The best web design tools let you create elegant, intuitive pathways, from the landing page to checkout. You can optimize the look of your online store with web design tools that let you steer the customer experience, guiding visitors to the products you want them to see. Here’s a primer on using web design software tools for your ecommerce store.
What is web design?
Web design is a discipline that involves the visual layout of web pages. Web designers use software to arrange the various components of a website, including text, graphics, video, interactive modules, ecommerce capabilities, and site navigation. The goal is to create cohesive and visually appealing web pages with an intuitive layout.
Key considerations for web design
Whether you’re designing your ecommerce store with a standard website builder or hiring someone to do it for you, keep the following in mind throughout the web design process:
Mobile-responsive web designs render correctly on all devices, from desktops to mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. Three-quarters of Americans report buying products online using their mobile devices; building a store you can easily navigate on a phone can help ensure that customers make it through your sales funnel.
In ecommerce, the best website designs always make it clear whose site you’re visiting. Include your company name or logo on every page of the site in subtle and obvious ways. You can also establish a brand identity by keeping a consistent color scheme, font, and authorial voice throughout the website.
Internet users expect websites to load almost instantaneously. Fiber optics and 5G make this possible, but your website must hold up its end of the bargain. You can improve loading speed by optimizing your images to the smallest file size possible without sacrificing quality or overloading your site with memory-hogging plug-ins.
An ecommerce website aims to turn site visitors into paying customers. Using the best web design software, a smart web designer structures a site with internal links that take users to product pages and on to the checkout page.
Overall user experience
Visiting a website should be productive, hassle-free, and even fun. Many web designers are versed in user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) design principles, which they use to create intuitive interfaces for the sites they design.
What to look for in web design tools
Top web design software is your ally throughout your ecommerce website development process. Whether you use free tools like Google Web Designer or an all-in-one ecommerce hub like Shopify, prioritize the following key features:
- Ease of use
- Full site-building capabilities
- Domain name acquisition
- Collaboration tools
- Analytics tools
- Third-party app integration
Your ecommerce website should align with your brand identity. If you sell a business-to-business (B2B) service, such as a payroll system, you may want a more formal-looking site that appeals to B2B buyers. If you sell homemade jewelry to individuals, you may prefer a more art-forward design. Top web design tools let you tailor your site to your unique brand.
The leading web design systems come with customizable templates that provide a strong starting point to build from. You can then add web elements like HTML animations, background videos, and even a background web application to monitor site traffic. Shopify offers templates based on themes.
Find a theme that speaks to your customers
Choose a theme that represents your brand, matches your business, and will speak to your intended audience.
Ease of use
Gone are the days when website design involved a steep learning curve. Today, you can select an interface design tool that’s easy to use from the jump, regardless of your experience. Look for functions like built-in text formatting, photo editing, and the ability to embed HTML code, which lets you display things like videos, text documents, and ecommerce listings.
Full site-building capabilities
You can opt for à la carte web design software or get your design functionality from an all-in-one website building tool that provides managed web hosting, a content management system (CMS), and marketing tools like SEO customization. Many leading platforms, including the Shopify website builder, bundle all these features in a single offering.
Domain name acquisition
If you choose an all-in-one website builder, look for one that makes it easy to find a great domain name and register that domain for your exclusive use. Otherwise, you can still register a domain name if you go the à la carte route; for instance, you could use free blog design software and establish your website with a standalone domain registry service, like Shopify Domains, Google Domains, or NameCheap.
Find the perfect domain name
A domain name with words related to your industry signals to search engines like Google what your business and new website are about, and helps people to discover you online.
Top web design software lets multiple designers collaborate on web design projects simultaneously. All collaborators have access to the same functions, like a drag-and-drop editor or a prototyping tool that lets you mock up ecommerce storefronts. Collaboration can speed up work times as you prepare your ecommerce site for launch.
An analytics tool provides valuable data about your website visitors. It can reveal who’s visiting your online store, who’s giving you referral traffic, how many webpages the average user visits, how fast those pages are loading, and other information. Web designers who choose an all-in-one site builder appreciate a platform that provides site reports and analytics. You can use data from these reports to improve your web design and, ideally, your overall site performance.
Third-party app integration
Many ecommerce websites rely on third-party applications. Whether you opt for free web apps or subscription-based programs, you’ll find third-party apps for social media marketing, inventory management, email marketing, product reviews, dropshipping, and much more. A built-in app marketplace, like the Shopify App Store, makes it easy to find the applications that will make your ecommerce store pop.
Tips for optimizing ecommerce web design
Ecommerce web design is a unique craft. To turn site visitors into paying customers, keep the following three tips in mind:
1. Make it easy and pleasant to shop on your site
Your job as an ecommerce vendor is to pave a smooth path from your homepage to the checkout. Choose design elements that load quickly, and avoid pop-ups and animations that overwhelm your visitors and make browsing a chore.
2. Remember, your purpose is to sell
With so many design options to choose from, it’s easy to get carried away with graphics, animations, and background videos—but these elements can compete with your ecommerce store’s core mission: making sales. Your products, not your design, are the star of your ecommerce site.
3. Use a mixture of built-in elements and third-party apps
Website builders can handle much of your online store design. If you need additional elements that aren’t included in your platform, you may find what you need in design-focused apps that can integrate with your site’s central architecture.
Web design tools FAQ
What is a web design tool?
A web design tool is a software application that lets you design the visual aesthetic and user experience on a website or ecommerce store. A web design tool can be a standalone piece of software, or it can integrate into a larger all-in-one website builder that offers other functions, like CMS and ecommerce pages.
Do I need technical expertise to use web design tools?
You need very little technical experience to use web design tools. Many of today’s offerings are simple and intuitive enough to be useful to anyone looking to build their own website; only a small number of these tools are intended for use by seasoned web design professionals.
How do I choose the right web design tool for my business?
You can experiment with different web design tools before settling on one. Look for a program that offers a free version or a limited free trial period, and use it to explore the capabilities of the tools on offer.