First off, I am not a computer person! This being said I built my website on godaddy a couple of years ago. It was HELL!!! I have no idea if it is any good but I figured if someone wanted to see my work it was a place for them to go. I don't understand the first thing about search engines and how to make my website actually work for me. I put out a call to the Chicago land artists to see about anyone local who might be able to help and then I saw the sight here for just this. My problem is since I know so little I feel I need someone to actually tutor me on what to do. Where should I start? Should I have my site reviewed here? I am willing to start over and have someone else do it if need be.
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A few thoughts on the current website:
Get rid of the acid-green background. It is so much brighter than any of the images of your work that it makes them look pale and wan by comparison. Use a softer background tone that doesn't fight with your art.
Use a typeface that looks more elegant than Courier. At least it defaulted to Courier on my Mac running Safari. There is a small sub set of type faces that work on all browsers. You can also use web fonts now, for a fee, that will give your site some pizzaz and are served from a resource like TypeKit. If you are working with a web designer, they can help steer you in a more graphically pleasing direction.
The images need to be cleaned up. They don't do your fiber work justice. Talk to Larry Berman about ways to fix the current images, or talk to your designer. The backgrounds need to match better, so they all have the same white balance.
Navigation should be easier to use.
The site probably should float to the top when a browser with a larger window accesses it. On my big screen, there was a whole lot of that lime green at the top of the page -- a waste of space.
Have your designer create a logo for you that you can use as a header, and for price tags, etc. That should be a separate project. If you already have a logo that will work, great! If not, you should think about how your branding fits, in your booth, in a retail gallery environment and on the web. It should be seamless.
Make sure you spell check all of your communications. A small point, but one that I constantly see violated. Don't use "loose" when you mean "lose". It's a web "site", not a web "sight"... Proper usage makes anyone look more professional. Just because we're artists, doesn't mean we can ignore the English language.
Hope that's of some help.
And as Larry said early on, ZenFolio works well for simple gallery sites, they have lots of templates, and an extensive help section, as well as a forum. I've never had to speak to a support tech on the phone there, either. You could set up WordPress on your current hosting platform without too much trouble.
Regarding the domain name hosting: your domain registration can be done anywhere. The records then get pointed to wherever you actually host your website. So if your domain name is currently paid up at GoDaddy, I'd leave it there, as Stephen White said. There is an administration panel at GoDaddy (a lot of hosting companies call this a "c-panel" or control panel) where you change the pointer to "redirect" to the hosting company's web server. Your email if you are using a custom name like firstname.lastname@example.org, can also be hosted at a separate company. The domain registrar is where all of that gets changed. But it's a once and one operation until you change companies for your hosting.
Glad you found someone to help you locally.
You could build a very good website on GoDaddy. As hosting companies go, they are middle of the road. Basic Linux hosting runs about $7/month. You can run a WordPress site on their servers, use your own domain name. WordPress is the most used blogging/content management system on the planet. It's not super easy to learn, especially the backend, but once it's set up, its very easy to manage.
As Stephen pointed out, an artist who wants a website STILL NEEDS TO DO SOME RESEARCH, and educate themselves on what's possible, and what the lingo is. I can build a website for $500-600, but it's a losing proposition for me if I have to educate the client from the ground up. That's the main reason I don't do it for the average artist -- it just takes too much time.
How strange this is... The guy named Rich no longer has any posts in this thread. What in the world happened? It's like someone took a branch full of leaves and dusted the footprints behind him as he walked through, posted, and then disappeared into the sunset.
This always intrigues me when this happens, Barrie. So I went to look in my archives and indeed Rich has "left" as a member here. Another person "left" this week also who had done a bunch of postings. When a person leaves, deletes their profile, all of their writings do disappear ... Honest, I'm not doing it ;)
Very interesting. Thanks for investigating. Rich had mentioned a website service called Squarespace and theirs all looked quite contemporary. Then on Super Bowl Sunday we all saw an ad for their service during the game. Quite an expensive ad. So I heard about their service for the first time twice last week.
thanks for all the input. I actually have made a start with Indiemade doine what I know how to do. I found someone who does work with websites and will get help from him on the parts I don't understand. I'll be sure and let you know when I have a finished product ( hopefully sometime this year!)
LOL, Sara. Once you get past these few tech questions you'll be amazed at how well this all goes. Honest. Glad to hear you found someone there to help.
Sara, If you didn't look into Fine Art Studio Online, don't be afraid to do so. It will cost you so much less money as well as be more efficient for you to update on a regular basis. It's not hard. They have templates and great customer service and tech help.
If you know absolutely nothing about photographing your art and using simple image editing software to resize images, then by all means contact a local designer. But you are going to spend as much time telling them about what you want and how you want it to look and all that stuff, you might as well do it yourself with a company like FASO. IT'S SO EASY, IT'S SILLY!
I pay $28 per month. That's all. You'll probably pay someone more than $1,000 just to get everything designed and up and running. Then you'll most likely pay a monthly hosting fee, like $28. And every time you need to make updates and changes, fees fees fees. If you have a FASO website, updates and changes are FREE FREE FREE and FAST FAST FAST and EASY EASY EASY. FASO was designed with artists in mind. They only host artists sites. And I bet if you call FASO, they will talk with you about it on the phone right away. They'll talk with you on the PHONE!
FINE ART STUDIO ONLINE HOMEPAGE On the home page, there's a CONTACT US button right below the black box with the words GET STARTED TODAY in it.
Good luck with whatever you decide.
and I pay $14.95 a month at Typepad.com for 3 websites. It is so cheap I pay it once a year -- $179.40. .. AND you want to do it yourself -- there are changes all the time and you don't want to be waiting for someone else.
Right now I'm paying less than $100 a year for Go Daddy and Wix to host and domain site. this seems like less than the sites you've mentioned or am I missing something? I don't know if that's a good deal or not. Right now it's a waste of money cus I don't know what to do with the website I have. Should I just stay with Wix and see if someone there can help me with search engines? I'm so confused!!!