What Does It Mean to Make a New Website?
You might think that making a new website would be about coming up with a visual layout - deciding how you want your site to look. And you'd be right: the way a site looks is the first thing to impact anyone who visits it.
For StarTomMusic.com, I wanted a site that would visually communicate as much as possible about who I am and what I do. So I wanted a warm, friendly music site. I wanted it to be straightforward, like me (I've been called "honest to a fault"). I wanted it to have a natural, wholesome feel, like the way I attempt to live my life and make my music. I wanted it to be playful and spiritual at the same time, to express my mission of nurturing joy and inspiration. So...... you can see how "just" the visual dimension has already become a complex thing.
Now that I have a fully operational site up and running, I invite you to check it out and tell me how well you think I accomplished these goals.
Naturally, there is a lot more to a site than this. In fact, that amount of background work that goes into a simple website is staggering. Who do you register your domain with? Who will host your site? Will you have your own site email? How will your site actually be designed and built? How do you want search engines to see you and find you? How many pages do you want? Will they all look the same? What will they say, what links will they include? What other material (music, images, documents, videos, etc) do you want to have on the site? Where should they be? Do you need/have permissions for any of these things? The questions go on and on and on... and if you are actually designing the site yourself, then the questions multiply dramatically as you choose everything from button styles, fonts, and colors to placement and function of every element on the page. No wonder I was feeling overwhelmed and daunted, and no wonder I put it off for so long.
The good news is that I heard a motivational talk with a simple message that got me moving: BEGIN YOUR PROJECT, and if you are feeling stuck, one technique offered was "do it badly." For me, that was the permission I needed. I already had an awful website, and I knew that even if I "did badly" at a new one, that things could only improve. I thought that I ought to be able to do a decent job at it, but having the emotional grace of the option of doing poorly gave me the traction I needed to get out of the rut.
The other thing I knew was that if I could simply find a drag-and-drop website builder that would actually work for me, that I would be home free. I knew that WIX was such a website builder, and had even made a sample site with them before. But back then I also knew that, because they are Flash-based, no one using an Apple product was going to be able to load the site! A friend told me that WIX had resolved the Apple/Flash battle, and is now compatible with Apple devices. Once she proved that to me by showing me her site running just fine on an iPhone, I was sold. I decided to bite the bullet and go with WIX, even at a higher yearly cost than my previous web host.
I don't love every single thing about WIX. In fact, it downright bothers me that choosing WIX for a host means that not only is basic hosting more expensive, but if you want a site-based email, that is an extra fee. Still, WIX is a great choice for someone who either has some design background (like I do), or who needs a site that will be fine with one of their many beautiful templates (I still used one of their templates as a starting point).
I kinda wish that I had some kind of endorsement deal with WIX, because once I use something and get excited about it, I often become what's called a "natural salesman." But I don't. And I paid for a premium membership so that their ads and logos don't show up on my own site. So I'm not marketing for WIX. But I AM suggesting that if you need a site of your own, and don't have a lot of (or any) expertise, that WIX is a high-quality resource. I'm grateful for their service because now I have a site that I'm actually proud of, even though I haven't added all the things I hope to add. And I can go add things anytime, which is what I'm spending the summer doing. And I can fix stuff easily, which is what I'll do when y'all start pointing out all the mistakes I've surely made :-) So maybe I "did it badly," but I DID IT. Please check out the rest of my site. And if you need a site of your own, consider WIX.