DIY: Building an Effective Website

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shocked_woman_computerJanuary is time for new beginnings, self-improvement, resolutions, and a fabulous time to focus in on your burlesque business. What’s the number one representation of you and your business? Your website! Here are the basics to developing an effective DIY website in five manageable steps:
1. Step One: Realize that you need an actual website. Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, and whoever else does not count as a website! As a producer I do not want to have to log in, friend you, or sift through a ton of crap I don’t need (your birthday party photos) just to find the information I do need. I want to learn about you as effectively and efficiently as possible- and that’s certainly not a social networking site. Social networking is incredibly important- but does not replace an actual website. MORE
2. Step Two: Buy a domain name. This is super cheap- less than $20 a year.
A. There are a million arguments about this and you can research the pros and cons on your own, but a .com address far beats out any other address you can have (.org, .co, etc) Why? Because everyone has been conditioned to type .com after everything.

B. What if your burlesque name- Jane Doe isn’t available? Try JaneDoeBurlesque.com or JaneBurlesque.com or any one of a number of combinations that fit your name, persona, profession, and location or some well-thought out combination of the previously mentioned items.
3. Step Three: Buy hosting. In short, without hosting, no one can view your site. I like cheap, reliable, and good customer service. For that reason I like GoDaddy- but there are hundreds to choose from. Either online or by phone, let them know you now own JaneDoe.com and would like to host it. For around $49 a year you will have JaneDoe.com live on the internet. Usually there is a “this website is parked” page until you actually upload content.
4. Step Four: Pick your poison. If you are determined to do it yourself, and have zero desire to learn html, the easiest and fastest solution is a template. There are a million to choose from, ranging from free to $100 a year and up. You can choose Weebly, WordPress, Squarespace, or anyone of a wide range of options. Depending on your choice the options will be as follows:
A. You will set up a redirect. For this option you will choice a template and upload all of your information and design your site. When you have it to your liking, you may be stuck with a long address like www.janedoe.weebly.com – no one will remember that & it’s too damn long for a business card. A redirect is your solution. Inform GoDaddy (or whoever your host is) that you would like JaneDoe.com to redirect to www.janedoe.weebly.com This means that the user will type in JaneDoe.com and be magically taken to the new longer address without them doing anything else- brilliant!
B. The second option is that you have downloaded a template, plugged in your information, and now have to upload it appropriately. If you selected a good hosting company, they will walk you through the process (the process is different for every company) either online or by phone, and you will have your new site up and running!
5. Step Five: Content. So what does every effective burlesque website need? [Pin-Up Models have different needs. Click HERE for more for models.] As a producer, there are six simple things I want to know:
A. Who are you? I want a bio and a professional photo. MORE ON SUCCESSFUL PHOTOS I don’t want some fairy tale type bio about how you were raised by wolves, or magically appeared on a seahorse (both examples are actually taken from burlesque bios) I want where are you from, what is your style, what is your signature number, where have your performed, how much experience do you have. A successful bio can be anyway from one to three paragraphs. Be concise, informative, and let your personality shine through. Are you a comedian? Then your bio should be funny.
B. Videos. I am amazed at how many performers don’t have videos on their site. I need videos! I want to know how good you are, what’s your range, and if you have any numbers in your arsenal that fit what I am looking for. If I’m a fan- I want to watch my favorite performances over and over. What do I not want to do? Search through countless craptastic videos on YouTube looking for a decent performance of yours. Think about it- every schmuck who’s ever filmed you with a camera phone anywhere you’ve ever been has tagged you in their video on You Tube. I don’t want to have to watch all of that to get to the one acceptable video of you. Post the videos you want me to watch on your site, so I don’t judge you by the crappy ones.
C. Performance Menu. What are the numbers you are known for? Do you have something that fits the show I’m currently booking? What’s your arsenal or performance resume? Provide a photo, description, and video (of possible) of each number.
D. Gallery. I want photos of you, both live performance shots and studio shots. Of course, low res photos are plentiful and pleasing to the fan, but as a producer- you can save yourself a whole lot of time, if you have high res photos available for download on your site. Jonny Porkpie does this really well EXAMPLE Here I can download images that I know are ok to use in promotions (posters, media, flyers, etc) and I don’t have to bug him at all- simply choose the ones I want and grab ‘em. More on high res
E. Contact Info. I want to know every way to get a hold of you as quickly and obviously placed as possible. If media should go one place, and bookings go one place, and fan mail another- I want to know all of that.
F. Past Media Coverage. Is there a fabulous quote about you floating in the media or a previous interview? I want to know that so I can use it in my press release. Is there a hilarious tagline someone in the press gave you, or a particularly informative interview? Post links so I can read it and pull from it.
**Keep ‘em coming back!: So you have your website and you’re super proud of it- good job! Now how do you keep people coming back again and again? There are a few keys to this, the first being a blog. Having a blog embedded in your site (WordPress has good options for this, as do countless others) gives fans a reason to keep coming back again and again, while giving producers a good feel for who you are. The second most important tool is new and fresh photos. Keep adding to your low res gallery, while losing the stuff that is old or outdated. This keeps things fresh and makes you appear on top of your game. MORE

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2 Comments

  1. Another excellent article. Dancing is one thing, promotion and marketing is another. Dancers would save themselves (and producers) a lot of time if they would follow the above.

    (Can you tell I’m tearing my hair out right about now????) LOL

  2. Hello Folks 🙂

    One thing I would add to this article is be prepared to spend some time DAILY marketing yourself online. It’s great to be on all the social networks but it takes quite a bit of time to manage your message effectively.
    A great way to make sure you touch everyone is to use a working email list and send out a weekly newsletter. There are numerous newsletter programs available and for the braver girls out there operating a custom website there are some very good newsletter programs for little or no cost.

    Love what you do!