Many artists and professionals occupy a domain on the web; it's an essential part of putting yourself out there for potential job and project opportunities. The portfolio site becomes a lot like your home on the web; social media is the town square, but your domain is your home (or storefront).
A few months ago, I completely overhauled this site (quietly). I changed just about everything from a 3rd person, professional tone to a more personal tone. There were a few reasons for this, but the major reason was that I am a very friendly and outgoing person. I wanted the site's tone to express that when someone visited, whether that be to view my portfolio, read my blog, or just get an overview of who I am and what I do; this way it's a little more inviting and less coldly professional.
It's not just me though. When I'm searching for talent to hire for a project, a personal voice on their portfolio site always makes me more interested in reaching out to them. I can immediately see if this person sounds like someone I would want to spend long days on set with or not. I really recommend you try this with your website.
I'm not going to try to convince you with statistics. I'll be honest, my site garners a very small amount of traffic daily. However, this traffic is usually people that are close or already in my network. So my goal is much different than a site raking in 100k unique views on any given day; my goal is to stay in touch with a large number of people, and usually to write posts about things that I find myself talking about over and over again. (This post being one of those things.)
In addition to having a personal tone with your site, here are a few other tips I have on creating your online home and welcoming your extended network in:
1. Purchase A Domain
Seriously, if you're even kind of looking for jobs with your website please stop using .wix.com or .weebly.com or whatever it may be. Although we all know your website was probably built on one of these platforms, it makes the website seem less like a space you own and more like a space you're just hanging out at for awhile. It's that precious suspension of disbelief that you're breaking, and you're doing it before I even go to your site.
Domain.com offers .com domains for around $9.99 a year. You can easily find some coupon codes by searching around for a few minutes that could bring that down another 25% or so. There's no good reason not to invest in that.
If you don't know how to point your wix, squarespace, or weebly site towards that domain, do a little google search. These instructions are going to sound very intimidating to anyone without any web hosting experience, but by following the very simple step-by-step guides out there you can do it easily. If you get stuck, you can always bring up domain.com's live chat support feature. Boom. You should now have a .com domain. Congrats on your new home!
2. Make Sure People Can Find You
Far too often do I have a specific artist recommended to me for work on a project and I can't seem to find them anywhere online. Do a simple google search on yourself and see where your site comes up (if at all). You may have to get creative in how you title your site.
I know it's fun to be clever and come up with a catchy domain and title, but that isn't going to help people find you unless you've already told them that phrase. Keep it simple, like "Craig Inzana Pittsburgh Filmmaker" and such. You can take this a step further by adding these phrases to your meta keywords that search engines use to identify what your site is about. Make sure to slip in these phrases in your about page too, because search engines use that text when deciding what to show a potential viewer as well.
3. Share Your Site
This seems like common sense, but people feel cautious about this. They think that sharing their site is arrogant and self-centered. I guarantee a lot of people in your personal network are interested in viewing your website, so make sure you let them know when you make an update to it. Even small updates might remind them that you're there.
I understand how this can be easier said than done; I often am more cautious about sharing my own site compared to others. Look... it's not nearly as awkward as blasting everyone with gofundme or indiegogo campaigns constantly. (Those are okay too in moderation.) Just remember-- your network is likely made up of friends, family, and similar professionals-- these people want to know what you're up to! Don't be that person that drops off the face of the planet (or social media).
I just want to note that if you genuinely hate using social media: I get it. I go in and out of using it and that's totally okay. You just need to understand that you're making it harder for people that are interested in your work to find you by doing this.
That's the main gist of it. Get a real domain, make sure people can find you, and share your site.
I don't claim to be a SEO guru or anything like that, but too many very talented artists are hiding themselves online without realizing it. Go out there and make sure I can find you when I'm looking!
This totally wasn't the blog post I was going to make this week, but after looking to fill certain positions for Blood On The Leaves, I got very frustrated with this. I also wanted to point out the change in my own site. Soon I'll be talking about how to easily make your own site, and make it clean, if you're struggling with doing so.