Today building a website without a costly professional team does not surprise anyone. A lot of successful websites are built using free web design tools with intuitive interfaces and functionality that anyone can implement.
But with so many services out there, how do you know which one to pick for your particular situation? The decision will be based on many factors, of course, such as budget, scheduling, type of website, and so on. The latest research points to the fact that orientation on mobile devices should be your main goal (with the exception of ecommerce, where desktop purchases still prevail). So, whichever tool you use, the result should look flawless on any mobile device.
That is why we grouped the best web design services into the three main categories based on the three major ways in which you can approach your mobilization goal: creating a native mobile website, mobilizing your existing website or building a responsive web design (RWD) website. So here are our top 15 (in our opinion) of the best services to build a mobile website without (for the most part) hiring an expensive development team:
When to use: you want to create a simple website in the shortest time possible, spending as little as possible.
iWebKit is a framework to help you develop basic apps for iPhones and iPods touch.
Pros: It’s free, comes with instructions and does not require deep knowledge of HTML.
Cons: It’s iOS only and you will have to spend time on studying the user manual.
Mobify is a tool for making websites fast, geared at mobile ecommerce platform development. Using it, you benefit from a freemium model while enjoying intuitive GUI.
Pros: Your ecommerce platform is developed specifically for the mobile market, so your users will benefit from a faster, more effective website.
Cons: You will have to spend a little more on the paid package.
Zinadoo helps you build mobile websites fast, offering web and mobile widgets, text and email tools that are perfect for promotional purposes. It helps you upload videos faster through its own service and also optimize your website for the search engines.
Pros: It comes with a complete business directory and is accompanied by Mobiseer, a Web 2.0 service for sharing mobile websites.
Cons: There aren’t a lot of interactivity modules (such as maps, galleries, clicks to action and so on).
Winksite is a free mobile website builder supporting W3C mobileOK and .mobi standards. If you are focused on social media promotion and interaction, this tool is perfect for those purposes.
Pros: It’s great for creating easily connectable interactive modules like chats, polls and forums; it increases engagement and following; it’s an easy tool to mobilize a blog.
Cons: Content creation tools are not varied and many; design customizability is limited; there may be too many parameters for a beginner to set.
When to use: if you already have an existing website but don’t want to invest into creating a separate RWD website. It will cost you more than a simple mobile website.
Google Mobile Optimizer transforms existing websites into their mobile versions, which are lightweight, without headers, heavy imagery and other fluff.
Pros: It’s fast, easy and cheap.
Cons: It’s impossible to customize your website.
Mippin is a free tool for building mobile versions of RSS-powered websites that gives quick results for making your website compatible with over 2K different mobile headsets.
Pros: Additionally to a mobile version, you get a free basic analytics report to make mobile advertising more effective.
Cons: It’s most suitable for RSS-powered websites.
When talking about DIY web design tools, how could we forget good old WordPress? MobilePress is a WordPress plugin, allowing you to generate a mobile version of an existing website powered by WordPress.
Pros: It’s free, ease-to-manipulate, time-efficient and generally a piece of cake.
Cons: Caters to WordPress websites only.
Mobilize is also a plugin for WordPress, created for mobile optimization, free and easy-to-use.
Pros: Mobile device users are redirected to the mobile version of the website, with images scaled to fit the mobile device dimensions and videos converted automatically.
Cons: Caters to WordPress websites only.
Wirenode is great for developing mobile versions of existing websites. With a basic free plan you get an intuitive editor, free hosting for 3 mobile websites as well as analytic reporting and statistical tools.
Pros: Scalable features and intuitive admin; great for content-rich websites like news sites, business showcases and blogs.
Cons: You have to sign up for a paid version to get rid of ads; you probably also need at least some knowledge of web design.
When to use: When you want a solid platform that is future-proof, and are ready to invest time, effort and money. RWD websites are search engine optimized and much easier to update. It’s also easier to incorporate and manage ads and payments, tracking and redirect features. It’s the most beneficial solution in the long run as the end result will appeal to the maximum possible number of mobile users.
Webflow is a feature-rich drag-and-drop RWD tool, utilizing a WYSIWYG editor to make designs and Bootstrap 3.0 to write code. It’s easy both for building a website from the ground up or customizing an existing template from a variety of free and paid options. You can see how the chosen template appears on desktop, tablet and smartphone devices, as well as customize website elements to perfectly fit each device.
Pros: Two modes (simple and advanced) of the admin panel for users with different tech backgrounds; Weblow websites are responsive out the box with functionality like social plug-ins, contact forms, and animated interactions.
Cons: You have to pay to customize and edit CSS and HTML; you have to register to check out the service itself and the available templates.
MotoCMS 3.0. is a content management system (CMS) website builder allowing you to make and maintain RWD websites without in-depth expertise in programming. The admin is also drag and drop and intuitive (with helpful drop-down information windows for each feature), making it easy to build websites using a variety of templates that are not hard to customize even if you are not a professional designer. There are a few handy automation features, like changing the color scheme of the whole website in one step or alternating an element of the same class throughout the project.
Pros: Out-the-box responsiveness for desktop, tablet, smartphone landscape and portrait, with options to resize elements for each particular resolution; you can try the service’s admin panel and system functionality in all modes without registering.
Cons: CSS editing is impossible; the service is still in development; some templates can be a bit expensive.
Wirefy is a tool for creating intuitive, powerful wireframes for RWD websites. You will require a working knowledge of CSS and HTML, but the process is easy and stress-free thanks to a collection of responsive HTML snippets and templates you can test out on different resolutions. Also, your Wirefy foundation can be easily implemented into an additional framework or CMS system.
Pros: It’s one of the best tools for content-based, intelligently designed websites; it’s very flexible and comprehensive.
Cons: You need to have basic experience with CSS and HTML.
Bootstrap is a front-end website development platform for efficient website development. You can choose from a plethora of helpful components like configurable CSS front-end frameworks. Websites built with Bootrstrap out the box look just the way you intended on all popular devices. You get support for all major browsers, fixes for CSS compatibility issues, a collection of icons, solid documentation and ongoing community support.
Cons: Requires professional knowledge in programming if you need more in-depth customization or a big departure from what Bootstrap offers on its own.
Gridset is an amazing tool to design, prototype and build customizable responsive grid-based layouts. Grids of all types can be created, from simple ones to complicated CSS frameworks. Using this tool, you can build a layout of your entire website, while being in complete control.
Pros: It works well with CMS like Drupal and WordPress; it is compatible with graphic editors such as Fireworks and Photoshop.
Cons: Being a layout tool, its strong suit is visuals, neglecting some other vital aspects of development.
Adobe Edge Reflow is another service for visually designing a responsive website. The tool easily converts Photoshop files into HTML and CSS, subsequently adjusting design using different breakpoints.
Pros: Drag-and-drop features make this an easy tool to use; formatting and editing is stress-free.
Cons: Requires basic skills in HTML and CSS.
This list of web design services is inconclusive, of course. For each specific business, there is research to be done, taking into account your short-term and long-term business goals and target audience. And of course even if you are using the best out-of-the box services, the help of a professional software developers and designers from Itransition comes in handy with customization, maintenance and timely updates.
Please tell us what you want to hear from us next. Do you want a list of free tools to make great mobile applications on a minimum budget? Or a list of tools for testing your mobile website? Let us know in the comments below and also do tell us what your favorite web design tool is.