feel comfortable with it or you don’t want to spend the money, this is a good option for you.
This is a cool tool because it offers you social media templates if you want to do any design for your accounts; you can search through their stock images if you’re looking for an image; work with different templates, and more. This is a drag-and-drop interface so it’s considered one of the easiest to use for a non-designer.
An infographic design tool is probably one of the top types of designs you’ll want to know how to create if you’re not a designer. Sometimes hiring designers for infographics can get expensive, particularly if your infographic is just being used as a blog post or to compliment your content. In other words, because infographics don’t usually affect the entire navigation and look of your website, this is a great option for you to get started with that’s completely free.
If you don’t like Infogram, Piktochart is one of the most popular tools out there for creating infographics. This tool is full of graphics and templates to get you started, allows you to use their image library or upload your own, customization options, reports and marketing materials, and more to help make your infographic unique.
The most unique thing about this tool is that you can install a Chrome extension and grab images and screenshots. They have their own set of fonts and themes and backgrounds that they continue to update along with lots of editing options to slice and dice your design any way that works for you. This is considered one of the easiest image-editing tools out there today.
This is probably your best option if you’re interested in creating images using your mobile phone. Aviary is an app that allows you to quickly add filters and effects, frames, overlays, cropping options, brightness options, and more. This is best used for photos you plan to take on your mobile phone that you may want to eventually upload to your website. It works similarly to Instagram but with many, many more options.
This last one almost didn’t make the list, but being able to know where to go to find great fonts is a huge part of design (that many non-designers forget). If you use any of the tools above, you’ll be able to type in text and alter that text to your design, so you want to make sure you’re using a cool font. Try embedding these fonts so they’ll load more quickly.
Of course, there are many more free design tools out there for beginners. Visit the SEOBook article above for an even longer list, and let us know what design tools you’ve used in the past in the comment section below.