How to create a website? What do you need? Which tools are best to use? When there are thousands of different ways to create a site, how do you choose the right one?
Should you use a platform? If so, which one? Do you need to learn to code or rely on an expert?
I know, I know: when it comes to building a website, there are tons of questions! Thankfully, the answers are simpler than you think.
In this article, you will learn how to create a professional website, and you will discover five tools to create a perfect website for your needs. Furthermore, none of these methods require programming skills or a huge budget.
Is the prospect tempting? Let’s go deeper!
There are many platforms to create a website, free and paid, each more suitable in one situation rather than another. The main ones are:
- Wix, ideal for creating a simple website
- Shopify, perfect for creating a website to sell online
- WordPress, more complex but great for creating a professional website
- About.me, the solution to create a one page website for personal branding
- ClickFunnels, if you need a website to do funnel marketing
In this article we will look at them one by one. But first, it’s important to understand what you need before you start building a website.
How to create a website from scratch? The prerequisites
Before starting to create your own site, you need to check that everything is in place. It’s a bit like when you have to go on a trip and check the list that you have packed everything!
So what are the prerequisites for building a successful site? Let’s see them in order:
- Having a well-defined brand image . By this we mean having a clear idea of how your logo will look , what colors will be chosen in your distinctive palette and the fonts for titles and text. These details will help you define the look of your site. Remember that the psychology of colors is essential to have the right impact!
- Do a market and competitor analysis . Certain tasks require a long study phase, and the creation of a professional site is no exception. Before designing the sitemap, do some research, find out what the main competitors offer in your market niche and what are the best practices in your sector;
- Know your target audience . A communication consists of two parts: the speaker and the listener. But if we don’t know our listeners, how do we think we can communicate effectively? This is why before building a site it is good to know your target audience, perhaps by building buyer personas ;
- Working out the tone of voice. When thinking about how to structure a site, the first thing that comes to mind is the design. But a beautiful container will have no value if it lacks content: think about the way you want to communicate, the tone of voice you want to adopt. Only then will you be able to write the perfect content for your site.
The first steps to create a successful website
Now that we have all the keys to our brand in hand to create a site in line with the brand image, before we get to grips with platforms and CMS we have to dedicate ourselves to designing the portal.
Create the sitemap
The first thing you need to think about is: which pages do I want to insert? In most sites we have an About section (known as an About page in international jargon); a Services page , sometimes we find Blog / Resources and, finally, Contacts . However, every business is different and the options to choose from are nearly endless.
To develop a complex architecture in which to relate sections and pages that we need, we create the so-called Site Map (an example below) . There are really many ways to trace the tree of a site: ranging from paper and pen for cellulose fans, up to online tools (for example draw.io) or programs like Adobe Illustrator.
Tip: Make a mockup before creating a website
Once we have a map in hand and know the main navigation routes, we move on to the prototyping phase. This is not a strictly necessary step but it can make our life a lot easier once we get started with the code.
In other words, it is about creating a working preview of what our site will be, a mockup that roughly anticipates what the final result will be.
Currently there is a software that is making its way among graphic designers and designers for its ease of use and for the numerous features offered: it is Figma. The software features three plans (one of which is free) and has a youtube channel full of tutorials to learn how to use the tool.
With Figma it is possible to create interactive versions of your site before its final development. Clearly this can help us to identify the interlocking points that do not work within the navigation paths created during the drafting of the site map.
Choose the domain name for a website
In this planning phase, you must also think about the domain name, since it is a long and complex process and it is not convenient to leave it at the end.
A few tips for choosing the perfect domain name :
Do a keyword research and try to enter the keyword that best describes your brand. A domain name idea to create a professional website for your work could be www.NomeSurnameKeyword.it;
Make it easy to read and make sure there are no phonetic complexities;
Try to contain the number of characters: the longer the domain name, the harder it will be to remember;
Make sure it’s not already in use. To do this, there are several free online tools such as InstantDomainSearch or Name.com .
If you need inspiration, you can use Oberlo’s name creation tool:
Take care of the legal aspects before creating a website
Another fundamental point for creating a website is certainly the legal part. The internet is for everyone but there are still some rules to follow.
Remember to insert cookies and privacy policies especially if you intend to collect your users’ data for analysis or lead generation. The legislation to refer to, which has been in force for years, is the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation).
If you have an ecommerce, remember to enter the Terms and Conditions of Sale in which to list all the ways in which the service is provided or with which transactions are carried out.
Finally, remember to enter your business data such as VAT number, contacts and company name in the footer.
This whole part related to the legal aspects is really important. Going to a law firm specializing in marketing law is probably the best choice to be in compliance with the law.
How much does it cost to create a website?
It is perhaps one of the most asked questions: how much does a website cost?
Many services are apparently free, but then have hidden costs whenever you want to add or change something.
The first factor that influences the price is definitely the hosting service , so on which server your new site will be hosted. Depending on our choice, the figures can vary from a few tens of euros to several hundred euros per year. Don’t be stingy here though – be aware that server performance is very important metrics for both user experience and SEO .
The second factor is the size of the site : the more templates or different pages there are to develop, the greater the number of hours of work required if you let someone do the work.
Another factor that we must consider to understand the cost is certainly on which platform to create a website . Depending on the service and the plan we choose, the final total may vary, as we will see below.
Finally, a factor that certainly raises the price is the creation of custom features for the site or ad hoc integrations with other platforms. Even services to create free websites will then end up asking you to pay for one plugin or the other.
So don’t fall for it, and make an overall reasoning that allows you to get where you want to go without squandering your assets.
So be careful also to those who offer you excessively low construction prices, if you turn to a specialist: all jobs need time to be carried out with care and attention to detail.
Is it possible to create a website from scratch without knowing how to program?
Do you have to go to a programmer, an agency or the like to create your site?
No, especially if you are starting out and are looking for easy-to-use solutions, you can use one of the platforms to create websites that we will see shortly, which offer a professional result with low costs.
Of course, creating a website without knowing how to program is perfectly doable, but you will have to invest your time to understand how to do everything best. If you want a job well done and you don’t have time to waste, I definitely recommend that you stop reading here and go with the analyzes above to a great specialist!
Are you still here? It means you want to make a website yourself, fine. You will see that you will get great satisfaction!
Depending on your needs, there are different platforms that allow you to build a free or paid site. Let’s see a roundup of the best known and most popular on the Italian market.
Platforms for creating free and paid websites
1. How to create a simple business website with Wix
Perfect for: f reelancers, consultants, small businesses and personal use
A PIC OF WIX
Wix is one of the most popular website builders online.
With more than 150 million users in 190 countries , the service is a hit among those who want a simple and comprehensive solution to create a site for any purpose.
The service is also versatile, and Wix himself states: “Whether you’ve never created a site or are a web design expert, we’ve got what you need. To get started, there are two options: use Wix Artificial Design Intelligence or use the Wix Editor for total freedom to create whatever you want. And you can also add advanced features to your site thanks to the Wix Corvid. ”.
Here’s an example of a site created with Wix by tattoo illustrator Elebea :
Advantages of building a website with Wix
Wix is a cloud-based website builder.
This means that you don’t need to download any particular software or pay an external server to host your website, everything is done online right on your browser.
The service provides more than 500 designer-created templates for free to help you understand how to create a professional free website.
Once you’ve chosen a template, you can easily customize it to suit your needs using Wix’s intuitive drag and drop editor.
The service also provides access to more than 250 web applications that can help you create your website.
These allow you to add additional features and functionality to your site such as a forum, gallery, event management tools, live chat, social media widgets and much more.
The Wix starter plan is completely free, and the Unlimited and VIP plans are very reasonably priced compared to other options.
Disadvantages of Wix
Compared to other website builders, Wix has limited functionality and customization options.
For this reason, fast-growing companies focused on digital technology are likely to have greater needs than Wix can meet.
The free plan has limited bandwidth and storage.
If you plan on adding a large number of photos and videos to your site, you may soon run out of space and need to upgrade to a paid plan.
Additionally, the free plans add Wix ads to the site. To remove them, you need to upgrade to one of the paid plans.
The last disadvantage, common to several providers in reality, is that if you want to change platforms after some time – for example, switch to WordPress – you would have to create the site again.
How much does it cost to create a website with Wix?
Wix offers five different plans to choose from depending on the features you need:
Connect your domain : € 4.50 / month
Combo : € 8.50 / month
Unlimited : € 12.50 / month
VIP : € 24.50 / month
If you are looking for information on Wix premium packages you can find it here .
2. How to create a website to sell (ecommerce) with Shopify
Perfect for: Ecommerce businesses selling their products or dropshipping online .
Shopify is a platform specially designed for building ecommerce .
Numerous big brands from around the world use the Shopify platform to sell their products, including:
The New York Times
Here is an example of a ClioMakeUp Shop product search page:
Advantages of opening a website with Shopify
Shopify provides everything a fledgling business might need to open an online store and be successful in the ecommerce world.
To get started, Shopify helps you secure a domain name.
Furthermore, the Shopify dashboard is extremely intuitive and understanding how to create a professional ecommerce site is really simple.
You can also choose one of the many professionally designed themes to customize the look of your ecommerce.
Customizing product pages, keeping track of inventory and managing orders is also very easy thanks to the single control panel.
You will also be able to set shipping costs for different regions and different price ranges.
Shopify also provides detailed analytics and reports to help you optimize your business strategy and improve your ecommerce customer service . In addition, there are also tons of additional tools and resources, such as the logo maker .
Creating a professional website to sell your products online has never been easier.
I of Shopify pay channels allow you to instantly accept payments by credit card, no need to have bank accounts of third parties.
You’ll also be able to use the Shopify POS system to accept card payments in person.
There is also the Shopify App Store , the perfect solution to create a site and customize it with everything you need.
Like WordPress, Shopify offers access to thousands of applications for every need. You can use them to collect more product reviews, increase sales and integrate your shop with your social profiles, by easily connecting the Facebook Pixel for example .
Also, if you are new to developing your ecommerce, you can install Oberlo .
Our app allows you to choose products and start shipping them all over the world without even having to stock up, with the dropshipping method .
When you choose to build a website with Shopify, you don’t have to worry about coding and programming, so you can focus on your growth.
In addition, thanks to the Shopify app , you can manage your business from your smartphone, wherever you are.
Finally, as your business grows, you will have more and more help, features and functionality available. And when the time comes, you can take advantage of Shopify’s solution for businesses, Shopify Plus .
Disadvantages of Shopify
Shopify’s strength lies in its total focus on providing the best e-commerce platform. However, this is also its main weakness.
In other words, if you want to understand how to create a site as a portfolio, or want to create a blog , or other non-commercial resource, you may want to use a different solution.
Finally, Shopify’s starting price isn’t as low as other platforms for building websites.
How much does it cost to create a website with Shopify?
Shopify offers a 14-day free trial period , after which you can choose from the following subscription plans:
14-day free trial period
Basic Shopify – $ 29 / month
Shopify – $ 79 / month
Advanced Shopify – $ 299 / month
Shopify Plus – Custom plans available
If you are looking for information on Shopify’s subscription plans, you can find it here .
3. How to create a website with WordPress
Perfect for: Professional bloggers and medium to large businesses who need control and flexibility.
WordPress is a giant.
The flexibility, ownership, and unlimited potential of WordPress have brought the platform fame, popularity, and a host of die-hard fans.
In fact, according to W3Techs , the service currently supports 32.9% of all websites on the Internet!
Still, WordPress confuses a lot of people, because there are actually two different platforms:
WordPress. org is free open source software that you can download to your server and use to customize your site.
WordPress. com is the online version, not downloadable, with which it is not necessary to have a domain or a hosting plan.
Both services were created by Automattic , they are very similar even if they have some differences.
Like Wix, WordPress.com is a complete service for creating a website and managing its hosting. Just log in, choose a plan, select a theme, customize it, and you’re ready to use your site!
However, in this section, we will be talking about WordPress.org .
As mentioned, WordPress.org is software for creating a free and open source website. Because of this, it’s slightly more complicated to set up than all-in-one solutions like Wix and Shopify.
Here’s how to open a website with WordPress.org:
First, you need to go to a hosting provider like BlueHost or GoDaddy .
Essentially, these hosting providers allow you to rent space on their servers to host your website. They will also help you secure a domain name.
Once you have your hosting and domain name, you can install WordPress and start customizing your website. Most hosting providers will help you install WordPress in a couple of clicks.
At this point, you can log into your website and start customizing it. You can choose the plugins that best suit your needs and configure it exactly how you like it.
How to create a blog with WordPress
As mentioned, WordPress is a perfect platform not only for building a website, but also for creating a professional blog .
In its free version, WordPress.com allows you to create a website or blog on a subdomain of the name BrandName.wordpress.com. If you have your own brand, however, you may want to consider purchasing a custom domain, hosting, and using WordPress.org.
To get your own domain you can switch from WordPress itself or from hosting services like Aruba: in the latter case, in particular, for a few tens of euros a year we can get a hosting space, access to WordPress with its paid functionality and a domain name.
Once these steps have been completed, all you have to do is create your website by adding pages and, above all, articles.
Advantages of building a website with WordPress.org
If you want to keep complete control over every aspect of your site, you need to self-host it. Unlike cloud-based website building services like Wix, self-hosting a site offers total freedom, control and flexibility.
And if you decide to self-host your site, WordPress.org is the platform for you.
Furthermore, you will be free to access, study, modify and redistribute the WordPress open source code.
Not a programmer? It absolutely doesn’t matter!
All of us who lack programming skills can use the improvements, additions and changes made by other people, many of which come in the form of pre-built WordPress themes and plugins.
And there are thousands of them .
So, whatever features you want to add to your website, you can be sure to find countless themes and plugins that will suit you.
Furthermore, there are also tons of third-party designers and programmers who can help you get the most out of your website.
In summary, WordPress grants you complete control.
Disadvantages of WordPress.org
The main drawback of WordPress.org can be summed up by Spiderman’s Uncle Ben: “With great power comes great responsibility.”
In this scenario, you are responsible for managing the hosting and maintenance of your website. This includes things like updates, security, and backups.
Furthermore, the support is passive.
The WordPress forum has threads to deal with any kind of problem – which is certainly of great use – but there is no dedicated technical support.
Plus, there’s a pretty steep learning curve when it comes to figuring out how to get the most out of WordPress.
In short, if you don’t know anything about programming, you don’t have much time to devote to your new site and you are not particularly familiar with the web world at a technical level … maybe if I were you I would choose another solution!
How much does it cost to create a site with WordPress?
WordPress.org software is free, as are many themes and plugins.
However, you need to purchase a domain name and website hosting, which typically cost around $ 15 per year and $ 8 per month respectively.
Also, you need to take into account the price of WordPress themes and plugins that you will surely need to run your business.
To give you an idea of how much they might cost, many premium themes cost around $ 40 each. A custom WordPress theme with additional features or plugins can range from $ 1,500 to $ 10,000.
With WordPress.com, on the other hand, there are various pricing options : from free to eCommerce.
4. Create a free one page personal branding website with About.Me
Perfect for: Professionals looking for a simple one page site to showcase their personal brand .
About.me is a one page site creator, that is sites with a minimum tree useful mainly for the presentation of services, based on the cloud.
It’s simple, minimal, and designed for professionals who want to create a professional website to showcase their personal brand.
Here is an example of a profile created with About.me:
Advantages of creating a website with About.me
It couldn’t be simpler than that.
Creating a website with About.me is like creating a social media profile. It contains only the necessary elements, including:
Link to social media
You can add reviews, videos or a portfolio to showcase your work. Plus, you can let people view your calendar and book an appointment.
And this is all!
Imagine your About.me page as a digital business card. The service also provides an ingenious email signature that you can use to direct people to your page.
All in all, About.me is an elegant, fast and easy solution for personal branding.
Disadvantages of About.me
You have probably already guessed that About.me’s features and functionality are extremely limited.
In fact, there are only three layouts for the page:
So, if you are looking to create a visual masterpiece that expresses your unique personality and essence, you may want to look elsewhere.
With About.me also you can not optimize your website for search engines and there are no tools of conversion rate optimization ( improvement in conversion rate ) to strengthen the acquisition of new clients and contacts.
How much does About.me cost?
About.me offers free profiles, and is therefore suitable for creating a free website.
With the free profile, you will have the About.me banner at the top and bottom of the page.
To access all features, unbrand About.me and link your custom domain name, you need to upgrade to About.me Pro, which costs $ 6.58 per month when billed annually, or $ 8 per month if billed monthly.
You can see About.me pricing details here .
5. How to create a marketing funnel website with ClickFunnels
Perfect for: Creating high-converting digital sales funnels.
ClickFunnels is a platform for designing sales funnels.
For this very reason, many use this platform to create a website and a sales funnel at the same time.
What is a sales funnel ?
In short, a sales funnel is the process of converting a stranger into a customer. The chart below shows the four key steps a person must go through to become a customer, often called AIDA.
ClickFunnels is a tool for creating a website focused on generating prospects and converting them into customers.
For this reason, any business could find a platform like ClickFunnels extremely useful. If the website already exists, it is still useful for creating Landing pages that convert!
Of course, it is a product that is particularly suitable for companies that sell information products such as ebooks, video tutorials, online courses, etc.
This type of business doesn’t need to worry about manufacturing, inventory, shipping, etc. As a result, they can scale indefinitely with a simple high converting online sales funnel.
That’s why successful coaches and authors like Tony Robbins have used ClickFunnels to sell their online courses, audio trainings, and books.
Here is an example of a ClickFunnels landing page promoting a book written by Russell Brunson, the founder of Clickfunnels:
Advantages of building a website with ClickFunnels
ClickFunnels provides tons of ready-made sales funnel templates to help you build a website.
These models are based on proven sales strategies and tactics. This way, thanks to their intuitive drag and drop web page editor, you’ll have a high converting funnel ready to go in no time!
A huge plus .
These models are also extremely flexible. You can customize virtually any aspect.
The service also includes essential digital marketing tools, such as email automation, A / B testing, and one-click upselling .
The best part? All these marketing tools are combined in one service.
ClickFunnels also allows you to add member areas to your site, which are perfect for providing access to your online courses.
Finally, the service provides tutorials and courses to help you with building your portal.
Disadvantages of ClickFunnels
The main drawback of building a website with ClickFunnels is the price.
Their starter plan costs $ 97 per month, so this platform is undoubtedly a fairly expensive way to build a site, especially if you’re just starting out in your business.
To this could be added services, premium features, extra packages.
That said, if you have a great digital product ready for sale, you don’t need to think about it. This is the best tool out there for creating landing pages and sales funnels.
ClickFunnels also includes many different parts. With so many things to learn at once, you need to take the time to learn how to use the service, and it can feel overwhelming and overwhelming to a newbie.
How much does ClickFunnels cost?
ClickFunnels offers a 14 day free trial period.
Their initial plan costs $ 97 per month, but has limits on the number of visitors to the site, funnels and web pages you can have.
That said, if you’re exceeding these limits, you should be earning more than you need to quietly invest in their Eitson Suite plan, which costs $ 297 per month for unlimited use of ClickFunnels.
Site analysis: what to do once the project is completed?
And when you think it’s over, that’s when the climb begins!
What a fantastic story web design is: when you are convinced that you have reached the end of the marathon, you look forward and discover that there is a new challenge to face.
The next step to the creation of our site or blog is therefore the analysis.
What is meant by site analysis? What are the best practices and tools that cannot be renounced?
Answering the first question is quite simple: the analysis of the site includes a whole series of activities that are used to discover and study the data relating to our performance.
Page views, bounce rates, positioning … these are all statistics to be taken into consideration if we want to be sure that our SEO optimization is having the right effect!
When it comes to site analysis, the advice is: be patient. SEO times can be really long especially if you are just starting out.
Checking the data every day will not help you improve your ranking, but it will increase your anxiety and waste a lot of time.
For the first few months, try to schedule a check every three to four weeks: it will help you get a bigger and more realistic overall picture.
Google Analytics Site analysis
The second tip is: focus on the metrics that interest you. Are you looking for leads? Check the conversion rate. Do you want to enlarge your audience of users? Check the number of total and new users.
Website analysis tools
We could spend hours talking about the hundreds of thousands of tools available online (from the very Italian SeoZoom to the international SemRush and Ahrefs) but to start, let’s rely on Google.
What are our never again without ?
Let’s start with Google Analytics and Google Search Console: two powerful and completely free tools, which can be integrated with each other, which can provide us with data on the keywords on which we are positioned and on site statistics including:
number of clicks,
new and returning users,
types of devices from which you visit the site …
From the entry of the Core Web Vitals among the ranking factors on the Google SERP , it is always good to monitor the performance of the site also from the point of view of loading: so let’s add Google Lighthouse to this list.
Unlike the first two tools – for which the tracking code must be entered – Google Lighthouse is accessible from any site. Just right click on the page, select Inspect and from the panel click on Lighthouse .
From here, you need to generate the report and analyze the results to see possible areas for improvement on your site. No matter how long it has been online and how much maintenance you do – there is always room for changes!
How to create a website: conclusion
In summary, here’s how to create a website in six steps:
Create sitemap and mockup;
Choose (and purchase) the domain name;
Choose a CMS. Depending on your needs, you can use Wix, Shopify, WordPress, About.me or ClickFunnels;
Select a theme;
Create the various pages and insert your content;
Set up Google Analytics and Google Search Console accounts to track your website performance.
And with what tool to create a website easily? We recommend 5:
Finally, remember to set up the necessary health analysis and … off you go!
So, have you figured out how to create a website? Let us know in the comments below which tool you chose to use!
Translation: Ludovica Marino
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