Thursday, November 24, 2016

Thoughts on Artist Web Sites

I'd rather be doing this than building web sites.  Wouldn't you?

The title of this blog post may have you thinking that I am offering my thoughts on web sites for artists.  But actually, I'm asking for your input.  My own web site (www.MichaelChesleyJohnson.com) has been up and running for about 15 years.  I'm proud to say I built it with my own two hands.  Well, it's not the Victorian Age anymore.  This steampunk site needs to be rebuilt for the 21st Century.

My fingers aren't as nimble as they used to be, so I am thinking of using a web host that's artist-friendly with templates and the like.  I want this to be simple.

I have a list of features I'd like to have available.  These are:

  • SSL (https).  Google apparently is going to start giving demerits for sites that don't use SSL certificates for security.
  • Mobile/tablet friendly.  Although Google Analytics tells me the majority of my visitors still use desktop computers, the percentage of mobile and tablet users will surely rise.  
  • Easy-to-use and customize templates.  I really don't want to be writing HTML or JavaScript code anymore.  (And I don't want to be learning Drupal.)  Also, I want my site to look different from yours, so I'd like to be able to customize the template easily.
  • Clean, uncluttered and easy-to-use image presentation.  For an artist, it's all about being able to present the images.
  • Social media integration.  Specifically, I want to make it easy to pull in feeds from Facebook, Instagram and my blog.
  • Multiple domain hosting, management and integration.  I have many domain names, and I'd like to manage them all in one spot.  Some have to do with the art, others to do with workshops, and others with my writing.
  • Good tech support.  I'm pretty handy with Internet technology, but when I need tech support, I want it now, and I want to reach someone who knows something.  I'd like to bypass the first tier of support.  By the time I call, I've already tried rebooting my computer and don't need to be asked that.
  • A host that stays on top of the technology.  When IEEE 802.99 comes around (I imagine that it will be a telepathic global network), I want my host to be ready for it.
  • Finally, I need to be able to manage the whole thing under Windows and my Chrome browser.  I don't want to switch to Apple.  If Windows and Chrome go away, I'll deal with it at that time.
  • Oh, and a shopping cart.  I'm not sure I'll ever use this, but it'd be nice to know it's there should the bricks-and-mortar galleries wither away.

So, my questions to you are:
  • What hosting service would you recommend, and why?
  • What is missing from my wish list, and why would I want it?


I appreciate your input very much!  I'm hoping to get this all started very soon.

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