Websites – Do you need one?

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Don’t be like Mr Bean and get misunderstood!

Get on board and let the world know about you and what you are doing!

Do you need one?

I agree with Amy Burman – Casting Director – when she talks about whether you need or should have one. Strictly speaking you don’t need it, but I do think you should. The industry has and is changing a lot.

It’s becoming a given that you have a website, Twitter and Facebook – let alone other – accounts. Castings are even starting be based on whether you have your own infrastructure, so it’s easier for the film/TV/Show to ask you to help them promote their project.

Where to get started, if you don’t want to build it yourself…

So, I want to share some of my experiences of creating this technical mountain for a performer.  This applies for singers, actors, comedians, whatever you do.  There are a few places you can get started which are quite reasonably priced – castingcallpro (UK), siteyourart.com (UK), Actor Webs (USA) or castingworkbook (Canada). Many offer easy templates to insert relevant info., but you may be limited in choice of formats and, if, like me, you want more than 1 site, but need to manage them through 1 admin panel and integrated with systems like Mailchimp, then these aren’t so ideal.

Free sites for your to build your own…

I have a WordPress site, but there are others – Wix, Yola, Squarespace and WordPress which do offer free sites.  I prefer WordPress as at time of writing this, it’s  been around the longest and so when I run into problems getting free help it’s a lot easier to find it and it’s integrated to most systems, like Eventbrite and Mailchimp if you want a mailing list and advertise events for free.

My Experience…

I’ve gone down the route of having someone else build my site, but, eventually, I’ve been very let down and, sadly, this is a very common problem for performers when you pay a lot and get ‘cowboy’ website designers who don’t do what they say or charge well above what the job requires.  I’ve even found this with hosting, so I’ve started to manage all of this on my own.

It’s been good though, as I’ve needed to learn ‘how to’ myself, with a lot of help from friends!

Some problems you can run into if you require someone else to do the work on your sites:

  • rely on someone else to update, which can take a while and they may charge you every time to do this
  • they quote well over the cost of what the job requires – talk to people and shop around!
  • they don’t do what they say they will do
  • poor customer care – having to tell them that your site is down, rather than they know the server has gone down themselves

Here is some of Amy Russ’ advice to help you build a great site, click here.

If you need something faster use the services I’ve suggested, but start to get savvy on how to move it to what you can do yourself.  They are a great place to start, but are limited in what they can do.

You can start to learn how to do things on your own over a few years and then you’ll be far better off – in my experience and opinion.

Plus, get your social media going!  More about that in the future….

Big Tip

Big tip is – keep it up to date – nothing worse than an out of date website – this doesn’t have to be as onerous as it sounds.  Just simple saying you are doing a class or a show on your site is a great way to keep the world out there aware of what you are doing.  I write monthly blogs, like this one!  It’s takes time, but set aside an hour a month and you can be doing the same!

Do you have a website? What has your experience been? What’s holding you back, if you don’t?

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