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This two-part article discusses how to build a promotional website for entertainers.
Your website is the single most powerful marketing tool of our time. A website is by far the most economical and effective way to reach prospects that you have no possible way of marketing to. It is surprising how many artistes do not have a website or if they have one, it is not effective.
I built my current promo website with the current technologies available and embrace much of the current website designing and building trends. I also update the content regularly. You can check it out at www.jcsum.com
If you are thinking about redesigning your website or launching a new promo website, read on!
Objective of Promo Website
The first thing you have to be clear about is the objectives of your website.
You are an entertainer so this is your promotional website. It is not designed to be a news site, niche authority site or e-commerce site. If you want to create one of those, then that should be completely different website and domain name.
Your promo website has three basic functions:
- Promote Your Services
- Act as an Online Portfolio
- Help Potential Clients Make Informed Decisions to Book You
The number one key performance index that tells you if your website is working for you is the number of shows that you book at your asking price. Website hits and high number of inquiries are nice to have, but do not mean anything if you do not close the shows.
To build your website will need to invest in the following:
- Money – To cover the cost of buying the domain name, web hosting, web designer and maintenance.
- Time – To think about the design & content of the website as well as working with a web designer.
- IT Knowledge & Expertise – The level of knowledge you will need depends of the platform you use. If you use a simple platform, you will need very basic IT knowledge. But, if you want to have a dedicated server and host your own website, then it gets a bit more complicated. At most basic levels, a web designer should be able to assist you. If not, you can specific your technical needs when sourcing for a web designer.
- Web Design Skills – Depending on the platform that you use, the complexity of your website design and how customized you want it, you would need varying degrees of web design skills. If you are happy with simple template designs, there are platforms where you can do everything yourself with an hour or two of “messing around”. If you want a highly customized website, then you will need a web designer who can code in all the elements you need.
- Content Building & Copywriting – You will need to think about the content of your website that will include your text, photos, videos, forms and social media widgets. If you cannot write good text content, you will need to find a copywriter to express the points you want to put across in the website.
Planning Your Website
Before you find a web designer (or even if you are designing the website yourself), you will need to do some thinking and researching.
You need to be aware of who your website visitors are. Your visitors will include, in the following prioritized order:
- Potential Clients
- Casual Visitors
- Other Artistes or Entertainers
As such, your website content should be designed for your most important targeted visitors; in this case, your potential clients, journalists and fans.
The first thing you have to do is to list down the pages you want. Basic pages for a performing artiste might include:
- Videos (Either hosted on your website or as embedded video links. For example, from YouTube)
- Photographs (Photo Gallery or Slideshow)
You may also want other components like social media badges with Facebook, Twitter and Instagram feeds.
More than likely, you have an idea of how you want your website to be laid out with the number of pages you need. So, map it out on paper and also think about the sub-pages you want.
For example, under “Shows”, you might want to have three different pages for three different shows that you offer. This will appear as a drop-down menu when you scroll over the main menu.
Building the Website (Technical)
The first part of building your website is working out the backend technical aspect.
There are three components of building your website:
- Domain Name
- Web Host
Here is a simple analogy to understand what those three things are and what their relationship is to each other.
- A Website is like a theatre you perform in.
- A Domain Name is the name of the theatre.
- A Web Host is like the landlord that rents the building that houses the theatre.
This is straight forward and is the finished product that you want on the Internet and can be found easily.
A domain name is your unique identity that directs visitors to your website.
You can register a domain (as long as it is not taken) for about $11 – $17, depending on the domain registrar (the service provider that registers your domain name).
Here are some tips when choosing a domain name:
- Common advice is to choose a domain name that is not too long. That is generally sound advice but I would say that it is more important to choose a domain name that is easy to remember. So, in my opinion, www.theGreatJohnSmith.com is much better that www.gr8js.com even though it is shorter.
- Avoid abbreviations that do not mean anything or creative combinations of numbers and letters in the domain name. This will badly affect your Search Engine Optimization (SEO)/ Google indexing.
- For Search Engine Optimization (SEO), it is advisable to choose a domain name that has your name in it. Some artistes like to have the common search term in the domain name like www.ComedyMimeArtiste.com. Some even use a targeted domain name that includes a geographical location like www.AppletownComedyMimeArtiste.com
- I suggest registering two domain names. Use your own name as your primary website address that you give out or print on your business card. But also register a targeted domain name and have it redirected it to your website.Domain redirection or domain forwarding is when all pages in a URL domain are redirected to a different domain. This is easily done in the control panel of your domain registrar.
A web hosting company can offer you shared hosting or a dedicated server. Shared hosting is like the theatre sharing the building with other businesses. A dedicated server is like the theater being the only business in the building.
Web hosts own computers that your website is hosted on. These computers are called servers. The servers power your website. So, just think of it as all the electricity and utilities required to power the building that the theater is in.
Read Part 2 here.