This might come as a surprise to many of you, but I happen to think that most people hate Web design. After all, this is why you ended up on this article trying to determine whether or not it’s worth trying one of those brain-dead options that may or may not be enough to provide you with the kind of Web site you want. Without naming any names or hurting anybody’s feelings, let’s just say that some big domain and Web hosting brands out there are offering cookie cutter Web site creation options that are, to be honest, crap.
With everything above in mind, I will be making my personal recommendations for both a super easy approach to Web site creation that is completely simple, plus a free application for the advanced user that offers a bit more control.
Not skilled? Not a problem! Artisteer
I first learned of Artisteer from Chris Pirillo and, after trying it, I am blown away at how awesome this is. Anything you want to just happen — does (with regard to your site design). Without any doubt in my mind, this is the greatest approach to designing templates I’ve ever used on Windows. I’ve used some pretty decent software in the past, but Artisteer is the best approach to doing a quick design for WordPress, along with other content management systems. It does a nice job with providing clear, concise access to different regions of the Web site on which you’re working, and it does all this in a familiar, MS Office-like ribbon interface. I think when you compare this to tools like Yahoo! Site Builder, you’ll soon see why this has me so excited.
Doing things the old fashioned way
People passionate about Web design tend to do things the old fashioned way. This isn’t to say that you wouldn’t want to use actual WYSIWYG HTML editing software of some sort, rather, I think some individuals out there have grown to appreciate the simplicity that comes from a good text editor. This leaves the person with the code and the project they’re working on. To get a little more out of the experience, I happen to like using Notepad++. Since I think that SciTE rocks already, having a text editor that uses this at its core is all the better in my opinion. Working with macros, plugins for comparing, encoding options, and the ability to run code in a browser from the UI, Notepad++ is just awesome.