Creating a Website
How a novice struggled to get a site up and running.
My site: www.johnmccloskeyartist.co.uk With hindsight, building a website during lock down was quite an absorbing (as well as daunting) project. Firstly I needed to make use of one of the many sites that offer the tools to do the job well. I chose Wix as it consistently came out top of all the sites available. As with anything new in the world of technology, it took quite a while to get my head round the 'dashboard' and the editing tools to use. Fortunately you can save your work constantly and set up any number of draft sites without the need to publish any. Always a good idea, however, to give each 'try' a different name so that you can find it easily to pick up where you left off. I ended up with around a dozen draft sites to play around with. Some of the Wix tutorials on YouTube were helpful but so many are delivered in a slick, fast-talking style that often leaves the novice frustrated at being left behind! I realise Wix exist to make money but I did find their support when I was really stuck very helpful, either by phone or email. They always phoned within 10 minutes of my submitting a cry for help (and they pay for the call!) I was luck (in retirement) to have the luxury of spending an hour or two each morning playing around on my site, changing this image, adding text, trying things out. All good fun. When I had reached the point where I felt my site was as good as I wanted, I was ready to 'publish'. There were only four pages so pretty simple when compared to the many artists' sites I had explored in my research. Publishing, however, was more difficult than I had anticipated and I had to call on Wix support several times to help me through. As I say, Wix call you, so no telephone bills. I decided to purchase my own site name or 'domain' at a cost of £20. I bought it from Ionos. I thought it looked better than having something along the lines of .wixsite tagged on the end of any domain name Wix may have offered me. Wix, as the 'host site', offer various deals to suit your site. The deal I chose was on offer at £60 for the year. So £80.00 to get the whole thing up and running. All in all the whole process of building the site was an enjoyable experience until the final hurdle. I couldn't understand why my site did not appear on Google when I typed in my name. How naive was I! It soon became apparent after hours of frustration that there is no guarantee that your name will pop up at the top of a Google search unless you jump through several hoops. These consisted of paying to use Google Ads to promote the site and setting up an email campaign! The helpful Wix adviser on the phone suggested I email 'around a thousand people' to get my site noticed. A thousand? I barely know fifty people! In the end I abandoned all thoughts of selling my soul to Google and simply sent my site URL address to friends, family and neighbours. Early days but I sold my first painting within a couple of hours which was very pleasing. Having my own website is good fun as a hobby and it's so uplifting to receive plaudits from friends who knew I painted but never really knew what sort of art I produced. Thankfully I am not relying on my art to pay the mortgage or put food on the table. Any sale is a bit of extra pocket money and will probably go towards having more work framed professionally. If anyone reading this is considering setting up their own site, I would be happy to answer any queries at [email protected] - not that I am in any way an expert, but I have picked up a few tips along the way.