Last post (Web Presence – Getting Started) we talked about how a good way to start marketing yourself is with a web site. Knowing what content you want on your site and how you want it to look is the first step. This time we are looking at some tools you can use to build a site.
There are many good products you can use to build a web site. One that I would recommend is WordPress.com for these reasons:
- It is free and the web hosting is free
- Many of the templates have responsive design built into them (something that you will want to definitely consider using).
- There are good training resources available
- You can upgrade features in the future.
- You can use a domain name with the site (a feature upgrade starting at $12 a year
- WordPress.com provides you with a blog
There are two WordPress’s, one is WordPress.com and the other is WordPress.org. WordPress.com is what I am recommending. WordPress.org has a yearly fee and it requires self-hosting so you would need to find a place to host your site, most likely at additional cost as well.
WordPress.com was started as a blog. By using it you will have the ability to have a blog, but also be able to have a hassle free basic web site. I think WordPress.com is a great way to start and as you grow you can add features.
WordPress.com has a good online knowledge base to help you with building your site. Another training source is learn.wordpress.com which is a free online training tutorial.
If you like more visual training you can use Lynda.com training videos. Lyndia.com offers thousands of training courses on many different topics. They offer a 10 day free trial so you can see if this is something that would be helpful to you. The course “WordPress.com Essential Training” is an excellent course. It consists of 40 small videos that are about 3 to 5 minutes each. After watching each video you can complete that step in your web site. By the time you are done with the course you should have your site set up. After the trial period with Lynda you can cancel at any time. It is a very good way to build your site quickly at minimal cost. You can literally build your site in an afternoon.
You can not build a store in WordPress.com but there are a couple of things that you can do to accommodate a degree of e-commerce for your site. You can build an Etsy store and create a page in your WordPress site with a link to your Etsy store. Another option is to build a page with your products and prices. Your customers can then contact you with a list of what they want and you will be able to send them a PayPal invoice. We will talk in later posts on how to build an Etsy store and also how to set up a PayPal business account.
WordPress does have Personal, Premium and Business plans but you do not need them to get started. The free plan comes with 3GB of storage.
There are many other products that you can use. Many offer free trials, but I am finding it harder to find ones that offer a free ongoing plan. Here are a few lower price point ones that can be upgraded to have a store if desired:
- Wix.com – the basic plan starts at $5 a month with 500MB of storage. It then goes to $10 a month for 3GB of storage. An online store starts at $17 a month. The help is an online knowledge base. I actually built a site in Wix once and found the help hard to use.
- Weebly.com – is free up to 500MB of data storage. The next price point is $8 a month and you can sell up to 10 items. They have additional plans. From their web site it looks like they have a searchable knowledge base, email, and phone support.
- Squarespace.com– starts at $12 a month if paid annually and allows up to 20 pages. They have 24/7 support, but from what I see it looks like it is an online knowledge base. On the lower plan there is a 3% charge in addition to your charge card and/or PayPal fees.
Here are some examples of WordPress sites:
- I have a WordPress site called JaneAllenCreates.blog that I did a few years ago for a class. I used to do hugh cookie baking parties at Christmas and everyone would be asking for recipes so I created the site as a source for them. I have since updated the site with my art, recipes and blog, and a link to my store.
- My friend Amy Mogish also has a great WordPress.com site that she has everything on. It contains information about her, the classes she is teaching, her patterns and her blog. You can view it at ClassicAmyJoanne.com. Amy was able to get the basics of her site done in a weekend. She then continued to tweak it until she got it the way she wanted it. Now she adds new content as needed and regularly post on her blog.
I hope this will encourage you to get started on your site. Just start and take it step-by-step. If you are already using something that is free and easy to use we would love to hear about it.
Happy Painting and Creating,