|Do you think having a Web site will cost you thousands of dollars? Are you afraid that you’ll be in over your head if you reclaim your Web site from your designer? Are you constantly after your Web developer to make simple changes for you that never get done?
In this article, I help you mitigate your Web site migraine by guiding you through the first steps of reclaiming your online home with a blogging platform.
A blog is like a postcard. Each entry is a small adventure contributing to a neverending story.
If you’re a working artist like me (or a gallery) and need the flexibility of updating your own Web site, have I got good news for you! Even if you don’t have coding experience, you’ll thrive with your online presence beginning with your Web site.
Your Web site doesn’t have to be dynamic, filled with bells and whistles, it essentially needs to highlight who you are and what you do.
- If you’re a gallery and only want one page to establish a presence, you can do that.
- If you’re an artist and want to show your work, your awards, shows, and contact info, you can do that, too.
Another reason a blogging platform is much more beneficial to you and your work is because it’s alive. A few years ago, I insisted that every artist have a blog to accompany her Web site because traditional Web sites are static.
Translate: A static Web site was designed to be left alone. Once a page was created, you pretty much abandoned it and moved on. When you abandon your pages, search engines like Google push your page further and further back in its archive, never to be found again unless you reference it in your other Web or print collateral.
So how is a blog any different?
Glad you asked! A blog breathes life into your existing static Web site, making it a living entity. Your business is a living organism just like you are, so it makes sense to animate your online presence to allow it to walk on it’s own without artificial life support.
You can choose one of two ways to use a blog:
- As separate site tool linked back to your main site, or
- As a platform for your entire Web site.
How I Started
Initially, I created my blog name under a pseudonym (I’ll tell you later why that was a bad thing) and link back to my main Web site. That was an all-in-one blog and while I still try to keep it fresh with personal anecdotes, I now maintain a professional blog dedicated to featuring my art, shows, and giveways that sits nicely hosted under my ecstewart.com domain. You’ll find some of this on my personal blog, too, but you won’t find too much personal stuff on my professional blog (more on that later).
Web site for Free -It’s True!
I’ve worked on 2 blogging platforms: Blogger & WordPress. When I began blogging many years ago, I chose Blogger as my platform. It was great to cut my teeth on as a newbie -and they’re doing some pretty neat things o’er there in that World. However, a few years ago, I experimented with a family blog on WordPress because I wanted to compare the two platforms. Like Apple, WordPress is leaps and bounds more advanced and replete with lots of gadgets –one could actually get into trouble in this virtual candy store! Don’t let that scare you. 😉
My experimental blog is CREATIVEGoddess: The Talent of Living Creatively
The link is: http://creativegoddess.wordpress.com/
Personally, I love the flexibility of WordPress best because it allows me to:
- Have both post and pages (each are necessary)
- Password protected pages (super cool for clients!)
- Many widgets are created for WP (candy!)
- Have a gallery (too easy)
Dig through my CREATIVEGoddess blog -it’s pretty neat. I have blog posts that talk about current events and my pages that are static hosting goodies and giveaways. Both posts and pages have permanent links, but the pages never move.
You’ll find red tabs at the top navigation of the main blog. They’re so named:
About Lisa – http://creativegoddess.wordpress.com/about/
Extras – http://creativegoddess.wordpress.com/extras/
Commissions – http://creativegoddess.wordpress.com/customcommissions/
Shop – http://creativegoddess.wordpress.com/shop/
Some of these pages move deeper into other pages or links outside of this blog. Some pages are even hidden and password protected!!
What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG)
WYSIWYG is an acronym that is pronounced “WizzyWig.” It also translates as “No coding experience needed!” Okay, maybe a tiny bit, but coding is not mandatory. If you feel compelled to tweak some things, it’s super simple and I’ll be happy to supply you with easy code to copy and paste for your use as needed. Things like:
- How to format your art images in your blog
- How to password protect your pages
- How to turn on and off widgets
- How to create a static front page
- So much more!!
You can expand and contract your Web site only as much as you want to. You can even create a vacation sign.
Do I need my own Domain Name?
I could have easily started with a free blog similar to http://indiecreatives.wordpress.com, but I wanted a formal site to host my company.
It seriously rocks to have your own Domain name and they’re pretty darn cheap today (~$8.50) than when they were 12 years ago when I first bought mine ($150). You can begin with obtaining a free blog and then getting your own Domain and migrate later.
I’ve been hosting all of my sites thru CrystalTech.com. These guys have expanded and still maintain a great customer service attitude. I also purchase my domains thru them -it’s actually a third party- and this makes it easy to contain everything in one spot. I’m always dubious about GoDaddy since I’ve heard some horror stories about those guys and their services. For now, I’ll stick with CrystalTech.com.
You wanna know how much I pay?
I pay $6/mo for this Web site (blog) and $8.50/yr for my domain name.
ECStewart Designs | All-in-One Web site & Blog
Okay, So How Do I Get a Blog?
You can begin by securing a free Web blog through one of the hosts (WordPress, Blogger, etc) and link to back to your static Web site. I’d recommend starting with:
WordPress.com Is where you obtain your free blog and it’s hosted on their server. Your domain will look something like this: http://yourname.wordpress.com. One can always migrate the blog into your permanent domain after you cut your teeth on the free platform.
WordPress.org Is where you borrow their latest software to host on your server of choice with your specific domain. INDIECreatives and ECStewart are both running WordPress software on my server of choice.
Need a Bit More Help?
Would you like to watch a Webinar to see it all happen? Sign up below and we’ll let you know when it’s happening!
Now that you know how to set up your own place on the Web, when are you going to stake a claim to your Web site?
Here’s to Cultivating Your Creative Independence