Just in case you are wondering, by putting CC in the photo, I am not saying that this is the most amazing website but have you ever tried to find a cool picture that relates to websites. It’s harder than you think.

Anyway

Many of you are thinking about creating a website to showcase your work or passion. There are so many reasons why having your own website can be helpful and great. Some of you are looking for your first photo or design site. You just want a place that you create that will showcase your work in a professional manner. On the other hand, if you are the casual artist with a social side, you can create a blog so people can keep updated on your life. You can create a fun environment for people to interact with you.

I have had some crazy experiences with building my sites that range from blogs to “easy set up” services so instead of going into a “which is best”, I am just going to skip ahead and tell you what ended up working the best for me. The method that I use now is by far the best and most customizable way that I have found. Both Capture Cafe and my photography site is built with wordpress. Not the “wordpress.com” option but the free and open site platform. The reason I do this is because I can not only get the benefit of a static site, If I want, I can also blog my work. My photography site is built like a static site but with many levels of use.

Update: I forgot to mention one of the biggest reasons I host my own site rather than use the “build your own site” services is a lot of them have hidden things in the small text. Some of them say that they own everything you post, some charge you a lot of money once you start getting lots of traffic or if you want something more. I have found that you end up paying more money or wasting more time by using these services. The benefit of using the method I am talking about is you own your content and nobody has any legal control over your site. Just skip the hassle and own your site

This is how I do it:

Step 1:
Get your domain!

This is a pretty important but self explanatory. I usually use GRAPHICpilot.com. The reason I do this is because of the service. I have used large registering services (godaddy anyone?) in the past and have only ever had bad experiences. Going through GRAPHICpilot.com has allowed for more personal service when I need something changed. On a side note, when picking a domain name, try to find something that is easy to remember and type. I would try and stay away from things like “www.nucl3arph0t0gr4phy203910.com”. Most of the amazing site domain names are taken but if you keep searching for a while, you will find one that fits.
Side note: If your name is available, I would buy it just in case.

Step 2:
Get your hosting!

I use Hostgator for my hosting. They have some great plans for unlimited bandwidth and unlimited storage. I currently pay $12 a month for my photography site and I have everything that I would need. They are really really simple to use and really easy to navigate. You can use any hosting service you want but they are all pretty much the same. I just have found better service with hostgator. When I was setting up my new site, I made a mistake and their live chat fixed it in 5 minutes. It was great!
Side note: I have used godaddy in the past. They are on my list of the top 4 companies I can’t stand. I have had nothing but horrible service from them. Not to mention the hidden charges and nearly impossible cancellation process

Step 3:
Easily install wordpress!

If you are using Hostgator then scroll to near the bottom and you will see a icon that says “quickinstall”. After that click on wordpress, type in your email website name and presto, it is created. You will get an e-mail with a confirmation.
Side Note: The control panel in hostgator has so many other neat options. All of them are relatively easy to set up.

Step 4:
Find a theme!

The next part is fun because this is where you get to choose what you want your site to look like. There are tons of services, free or paid, that will give you themes. You can find hundreds of themes when you click on “Appearance” in your wordpress dashboard. If you are like me and like more options you can visit WordPressthemebase.com for some great free themes or you can buy some really well developed themes at Theme forest. All you do is download the theme (a .zip folder) and upload the theme.
Side note: If you are looking for some good photography themes, check out this site for some free photo themes.

Step 5:
Develop away!
If you are happy with the theme you chose, then you may be done but if you are like me (and know how to do it) you can tweak it a bunch from there. On all my sites, I actually get into the coding of the site but if you don’t want to do that, some themes will come with some really great customization tools.

Now, this post is pretty general in that I don’t provide a lot of technical specifics. I just wanted you give you a good idea of where to begin. IF you are a nerd like me, you will have tons of fun customizing your new site. If you aren’t too technically savvy then you will still have a really fun time with some great customizable themes. If you don’t even want to deal with it and need some help then you can visit my buddy over at GRAPHICpilot.com. He offers everything from hosting to website development and does a kick butt job doing it.

There you go, that’s what I have for ya. Feel free to comment.

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One Comment to “Setting Up Your Amazing Website”

  • Great guide on setting up a wordpress blog. I like how easy Hostgator makes it to setup no having to use FTP.

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The goal of Capture Cafe is to provide down to earth information for amateurs and professionals in the digital art world. We are here to help develop your skill, passion or profession. Make sure to follow us on one of the services above so you can get updated on all that we have to offer.

-Aaron Patterson creator

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