Visibility and accessibility are paramount for ultimate ‘discoverability’ as a web-series creator. Now that you have linked your web-series to Stareable and posted it via Youtube, Vimeo, etc., it is important fans, consumers, investors, and other web-series creators can contact you. Unfortunately, for all creatives alike, it doesn’t matter how great your content is if no one can find you and tell you! While you may have many social media channels (open for direct messages), or avoid social media altogether, it is important to note that those channels are not the best options for fan mail, agents, investors, etc. But what is the best way for these people to contact you? The answer….a personal/project-based website! In this article I will touch on the basics involved in creating your own website and why they can increase overall traffic to all of your creative work. The main topics I will focus on are: hosting options, SEO (search engine optimization), design, site elements, and examples.
Photo creds: Pexels
Good news is most website hosts (the platform in which your website is ran through) are FREE! Yes, you read that correctly. Website hosts are for the most part free, and they still look great! Some of the best free website hosts include: Square Space, Wordpress, Weebly, and Wix. However, it is important to note these hosts won’t give you a completely customizable domain name (website address). You can customize your domain name for free, but they will have the host name somewhere in them.
- For example, if I were to create a website I could not use the address “JANE DOE (dot) com”, but I could use “JANE DOE (dot) wordpress (dot) com” instead.
You will notice they have paid premium options, but you won’t need to look into paid options until you have quite a bit of content out there. Paid options include: fully customizable domain names, extended storage within the website, video streaming, fancier formatting options, etc. Likewise, if you are a content-creator, like myself, and do subscribe to Adobe Creative Suite there is a free portfolio hosting application (cleverly named Adobe Portfolio) with amazing visuals and high-end customizations, that come at a price to non-Adobe subscribers.
Search Engine Optimization is essentially the process of maximizing your internet visibility. In basic terms SEO is your ‘googleablility’. Businesses spend thousands each year on SEO maximization. However, they are competing with hundreds of other businesses. The good news about personal SEO (what appears when you google your name) is that you are not. You are competing with maybe 5-10 other creatives that have a similar name as you. Nonetheless, it is still easy for your name to get drowned out by the other 5-10 Jane Doe’s out there.
SEO is another reason why websites are extremely beneficial for creatives. Therefore, one way to maximize your visibility on the internet is just simply understanding how Web Browsers operate. Web Browsers, such as Google, have algorithms in place that will try and match existing information. They will take information made public on the web and compile it so that what comes up first on ‘google’ is a mixture of the most popular (visited) and the most accurate (matches other public information) match.
- For example, let’s say you have a Youtube channel, a Stareable page, and a Twitter, and the bio section of all of these reads (Jane Doe, filmmaker, writer, producer). When someone searches on Google for “Jane Doe filmmaker” (or “Jane Doe writer”) the information in your bio will populate in a way that matches all of keywords and occurs in order of popularity. Therefore, when you make a website, it would be in your best interest to have those keywords listed in a similar fashion as your other social media channels in the “bio/about me” section of your website. By doing this you are essentially telling the internet that “Jane Doe filmmaker” is popular (it exists on multiple social media channels) and is accurate (occurs more than once). This concept is applicable to images as well. It is in your best interest to also be using the same headshot photo for multiple websites and social media platforms, as your ‘image’ SEO will be more accurate.
Once viewers reach your website it is important it looks ‘good’ and is for the most part ‘professional’. In terms making your site look ‘good’, it is important to stick to the basics. Use easy to read fonts such as Helvetica and Arial, and try to stick to color palettes/swatches. By using colors (for text, headers, outlines) with either a monochromatic or complimentary color scheme you are increasing your site’s overall aesthetics. A good website to explore color palettes on is (http://paletton.com).
Another helpful tip is using an all-white background. This is not necessarily a ‘rule,’ but when you look at social media channels and other popular websites (i.e. Twitter/Facebook) you will notice they all have all-white backgrounds (it’s just easier on your eyes).
- For example, Twitter uses a specific baby blue that matches their white background, and also goes well with black text. Twitter also uses Helvetica almost exclusively throughout the entire site. Overall, within website design, less is more!
Once you do make your website it is important to link your Stareable page, web series website (if you decide to make one specifically for a project), your youtube channel, your crowdfunding links, and other blogs/content to your website and vice-versa. By interconnecting all of these sites you are promoting all of your work and (once again) optimizing your SEO. You can put these links on your ‘about me’ page or create a ‘links’ page. Additionally, you should also include a ‘contact’ page where you list your email and create a contact form (which come standard with all free hosting sites).
Photo creds: Pexels
Below are some links to good examples of websites that look ‘good’, have clear contact info, and correctly linked their creative content to multiple platforms. They are also all web-series creators all on Stareable!
Down Dog: http://yogawebseries.com/ (The best example of a project-based website in terms of Site Elements)
Reasons I Don’t Have a Boyfriend: http://www.reasonsidonthaveaboyfriend.com/ (Clean and Organized Site)
Coming In: http://www.graydonsheppard.com/ (Contact info is easily displayed on homepage)
Does This Baby Make Me Look Fat? http://msstephjackson.com/ (Great use of headers for Easy Navigation through site)