Choose the name and extension
One of the basic steps for create a professional site is the choice of domain name and its extension (Eg. . It, .com, . Org etc.). In addition to indicating the URL that users will have to type in the address bar of their browser to reach the site, the domain name is also decisive in building your brand.
Unlike a few years ago, using the main keyword of the topic of your website in the domain name (eg www.nomeprodotto.com or www.avvocatomilano.com) no longer has any relevance from the point of view of positioning on search engine. However, if you have a blog and want to use a name that recalls its content, you need to know that using this technique (called Exact Match Domains) is not penalizing and you can take it into consideration when choosing the domain name.
My advice, if you are a professional in a certain industry or are aiming to become one, is to use yours name and surname (or just the surname as I did on configurehow.com) or your company name. Alternatively, you can use a fancy name with which to build your brand over time.
Whatever choice you make, keep in mind that it's important to choose a domain name that is simple, short, and most importantly, easy to remember.
As for the extension, the choice of the latter depends on the contents of your website: if you have pages and contents exclusively in your language and your intention is to address the your language public, the extension that best suits your needs is . It. If, on the other hand, you are creating a generalist site or in English, it is better to rely on the .com.
Create a professional site for free
If you are wondering if it is possible create a professional site for free, in my opinion the answer is no. Although there are numerous services that allow you to create free websites and obtain unlimited storage and traffic space, with the possibility of monetizing your content by inserting advertising banners, my advice is to turn to paid solutions. .
As mentioned above, the name you give to your blog or website is of fundamental importance. By choosing to rely on a free service, you cannot choose the extension of your website and the domain name is binding on the chosen service since a third level domain (e.g. www.nomesito.nomeservizio.org).
Costs to create a professional website
If you have decided to put your hand in your wallet to create your professional website, you will be pleased to know that, at least initially, i Costi can be contained. All you need to create your website is one web space on which to install a CMS (acronym for Content Management System, system for content management).
The annual cost of a hosting varies depending on the services activated and, above all, on the choice of one shared server (on which multiple websites are hosted sharing available space and other server resources, such as memory, bandwidth etc.) and a dedicated server (a server entirely dedicated to a single customer).
Even if your goal is to attract more and more visitors, initially avoid wasting money by purchasing a dedicated server (which costs more than 1.000 euro / year). For newborn and low-traffic websites, a shared server is sufficient. If so, the prices fluctuate between 40 euros / year and 200 euros / year (including the domain).
If you are wondering how to choose a good hosting, in addition to reading the reviews on the web of other users, always check that the hosting of your interest offers a immediate assistance service, guarantee a 95% uptime (99% better) and offer one SSD storage space.
In addition, depending on the website you intend to develop, the resources offered by hosting are important: if your website is only a few pages, you can rely on cheaper solutions with limited resources (minimum storage space and with traffic limited monthly), while if your website is striving for growth, opt for a hosting package that offers good storage space and no monthly traffic limits.
To find out more, I leave you some useful guides that you can read to learn more about the subject.
- How to choose a hosting for your website
- Guide to the best hosting
- Aruba WordPress Hosting Guide
- Aruba Cloud Hosting Guide
- How to register a domain
In addition to the annual cost of the hosting service you choose, you also need to take into account the costs involved in setting up one logo (if you don't have one yet) and graphics to apply to your website. If you are not planning to rely on a professional graphic designer, you can consider my guides dedicated to programs for graphics and the creation of a professional logo to make your projects at no cost.
Create a professional site with WordPress
The simplest solution to create a professional site is to use WordPress, a free CMS that allows you to create websites and manage their contents with ease, both by the most experienced users and by those who have no experience in the field.
If you have already purchased a hosting service following the instructions I gave you in the previous paragraphs and you have already installed WordPress, you are ready to start building your website. If not, you can take a look at my guide dedicated to the best hosting WordPress.
The first step to creating a professional website with WordPress is to customize its look and feel by choosing a WordPress theme. There are thousands of themes (both free and paid) and, to choose the one that best suits your needs, you need to take into consideration some factors.
- Performance: a good theme must be composed of light files that do not burden the website, thus increasing the loading time of the pages.
- Updating: it is recommended to choose a theme that is updated frequently by its developer.
- Cost: the price is always to be taken into consideration when purchasing a theme. However, this is not always synonymous with quality. There are paid themes with a non-optimized and non-performing programming code. The free themes, on the other hand, can be a valid choice in the immediate future but do not guarantee support and updating in the long term.
In addition to taking into account the factors I just listed for you, make sure you pick a theme that is responsive (i.e. that it automatically adapts to each screen) and that, above all, it is suitable for your needs (for example that it is equipped with one or more side bars). Before choosing a free theme or buying a paid one, I suggest you both read the reviews in its description and do some research on the Web to find out in detail its features and any disadvantages.
That said, all you need to do to pick a free theme is log into the Dashboard WordPress, choose your options Appearance e Temi and click on the button Add new theme. In the new open page, navigate to the sections Recommended, Popular e Latest to view all available themes, otherwise click on the option Filter features to set search filters (Colors, Subjects, layout, Functionality etc.).
Once you have identified the topic of your interest, click on the item Details and preview to view the demo and the details of the chosen theme and click on the buttons Install e activate to use it on your website.
If, on the other hand, you prefer to buy a paid theme, I recommend that you rely on ThemeForest, a site that collects paid WordPress themes starting from a few tens of euros. After purchasing and downloading the theme of your interest, log in to Dashboard WordPress of your site, choose the options Appearance e Temi, click on the buttons Add new theme e Upload themeselect il ZIP package of the theme you have purchased and press the button Install now, to install it.
After taking care of the graphic part of your website, you are ready to publish your content and, subsequently, set the navigation menus (you can do it from the Appearance, selecting the item Menu). To publish a new page, click on the option Pages present in the sidebar on the left and choose the option Add page, then enter the title in the field Enter the title here and the content in the text field at the center of the page. Then click on the button Public, to publish the page, and that's it.
If, on the other hand, your website has a section dedicated to articles (i.e. those informative contents that have a publication date and a specific topic), to add a new one click on the options Articles e Add an article and repeat the above procedure to create a new page. To learn more and get into the details of how WordPress works, I suggest you read my in-depth guide.
Create a professional ecommerce site
Be your intention è create a professional e-commerce site, you must know that all the indications I have given you in the previous paragraphs are valid, including the use of WordPress which, through the addition of some plugins (i.e. additional tools that increase the native functionality of the CMS), can also be used for create an online sales site.
Alternatively, if you prefer easier-to-use (but still professional-grade) solutions, you can opt for Shopify: a service already used by over 1.000.000 stores around the world that allows you to create e-commerce and manage them in a few clicks, without having to know any programming languages.
Includes unlimited products, unlimited secure hosting, free unlimited bandwidth, a free shopify.com domain name (with the ability to change it to a custom one), online and SMS marketing campaigns, the Facebook sales channel to synchronize your products with a catalog and create marketing activities on Facebook and Instagram and a simplified administration panel to manage orders, products, customers, payments, shipments, inventory etc.
You can try Shopify for free for an initial trial period (with no renewal obligation, no need to enter payment information), after which you can choose various paid plans, starting at $ 29 / month.
To open a shop on Shopify, go to the official website of the service, type yours email address in the appropriate field and click on the button Start your free trial. Then fill out the forms you see on the screen and that's it. In a few seconds you will be in front of the management panel of your e-commerce with, on the left, all the tools to manage orders, products, customers, marketing campaign, view analysis of sales data etc. For more details, read my guide on how to create an e-commerce with Shopify.
Returning to CMS, I would like to point out that there are some specifically designed to open an e-commerce that you can take into consideration.
- Magento: it is one of the most complete and professional CMS for creating an e-commerce. It offers both a free (Community Edition) and a paid (Enterprise Edition) version with technical support included. It requires hosting platforms with high technical requirements and its operation, at least initially, is not as intuitive as WordPress.
- Drupal: is another good free and open source CMS, ideal for large online stores. As well as Magento and WordPress, it allows the installation of additional tools to add new features.
- Prestashop: is an open source CMS specially designed for the creation of an e-commerce. It allows you to manage fewer articles than Magento but its operation is much simpler and more intuitive.
- Joomla: as well as WordPress and Drupal, Joomla is also a free CMS that allows you to create both a "normal" website and an e-commerce (with the installation of additional plugins). To find out more, I leave you to my guide on how to create a site with Joomla.