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Spin a Web

By Sandra Harris
Spring, 2006

Okay, you've figured out you need a website, but you just don't know what to do. Or maybe you've looked into the creation of a website for your business but you think the options are just too expensive. Or maybe you've got a website but you're not satisfied with the way it is working for you and you feel you're paying too much.

Several years ago when I first tested the waters for a web presence, I was in the same quandary. At that time I was introduced to Homestead (www.Homestead.com), a web-hosting site that was free. Well, you do know they call me 'the Queen of Free' -- so that was right up my alley.

Using Homestead, I was able to understand the rudimentary stages of web design, web creation and web presentation. They had a very easy interface which allowed me to experiment and create what I wanted on the pages I could publish to the world.

What a great feeling it was the first time one of my clients called me and said, "My husband is showing everyone in his office the darling pictures of our children that you have on your website!" Whew, all those people being exposed to Harris Studio and the work it had to show. It was advertising I couldn't get any other way.

Well, the free aspect has gone, but Homestead is still plenty affordable. The Silver Package, which I have now, is a small $9.95 a month with a low $25 set up fee, but the user-friendly interface is still that, user-friendly, with lots more bells and whistles than it had when it first made its debut into the web market.

Why am I writing about spinning your own web? It is because I find that being able to do my own web design, placement, etc. makes my web page much more personal. With Homestead I can immediately pop on any image, any time I want. If I have clients that need to see previews, it's just a few moments and they are online there for them to see.

If I have clients that want to see samples of images I can direct them to those already on the site or just upload some at a moment's notice to give them examples of what they want to see.

If I have clients that need to see prices, well then, that's available too. With Homestead I can post pdf files, html files, jpg files, Java script, flash files, you name it - or none at all. Just put the basic stuff up and use their easy site builder software. I can even do it from multiple computers, the laptop if I want or the main studio computer. It's a breeze.

I can keep the site as current as I want. And with the custom templates Homestead offers I can make it look consistent or go wild on any page I want.

Since our studio does mostly portrait and wedding photography, that is our primary focus on the site, but we also do copy and restoration work, and that we can feature there too.

With that basic Silver Package I mentioned above, I can put a ton of photographs online, and Homestead even has a feature that allows me to have a scrolling picture display and create thumbnails if I want to link to larger images. All easy and quick actions to do, I don't have to know any codes or html methods.

I can even sell on the site since Homestead allows a Paypal secure payment option. So far as I have used it the site has been able to offer me all the bells and whistles I want, and still keep their price within an acceptable range for me.

No, they aren't paying me to write this article. I just felt other photographers might be in the same place I am and this would be a good route for them to follow.