One of my areas of expertise is setting up WordPress websites. I learned how to do it to make extra income, in between voice-over gigs. Yes, Virginia, it’s a good idea 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 but you have to be in the right place at the right time. That’s just a reality.
You can add to your luck by having a professional website to promote your voice-over business. It’s not enough to have profiles on social media sites or your name listed on voice-over audition sites. You need a website that’s your own personal piece of real estate on the Internet. Social media sites come and go so never depend on them alone.
Pick a domain name that reflects who you are
If you’re able to purchase a domain name (the address (URL) of your website) with your own name that’s always the BEST. There was no other Rebecca Forstadt that I know of, so I was lucky. If your name is Mary Smith, you may have a problem. In that case, you need to find a name that will brand you as a voice actor. Try MarySmithdoesvoiceovers.com or something similar.
Your website will help you develop celebrity or at least stand out as an actor, so it’s best to brand yourself as YOU if you can. You may want to insert the keywords voiceover, voice actor, or even just voice in your domain name and will definitely want them sprinkled in your website content. That way Google will be sure to index you with those keywords. (Don’t stuff your content with keywords or Google will penalize you)
Go for .com
The last thing you want is a domain name that’s long and difficult for people to type in their browser’s address bar. Keep it as short as possible and ALWAYS go for .com if you can. Forget .net, .org, .me, or all those cute custom extensions as they don’t come up automatically when you enter the name in your browser.
Why Self-hosted WordPress is the way to go
The reason I prefer WordPress to other platforms is that it’s EASY for most people to use. I’m not a spring chicken and I figured out how to use it, so you can too. There are thousands of WordPress plugins (add-ons) available to make your site more interactive and functional. You can make any changes or updates you want without having to know how to write code. WordPress was designed as a blogging platform, which means you can write articles like this post. You can also just use it as a website if you prefer not to write. However, each time you publish a post it gives you another page on the Internet that will bring you traffic.
If you’re not into blogging articles, you may want to use the blog function of WordPress to insert podcast episodes or YouTube videos. Add a short summary or transcription to add content Google will be able to read. Video and audio players are super easy to embed in WordPress.
You can also embed slideshows, and upload and link a pdf. Many business owners use WordPress to market their products and services. By the way, if you’re an actor, you’re also a marketer.
DO NOT use a free hosting platform like Blogger (owned by Google) or WordPress.com.
There are 2 types of WordPress software: WordPress.com and WordPress.org. Always use the self-hosted version which is WordPress.org That way you have complete control over your content and files and have WAY MORE options for your website. You will need to purchase a hosting account and then you can install WordPress in your account with the one-click install program they provide.
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 if I was able to do you can too.
I use Bluehost as my hosting platform because they have a very easy interface to use, don’t constantly try to upsell you stuff, and their customer service has always been great for me.
I have written a step-by-step tutorial on how to set up your site using Bluehost.
I’d love it if you use my Bluehost link because I will receive a small affiliate commission if you do. (Actors need to eat)
You can even make some extra cash on your site
That’s another great thing about having a WordPress website. You can monetize it by adding affiliate links to products you use and love and make commissions when someone clicks on your links and purchases it.
Bluehost will give you 1 domain name for free (I suggest you take advantage of it) and you can have unlimited websites and email addresses if you purchase their Pro Plan. I recommend them to all my blog clients and to everyone I know who is thinking about launching a website.
Find a theme you like
Bluehost will automatically set up a WordPress site for you using the default WordPress theme. It’s OK, but not too exciting. I recommend that you find a theme you really like. There are thousands of free themes available to download 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 love to use are Genesis Themes. They’re well coded, functional, beautiful, and I especially love that they’re always kept updated. Themes and WordPress get updated often for security and other reasons. Some themes are easier to update than others. StudioPress sends auto-updates that you can click on your site that works seamlessly.
Another very popular theme these days is DIVI, by Elegant Themes. The DIVI builder allows you to place items (like videos) where ever you want to on your site using drag and drop modules. It takes a little getting used to but once you figure it out it’s easy.
After you install WordPress and chose a 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 to get used to using WordPress. After you know what you’re doing, you can always change the theme. It’s sort of like trying on a new dress. Or, contact me and I may be able to help you.
Adding audio players
For voice actors, you’ll probably want to add a video and certainly some audio files. You can automatically embed audio and video on your site by inserting its share URL. The new WordPress Gutenberg editor has an upload module. Or, you can use a plugin to make your player look fancier. If you are using audio files it’s best to host them on an outside site rather than on your website to take up less bandwidth. I host my audio and podcast files on Libsyn.
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.
Disclaimer: This post may contain some affiliate links, which means if you click and make a purchase I might be able to buy myself a cup of coffee.
If you need any help setting up your site you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will be happy to give you a tutorial using Zoom.