Wednesday, September 23, 2009

How to Build an Artist Website and What to Include

Having a professional and artistic web presence is a MUST for today’s artists. If you are anything like me the moment you hear something new, you go to the web to find out more about it, verify it, research it or buy it. (Pretty much) gone are the days where we relied on newspapers and magazines for our news; (pretty much) gone are the days that we turned on the TV to find out what’s been happening in our world. The Internet is an on-demand information resource. Be assured that when you query agents, submit your dance or acting resume to someone, or apply for grants or awards, the people reviewing you and your work will want to know as much about you as they can.

Many agents (who blog) say they search for your name on the Internet when they want to find out about you. Do you know what they would find if they searched your name right now? You should. Lots of kooky and inaccurate information may be lurking there (check out Jill's awesome post on searching for your author name on the web). You should start now (as in last week) building your online presence. If you have a blog, that is an awesome first step. The online tools you should eventually have are: a webpage, a blog (optional, but HIGHLY recommended if you are a writer), a few choice online social networks (Facebook, twitter, or any other platform that has millions of users), and a professional e-mail address. With these things, when someone searches your name (or your chosen nom de plume) they will pull up the things you want them to, rather than random Internet junk.

I’m going to break down how to get a website up and running, what to include on your website, and the basics of promoting yourself online. In the interest of space and time though, you can find my notes on getting a website up, by clicking here (not a lot of technical knowledge necessary to understand this article).

What to include on your website (these things should have their own tab or page)

Home- the page people land on should include a picture and a brief description of what you do. Don't make people guess if you are an actor or a writer or a random crazy person with a website.

About or Bio- so people can start to get to know you better or find something they have in common with you. This section makes you more real and likeable.

Writings/Books/Music/Films/Etc.- include examples of some of your work
-if you are a dancer, include some videos of you dancing or a video of something you choreographed
-if you are an actor include a video of your favorite monologue or a clip from a commercial or film you were in (provided it does not violate any copyright)
-if you are a singer include a video of a performance or of you singing, or just include some songs people can listen to

Contact- a LOT of people forget to include accurate contact information. It is in your best interest to provide ways for people to get in contact with you, should they like your work or have a question. Include an e-mail address that you check daily. Include a form for people to fill out on your website or a phone number for people to contact you. There are few things more frustrating than a website where you can’t find contact information (or the contact info. is outdated).

Photos or Press Kit- As an artist, you will want to include a picture, something people can start to identify you by. You will also want to include high-resolution images of your book covers or album covers. Bloggers/Reviewers will be able to download these photos of you and your work if they want to write about them on the web.

Calendar or Events- if you are really active in your community or if you have upcoming gigs, or classes that you are teaching, include them on your website as a way for fans and potential clients to keep up with you or come support you.

Reviews or Press Coverage- if people are reviewing your work or speaking of you positively on the web, radio, or in print, include it on your site.

Some examples of good author websites:

The basics of promoting your website
“If you build it, they won’t necessarily come.”
I have modified the famous line from Field of Dreams so that it can apply to the building of your webpage or blog. As we all know by now, if you build yourself a shiny page or two on the net, it doesn’t necessarily mean anybody will go view them. You have to actively promote your web presence.

Once your site is built, submit your “www.” to search engines. After submitting mine to Yahoo!, went from not showing up at all, to being the very first selection when you search “Regina Milton”. You can submit your URL to Yahoo! here and to Google here.

Update your content regularly:
Add videos (that rank higher on search engines) and new content regularly. Make sure it is compelling and enjoyable. Ask your friends with blogs to put up a link to your site every so often. These things will help your ranking with search engines.

Become a friend of Google Analytics:
This is a free service that you can use on your website or blog that will allow you to see how many people visit your site, how they got to your blog, how long they stayed on your site, how many links they clicked on your site, and even what keywords they used to search for and reach your webpages. This tool allows you to see where most of your traffic comes from and what your most popular pages or posts are and to capitalize on those things.

-Be a guest on a friend’s blog (make sure they link back to you)
-E-mail your friends and let them know you have a website
-Include your web address at the bottom of your e-mail signature
-Include your web address on your business cards or other promotional materials
-Consider joining sites like or
Which are free social news websites for people to share and discover new content from on the Internet

What other methods have you found useful for promoting yourself on the web?


  1. Another great post Regina :) Any tips on hosting, etc.? That's probably the biggest obstacle I have right now; while I know it's super cheap I can't afford hosting at the moment, so I'll have to wait a little longer to start my own website. But I have the blog.

  2. Two gold stars for this post - excellent. Thanks

  3. Great post! What about the actual building? Do you recommend doing it myself or should I hire someone?
    If I do it myself, what server should I use?

  4. L.T. - I recommend buying your domain only from yahoo! or godaddy ($10-20 for a year) and then forwarding it for free to a site that you build on or (they host for free and they are WYSIWYG/ drag&drop). That is how I set up because I don't have a lot of time to design right now. I talk about it in this article

    Bane- Thank you.

    Amy- hiring someone can cost a lot of money AND if you can maintain a blog then you can maintain a website (for free). If you use a drag&drop designer and host like yola or weebly you can have a site up and running in an hour. You would be able to design, upload photos, videos, docs, calendars, forms, etc. all yourself without any coding. Yahoo! server is very reliable and godaddy is hardly ever down. I've heard great things about bluehost too, but haven't used them.

  5. Amy- oh and then of course you would forward the domain you bought (ex: for under $20 from Yahoo! to the site you built on yola (ex: If you do a masked forward, no one will ever know because would still show as the address.

  6. If you want to get heavier into the design I'm liking 1&1 right now for their pricing and server options. But for beginners WYSIWYG is mos def the way to go.

  7. You rock - and you made it so easy for me to register with Yahoo and Google (so I didn't have to go searching for a way to do it). THANK YOU!

  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

  9. Sorry I messed up before. I was able to get to your blog another way so I can finally read it from work. Great info...I'm finishing my content on the professional editing site so I can begin to implement some of the other things you talked about. You're great girlie!

  10. Regina you really are brillant. I hope you know that. :) I know I haven't been around much this past week. I'm so sorry. I was sick, and then I've been playing catch-up with everything else. I can't wait to get going with everything here. Thank you so much!

  11. Yep nice article. Anyone wanting free hosting for an artist website should check out our system:


  12. A websearch for me brings them to my blog, which is fine by me! I'm going with an agent's advice to focus on my writing until I'm published...then worry about a website. I'll probably use part of my first advance to get photos made and a professional site designed.

  13. Linked you on my blog today - this is an excellent post, and one I'll return to later!