4 Reasons Why You Need a Website + What It Should Include
Posted Dec. 5, 2017, 10 a.m.
This article originally appeared on Backstage Magazine.
Actors often think they don’t need a website, especially if they’ve got an IMDB page. After all, if Viola Davis and Daniel Day-Lewis don’t have their own sites, why should you have one?
First of all, many well-known actors do have their own websites, including Tyler Perry, Jake Gyllenhaal, Ashley Judd, Michael Caine, and Sir Ian McKellen to name a few. Second of all, you are not yet Viola Davis or Daniel Day-Lewis. And of course, all the other reasons to have your own site.
1. It makes you look and feel professional.
As an actor, you’re also an entrepreneur and a brand. Having your own site conveys that you’re a professional who takes your work seriously.
2. It gives you control of your image and brand.
As your success grows, people will talk about you and present you in different lights. Your own website is the one place you have complete control over your narrative, no matter what anyone else is saying.
3. It makes you easy to find.
Having your own website makes it easy for people to find you, like a casting director who sees you in a play and Googles your name when they get home. If they can’t find you, you will miss opportunities.
4. It empowers you to build your own audience.
When you have your own website, you can collect visitors’ email addresses, allowing you the opportunity to reach out to them in your own voice whenever you want to without being beholden to a middleman.
Now here’s a list of 8 things your website should ideally include:
(Before we dive into the elements of an actor’s site, know that you don’t need to have all of these elements right off the bat. Start simple and build from there.)
1. A simple home page.
Make sure your professional name and title are easily visible (ie, Actor, Writer, and Producer). And don’t overcrowd the homepage. You can have the entire page be your best headshot with navigation or you a headshot and your most current project…just keep it simple and clean.
2. Your bio.
This is where you briefly tell your story, ideally in the first person. Include where you’re from, when you got into acting and why, where you live now, special skills, who you’ve studied and worked with, and any projects you want to include. Most importantly, keep it authentic and conversational!
3. A gallery.
Here you can include headshots, press photos, and behind-the-scenes shots. Be sure to have them in a grid (not a slideshow)—casting directors are short on time and won’t click through everything. Have your best headshot downloadable for print and only use the best, non-repetitive pictures (the best photo of each look instead of multiples).
4. Your resume.
It’s a great idea to include your resume (along with a downloadable version that’s nicely formatted) so anyone who needs it (like a potential new agent or a casting director) can grab a copy.
5. A demo reel.
Embed your demo reel with YouTube onto its own page and make sure it’s no more than five minutes of your most engaging work.
6. A way to contact you.
Be wary of offering your number or email directly, but do include a contact form. If you have a manager and/or agent, list them as well.
7. Email address capture.
Create an email signup form on each page so you can stay in touch with your fans and followers directly. Unlike your social media followings, no one can take away your email address list.
8. Social media links (including IMDB).
Put them in the header or footer so they’re visible on every page. Only include the ones you’re actually active on.
The other thing that’s crucial is having a clean, simple, and mobile-friendly design. WordPress and Squarespace are two of the most popular platforms with plenty of easy-to-use builders and templates. Choose a professional-looking font to use throughout and stick with it.
Remember to have fun with the process! Let your website be an extension of the same creative energy you put into your work as an actor. And if you’re struggling with this or any other aspect of your acting career, I’m here to help! Just click here to set up a time to talk.