How I made this site.
This page will be geared towards helping other artists with minimal coding skills get a site and store running!
I've seen a lot of other artists comment on how intimidating they find making a site. I'm a noob. But I wanna decentralize from social media together! There are many other tutorials and documentations out there on how to make a site: [haddock] [sadgrl], and I love reading all of them and all the different routes we take on our path to independence!
Here's my route.
❓Misconception: Doesn't it cost a lot to own your own site?
🧠BIG BRAIN TIME: You can make your own site for FREE or $5 or BEST OFFER!
A web host stores your site so people online can look at it.
I'm currently using Neocities.
I like Neocities because you're not stuck on a template and get to do all the dirty HTML yourself. It allows any content legal in the USA, which for me is very relevant because I want to upload NSFW art. There are also tons of other independent websites for you to browse on the main page, it's cool to be a small part of a ~community~ that you're not forced to interact with. It's free too!
I pay $5 every month for a paid plan. The paid plan isn't necessary at all. With the paid plan you get to use a domain name, and you get a bit more storage space for files. Who knows, you may be a freak like me who uploads 1000 comic pages on your site!
Tumblr allows you to connect a domain for free. 'Least the last time I checked in 2014. This is truly a lazy man (me) option, because you'll still be on social media but have a little customizability with HTML and pre-made themes. The great thing is that with how long Tumblr's been around, you can look around at old themes and see what you want your blog to look like! I know industry artists that use Tumblr as an side-blog to their main site by altering the domain and editing the Tumblr's theme to match their site. Try not to reblog any anime gifs on main though, okay?
Another slightly lazy option. Upload posts full of text and images, use them as "pages" to link to. Very basic, outdated themes for "customization". I don't remember any HTML customization at all. You're gonna look ugly, basically. I had this as a portfolio for a bit, but I just let sit stagnant for years rather than feel motivated to work on a site that I knew belonged to me. But I know a lot of industry artists who get work and just have a single blogspot post as their portfolio.
Ah, Wix. The last host I had before moving to Neocities. You may wish to avoid Wix for political reasons. I moved from Wix because they marked my TF2 Gore Zine as too pornographic to sell. Meanwhile we can just buy slasher movies at Walmart HAH. But I digress!
The drag-and-drop editor is very slow, imprecise, and clunky, and leaves tons of dirty bloated code. Every page loads very slowly as well. The site design isn't built for much better than a single-page single-column infinitely scrolling website IMO. You can't even do sub-folders like scumsuck.com/art/dafoe for organizational purposes. And the way it stores/handles uploaded files is slow, def meant for very few files. I will say it was easy to upload large 50+ image galleries with Wix's gallery creator, but I think any site creator now has a gallery creator.
The laziest of all options. You can make something small and passible in an hour. I used Carrd to make a very quick sloppy portfolio and HOO BOY. The drag-and-drop is even more limited than Wix, because carrd is literally only built for single-page tiny business cards. With my sloppy fingers, I kept accidentally moving and deleting elements from my site. The gallery function has clunky organization. I cannot fathom how people have the patience to fight against the site editor to write huge masterposts on Carrd.
You aint gonna be making anything better than what its engine allows. I think you can pay for html editing? But at that point I'd just pay for an actual host.
Also, not gonna front, I associate the userbase with teenagers sending death threats to each other and seizure inducing flashing images.
Most of these options have the same downfall of you not owning your content, and not being able to easily transfer your site should you want to switch hosts. Trust me, it was hell manually transferring my comics from Wix to Neocities.
With a HTML-based site, I could easily save my pages (in text files!) and push them onto another host with the content mostly intact. Especially if I accidentally delete something! I totally did not just do that the other day.
I've heard many good things about using Wordpress as a start for your website, and using the multiple plug-ins for it.
A domain is your site's URL. You type that in to go to the site. Mine is scumsuck.com. You don't need to buy one, but they look professional and are fairly cheap (~$10) if your name is unique.
I'm currently using Google Domains for this site. Why? Dunno, it was there.
In the past, I've used Namecheap, and I still currently use Namecheap for my email address. Namecheap's been pretty good to me with email customer service thus far.
Pretty much everyone says avoid GoDaddy. I've heard they hoard your domain for ransom if you don't renew it in time. I'm sure they've done other bad things too.
Step 1. Buy your domain.
Step 2. Link your domain to your host. Other much smarter folks have already made tutorials on this!
Step 3. ???
Step 3. Profit. You are now the proud owner of a website with a domain. Please dance and laugh at the peons around you that are still using peepee1523.carrd.poo.
3. Setting up shop
I'm currently using Ecwid. Ecwid, last time I checked on Jan 2022, allows anything legal in the USA. That means I can sell my GORE and HORROR and PEEPEE comics. Thanks!
As a backup, I have Etsy.
Etsy has a very large marketplace where people are already searching for gifts. I would say 80% of my customers come from Etsy's organic search function. I've gotten customers who found my art from Etsy that became commmissioners. Hooray for cross-platform growth! Etsy also takes care of international taxes for you, if you do VATs yourself it's a headache.
The sourest point about Etsy are the high fees (20 cents per listing plus around 10% of the selling price including shipping.) Every "free" platform has its price! The support is very... strange... There have been multiple instances of money mysteriously disappearing people's accounts, with Etsy just handwaving it was a mistake.
4. Pretty-ing your site
Feel free to Right click-> View Source or Inspect Element on any coded element of my website you'd like to copy for your own site. I am not the most experienced or clean coder, but my site works for me!