As an aspiring voice over artist, you surely know how difficult it is to find regular work, or any work for that matter. Aside from having a quality demo, we all know the next thing is promoting yourself—whether that be via posting on social media, finding an agent, or hitting every audition possible. Of course, every voice over talent needs their own website, as well. However, simply having your own website won’t set yourself apart from others. What you need is an attention-grabbing website that exemplifies your skills and talents, and convinces prospective clients to cast you.
The goal of your homepage is both to provide a destination where the entirety of your voice services are clearly stated, and to quickly and convincingly capture your brand story. The benefit of having a website devoted completely to your voice over business involves the fact that it stands on its own, as opposed to a profile that may be lost amid a sea of other distractions and/or candidates for a role—like social media sites, or a voice audition platform.
How to Build a Voice Over Business Website
Before you start building a website for your voice over business, here are a few guidelines and tips that can help you along the way.
Register Your Domain Name
Choosing the perfect domain name for your voice acting website is no cakewalk. On one hand, your domain name predetermines so much about the way your site will be found and subsequently viewed by all of its visitors. On another, a number of domain names have already been claimed. You should be strategic and think like a marketer when you are brainstorming available domain names that can help you to stand out and draw visitors to your voice acting website.
Because a lot of domain names are no longer free for the taking, it’s a good idea to brainstorm multiple options and try to be a bit flexible. Some voice talent choose to incorporate their real name into their domain. Others may choose to go by a stage name, or use their domain to advertise their signature voice, or the type of voice work that they do.
It is essential to remember that a domain name isn’t simply the URL at the top of your browser’s address bar, but has an influence on your site’s header, logo, other visual properties, and the way your site appears on search engines.
You can use a web hosting company like GoDaddy to determine if your domain is available. If it is, you will have to purchase that domain.
Create Content for Your Voice Acting Website
Once you’ve purchased your domain name, then it’s time to begin adding some content to your site. The effectiveness of your voice acting website site won’t be determined by the amount of content that appears on it, but whether you fill it with strong or weak content.
What to Include on Your Voice Over Website
Once you’ve registered a domain name and are ready to add pages to your site, the aforementioned contact info and demo reel is crucial, but there’s plenty more to keep in mind with regards to the homepage and other aspects. For more help, view the tips and considerations for your voice over website below:
- In regards to navigation and usability (user experience), keep scrolling and clicks minimal. In other words, require little of the site visitor. Put the best content above the fold and link other relevant pages of your site together to help users click through your site with ease.
- A key part of SEO, adding fresh content to your site regularly is essential. However, you don’t want to add too much content to your site and alter the usability. Creating a blog on site is always good practice. This way, you can utilize keywords (don’t overdo it) and improve your chances of ranking in search engine results.
- Mobile usability is also important to consider. So many people these days search online with their smartphones. If your website doesn’t display well on a mobile device, chances are the user (client) will exit your site. Many web builders (like Wix) have plugins and apps to help you ensure the site is mobile friendly.
- For static pages of your site (i.e. demo, contact info, resume), keep them clean and easy to scan. For instance, keep your resume concise and use bold letters to note specific work that may appeal to clients.
- Every page of your website should include a call to action. Especially the homepage. This is how you encourage clients to contact you and give them an easy way to do so. For example, you can leave a sample of your demo right at the top of your home page with a “contact me here” link above.
To Brand Or Not To Brand Your Voice
You have probably seen many other websites with cool branding either with logos, taglines, caricatures, and you’re probably thinking “I gotta have a brand!”
No, you don’t.
If you have already one, great – go with it! But for most folks, especially those just starting out, a brand is not required. I have noticed that some people put the pressure on themselves to develop a brand which can lead to overthinking their site design and frustration.
When I work with talent on their sites, we always have an eye towards branding. But that doesn’t mean that you’ll land on one right off the bat. Knowing what kind of work, genres, and clientele your voice is best suited for is the first thing you need to consider. You can then tailor your site and brand towards those genres either with a logo, or image, a unique font, or a tagline. You may not know what that brand is and that is OK!
For example, you may want to work on animations or video games but end up booking more work for e-learning, corporate, or even audiobooks. All of a sudden that wild and wacky animated caricature that you spent all of that time and money on doesn’t really fit you anymore.
Take your time with it.
Cast a wide net with your site early on and keep things clean, simple, and professional. Over time, you’ll get more feedback from clients about your style and ability and you’ll start to see a common theme emerge. You can always update your site with more branding over time.
A great branding book is the Voiceover Achiever by Celia Seigel. Read that and do the branding exercises that she lays out. Make notes. LOTS of them. I have dozens of pages of branding ideas before I landed on something that suited my voice and work. Do this prior to your website design so that you have a solid idea going into it so that you don’t struggle with rethinking your design during the process.
Website Images and Headshots
Imagery is a big part of website design. It may be a headshot or perhaps a nice photo you took on a vacation. While we work with imagery all the time, there are some limitations that can interfere with a design.
Often times, headshots or imagery that you may have are low resolution images. Low resolution images do not work well on a website – they will looks pixelated when trying to fit into the dimensions of a site. Or perhaps your current photos may be cropped or have background features that interfere with the site layout. So the images that you wanted to use on your site may not work. We can help evaluate what current images might work and provide pointers so that your next photo shoot will result in some really nice photos that will work well with your site design.
Consider Adding a Voice Acting Blog
What can a voice actor blog about?
Much like our blog, you can blog about pretty much any subject with relation to the voice industry and your experiences as a voice actor: from tips for auditioning, to how you achieve different reads for different formats (commercial radio vs. audiobooks)—whatever strikes your fancy. Like all good bloggers, you’ll want to pick an audience and write for them. If you want to use your blog to get more work, write about topics of interest to the clientele you want to attract.
The point of running a consistently updated blog is building an audience, and it causes your brand to become real. You are not simply an empty, robotic domain name, but you are a living, relatable persona and business owner.
A blog will help incorporate you into the larger voice over community. You can comment on other voice actors’ blogs, and in turn, they can leave comments on yours. This also helps puts you in control of your professional image, and the ability to craft your brand story.
Consistently updating your blog isn’t merely beneficial for your committed readers, who are invested in your brand story and journey as a voice actor, but it can also have advantages when it comes to gaining new visits to your site.
Ensure that Your Website is Optimized for Search Engines
When you’re producing the blog posts for your voice acting website, it is important to strike a fine balance between the use of search engine optimization (SEO) tactics and writing authentic, quality content that reads smoothly and comes straight from the heart. At a basic level, search engine optimization involves thinking about what people are searching (topics or ‘keywords’) for, and how they’re searching for it (i.e. are they asking questions, like ‘where do I find a voice actor?’ or are they looking for information with simple terms like ‘voice actors in my area). SEO can be a complex endeavor, and in fact, many people take years of study to learn how to master it. Writing with SEO in mind can help drive organic traffic to your site: meaning visitors who find your site because it appears to them on Google.
Instead of becoming overwhelmed, you can use SEO tools, like Answer the Public, to learn more about topics people are looking for. You can also simply hop into Google and begin to type in your search query to see what ‘related searches’ come up. Include these insights into your blog posts so that they rank for keywords.
You should also update your blog regularly. The more you update your blog with fresh, rich content, the more search engines like Google will crawl your site and give it an upward boost on the search rankings.
Even if you aren’t churning out streams of SEO-refined, keyword-dense text, then simply having search engines in mind when you’re writing can go a long way toward crafting strong, savvy text. Above all, it is best to write impactful, entertaining, informative content for your human audience, not the search engine.
Adding Multimedia Content to Your Voice Acting Website
If you aren’t a skilled writer or don’t particularly enjoy expressing yourself through writing, it is perfectly fine to make up for that by alternatively filling your site with multimedia content: pictures, video, and, most specifically, audio.
Placing audio on your voice acting website should be a no-brainer. One of the first things a visitor should come across after winding up on your home page should be your voice demo. In a vast majority of the cases, listening to your demos will be the reason the visitor has come to your site in the first place. Include as many demos as possible, but be careful not to overcrowd your site. Just make sure your voice can be found anywhere.
If you’re not so keen on sharing your experiences as a voice actor via a written blog, but you still have a lot to say, you can always consider producing your own voice over podcast. Hosting an original podcast on your site kills two birds with one stone: it demonstrates both your technical capabilities, as well as your ability to sound natural and engaging. Make sure to note that your podcast voice, when you’re just speaking casually, may not reflect your signature voice.
Whenever you post a new demo or other multimedia content on your site, make sure to write a story about it or distribute it across social media!
More Tips for Building Your Voice Acting Website
- Build your whole website with the needs of prospective casting directors/employers in mind.
- Test your site across multiple browsers, mobile devices, etc.
- Design a specific version of your site for mobile.
- Make sure your demos are easily accessible from every page.
- When describing your services, alter your phrasing to emphasize “benefits,” not “features.” Speak toward clients with their final result in mind.
- Include a photo of yourself on your website. It will help you seem more approachable and transparent.
- Add a page to your site that specifically features testimonials from clients who have worked with you before. This will help prospective clients feel more comfortable working with you.
- Continually update your site with fresh content. Beyond being general good practice, this will work to your advantage when Google performs a ‘crawl’ of your page, notices new content, and updates your site’s search engine ranking accordingly.
- Keep it simple: minimize the need for scrolling and click-through.
- Research competitors’ websites for ideas about what to use on your own site.
- Make sure you have a call to action (CTA) on every page.
While we’ve provided a great foundation for building a professional voice over website, there’s plenty more you can do to create an appealing site and promoting such to find more work.
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