How to Build a Website

A couple of weeks ago, we talked about why you should have a website. The next thing to figure out is how to build a website, especially if you don’t have much of a budget. Websites are surprisingly cheap and easy to create, and you can even get started for free.

Hannah B Flute | How to Build a Website

There are tons of website builders you can use to create your website, but I am going focus on using WordPress. I currently use WordPress, and I am super happy with it. My website is easy to customize, and I can even add and change content on the go with the WordPress app.

Today, I’m going to tell you how to build a website on a budget, the differences between WordPress.com & WordPress.org, and my tips for creating a website you love.

NOTE: This post contains affiliate links. Click here for my full disclosure policy.

What is WordPress?

WordPress is a content management system (CMS), which means that it is a piece of software that houses and manages content for a website. WordPress  comes in two forms: WordPress.com and WordPress.org.

WordPress.com

WordPress.com is a CMS and hosting plan all in one. It’s great for beginners, because Automattic (the owners of WordPress.com), takes care of any and all security and maintenance issues. All you have to focus on is creating content for your website.

WordPress.org

WordPress.org is the software known as WordPress. Sometimes referred to as “free” WordPress, you have to find your own hosting plan. I use SiteGround, and I am very happy with them. You do have to pay for your hosting plan, but many website hosts have an option for a one-click WordPress installation.

Build a Website on a Budget

When you’re strapped for cash, it can be hard to spend money on your website. With all of the free options out there, it’s tempting to save your money for other things.

Don’t do that. At least not for the long term. I had a blog and website for about two and a half years before spending money on it. And boy, I wish I invested money in my website sooner.

You don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars, but there are a couple of things that you should have if you want to be taken seriously. In the beginning, I spent $12/year, then $60, and now I spend about $144/year on my website.

The Basics

First, you need a professional name. If you are building a website as a means of growing your career, your website needs a professional name. Nothing like flutelover99 or oboeliciousblog.

Your website name could be your own name, or it could be your name followed by “music” or your instrument. As you can see, I named my website “Hannah B Flute.” It includes my first name, middle initial, and my main instrument. It’s short and sweet, and it explains the focus and purpose of this website.

The second thing you should have is your own domain name. If you decide to buy your own website hosting, you will have to choose your own domain, and WordPress.com allows you to use a subdomain (example.wordpress.com).

A subdomain is okay when starting out, but once you settle on a name, you really should get your own top level domain (example.com). A top level domain has two benefits that a subdomain does not. It is more professional, and it is easier for people to remember. Both of those things are important when building your professional image on and off the internet.

Do you need extras?

At this point, I only pay for my website hosting and my domain names. I have hannahbflute.com (my current website name) and killerharmony.com (my website’s former name, which redirects to HBF). You can buy a domain name for around $12/year, and there are hosting platforms that offer packages for $5-10/month.

There are tons of extras you can add, like premium themes (templates, basically) and premium plugins (which add features without requiring you to add code).

But no, you don’t need to pay for much besides your domain and hosting. If you need or want help creating your website, there are services out there that can help. I specialize in creating blog content, and I can help you create the website/blog of your dreams.

Five (5) Tips for Creating a Website

  1. Don’t worry about perfection. You can always edit your website later. Just get it up and going.
  2. Edit your content. Be it a biography or a blog post, edit your content, preferably before you hit publish. Not an editor? I can help.
  3. Ask for help. It’s great if you can build your whole website yourself, but if you can’t, don’t be afraid to ask for help.
  4. Stick to your budget. If you are on a budget, stick to it. Don’t be tempted to spend money you don’t have.
  5. Have fun with it! Yes, your website should be professional, but you should enjoy creating it. It should be a reflection of you, so enjoy the process.

So…

Do you have a website? Do you wish you did? Leave your answers in the comments, or fill out this survey!

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Should You Have a Website?

The internet is amazing. You have access to a world of information, all at the tap of a button. You also have the ability to reach reach people all over the world, all at the tap of a button. That is why you, yes, YOU need a website…and a blog.

Should You Have a Website? | Hannah B Flute

I have been blogging for about five years now, and it has helped me grow not just as a writer but also as a musician and teacher. A blog allows you to share updates with students and followers.

You don’t need to have a super fancy website, but you should have some basic information. Your website is where you can direct potential clients and students. Today’ were going to talk about websites and blogs, and why you need one.

Why Do I Need a Website?

With the growth of the internet, a website is becoming more and more important each day. Your website is a business card, a portfolio, and a storefront all in one.

When networking, either online or in person, you can refer people to your website. You can upload recordings and other materials to your website. Even though you aren’t a “store,” you can still sell yourself with a website.

As a musician, you are your product. You want to show the best side of yourself and show your various offerings. If you teach, create a page where people can learn about your lessons and studio. Composers can create a page with all of their music: sheet music, audio and video recordings, etc.

Performers can upload photos and videos of performances as well as audio clips of their playing.

Your website is a one stop shop for all things you.

How Do I Create a Website?

Websites are surprisingly easy to create. Web editors like WordPress and SquareSpace let you make a website in just a few hours.

All you need to start is a name for your website, ideas for what to include, and just a bit of time.

I personally use WordPress, and I love it. I can use the WordPress app to update my site on the go. If you buy your own domain and web hosting, WordPress also lets you use plugins which have different features that can help improve your website speed and security, or even add different forms and themes to your site.

Other website makers have different options, so you can choose what works for you. However, I can’t recommend WordPress enough. If you’re hesitant about spending money for a domain (like example.com) and hosting, you can start with WordPress.com (the free version of WordPress), and move your site later.

If creating a website is intimidating, there are plenty of resources out there, or you can even hire someone to help. I love creating websites, so if you need help (a little or a lot), let me know!

Should I Pay for a Website?

In the beginning, not necessarily. If you want to think long term, or you want a more professional look, then definitely. You wouldn’t walk into an audition in torn up, old clothes. Many people will get their first impression of you on your website, so you want your website to look good.

If you’re on a budget, then you can give a free website a go. I had my blog and website for a few years before buying my own domain name. That allowed me to get the feel of running my own website without having to worry about paying for it. Then I transferred my website and domain to a paid hosting plan.

If you’re new to the whole thing, consider using a free website for awhile. But its never too early to invest a bit of money into your website. Some website hosting costs as low as a few bucks a month. With the holidays slowly approaching, maybe add web hosting to your wishlist.

But I’m Not a Writer!

That’s okay! You don’t have to be a writer to have a website or a blog. There are writers and editors out there that can help you create the website of your dreams. If you’re strapped for cash, some allow payment plans, or you can bargain some of your services to help them.

As a musician, you could record background music that a writer could use in a video. You could create a jingle for the writer to use to market themselves. Or, you could even find a writer looking to learn your instrument, and you could give them lessons.

I wasn’t always a writer, but now that I have been blogging for years, I am able to create written content that can reach more students. Creating a website and blog is not easy. It took me a lot of time to figure out what pages I needed. I have tons of archived blog posts with horrible writing.

Just as with music, writing takes time to perfect. It takes practice.

Related: How Often Should You Blog?

A Worthy Investment

A website and a blog are both investments, whether you spend money on them or not. Yes you can get a website up and running in less than a day, but you will then have to continue monitoring your website, replying to comments, and sharing your content with potential clients and students.

If you’re currently in college, that can make things even more overwhelming. Now, this isn’t a sales pitch (*side eye* I think this might be a sales pitch). I just want you to think about your career for a minute.

Where do you see yourself in five years? Do you want to perform? Teach privately? Work for yourself in any capacity? A website will help with that.

If you will be teaching K-12 music, then you might not need a website, but in most other cases, it will be helpful.

You can start small.

You can start for free.

A website will change the game.

So…

Do you have a website/blog? Do you use it? Are you happy with it? Do you want a website? Would you want to create your website or leave it up to someone else?

Let me know in the comments!

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Getting Personal

Hey all. I know I don’t normally post on Saturdays, but…

I’ve got a confession. I’m not a huge fan of the name “Killer Harmony.” I chose the name almost two years ago now, but I don’t really feel like it fits the blog. I was a college junior; I had just thought I lost my entire blog. It was time for a change.

I don’t regret the name Killer Harmony. It’s a cool name. But it’s not the best. So, I think it’s time for a change. I want to share it with you before I actually make the change, so you know it’s coming.

I have a few names in mind, and I want to share them, and my thoughts, with all of you.

Change is natural

I have grown and changed a lot in the last two years. I finished college and moved back home. And I found a “big girl” day job. Over the past two years, I have come to realize that Killer Harmony is not a very professional name. It’s cute and spunky, but it’s not professional.

I care about music and blogging, and I want to take it seriously. It’s hard to take a blog with a cute, spunky name seriously.

I know the change will be hard. I’ll have to make sure everything transfers correctly, and that you can continue to find my blog and all its content.

Looking forward

My blog has grown. It’s still very small, but it has grown and changed just as much as I have. I need a name that reflects that change and that can work for me for years to come.

Killer Harmony is a great name for a hobby blog, but I want this to be more than that. I want to create a community of flutists and other musicians. I want to share tips and tricks and to advocate for music education…for all ages.

There’s a lot I want to do with this blog, and I need a name that can handle that.

A new name?

I have narrowed the options down to two different names.

The first one is my full name: Hannah Haefele.

It’s clear that it’s my website, and it allows me to do what I want.

It’s also hard to spell and pronounce.

The second option I’m considering is Hannah B Flute.

B is my middle initial, so it represents me and what I write about. As long as I write about flute or music.

But it’s catchier and easier to spell than my full name.

My Thoughts

I’m really leaning toward Hannah B Flute. I love the flow of the name, and I don’t see myself drifting from writing about music anytime soon.

So…

I have been thinking about changing the blog name for awhile now, and I really think it’s time. The name Killer Harmony just doesn’t do it for me. Though, the name will still be found on older posts, and I plan on making sure all of the current links will work with the new domain!

So be sure to leave your thoughts in the comments or on Twitter (@HannahHaefele)! I really want this to be a community, so I want your input!

Social Media on an iPad

For this part of my “On an iPad” series, I decided to write about social media. Most of the time I spend on social media is on my iPad. The wide variety of apps make it easy to keep up with different social networks on the go.

Killer Harmony | Social Media on an iPad | Social media is a huge part of our lives, and it is not going anywhere. It is important to stay connected, and that is where devices like the iPad come in.

I have the same method for social media on an iPad as on my iPhone, and so I am going to be referencing both devices throughout this post. Social media is great to view/use on an iPad, and I actually prefer it to my laptop.

Apps

There is an app for almost every social media platform. I use Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest each day. If you follow blogs with Bloglovin (which I don’t recommend), they have an app.

You can use the Instagram app for iPhone on an iPad, but it will show some blank parts on the screen since the iPhone and iPad have different dimensions. Another app that I like to use, though it’s not really a social network, is YouTube. I follow vloggers on there, and I like to watch videos on my iPad.

I also like to use my iPad and iPhone to manage my social media. For this, I use apps like Hootsuite and Buffer to schedule posts. I also have the app version of Canva, a graphic design website. That way, I can create graphics for social media posts on the go.

If you are looking for apps to help manage or use your social media, a simple search in the app store is a great way to find cool apps. There are apps that will allow you to do just about anything.

Some people use the Crowdfire app to track followers and unfollowers. I know that you can have different apps to manage Facebook groups and pages, too.

How I Work

I like to schedule tweets, usually the night before they go out live. I use either Hootsuite or Buffer. Depending on my goals for the next day, I will chose one or the other. Buffer comes with a set schedule, whereas Hootsuite (the app version) saves hashtags I use in scheduled posts.

If you want me to do a full comparison, let me know!

For Facebook, I just use the main app. They do have separate apps for pages and groups, but I only have so much space for apps.

I like to use main apps, like Facebook or Twitter, to reply to people in real time. Scheduling retweets works for some, but I like to do it as I go. It makes me seem more human and less machine.

Does it Work?

YES! Using a phone or tablet for social media is amazing. A lot of social media networks have better mobile interfaces than their website counterparts.

Social media is always changing and being updated, and it is super important to stay up to date. Having access to your favorite social networks on the go is a necessity, and it is easy with the different apps out there.

Of course, you don’t want to get too sidetracked with social media. If you need to get some “real” work done, you need to keep yourself off of Twitter and Instagram. You can always check in during a work break.

Should You Get Social?

Unless you have no space left on your device for new apps (and you can’t bear the thought of deleting anything), you should definitely have at least a couple of your social media accounts ready to go. Social media apps make staying connected super easy.

If you spend a lot of time on your phone, it can be easy to get distracted with social media. You just have to make sure that you are not sacrificing your work in the process.

Keeping it to one or two social networks on your iPad or iPhone is a great way to still keep up with friends and family while also not giving you too much of an excuse to not do your work.

So…

What do you use to stay connected on the go? What are your favorite social media apps? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter (@HannahHaefele)!

Thanks for reading!

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Reflecting on 2016 and Goals for 2017

What a year it has been. A lot happened during 2016, and this blog was no exception. Since this will be the last post of 2016, I thought it would be perfect to reflect back on the year and to share some of my goals for the new year.

Killer Harmony | At the end of the year, it is important to reflect on the past and set goals for the new year. Here are the goals for 2017 that I am setting for the year.

I made some big changes to this blog last year, and I know that I will also be making some other (somewhat big) changes in 2017, so I want to also update you guys today so that you can have an idea of what’s to come.

2016 Reflection

January

In January, I changed blog names from It’s Mixed Arts to Killer Harmony, and I bought a domain name to prove it. I also moved back from WordPress.com to Blogger so that I could use the domain without having to pay extra.

Another cool thing that happened was that I was published on the Huffington Post. While I did not get paid for the post nor did it get a ton of views, I am happy I did it. I had a post that I wanted to share but it wouldn’t quite fit this blog, so I thought of Huffington Post. I am grateful for the experience, and I can now put it on a resume.

February

In February, I blogged about blogging for the first time. It was a little out of my comfort zone, because I had only ever blogged about college. But, I thought it could be cool for me and my readers (that’s you) to see something a little different.

I also liked getting to put a spin on blogging that college students could relate to. Since that first post about blogging, I have managed to include blogging related posts more often and include blogging as part of my niche.

March – April – May

These next few months, I didn’t really have much going on. I went to blogging once a week instead of two, which had its pros and cons. Other than that, it was blogging as usual.

June

At the end of June, I finally made the jump to self-hosted WordPress! I had just finished my two online summer classes and thought it would be the perfect time. I could use my extra free time to learn the ins and outs of how WordPress works, figure out plugins and themes, etc.

I am so happy I switched, I only wish I didn’t put it off so long.

July – August

I spent a lot of time learning about WordPress and working on making my blog look like my own. I also had to prepare to move back into a dorm for my last year of college. In July, I celebrated my 21st birthday…no alcohol, though.

September – October – November

With school as my main focus, I didn’t really do much out of the ordinary. I continued blogging once a week, and I got a little better at promoting my blog and posts on social media.

At the end of November, I finally worked up the courage to reopen my Etsy shop with downloads. I opened on Black Friday with ten listings and have added a few more. I plan to add more listings soon, which I will talk about more in the section on my goals.

December

I decided, literally the day before December, that I was gonna do Blogmas. I didn’t post about it on the blog or social media until December 1. One might think I was a crazy person for posting every day on my blog, and I wouldn’t disagree.

I wanted to do Blogmas, because once a week was getting a little boring, and I wanted to challenge myself. This semester, I lucked into only one final, so I didn’t have as much work to do at the end of the semester.

Related: What I Learned from Blogging Every Day

Goals for 2017

I haven’t broken my goals down monthly yet, because I want to do that on a per month basis. That way, I can change my goals each month based on the progress I make. In this post, I am going to share some goals that I want to accomplish in 2017 in general.

College Goals

I graduate in May, and I do not plan on attending graduate school this year. So the only goals related to school are to finish strong and to keep up with my friends from college (and from childhood).

I have a feeling that if I don’t keep up with those friendships now, it will be harder later. Also, I want to finish college strong so that I leave with a better sense of¬†accomplishment.

Career Goals

Since I will be able to work full time come the middle of May, that definitely made the list. Specifically, I want to make a full time income from home online. I want to work with bloggers and businesses to improve their blogs and social media.

I might have to take a job at first, but I would love to eventually work for myself and to take on clients that I choose.

Personal Goals

This year, I really want to cut out certain junk foods entirely. I have a bad habit of eating a whole bag of chips in two days, so I don’t want to ever have chips, unless they are in a portioned bag. For snacks, I want to stick to fruit and pretzels as well as the occasional popcorn.

I also want to move back in with my parents (yeah, I know what you’re thinking). I plan to move back home for awhile so that I can save money while I am just starting my career. At home, I can live rent free in a nice area, and I can save more of the money I do make for when I am ready to move out.

So…

Those were some of my memorable moments from 2016 and my goals for 2017. I will keep you guys updated as I achieve these goals, and I hope that this post will help keep me accountable.

What are your goals for 2017? Let me know in the comments! Also, be sure to check out my latest post and follow me on Twitter (@HannahHaefele) so you don’t miss future posts!

Lastly…

Plan out your goals!

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