Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Website Woes & Tips, Part 1

So I started my weekend off with every intention of creating a new portfolio website.  I had looked over my options and thought the most professional way to go would be to self-host a Wordpress blog/website combination that featured a gallery of my work.

I bought a new domain name - it was time for a change. I knew that Go Daddy had hosting support for Wordpress, so I purchased the hosting package.  After getting things set up, I went off to find a template that fit my needs

Okay - fast forward to 3 hours later.  I could not find a template under $50 that fit my needs.  I settled for one I thought I could do a little adjusting with and purchased it.  Off to Go Daddy to install and start posting.  Only wait, it's not easy to hack.  It's not intuitive and I quickly realize I have no idea what I'm doing here.  I need a tutorial, I need a manual, I need a class, I need a designer!  5 hours into the ordeal I say to heck with it.  I'm going with a portfolio site.

An hour later, new website is up and running and ready to go.  With a little help from Godaddy, I transferred the domain name to the portfolio site and created a subdomain for my blog.  Everything now publishes under heatherpowersart.com.

I went with Carbonmade for my portfolio site for a couple of reasons:
  1. I had tried their free version and liked how easy it was to set up.
  2. Great value - for the same price I was paying for a 10 page website. I get 50 projects (pages) and 500 images.  It's ad free, they have tech support and you can have private projects that aren't published on the site. Oh and it looks good on mobile devices and has a separate page for each image.
  3. I saw that Julie Fortenberry was using it and liked the way it looked, it was nice to see someone else using it.
  4. I knew from looking at some of the examples that you could do some tweaking to customize the site to make it look less like a template.
So my advice - if you are not a designer and are looking for a webite option, I recommend going with a portfolio site that you can customize and use domain forwarding.

Why torture yourself with trying to design a website?

Find something that is simple to use and minimal in design so that your artwork is shown in a professional manner.  Then after you get a big juicy book contact, by all means hire a brilliant designer to create the website of your dreams.

Join me tomorrow, I will share some little cheats that I did to make the Carbonmade template more like a website.

*I'm not affiliated with GoDaddy or Carbonmade - just happy they exist!

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