The first time I set up a website for my music school I was overwhelmed with terminology and completely confused about what I needed to buy to get my website up and running. I distinctly remember needing the moral support of my college roommate before I could click the “purchase” button.

Eight years later, with many more personal and client websites under my belt, setting up a studio website is no longer the daunting task that it once was. However, I can still appreciate how complicated it all seems the first time around!

This post is an overview of the everything you need to set up a studio website for the first time. Hopefully it will calm the overwhelm and give you a sense of the financial investment you can expect to make for a website.

To set up a self-hosted website, you need:

1. A Web Host

When you build a website, you create a set of files. If you want the world to be able to access your website, these files need to be “hosted” on a server so they can be served up every time someone access your website. Your web host is basically a house for the files that make up your website. I use BlueHost and I’ve also heard fantastic things about SiteGround.

Cost: $3.50/mo for starter plans

2. A Domain Name

The domain name is the URL people will type in to get to your website. You can reserve a domain name from a domain registrar, like Hover, or you can reserve it through your web host.

Make it easy for potential customers to find you by keeping your domain name simple and directly related to your studio.

Cost: FREE for one year with some hosts, otherwise $10-15/year

Check the availability of your name here:

3. A Website-Building Platform

Your website platform is the tool that you’ll use to build your website. There are a number of platforms you can use, but I use WordPress and you can read more about why I made that decision here.

Cost: FREE

4. A Theme

A theme controls the overall structure and look of a WordPress website. There are thousands of free themes (https://wordpress.org/themes/) to choose from and the free options are often enough for a simple studio website without a lot of customizations.

That said, the paid themes definitely have their perks. If you plan to do something more complex with your site, like have a store, the paid themes  often have more customization options built in and are easier to work with.

I use a free theme for my studio website and a paid theme for Music Studio Startup.

Cost: FREE to $60

5. An Email Address (optional)

This is only necessary if you want an email address @yourdomain.com.

Some web hosts include a custom email address with the hosting package, others might charge a few dollars a month for an email address at a custom domain. If you have to pay for an email address, I strongly encourage you to consider G Suite, which is basically Gmail at your domain.

Cost: FREE to $5/mo

Are you ready to set up your studio website?

Hopefully you have a better understanding of what you need, and you will avoid the confusion and frustration I experienced the first time I set up a site!

Want hands-on help? Leave a comment or send me an email. I’ve got an exciting project in the works and you’ll be the first to know about it.

Photo by Jiří Wagner on Unsplash

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