Behind the Curtain: The Tools and Resources We Use to Make Websites

By: Marcel

There’s no right or wrong way to make a website. (Well, mostly no wrong way.) In over 10 years in business, we’ve built dozens of sites spanning all different kinds of industries, and this has given us the opportunity to streamline our process. These days, we have a workflow that allows us to quickly and efficiently build a website, from basic to elaborate, for a company in any industry. Here are just a few of the tools we use to make it happen.

Initial design, Planning, Wireframes, Style tiles, Design guides: Sketch

About 5 years ago, Sketch was slowly creeping in as a new industry standard in web design. Unlike tools like Photoshop and Illustrator, this program was built specifically with digital designers in mind. It can do everything those programs can do, but also comes with styling and guide settings meant to assist with prototyping sites, setting consistent styling and more.

Sketch was a great find for us, because it’s an incredibly versatile tool that is also flexible, easy to use, and affordable. One of the best things about the program, is the ever growing number of plugins being created to make digital designing even easier.

Style guides and Page elements: Subtle Patterns

Sometimes, you just need a great background to add a little bit of personality to the blank space on a site. Subtle patterns is free and they have a wide variety of artwork, which translates into time and resource savings that we can pass on to the client.

Mockups, Style stiles, and Planning: Adobe Stock

Obviously, custom photography is ideal for accurately capturing a company’s brand. But out in the real world, the fact is that many companies can’t afford to spend the money on a commercial photographer for every single asset on their site.

There’s a huge array of stock photography sites to choose from, but our go to is Adobe Stock where we know we’ll find beautiful unique photography that won’t look too staged (but they have the staged stuff too). . Plus, they have a huge library of vector icon packs that are perfect for adding some custom flair to websites.

Typography: Google Fonts

This may seem like an obvious one, but we can’t downplay what a great resource Google Fonts is. They have every font style you could possibly imagine, and they’re all made to play nice with browsers and load times. We often have clients come to us with a font they love, and we’ve never had a problem matching it.

Icons: Font Awesome

It’s basically an industry standard now, but just like Google Fonts, it just doesn’t get much better than Font Awesome. Font Awesome is a continually growing collection of icons that cover everything from social media brands to to tiny briefcases. For standard sites, it makes grabbing icons for the site a breeze. It even works as a typeface in design tools like Sketch so we can include icons in mockups without having to drop in a png image!

Content Management System (CMS): WordPress + WPBakery

We build sites for small and growing businesses who need flexibility to grow, easy hands on editing and sites that fit their budgets. Our favorite WordPress plugin, WPBakery, helps us do all that for our clients. It’s a powerful tool that turns building pages in WordPress into an easy to use modular system of drag and drop widgets. And while this may sound like SquareSpace or Wix, it’s capabilities are far more robust than that.

Used simply we can spin up beautiful, affordable websites for our clients. Dig deeper, and we can create fully customized sites that still remain easy for our clients to update after we hand over the keys.

Updates: WordPress Admin Dashboard

Updates are really where websites get in trouble. Our philosophy? Don’t build anything that you can’t support a few years down the road. Thankfully, we’ve implemented a simple approach to customizing the WordPress admin dashboard to allow future updates with minimal to no coding required.

At Little Jack Marketing, we understand that your website, as a first point of contact with the customer, needs to align with your vision of your company and accurately represent your brand. Our website building process is designed to do just that. If you think your website might be ready for an overhaul, get in touch with us to discuss your options!

 

About Marcel Krawczyk

Marcel has a diverse background in marketing, small business development, computer science, and sales. After starting and running his first business, a general contracting company, he developed a passion for the marketing strategy aspects. He went on to be the marketing director at a startup which he left to begin Little Jack Marketing in 2010.

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