Reply To: Opinions on Website Construction

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From: “Simon Brooks”
Date: Fri, 20 Oct 2017 08:52:26 -0400

Hi Brian,

I began building my own, but that was YEARS ago. It began as a blog before blogs were invented – well named!
I first hand-coded, then used what was Macromedia’s Dreamweaver (now Adobe) and before that Allaire’s ColdFusion Studio which was brilliant. More recently as my chops have dropped off and things have changed so much, I tried out WordPress and liked it but did not feel it had what I really wanted, although I still have that account ( WordPress and wix have both paid and free services. Free means you have, as Mike mentioned, wix in your URL as my photography website has WordPress in it.

I more recently switched to SquareSpace which I love. It is not free but is not expensive and the URLs I have ( and both point to the same site. DiamondScree began as my blog for family back in the UK – I live in the USA.

They have a great number of templates but the idea is that you totally personalize them, which I have. I believe it is the same, or similar for many of these providers, that they add new templates all the time. WordPress seems prolific at this, or at least making it known! And WordPress placecs ads on your free site, which can look ugly and feel intrusive and unprofessional to me. Not sure if wix does that. It does not on Brian’s very nice website!
SquareSpace is very easy to use, and I think WordPress is too – once you get into it. I have not used wix but continually hear good things about them – ease of use, very personalizable (is that a word?) and have thought about trying them out.

In the olden days these template websites were horrid, but now they are very good. Wix was one of the worst, but now, as I said, seems one of the better ones – it sounds really very good, professional looking with many options for growth. For a professional site I like SquareSpace. There are lots of things you can do with the site, as does wix, I believe. If you pay, there are more services and you get your own URL sans providers name at least with WordPress.

One site I use mainly because it has a calendar built in, and an email service (my primary reason for use) is Nimbit. It is not at all attractive, but for a small amount – $5-6 a month, you can actually sell MP3s from it! For that cost, with the email service, and a (not pretty) presence it is pretty darn cheap. But as I said, not too pretty or flexible but it might be a start!

One or two pieces of advice – keep your site clean with white space – do not clutter (ads can do that – grumble). Keep your pages to a smaller number for easy navigation. And the third piece of advice, look at your competition (as it were) to see what you think works and doesn’t, and look at other performer websites, like magicians, musicians, dancers, mimes, theatre troops etc. too. It can greatly help you see what you want and don’t want, what looks are pleasing to the eye, what makes you excited. Then use those websites for inspiration.

One thing I know others have done, is pay for someone to set the site up for them for a set – DONE – fee, and then do all the updates themselves. This is a good way to go if you are not sure about the process or are not too tech-comfy!

DiamondScree stuck with me over the years from the blog, but is hard to remember, so I added SimonBrooksStoryteller to point to it, for ease of use for my peeps!
Sorry, lots of words, but hope they help.

Simon Brooks
storyteller, voice talent, and educator

Stories are like boots – they love to travel…

“A good storyteller is the conscience-keeper of a nation.” -Gulzar, poet, lyricist, and film director (b. 18 Aug 1934)

Brooks, Simon

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