One of the things that most filmmakers tend to struggle with tends to be creating a website for their projects. Given that it’s nearly 2019, your business needs a website, and it needs to be good. However, many filmmakers websites tend to be hard to navigate, overly complicated, or focus more on the photos from the shoot than the subject of the project. So, I thought I would create a post outlining some of the best practices in creating a website that I’ve come across.
Domains and Subdomains
So one of the first things you need to consider when creating a website is the domain. Generally, I’ve found that creating a master domain for your production company and subdomains for your project to be a very effective tactic. As an example, this would look like www.myawesomeproductioncompany.com for the main domain and myawesomeproject.myawesomeproductioncompany.com for the subdomain. Obviously, you wouldn’t want something that long as your subdomain, but that’s more to illustrate a point than a practical example.
There are a couple of reasons that I favor the subdomain layout. One is that you don’t have to maintain as many domains. Another is that it simply feels cleaner. There are a few drawbacks to this approach though. A lot of WYSIWYG (What You See is What You Get) design platforms like Weebly, Wix, and Squarespace don’t have great support for it. As such, you may have to use a platform like Wordpress or Drupal to build your site, and doing that requires at least a basic understanding of web design.
Tabs and What they contain
The rest of the blog is an outline of what tabs your production company site as well as your project subdomains should include. To start, I’ll list the tab on the page, then I’ll list major features on that tab, and then I’ll explain a little bit about why each of those features needs to be there. But before we dive in…
Every Tab gives you the ability to join the mailing list
Developing your mailing list as a filmmaker is a really important piece that you absolutely NEED to do. Your mailing list is a vital part of your community, and it’s one of the most effective ways to actually sell your products. The basics of your funnel should be that you move people from social media to your website, then from your website they join your list, then over time you turn them from prospects into customers and from customers to repeat customers. But in order to make that funnel work, you need to make it easy to join your email list.
Sales Links for most recent project
Links to all your social media
For those of you who are very far from fluent in webspeak, the homepage is where you land when you first visit a website. As such, you want the most important information there. Given this is the homepage for the company, you’ll want the trailer for your most recent and upcoming projects, and the sales/preorder link if it’s available. If you’re running a crowdfunding campaign, this should be front and center on this page. You’ll also want to make sure you include prominent links to your social media, just to make sure that you can get as much repeated contact with the people who visit your website as possible.
You may also want to include logos of all the places your company has been featured in the press.
The about tab is where your key personnel get their bios and photos posted. There are a lot of ways you can do this. If you have a large staff, then you can do click throughs for each of them. More than likely you only have 3-5 staffers on the high end, in which case you can just do it all in one page. You may want to consider adding a mailto link, or you may not. If you include a mailto link, you run the risk of being contacted by spammers. But you also never know what may come of those links. I’ve gotten hourly consulting clients just from the mailto links on this site.
Includes links to all your project subdomain
This is a listing of all your projects. I’d recommend having poster images of each as well as loglines, synopsis, and the number one sales link that you want to emphasize.
This is where you keep all the press coverage your company and your projects have gotten. I think some of this should be a feed with links to all your press, but you should also have a graphical representation of logos where you or your company has been featured.
Blog feed for what’s going on with your projects
I’m (rather obviously) a big fan of using blogs and content marketing to support your business. If you’re reading this, it’s clearly been somewhat effective. I think blogging about your journey as a filmmaker is a good way to keep engaged with your community. They don’t need to be as long or involved as the sorts of blogs I do, but it can be a really effective way to grow your fan base.
Social Media Information.
Just as with the Production Company page, you’re going to want to list everywhere that you can find the film online. You’ll also want to show where you can find the film online. In general, it’s better to link to the company pages rather than give each individual film it’s own social media account. After a while, that just becomes incredibly tedious and cumbersome to maintain. For more information on that, check out the blog linked below.
About page for key cast and crew.
This about page goes into a lot more detail about the top level crew on the film. You’ll basically want all your department heads listed, with pointers to their IMDb, their chosen social media outlet, and maybe a brief bio.
Contact page for distribution inquiries
Most of the better sales agents I know go after really good films. Make it easy for them to reach out to you. In your contact dropdown, list distribution inquiry as an option.
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My name is Ben, I'm an Entrepreneur, Producer's Rep, and Author. I'm the founder of Guerrilla Rep Media, Co-Founder/CMO of ProductionNext, and founder of Producer Foundry. Together, the organizations seek to help make filmmaking a more economically sustainable endeavor. I am dysic, I have capitalization issues, and the blogs are often unedited. opinions all my own.
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