I Don’t Know html. How Do I Build a Website?

ARTIST: Eric Downs of Yours Truly (Pittsburgh, PA)
QUESTION: I was wondering if you could suggest a few things for me to research in regards to building a website. I’ve researched options like the cost of domain registration and hosting fees, but outside of that, I’m relatively oblivious. Do you think you could provide me with some guidance?

ANSWER: Hey Eric. Yea I think the biggest hangup preventing artists from owning their own website is not know html code.  Yea its easy to get someone to design a site for you, but you still need to be responsible for maintaining it.  Here are some great options.

1. Bandzoogle. I’ve heard really great things about Bandzoogle. Artists have told me its great because it helps you design a site without needing to have any html knowledge.  BZ handles all hosting and you can claim your desired domain name through them.  The minimum fee is $9.99/ month. This is more costly than registering a domain and buying annual hosting space on your own…but the ease and user-friendly approach of BZ is what sells the idea.

2. WordPress. Everyone uses WordPress. Believe it or not, many of the sites you visit today are created with WordPress. You have to register your own domain and hosting. And it’s definitely necessary to have some html and css knowledge to establish your site. But once everything is in place, updating your pages is easy.  Wordpress has thousands upon thousands of themes (i.e. designs) that you can pick for the layout of your website. Here are two ways to go about using WordPress.

  • Consider having someone do all the setup (if you can’t), then go in and do all the tweaking. My sister’s band,  The Peace Project,  just did this with their site, but you might never know it’s WordPress. She added and updates the content when she wants.
  • Consider having someone do the setup and design. Maybe you can’t find a WordPress theme that you like. Create one. This is a bit more work and would also require a third-party if you don’t know how to do this. I had someone custom make a design for my website, www.joyike.com. Css and html knowledge that I didn’t have was required. But it feels great not having to worry about using html when updating

Good luck with your website! I hope it goes well!
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6 Comments on “I Don’t Know html. How Do I Build a Website?”

  1. Jim Says:

    I didn’t know anything about building a website but I followed the video tutorials here (http://buildawebsite.ie) and it was very easy. I own my site now and I can make any changes I like to it. Good luck!

  2. DC Cardwell Says:

    You can build beautiful sites completely free at http://sites.google.com. There are lots of templates to choose from and you don’t have to know any html code. I built one recently in a couple of hours and it looks fantastic. You can easily upload photos, embed Youtube videos, and even include forms for people to submit data (eg ask questions, post comments etc.)

    I think there’s a limit of 100MB storage but that should be enough for most people. To put my music on it I just included a Reverbnation widget and it enables visitors to play all my music, watch my videos, see photos, check gig dates etc.

    Unfortunately the one I’m building isn’t quite ready to go public yet as it’s designed for an album that isn’t quite ready to release yet, but if anyone would like to see it, just message me with your email address and I can let you see it.

    ~ DC

  3. midwayfair Says:

    Front Page is also helpful. I know HTML but I still use it (or I did before I moved the entire site to wordpress) just because it’s still easier to just type in something that looks like a word processor. The split screen mode is a good teaching tool, too. You do something cool down the bottom and see what it looks like in HTML up top.

  4. grassrootsy Says:

    Thanks for the great suggestions, all!! DC, I think we’d all love to see the website. Please post when it goes live! Thanks!

  5. DC Cardwell Says:

    Actually – I made a copy of my Google site and removed some bits. And other parts you won’t be able to see if you’re not a “collaborator”. I’m gradually turning it into a public site.

    So you can get the gist of it here…


    And not one bit of html was used in its creation!

    ~ DC

  6. Alex Says:

    A lot of big bands in the UK do not have dedicated websites. I don’t think its as necessary as people seem to claim. My band The Sun Explodes, I got a friend to knock up a “landing page” with links to all our social networking sites and a live feed from our twitter. Some bands simply redirect their URL to their Myspace or Facebook.

    People seem to think the main reason to have a website rather than some social networking site is to appear more processional, but like I said many bands doing 40 or 50 date tours are managing fine without one.

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