When I started Creative Web Biz all I had was a dream. A dream of making a living while doing what I love. It took me a while to get where I am right now (and I am still just at the beginning), ut I have already learned a lot on the way. And I know that there are many artists, cooks, writers, musicians and other creatives out there who feel that it’s time to get serious and build a business around their talents. That is why I started Creative Web Biz. I want you to follow your own dreams and find your own happiness . Why? Let’s just say I’m convinced that the more happy people we are here on planet earth, the better for all of us!
Following are five easy steps that will help you set up your own creative web biz:
1. GET A WEB HOST AND A DOMAIN NAME:
What is a web host and why do I need one? A web host basically lets you rent web space on which you can then install your own blog or site.Many of you might already have a blog on blogger, wordpress.com or typepad but the problem with not self-hosted blogs is that you have no real control over your blog. If for example Blogger decides to close your account, there is very little you can do and you will lose your content, your readers and basically the foundation of your web biz. This has happened to more people than you would think and you don’t want it to happen to you. This is why I recommend you start a self-hosted blog (you can easily import any exsisting blog posts from all major blogging sites) . To do so you need a web host. I use BlueHost. They are number one on wordpress.org‘s recommnded web host list and they offer an easy installment of wordpress and a free domain name to go with the account. You can get one for only 6.95$ a month.
If you already have a name for your creative web biz, great. If you don’t, here is a short list of things you might want to consider:
- short and memorable makes it easy for people to find you
- your own name is always a good choice
- if it’s more than one word, use hyphens for better reading (rose-seymour.com instead of roseseymore.com)
Remember, one domain name is free (if you already have one you can transfer it) if you sign up with a host.
2. INSTALL WORDPRESS:
3. THEMES + PLUGINS:
Now that your blog is installed you want to find a theme that represents what your creative web biz is about. I listed ten of them in my ten wordpress themes for artists post. They contain both free ones as well as premium ones.
The first place to look for themes would definitively be the the official wordpress themes directory. There alone you will find over 750 skins for your blog.
If you have some money to spend , you can also go for a premium theme. My theme was created by Thad Allender from GraphPaperPress. He designed this one as well as all his other themes especially with artists, designers and photographers in mind. Go check it out.
Best WordPress Themes has a great list of more than 60 themes that are certainly also worth looking at.
Plugins are modules that add to or improve the core functionality of wordpress. They will help you customize your blog and just like there is a themes directory there is also a plugins directory with over 4000 plugins. Some of these plugins are essential but not very obvious to newbie creative entrepreneurs :
All In One SEO Pack – Out-of-the-box search engine optimization for your WordPress blog
WP- Super Cache – Very fast caching plugin for WordPress. It will help to speed up your blog.
WordPress Database Backup – On-demand backup of your WordPress database
Google XML Sitemaps – This plugin will generate a sitemaps.org compatible sitemap of your WordPress blog which is supported by Ask.com, Google, MSN Search and YAHOO
You can also start out by browsing the most popular plugins to see what others use.
4. START SELLING:
As independent artists we all have something to sell, be it paintings, crafts, music, a book or a theme we developed. There are three different ways to do this. You can either sell through a hosted shop solution like Etsy or you start selling directly from your blog or your Facebook and MySpace profiles.
The most common way to sell for artist entrepreneurs is through hosted shop networks. These shops are easy to set up , there is no inital investment required and the sites will automatically attract customers for you (although this will not be enough, you will definitively have to go out and promote your shop).
You can also directly sell from your blog which has the advantage of no fees and total control over design and prsentation.
EJUNKY - E-junkie provides shopping and buy now buttons to let you sell downloads and tangible goods on your website, eBay, MySpace, Google Base, CraigsList and other websites. It also lets you create personal affiliate programs which is a great feature (read how to set up your own affiliate program with E-junkie). Their plans start at 5$/mo. I use E-Junkie to sell my Creative Web Biz Kit and to host my affiliate program.
FROM SOCIAL NETWORKS:
Almost anybody has a profile/page on either Facebook or MySpace. More and more applications are being developed that let us sell directly from these profiles/pages.
Marketplace – sell and buy anything through the marketplace application.
Check the applications directory for shopping applications (if you don’t know how to find new apps read this first). Etsy, Zazzle, Cafepress, ReverbNation, iLike (who work with Tunecore) let you all sell your stuff from your profile or fan page.
Search for more applications here.
5. PROMOTION + MARKETING:
Last week I wrote 21 Blogs To Follow If You Want To Sell Art Online. It lists blogs that you should check out as they will help you understand how online promotion and marketing works, how to improve your blog, how to engage your readers, where to find buyers, where to find other creative entrepreneurs and how to have fun doing it.
The best advice I can give you right here and now is to be authentic and creative. Craft your business. Create it like you create your art or your designs. Have fun and other people will want to join in. Get inspired by others and inspire others. That is our job as artists right? To inspire the world with our creations. If you do that people will be glad to support your work and therefore help you make a living doing what you love.
I’ll help you get there!
I hope the information I collected here will help you get started as an indiepreneur. Let me know how it goes! And if you have any questions, just ask me in the comments. The only thing I ask is that you please go through the links in this post when you sign up for either BlueHost or E-junkie or GraphPaperPress. I will then be able to collect a referral fee which will help me pay the bills for CreativeWebBiz.com. Thank you!