Note: Our top 10 web design packages round-up has been fully updated. This feature was first published in August 2012.
Whether you're a sole trader or a multinational corporation, just about every business needs a website. Even if you don't sell products online a site can help people find you, learn more about your skills and services, and provide a way share your details with other potential customers.
Getting started can be very easy. Cloud-based website builders can help you build anything from a simple single-page site to a professional web store, even if you've no design or HTML experience at all.
More experienced users can customise and fine-tune the design to suit their own needs, or perhaps install a more traditional web design package that allows them to build the perfect site from scratch.
There are free options, but these often have major restrictions, including limits on the size of the site and the lack of any option to use your own domain. Fortunately, the commercial options are very reasonably priced, from around £5/$5 to £10/$10 a month, with hosting included.
To help you decide which option is best for your needs here are – in no particular order – techradar pro's top 10 web design tools for small business.
Price: Free to £17 per month
Creating your first business website can seem like an intimidating task, especially if you're a web design novice, but online site builders like Weebly provide a very easy way to get started.
The service offers hundreds of professionally-designed web templates, covering just about any site type. Choose whatever catches your eye, then use the drag-and-drop editor to add text blocks, images, galleries, videos, maps and whatever else you need.
Experienced users can go even further, taking full HTML and CSS control to customise every aspect of the site.
Weebly's free service allows you to get a basic idea of how this works, but has some major issues: a 500MB storage limit, no custom domain support (yoursite.weebly.com instead of yoursite.com), Weebly branding on the footer, and no e-commerce support at all.
The £8 per month Pro package removes all those restrictions, and adds important extras like HD video and audio players, site search, password protected pages and more. If you're going to sell online then spending £17 per month on the Pro package also gets you full and unrestricted e-commerce features, including a shopping cart on your domain, shipping and tax calculators, coupon codes and more.
Price: Free to £180 per year
Jimdo's web-based site creator is priced much the same as Weebly, but it's important to read the small print, especially for the free account – it's better than you think.
A standard list of limitations includes ads, a 500MB storage limit, no custom domain, and very limited SEO. But there are also a few features you won't get in other free plans, like a password protected area, and there's also very basic e-commerce support for up to 5 products.
Site building isn't as impressive as with some of the competition. There aren't as many templates, you can't add quite as many functions or features, and the modules you do get aren't as configurable.
Still, the templates are more than adequate for most purposes (and you can switch them whenever you like), the editor isn't difficult to use, and there's support for all the content you'd expect (text, images, galleries, maps, videos, downloads, and forms). If you'd like to experiment with a simple web store without spending anything, Jimdo should be on your shortlist.
Price: Free to £10.10 per month
Wix is a popular online website creator, similar to Weebly, which offers a range of plans and products. The free version has Wix branding, limited storage space and bandwidth, but the Unlimited plan (£7.76 per month) removes those restrictions and includes a free domain, while the e-commerce plan adds an online store for a reasonable £10.10 per month.
An excellent collection of 500 plus templates gets the design process off to a quick start. The drag-and-drop editor gives you all kinds of tools and features to explore – the image editor, video backgrounds, password protected pages, social buttons, an integrated site blog – and just about everything can be tweaked, tuned and restyled.
Wix can't quite match Weebly in a couple of areas. You don't get the same low-level HTML and CSS control, and there's no way to switch templates after you've customised a site; you can only start again. But if you're a web-building novice, Wix's great templates and design flexibility makes it a good first choice.
Price: $60/£41 per year to $480/£330 per year
While most online site builders offer a simple, free account, Squarespace's most basic plan costs $5 a month (billed annually, so that's $60 per year, or £41), and the prices climb steeply from there. But don't be put off, you can start a trial without using a credit card, and there's better value here than you might expect.
Squarespace's $60 per year Cover Page account may only get you a single-page site, but that could be enough for some businesses, and there are none of the restrictions you get with other companies: no ads, no bandwidth or storage limits, plus you even get a free domain.
There isn't the choice of templates you'll get with Wix, but Squarespace's designs generally look better to us. The editor offers lots of modules to customise them further: galleries, social networking integration, forms, charts, e-commerce, integrated blogging, a comments system, and more. You're able to make changes at the CSS/HTML level, or switch templates at any time if you change your mind.
Squarespace isn't the best choice for beginners, but the single-page sites are good value and there's a lot of expert-level functionality. Just check the complete feature list to see for yourself.
Price: $29/£20 per month to $299/£205 per month
As you'll probably guess from the name, Shopify is a specialist website builder which focuses on building professional, feature-packed online stores.
The design process seems to be much like other tools: choose from 100 plus templates, adjust and tweak the colours, style and layout, then add your own content. But the e-commerce features are so much better, with a great-looking and supremely configurable product catalogue, a comprehensive shopping cart (allowing for the acceptance of credit cards, and offering free shipping, along with automatic tax handling for many countries), advanced store management, and lots of marketing tools (social media integration, discount codes and coupons, customer product reviews, and more).
Shopify is also reasonable value, with even the basic $29 per month account supporting custom domains, unlimited products and storage, and there's a free SSL certificate. But if your budget is tiny, check out the separate $9 (just over £6) per month Shopify Lite product which allows selling from Facebook.
WebEasy Professional 10
Cloud-based site builders are perfect for design newbies or anyone in a hurry, but they can also be very inflexible, and may not provide the control you need.
WebEasy Professional 10 is a Windows package which you install locally, and use offline. You get complete control over the site code – you can edit it manually, and use other software to inspect or amend it, if you like – and the results can be uploaded to WebEasy's own hosting service (there's a year bundled for free) or your preferred provider.
This doesn't mean the program is any more complex, in fact it's simpler than some online designers. There are hundreds of templates to choose from, a drag-and-drop editor, various content types (text, images, Google Maps, YouTube videos, social media integration, and more) along with support for building an online store.
The downside with WebEasy is it hasn't been updated since 2014, and as a result the templates are looking tired, they're not responsive, and there simply isn't the same level of functionality you'll get with Wix or Squarespace. But if you need simplicity and an offline designer, this product may still appeal.
CoffeeCup HTML Editor 15.3
CoffeeCup HTML Editor is a powerful coding tool for more experienced web developers, which gives complete control over every aspect of your site. While that sounds intimidating – and beginners should definitely look elsewhere – CoffeeCup is much easier to use than many similar packages.
There are 13 Responsive Themes to help you get started, for instance. You can view the code to see how it works, tweak and change it as required, and immediately see the results in a preview pane.
The Components Library is a great timesaver. Use it to store reusable objects like menus or headers, edit them in the library, and they'll immediately be updated right across your site.
Elsewhere, smart code completion automatically suggests appropriate tags as you type, a comprehensive Tag Reference is available, a built-in validation tool checks your code for references, and you can open your site in up to 10 browsers from within the program.
Factor in the low price – which won't even cover you for a year on some basic online builder plans – and CoffeeCup HTML Editor is a good pick for more knowledgeable users.
Mobirise Web Builder 2.11.1
Mobirise Web Builder is a free tool which brings some of the simplicity and content of online web designers to the Windows desktop.
It's certainly easy to use. After you launch the program, a default theme appears, and you can customise text, images and site behaviour with a click. There are also a few good-looking content blocks – images, text, videos, carousels, sliders, social network buttons, contact forms, PayPal shopping cart, Twitter feed, plus Facebook comments – and adding them only takes a drag and a drop.
Your proto-site automatically rearranges itself to fit your tablet, phone or desktop's screen. You can check this at any time, preview the results in your browser as a final confirmation, then publish it locally, to Google Drive or FTP.
This is all very basic. There's a grand total of two free themes, only a fraction of the content types available on sites like Wix, and with far less configurability and control. But what you do get looks good and works well, and if your needs are simple, and your budget non-existent, Mobirise deserves a closer look.
Price: Free to £155
Many desktop applications have tried to match the abilities of the online site builders, but ToWebprobably gets closest.
You'll find more than 100 templates to start your site; the quality is average but you're sure to spot something you like. A wizard creates a few initial pages for you, and these can be customised with text, images, galleries, videos, maps, polls, forms, even a complete online store with your own shopping cart if you buy the E-Commerce or Studio versions (£78 or £155 respectively).
Advanced features include password protection for as many pages as you need (no limits), an integrated site search engine, image editor, watermarking, Captcha verification for forms, and a complete CSS editor to customise every element of the page.
Creating pages isn't as straightforward as some of the competition, and the help isn't immediately helpful, either. But explore the menus and dialogs and you'll soon have a good-looking site, ready to publish locally or to any FTP server.
Xara Web Designer Premium
Xara Web Designer Premium is an excellent website builder, easy to use but with plenty of options, and enough supporting extras to get you up and running quickly.
The package includes a host of stylish templates, both general and themed around specific businesses. Each one has common pages included by default, speeding up the development process, and the results are immediately impressive. (Don't take our word for it – browse through those templates here).
As usual, you can customise each page with videos, maps, forms, social networking buttons, and so on. But Xara Web Designer Premium also has plenty of more business-oriented features, including interactive charts, graphs, and a tool for building web-based presentations, complete with animated transitions.
E-commerce features are relatively limited (there's a PayPal widget), but there's still a lot here for your money, especially as the package includes 2GB of hosting space, free for a year. If you don't need a big web store, give it a try.
Microsoft has implemented a new website which lists all the business apps that are available for its newest OS.
Not every business has made the move to Windows 10, not by a long shot – upgrading is a more complex matter for a company compared to an individual, of course – and a considerable part of any concerns might revolve around whether existing apps are compatible with the operating system.
So in the interests of making it crystal clear what is supported in terms of business apps, the new Ready For Windows website lists the lot for those mulling a move to Windows 10, and indeed for those who are merely curious or looking to source solutions for the OS.
The site breaks the apps down into separate categories for convenience, with those categories including: communication, education, finance, health, manufacturing, media, public sector, along with retail and consumer goods.
Big names already listed include the likes of Citrix, Sage, Cisco, Salesforce, Autodesk, Oracle, Symantec, Intel Education and more.
Of course, this is all part of Redmond's major offensive to push Windows 10 onto as many PCs as possible, in both the business and consumer spheres.
As Microsoft notes, Windows 10 is the fastest adopted OS in Redmond's history, although a good deal of adoption has been driven due to the fact that the operating system has been a free upgrade for the first year (a freebie which runs out at the end of July).
- Also check out: Should you upgrade to Windows 10?
Microsoft has released another preview version of Windows 10 to Insiders testing on the Fast Ring, with the big Anniversary Update just around the corner.
So what's new with build 14361? Naturally enough, there's a load of bug fixes, as squashing bugs is a priority right now to smooth things over for said Anniversary Update (with a June 'bug bash' kicking off next week).
But the new features are doubtless what you want to hear about, and Microsoft has introduced another fresh extension for the Edge web browser, this one being security related: you can now download LastPass, an extension for the popular password manager. That brings the total number of extensions live in the preview version of Windows 10 to a nice round 10, appropriately enough.
Windows 10 now also supports Hyper-V Containers, allowing developers to create and run containers which use the Windows Server 2016 Technical Preview 5 Nano Server container OS image.
There are also improvements to both Windows Ink and the Settings app. In the case of the former, that includes various bug fixes and tweaks such as making sure the Windows Ink ruler is now long enough to span the diagonal of the display when running on Microsoft's Surface Book, and improving the Sketch Pad UI.
With the Settings app, again interface tweaks have been made, such as adjusting the text size to be more readable and adding a splash of colour to highlight which Settings tab you've selected.
Some Windows 10 icons have also been changed (for the better, hopefully) and Redmond has implemented some important minor fixes, including smoothing over a problem which caused sites like YouTube to fall over in both Edge and Internet Explorer.
For the full list of bug fixes – be warned, it's a long one – check out Microsoft's blog post on the new preview version.
Free YouTube downloaders
Download YouTube videos
YouTube's streaming is superb, offering the best quality for your current connection. But what happens if you're going somewhere where connectivity is weak or non-existent? Have no fear; with the right YouTube video downloader you can save streams for offline viewing.
Before we proceed it's important to note that you should only download videos when you have the copyright owner's permission to do so. YouTube's terms of service explicitly prohibit unauthorised downloading.
It's also important to note that many of these programs will install bundled software toolbars, default search engines and so on if you're not careful with their installers' 'Next' and 'Accept' buttons. None of these apps currently include malware or non-removable adware, but many of their rivals do. Be careful out there.
Have we missed any of your favourite YouTube video downloader? Let us know in the comments below.
1. Any Video Converter
A speedy free downloader with format conversion and special effects
Any Video Converter aims to be a kind of Swiss Army Knife for video: not only does it download YouTube videos, but it can burn DVDs and record video, convert audio and video to and from more than 60 different file formats and even add effects.
It's not the fastest converter around (the free version isn't optimized for multi-core processors) but it downloads videos quickly.
If you don't pony up £37 (about US$53, AU$72) for the Pro version you're limited to one download at a time, but that's a minor drawback and it's a particularly useful program for getting YouTube clips onto devices such as PSPs and smartphones.
2. aTube Catcher
Download, convert, merge and even record videos as they're playing
Like Any Video Converter, aTube Catcher can do lots of things: in addition to video downloading it can create and convert all kinds of video, find clips you've watched from your internet history and merge multiple files together. There's even a screen recorder which can grab video as it's playing, which is handy for making screencasts.
It's very quick and offers a huge range of output options, and it's nice to have parallel downloading and multi-core processing in a freeware program. Not only that, but its requirements are modest: it works with operating systems as old as Windows 98.
3. Free YouTube Download
Download multiple videos at once, in resolutions up to 8K
The installer is a little too keen on adding bundled software, but Free YouTube Download is very good and completely free. Its focus is on the downloading rather than converting files from one format to another, so you get a good multi-stream download manager for grabbing several clips simultaneously.
It can download files of up to 8K resolution (in MKV) and convert to AVI and MP4. If you're in a hurry, there's also an online YouTube to MP3/MP4 converter on the developer's website.
4. Ummy Video Downloader
A simple, slimline downloader that won't stress your PC
Ummy Video Downloader is designed to do just one thing, and that's download YouTube videos and save them as video or audio files. There are no fancy bells or whistles, making it a slim package that puts minimal demands on your PC.
The interface is clean and good-looking, and in a nice touch it grabs the video's main image to use as a backdrop while the clip downloads. It can save as FLV, MKV, MOV, AVI, MP3 and MPG, it doesn't gobble up system resources and it's completely free.
5. YTD Video Downloader
Download videos from more than 60 sites, including YouTube and Vimeo
YTD Video Downloader comes in two flavors: Basic, which is free, and Pro, which costs £18.90 (about AU$36, US$28) per year. Basic doesn't get multiple simultaneous downloads, download acceleration or an ad-free interface but it does cover the fundamentals: it downloads from YouTube and more than 60 other video sites, it can convert to WMV, AVI, MP3 and iPhone, and it can resume failed downloads if your connection drops mid-download.
The free version's installer is very keen on giving you bundled software you almost certainly don't want, so make sure you read each step carefully and uncheck the boxes beside anything you'd rather not install, but the app itself isn't too ad-heavy.
6. Clip Converter
Leave this downloader to do its work, and it'll let you know when it's done
Clip Converter is a website rather than an app. Simply paste your URL, pick a format - MP4, 3GP, AVI or MOV for video, or MP3, M4A or AAC for audio - and then choose the quality. For YouTube, you can download HD up to 1080p and 4K if it's available, and the process couldn't be simpler.
File conversion can be slow at times, so the email notification option is a nice thing to have; it pings you when the conversion is complete and ready for download. If you're simply looking for a quick, clean, single-video downloader Clip Converter is one to bookmark.
A simple but effective web app for downloading videos and music
Sometimes you don't want too many options; you just want to paste and go. That's clearly the thinking behind VideoGrabby, which gives you just two options: download video or download music.
The downloads are MP4 for video and MP3 for music, and if there's a high quality version of the clip an extra HQ button will appear at the bottom of the page.
It works with other sites too, such as Vimeo and Soundcloud, and it's very, very fast. If you don't go for the HQ option, your download appears almost instantly.
A fast online-only downloader, but watch out for the cunningly-placed ads
Another online YouTube downloader, KeepVid is both very good and very bad: good in that it offers a decent range of download options (MP4, 3GP, WebM, audio) and bad because it has those ads with fake download buttons in the centre of the screen in what looks like a deliberate attempt to get you to click on them. We're not anti-advertising - developers have to eat - but that's rather deceptive.
Ignore the fake buttons, however, and you've got a fast and friendly YouTube downloader that's useful for grabbing things quickly.
An online-only downloader with an optional browser add-on for convenience
Downloading YouTube videos doesn't get much simpler than SaveFromNet. Copy your clip's address, paste it into the box and choose your download format. And that's pretty much it. It's nice to see the option to include subtitles (where available), and you can download in MP4, WebM, FLV, 3GP and audio.
If you like the service there's a browser helper extension that adds a SaveFromNet download button to YouTube itself for even easier downloading. The helper extension also works for Facebook video and various international video sites.
A simple tool, but one that will suit most basic downloading needs
The free version is limited to just two downloads (the full version is US$19.95, about £15.24, AU$26.79) so you can't take advantage of the playlist download feature in the free edition, but Airy is a handy tool if you just need to download a clip quickly.
Browser integration is optional, and you can specify the bitrate of your download - so for example you don't need 1080p if you'll be playing something back on a tiny screen. You can also use Airy as an audio extractor, saving the soundtrack in MP3 format and ignoring the video altogether.