I can't even begin to count the number of actors who have contacted me saying that they've lost hours of their life, thousands of dollars, and countless sleepless nights just to get their actor websites RIGHT! And then after all of that, they need to get new headshots because they've gone gray and have bags under their eyes. It seems like it's always a work in progress, I know, IADB has been around for almost 4 years now, and I still find little things here and there. We all strongly support the do-it-yourself approach, but sometimes it's just not worth it. If you're planning to replace your shower head, that's fine, but if you're trying to replace a leaky pipe under the sink... you may wanna call a handyman. Your personal website is what I would call a leaky pipe type of a situation.
If you're planning to build your own website, you will find a ton of information on how to do so in our blog, hints and mistakes sections. You will learn what to avoid when building actor website, what pages to have and what functionality the website should serve, but if you're planning to let someone help you with your website, here are some things you may want to consider when looking around, and just a quick reminder, we make sure that none of these mistakes will take place with our designs on IADB systems.
- Flash website - I literally felt like crying when I found a competitor to IADB that still offers flash websites. The problem is, a lot of actors don't know any better, and if they happen to find these companies before they find IADB, poof, and it's too late. Flash HAS an expiration date and will soon stop working on most browsers. They already won't work on apple devices. That includes flash websites AND flash video players for your audio and video reels. Make sure you don't use flash.
- Ugly designs - one of my regular tasks here is research. I find actor websites through search engines, through mention system and... through Twitter. If I follow you on Twitter, and you have an actor website in your bio, then YES, I've seen your website. I look at them ALL and I must say, after seeing all that's out there, my bar for what I think is acceptable has fallen a lot. Not with IADB, don't get me wrong. For IADB I want only perfection! But as of lately, when I see a bad design, I just exhale loudly and say, well... it's not THE WORST I've seen. So please, make sure your websites look modern, otherwise no one will stay on them longer than for 2 seconds... no one except me that is, but I'm only there to take screenshots in order to demonstrate what NOT to do.
- Ensure the hosting company is there to stay - as part of research, I've been documenting IADB's competition, not that there's anyone who does what we do, but there are other companies that offer actor websites. I have a list of 37 such companies. That number has gone down from 42 from last year, and I see more and more companies go out of business each month. Last month I did a rescue mission when I saw that over 300 actor websites were down because company simply seized to exist. I reached out to as many actors as I could find and invited them over to IADB. A large number has made it over here, because I can assure you, IADB is here to stay. Find me A SINGLE COMPANY that offers websites for actors and has dedicated themselves as much to writing weekly blog posts and making daily software updates like IADB. Yup, I didn't think so.
- Pay-per-update - okay, this is mind blowing. Out of the 37 companies I mentioned above, guess how many will charge you for making an update to your website. Drum roll please... 26! That is a staggering number! Are you ready to pay every time you need your new headshot up on your website?Most likely people just don't post a new headshot with them because they don't wanna pay up, and then the website gets stale, then nobody visits it and... then actors stop using the website altogether.
- Un-updateable website - this is when you go through a single-payment route. You pay someone to make you a website. They deliver. You pay. They leave. You're stuck! If you can't update your website with new photos, videos, credits and news on your own, you're gonna regret your decision instantly. Even if your website has a content editor like Drupal, Joomla or WordPress make sure you are capable of adding new photos v/o reels, videos, and changing your bio. It's a plus if you can change some design elements like fonts, backgrounds or colors. If you don't get that, your website will become outdated before you can say Chiwetel Ejiofor 10 times fast.
- No custom email - when you get a website with your own domain name (i.e johnsmith.com), you absolutely should get a custom email matching that domain. If the company doesn't offer it, it means they're lazy as they have to manually go through the setup process. We know it! We do it. No excuse. You don't need to have a secondary inbox. You can forward all those emails straight to you gmail inbox, set up a label and deal with it that way, but it's absolutely more professional to have an email of email@example.com than firstname.lastname@example.org! Please don't email Princess Boom Boom and tell her that I used her email as an example.
Alright, enough complaints. I don't wish ill to our competition, I just hope they can catch up with times and offer a good enough product. Who knows, maybe someone will step up and we'll be able to learn something from them, but for now, we try to light the way and help others enter the XXI century and be totally prepared for the XXII!