Sure you could pay someone to make a website for you, but I have found if you want more control to update or change things, and be cheap, it’s better to do it yourself! The next question is, how the heck do you do it?
There are several parts to getting a website up and running.
1. You gotta decide what you want your website address to be. What do you want people to remember you by? When I first started Motion Graphics, I came up with a company name, “Giant Kid Studios.” Over the years I have learned several things. 3 words is too long. It becomes too much when you are writing things up or just referring to your website. In addition to that, there is general confusion, am I Giant Kid Studios, or are there other people that work with me? Should they pay Giant Kid Studios, or Alice Fujii. Eventually, I just started going by my name to avoid confusion. That way people only have to remember one name. “Oh, I like that artist, Alice Fujii. Let’s hire her for the next gig. What’s the name of her website/company again?” You always want to make it as easy as possible for people to find you. There are reasons for going by other another name if you are going to incorporate, it depends how much business you plan on doing. Incorporating is great if you get sued so they can’t go after your personal assets, they can only go after your business assets. For me, incorporating was not a consideration.
The next step is finding a web host. Usually web hosts will help you secure a web address. So, how do you pick a web host? There are SO many out there. I’m pretty frugal (cheap), so I start with who’s the cheapest. The thing to remember is that there are additional add ons you are going to have to pay for, so they might advertise it’s only $1.99 a month, but after adding all the additions you need to do, it ends up being quite a bit more. Shop around and know how you are going to create the content and if you are going to have a shopping cart capability. Check what all the extra charges cover. If you are having a shop on your site, you probably want the extra security so no one steals your customer’s credit card info. If not, then that is a huge cost you don’t need.
Finally, how do MAKE the website? Let’s talk about the cheapest way to go, WordPress. I’m not talking about www.Wordpress.com. that is a company that takes your money, I’m talking about WordPress.org. WordPress is an open source application. That means anyone can contribute to make it better and its FREE. WordPress has many free templates you can use to format your site. There are many more templates you can buy if you want something fancier, or something you can manipulate more. For a clean, nice, simple website, I have found the free templates to be more than adequate. Keep in mind that these templates are made to be used as is. The colors and fonts they have are selected for a reason. If you don’t like something about the template, find another rather than trying to beat one into submission. If you want to have a shopping cart, or slide show, or questionnaire, you can add an extension. An extension is a bit of programing that allows whatever you are looking for. Again, there are many that are free, and many that you can pay for. As you can imagine, the ones you pay for, might have better directions, or support, but it’s up to you. www.Wordpress.org has a ton of tutorials under their support page to get you up and running.
Picture added for eye candy. 🙂