15 ways to make great websites for less

This article originally appeared in issue 213 of .net magazine - the world's best-selling magazine for web designers and developers.

There isn’t a single economic authority who was suggesting that 2011 was going to be a great year from a financial standpoint. While governments and industries continue battling the fallout from the banking crisis, major economies are perpetually teetering on the brink of recession. Profit warnings are commonplace and throughout every field of business, budgets are therefore strained, squeezing what’s available for online work.

Web designers and developers are certainly not immune to the crunch. Taxes and costs are rising, but many can expect to have to work harder to maintain income levels, and resources may be stretched across the board. We aim to help. We’ve broken down the website-creation process into 15 bite-size stages, including initial planning and content strategy, design, coding, testing, feedback, delivery and maintenance. We’ve also asked a number of experienced designers and developers in the field to recommend free or affordable tools, services and resources they think can best help you to simultaneously save money and make your working life easier.

Naturally, there’s some crossover between some of the stages of site creation, and so some tools make multiple appearances. Also, one person’s ‘shoestring budget’ is another’s extravagance, but we’ve attempted to focus on products that are recognised within the industry as great value for money. Nonetheless, if we’ve missed your favourite little-known inexpensive tool that you think .net’s readers should know about, write to us at feedback@netmagazine.com and let us know.

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The Creative Bloq team is made up of a group of design fans, and has changed and evolved since Creative Bloq began back in 2012. The current website team consists of eight full-time members of staff: Editor Georgia Coggan, Deputy Editor Rosie Hilder, Ecommerce Editor Beren Neale, Senior News Editor Daniel Piper, Editor, Digital Art and 3D Ian Dean, Tech Reviews Editor Erlingur Einarsson and Ecommerce Writer Beth Nicholls and Staff Writer Natalie Fear, as well as a roster of freelancers from around the world. The 3D World and ImagineFX magazine teams also pitch in, ensuring that content from 3D World and ImagineFX is represented on Creative Bloq.