Building A Website, Days 1-8

When I was in graduate school at the University of Oklahoma, I built a flute website for myself via iWeb that I never ended up publishing. My goal this month is to actually follow through and finish that project. I’ll be starting from scratch and hopefully by the end of the month I’ll have a beautiful, user friendly site to expand my web presence.

Thursday, October 1st: Today I started my project by getting a feel for what already exists on the web and visiting other flutist’s websites. I googled my flute friends, colleagues, as well as nationally and internationally renowned flutists. I spent a lot of time visiting each site to observe color palette choices, layout and content all while trying to envision my ideal website.

Friday, October 2nd: Building a new website will require a lot of preparation and planning, not only in regards to the written content but also the visual content. I’ll need to invest in new headshots, which means I’ll need a couple new outfits, including a new formal gown for future recitals and pictures. It’s my birthday and I’ll shop online if I want to! 😉 I spent the evening searching the internet for colors, textures and designs that would photograph well. I’ve saved several options and hope to do a little shopping this week or next.

Saturday, October 3rd: Joe and I had a Springfield Symphony rehearsal and concert today, so during my breaks I read The Saavy Musician by David Cutler. He really seems to be paving the way for the musician entrepreneur and provides a lot of great advice for marketing on the internet. He suggests focusing on the things that really matter by asking the following questions: 1) What are you trying to market? 2) What step(s) would you like visitors to take? 3) What’s in it for the customer? 4) What questions will guests likely have? 5) What will draw new viewers to your site? 6) What element(s) will hold their attention and bring them back? Less is always more, so each page should be succinct, simple, consistent, and clear for readers.

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Sunday, October 4th: I continued reading The Savvy Musician in hopes to gain some insight on content for my website. Obviously as a performer and teacher, I have several versions of my bio, CV, etc. but there is always room for improvement. I’ll make changes to these documents and others throughout the month.

Monday, October 5th: Today I started drafting my website layout, beginning with the pages and then deciding the content for each page. I love organization, so this is the easy part. Keeping the content interesting and engaging, on the other hand, will be my biggest challenge.

Tuesday, October 6th: New headshots will be an absolute must for an up-to-date website, so I spent the morning researching photographers. I haven’t had professional headshots since 2008 or 2009. Shortly after, I knocked out my two front teeth in a bad fall at OU. It’s a good thing I had those pictures taken, because the dentist requested an 8×10 to make crowns resembling my two front teeth. I’ve also acquired some crows feet and several gray hairs since then so it’s time for new pictures. ODU offered free headshots to staff last fall, but the picture turned out terrible. Brooke and I had pictures taken last year to kickstart our blog, but those are casual and I don’t have my flute! It’s time to invest in really great retouched photos if I’m going to plaster my face on an entire website. Many flutists are using a photographer out of Boston these days. She uses a style called lifestyle photography and her work is absolutely stunning. My schedule is completely insane this month so finding time to schedule a session is going to be nearly impossible.

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Wednesday, October 7th: Today the search for a photographer continues. I think I’ve visited the website of every photographer in Columbus, and I can’t find exactly what I’m looking for. I really want the session to be here in Columbus, so I’ve contacted the photographer in Boston to see if I can fly her here for a session. And now I wait…

Thursday, October 8th: Before heading into work, I spent my entire morning drafting the calendar page for my website with upcoming and past events. After that little walk down memory lane, I started drafting a page for all of my performing ensembles with descriptions and links. I’m really hoping I didn’t bite off more than I can chew with this project and that it all comes together by the end of the month. :/