Advice for starting a website



  • Howdy!

    I'm looking into starting up a website and I'm trying to figure out what the best route to go is, concerning website builders, hosting and what not.

    So what are your experiences?
    What do you use and why?
    Should I build my own site with something like wordpress or get an all in one subscription like wix or squarespace?



  • Hi! That's great you're thinking about getting a website! Websites can be so tricky but worthwhile. I'm about to go update my art Wordpress website actually. Mine is basic. Here is the link: http://amandabancroftart.com/

    Have you thought about what you need the website to do? Because if you need it to get commissions (contact form to vet clients) or an online store (apps to help process Paypal and other payments) or just a portfolio to find work, your goals are important in selecting the kind of website and what features it offers. Good luck and best wishes!



  • @Griffin A lot of it falls under what your capabilities are.

    Web builders, like Wix and Squarespace, basically trade convenience for features. So they have a really low glass ceiling on what they can do for you. However websites for illustrators may never be all that complex, so in those instances it's perfectly fine.

    Something like Wordpress hosted by an actual hosting company like Bluehost gives you a lot of flexibility, but if you don't know what you're doing you might end up getting frustrated and burning a ton of hours trying to figure out how to make it work for you. But that will give you the most features if that's what you're looking for. For example, if you need something to be more SEO friendly, you want to post a lot of content, you want to create custom web forms that transfer data to other things like Mailchimp, client's can book consultations, people can pay invoices on the site and you also want an online store - those are things that Wordpress can easily handle where something like Wix will frustrate the hell out of you trying to make all that work.

    My general advice would be:

    • Don't use Wordpress.com - if you go the Wordpress route, just set it up with a host like Godaddy, Bluehost or Stablehost and just use the hosting company's built in app manager to build the Wordpress app or they might have Wordpress specific hosting that does that for you (like WP Engine does for example). Wordpress.com is a bad deal for the money and it locks you into an eco-system you don't have a lot of control over.
    • Don't go for something that's free. Just assess what makes the most sense financially and pull the trigger on something that'll look and feel professional to you. You can save some money for example where Squarespace handles the SSL certificate for you and the domain name as part of the $10/mo. That's something you would likely pay for with another host. Plus, having a domain name like "yourart.wix.com" just doesn't look all that compelling 🙂
    • If you're not all that savvy with HTML, I'd do a free trial on Wix and Squarespace and feel out their templates and editing capabilities and just choose the one that gives you the best impression/experience. You can always change it down the road.

    I'm a web developer by trade so I can answer any questions you might have - just ask away!



  • @jdubz
    Thanks so much, Josh!

    This answered a lot of my questions. I'm terrible with any computer related things so it's sounding like wix or squarepsace is the roue for me and if I ever feel like I need more control I could try wordpress. If I ever want to switch me website though will I be able to transfer the domain over to that new site and take down the old one?



  • I've been using Squarespace for around six months now, and I have no complaints. They make everything pretty easy, and it's quick to set up a store, especially if you're using a print-on-demand service like Printful. If you're on the fence with a few options, I'd suggest going with Squarespace.


  • SVS OG

    I use adobe portfolio because it's free if you're already subscribed to a creative plan. I have the Photography plan which costs $10 per month. I know I'll be using Photoshop for quite some time, I might as well take advantage of their free portfolio. I also bought my domain from Namecheap for around $9 per year. All in all, my website fee is only $9 annually.

    I chose this setup because it's the cheapest I could find. Its functions are very limited, but for its price, it does the job.


  • Pro

    @Griffin It depends what you need. Is it just a simple portfolio? In that case, you don't need to go with an expensive solution like Squarespace or Wix. I use Adobe portfolio (free with Creative Cloud) but there is also Portfolio Box that is cheap and easy. Squarespace is for when you need a shop, blog, extra features, etc. A portfolio really just needs to display images and a contact form, there's no reason to pay through the roof for that (or spend weeks building a custom Wordpress site). With something like Adobe Portfolio, you could have your portfolio running by the end of the day, for free.



  • @Griffin said in Advice for starting a website:

    @jdubz
    Thanks so much, Josh!

    This answered a lot of my questions. I'm terrible with any computer related things so it's sounding like wix or squarepsace is the roue for me and if I ever feel like I need more control I could try wordpress. If I ever want to switch me website though will I be able to transfer the domain over to that new site and take down the old one?

    Yessir. Domains and hosting are really easy to move around. If you moved it later, you'd just need to initiate a transfer. It sounds more technical than it is and most hosts can help you do it or do most of the steps for you.


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