As of July 2018 this is a brand new site!! Exciting, huh?
I feel like sharing with you the process of making my site. As a creative person (and student) we don’t have a mountain of money to spend on getting a top-notch website made .. yet. So we have to find other ways of doing things whilst avoiding compromising on design and function – flowery language, my apologies. This is what I’ve tried to do with this website and I feel successful. Of course, there are still things I’d like to change ..
So this is a guide for creatives and composers on building your website “from scratch”(hopefully in a cost-effective way) 🙂
What do you need??
There are seven main things that you’ll need in your website making journey – an idea of what you want your site to be, a domain name, a hosting service, some money, content, time (ooooh yes) and someone to take a look at your site at the end. Luckily you don’t need all of these things from the word ‘go’.
1. the idea
Not as easy as it sounds, but once you’ve got it the whole site is much much easier to make. What do you want your site for (aka who’s looking at it?)? Have you got a logo? Have you got a website you like the look of? And what is it that you like about those sites? These ideas might develop as you go along.
Unless you want to create a free site, you’ll need some money. I think it’s an investment worth making. You don’t have to fork out all the money at the beginning – depending on who you use you can pay monthly fees. Of course, always look for the deals – in today’s world you don’t usually pay full price for anything (you can even buy 2 for 1 on fruit in supermarkets). The difference is, you don’t barter – you look for discounts instead.
The difference between the WordPresses. One is free (wordpress.com) the other is free (wordpress.org) – the .org is the more malleable but time-consuming one whilst the .com is more ridged with quicker results. I’ve used the .org version.
3. domain name
Getting this is easier once you’ve got a grip of stage 1. But don’t worry, stage 1 develops as you spend more time with your website .. or at least it did with me.
But what is a domain name?
It’s the www. thing. So mine’s ‘georgedolancomposer.com’. Do you choose ‘.com’, ‘.co.uk’, ‘.net’, and the list goes on? It depends how big you’re looking. If you want everyone to know you’re definitely British and want to appeal first and foremost to people accessing your site from the UK, then using ‘.co.uk’ would be a good start. From what I’ve read, it’s better to stick to a commonly used one (avoid using ones like ‘.pizza’).
I bought my domain name from 1&1 hosting because they had a deal. When I say ‘buy’, you buy the domain name for a period of time (normally years) and after the time is up you ‘buy’ it again. They are offering a year for £0.99 (plus a few extra pence here and there). Here’s a link to 1&1. But have a look around – see what other discounts companies are offering. The advantage of buying a domain name is that it doesn’t have a company name in it (like the free WordPress sites).
4. web host (hosting)
Hosting is where your website lives (where all the files are stored). This is more expensive than the domain name, so it took me a bit longer to find out about things. 1&1 offer this service. However, my site is hosted with GreenGeeks. They have been very reliable aaaaand they run in a very green way (marketing themselves as the most eco-friendly web host on the planet). Use this link to get to them. What’s really good about GreenGeeks is the extra features they offer for the price – one-click WordPress install (this saves you messing about with downloading things), good security, good support, very clear about costs (nothing’s hidden .. generally working out cheaper).
I wouldn’t buy your domain name and host your site with the same company as they like to make things more expensive for the ease of the user.
Having some things you can put on your site (pictures, text, videos, audio) makes you feel like you’ve accomplished something. Of course, if you’re a film composer or animator you work with big files. How do you get those on your website? I’ve used YouTube for the videos and Soundcloud for the music. When embedding content from these platforms it looks attractive. Also these are popular platforms, so people will recognise them and be able to use them. You still own all your copyright using these platforms (at the time I’m writing this!!). I suppose your website is the new portfolio .. just much broader.
Have a look at web hosting comparison here (whoishostingthis.com)
If you want to change how your site looks you’ll need to create a ‘child theme’. This doesn’t tell you how to do it, but it give you some info
Things take time to work. It took the whole 48 hours for my site to ‘propagate’ (when setting up your site at the beginning) on my computer, yet it was already visible when using mobile data on my phone. So time and patience are good ingredients.
But you’ll also need time to watch tutorials, read articles (I’ve found that the video tutorials are much easier to follow in general), and experiment.
7. someone to have a look at your site
Perhaps once you’ve finished, you’d like a fresh pair of eyes to look over your site. Have you made a spelling mistake? Is there a page missing? Can’t they see it on their phone? It’s those small things that you miss. Plus they might even give you some positive feedback .. if you’re lucky!!
Hope that helps and maybe clears up some of the really basic but big points when starting to create your own site. It’s always good to have a friend who does this sort of stuff, in my humble opinion.