One of my areas of expertise, believe it or not, is setting up WordPress websites. I decided to learn how to do it as a way of making extra income, in between voice over gigs. Yes, Virginia, it’s good to have a side business if you want to be a voice actor. Voice acting success, is not only a matter of focus, persistence, and talent, it’s also a matter of luck. You can be the most talented actor in the world and not be in the right place at the right time. This is just a reality.
However, you can definitely add to your luck and ability by having a decent website to promote your voice over business on. It’s not enough to have profiles on social media sites. This includes voice over audition sites. You need a website that’s your own personal piece of real estate on the Internet. If you’re able to purchase a domain name (your website name) with your own name that’s perfect. There are no other Rebecca Forstadt’s around that I know of, so I was lucky. If your name is Mary Smith, there may be a problem. In that case, you may want to get more creative and use something like MarySmithdoesvoiceovers.com or whatever. You want to rock your celebrity if you’re an actor, so it’s usually the best idea to include your name if possible. Or, at least have voiceover, voice actor, or even just voice somewhere in your domain name. These will be your main keywords.
The reason I prefer WordPress to an HTML site is that the platform is very EASY for most people to use. (I’m not a spring chicken and I figured out how to use it.) There are thousands of plugins (add-ons) that you can utilize on WordPress to make your site more interactive. It’s easy to make changes or updates without having to know how to code. It’s a blogging platform that allows you to write articles, such as this, that will bring you traffic. You can add audios, videos, slideshows, pdfs, EASILY. It’s pretty much what most “marketing” people are using these days. (Oh, yes, if you’re an actor, you’re also a marketer) It’s very inexpensive if you set it up yourself. (We’re talking under $100 per year for hosting) WordPress itself is free, but you want to have your website self-hosted.
DO NOT use a free hosting platform like Blogspot (Google) or WordPress.com.
There are 2 types of WordPress platforms. WordPress.com and WordPress.org. You want to use the .org variety. That way you have complete control over your content and files. There’s no danger that Google or WordPress.com will “accidentally” delete your website. (It happens)
If this is already starting to sound geeky to you, don’t zone out yet.
Remember I said I’m not a spring chicken and I can do it. You can too.
I usually buy my domain names from GoDaddy.com but I don’t use them for hosting. I use Bluehost because they have a very easy interface and it’s a very good host.
Please use my Bluehost link because I will receive a small affiliate commission if you do.
That’s another great thing about having a website. You can monetize your site by adding affiliate links and make commissions when someone clicks on your links and purchases something.
Bluehost will give you 1 domain name for free and you can have unlimited websites and email addresses. Their support is excellent and US based. I only recommend them because I use Bluehost for all my websites and I have quite a few of my own as well as for my blog clients.
After you set up WordPress on Bluehost, using their “one click install program,” you’ll see that a default WordPress theme has been installed as well. It’s OK, but sort of boring. I recommend that you find a theme you really like. There are thousands of free themes available from WordPress.org and they’re very easy to install on your site. However, I prefer using a Premium (paid) theme because you get great support along with it. With the free themes, you’re pretty much on your own. There are forums, but if you ask a question most times you’ll get the answer in “geek speak.”
The WordPress themes I personally prefer are from StudioPress. They’re very well coded, quite functional, beautiful, and I especially love that they’re EASY to update. Themes and WordPress get updated often for security and functional reasons. Some themes are easier to update than others. StudioPress gives you auto updates that you can click on your site, and you almost never have a glitch.
There are a few rules to follow if you’re going to update your WordPress and theme versions. I can go into that in another post, but let’s just get your website up first.
Once you have installed WordPress and have chosen your theme, there may be a little configuration involved to get it to look like the way you want it. I’d suggest using a simple theme at first just to get used to using WordPress. After you know what you’re doing, you can always change the theme without losing any of your content. It’s sort of like trying on a new dress. If you need any help, you can contact me on my WordPress Blog Help site by clicking HERE. I can walk you through it at an affordable hourly rate.
For voice actors, you’ll probably want to add a video and certainly some audio files. It’s easiest with videos to use YouTube or Vimeo. All you do is place the video share URL in your post or page. Click update and the video suddenly appears. You can easily add audio files by using a 3rd party host like Sound Cloud. Sound Cloud has a WordPress plugin to make it easy to add audio files to your site by using a short snippet of code (shortcode) and it looks pretty cool. See below.
If you want to upload a video or audio to host on your site itself, you’ll probably have to use an FTP program, which is a little more complicated and the file size (if it’s large) will take up space on your site. There are WordPress plugins you can use to play your videos but it’s WAY EASIER if you just use YouTube or Vimeo. WordPress also has several audio player plugins besides Sound Cloud if you want your audio player to have a certain look or if you want to podcast.
For now just get started by setting up your voice over website. (or any other type of website if you’re not a voice actor.)
I hope this helps a bit. Feel free to leave a comment if you have any questions. I’d love to hear what you think.