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Four questions to answer before you launch your artist website

In the spirit of last week's post, here's a post for the folks at the other end of the spectrum:  You are just about to send your site into the world.  It is frail and small and doesn't know fear or cruelty.  Here are four things you might forget about in the midst of building a website: 

1) How are you going to let the world know about this awesome thing you made? 

So, yeah, eventually if someone googles you, they'll find your site. Sweet!  But let's think a little bigger than that.  Announce it on your mailing list!  Announce it on your social media networks! Put it on your business cards! Add it to your profiles, announce it on your local arts community mailing list.  But don't put in all that work for nothing.

2) How are you going to keep improving and expanding it? 

Websites are not books. They change.  Rest on your laurels for the first month after launch, but remember to go back in and tweak it.  Faster than you know, your website will go from awesome-tool-I-know-how-to-use to what-is-this-button, who-put-that-picture-here territory.  Keep your skills sharp by regularly updating your content, adding new performances, and tweaking as you go. 

3) Does everything work? 

This seems like a stupid question.  You've been working on this for weeks/months. You are tired of looking at these stupid pages and your stupid art and you want to be done.  But before you launch, click all the links. I'm serious. If you have any kind of form, fill it out and make sure it arrives in your inbox.  (Embarrassing admission: I never tested my contact form on this very site and missed several important contacts over a six-month period. Don't do that.)

4) Do you have a plan for backing your site up? 

I hate to be this person. I want this to be a non-issue, but the longer I work as a web designer, the more insistent I am on this point: You need backups.  You need to test your backups.  WordPress and Drupal both have backup modules, and Weebly and Wix have export functions.  SquareSpace claims they take care of it for you, but I am always nervous about claims like that.  Whatever you're doing, do your very best to back your site up semi-regularly. 

 

Did I forget anything?

 

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