Building a websiteFeb 14, 2023
Hello filmmakers! good news, pre-production planning is coming to a close…
If this is your first time visiting - firstly, welcome! Be sure to check out the previous blogs as they may help provide some context for what we’ll be covering today. For our Moonshot regulars, it's now time for you to start thinking outside of your film…
I’m not trying to be deep or metaphorical here! Your documentary is the centerpiece of a network of different materials that all compliment each other, and one element of this network is the website.
And yes! You do need to start thinking about your website in pre-production. You can never be too careful when it comes to website development. Maybe it will take weeks or maybe it will take months. But it will definitely be a gamble.
BTW, this is where having your graphics organised is going to be very useful! If you haven’t had a chance to catch that lesson yet, have a look here.
Claim that name!
As soon as you’ve worked out the title to your masterpiece you need to jump on the net and claim the URL, a social media page and domain name. If you leave this late, someone might swipe it and you’ll have to choose another one!
Once this is all organised, then you have to start thinking about whether you are going to build it yourself, hire a developer or outsource the build to a third party. Depending on the route you choose, this could impact your scheduling. If you need some helpful hints on scheduling, check out this blog.
How do you build a website?
Best thing to do here is design a wireframe (or blueprint, if you like!) that outlines the bare bones of your website. It’s like a map. Naturally, you would want to start with a home page. Then more than likely, an about page and a contact page. If someone lands on your home page, what do they do next? Which button will take them where? Map it out. With those published, I’d call it official! Your film has now claimed its spot on the internet.
Now it is completely understandable for you to be thinking ‘How am I going to do any of this if I don’t even have a logo?’
Keep it simple! Think about the colours, fonts and styles that best fit your production and build from there. If it changes in the future, that’s fine! When you begin to work with graphic designers, to work up your poster, you’ll be able to update the look and feel of your site. Just be sure you build your site on a platform that you can easily update yourself, like Wordpress.
Communication is the key to success.
Your website is your home base that communicates with your audience! People who find you through social media can be redirected there and find all the information they’re looking for and get a better feel for the film (one that isn’t clouded by the design choices of Mark Zuckaberg!).
It’s also important to remember that you don’t own social media! Having your own website to direct people to is far more professional and adds a level of credibility to your film. Plus, Zuck could shut your page down with no notice and you would lose everything! Having your own site also means you can collect the analytics and get people to sign on to your mailing list, which is great for marketing your film downstream!
If you’ve never built a website before, I’d recommend using WordPress. That’s what we use at Moonshine Agency and it’s a user-friendly website builder that has hundreds of tutorials on YouTube for any adjustment you might want to make.
Helpful tech hint: Make sure your website is fast! I know it seems obvious, but think about how quickly you click off a website when it’s running slow. Using something like GTMetrix is a great way to track how your website is travelling.
Helpful tech hint 2: Many people won’t be viewing your website on a computer. So, it is incredibly important to to check how your website looks on phones and tablets.
Helpful tech hint 3: Watch out for those sneaky hackers! Eek!
“It would never happen to me,” I hear you say. Trust me, no matter how many security measures you have in place, websites always seem to go down. So making sure WordPress and all your various plugins are up to date is a great way to fight back.
Call to action!
What do you want people on your website to do? Is it to screen the film? Join the mailing list? These actions need to be clear and simple.
A mailing list is a great call to action and your website is a fantastic tool to get your audience signed up to it. With a mailing list, you can start to build a community around your film. No matter how many groundbreaking marketing ideas there are, the best marketing tool is still word of mouth.
The more people you have engaged with your film and are talking it up with their friends, the better. And guess what those friends will do? They’ll go to your website.
Need some examples?
If you’re looking for a great examples of film websites, you can have a look at some of Moonshine Agency’s.
Take Heart: Deadly Heart - https://takeheartrhd.com/take-action-against-rhd/
Conquering Cancer - https://conqueringcancercampaign.com/
For all other resources you may need or even more helpful tech hints, e-mail us or DM us through social media.
Next week, we’ll be back to talk the big picture. But until then, get website building!
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