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The Creative's Guide to An Awesome Web Presence

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  • 1. The Creative’s Guide to Building an Awesome Web Presence Theory + PracticeAmanda McCormick | Twitter: @amandamccormick | amanda@jellybeanboom.com | www.jellybeanboom.com
  • 2. Hi. I’m Amanda McCormick Im on a mission to change the way the way creative people think about websites.  Ive worked in media for over 15 years. I graduated film school and worked in production for a while and then migrated over to writing (the climate was much more hospitable). About five or six years ago, just after graduating with an MFA in Fiction from Columbia and plying my trade as a web copywriter, I found myself in the middle of a major shift in the way digital media was disrupting the dynamic between audiences and companies, brands and icons.  The "little guy" had suddenly got a lot more power. And this was a very exciting thing indeed.  This booklet is about creating a website, but it’s also about that shift.Amanda McCormick | Twitter: @amandamccormick | amanda@jellybeanboom.com | www.jellybeanboom.com
  • 3. Where are you now? A Self-Assessment I have a blog I have a blog that I update regularly I have a website that I run myself I have a website that someone else runs I use Twitter I have a Facebook fan page I send out an email newsletter I know who the important individuals and blogs in my niche areAmanda McCormick | Twitter: @amandamccormick | amanda@jellybeanboom.com | www.jellybeanboom.com
  • 4. What are some reason creatives don’t leverage the “The rule the web? internet broke is that now, • It seems expensive. everyone who has • Not technically minded a receiver also has • Overwhelmed by options a transmitter.” - • Dont want to seem vain  Seth Godin • Dont think it has anything to do with “art.”Amanda McCormick | Twitter: @amandamccormick | amanda@jellybeanboom.com | www.jellybeanboom.com
  • 5. The Artist as Entrepreneur About a year ago, the comedian Louis CK had the audacity to self-distribute his latest comedy show ”Live at the Beacon Theater” for $5 over the internet and made a cool million in exactly 12 days. Cue the lightbulb over numerous creative heads: Ought the artist attempt to retain more control over the distribution of his or her work – which is to say, more of a financial stake? When it comes to brand-building via low-cost web tools, the answer is most unquestionably “yes.” And so if you look beyond Louis CK’s million dollar check, the much more seismic shift in the consumption of entertainment equation is the changing role of the audience. A vocal audience can make an unknown – and readership/participation is making a strong run at pedigree. How do you thrive in the age of the artist as entrepreneur? You roll up your sleeves and start engaging your audience.Amanda McCormick | Twitter: @amandamccormick | amanda@jellybeanboom.com | www.jellybeanboom.com
  • 6. Traditional approach to websites is design-driven and static •tchotchke approach •well designed •one off and static •attempts to speak to the user but doesnt interactAmanda McCormick | Twitter: @amandamccormick | amanda@jellybeanboom.com | www.jellybeanboom.com
  • 7. Best website is the one YOU can maintain •Content is dynamic rather than design •Social •Aimed at engaging your audience and getting you surfacedAmanda McCormick | Twitter: @amandamccormick | amanda@jellybeanboom.com | www.jellybeanboom.com
  • 8. Where to Start •Register your name at WordPress.com •Select a Template •Focus on great content •Evaluate and evolveAmanda McCormick | Twitter: @amandamccormick | amanda@jellybeanboom.com | www.jellybeanboom.com
  • 9. Getting more advanced Websites, and how they are “hosted” is something HOW TO CHOOSE A HOST that confuses a lot of people, especially when it comes to WordPress. So in this edition, I want to go How I wish when I got started someone could over a few things that will hopefully make the explain this to me succinctly and practically! It’s a process a little simpler. needlessly complicated issue. SO YOU WANT TO BUY A DOMAIN On the lowest end, there are shared hosting plans which cost less than $10 per month. You can host as Buying a domain is the first step to putting up your many websites as you want on these plans, and you own website, but it’s definitely not the last step. A share space with hundreds of other sites. GoDaddy, domain is just your website’s address, nothing Bluehost, Dreamhost, Hostgatorare all different more. You can buy domains from a number of options at the same general price point. Despite providers, and the task of choosing just the right one people’s passionate opinions, they are all kind of six deserves a post of its own. .Co, .Org, .Net are just a and one half. I use and recommend Bluehost, but be few of the “top level domains” you can choose from. forewarned that with all shared hosting you will encounter some kinks like site outages that may I HAVE A DOMAIN, SO I HAVE A WEBSITE… last a few hours, or slowdowns when your site RIGHT? encounters tons of traffic (highly unlikely for most newcomers). In order to create your “own” website, you need server space — a little slice of virtual real estate on So if your question is: how do I set up my own which the files and folders that make up your website, the answer is you set up a hosting plan with website will live. In order to have your very own one of the vendors above and buy a domain. website, which you control completely, you need to pay for the privilege of server space. You need a hosting plan. Amanda McCormick | Twitter: @amandamccormick | amanda@jellybeanboom.com | www.jellybeanboom.com
  • 10. Building an Audience Baratunde’s Way•Learn a lot about marketing (SethGodin)•Ask questions of a tribe ofpeople, they become youradvocates.•Hire a campaign manager•Build a “street team” -enthusiastic readers who will helpspread the word.•Build a two way channel via socialmedia•Exercise radical transparency: hewrote via screenshare How to be BlackAmanda McCormick | Twitter: @amandamccormick | amanda@jellybeanboom.com | www.jellybeanboom.com
  • 11. Fun with RSS feeds What is RSS?  categorization capabilities, you can drill down even further by topic. For instance, I used the tag "cycling" to RSS stands for "really simple syndication.” It’s a great drill down on a specific subject in the New York Times way to make web text portable, to send it somewhere metropolitan-specific City Room blog  else.  Save time with a custom feed All blogs and some other types of publishing operations offer an RSS feed. Instapaper is a brilliant utility that allows you to take an web page youre interested in and designate it "read it How to find an RSS feed later." But what many people dont know is that when they hit "read it later" they are adding another item to an Easiest way Ive ever found is to load the page in Firefox, RSS feed that they have defined. You can create as many navigate to the upper right, and click on "Subscribe to Instapaper files as you would like, so by using this this page" which will give you an address you can copy lesser-known feature, you have a custom RSS feed that to your clipboard.  could be comprised of many different publications. Use it to populate your social feeds as above.  You may not be the biggest blogger in the world. Thats OK. You can still cultivate an engaged social media following by "curating" feeds from people and Automatic email newsletters publications you respect and using the feed from your own blog to do more. Finally, perhaps the most powerful use of RSS: to pour in content to your email newsletters. MailChimp offers Populating your social feeds this powerful feature -- you customize a mail template to look however you would like, and publish a new item to your blog, the text gets put into your template and Just copy a feed and use a utility like Feedburner or sent out to your social media audience immediately. As Hootsuite to automatically publish that feed to your above, you can leverage the power of tags to earmark Twitter, for instance, every time a new item appears. By certain types of content for your newsletter.  taking advantage of certain blogs tagging andAmanda McCormick | Twitter: @amandamccormick | amanda@jellybeanboom.com | www.jellybeanboom.com
  • 12. Get more help Visit The One-Hour Website (onehourwebsite.org)  This is a site that I made to help nonprofits and artists figure out how to make their own websites. Subscribe to my newsletter Visit www.jellybeanboom.com and enter your name in the right hand column to get a weekly tip in your email inbox. Contact me I’d love to chat. Just email me at amanda@jellybeanboom.comAmanda McCormick | Twitter: @amandamccormick | amanda@jellybeanboom.com | www.jellybeanboom.com