I honestly wanted to start this blog post by listing all of my competition.
I even created a neat little table demonstrating what they do well and where they really suck. Fortunately I was stopped in track by my colleagues (yes, I run thing by others before I ramble my insanities into this blog).
It's not a blog I should write, maybe somebody from Backstage will grab the lead as it's not my place to mock the competition. I will however list questions you can ask yourself before committing to any certain company and deciding that they should build your actor website.
Without further ado, here are top 10 questions you need to ask yourself about your future actor website development team:
- Is this company still in business?You don't want to wake the sleeping dragon. If a company hasn't updated their website for 3 years, there's a chance it's because they don't have any customers, and if that's the case then there's probably a reason for it.
- Do they offer a free trial? If they don't it's probably because they want to get paid regardless of what you think of their services. Also check for money-back guarantees. If they have neither, beware.
- Do they offer an option to attach a domain name?After all you don't want to be somecompany.com/yourname forever, do you? Don't advertise for your host. Get your domain name and put yourname.com on your business cards and all your social media profiles.
- Can I tell what my website will look like before I pay them? If you can't that means it's a "custom" design. Many times what you'll get is still a template website as offered by others, but they will tweak it a tiny bit to work with your headshot. Then they'll charge you 10 times the price.
- Will they put ads on my website? If they do, don't do it. Simple as that. Your website should be about you. You don't need an ad for a Pokemon game stealing your visitor's attention. Your website should be about you. Laser focus.
- Will they charge me to update or edit my stuff? Yup, that happens sometimes. Some companies will literally charge you $40 to change anything on your website? Highway robbery? We agree. Don't do it. It's not worth the hustle.
- Will I be able to easily edit my website content? That often goes hand in hand with #6. Then again, it gets its own number because sometimes they won't charge you for updates, but they'll make you wait a week or two before they make any tiny changes. You should have control of your own website.
- Will they offer search engine optimization?You don't want any Joe Schmoe the designer to create a nice website if he doesn't know how to build it properly. If it's not fully optimized for search engines, you may end up on page 2 or 3 when searching your own name. That just ain't cool.
- Do they really specialize in actor websites? Just because they say, "we build actor websites" doesn't necessarily make it so. I've seen companies who had that statement for every profession. I've seen other companies who specialize in reels (but do websites on the side). Don't buy a house from a car salesman.
- Will the website look modern? I left this one for the last, because this is very hard for inexperienced person to determine. If you send me links to your website in the comments I can either privately or publicly tell you my opinion. There's a lot of websites out there that look like they were made in the 90's, but even websites that look like they've been made in 2010 might look dated these days.
And the answer key (based on IADB's answers is):
1 - Yes, 2 - Yes, 3 - Yes, 4 - Yes, 5 - No, 6 - No, 7 - Yes, 8 - Yes, 9 - Yes, 10 - Yes
That's right. We're awesome. :)