Website Development

How to Build a Website – It Doesn’t Have To Be Hard (from Website Builder Expert)

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Courtesy of Jeremy Wong from Website Builder Expert-----If you’re wondering about how to build a website (even for free), then this article will be helpful for you. Have no idea where to start?  That’s perfectly normal to be honest.  You’re not alone as for most people, building a website online is still a bit of a mystery.For most people (including us a few years ago), creating a website is something that only IT geeks are capable of doing. These coder lock themselves in the basement, has no friends, and wears glasses. Right? Right?? Well, that was the old school stereotype that most people had for coders (including us a few years ago when we strugged to get started – we confess!) I’m not sure if it’s because of the media, movies, whatever. But that’s definitely not how a lot of websites are actually built nowadays, and that’s definitely not how coders behave!You don’t need to be an IT geek to learn how to build a website from scratch today. You don’t even need to know code (a bit will help, but not a necessity and it won’t hold you back), you don’t need to manage hosts / servers, and you don’t need to have a lot of money.Keep reading and we’ll show you how to you can create a website in less than a day, and almost for free.HOW A LOT OF WEBSITES ARE BUILT NOWADAYSTechnology has really advanced over the past few years. The internet has grown faster than ever before. Facebook has taken over, Google is king, and normal folks like yourself can build your own website for free. More and more people are creating websites online as a way to express themselves and get in touch with others. Businesses cannot afford not to have websites as a way of reaching more potential customers.If you want to build a business, or if you already have a business but haven’t built your website yet, you’re falling further and further behind.But is building websites easy?  What is a good website builder?  How much does it cost to build a website? In the past? Very challenging. Today? Not challenging or super expensive at all. Think about it. Facebook made it easy for you to connect with hundreds, if not thousands of people. Smartphones make it easy for you to surf the web on a tiny device. It’s not that hard to believe that building websites can also be easy, right?There are a lot of website creators that have emerged over the past few years that enable you to build websites without knowing code. They programmed the website building software so now you literally just have to use your mouse and drag a slideshow, a block of text, images, videos, into the website. You can then insert your own text, upload your own pictures, insert your own videos (such as YouTube), and click publish. That’s it.I know it sounds ridiculously easy. After all, we’ve been taught that if something is too good to be true, it’s probably not, right? Well, that’s a good rule of thumb, but not always the case. In terms learning how to build a website from scratch, this is definitely not the case.For sure you will have to invest time into creating your own content and setting things up, but being a super freak in technology or codes is no longer a barrier to entry if you want to create a website all by yourself.ARE ALL WEBSITE BUILDERS GOOD & EASY TO USE?All website builders are built differently – each has it’s pros and cons. Some are easier, some are more challenging. I think the general guideline is that the more sophisticated and powerful the builder is, the higher the learning curve. That makes sense, right?So for instance, WordPress is a very powerful website builder. It is flexible, advanced, and can almost be programmed to do almost anything you want as a website.However, the learning curve to become proficient with using WordPress is rather steep. You will most likely have to invest quite a bit of time to learn how to use it well, and perhaps you will have to pay some freelancer or WordPress expert to help you set up your website.Then there are WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get), drag and drop website builders. These are the ones that do not need you to know any code to get a website up and running in a little amount of time. These builders are ideal for people who don’t have the time to learn code (life is busy, right?), or don’t have the budget to hire someone to help build a website. It’s great for people who enjoy DIY (Do-It-Yourself). WHAT ABOUT WEBSITE DESIGN AND TEMPLATES?  MY SITE HAS TO LOOK GOOD!Website builders nowadays give you a really good selection of design templates to choose from. Let’s face it, the majority of us don’t know how to design well, let alone coding up our own web design! So what do website builders do?  They create design templates so you can use them for your website, allowing your site to look good.Think about them as “clothes” for your website.  If you don’t like one set of clothes, just change to another one to give your website a completely different feel.Almost all website builders give you these templates for free, and hands down, using these design templates will give your website the biggest visual impact in the least amount of time. You don’t need to touch any codes whatsoever! In fact, if you are just starting a new business, we HIGHLY recommend that you don’t bother with hiring a website designer – for good reasons (see our arguments here).Drag & drop website builders (see our recommendations below) give you really good looking design templates to give you a head start already. There are more important things to focus on while your business is still young, than hiring a professional (and potentially expensive) designer.POPULAR DRAG & DROP WEBSITE BUILDERSIf you don’t want to learn code, or have a budget to hire freelancers to help you build a website from scratch, there are a few good website builders that you may want to test out to see if they can help you out, and if you like using them.Here are a few that we recommend you taking a look at:WixSquarespaceWeeblyJimdoAll of them have their own pros and cons, and some of them are better at certain things. When we started building websites ourselves, we researched for days as it was hard to figure out which one best fit our needs. There was so much information out there that it overloaded us, and pretty much paralyzed us in terms of choosing which website builder to use. So we decided to test a lot of them. After investing hundreds of hours in using many different website builders ourselves (gosh those days were painful!), we’ve compiled a few different comparison resources so to help make your research (and life) a bit easier:1) Website Builder Comparison Chart2) Pros and Cons of Popular Website Builders3) 9 Questions To Choosing the Right Website Builder4) 3 Best Web Design Software to Help You Build Professional Looking WebsitesAt the end of the day, there really isn’t a “one website builder fits all” type of solution.We recommend that you narrow down your search to 2 or 3 website builders, and just invest a day to try them out. It’s almost like shopping for a car (except MUCH cheaper). It makes a lot of sense to test drive a few of them just to see if they work out for you.All of the website builders that we recommend are free to sign up, or at least they have a free trial period where you can give it a test drive.WHAT ABOUT E-COMMERCE WEBSITE BUILDERS?. . . continue reading the full article and linked resources here at Website Builder Expert
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What is the difference between domains vs hosting vs website? (HostGator)

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Courtesy of HostGator-----When you have a site visitor, they use your domain name to view your website. As simple as it seems, there is a process that occurs from the time that the site visitor types in your domain and presses enter.When a site visitor enters your domain name into a browser, the domain is then translated into your server IP address,  then the server sends that user your site files, which their browser represents to them as a typical web-page.You can see that, without each of these 3 elements, you won't really have a web-site.The three basic parts that make up any current day website are:Domain NamesComputers communicate by using numbers, called IP addresses, to contact each other, much like you use a phone number to dial a specific person's phone. Domain names on the internet are much like entries in a phone book. The phone book tells people looking for a business what the entries are just as a domain tells people (i.e. their computers) that a domain is hosted on the server.Without a domain, you would have to tell your customers that your site is located at a temporary url such as 123.456.789.123/~mysite instead of using a domain name such as mysite.com, making your site appear unprofessional and impractical.Web-Hosting ServersThe web-hosting or server is much like the space that you rent out to have your business in. It's merely the space itself. It does not include furnishings like shelves for your products, just as the web-hosting account doesn't include a site for you to sell your products.Luckily, in the web-hosting world, it's very easy to furnish the space provided by your host, because you can install many framework applications through the QuickInstall icon within your cPanel.Without the hosting services, you won't have a place for your files to reside, so your domain would then become like a disconnected phone number in the phone directory, and your site files would have nowhere to stay.Site FilesThe site files are what your visitors and potential customers actually see when going to site such as your products and services. The site files are the same as any other file you normally use, like a .jpg photograph, or .mp3 music file. Though, website files are also .php files or .html files, which are PHP scripts or html pages respectively.The web-hosting server knows how to read these files, which explain how the webpage looks or instruct the server to do a series of computations. These computations are things like figuring out what blog article it's supposed to send back to the viewer, or what forum post it's supposed to send back.. . . continue reading on HostGator
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What is a Domain Name? See our ABC Guide to Domain Names for Beginners (Website Builder Expert)

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Courtesy of Jeremy Wong from Website Builder Expert-----What is a domain name? This seems to be such a basic thing, but it’s not always THAT easy especially if you’re a beginner.  When we decided to build our first website a few years ago, we had no idea what a domain name was, and what issues we needed consider so we can set things up properly.We were concerned about privacy, how to connect / disconnect a domain name from a website, if a .com or .net is better, costs, etc.Are these some concerns you share as well?Sure, it all sounds very basic to people who have experiences with building websites. But for a beginner, it all can feel a bit uneasy. There are plenty of resources out there telling you in technical terms, what a domain name is. But that’s the problem, it’s a bit more technical and may not always be in plain English that normal people can easily understand. You’re probably not too interested in the technical ins and outs of how a domain name actually works. You’re probably more interested in how to practically manage the domain name, and what potential issues you should be aware of.This short guide is written to go over the basics of what you need to know about domain names – in plain English.Let’s get going!Top 10 Questions About Domain NamesClick on the Questions to the Answer:1. What is a domain name?2. Are domain names and websites separate things?3. Free vs paid domain names.4. Where can I buy a domain name?5. How much does it cost to register a domain name?6. Can I purchase a domain name directly from a website builder?7. Can I transfer my domain name if I change website builders?8. Should I purchase a domain name through a registrar or a website builder?9. Are domain names with .com always preferable?10. Should I protect my personal information with private registration?11. Other Useful Resources. . . Continue reading the full article on Website Builder Expert 
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Successful Art and Artist Websites Do's and Don'ts: How to Build a Website that Works (ArtBusiness.com)

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Courtesy of Alan B at ArtBusiness.com-----The mantra for a successful art or artist website has been and continues to be "Keep it fast, simple, easy and organized." Navigation and content must be straightforward in order to attract visitors in the first place and keep them on the site once they get there. First-time visitors to any artist website should know as quickly as possible where they are, who the artist is, what their art looks like, what it's about, why it's worth seeing (and hopefully worth buying), and how to move around in order to get wherever they want to go. Sites that lack these basics or make other common errors won't be able to attract and hold visitors, and will likely end up lost in the vast morass of nonfunctional and confusing art websites that overpopulate the Internet.Before we get going here, and in the interest of you who think artist websites are no longer necessary, that having a social networking presence is all you need, the sad truth is you have no control over your content on social networking sites because they're the ones in charge, not you. They can change the rules at any time, remove posts they deem inappropriate, become outdated, disappear off the Internet, completely change direction, or at worst, kick you off altogether. Regardless of how fabulous you think social networking is or how large your following, YOUR WEBSITE IS THE ONLY PLACE ONLINE WHERE YOU CONTROL THE SHOW and no one else. You and only you decide what to post, when to post it, how long it stays there, when to change it, where to put it, when to move it or when to take it down. You can gamble all you want on social networking, but always remember-- having your own website is a sure bet you never lose. So in the interest of better artist websites everywhere, here's a list of what to do and what to avoid in order to assure yourself maximum visibility and an effective web presence online:Get your own domain name and avoid free web hosting services. Free web hosting is never free and it's always lame. "Free" websites torture visitors with all kinds of distracting advertisements or other obtrusive text and graphics. At worst, maybe half of the screen shows your art while the other half, controlled by the host site, looks like a circus. Your art often ends up in direct competition with all kinds of commercial crap and hardly any art looks good under those circumstances. Furthermore, free sites give the impression that either you can't afford your own website or domain name or worse yet, that you don't care enough about your art to bother buying your own domain in order to make it look its best online. The good news is that basic websites with good functionality hardly cost anything these days.Don't use third-party advertising on your sites, especially for goods or services unrelated to your art. Sure, you may make a little pocket change from click-throughs, but any advertising is distracting to visitors and your art will suffer for it.Make sure your website looks the same on Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Firefox and Safari. The same website can look great on one browser and terrible on another, or worse yet, work on one browser but be completely nonfunctional on another. Test yours on all major browsers before going public.Your website should also be mobile-friendly. More and more people are browsing the web on mobile devices, and the number is only increasing. You want your art and website to look its best no matter how people are viewing it..... . . CONTINUE reading at ArtBusiness.com(img source)
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The Art of WordPress: Portfolio Solutions for Artists

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Courtesy of Monica Danna @ COLAB Click on the link to download the presentation.
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Build a Killer Online Portfolio in 9 Easy Steps

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Courtesy of TUTS+Every freelancer should have an online portfolio. You’ve got one, right? If not, skip to the last paragraph of this post. It’s written for you.If you do have one, you can breathe a sigh of relief. You’re halfway there.Building your portfolio is easy. The hard part is making it good. A killer portfolio does more than just showcase your work. It transforms visitors into clients. Best of all, it’s an automatic work generator.In this post, I want to show you how to take your online portfolio to the next level.1. ASK THE QUESTIONOnline portfolios tend to come in one of three shapes: a blog, a website, or a dedicated solution (something that’s just a portfolio, without any of the extra stuff).The question I’d like you to have in mind as you read this is: how well does my site answer the questions potential clients are likely to have? . . . read more
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Quick Guide: Photographing Prints and Paintings

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 Artists and designers need high quality documentation of their prints and paintings for print portfolios, websites, graduate school applications, and for museum and gallery record keeping. If you carefully follow this guide and take the necessary time, you’ll get great photographs of your work. tools:  digital camera (not a point and shoot), tripod, thumb tacks, tape, 2 lights, tape measure, small level, Photoshop or other image retouching software.   1. Secure your painting or print flat against a wall 3 or 4 feet up from the floor away from any windows or unwanted light. Use thumbtacks or tape for prints. A table pushed against the wall will
 provide a ledge to set a painting on. Straighten the print/painting on the wall. Use a level.  (see fig. a)     . . . view more at Columbia College Chicago
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8 Ways to Quickly Improve Your Website

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When was the last time that you thoroughly checked and edited your art blog or website to see that everything was in order? I mean going through your website page by page, post by post and image by image to see if everything was labeled, titled, tagged and in proper order?Like most of us, since we are all very busy, I am sure that the answer is “Geez, I don’t know”If you can take some time to look at your art blog and website with a critical eye, you might be surprised at what you find and what needs to be corrected, fixed or reworked. Once you take the time do this, your site should begin to perform much better in readability, effectiveness and in your search ranking. Take a look at some of the following areas of your art blog or website that probably will need some fixing or fine tuning . . . read more at FineArtTips.com 
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18 Tips To Bring Visitors To Your Artist Website

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Suffering from low-traffic blues on your artist website? Your number of visitors is only limited by you! If you have a big enough imagination, are willing to think outside the box, and don’t mind some serious old-fashioned elbow-grease you can bring in a nice consistent stream of art-hungry visitors.Lets look at some simple but effective techniques to attract those art hungry fish to your website!:1. Make a list of galleries that feature work of a similar style to yours. Send them a letter of introduction and invite them to visit and review your website. Include a postcard with an excellent piece of your work.2. Pay to use an email marketing list focused on decorators, interior designers, or galleries.3. Join your local chamber of commerce and get your website listed in the business listings on their website.4. Have a monthly open studio and promote it each time with adds in the free section (normally community events) of your local newspaper. Include your website’s URL5. Send out regular online and offline press releases every time you have a significant event or achievement.6. Contact your old school or college alumni and ask to be added to the alumni listings on their website.. . . read more at ArtMarketingSecrets.com  
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SEO For Artists: Share Google’s Love For Art!

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Courtesy of Art Marketing SecretsMany artists say that SEO is a waste of time because Word-of-Mouth marketing is more powerful. Let me say that from my experience nothing else compares with word-of-mouth – a referral from a happy client or partner is undoubtedly the “gold standard” in marketing. It comes with an instant level of trust and positions you much closer to closing a sale.But if that is the case why do other businesses engage in so much extra marketing and advertising activity? Why would they do that if word-of-mouth is so powerful? The answer is because they want to grow their business as much as possible (as should you) and they recognize that if they only use word-of-mouth they are missing many potential clients. Do you want to miss out on clients? Search Engine Marketing is part of what we call the “marketing attraction phase”. This is where you attract potential clients who generally don’t know about you at all. They don’t know your name – they only know that they are looking for art of a certain style. They could be individuals or they could be art dealers or art licensing reps. The point is – they want what you have but they aren’t connected to anyone who knows you so they will never hear about you through word-of-mouth. The “attraction phase” can include a number of different marketing methods including SEO, Social Networking, Snail Mail marketing to galleries and dealers, networking with local arts organizations, galleries, etc. The optimum mix depends on your art and personality . . . read more at ArtMarketingSecrets.com 
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