If you are a music artist and are considering moving your website away from a turn-key service (like Host Baby or Bandzoogle) to another provider, WordPress provides an almost unlimited number of options. I am currently right in the middle of such a process, and let me tell ya! It is definitely not something to enter into lightly.
For the past three years, I have been using Bandzoogle. The advantages of a turn-key site are many. They provide you with all the features you could possibly need to set up a full-blown music artist website: customizable page layouts, music players, eCommerce, social media plugins, blog, picture galleries, video–you name it, it’s all there.
The disadvantages of these sites is that, while they may provide you with a large selection of pre-made style templates, the amount of styling flexibility overall is limited. I also never found a style that I liked. So, from the very start of setting up my site on Bandzoogle, I used their custom template builder. Although I could get close to what I was looking for, I could never get things to line up visually the way I liked. And despite all the built-in features like music players and picture galleries, these too didn’t have the aesthetics I was looking for.
So, I took the plunge. Wow, was I in for a few surprises!
I will go into more detail about my experience in subsequent posts, (notice that the title says “part 1”), but I will leave you with a 1,000-foot view of what I have done so far.
First, I had to find a webhost provider. I chose Blue Host. Then I had to install WordPress on my new host. Then I had to find a “theme”, and after countless hours of searching for the perfect them, I opted for one of the “frameworks” that makes it “easy” to design your own theme and give you a high degree of control. I chose Headway Themes.
But choosing, installing, and designing a theme is not enough. Remember all those built-in handy features Bandzoogle and Host Baby provide you? Well, most of these do not come bundled with a WordPress theme, so I had to go search the vast selection of WordPress “plugins”. Well, that’s where I’m at right now. I think I have most of the plugins I need. We’ll see.
So, I’ll leave it at that for now. The main takeaway for you is: Make sure you know have a good idea what you’re getting into. Or hire a professional web designer who is well-versed in WordPress World.