Building a Website as an Actor

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Building a Website as an Actor

Actor Website
Building a Website as an Actor. Credit: Cultura RM/Alys Tomlinson/Cultura/Getty Images

One of the most important marketing tools that an actor can have is a website.   Your website will serve as a tool to help you network as well as promote your brand as an artist.  It's important for an actor to have a personal website for his/her career, in addition to utilizing the numerous social networking sites available today such as Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, and a profile on IMDb.

Whether you're just starting out as an actor or have been in the business for quite some time, one of the first steps to take in order to build your website is to secure your "domain" name.  Usually your domain name will consist of your full name (followed by “.com”).  There are many companies which can help you to do this.  (I purchased jessedaley.com from "Go Daddy" for a low yearly rate when I first began building my website for example.) 

When building your site, you can choose to either hire a professional to help you, or you may choose to build it yourself.  Obviously creating a website on your own may take some time, but if you keep it simple, it isn't as complicated to do as you might think!  This is especially true if you choose to utilize a platform such as “Weebly” or “Wordpress” which offers pre-designed website templates in order to host your site.  (Check out this great article from About.com "Webdesign Expert," Jennifer Kyrnin.  Additionally, a wonderful book regarding building a blog, "Blogging for Creatives", written by Robin Houghton, has helped me tremendously.)

After deciding on a platform on which to build your website, consider the following 4 suggestions to include in order to keep your website simple yet effective!

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1)  Writing a Biography Section

Writing a Bio
Writing a Bio. Credit: Bamboo/Asia Images/Getty Images

A very important thing to include on your website is a "bio" or "about me" section.  In addition to utilizing your bio on your website, you'll be able to use it for other social sites as well as for publication when you’re credited in acting projects or interviews.

How to Write a Bio

You will likely have a lot of information to share about yourself and your career, but not all of it needs to be packed into your bio.  It's important to keep it simple.  Similar to writing a cover letter to a talent agent, decide on the most important information that you would like your reader to learn about you and focus on sharing that information.

A professional bio may consist of approximately a paragraph about your background and your career as an actor.  Again, keeping it simple is best!  Be sure to reference some of your previous and/or current work.  Another good practice when writing a bio is to identify what makes you unique!  For example, include a special skill or passion, such as singing or another hobby.

(If you're new to the industry, focus your bio on your training and your ambition to succeed in entertainment.)

Most bios for a website are written in the third person; however I have seen actor bios written in the first person form as well.  Depending on where your bio is being published, either may be acceptable.  (Click here to read my bio here on about.com for a first person reference.)

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2)  Photos and Headshots

Headshots
Jesse Daley's Actor Headshot. Photographer: Laura Burke Photography

Adding some of your best headshots to your website will help site visitors get an idea of who you are as a person and a performer.  Some actors choose to include photos of themselves in all sorts of different outfits and looks, which can sometimes be helpful.  Several good photos that represent you well should be sufficient.  (On my current website, I only have one headshot with links to my IMDb page where others are located.)

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3)  Reels and Videos

Acting Reel
Acting Reel. Credit: Caspar Benson/Getty Images

Having a good acting reel is important for every actor.  If you don't have a reel yet, make it a priority to create one.  (Click here for more information about acting reels.)  Adding your reel to your website will allow your visitor (potentially a casting director or agent!) to see your work and what you can believably portray as an actor. 

Adding other videos which showcase various skills you possess is also a good idea.  If you are active on social sites such as YouTube or have other footage of yourself performing (such as singing for example), consider adding it to your webpage to share your work. 

With "New Media" becoming a leading source of entertainment, the more of your talents that you can showcase - the better.  Plus, it's always a great idea for visitors to your site (which again, may very well include casting and other industry professionals) that you're constantly keeping busy with independent projects!  (There's always something that we can do for our careers - every single day!)

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4)  Contact Information

Contact Information
Contact Information. Credit: mattjeacock/E+/Getty Images

Don't forget to add a "contact" section to your website.  Never list your home address, but listing a personal email address is usually fine to do.  If you have a talent agent, be sure to list their contact information as well as instructions for how you can be booked for work. 

Some websites, (such as Weebly, where my personal blog is located) offer an option to add a “contact” button which links right up to your email!

Other Info on Your Site

Choosing to add more information to your website is entirely up to you.  Bottom line, friends, is that your website is your own unique space.  Get creative!  You may feel that you'd like to add much more to your website, including a blog, or eventually even selling merchandise that you create by building your brand as a performer! 

By starting with these four areas for your website, you'll be well on your way to creating a great page and being the best marketer that you can be for your business – which is, after all – yourself!