Domain name service:
Cost: $15/year per domain (click here for $2 off)
You could buy a domain name from the hosting company at the same time you buy your server services, but you will end up paying more. Hosting companies typically try to upsell you extra options, and most importantly, they will usually charge an extra $10/year for domain (WHOIS) privacy. Hover offers many more features, a great interface, no upselling, and FREE domain privacy. So $15 is all you spend.
What is domain privacy?
When you register your domain, the registrar (eg Hover) is required to enter your contact information with ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers). This is a publicly accessible listing where most people wouldn't want their home address posted. With domain privacy, your information is hidden. Instead, ICANN lists the contact information for the registrar (ie Hover). Yes, do this.
Cost: $8/month ('Baby' shared unlimited plan)
I looked at a few of Wordpress.org's recommended web hosting solutions, like Dreamhost and Bluehost. I initially signed up with Bluehost, but their service left me feeling nothing but blue. Read my thoughts here.
The lesson is: just because a company has a slick website and hypes their support options doesn't mean it's any good. Also, I think they might sponsor Wordpress.org to give them that recommendation. Also, watch out for Godaddy. They buy domain names users search for and then charge you to buy it back from them, oh and their CEO murders elephants.
I went with Hostgator after reading a lot of positive reviews. They offer live chat, how-to articles, and the ability to upgrade your shared hosting to faster virtual private server (VPS) if you need more performance at a later date. Unlike Bluehost, my account was confirmed and running within a few minutes. So far they've been good and I haven't needed to contact support.
I've already detailed most of this here. If you're running your own server then Wordpress is the way to go. I haven't looked in to other options like Drupal because I hear they are harder to use. Also Wordpress has all those themes and plugins to take advantage of. It's a snap to install it on your host (just click a button).
Pitch Premium by Siteorigin
Cost: $9 (Free version available)
There are some pretty fancy themes like Mystique 3, but Pitch is more elegant. It uses a few Google fonts for some very beautiful typography. Perfect for an art site. It's not as fancy as some of the other premium themes, but those run $39 a pop. Pitch sits at a nice price point. The only thing is I wish it were a responsive (dynamically resizing) theme. But that's a niggle, here are some other features.
- Two different styles of navbar menus
- 4 different page templates (sidebar, no sidebar, homepage, and portfolio)
- Slideshow "sliders", and portfolio widgets to showcase your business
- Support from the developer