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Sunday, September 8, 2013

Creating and launching a website is an important step

By Ted Slowik

I've learned a lot in the last two years. I've learned there's a lot more to becoming a professional musician than simply writing songs and playing music. I've discovered everything from developing a stage presence to understanding the importance of networking with other musicians to setting up a publishing company.

Now I can add website developer to my resume! Over the past several weeks I've been adding content to a website for my music, and on Friday I made it live. The site is called, appropriately enough, Ted Slowik Music and you can check it out at www.tedslowikmusic.com.

When I decided several months ago to do some professional recording in a studio, I knew I'd need some professional photography for the collection. I know many photographers from my years as a journalist, so the hard part was choosing which one to ask. I worked with Brian Powers at The Naperville Sun, and he was one of the 26 let go when the Sun-Times eliminated its photography staff. I figured he could use the work, so I reached out to him.

We connected in early August, just before he moved out of state to finish his degree. He took many photographs in a studio in downtown Aurora over the course of a couple hours, and delivered a great deal of variety. I really admire Brian's work in portraiture, and knew he'd produce quality work.

Once he had edited the shoot and sent along the images I knew as soon as I saw his many pictures that I not only had what I needed for the album cover, but plenty of content for a website, posters, press articles and social media posts for some time to come.

While I've had experience using content management systems to add stories and photos to websites through my work in journalism and public relations, I'd never actually created a website from scratch before. I heard of wix.com from various posts--the first I think was by journalism professor Kay O'Donnell at North Central College (thanks Kay!)--so I checked it out and found it pretty intuitive. I chose a template and just started replacing content with my own.

The big advantage about doing the website myself, as opposed to paying someone else to do it, is that I know how to change and add content and therefore can update it constantly. When the recording is finished this fall, I'll add a store feature to the site and be able to sell the release. I still have many questions and things to figure out about that whole process of selling the record, but this week I'm celebrating the launch of the website.

The website is just one step in the process, but it's an important one. It feels good to get it launched!