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WWW.itsallaboutmyactingcareerhere.COM

March 4, 2011

One of my absolute favorite actor tools is my website. It’s my  personal opinion that every actor should have one — I think of it like my acting business’ storefront.

If you don’t have a website, where do you send people who are interested in possibly hiring you, but want more information? I love being able to have my website listed on business cards, or mentioning it in cover letters to industry peeps. I also love that it’s a place where people can get to know a little bit more about who I am as a person and what my unique style is without having to ask me. And honestly, if you’re running a business in 2011, which every actor (and stage manager/designer/director/etc for that matter!) is, why wouldn’t you have a website? It’s such an easy way to take ahold of your online image and presence!

Have I convinced you currently non-website-operating readers out there yet? Some of you might be putting off getting a website for fear of the expense or the difficulty of setting one up, but I assure you that I neither spent an arm and a leg getting mine designed, nor have any real skill with website coding or any other craziness like that.

If you want a relatively affordable website that still looks great and you have a Mac (or a friend who does!), then all you have to do is exactly what I did. I’ve shared my “secret” with so many friends that I figured it would be worth typing it all out to share with you. For those of you who are smarter than me tech-wise and understand fancy things about the internet, this will be obvious, but not all of us are that gifted, so humor me 🙂

1. Use iWeb to design your site. For those of you who don’t know, it’s in your applications folder and it’s just about the most user-friendly program possible. Open it up, do some exploring (it functions a lot like Powerpoint, if you’re familiar with that already), and you’ll have an attractive, professional-looking site designed in no time.

2. Purchase hosting. Though there is cheaper hosting out there, I used MobileMe as my hosting option because it is designed to be so easy to integrate with your iWeb site. It’s only $99 for the year and they offer you the first two months free, so you can initially get your site online without paying anything! The best part about using MobileMe is that when your website is finished in iWeb, it literally only takes one click of “Publish to MobileMe” to get it online.

3. Purchase a domain name. If you want your website address to be more http://www.redheadedactress.com and less http://www.wholetonofjunk.com/redheadedactress, then you need to purchase your own domain name. There are lots of places to do this from, but I used GoDaddy for it’s $12 a year domains and ease of integration with MobileMe (are you sensing a trend here? for a blogger, I sure like my internet-related things to be easy…). There are a few settings you need to tweak on your GoDaddy account and you can find a step-by-step guide on the GoDaddy site, then you head over to your MobileMe account, enter your website name in the personal domain box, and you’re golden!

The thing about iWeb sites is that there is literally no easier way to design and set up your own website. Sure, it’s not the most customizeable site out there, but it does everything you need it to for an actor website and it’s friendly enough for those of us who don’t really know what we’re doing with fancy internet lingo to be able to figure it out. And if you ever get lost, just google “iweb help” and a slew of sites come up that help you troubleshoot. If all else fails, hit me up on twitter and I’ll do my best to help you figure out what’s going on or direct you to someone who can (i.e., my twitter tech genius friend, Gary).

Do you have an actor website already? Do you know of another easy way to get one going?

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10 Comments leave one →
  1. March 4, 2011 10:37 am

    anyone looking for a host/domain name should really consider doing some shopping. godaddy.com isn’t really the best option and they’ve done some shady things to some of my friends in the past (dissuading them from canceling their accounts, general awful customer service, etc.)

    you’re right that your web site says a lot about you as an actor. so it should be just as dynamic and engaging (but not too crazy!) as you are. one of the best sites on the web for beautiful site tutorials that i’ve found is http://www.smashingmagazine.com/

    you could always forgo hosting altogether and just do a url redirect–here’s a great example of how to do so through wordpress: http://en.support.wordpress.com/domain-mapping/

  2. March 4, 2011 1:14 pm

    Great topic to get into a dialog, Kate. There are so many thoughts about websites these days because of sites like Facebook, Tumblr, WordPress and tools, like iWeb, that make designing a webpage easy.

    This topic can be broken into many parts so I’ll try to be brief with each:

    Domain name: If you can afford to own one, do so. It will benefit your search rankings and it will generally be easier to remember and type than any free option. There are many ways to get domain names at discounted prices. http://retailmenot.com has helped me find discounts when purchasing a new or renewing an old domain. Last piece to note, you can have multiple domains pointing to the same site. Ex: http://garyploski.com and http://casthim.com will land you on different pages on my server.

    Hosting: Your brain will swim with options if you want to host and manage your own webpage. I use site5.com to host and mange 6-10 websites (not all are mine). Shop around and ask friend who they use and know that the lowest prices the companies advertise are generally for 2 year contracts or more. It will save to buy in advance.

    Non-hosting Hosting: Sites like Facebook and WordPress.com offer you the option of having a website without uploading or designing something. For example, my friend Marty Lang has his domain name (http://martylang.com) pointing to his Facebook profile.

    For a time I remember Ashton Kutcher redirecting his domain name to his Facebook Pages page (then Facebook Fan Page). This is a great way to have a place with photos, videos and other content where you can engage with your fans with absolutely zero technical savy. Heads up! … This content is not YOURS. Everything on Facebook belongs to Facebook and they can do what they please with it.

    WordPress is a great in between option. Why? WordPress is free and has two versions – a hosted version at http://wordpress.com and a freely available version that you can host on a server of your own at http://wordpress.org. This means that if you create a website on wordpress.com you will be able to export it and use it on a wordpress.org site.

    To explain all the differences between the two would take a long time. Here’s the simple: .com = free, limited features, auto-maintenance — .org = free, unlimited features, maintenance required

    Here is a sample I created a few years ago on wordpress.com to show as a sample for those interested in having a site but not wanting to pay for a domain or hosting: http://casthim.wordpress.com/

    Sorry, that was probably a ton to add via a comment.

    The simple thing to know is, you should ask questions until you’re ready to create a page. That isn’t a question. You need a presence on the web in some fashion. Hi-five to Kate for getting this topic going.

    Oh, one last thing, there are people who can do it all for you. A certain Idealistic Actor, Erin Cronican aka @erincronican, could help you with that.

    Questions? I’m available.

  3. March 4, 2011 7:34 pm

    Thanks for the great tips, both of you!

  4. Jessica @ Acting Adult permalink
    March 7, 2011 2:08 pm

    That is such a wonderful idea! I love that Macs make it so easy – your website is fabulous.

  5. The Reflective Artist permalink
    March 10, 2011 8:52 pm

    Great post, and great advice. You’ve guilted me into action!

Trackbacks

  1. GUEST POST BY AMANDA: On Why It’s So Important to Have a Website « The Green Room
  2. Flashback Friday: “itsallaboutmywebsite.com” | The Green Room
  3. Actor-Stylist-Publicist-Manager-Graphic Designer-Researcher | The Green Room

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