annelawsonart.com.au !!

Yes! I have my own website, at my own domain name:   annelawsonart.com.au 

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(Does little dance around the room……)

I would love it if you took a look. (I’ll just continue my little dance around the room!!)

It’s still a work-in-progress. Some pages are still to be set up, some need tweaking, and I am sure there are glitches and typos. Please let me know if you find any. Typos? Links that don’t work? Sentences that are unclear? Problems with pages loading?

As you know I have been on the quest for a website for about a month. Someone wrote that every artist should have their own website that is just more than just an online showplace. It should have an online store as well. If it’s doesn’t, the website is almost useless. It helped me decide what I wanted from my site:

  • a place to showcase my art
  • a way to sell my art
  • a way to automatically link to my newsletter subscription
  • a way to blog
  • and to have control, to not be at the mercy of changing algorithms and price rises.

Last time I wrote I was wondering about sites like Shopify or Bigcommerce. These was great feedback, and useful links to follow through. Thank you. The more I delved the more I realised that sites like those were not really what I was looking for.

Firstly they are expensive, around $30 a month for the basic platform. That was a big commitment for each month, and frankly, unrealistic for me. Secondly, it’s for higher volume sales than I would be generating, and more mainstream products. Then I wasn’t sure that they would give me the ‘showcase’ space that I also wanted. Someone wrote “If you sell just a few investment pieces or special orders each month, less costly options may be better choices.”

So, that lead me further, and WordPress kept popping up. Despite having blogged on WordPress for quite a few years, I really had no idea about it. I assumed it was a big tech giant, owned, like Facebook and Google. I knew there was this ‘other’ WordPress (WP), WordPress.org, but really knew nothing about it. Maybe it was just a fancy blogging site?

I now know a lot more. (And warning, I am not a tech person, so I may well have got the wrong end of the computer stick here.) WP is the software, a content management system, created and maintained by different individuals. It’s developed by the community around WP, with volunteer testers.

To work it needs a host. For those of us using WP.com, which is is the case if you have wordpress in your domain name, the host is already provided. To be able to work on WP.org you need to select your own host.

The advantages that I could see with WP.org were:

  • Lots of sites use it. Apparently about 25% of all sites on the web use WP.org (Hands up if you already knew that!?) There is an entire industry built around it.
  • Security is very good; updates are frequent.
  • It is low cost, with free themes
  • It performs well, loads quickly and is mobile friendly.
  • You can plug in eCommerce

The disadvantages worried me a bit. I read things like “easily accessible, but some prior knowledge does help”. How much prior knowledge? Or that some knowledge of coding may be useful. (Spoiler alert….So far I haven’t needed any coding, but I am doing the easy part of the website.)

So the next step was to select the host, the server that stores my website, using WP software. Again more reading and comparing. I weighed up two hosts, Bluehost and Siteground, and decided on the latter.

It’s so hard to judge these things. It made me aware of bias in reviewing sites. Did they have affiliate links to one host? I became aware of the date of the review. A lot can change in a year. But you have to make a decision. I decided against BlueHost because they wanted an upfront payment of 3 years. As well they are owned by EIG, a company that seems renown for buying up companies and then cutting costs at the expense of performance. There is, according to some reviews, terrible support and poor loading times.

Siteground had much better reviews. It asked for a yearly upfront fee, but offered a good deal for the first 12 months. And Catherine, at Hillview Embroidery uses it too. She has been a great mentor through it all!

So, I took the plunge, signed up with Siteground, linked up with WP, and began to work on the site. But that next stage will be a post for next time.