You can be the most skilled actor in the world (and skill is important), but if only a handful of people are able to see your work then you’re never going to get anywhere. While a website can’t guarantee that a big Hollywood director will watch your demo and call you to audition for their latest film, it at least opens up that possibility. Having a website gives you a chance to say, “Hey world, look what I can do!” As an actor you already need to have a set of marketing tools at your disposal – headshots, a resume, demo reels, VO demos. Sometimes it can be hard to even get someone to look at these things. Why not maximize your marketing potential with a website? That way you can get them in front of a potentially limitless audience.
Not only can a website give you more exposure, but it can make you more accessible. Ever been at an event and met a great Director or Casting Director who was interested in you? Maybe they even asked to see your reel. Chances are you didn’t have it with you (unless you constantly carry your DVD demos with you). This is the digital age, so even if you do carry a demo with you, handing someone your demo on DVD (or even a thumb drive) may get you a funny look. These days that’s exactly what websites are for. We should consider ourselves extremely lucky to be actors in today’s world. In the old days, actors had to carry their DVD’s (or “gasp” CD’s, dare I mention VHS tapes), paper copies of their resumes, actual headshot prints, business cards, and any number of other marketing materials with them at all times, just in case. We no longer have to do that thanks to the ease with which we can create a website and display all of these materials. At most you may need to carry a business card with you that has your web address on it. (MOO makes the best business cards for actors – they’re easy to customize and reasonably priced.) So all you have to do when you meet that fabulous director is whip out a business card and point them to your website. Now you are instantly accessible to them.
And what about if you’re a stage actor? Maybe a CD sees you in a play but isn’t able to connect with you after the curtain closes. Guess what? They have a playbill with your name on it (and possibly even your web address, if you put it in your bio). Now all they have to do is go home and Google you or type in your URL. Voila, instant accessibility! Without a website, the CD would’ve had to ask around about you. They may have loved you, but with the lack of time that everyone has these days, having to track you down organically is just too much of a hassle. The easier it is for them to find you, the better it is for you.
Now you’re probably thinking, WHAT?!? I need to control the media??? Let’s say you don’t have a website, but a potential client decides to Google you – they are almost certain to Google you. What happens when those search results pop-up? Well, first there’s the picture of you from 5th grade that your mom insists on having front and center on her Facebook page because “You were soooo cute!” – that’s a good first impression! (You know the one I’m talking about – the one where you have braces and that tragic perm.) Then there’s all the companies that try to collect data about people and sell it on the internet – great, now they have your home address. And last, but not least that scathing review you wrote after having a bad experience at your local Hair Salon, where you called them a bunch of Jagoffs and some other Not-So-Nice words – incidentally this really just ends up making you look like a jerk (they may forgive you after seeing that perm, but still). Impressions are everything, especially first impressions. The best way to make sure that you are making a good first impression digitally is to have a website where you can control the content and influence your search rankings.
If you’re going to have a website, it needs to be www.YourStageName.com and nothing more, but that means buying a web domain, hosting for your site, and web design. This can all sound very expensive to anyone without experience in running a website. It’s not. In fact, I would argue that having a website is actually a cost savings. Let’s go through the costs for one year. (This is based on 2 well-known services, but there are plenty of providers out there and most are competitive at these rates.)
Buying your domain – currently $27.32 at GoDaddy for the 1st year (approximately $50.32 each year after, if you buy more than one year at a time, you’ll get a good discount) and this includes making your registration information private (a good idea to prevent access to your home address)
Hosting Your Site – currently $4/month or $48 a year for a plan on Weebly that allows you to use your own domain and completely customize your website.
Web Design – Free. With the technology in today’s WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) editors, creating your own website is easier than figuring out how to use your new Smartphone.
Website Total – $75.32 for the 1st year and $98.32 each year after
If you’re thinking that $98.32 is a lot of money to spend just for a website, you need to re-evaluate your thinking. If you’re an actor, you probably take classes right? There’s no way you’re taking a class for less than 100.00! And chances are you aren’t going to get much exposure from that class. What about headshots? Do you buy in bulk for savings because you’re afraid you’ll run out? Guess what? Now you can cut way back on the amount you spend – send people to your website to view your headshots instead. And what about those DVD’s to put your reel on – sure they’re not crazy expensive, but why buy them at all? And don’t forget, your website is an advertising tool for you. I don’t know if you’ve ever looked into the cost of advertising, but I promise you that less than $100 for a steady stream of worldwide advertising is an amazing deal!
Everyone else is doing it. Now I know the old adage, “If everyone else was jumping off a bridge, would you do it too?” And I rarely suggest that you should do something just because everyone else is doing it. However, when it comes to having a good Acting Website that is exactly why you need to have one. Many of the actors you know likely already have a website, which gives them a leg up on you when it comes to all the things I mentioned above – exposure, accessibility, and cost savings. So if you want to be more visible and able to compete amongst your peers, you’d better get a website.
And last but not least, what better way to allow everyone to connect with you all in one place. Your website is a great place to link to all of your other social media accounts.
Now that you know why you need a website, start building yours today. If you don’t know where to start, have a look around My Site. It'll give you a good idea of how you can lay out your site, what you might want to include, and design options.
No new blog posts until after the Holidays. I'll see you all again in the New Year.