As a video business owner or a filmmaker, you’re crazy if you don’t have a website. This is our complete guide to video making websites. Whether you’re a filmmaker, or you run a video production company, you need to read this.
I just wanted to make that clear from the get-go. As a video production company or video professional, you need a website to showcase your business. As a filmmaker, you need a website to showcase your work and get your name out there.
I meet far too many industry professionals who don’t have a site to display their work. They’re always handing me business cards with just an email address on and don’t really have an answer when I ask how I can view their work.
I wrote this guide to help every videographer, filmmaker or other film/video person to get a website up and running and start displaying their work to get more work.
You should go boil your kettle before dipping in, as this is going to be a very detailed piece.
I want to dispel all the confusion about what you should have on a video business website, and set some of the rumours and misinformation straight about what works and what you don’t need.
VIDEO MAKING WEBSITES
What Are Video Making Websites?
A video making website is a website that showcases the work that your video production company does.
By using a combination of eye-catching web design, well laid out content marketing and appealing ingeniously to Google’s search algorithms via SEO, you can create an online presence that keeps your leads flowing in whilst you sleep.
Making videos has become a large industry in recent years, and many video companies don’t know why they need a website to showcase their work, let alone how to build one.
Why You Need A Website
I’ll first look at the advantages of having a website in general, and then look at the industry-specfic reasons for having a website.
This article will then go into the exact steps to create a website and get it off the ground. I’ll also focus in-depth on the key aspects that you’ll need in a website as a videographer or filmmaker.
So this guide will have 3 main sections:
- Reasons for having a website as a video business owner or filmmaker.
- How to create a website from the ground up.
- What exactly you need to have on your website.
General Reasons For Needing a Website
– A first point of contact your clients or employers. Whether you’re looking to showcase your work as a freelancer, or you’re looking to be employed by someone on a film or TV project, having a website is the first point of contact with the rest of the world.
Sure, you give them a business card, but it doesn’t end there. Your business card should have a web address on it that interested parties can visit to gain more information about you. From there, they have your contact details like phone number, email, etc.
You can tell a lot about someone by looking at their website!
– A place to showcase your work. As we’ll discuss, one of the central parts of your website (and the reason for its existence) is to show what your can do – a portfolio of your work should be a key part of your website. We’ll talk about this in detail later on.
– Somewhere to demonstrate your personality. People like working with people like them. Your website is an opportunity for you to demonstrate your personality. Sure, we can’t learn everything about someone by the way they write on their website, but we can learn what makes them tick.
As we’ll get into later in this article, a Blog is a great way to demonstrate your personality, talk about your projects and give people an insight into what working with you would be like.
Whether you’re selling your video services as a production company, or looking to freelance as a filmmaker, your website gives you an opportunity to demonstrate your personality when people are getting to know you.
A Website As A Video Production Company Owner
As a video production company owner, your website is the first place you get to tell your story to a prospective client. As I went through in the Complete Guide to Starting & Growing a Video Business system, we send our clients (however we originally found them) to our website to learn more about the services we offer.
From there, we find clients come to the Initial Meeting ‘pre-sold’ on our services and what we can offer them.
What does a website do for a video production business:
- pre-sells prospective clients.
- gives our contact details.
- allows clients to interact with our social media accounts.
- acts as a ‘funnel system’ for catching prospects from a range of online (and offline) sources.
- allows the client to participate in the ‘story of our business‘ (more on that later).
- showcases our work as a video portfolio.
A Website As A Filmmaker Or Other Freelancer
As a freelancer filmmaker, or someone in another role within the industry like a Director of Photography, Assistant Camera or Producer, your website will be integral to how you portray yourself to your peers within the film/TV industry.
For instance, if you’re a Director of Photography looking for projects to work on, having a website with your DP’s reel, some general information about you and a blog that demonstrates your personality is a great calling card for Directors and Producers looking for a DP on their project.
It’s also important to note that a website can’t be thrown away or lost under a pile of papers like a resume can!
What does a website do for a filmmaker/freelancer:
- introduces the work you do to a potential employer.
- gets your name out there in the industry.
- acts as your multimedia business card.
- easy to bookmark you and your contact details (phone, email, etc) for future reference.
- people can connect with your social media accounts.
- you can easily drop your website URL on job hunting portals.
As you can see, there’s obviously some cross-over between the reasons for having a website as a video production company and as a freelance filmmaker. The rest of this article will be applicable to both, but will use examples with regards to building a website as a video production company.
Do I Really Need a Website?
Yes, you most definitely do.
I know people who have been successful for periods of time with no website and just book video business clients through word of mouth referrals.
However, those people eventually discover the advantages of a website and come around to the idea.
A website is a great marketing tool for you – a veritable soapbox from which you can stand and get your message out to your target audience.
Given someone a business card? With your website address on it, they can check out your stuff in their own time. It’s always there for them to type in your web address and discover just how awesome you are! And check it out they will.
How Do I Set Up A Website?
Setting up a website is easier than you might think. I’ve included a full tutorial to take you from no site at all to a working website. I’ll even teach you how to get your first pieces of content up!
Here are the steps we’re going to take:
1. Registering a domain.
2. Getting website hosting.
3. Equipping yourself with a content management system (CMS)
4. Setting up your pages.
5. Writing your first post.
Let’s start with the first part of the process.
1. Registering A Domain
At this point, you should be clear on a name for your business. I discuss naming your business in the Complete Video Business System guides, so consult that article if you haven’t decided on a name just yet.
For the purpose of this tutorial, I’m going to walk you through creating a website for the (entirely) fictional Delicious Hippo Video company. I know, I know, but let’s have some fun with this!
So, we’ve decided on our groovy name (Delicious Hippo Video), so now we need to go out there and find out if we can purchase a domain name for this company.
A domain name is the website address that someone types in to find a place on the internet. So, for this site, www.filmlifestyle.com is the domain.
I highly recommend Namecheap as a quality supplier of domains. It’s where I get all my domain names for my various projects from.
STEP 1 is to signup for a Namecheap domains account.
So, from the Namecheap front page, where it says “Find your new domain name,” we’re going to enter the domain we’re looking for based on our company name. If the domain name is already taken, it will tell us.
You want something short and punchy, so rather than the full company name (Delicious Hippo Video), I’m going to enter: delicioushippo.com
If you’re a US based business, you’ll want to put .com after your business name. If you’re based elsewhere, you should use your country’s domain identifier. So for the United Kingdom, you’d search for a .co.uk
Okay, I entered delicioushippo.com and, low and behold, it’s available! Probably won’t be if you don’t read this tutorial early on, as I’m sure a reader of this article will swipe it!
We’re now going to click on the little cart icon (shown in the top right of the screenshot).
That will add the domain to your shopping cat.
Next, click the red View Order button, followed by the red Confirm Order button. I won’t go through these steps as Namecheap change their order and style often. You’ll need to signin to your Namecheap account if you haven’t already and confirm the purchase of your domain.
You’re now the proud owner of a brand new shiny domain!
2. Getting Website Hosting
Now that you have a domain name, you need somewhere for that domain name to ‘live’ online.
We’re going to use Hostgator as our website hosting provider. I’ve used them for all my websites for years and they’re a solid and dependable solution, who’s customer support is fantastic.
I was going to write out a guide for setting up Hostgator like I did Namecheap above, but then I found this excellent video walkthrough for setting up Hostgator from the ground up.
The video below walks you through:
- opening a Hostgator account.
- setting up your hosting.
- adding the nameservers to Namecheap.
- adding your domain name to your Hostgator package.
Sound tricky? It’s easy – just watch the video now:
You now have your domain name and your hosting sorted. Let’s move on!
3. Equipping Yourself With A Content Management System (Cms)
Now that we have our domain and our hosting, we have the rough outlines of our website. Think of this like building and moving into a home:
- Your domain name is like the street that your house is on.
- Your hosting is the brick and mortar of the house.
- Your content (the posts and pages of your site) is the stuff you have within your house.
- So a Content Management System is like the shelves, bookcases and cabinets that you have in your house. It’s what you store your content in.
A Content Management System (CMS) is a piece of software that you build the website itself with. I recommend you use WordPress as your CMS. WordPress is an online software that comes bundled with your Hostgator account – you just need to activate it.
Lots has been written about WordPress and there’s a reason why a large percentage of all the websites in the entire world use WordPress – because it’s awesome!
With tools like WordPress, creating a website is no longer just within the grasp of internet techies who hold all the cards – you can now do it yourself! Everything’s pretty straightforward if you use WordPress.
STEP 1: Like I say, WordPress comes bundled with your Hostgator account, making it easy for you to bust out your website in no time. I found this great video made by Hostgator themselves that explains exactly what WordPress is and how to get started quickly:
STEP 2: Okay, you know what WordPress is and just how beneficial and easy to use it is to use. Now follow this video to set it up on your domain in no time flat:
STEP 3: So you’ve got WordPress installed. For the last STEP in this section, we’re going to learn how to tweak WordPress and get it functioning how we want:
Notice that these walkthrough videos I found use a photography website as an example throughout. Pretty handy!
Time to move on to the next section…
4. Setting Up Your Pages
Every website needs pages and posts. I’ll first explain what pages and posts are, so that you understand their meaning in the overall website picture and how they relate to each other and other parts of your website. I’ll then show exactly how to create them using the awesome Hostgator video walkthroughs.
– Pages are the backbone of your website. They’re the key parts of your site. When you visit a website or blog that you like, you’ll notice a ‘menu bar’ at the top of the page featuring things like About, Contact, Blog, etc. Those are pages.
A website can have as many pages as you like and not all of them have to be in the menu bar, of course.
– Posts are normally secondary parts of your site – you can consider them as the younger brother of the Pages on your site. They’re normally less key to your website, but still very important.
The most common use of Posts on a website is in the form of articles on a blog.
The next video in the series showing how to create your website covers the creation of Pages.
I’m going to go into exactly what type of pages your video production company website should have later on in this tutorial, so don’t worry. For now, watch this video and get your Pages setup.
5. Writing Your First Post
Now that we’ve covered Pages, we’ll jump into Posts. Every quality website needs both Pages and Posts. As I’ll get into later in this tutorial, a video production company website should have a prominent Blog that demonstrates what you’ve been up to and the kind of value you can bring potential clients to their projects.
Watch this video below about setting up your Blog and writing your first post and we’ll debrief afterward:
Now that you’ve learnt how to write your first post using WordPress, getting your first piece of content up will be a breeze. Here are the ACTION STEPS for doing just that:
1. From the Posts section of WordPress on the left side panel, select Add New. You’ll be presented with a blank page. Christopher Guest said that, “Blank paper is intimidating. It’s that cute girl at the dance and you’ll need every ounce of courage to ask her for a dance.”
But it’s not going to be intimidating, because we’re armed with a great understanding of what our business is all about.
2. Write your first post as an Introduction To Your Services. Keep it short and sweet. It should be friendly and inviting. You’re speaking directly to your target audience about your videos services and what you offer.
3. You can include a photo (or more) anywhere in your post by clicking the Add Media button near the top of the window you’re writing in. From there, you can upload a picture from your computer.
4. Once you’ve finished your Introduction post, click the Publish bottom on the top right hand side.
5. You’ve just published your first piece of content on your website. Feel good?
Your Website – An Overview Of What You Need
In this part of the tutorial, I’m going to cover exactly what you need on your video business website, what it should look like, and some of the cool things you can add once you have the basics down.
One of the key aspects of your website should be a section for Samples of Your Work. Here you can flaunt your digital brilliance for all the world to see! As we’ve discussed, one of the main reasons for having a website for your video business is to showcase your video work.
There are plenty of resources for creating a quality website. As I mentioned earlier, my recommendation is the fantastic WordPress.
There are indeed alternatives out there such as Joomla and Drupal. You might want to try those out and your mileage may vary. For me, it’s WordPress all the way.
This part of the tutorial on setting up your website is an expanded and revised version of a section in my Complete Video Business guide system here.
Note: When I go through this section, I’ll use the example of When It Clicks, a Dallas based wedding videography (and photography) company. I should probably point out that this isn’t my company (that would represent a bit of a conflict of interest), so I’ve featured a US based videography company who I think do things really well.
I’ll include screenshots below of their site. It’s a very interactive site, so it’s best to visit it and see what’s possible with your website, as a screenshot can only show you so much.
Let’s start with the essential pieces that your website needs to have:
A Striking and Vibrant Homepage
Your homepage should be welcoming and layout what you do in clear and concise language. You should include brief statements about what you do, as well as colorful stills of some of your video work (this is a bonus, you can always use images from an online stock image retailer – iStock is good).
As you can see from the example above of When It Clicks, the homepage is vibrant and attractive to their target market – brides. There’s a beautiful image front and center and the text leads in with a brief description of their philosophy. The screenshot cuts off the rest of the text, but there’s more below.
The menu is simple and concise and doesn’t give the user too many things to click on. This is good, as it carefully directs the user to where they want them to go.
Too many websites have an over-the-top number of menu items, which makes navigation clumsy and misdirected. You want to have a few menu items that direct your potential client exactly where you want them to go.
A Charming About Us Page
Again, include a more detailed description of you and your services. You can include your Elevator Speech here, which we talked about in another guide.
I’ve included a few screenshots to show what a good About Us page looks like. This site allows the user to easily scroll down to get more info and the information about the company is short, concise and efficient. The fonts look attractive and the photos of the team themselves personalize the user experience.
There’s no doubt that you’re dealing with a professional and upbeat group of people. There’s also good use of humor in the section where the two founders’ differing opinions on things are playfully explained.
This is a key point: have some fun with your website – there’s no need to be overly serious. Visitors to your site, especially the market that When It Clicks are in, don’t want something overly corporate and dead-pan serious – they have their employer’s websites for that!
A Succinct Contact Page
A Contact Page is integral to your business efforts, as it will be a contact method for enquiries to come your way. It’s a place where all of your contact information can be displayed.
For most video businesses, the contact form on a website will be the first point of contact and the first step towards generating an Initial Meeting with the potential client.
If you create your website using WordPress, you can get free plugins that will allow you to place a contact form on your website. This gives people the option to insert their name, email address and a message to you. This then gets emailed directly to your email address.
What I like to do is have my contact form direct emails to my personal email address (forwarded from my business email), so that I can pick up the emails on my phone. It’s a nice feeling to be out for the day, come in and look at my phone and have a couple of new enquiries appear in my inbox.
You should also have your phone number and address here (it should be in the footer of your other pages, too). Keeping your address and phone number the same wherever you list your business across the internet is essential to maximize the power of your local SEO efforts.
Let’s look at a screenshot of the contact page at When It Clicks:
The screenshot cuts off the rest of the contact form here, but it’s quite a detailed form for people specifically enquiring about a wedding. Your form doesn’t necessarily need to be this detailed. In fact, Contact Forms with less entry fields statistically have higher numbers of enquiries.
Notice, too, that they include an inviting looking image of two cups of coffee here. What better way to intrigue your potential client into an Initial Meeting than to suggest a chilled-out cup of coffee in the near future?
A Stunningly Gorgeous Samples/Our Work Page
This is so important. Not only do I recommend having prominent YouTube and Vimeo video accounts to showcase your video work on, but a Samples page on your site is the coup de grâce to showing off exactly what you can do for a potential client.
With WordPress plugins, you can setup your Samples page to have embedded video linked from your YouTube or Vimeo accounts.
In the above screenshot from When It Clicks, you can see they’ve included a number of samples of their video work. These open up in what’s called a ‘lightbox,’ where the video expands large and plays front and center on the screen when clicked.
There are many more samples on their site, the screenshot doesn’t capture them all. Be short and efficient with your titles and descriptions on this page – no need to be wordy here. And remember to keep your best work at the top, as those are the videos that will be viewed most.
Here’s another great example from another video production company:
I really like what Propeller USA have done with their samples page. Each of the small thumbnails on the carousel expands into a streaming Vimeo video in the center and it’s easy to enlarge to a fullscreen view.
A Breathtaking Blog
This is considered an optional extra by lots of video businesses, but I’m advising that you give considerable thought to having a blog on your site from the beginning.
This is all about setting you up as an authority in your field, and a blog allows you to write articles about your industry and what you can do for clients.
As well as those things, you can also use your blog to discuss cool shoots and projects you’ve recently worked on. Include both video and stills from the day here to make the experience a total multimedia immersion.
I decided early on to include a blog on my video production company’s website and went ahead and took action on it. A couple of days later, I got contacted by a bridal client. When I went to meet her, one of the first things she said was how impressed she was by my blog and how it really showed that I know what I’m doing.
It was great feeling, as I’d literally only added the blog a couple of days before she saw it. I’d added three articles in one day just to give it a sense of having been around for a little while. After her comments, I was convinced that blogging is an important part of the overall video business picture.
Like I say, a blog lets you stand out as an authority in your industry. Those video production companies without a blog on their websites are being left behind.
3 More Pages That You’ll Probably Need (Eventually)
There are a few more Pages that you’ll most likely want to add to your site as you progress with your video business and I include those below.
For whatever reason (and I’ll mention the reasons in each sub-section below), you might not need these Pages on your website from the beginning, but they’re great extras that can add a cherry on the top of your well crafted slice of the internet.
A Testimonials/Reviews Page
The reasons as to why you probably won’t need this page type from the beginning are quite straightforward – when you first start out, you won’t have any testimonials.
When you start getting your first testimonials from happy clients, you should include a page that showcases them.
If you’re not up to speed, a testimonial is a kind of review of your work that a client writes after working with you. This guide explains a solid process for asking clients for a testimonial after you’ve worked with them.
So what should a testimonials/reviews page look like?
First, I’ll tell you what it shouldn’t look like: walls of text where you’ve simply copy & pasted emails from clients directly onto your website.
Ideally, you want to include a lovely picture of your smiling client beside their joyful endorsement of your sterling work. Of course, it goes without saying that you should ask their permission before including their picture (and their testimonial!) on your website.
Also, important note here: you don’t need to include their entire testimonial. Some testimonials can be long (if you’ve done your job right!) and although it brings pleasurable tears to your eyes when you read it, visitors to your site are better off just getting the best snippets of each testimonial.
So you have a snippet of their testimonial. You have their smiling photo. You could include a box around each testimonial and pretty it up a bit. Up to you.
A key point here is that your Testimonials page shouldn’t be over saturated with testimonials. This is an all too common mistake that lots of video business owners make. You don’t want to overwhelm a visitor to your site. Instead, keep your site fresh (that’s a theme with this whole article, right) and keep your best testimonials up.
Rotate new ones in when you get fantastic new endorsements. I think 5-10 is a good number of testimonials to feature, but you should start publishing them on your site once you have your first 3. Three seems to be a number that most people trust.
Let’s look at a good example of a Testimonial page. This is a screenshot of MagentoFilms testimonials page. As you can see, they do a lot of things that I described above right:
Not only do they have beautifully presented, boxed written testimonials, but they include video testimonials for extra social proof. The logos of the companies, as well as the links to those companies, increase on the social proof and legitimacy of what we’re seeing.
Well done, MagentoFilms. 🙂
A Pricing Section
This is a tricky one for lots of video business owners to get their heads around. Should they include a list of their prices or should they remain mysterious?
For lots of video companies, showing prices allows a potential client to play price shopper and jump past the inherent value of their services just shopping on price alone. As we discovered in the marketing section of the Video Business Guide System, we don’t want to present our services based on price alone, and we certainly don’t want to put ourselves in a position to be forced to compete with others on price.
That’s bad business.
So to avoid the pricing conundrum, what I advise you do is have a Pricing page on your site, but don’t have it too clearly labelled (as in, not on the ‘menu bar’ of your website). This avoids the price-hunter issue, but still allows you to link to it for interested parties who might email you an enquiry about your prices.
I’ve seen a few video companies have a lot of success by having a downloadable PDF of their prices. This works great whether you’re in the wedding videography business, the promos for local business industry, or any other service.
Let’s look at a good example of Pricing done well:
I really like how Propeller USA do their Pricing. They list a complete breakdown of their different packages, but don’t include exact prices, instead leaving a generic “packages start at $2,400” statement. They include a Contact Us link by their packages, which I’m sure gets lots of enquiries.
This is a great use of tantalizing presentation of an offer with a ‘takeaway.’ I don’t know Propeller USA’s numbers, but I bet they are doing well with this Pricing style.
An Areas Covered Section
This option for a page is a little more open-ended. Most video companies will primarily target a certain geographic area, whilst most likely being open to working elsewhere, too.
A great idea for indicating where you’d prefer to work is to include a section of your website that you might call Areas Covered or something similar. This could be one page, or a dropdown menu with multiple locations listed, where each location has its own separate page.
The benefit of having these separate location related pages is huge for SEO. We touched on SEO (Search Engine Optimization) briefly earlier on. You can ‘target’ local keywords and including them will get you ranking high for those search terms in Google and other search engines.
What does this mean in practice?
Well, say you were a video production company in Buffalo, New York who service business owners looking for promo videos in the local area. You’d want to target search terms like:
‘buffalo video production’
‘video company buffalo’
Targeting these kind of terms allows your site to be more easily found when people search a search engine like Google for it, as the above are the kind of search terms business owners in Buffalo might use to find your video production service.
So, in this example, you’d have an Areas Covered section of your site and have a page titled ‘Buffalo Video Production‘ and then you’d have pages based around other nearby towns and cities that you want to target your services at.
This is quite a basic overview of just one aspect of SEO and it’s something that’s forever evolving and changing over time. It’s something I’ll definitely be going in-depth with in a future tutorial.
For now, here’s a cool video that explains what SEO is in modern terms:
Now that you’re up to speed on SEO (if you weren’t already) let’s look at…
Some Key Non-Page Pieces That Your Website Should Have
Yes, you don’t necessarily need these things from the get-go, like you do the key Pages I described above, but they’re certainly the icing on the proverbial cake of all video making websites.
Social Icons Everywhere
We live in a social media world these days. For better or worse. Whatever your thoughts are on social media, you can’t deny its prevailing availability just about everywhere and with every kind of business imaginable.
You should have social icons in lots of places on your site. Most WordPress themes allow for fairly simple integration with social media, where you add the URL of your Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc accounts and they show up as icons on your site.
You can also consult the wealth of WordPress plugins to find a solution that does exactly what you want. There really are tonnes of them. The one I use in the right hand sidebar of this site is called Easy Social Icons.
By having social media icons all around your site, you ensure that visitors can do three main things:
- they can contact you easily by following the social media icon and finding your presence on Facebook, Twitter, etc. In this way you can “carry on the conversation” as the social media pros say.
- they can share your posts, pages and offers with their friends on their own social media channels.
- they can direct other people to your social media.
An Email Newsletter
I’m sure you’ve heard about this email marketing thing that is all the rage on the internet these days. Has been for a while. If I’ve done things right, you’ve probably seen my Newsletter mentioned on this site a lot. By the way, if you haven’t already, you should really subscribe to that now.
The thing is, people are using newsletters to market to clients these days, but we’re not talking about your old-fashioned style hand printed newsletter with the 1970s clipart!
Newsletters aren’t dead because nowadays business-people can leverage email marketing tools to send their newsletters out to a list of potential clients.
In internet language, you often here something along the lines of: “The money’s in the list.”
This is very true. Throughout the decades, the top businesses have come to understand that having a customer list is key to their success in business and marketing. When the internet came along, it just made that easier with email marketing.
Here are a couple of email marketing solutions that I recommend:
- Aweber – a paid solution, but one that is very solid as far as what it can do. They do offer a free trial, too.
- Mailchimp – has a free option if you have under 500 people “on your list,” as well as a more feature filled paid option.
So how does this work in practical terms for our video business marketing and selling?
With an email marketing solution, you add client’s email addresses (with permission) when they contact you. In the trade parlance, this is known as a ‘warm email list.’ From there, you have a newsletter that you email out to your prospects, say, once a month, once a quarter – whatever works for you.
So what does the newsletter need to contain?
It doesn’t need to be too fancy, just a few pages of what you’ve been up to in your video business. Who you’ve been working with and what kind of shoots you’ve been doing. You can even cut-and-paste the articles from the blog on your website and include them in your newsletter (you do have a blog, right?)
If you have two target audiences in your video business (say wedding videography and local business promo videos), you should have a separate newsletter for each. The email marketing solutions mentioned above allow you to have multiple lists, a list for each type of prospect.
Further, you can have a ‘prospects email list’ and a ‘clients email list.’ You’ll most likely want to be marketing different to brand new prospects on your list compared with those who’ve already brought from you before.
Email marketing has revolutionized how we sell our video services. It’s an amazing and efficient way of keeping in touch with prospects and clients. We’ve already learnt that communication and networking is key in this game, right?
A newsletter is also key for client reactivation, which is the process of renewing a working relationship with a client you’ve done business with before.
Never forget: a client you’ve worked with before is more likely to work with you again compared with a brand new prospect.
Don’t just take my word for it, here’s Jeff Walker (a massive name and all-round cool guy in the internet marketing world) on email marketing and how it can positively affect your business:
Now that I’ve mentioned Email Newsletters, I need to mention Opt-in boxes and popups. Remember I directed you to this page a few paragraphs ago? Well that page contains a rather prominently displayed opt-in box. There’s also one at the bottom of this very page.
Opt-in boxes come in all shapes and sizes. Here’s mine:
My opt-in, for the uninitiated. It works, try it!
An opt-in box is a tool that enables you to ‘capture’ a visitor’s email address, which is then (automatically) added to your Email Newsletter list. It’s called an opt-in box because a visitor is “opting into something.”
The automatic part is where the above-mentioned services like Mailchimp and Aweber come in. If we just had a Contact form and had to do everything manually by hand, then we’d be overworked, stressed and have very sore fingers.
As well as opt-in boxes, you have popup boxes. In this context, a popup box is a popup that contains an opt-in box. Popups usually leverage the power of WordPress (and some internet code) to generate the popup using a ‘lightbox.’
It all sounds rather confusing when I type it out, but you probably would have seen one on this very website. Popups got a bad rep in the internet Wild West days of the late 90s, but not all popups are created equal. Some deliver really good value to the visitor.
Press/As Featured On artwork
This is one that you probably won’t need to add to your website right from the start, but it’s one that expands your social proof massively.
You would have seen this on sites around the internet – essentially, you have a section showing the logos of sites that you’ve been featured on. This can be achieved in a variety of ways, the most popular is something like this:
You’d have a section of one of your Pages with AS FEATURED ON as a title and then an image like this:
You don’t need to reserve this only for when you eventually hit it big and get featured in the New York Times or something. It doesn’t need to just be the big sites. In fact, looking for quality and relevant sites within your niche is a great way to build up your social proof.
Now, there are many ways to do this and you can just hold out for when a big site features your work, if you want – say, a major videography magazine picks up one of your videos for syndication, or you get a write-up in a major trade journal or something.
However, I’m going to show you a shortcut method below for achieving a similar social proof affect without having to wait around for the big boys to find you!
For example, say you’re in the wedding videography industry. You can add your business listing (just info about your business with a link to your website) on one of the many wedding directory sites. Lots and lots of these are free and there’s some quality paid ones, too.
Once you’ve added your listing to a directory, guess what? You’ve been featured on that website and you can use their (socially proofed) logo in your As Featured On section.
Believe me – brides will know and respect these quality directory sites, so showing that you’re featured on them is a great show of social proof for your video business.
So, those ACTION STEPS again:
1. Find quality and relevant directories within your industry.
2. Add your business listing to those directories.
3. Create an As Featured On section on your website (on your homepage is good) and add the directory’s logo. These sort of directory sites always have logos that they encourage you to share, as it results in more exposure for them.
Oh, and here’s a quick shortlist of some great wedding industry directories that you might want to add your business on and then include them in your As Featured On section (bride tested, Filmmaking Lifestyle approved):
- The Knot (USA based)
- WeddingWire (Worldwide)
- Rock n Roll Bride (Worldwide)
- Hitched (UK based)
- Guides for Brides (UK based)
What You Don’T Need On Your Website
Okay, I thought I’d have some fun with this and show some of the things you really shouldn’t have on your website. I know, I know – but it’s late and I’ve been working hard on this article, so we’re going to have a bit of fun at the end.
Here are some things your website would feel self-conscious about having on it:
Early 2000s Altavista/Geocities style Backgrounds
If you’re old enough to remember this, just reading the subheading above will be enough to jog those awful memories.
Back when ‘chat rooms’ were still exceptionally cool and you’d look forward to sneaking into them during your computing classes at high school in 2001, Altavista and Geocities were the big names in web design.
I say “awful,” but I kinda have fond memories of these kind of sites. There’s actually many places online that collect this type of history.
Still, it’s a really good idea to avoid your site looking like one of the Altavista or Geocities ones. Even though I’m still personally quite nostalgic when I see them, they’re really not great sales tools!
Cheesy Russian Wedding Video Clips
Have you seen this clip yet? Before you watch this clip and read up about the stir is caused, I’ll just politely note that if you’re in the wedding videography business, you don’t want your wedding video clips looking like this:
Over The Top Use of Animals
Yes, for some odd reason that’s never quite been summed up in ordinary parlance, people on the internet (read:everyone) have a strange fascination with animal pictures.
Now, I’m as big a fan of animals as the next person, but some people just take it way too far.
You definitely don’t need animals pictures all over your website, and you especially don’t need tiled animal pictures (like I see in some places):
In Conclusion: The Importance of Video Making Websites
I hope this guide has helped you formulate your plans for what you want your video business website to be if you don’t yet have one, or help you envision a more complete vision if you already one.
Some of these components are more key than others, and I’ve tried to indicate that throughout. There are some pages your website just can’t do without and some that are more “when you get bigger you’ll need them.”
I wanted to write a basic to intermediate article about building a website for a video business, because I know that so many video professionals out there don’t yet have a website, or the knowledge to build something quality. I didn’t think this article would turn into the 7,000+ word monster it has!
I appreciate that some people are beyond the basic website point and are looking for more advanced concepts, so I definitely plan to expand on a lot of these ideas and I’ll be writing in-depth articles in the future on topics like: Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Social Media for video business, Email/Newsletter Marketing, the psychology of a visitor on your video business website, etc.
If this article has been helpful to you, or you have thoughts or questions, please drop me a comment in the comments section below. It’ll help the community here.
This article on video making websites has really been a lot of work and a large undertaking. I’d really appreciate it if you’d:
- Post this guide on videography, filmmaking and related forums/message boards.
- Share this guide with friends on social media (the buttons just below this article make sharing easy).
- Write about this guide on your blog and include a link.
- Leave a comment below.
Thanks for reading!
Thanks for the comment and the kind words, man. The feedback for these guides has just been amazing and humbling. I’m constantly receiving really amazing emails, private messages on forums, etc.
Glad you’re enjoying the rest of the site, too. I have a lot more where this came from!
I was thinking the same thing! As I was reading I was thinking, “how much am I going to learn here”. What a great resource! It is one that I will have to save for later when I finally get around to getting a domain name.
You hit the nail on the head with all of the points you made here. For me, having a website is just the way it is today. If you want to meet new clients, you NEED to go where they are. The internet opens so many doors for you in that respect, it just makes sense.
Even the most simple website puts you above those that do not have one.
Yeah, true, Tom. As this article states, as a provider of video production services you need a website to show what you can do. It’s not optional, in my opinion, but absolute tantamount to everything you do.
Just great! This is a really comprehensive and awesome guide for a new pilgrim. I’m loving these posts. Thank you so much!
I have learned so much from Matt’s posts on this website. This guide is just the beginning. I feel like I have come such a long way since I first started my video production hobby/business. This is truly a great place to come for information on starting a video production company. Good luck all!
I was looking this kind of information. Very helpful post. Such important points and well explained. Carry on man!
Beautiful post! i would love to follow these guides. Thank you so much Matt!
Great job! Just enough for a good start. I think it will be so helpful.
Thank you so much Matt for this excellent article. I have learned so many new things here. Great!
Really well written article. You highlighted very important points here, specially ” Equipping yourself with a content management system (CMS), setting up pages” etc. Thanks Matt.
I came across this page whilst looking at our Alexa rankings…. thanks for the nice write up of our testimonials page!
Great article – let me know if you’d like me write something for your site.
“To hold a pen is to be at war.” by Francois Marie Arouet Voltaire.
I do consider all of the ideas you have introduced on your post. They’re really convincing and will certainly work. Nonetheless, the posts are very brief for beginners. May just you please lengthen them a bit from next time? Thank you for the post.
Great blog here! Also your site loads up fast! What web host are you using? Can I get your affiliate link to your host? I wish my web site loaded up as fast as yours lol
I’m just getting started forming my video production company and this kind of info helps me no end. Awesome stuff and keep up the good work dude! I’ll be following along with everything you do.
Nice advice, thanks for this. Would be good to get more advice on social media and how that affects our businesses.
Thanks a lot for the blog.Really looking forward to read more. Great.
I really like what you guys are usually up too. This kind of clever work and coverage!
Keep up the very good works guys I’ve added you guys to my favorites.
You can definitely see your skills in the work you write. The world hopes for more passionate writers like you who aren’t afraid to say how they believe. Always follow your heart.
Hello there! This is kind of off topic but I need some help from an established blog.
Is it very difficult to set up your own blog? I’m not very techincal but I
can figure things out pretty quick. I’m thinking about creating my own but I’m not sure where to begin. Do you have any points or suggestions?
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I keep coming back to this one and getting more and more from it. Thanks!
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I regularly spend my half an hour to read your articles with a mug of coffee.
Really impressive guide this is. Thanks + please keep up the good work
I like the helpful information you provide in your articles. I’ll bookmark your blog and check again here regularly. I am quite sure I will learn a lot of new stuff right here! Good luck with the site, you deserve it!
Thanks for this!
Forgot to add, do you have any thoughts on Vimeo vs You tube?
Some great content on this site , saved to my bookmarks .
Hey There. I found your blog via Google search. This is a really well written article. I’ll be sure to bookmark it and come back to read more of your useful information. Thanks for the post. I’ll certainly comeback.
I want to say that this article is awesome, nicely written and is really inspirational for me. I’d like to see more posts like this!
Great write up, guys! Keep ’em coming!
I love reading about anything video production and I’m also a tech who has been making WordPress sites for years. So combining the two passions gives me some ideas for finally getting that video production company off the ground!
This was great. I am just about to launch my site. I’ve been struggling with a few things and this helped answer my questions. You see there are a lot of guides out there on setting up websites and such, but this guide being specific to filmmakers was really helpful. Thanks Matt for the great great work on this site and I’m gonna go and read more!
Hi there, after reading this awesome piece of writing i am as well glad to share my knowledge here with friends. Inspiring! Great work.
Thanks for this great, great detailed intro to websites for filmmakers and videographers. This is something that’s been missing from the community for such a long time, glad you have provided it.
Keep up the great work, Matt!
[…] of this as a ‘welcome mat’ for your production company ‒ a welcome video on your website, social media profile […]
is wordpress still the best method to launch a website?
I set up my website using Squarespace and I highly recommend it to anyone who wants a clean, professional, responsive website, without having to worry too much about coding, plugins, etc. Squarespace is also a one-stop shop for domains, hosting, and CMS. No need to go to three different places. It’s worked out well for me, so I thought I would mention it here.
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