Online Web-design tools for the beginner

If you're a beginner Web designer, these simple tools can help you create the page you've been dreaming about.

Don Reisinger
Former CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
4 min read

If you're not an advanced Web designer, and you don't want to pay a company to create a Web site for you, there are services across the Web that can help you create the site you want. All of the tools listed below are designed specifically for beginners. If that's you, give them a whirl.

Get your design on

Color Wizard: Having trouble finding the right color for a portion of your site? Color Wizard will help you determine which color works with your current color scheme.

When you get to Color Wizard's site, just input the color you want to match. From there, the service will spit out several colors that match well with your base color. If you're unhappy with all the colors on your site, you can also use the site's sliders to create a color you desire. It then gives you a color tag that you can place in your site's HTML. It's a simple, neat tool that I use quite often.

Color Wizard
Color Wizard helps you match colors or create your own. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

CSS Typeset: If you're looking to quickly edit portions of CSS from your site, CSS Typeset is one of my favorite tools to do just that.

The premise of CSS Typeset is simple: take some CSS from your site, modify it with the drop-down lists featured at the bottom of the page, and CSS Typeset generates the CSS code you can paste back into your site. You can change the font type, its color, alignment, and more. If you need a little help with CSS, CSS Typeset is the service for you.

CSS Typeset will help you change your site up. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

Dotemplate: Dotemplate provides several free templates that you can customize right from the company's Web page. From there, you can download the template and place it into your site.

When you get to Dotemplate, you can choose between a bunch of free templates. You can change the color of the navigation bar, input text into different sections of the site, and more. You can even change the colors of all the different headers across the site. Dotemplate allows you to use your template anywhere on the Web as long as you provide a link to the service. You can also donate $10 if you don't want to link to it.

Dotemplate lets you change templates quickly and easily. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

Favicon Generator Tool: Every site needs its own unique Favicon, that little image you find next to a URL in your address bar and on the tabs in your browser. But creating one might not be easy for novices. That's where the Favicon Generator Tool comes in.

The Favicon Generator Tool is about as simple as they come: upload an image that you want to make tiny. From there, click "upload" and the service will convert the image into a Favicon. Simply download the image, upload it to your site, and you're all set. It's that easy.

Favicon Generator Tool
Favicon Generator Tool is simple and easy to use. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

Flickrslidr: If you're having trouble adding a slideshow to your site, make it easy with the help of Flickrslidr.

The premise is simple: input the link to a Flickr album you want to add to your site. From there, you can name it and input tags. Flickrslidr then spits out HTML code, allowing you to quickly and easily input the slideshow into your site.

Add a Flickr slideshow from Flickrslidr. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

Roxer: If you want to create a quick site that doesn't feature all the Web 2.0 features that have become so commonplace on the Web, Roxer might be a good place to start.

Roxer allows you to drag and drop different elements of a site onto your homepage. You can add images, drag-and-drop YouTube videos, change the header of your page, and more. You can also create content to make it a little more useful to visitors. I should note that Roxer is GeoCities-esque in that your site is free to build and features a Roxer domain. Regardless, it's a great way to quickly build a site for simple purposes.

Roxer makes it quick and easy to create a simple Web page. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

Web 2.0 Button Generator: If you want to add a Web 2.0 feel to your site, you'll want to consider using Web 2.0 Button Generator. The site allows you to create a Web 2.0-like button for your site.

When you start using Web 2.0 Button Generator, you'll find that you can choose from three button designs. From there, you can choose a color, modify the text in the button, and decide if you want to add logos to sites across the Web, including YouTube, Flickr, Facebook, and others. Creating the button takes just a few seconds. Once complete, you can download it as an image, place it where you want on your site, and you're all set.

Web 2.0 Button Generator
Web 2.0 button generator is free and easy to use. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

Wordpress Theme Generator: If you're unhappy with the themes other Wordpress users have created, you can create your own with the help of the Wordpress Theme Generator.

Wordpress Theme Generator allows you to create a two-column or three-column Wordpress theme. To the left of the design page is a listing of all the elements you can change, including font type, text color, tag clouds, and more. To the right of the site is a look at what your site looks like. It will change as you modify the site's many elements. When I used the service, I was quite happy with what it offered. Granted, it won't allow you to change everything, but if you want to create a basic, but unique theme, I think Wordpress Theme Generator is a worthwhile tool.

Wordpress Theme Generator features simple Wordress-theme creation. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

My top three

1. CSS Typeset: If you want to quickly modify a site's design, CSS Typeset is the place to go.

2. Color Wizard: Find the right color with Color Wizard.

3. Wordpress Theme Generator: It's not advanced, but if you want a simple, unique Wordpress theme, Wordpress Theme Generator is worth trying out.