With the ease and availability of search engines, the World Wide Web has become a cornerstone directory of information. And you – as an upstanding professional artist – should be on it! People want to know about you before they promise you money: They want to read about you, find great reviews, and scope you out a little bit before allowing you into their homes.
Now, I am not the most tech savvy person. My initial foray into website building was long, laborious, and fraught with disappointments. Hiring a reliable web developer on a budget seemed impossible, so I joined the ranks of DIY’ers (Do-It-Yourself’ers). Here are some of my favorite website building resources and tools – designed specifically for the tech-illiterate!
- Wix – A drag-n-drop style editor for beautiful Flash or HTML5 websites.
- Carbonmade – Focuses on creating sleek, stylish, online portfolios.
- WordPress – A very SEO (search engine optimized) option, based on a core “theme”, customized by the addition or deletion of “plug-ins”.
- Godaddy – Offers free design templates, pre-made websites, and a website builder with a slew of additional tools.
- Blogs, such as Tumblr or Blogspot, also allow you to add pages and connect to a domain name of your choice, giving the benefits of a website with minimal effort.
Most of these allow you to build your website for free, only charging you if you choose to upgrade to a higher package. Freebies are great for the nonexistent budget of a budding entrepreneur…however, I have found that upgrading to a paying package has been well worth the professional appeal it offers.
Remember that a website reflects you and your business; You might be a fun, lighthearted person, but an unkempt or unprofessional looking website can derail your efforts to be take seriously. Here’s some things your website should include:
- Functional, easy to navigate pages
- A professional aesthetic
- An “About Me” section
- A list and explanation of services
- Photographs of your work
- Contact information
From there you can always expand. Adding additional pages, comment widgets, interactive Google maps, or payment integration, is much easier than you’d think! Look at the design and layout of other successful websites for some inspiration. FABAIC, WolfeFX, Kryolan, and Mehron all fit the bill.
-Caitlin St. Angelo
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