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The Industry
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An actor website can be a useful tool to help you to showcase the parts you’ve played and the performer skills you have. We share advice about how to set your website up and what you should include on it.

​​When I was in my last year at drama school in New York, I took a class on career development. The main theme of the class was knowing how to market yourself as an actor and to think about acting as a profitable business and one of the tools that we were encouraged to take advantage of was to develop a personal website.

The typical American mindset is one of confidence and a sure sense of self when striving towards your goals. As an actor, I embracedthis and found that capitalising on the rise of social media and self-made entrepreneurship was the best aid in getting my work out there – while remaining authentic to the kind of actor I wanted to be. 

Why ​​​​​​​Create a Website?​​  

​​Whether you’ve​ just graduated or you’​​​re further on in your acting career, a personal website isa usefulway to help ​industry professionals find you. A website not only contains information about you and the work you do but it also creates a sense ​​of who you are.

​​I designed my first website in 2017 and styled it according to how I wanted to present myself. Even with just a few credits at the time, I was able to generate an exciting appeal. I linked the site on my CV​​ and across all my social media platforms. To this day, when casting directors or agencies ​​​​Google me, my personal website is ​​in the first few search results.

Staying connected through a website means you have control over what you share about yourself within the industry, but it shouldn’t be a substitute for your Spotlight profile. Most casting directors use Spotlight as a direct platform for casting projects, so creating a website is simply another way to expand your online presence and give casting directors a visual representation of what you have to offer as an actor.

How to Create a Website

​​There are a number of easy to use website builders available to get you started. Sites like Wix, SquareSpace and GoDaddy offer promotions on premium packages that include free domains, which are where your website will be hosted online. These site builders will help you create, design and edit a personal website. They include step-by-step guides and easy to navigate editors, as well as a selection of templates for you to use.

Start by choosing a name for your site (ideally this would include your acting name) with a​​ free domain and begin designing. Choosing a ​​unique name for your website is important as it’s how people can identify yourwebsite and tell it apart from others. When choosing your name, ensure you think about what words people are likely to use to find you online. This is why using your acting name as the website name is ideal, if possible. 

There are packages available that will keep your website live and include a free domain. They can cost anywhere between £50 to £200 depending on what you want to include on your site. A basic package is enough to get you started​​ and you can design the site for free before you publish it. 

What to Include on Your Website

When you first create your website, it’s best to keep things simple and easy to use. A site with too much information may deter visitors, so only include necessary information with a minimal design to make it easy for people to access the information that you want them to see, i.e. who you are, what you do and how to contact you. ​​

A simple page for your biography, news, photo gallery (including headshots), CV​​ (including a show​​reel if you have one) and a contact page is more than enough to start off with

​​Most website builders offer design templates with matching colour themes and text to help inspire you but it’s best ​​​to adapt these and make them your own so you don’t end up with a similar looking​ ​website to someone else.

Researching before you start designing can be a great way to inspire ideas. Start by looking at a variety of websites for inspiration and create a list of things you like and dislike about them.

Are they easy to use? Do they stand out to you? What is it about the website that peaks your interest? Once you’ve done this you can look at YouTube tutorials or the tutorials on the site builders to get started.

​​​It’s a good idea to include ​​​​any press or reviews about your acting work​​, as well asany links to social media. Giving users the option to learn more about you through​​ different platforms is a smart way to grow your network.

​​The main thing is to ​​include what you want your audience to know about you. A​ direct and confident approach with a neat design is ​​sure to pique the interest of any visitors.  

How to Utilise Your Website 

​​Once you’ve created your website, update it​​ regularly. If you’ve​​ included a news page​​, ​add new information as and when you like without having to edit the whole website.

You can also embed your social media feed. If you’re active on social media, ​it’s a great way to instantly update your site without having to manually make any changes to your news page.

​​Website builders also offer tools to help get more traffic to your site directly. Getting found on Google with keywords describing what your website is about is one of the best ways to get noticed. There are step-by-step guides on how to do this included in your package. Once you’ve set this up, every time ​someone searches using your associated​ ​ keywords,​​ it will show up in the search results. 

Finally, when you have your site live and ready to go, don’t forget to link it to your Spotlight profile, IMDB Pro, CV​​​ and social media platforms.

Redesigning Your Website

If you decide to redesign your website, you’ll want to keep your URL active, so visitors aren’t sent to an inactive domain page. When you create a new website, keep your domain active on your old site and add an ‘under construction’ or ‘coming soon’ home page. This will encourage users to keep checking back for updates, while allowing you time for the redesign.

When you’re ready, assign your domain to your new site.

Protecting Your Domain Name

It’s also very important to ensure you renew your domain name when it expires. Think how terrible it would be to put in all this effort and then to lose your domain to someone else. Any links you’d shared to your website would then take people to the new domain owner’s website instead of yours.

Most websites give you a 30-day window to renew in once your domain expires, but it’s best to set up an auto-renew to ensure there’s no chance of forgetting. The process for auto-renewing will vary depending on who you made your website through, so it’s best to check with their guidelines.

A website can be a great tool to network in a way that gives you more control. Even if you don’t have a lot of credits, or you’ve just graduated, you can still create a sense of professionalism and proactiveness about the work you do. Having a site that I own and design means that I’m in control of my own work​​ and I can showcase it in a way that suits me.

​​Social media and other platforms for actors often come with restrictions for use​​, but there are very few boundaries to what you can and can’t create on a personal website. If you​​re someone with several professions or skills, you can also include pages of information about your other work.

Acting is a business fuelled by passion​​ and you are the product. In my experience, the more you accept this and put​​ yourself in spaces that connect to the people you need to meet, the more you can set yourself up for a successful future.  

​​​​Take a look at our News ​​​​and​​​ Advice section for more ​​casting news and acting tips​​.

Karen Johal is most notably known for playing Nicole Shelley in the award-winning Apple TV+ series Ted Lasso, starring opposite Jason Sudeikis, Brett Goldstein and Nick Mohammed. She currently stars in the BBC television series Phoenix Rise as Noreen Khan, starring opposite Paul Nicholls, Zita Sattar and Tyler Fayose. Karen’s film credits include: The Waves for MTV Entertainment directed by BAFTA award winner Sindha Agha; Frank’s Plan for Amazon Prime; and The High Performer for the award-winning digital creative We Are Tilt. She also starred in a global campaign for instant messaging platform WhatsApp with Broadcaster Alex Scott MBE and in a national Christmas commercial for retailer TK Maxx.

In Theatre, Karen recently played the lead role in Ayad Akhtar’s The Who and the What at The English Theatre of Hamburg in Germany and has starred opposite Scottish actor Alan Cumming in the original musical Me and the Girls. She played the lead role in the regional premieres of David Harrower’s Blackbird and Duncan Macmillan’s People, Places and Things. Karen was also directed by Iqbal Khan in Mismatch, performing as part of the Sky Comedy Rep Festival at The Birmingham Rep Theatre in 2022.
Karen is a graduate of The American Academy of Dramatic Arts in Manhattan, New York where she performed on stage for The Public Theater at Shakespeare in the Park and at the world famous Carnegie Hall. 

Headshot credit: Andy Brown