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Many people have asked me, "How can I make a website for free?"
I feel that there is no harm in asking. That's why I have written these step-by-step instructions. Some of them wanted to showcase their poems, or artworks. Perhaps, later they would eventually hire a professional and purchase their own domain and even make an ecommerce site. I feel that any artist or hobbyist, no matter what their stature is, should have their own site to show their wares.
Bear in mind that this article is for people that are not web designers or especially savvy about HTML or internet services. There have even been people who are diagnosed on the Autism Spectrum of Disorders (ASD), high achieving autism, and Asperger's Syndrome, who have used my article and helped themselves build a website this way.
Getting Started with WordPress
I gotta say this first so you won't be confused. WordPress.com accounts read ashttp://name.com or their blogs as http://name.wordpress.com. This important to know about. WordPress has their own server at the URL address http://wordpress.com NOT a http://www.etcetera.com. WWW is a system of servers which host domain names in the system of www. For practical use this doesn't matter much but it's good to know what's really going on. Later on when you go to the function on the Support page: Get Started and Get More Site Traffic, you will find out more how websites can be found through search engines such as www.google.com.
Go to http://wordpress.com/ and click on the orange button: Get started here.
The first step to get a website with WordPress is to establish a blog account now. So it should be
your-name.wordpress.com which will look like http://your-name.wordpress.com/ when visitors go there.
When that's done, click on Support in the top ribbon menu. Do everything there and follow the steps:
Customize My Site Create Content Add a Domain Find a Setting
Get Started Manage My Profile Manage Comments Get More Site Traffic
By doing all the steps above, you will have created a nice blog site with some pictures of yourself or anything you want, and it will have functionality as a blog site.
The first step to creating a domain name account, http://your-name.com is that function called Add a Domain. This instructs you how to register and pay for your domain name.
Earlier, you selected styles to create you blog into an attractive blog, right? You will do the same with WordPress to decorate your domain name account, your website. When you are uploading pictures and besides the picture there's a text box that says tags: fill out the text box with words pertaining to that picture. Those tags or tag terms or words are what the search engines use to find your picture. You can include your name in the tags. Tags are most important.
As you go, it get's deeper and you will gain some skills. Google terms that you are not familiar with and ask someone, or myself. You will learn a lot.
There's a rule of thumb about pictures on the internet. Decide on a maximum size and stick to it. On my site for example I use a maximum height or width as 720 pixels which equals 10 inches. So, for example, a picture that is 10 inches by 7 inches is 720 pixels by 504 pixels at the resolution size of 72 pixels per square inch (ppi) I decided for thumbnail photos the size to be 216 pixels. That's converting 720 pixels to be 216 pixels. So your former nice big photo of 720px X 504px shall become 216px x 151px. This translates to the new thumbnail size as 3 inches by 2.1 inches at 72 pixels/inch.
When you photograph your pieces, shoot them at the largest possible size and at the resolution of 300px/inch, 300 pixels per square inch. Save them special large sized photos of artworks in a special folder on your hard drive. File names and folders are important so that you not only store files away, but you can easily retrieve them too. So you could have a major folder called painting-archive. So you have a folder within called flower-red. Inside the folder you will have flower-red300.jpg, flower-red72.jpg and flower-red-th.jpg. This way you know which is the large file for printing, the 72px/inch file for internet and which is the thumbnail. Your WordPress account will allow you to have visitors roll over their mouse, or click with mouse on the thumbnail photo and the large photo will appear. While you uploading and constructing your website it will save you oodles of time and less frustration if you can organize your photos this way. You will like it.
For paintings, the most difficult task is to take a photo with all 4 corners at 90 degree angles. That's actually not so easy. Without a professional indoor studio with umbrellas and strobes, this can be done outside on a bright day, in the shaded side of a building. This will eliminate glossy reflections and distracting highlights. Set up your painting on a support which can be a chair, bench, or cinder blocks (concrete bricks or blocks). With the camera position exactly in the center of the painting at a nominal distance, position the image in the viewer so that all 4 corners are at 90 degrees.
Download the photo from your camera to your hard drive. Open the raw photo in Photoshop or Photoshop Elements. The first step is to adjust the overall brightness and contrast using Levels. Levels is found here:
The photo in Photoshop should look like this:
You can see the Input Levels range diagram at the right. Now adjust the levels handles which changes the contrast. Bring the darkness handle at the left side, inward, to the right into the black zone and the highlight handle inward (at the right) inward toward the left. It should now look like this:
You can see now that the photo has richer dark hues and brighter highlights. Afterall, the photo was shot on the shaded side of the building and the raw photo should appear slightly grayish as in the first example, before adjustment in Levels. The digital camera has recorded plenty of pixel data. The levels show you what gain that you actually have. Now save and rename the file as a tif file not jpeg. By saving it as a tif file, you are saving it as a file that has true 8-bit pixel depth. That means you can zoom in several times in Photoshop without the image breaking down into fat bit pixels where blurring occurs.
Next, duplicate the Background locked layer, as a new layer:
In the Layers Pane, it should be displayed like this:
Now click off the visibility of the locked layer and save as a .psd file which saves the photo as a layered Photoshop Document file. Now, zoom in and use the lasso selector tool to trace around the painting's image and DELETE the unwanted part of the photo, like this:
Using the lasso tool, set at 0 pixels feather setting, select and delete all of the remaining unwanted part, like this:
You can now test the painting part of your photo for squareness using the guides at all four sides. Use the Magic Wand tool and select the background. then under Select > Inverse, like this below, the painting alone will be selected:
Use the Edit tool, Distort, found here:
then nudge the corner with the distort tool like this:
Repeat on all four corners, then use the cropping tool to eliminate all of the unwanted part of the photo, and you now have your perfected image.
Now, under Layer, scroll down to Flatten Image and under File, Save As, .TIF. Then using my instructions above describing the acceptable file size for your website,
Now Save As .JPG, which is your file format for uploading to your WordPress website.