Well I just launched my 5th website!
This time, its for a friend of mine - his name is Ramon Cruz and he lives in San Diego . He is a brilliant guitar player. He plays regularly in the Spanish Village of Art in Balboa Park in San Diego. I really believe that all he needs is exposure. He has the talent and if I can help, why not. I always wanted to create a website for him but hosting was a big issue. As an artist starting out, let alone a recent migrant - it is incredibly hard to break into the scene. Its also hard to work and still devote time to your craft and money can be hard to come by. I am not rich either so I couldn't really volunteer to pay for hosting his site. However, he perseveres and you have to admire him for that. I know someday somehow, he will succeed! So back to the problem at hand - how do I get him a website? Problem solved! Recently, I found out that omnis, a hosting company I have used for my first site allows unlimited amount of sub-domains! They also feature unlimited amount of hard drive space, bandwidth and mySQL database! I can create multiple websites with different domain names and still use my original hosting service! If that's confusing, that would be my fault because I lack the capacity to explain things better but essentially, I can host as many websites with their own domain names as much as I want all for one price! All I have to do was purchase a new domain name which was cheap! I was ecstatic! I thought they were the only hosting company who did this but it turns out everyone pretty much does it the same way so that joy* was somewhat short-lived but nonetheless, very awesome news! There is no email for all the other new domain - just for the parent domain but you can use google apps (free) so you can get your own email - that is firstname.lastname@example.org - to make it look professional! All you have to do is set some DNS entries and that's easy enough to do. If you are not familiar with DNS, well its time to get familiar with it because if you want to save money on hosting services, this would be the way to go!
So anyway, I created the site using Joomla. Same steps - find a GNU (free) template that is suitable, customize the banner (use GIMP - its like a free version of photoshop), think of what content you would like to see in there and then download and install the Joomla component/plugin/module (free versions) you need to display that content. Add a few pictures, write some stuff about the website - what, who, when, etc... and viola! A fully functional site with your own domain name, your own email, calendar and doc system (google aps). All that is left is to market it - so I submitted the site to Google webmaster tools, Yahoo site explorer, and Bing Webmaster tools. I also installed Google analytics to track the traffic! I also added some meta tags for SEO - applying what I have learned so far (someday I have to blog about what I learned in SEO so I don't forget) . Now its wait and see if I get any traffic on the site.
I did all this in hopes of getting my friend some exposure and maybe get some gigs in the process. From what I have heard, its very difficult to break into the scene as new artist. He is also a recent migrant and we have a really shitty economy so he I figured he needs a break. I know money nowadays can be hard to come by but if gets exposure on the site and be able to land some gigs and maybe a contract, then I did good. Visit his site - http://www.ramoncruzacoustic.com
* The thought was if omnis was the only hosting company that did this, I can affiliate myself with them and market that capability by showing people how to do it - it is very easy! I can still show it. Ill create a how to guide someday. If you by any chance read this post and would like to know how to do this, leave a comment =)