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October 28, 2010

10 Free Tools and Resources for the DIY Business Person

These days, it is not necessary to pay for website creation. If you don’t choose to spend thousands of dollars on a premium designer, there are plenty of tools out there to do it on your own. Small businesses and personal bloggers have all the tools they need to make a website for free, and while many designers make beautiful sites these days, it may be beyond the needs of the average small company or hobbyist.

Here are some of my favorite free webpage design tools and resources.

1. Publishing Software:

WordPress has revolutionized web design and most of the advice is based on this program. There are other options available, but in my opinion WordPress offers the most value. Not to mention that great hosting providers, like HostGator, have made it a simple matter to upload the software to your cPanel with the click of a button.

2. Website Themes: New WordPress Themes

WordPress offers some basic free themes with their software, but I personally get all mine from this website. They are still free but a world ahead of the standard templates. Get a little experience working in the admin area, and no one will be able to tell you didn’t go with a premium theme.

3. Graphic Software: Gimp

This tool is brilliant. Download it at They even have an extensive list of websites with thousands of images you can use or customize. Just be sure you check the rights on them, but many are free for any use. I’ll warn you that there is a steep learning curve in graphics design, but if you Google around a little bit, you will find some fabulous tutorials out there. Spend a week or two learning the basics and you’ll be designing great logos and headers in no time.

4. Photos: Flickr

They have plenty of images you can use on your site, even if you are commercial. The advanced search options allow you to easily search through the photos which allow commercial use. Just take some time to get to know how the search function works and how to double check the rights of each photo.

5. Advertising:

List your business with Google Yellow Pages and put ads on Craigslist. You should also learn some SEO to take advantage of natural search engine traffic. And get this – some webmasters are now getting massive results by handing out free fliers that offer something of value to their customers and that requires a sign-up onsite.

6. Email: Gmail

A lot of people give Gmail and other free email providers a bad rap, but I have had email accounts with many different providers, including paid services, and I swear by Gmail. You couldn’t twist my arm hard enough to choose a different one. Get to know Google Docs and some other Google features as well, and you’ll find they can go a long way in streamlining your online business efforts.

7. WordPress Headers: ThemeHeaders

This site has a lot of nice header designs. I usually just open them up in Microsoft Publisher or Gimp and add some wordart; however, they do customizations for $10 apiece.

8. Monetization: Commission Junction

Unlike some commission directories, they only support reputable companies, and there are some very high-paying programs available. Just sign up for an account and search in their system for advertising banners that fit your niche.

9. Theme Generator: WordPress Theme Generator

This WordPress tool is awesome if you aren’t happy with the limitations of a preset theme. It does have a learning curve and will be a little awkward to use at first, but if you take some time to play with the different features and experiment on what each does, you can get pretty good. Uploading a custom header is a must if you want it to look professional.

10. Advice: The Warrior Forum

If you want to get serious about internet marketing and webpage design strategies, the Warrior Forum has a wealth of information. I really can’t say enough about this place. There is a very positive, helpful atmosphere on the forum, and members get access to a list of free eBooks about internet marketing and free webpage design advice.

Free Web Page Design: If a learning curve is not way you’re looking for at this point in your business, you can even get a free webpage design put together for you while you focus on the business of business. All you pay is your monthly hosting and the team at does the rest. Go check it out now!

10 Responses to “10 Free Tools and Resources for the DIY Business Person

    avatar Terry Dunn says:

    James it right. I love wordpress and I think it’s revolutionised the building of websites and blogs. There is almost nothing it cannot do.


    Absolutely fantastic article. I use WordPress for a number of applications including our own blog an there are some websites I wasn’t aware of. Thank you.

    avatar Vera says:

    For the money-squeezed small business, these are great tips. I like the WordPress resources. Commission Junction may or may not be the best answer for monetization – as mentioned, their advertisers are top tier companies, but the flip side of this is that if your site doesn’t meet their desired traffic rates, they will cut your site off.

    In the long run, though, there are some services that you are better off just paying for, and you need to keep in mind that your hours of labor (making graphics, learning SEO, printing and handing out flyers, etc.) do add up. Your time may be better spent by the computer/phone interfacing with your potential customers, while someone else does the other stuff.


    avatar Brett says:

    I couldn’t agree more. WordPress is good for much more than just blogging. Gimp is definitely the best free alternative to Photoshop.

    avatar David Jenyns says:

    Hi James,

    No doubt about WordPress. Great support and just easy to use CRM.

    As for Google Yellow Pages, I just find it better to make use of effective SEO techniques to rank the business that I have on the first page. But that (Google Yellow Pages) is another good option to try.

    These are cool resources that you can use for free, although of course using these sites still cost you time and money. Something that is still valuable in my opinion. 🙂


    avatar Paul Vasco says:

    Hi , can anyone suggest the best CMS for templates and seo? maybe joomla, drupal etc

    avatar Evelyn Morris says:

    Nice tools you have mentioned here.These tools are very useful with all necessary features. I have used these tools like WordPress theme Generator I am web designer and I have used many software for making themes and I found TemplateToaster is good for making themes so I have shared with you. You can have a look on this write-up for more information

    Hello Paul Vasco ,

    WordPress is one of the best CMS for SEO…

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