Say I wanted to build my own website for filmmaking – what software would you recommend?

    Joke Tax

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    Shaunti Griffin

    This indeed is a loaded question, since there are many options to choose from. Gone are the days when Dreamweaver is the only basic option, but it’s still an option.

    First things first, you need to decide on a name for your website, (i.e., Filmmakersexample.com) Go to a hosting service like Godaddy.com, Bluehost.com or Hostgator.com and do a name search to make sure you can secure the domain name of your choice. After you select the domain name, select a package that does not include the site builder, this option is very limited and oh so time consuming. There are also many site builders out there, Wix.com, Squarespace.com, Weebly.com, Webs.com, Ning.com or homestead.com to name a few, so be aware of your options when they provide you with the upsell.

    Select some type of shared hosting plan, and not VPS, Managed Server, or Cloud Server, they are far more advanced and you should be familiar with them before selecting that option. With Godaddy, select any affordable package with the C-Panel and make sure you select a Linux server operating system because its most stable and secure, then most Windows OS believe it or not. Most hosts use an Apache HTTP Server for shared hosting packages. With any other host make sure you can upload any CMS (Content Management System), via FTP (File Transfer Protocol), utilizing a file client like Filezilla.

    Note: You will also need to go to your local County Registrar and file a DBA (Doing Business As) with the County you live in, this also needs to clear a name search to make sure no one else has the name you have selected. Just keep in mind that you a creating a business and it should be treated as such.

    Now there are plenty of CMS on the market, and many are free with paid and free plugins, themes and extensions. Most utilize PHP (Hypertext Preprocessor) server scripting language. The main ones are WordPress.org, it has a learning curve, but it becomes easier with time and practice, built with a blogger in mind, it can be utilized for any type of website with very minimal coding. Unlike WordPress.com or WordPress Vip, which is a paid service for them to host your content for you, it is an option, but a rather pricey one. Joomla is another CMS, which has an even steeper learning curve, not ideal for blogs, or social networks, just for content rich Corporate sites. Drupal CMS is liked to WordPress but again with a steep learning curve, they boast to have more security built in. Ruby on Rails is a more complex type of software, it’s just all about preference.

    Now when you have the domain name, hosting package and CMS in place, uploaded via FTP with Filezilla client, make sure you save all the passwords. And contact your host IT department when you need assistance, most good hosts have 24 hour support. Now you’re ready for your theme, which will utilize CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) for your content, usually via database like MySQL.

    When you select a theme, either free or paid, just make sure your theme is responsive for mobile optimization, then you are able to create menus and began to orientate your vision, if you wrote everything down before hand, then it should take no time, but if you’re doing everything on the fly, it may take a while, considering you still need to get to know the CMS software your using. After everything is set up, then you can start to add your content, such as blog, about page, contact page and or company info. Any YouTube videos are also very helpful, and photographs. Just make sure to name all photos before uploaded into your site with Alt tags, search engines love that.

    Is all this time consuming, yes very, but remember a web designer can run you upwards $80.00 per hour or more depending. If you don’t have the money to see your vision through, then you will have to pay for it with sweat.

    Lastly, most web designers don’t tell you that once the site is up and running just the way you want it, and its the best looking site in the world, no one will see it unless you know SEO (Search Engine Optimization). This is how Google, Bing and Yahoo or any other search engine talks to your website and or vice versa. This is yet another science in and of itself. If a web designer knows how to do this, then this will be an additional charge.

    But if you take the time to learn SEO, Google Page Rank (PR), SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages), XML Sitemaps, Robots Txt Files, to option to use www. or non www. canonical url, 301 Redirects etc., then you will have mastered yet another skill, and saved money. A little long winded, but I hope I answered your question.

    Rafael

    There are actually several different questions here.

    1. How do you build a website for Filmmaking?

    You need to have a clear idea of what the sections are going to be, the organization, the categories, the structure of the site, so a user know what to expect and where to find it. What type of media you are going to use, etc.

    2. How do you build a website…. in general?

    In general, You take some written content, visuals, and interaction, all merged in a document hosted on a server that is delivered using some protocols…. Ok, we are not in a programming forum. So this answer is not useful.

    Then the answer is to use a pre-built platform that has a way to add this text, visuals, on a document that is hosted on a server…

    3. This previous question leads to…. What tool do you recommend?

    The tool, in this case, is not the same as software. The software you will be using is your browser.

    The basic option is to use a blog. You can host your own blog (you need to pay a domain name and a hosting service, or use a free one. (Normally free equals some limitations) In 2017 the most popular option is WordPress, that has the two flavors, hosted by you or hosted free.

    You additionally probably need some other software, programs, like an image editor. A free option is Gimp and some editor that allows you to extract pieces of footage. There are some interesting options out there. Non-linear editors or simply cut editors. But that is probably another different question.

    Cheers!

    Hannah Edrosa

    I actually build websites so if ya need someone to build yours for you let me know. As for software, there are a lot of text editors out there. Most popular ones in the industry is Atom/Sublime Text/Visual Studio or Vim (which is hella advanced and has a steep learning curve). You’ll need a general knowledge of HTML/CSS/JS if you want to roll out your own or mess with the theme. That is, if you’re using WordPress or Tumblr, etc. Codepen is a good place to start. Zero setup. You’ll see your work in real time. It’s free, too. But that’s just for the dev part.

    You’ll also need:
    – A CMS platform if you don’t know how to build one from scratch
    – Hosting
    – Domain

    And that’s it. There are web solutions out there though that provides you with a site out of the box so you won’t have to go through all of that. Wix, etc

    Dennis Hartwig

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