Having a website for your business is so very important!! Last week, I touched on this topic + why I think it is absolutely necessary for the benefit of your business!! You can read that posts here. Hopefully you’ve spent the last week thinking about a website + the layout + content that you’ll include. For today’s post, I wanted to share my experiences with website building!!
I started this journey as Hudson Way Photography + then rebranded that following October as Abby Hudson Photography. I currently use Squarespace as my website host, but I used Weebly before the rebrand!! I wanted to use today to share my experiences with both in hopes that it may help some of you that are in the early planning stages of your website!!
There are TONS of different website hosts + different ways to make your website. You can hire someone to build + design your site, you can create your own site, or you can even use a pre made design! Each of these options are great to get you started, but the decision lies in how comfortable you are with the tech side of the design + how much you are willing to invest into your site!!
I looked into different sites for a while before ever creating my own. I was still so new to business that I was not comfortable paying $1500+ for someone to create my website from scratch + I was not interested in spending hundreds of dollars to stumble my way around creating my own site with certain companies + I was not comfortable paying $50 a month for my website to be live through a few other website hosts that I looked into. Thats why Weebly + Squarespace had me sold!!
With Weebly, I was able to design and maintain my site for free. I purchased my domain name through Weebly + may have actually paid just a few dollars to have hudsonwayphotography.com instead of the free version of hudsonwayphotography.weebly.com. I had no experience with website design when I started this process + am not exactly one in which technology + coding is naturally understood. What I loved about Weebly was that I didn’t have to understand any of that! I chose the layout that I like, I updated the text on each page, then I chose the colors and fonts that I wanted! Adding the images was just as easy! Simply click on the “Add Image” button + choose the images I wanted from my computer for them to appear. It was such a simple process.
The website worked well for the first few months. It was everything that I needed at the time without a huge financial expense. As I began blogging, my Weebly site became less fitting. The blogging itself was easy, but adding the images was not as convenient. I was not able to add multiple images at once, so you can imagine how much time one blog would take when I was trying to add 20 or 30 images from a session + had to load each image individually! I managed through it for a few months, but the frustration in how long each blog took was certainly not ideal + made the motivation to regularly blog difficult to find. This would not have been a make or break feature for me if I was in any other business in which adding multiple images was essential to my blog success!! If my blogs included only text, without many images, then the site would have been fine!
A few months later after the launch of HWP, I rebranded! (You can read why I rebranded here. When I began the planning process of my rebrand, I knew that I needed to find a website that was within my budget, but also provided an easier way to blog! Thats when I found Squarespace!!
Squarespace offers mores customization that I ever noticed with Weebly. With squarespace, you are able to start by choosing a layout for your website, but then you are able to delete sections that you do not like, + even add extra elements with a simple drag and drop feature!! The layout, the content, all colors, all fonts- pretty much all of it is customizable!!
My Squarespace website took much longer to make than my original Weebly site, but thats because I had control over every aspect of the content! I was able to create a layout that represented me + my new brand to the fullest!!
Blogging was also so much easier with my Squarespace site!! Adding the text was of course simple. However, the aspects that made it even easier were the abilities to easily tag posts, categorize them, create scheduled posts, create a custom URL for the post, attach a thumbnail image for each post, add a location to the post, and share the post directly to social media!!
Adding images to the blog posts was also super simple!! I was able to add a “stack” of images to each post (which would pull in multiple images at once), + then quickly select all of the images that I wanted to incorporate into post. Each of the images were uploaded together + then I was able to drag the images into the order that I wanted them to be displayed on the blog!!
Blogstomp also made this aspect of adding images so much faster! I highly recommend it, but thats a post for another day!!! 🙂
I currently pay just $12 a month for my website!! That includes 20 pages within my website + all of the essentials that I currently need!! If I decide later to upgrade, I believe it would only cost about $20 a month!
I am constantly updating my website! It is so convenient + easy to make adjustments + to keep my portfolio work current! I think that is so very important to not only have a website, but to keep it up to date with your most recent work!
So, my point to this entire post is that Squarespace has been fantastic for my business + is so convenient to use + customize to fit my brand! Weebly was also easy to use + free, but I felt limited to how much I could customize my site!!
If this is your first site + if you are new to business, I would definitely recommend one of these sites!! One of the smartest decisions I made was to not go into debt or drain my bank account trying to keep a website running without having steady bookings at the time!! Even now that I do have regular bookings, I still love the price point of my current website + love that by not spending a ton of money to keep the site running, I am able to invest that money back into other aspects of my business!!!
I hope that this helps as you begin creating your website!! Oh, and my final tip is that if you already have a website, make sure to take a few minutes to go through the site to make sure that it is representative of your brand + that all images are up to date with your most recent work!!!
I have such a busy week ahead for AHP + am so grateful!! Just know that if you are in the same boat, I am totally rooting for you + know that you are rocking out at whatever it is you’re up to!! Also, today marks the second Tuesday of the month so find your local Tuesdays Together group + go mingle with some other creative friends!! 🙂