One of my areas of expertise, believe it or not, is setting up WordPress websites. I learned how to do it as a way of making 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 and not be in the right place at the right time. This is just a reality.
You can add to your luck by having a decent website to promote your voice-over business. 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. Social media sites come and go so never depend on them alone.
If you’re able to purchase a domain name (the address (URL) of your website) with your own name that’s 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. The point is to develop celebrity or at least stand out as an actor, so it’s best to brand yourself as YOU if you can. If you have the words voiceover, voice actor, or even just voice in your domain name and definitely throughout your site, Google will be sure to index you with those keywords.
However, you don’t want a long domain name that’s hard to type in. Keep it as short as possible and ALWAYS go for .com if you can. (forget .net, .org, .me, etc. as they don’t come up automatically when you enter the name in your browser)
Why WordPress is the way to go
The reason I prefer WordPress to another platform 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 plugins (add-ons) available to make your site more interactive and functional. You can make any changes or updates you want without having 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.
You can also embed audios, videos, slideshows, and upload and link a pdf. Most people who market a business use WordPress. By the way, 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 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. What you need to do is 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 like to buy my domain names from GoDaddy.com but I don’t host my sites there. I use Bluehost because they have a very easy interface, don’t constantly try to upsell you stuff, and their customer service is awesome!
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)
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 purchase something.
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’ve always had excellent customer service when I call in and it’s US-based. I recommend them because I use Bluehost for all my websites and I have quite a few of my own as well as for most of my blog clients.
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 personally prefer are on Genesis Themes.. They’re very 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 gives you auto-updates that you can click on your site, and you almost never have a glitch. You can check out some of my favorite blogging resources here.
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 do it’s easy.
Once you’ve 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.
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. Or, you can use a plugin to make your player look fancier. Or you can use a plugin to get a certain look for your audio file. If you are using audio make sure 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.
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.
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 email@example.com and I will be happy to give you a tutorial using Zoom.