I've had a few people ask about the experience of building my new website, so I thought I'd post the process here. I'm still very much in favor of hiring professionals, but I simply LOVE to do this kind of thing, so the tradeoff is that my site may not be quite as glamorous as a professionally designed one. I'll lay out what steps I took and how I was able to figure out how to make it the best that my level of experience could allow.
So....I started out by choosing to use Wordpress because I knew it was not supposed to be difficult, and the world seems to be moving there. To learn how to do this, I turned to my trusty tutor, www.lynda.com. I LOVE Lynda! Every time I have to learn any type of software or technology I go there first. The subscription price is well worth it, you can learn at your own pace, review, blah, blah, blah. You can also cancel at any time, so you could teach yourself something with just 1 month's fee. You would never get a class for that price, or even the price of a whole year.
I was using the self-hosted Wordpress because I wanted to be able to customize stuff and not have to stick to anyone else's plan. I purchased the most beautiful template. There are tons of free ones, but I'm incredibly detailed and have such a need to control my brand that I was happy to purchase. I was about 1/2 way done, and had finangled stuff to look just the way I wanted, but it kept nagging at me that this particular theme had no integrated shopping cart, nor could I macguyver it. I could have simply set up the shop page to link to a shopify store, but I really wanted to simplify. I originally had wanted my blog and website together, which was another reason I chose wordpress, and didn't care about a shopping cart, but that soon changed. I really believe that demand for handmade is going to soar in the next few years. I think people are realizing that so much stuff is the same, no matter where you go, and are yearning for true originality. We'll see:). BTW, there are many Wordpress sites that can integrate with shopping carts, just none that fit what I was looking for.
So....I now wanted blog/website/shop functionality, so I hopped over to Shopify. Added bonus, it's a great Canadian success story. My original web designer, Kenda Blum of Kiwibcreative, recommended it, so I checked it out. I LOVED what I saw. Shopify does have a subscription fee, and I chose the $30/month package. I realize that so many people want free sites, but remember, everything is math to me. $360 for a year is less than I pay for most of my shows, so why would I not pay that, especially when there is no overhead, no hauling materials, no setup, no days away from home? Think about it:)
I purchased another beautiful template for use with Shopify, and left Wordpress behind. I still pine over the beautiful Wordpress template I bought, but it's all good. The shopping cart functionality of Shopify is so elegant. Also, although there is great online support for Shopify, I once again turned to Lynda.com. Shopify is SO DARNED EASY to use. Can't say enough good things about it.
Regarding my domain name drama, that was not a Shopify or me issue. A simple error at my registrars about 3 years ago resulted in my domain being locked for 2 months. I couldn't wait, so I went ahead. When it is unlocked, I will repoint the old .ca domain to my new .com.
- If you don't LOVE tech and design stuff, hire a professional. Your website is often your first impression.
- Sign up with Wordpress or Shopify.
- Sign up with Lynda.com and learn how to work with either.
- Pick a beautiful template that compliments your brand.
- Make full use of online support.
- Go Live.