Setting up your own website is not difficult. Within a day your portfolio can be online, ready for viewers. I am going to use WordPress.org as the web publishing platform for your website. This is the same platform many web designers use. I will be using www.godaddy.com and www.hostgator.com as my references for the necessary components of creating a website. I had a great experience with these two companies, but am in no way being endorsed by Go Daddy or Host Gator.
Step 1: Register a domain
When setting up a WordPress website, you must first purchase your domain name. The domain name is the website name or what people will type into the browser to find your site. i.e., www.myartwebsite.com . One of the most popular domain registers is www.godaddy.com . There are many sites to register domains though, and some hosting companies can sell you a domain name as well. What you are paying for is typically one year of ownership of that domain name. You will have to renew your domain once a year. I pay around $10.00 a year for www.tulsaartspot.com. This renewal can be set up automatically and you will be notified via email prior to your renewal date.
Step 2: Find a host
A host makes websites available to the Internet by organizing and storing data in their servers. In other words, the data for your site is not kept on your personal computer; it is kept in a secure server in a building somewhere in the U.S. Some hosting companies also provide tools and around the clock customer service to answer questions regarding your site. I have had issues in the past with Tulsa Art Spot. In one instance, I sent an email to the online support from my host, www.hostgator.com. Within minutes, the representative had not only answered my question, but he went ahead a fixed the issue for me. I pay Host Gator $10.00 per month for hosting on unlimited domains.
If you purchase your domain from a separate company than your host, you will have to change the domains “name server” to point to your new host. For example, I bought www.tulsaartspot.com from www.godaddy.com and used href=”http://www.hostgator.com”> as my host. You can find help here on how to change the name server to point to your host: http://help.godaddy.com/article/664?locale=en . (Keep in mind this is Go Daddy’s website). When I changed my name server to point towards Host Gator, I just called Go Daddy’s customer service and he walked me through the process step-by-step while I was on the phone with him.
Step 3: Download WordPress
Go to your cpanel through the host website (Your log on info. should have been emailed to you). In the software section, click on the Quick Install button. Under blog software, click WordPress. Then, install! Follow directions. Here is a link to a video to show you how to do this step-by-step: http://www.hostgator.com/apps/wordpress-hosting.shtml and click on the WordPress Quick Install video.
Step 4: Set up your WordPress site
To sign into you WordPress site to access your “dashboard” which is basically your wordpress site control panel, type in your site name, plus /wp-admin at the end; i.e., www.myartwebsite.com/wp-admin . Then type in the user name (usually admin) and the password emailed to you. Now that you have access to your dashboard, take some time to get familiar with it and fill in your profile details, settings, etc.
As an artist website/portfolio, you probably do not want a blog setting. Instead, go to your dashboard and click on “appearances” and then “themes”. Choose “install themes;” and if you click on photoblogging, you will find free themes that better serve as portfolios than blogs.
If you can not find a theme you like on the free themes option, you can google “photoblog wordpress themes” and discover many options. I recommend www.themeforest.com. You can pay $20-40 for an high quaility theme. You will have to follow directions once purchased on how to download onto your website.
If you are technically challenged, this may seem extreamly confusing. YOU CAN DO IT! It takes time to familiarize yourself with your hosting panel and dashboard. There is no need to pay thousands of dollars to a webdesigner unless you want a completley custom site.