Websites are still important in 2017. Many people in the online world will argue that having your own website becomes irrelevant when you are using all of the Social Media platforms out there. Some bloggers will only use sites like Facebook, LinkedIn (Pulse) or medium (probably all of them). This is called social media blogging.
However personally we think having your own website is very important. With the ever growing market power of Facebook, Google and Co. the dependency on these services is increasing. The advantage of having your own website is that you actually own the traffic to your website. It’s your anchor in the online world and it is still important to guide people to your website and acquire their contact details yourself.
But where to start? Should I do it myself? What costs can I expect when I get a freelancer to do it? How much effort does it require a good friend who knows how to do it? What technology is out there and which suits my purposes best?
We will try to answer some of these questions, but bear in mind, we are not reinventing the wheel here. There is tons of useful material out there on youtube.com and google.
How do I define the needs of a web project?
Before you start your own website ask yourself the following three questions:
- What am I trying to accomplish with my website?
- What is my budget/time I want to invest?
- Who am I targeting?
So let’s do this exemplary with an artist. As an artist you want to show your portfolio, give an overview of your bio and inform people what your current exhibitions are. It’s the virtual edition of your business card.
Most of you artists out there probably don’t have a budget and only want to invest limited time, because you would rather be standing in the studio and create some artwork.
Your target audience would be prospective buyers and galleries who might be interested in representing you.
So with this information at hand you can easily say that something like jimdo.com or wix.com or any of the onboard website builders that almost every big hoster has these days will be right for you to start with. Expect to pay 50-100 Euros a year. You will be able to do everything yourself. But with these options customization is limited and sometimes does require a programmer (this is part of the business model of platforms like jimdo – if you want it custom you need a developer).
With time passing by and your growing need for customization you might want to look at something like WordPress. WordPress offers the opportunity to have a great custom page without actually doing any coding. It’s very doable to dive deep into wordpress if you are willing to invest the time even if you are not a techie. There is tons of great tutorial material out there (we will provide links at the bottom of this article) that will really make you an expert in WordPress. Expect a time invest of 2-3 hours a day over the course of 2-3 weeks before you will be online with your page. You might actually start enjoying building your own website, making you more comfortable with using technology.
Now if you are a gallerist or working at a museum your needs might be different. You might need extensive online gallery, a login area, user roles etc. at this point you might want to contact somebody to get you started with, but don’t trust these people out there who say “Oh don’t use WordPress it is unsafe” or “Use this system x it is far better than y” – developers are mostly focused on either WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, or Typo3 (the big 4 CMS – Content Management Systems). Each system has their strengths and weaknesses but all of them are good systems and capable of fulfilling your needs. WordPress is just the most widely used and security issues around WordPress evolve because people don’t update their versions which leaves gaps in the security – the overall system is just as safe or unsafe as any other. So toss these opinions into the bin. A good freelancer will ask for your needs and advise accordingly. He will not try to sell you some system because he only knows one particular CMS – if he sees you need something he cannot provide he will guide you to someone who can.
Only really complex web projects require a custom programmes system – like Glarify.com – otherwise most of the time WordPress will do the job and most people know how to use it (put content into it).
What can I expect to spend?
Of course you can always pay a freelancer to do your website. Expect to pay somewhere between 1.000 to 5.000 Euros for a WordPress page (or Joomla) if a Freelancer is doing it. It really depends on how many pages (different pages on one site) you want, do you need logos and layouts, a contact form etc.
So if you have a friend who can do this for you, bear in mind that it actually will require some time on his end and you might want to compensate his efforts.
If you are a museum, institution or gallery you needs might vary. You should be looking at somewhere between 5.000 – 20.000 EUR depending on your particular needs, but in that region you might have the requirement to connect your website to your customer database in order to get some automation and avoid manual labour. There might be several people using that side for content management so you need user roles.
Watch out especially in the art community there are still some dodgy offerings like “pay me 50 EUR a month and I do a WordPress site for you and keep it running – minimum contract time 36 months” – saw an offering where you just get a standard free WordPress theme.
If I choose WordPress and want to do it yourself, start with a Premium Theme (they cost 50-60 EUR one time) and customize that.
Great WordPress Tutorial:
A little something on WordPress and security:
Great WordPress Communities:
Buy Premium Themes: