I have heard stories of musicians assuming that it takes thousands of dollars to build a website. Sometimes I hear my fellow musicians complain about how the act of building a website requires around four years of schooling and training to master.
I'm here to tell you that you don't need thousands of dollars to build a website, and I'm also here to tell you that you don't need years of coding experience either.
In this guide, I will talk about two website builders that you can also use to create your own website. I will also show you how to purchase your own unique domain, which is essential to launching your own website.
And just so you know, I have personally used both website builders for my own website, which is www.xavierfoley.com. I currently use the second one on the list because it allows me to import musical products (sheet music and albums) to Facebook and Instagram - something the first website builder on the list can't do (perhaps in the future?).
I am sure some of you have seen the company GoDaddy featuring their products on the Superbowl commercials, but perhaps you didn't think much about the company. Well I am hear to tell you that GoDaddy offers you the ability to both create your own website and purchase your own domain.
GoCentral is GoDaddy's flagship product that allows you to build your own website by dragging and dropping assets like text, video, audio, and images.
Take a look at the photo below. Look at what's inside the red box, and you will get a sense of the elements that you can use to customize your website.
Does GoCentral website builder have an online store feature?
Yes... sort of. You will have to upgrade to GoCentral Business to sell anything on your GoCentral website; I think it's a few dollars more to use it, but please keep in mind that nearly all website builders in the world compete with each other as far as pricing, so you would have to pay nearly the same rate to have the ability to sell anything online.
How do I get the GoCentral website builder?
To get started building your website with GoCentral for free, click the link here, and they will walk you through step-by-step on how to use the tools.
Shopify is a website builder that many businesses use to sell their products online. As far as core competencies, Shopify has a powerful e-commerce (e-commerce means 'the activity of online transactions') aspect to its website builder. So do not be surprised if your favorite online clothing store uses Shopify.
That being said, you are probably wondering, "well, it sounds like Shopify is only used for selling, but can I post a performance calendar, make a blog, or perhaps upload videos of my performances?".
The answer is YES, yes you can! In fact, the only difference between Shopify and all the other website builders out there (like Wix, Weebly, and Squarespace) is that Shopify has the most elite online transaction support you can get hands down! That's it, that's the only thing that makes Shopify different.
Take a look at the photo below of me using Shopify to build my own website.
How do I get started with Shopify?
Click the link here, and once you sign up for your free account, they will help you every step of the way to get you started.
Shopify also has 24/7 support, but in my experience, it takes much longer for them to answer the phone compared to GoDaddy, sometimes up to 30 minutes! The trick to bypass this problem with Shopify is to call in Monday-Friday between 7am-6pm, or else you will be waiting for the night shift crew, which is small in numbers.
Shopify is more expensive than GoDaddy
Because of the fact that Shopify uses the online transaction feature, it will be more expensive than the non-business version of the GoCentral website builder (the version that does not allow you to sell online), and this is because Shopify already comes with the premium e-commerce feature. However so, If your intention is to sell products through your website anyway, then there is nothing to worry about.
How do I get a domain?
First of all, let's clarify what a domain is. A domain is a website address that allows users to find your website. For example, the domain for this blog is www.xavierfoley.com. Lets say your name is Angela who happens to play piano, and you want a domain that has your name and instrument in it. What you would then do is get the domain www.angelapiano.com.
To purchase a domain, go to www.godaddy.com and search your domain name of choice to see if it's available. GoDaddy is the service I use for all my domains, so you should not have any problems getting your own domain using GoDaddy.
After obtaining your domain, both Shopify and GoCentral will allow you to connect your unique domain name to your website builder. After this step is done, then it's official: you now have your own personal website that is open to the public!
Again, Shopify has a much more powerful e-commerce ability compared to GoCentral - one of the reasons being that Shopify can import products to Facebook and Instagram, so users can buy your merchandise and music straight from the social media page. Note however that GoCentral has better phone support compared to Shopify (when it comes to answering time) because they have offices all over the world; this allows you to get help any time of the day without any wait times. So if you think you need a good deal of support, then I would recommend starting with GoCentral just so you can have easy access to help should you need it.
As a reminder about pricing, GoCentral has cheaper pricing because the normal version does not come with the online transaction feature. Shopify automatically has this online transaction feature built in on its basic plan, which makes it more expensive because of this premium feature that it comes with. However so, you can upgrade the GoCentral plan to GoCentral business, which will allow you to upload and sell products with GoCentral, tho keep in mind that this premium feature with GoCentral business will put you on a price point about the same as Shopify basic.
Lastly, you can purchase a domain name by visiting www.godaddy.com.
I hope you enjoyed this guide! If you have any questions that I did not address here, then please leave your comment below.