I have been studying towards my Bachelor of Arts & Media non-stop since the beginning of last year having taken summer papers over the Christmas holidays. When I handed in my last paper for the semester on Monday, I was excited at the prospect of having a whole month to myself with no pressing study commitments.
What was I to do, at first I thought nothing! but that's not my style haha... I then remembered something that has been on my to-do list for a very long time... a website. I was going to build it myself, like most things I do, I do them myself. I thought this would take me my whole month off to do, but within a few days my new site www.jessicashirley.nz was live! wow.
I had researched a lot about creating a website last year so it was just a matter of going over my research and starting to build. I am lucky to have very supportive friends who have given me their expert advice and tips.
The first thing I needed to do was create a domain name the www. address for my website. I decided that I wanted it as short as possible, easy to remember and simple. Although mainly a photographer, I didn't want to pigeon hole myself to that, as I also do video and never know what else could eventuate in the future.
I was given advice to use ditch .co and just use .nz at the end as .co is fazing out and really redundant now, it did mean 'company' but now people are using their own ends for their addresses you can have anything.
Once I had a domain name chosen I needed to check nobody else was using it and if not, buy it.
It was available and I brought it through www.discountdomains.co.nz I was recommended them, they are a NZ company and a bit more expensive than some of the other places.. but they have no hidden costs. I have already rung them for help when building my site, they answered straight away and were very knowledgeable helping me.
After my research last year I came up with two of the most recommended web hosting sites that have web building tools and templates.
Word press and Squarespace
Wordpress is the most powerful and largest site, it is also one of the most popular. I decided to go with Sqaurespace though as it was also recommended and is easier to use than Wordpress, - it is very simple, but has everything I need.
Squarespace has a range of templates to choose from that you base your website on. Once I had chosen one, it was just a matter of signing up (they charge a yearly fee which can also be paid monthly) and then linking my domain name to the site, which was easier than I thought - being about to call Discount Domains and get their help was great.
The template was set up, I just changed it and adjusted to suit my needs, the templates are able to be fully customised. There was some features I wanted to add to my site for example an 'age gate' (warning that comes up for mature audiences) for my fine art gallery. I also wanted people to be able to call my phone numbers from their smart phones. This used code, I am not a web coder, but was able to research and to my amazement I did my first web coding and it worked!
I was able to create a cover page that people saw when visiting my page during construction.
The cover page had a button to connect visitors to my Facebook page.
This page wasn't up long as my site was live less than 24hrs later.
I am very impressed with Squarespace hosting site and highly recommend them my favourite things are:
- Ease of use
- Quality imagery - all my images are displayed in very high quality
- Great contemporary designs and templates
- All the functions and features I need
- Links in easily with many other platforms - Facebook, Linked In, Vimeo, Flickr, 500px
If anyone needs any help or advice building a website feel free to contact me I'm happy to help.