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This is Part 2 of 2 on an article on how to build a promotional website for entertainers. Read Part 1 here.
So, how do you go about getting all these components so you can get your website up and running?
I will offer you two solutions that I think will fit best for entertainers. And I’m assuming you are not an IT programmer who can code and build your own website. Even if you are, there is no need to reinvent wheel given the technologies and options that are available today.
The DIY Easy Way
Traditionally, in order to build a website, you would need a web design software program and the skills to code and use it. Currently, there are simple-to-use intuitive website builders to create your own website.
One such platform is www.Weebly.com. The website is extremely easy to use and you can build a simple beautiful-looking website. You do not need any coding knowledge or web design skills to build a website. Go to either website and sign up for an account (free or paid). The free account will have a link to Weebly.com at the bottom of every page.
You next need to register a Domain Name. For example, you can choose to do it with Weebly but it will cost $40 per year. They charge a premium for the domain name as a way to offset the cost of providing free hosting. If you want to save a bit of money, you can register your domain name at:
But, this will mean you will have one control panel to manage your domain name and one control panel on Weebly to manage your website.
Subsequently, you can map your domain name to your Weebly website through the Weebly control panel.
Login to your Weebly account and use the tools to choose a template and build your content with drag and drop options.
You will be limited to the templates available but, it will be more than sufficient as a basic functional promo website.
Another similar website is www.wix.com.
The Professional Easy Way
If you want to have a fully customized professional-looking website, I recommend building your website through this method.
Step 1 – Web Host & Domain Name Registration
Set up a web hosting account with a web hosting company. Most good web hosts will also allow you to register a domain name through them as well.
I recommend www.bluehost.com and I have a dedicated server account with them that hosts all my websites.
You can get started with a shared hosting account with as low $4.95 a month. If you are just hosting your promo website, a shared hosting account is more than sufficient for your needs. Unless you have multiple websites with lots of functionality that require significant bandwidth and storage space, you do not need a dedicated server or virtual private network.
Blue Host also offers a free domain name when you sign up with them so that is great cost savings as well.
Once you sign up for an account with a web host, you will use a username & password to login to a control panel. It is through this control panel that you can upload files, set up email accounts, manage domains and everything needed for the backend technical management of your website.
Do not worry too much about it for now.
Step 2 – Website Content Management Platform
You will need a platform to build your website. Traditionally, you would need a web designing software to build a website from scratch. Think of it as the building beams, concrete, brick, wood and materials needed to build a theatre.
However, there are now professional website platforms that have prepackaged these “raw materials” into components or modules that be used to easily build your website.
One of the most popular platforms is WordPress. WordPress is a free and open source content management system that features a plugin architecture and a template system. Its plugin architecture allows users and developers to extend its abilities beyond the core installation. WordPress has a database of over 30,000 plugins, each of which offers custom functions and features enabling users to tailor their sites to their specific needs.
The benefit of using a platform like WordPress is:
- It is cost effective.
- It is open source with multi-plugins that can be used to customize your website in almost anyway.
- The architecture makes it very easy to edit content including text, images and video embedding.
- You can easily upgrade and scale your website as needed.
- There are many web designers who are familiar with the WordPress platform.
Blue Host, the web host I recommend, is a partner of WordPress and integration between both service providers is very good.
Step 3 – Choose a Theme
The first step to building your website is to choose a theme. A theme is the look or visual appearance of the WordPress website that does not alter the information content or structure of the site.
Themes are flexible templates that can be highly customized in design, style, colours and fonts. Think if it as the paint job of a theatre. The billboard or signage on the theatre is like the header image of a website.
WordPress offers many free themes that you can use at: www.wordpress.org/themes
However, as a professional artiste, I recommend you buy a professional theme that will best suit your needs and reflect your style, feel and brand.
I have purchased fantastic themes at www.themeforest.net and highly recommend it. You can search through thousands of themes based on a number of parameters.
When you purchase the theme, you will download a zip file that contains all the files for the theme. Download the zip file and don’t worry about it now.
Step 3 – Hire a Web Designer
After you have chosen a theme you need to hire a web designer to build a website with the WordPress platform.
The best way to get a qualified designer is to look for one on www.Upwork.com. The Upwork website allows you to post jobs, search for freelance professionals, and solicit proposals. You can evaluate the contractors applying for the job and, once a contractor is selected, communications and files are exchanged through the Upwork system.
Sign up (it is free) and post a job for a web designer. When you post a job, specify the following:
The Web Designer must:
- Customize a theme (that is provided) based on the pages and features you require.
- Design a website header.
- Have experience with designing WordPress websites.
- Install your website on your Blue Host account.
- Set up email accounts.
- Provide documentation for content management. Documentation refers to information on how to edit your website content, components and widgets as necessary. Think of it as a user manual for your website.
- Complete the job by a specified deadline. (A week or two is sufficient)
On Upwork, you can choose to request for a quote for the project or for a per-hour fee.
Based on the approach I outlined above, the design fee for a basic customized template site should cost between US$300 – US$600.
You can find a web developer in India/ Pakistan to build you a site for US$50 but I do not recommend you do that.
Some things to consider when choosing the web designer:
- Check out the designer’s portfolio. Ensure they provide past work for WordPress specific websites.
- Assess their design sensibilities and choices and see if they gel with your own tastes. Designers from different cultures and countries may have very different tastes from yourself.
- Read the introductory note with Elancer’s proposal to see how serious, experienced and comfortable you are working with him/ her.
Once you have chosen your web designer and awarded the job to him/ her, you need to send the designer the downloaded zip file of your WordPress theme if you bought one or tell the designer the name of the free template you want.
You will need to give the designer your login info for the Blue Host account so that he/ she can set up the WordPress account and website.
The designer will build your website according to the pages/ subpages that you require. The designer can also offer advice on layout, menu styles and position of different elements like photo gallery, social media icons and embedded videos.
Step 4 – Content Development
Content development is like the interior decoration work of a theatre.
Your content comprises of your text, images and videos.
Besides the actual content, you must also think about the layout, font style, font size and how the text is presented.
The text must be easy to read and must be well-written so it provides concrete information and sells your show.
After the website structure is built, it will be time to add content. You can do this yourself through the WordPress dashboard.
Here are some considerations for your website content:
- Good photographs make or break an artiste’s website. If you have to invest a lot of money into one thing, it is good photographs.
- You will need both promotional/ publicity shots and live performance photos.
- Many websites do not provide useful information that benefits a potential client. A potential client wants to know how you can add value to their show or event. So, provide as much information as you can on your shows in as concise format and layout as possible.
- Ensure the information is updated and relevant as well as well written and organized.
- If you require a copywriter to write your text, you can hire a freelancer from Upwork.com.
- If you are using a WordPress website, use the YouTube video embed feature to embed the video into your website. This allows you to use the YouTube platform but have it playing on your website. You do not need to upload it onto your website server.