I’m sort of a “webÂ evangelist”. Â Whenever I talk to actors and other performing artists, I almost always ask if they have a website. Â Most don’t. Â When I ask them why, I tend to get varying responses, which can be boiled down to the following:
- I don’t think it will be of any use to me.
- Its too hard/I’m not a technical person.
Naturally, I have responses to these.
I don’t think it will be of any use to me: When someone searches for your name on Google, what comes up? Â Is it a collection of sites that you have little to no real affiliation with? Â Is it your facebook page? Â The first thing that your website will do for you is help to ensure that you are in control of the content that comes up first in a google search for your name (unless your name is John Smith). Â In addition to just helping you control your google search results, a website can do something more: it gives potential engagers a way to find out a little about your past work. I have gone into auditions, and been welcomed so warmly that I thought they must have met me in the past, only to discover that they had simply been to my website. Â Having a website allowed the potential engager to see my past work, which made them predisposed to being friendly to me, which made the audition a lot smoother. Â If that’s not a good reason to have a website, I don’t know what is.
Its too hard/I’m not a technical person: A few years ago, I used to work at a website hosting company, and during my time speaking to our clients, I encountered more than a few who had been taken advantage of by someone. Â In most cases, they had hired someone to build/maintain a website for them and that person had taken advantage of their ignorance about websites, and was over charging them. Â Once, several years ago, it was necessary to be able to write HTML to be able to create a functional website. Â Now, however, with tools such as Joomla or WordPress, you don’t need to be able to write HTML. Â In fact, most hosting companies offer both as one-click installs, which makes setting them up almost effortless. Â Then, its just a matter of changing the template (using one of thousands of available free templates), and writing your content. Â You don’t need to be technical. Â You just need to spend a little time on setup. Â Its also worth pointing out that I never received any training in web stuff. Â I never took a course in web design or HTML or anything else. Â Everything I know about web sites, I taught myself. Â And believe me, if I can learn how to do this stuff, so can you.
I firmly believe that the tools have advanced to the point where anyone can create a website. Â Its easy, and it doesn’t take a lot of time to do. Some of the best tools are free, and simple to use. Â I firmly believe that its easy enough, that anyone can do it. Â Why pay someone to do it for you, when you can do it yourself?
I’ve sometimes considered doing a seminar on creating your own website. Â If this is something you might be interested in, let me know.
EDIT: Its been pointed out that this post might be interpreted as saying that you can either a)Do it yourself or b) get ripped off. Â This is absolutely not what I was trying to say. Â If you can afford a professional, then you should get one. There are plenty of honest designers out there who will charge a reasonable price and won’t rip anyone off.Â Â A good WordPress template creator (or website designer or Joomla themer) can build you something truly spectacular. Â However, I know a lot of performing artists who can’t afford to pay someone. Â For these people, DIY is totally the way to go. They’ll get a site they can use, that looks good, and is easy to update.Â Â All most people really need for DIY, is a little hand to point them in the right direction.