We’re so dependent on the internet but are you using the web to the fullest for your business? Your website is a crucial element of your voiceover business. Your online storefront has to be incredibly appealing and user-friendly. In today’s episode, the bosses talk all about voiceover websites and some common problems to avoid. Wifi – on, bandwidth locked and loaded — let’s dive into the web bosses!
Quick Concepts from Today’s Episode:
Many voiceover actors and entrepreneurs are semi-clueless about how their website works and operates.
We can’t be at a web-disadvantage – especially when you own and operate a website.
New voiceover actors and business owners need to embrace and learn the technology.
Years ago a voiceover actor could NOT have a website – now it’s mandatory.
Freelancing and working from home without a website is nearly impossible.
Buyers are also dependant on the internet and use it as a tool to consume everything.
Become a website critic. What sites do you like? Why? How are they effective?
Buyers go to a website to hear a voiceover actor – so demos must be easy to find and play.
Consumers may still want your website to direct them back to a ‘real-person’ and others will want digital forms of communication – it all depends on your audience.
Website technology is commonplace for kids today – so we can’t be amateurish in our web efforts.
You can’t put blind faith or trust into a web provider so that you can be in control of your business.
Web IT, programming and platform are separate from design, graphics and text language.
Content is still king and Google needs quality content so you can be easily found on the web.
Knowing who you are as a business and defining it well on your website is essential.
A Clean, clear, graphic site is beautiful but likely not easily found on the web.
Share ideas with your own network ++
Referenced in this Episode
Direct links to things we brought up ++
Full Episode Transcript
>> Today’s voiceover talent is more than just a pretty voice.
>> Pretty voice.
>> Pretty voice.
>> Pretty voice.
>> Today’s voiceover talent has to be a BOSS.
>> A BOSS.
>> A BOSS.
>> Join us each week for business owner strategies and success with your hosts Anne Ganguzza and Gabrielle Nistico, along with some of the strongest voices in our industry.
>> Rock your business.
>> Rock your business.
>> Rock your business.
>> Like a BOSS.
>> Like a BOSS.
>> Rock your business like a BOSS.
>> Rock your business like a BOSS.
>> A VO BOSS.
>> A VO BOSS.
>> A VO BOSS.
Anne: Hey, welcome, everybody, to the VO BOSS podcast. I’m your host, Anne Ganguzza, along with my VO BOSS bestie, bosstie, web cohort, partner in crime, Gabby Nistico. Hey Gabby!
Anne: You and I both I think are dealing with I think a very important part of our businesses, and that is our websites. [laughs]
Gabby: Oh web growth.
Anne: Web growth. It’s like a disease, web growth.
Gabby: It almost is. I feel like, you know, you have your moments of like “if I could marry the Internet, I would,” and I have my moments of “I want a divorce.”
Anne: Normally I, yeah, I want to be married and partners forever, and then something goes wrong with my website, oh my gosh, Gabby. Ok, I remember back in the days when I worked in tech, in IT, and it used to be a thing when your website went down, when your email didn’t work. And then it just becomes like this knot in your stomach because that thing that you’ve depended on now, right, to run your business, to have your life function it seems, is now unavailable. Or something is wrong with it, and it’s like the clock starts now. [laughs] And then you’ve got to feverishly figure out what’s going on, how can I fix it, what can I do? Let’s talk about web, our websites and what they mean for our businesses, today especially.
Gabby: Sites, and having a site, and maintaining a site, and owning a site, all of it, it’s fascinating to me how many of us have them, and how few of us actually understand them, and how they work, and really how the web works. I mean, I’ll be the first to admit it, I don’t know. It’s like magic. It’s some kind of crazy sorcery, I don’t get it. I don’t know. I don’t know all the intricacies. I know enough to get by, but that doesn’t always make for the best situation.
Anne: Therein lies the fear factor, right, because it’s something that we’re not sure about, or most of us. I mean, nobody can possibly know it all. I have a good – I think that I have a good idea of the concept of it and how things should operate, but I certainly by no means do I know everything about how [laughs] I need to keep my website going or the technical aspects behind it. I depend on people to help me to keep those running. I mean, I’m fortunate that I have as much knowledge as I do, but if I didn’t, I would not have been working in IT for 20 some odd years.
Gabby: The other thing is, it’s a still evolving, ever-changing technology. It’s not sitting. It’s always moving and doing and changing. I look at it this way. If you and I have moments of frustration and aggravation with our sites and the web, I can only imagine for somebody who’s just starting out right now.
Anne: Oh my goodness. And you know, I think it’s good that we’re talking about it because I want you guys to know that yes, it is scary. It’s scary for me, and it’s scary for Gabby, and we’ve been doing this for a while. So know, number one, that yeah, it’s scary. Technology can be scary, but I do want to reiterate, if I haven’t said it 100 trillion times before in our podcast, how important a website is to your business. It is literally your storefront. We can talk to that first, Gabby.
Gabby: Yeah, I remember when it wasn’t. I remember not having a website, and it was OK to not have a website. It wasn’t a critical component of how people found you and how you booked work. I mean, it was really in less than a decade, it went from a tool hardly used to a tool that is now we can’t live without it.
Anne: Yeah, it’s so important that, if we want to be successful businesses, it’s so important I think to have that digital component, to have that storefront especially because we are freelancers. We are most of the times working from home, and it is a way for us to market our business, and to establish a professional presence online so that people can – again, marketing 101 – know, like, and trust us, and that’s a critical component for it.
Gabby: Well, yeah. The other piece of that is of course, along with your marketing analogy, you have to be where the buyers are. You have to be where the audience is, and everyone’s on the web. There’s no –
Gabby: – all the time.
Anne: I’m on the web all the time, right, and I’m looking for things on the web. Do you remember libraries, Gabby? [laughs]
Gabby: I do fondly. I was in one two weeks ago, but it was only to use the restroom. I had a moment. It was sad. [laughs]
Anne: [laughs] It has become – gosh, I remember – oh this is, now I’m dating myself, but I remember when we used to have to do research for our term papers which we had every year when I was in school, we would have to go to the library, had to have a library card, and we had to like check books out.
Gabby: We had to know the Dewey decimal system.
Anne: That’s right! We had to like write notes on paper, that kind of thing, but anyway I digress. It is now today the Internet is such a tool at our fingertips. We can research, we can find knowledge, and people are doing that for businesses today. I research businesses online all the time, I look at websites all the time. I’m making assessments, do I want to purchase from this website, how do I feel about this particular, I don’t know, product or service or person? I’m constantly looking at this digital storefront and assessing my value of trust and judging credibility of the businesses that I do work with. They are doing the absolutely same for you. I think, Gabby, we should talk about our professional websites and what is important for these websites, and what to maybe be on lookout for.
Gabby: I think the big thing that people sometimes lose sight of is the reasons why a person, who’s looking to hire a voice actor, is going to go to a website. And ultimately it’s to hear us. It’s to hear what we do, and our demos, and basically to try to find a sample that in some way is similar or matches whatever need it is that they have. So rule number one, I think across the board, has become demos on the homepage, front and center, easy to find, easy to access.
Anne: Yeah, yeah, I agree. Maybe even right alongside of that, in first place, for important things to have on your webpage is your contact information. I can’t tell you the amount of times that I’ve had to hunt around for contact information. And the fact that it actually exists on a webpage I think is truly important, because that means you can be found. You are making yourself available as a business to be there to answer questions, to be there to provide a credible presence. If I can’t find a phone number of a website, or help online, or somebody that I can contact to answer a question, I pretty much am done with that site, and I go on to the next one where I can. Because I think I still crave as a consumer, I crave that contact to know that I can talk to someone, to know that I can be taken care of by a human being at the other side of that digital screen.
Gabby: Yes, and I agree with you there. I do still think it’s important. But I will play devil’s advocate in that the new consumers and the younger generation, they don’t want to talk to anybody. They don’t want to. They don’t make phone calls. They don’t leave voicemails. They don’t, like a phone number to them is completely inconsequential. So while I do think you have to cater to both parties, it is important to know that their, that the information they are looking for, the newer generation, to find you, to reach out to you, to communicate with you, may be different. They may be looking for what number can I text, or do you have like an instant chat feature, that sort of thing.
Anne: Yeah, and I agree with you there absolutely. I think sometimes though, depending on your audience again, who you’re trying to attract, and understand that as the years go on, I think it’s going to go by the way that Gabby is saying right now with the texting and the instant chat, which I use as well. But there are times also to resolve issues., or to get things straightened out quickly, I prefer to also have a method of making myself available via a phone call, and of course text, of course, but when you’re dealing with international, or you know kind of a global clientele, I do think that your texting and your chat app that you have on a website is very helpful, because not everybody wants to call an international number. You know what’s really awesome for that? ipDTL. I contact a lot of clients via ipDTL. There’s also Bodalgo Call, right, that you can use to contact your clients, or have a session with them to discuss things, that might help resolve issues quicker.
Gabby: That’s true. That’s a good point. One of the things that I’d like to try to do in this episode is really address what the trends are, what we’re seeing with the web right now, what’s, again, what’s important. Similar to the whole new school versus old school methods, I think a lot of what web owners are starting to understand is that our generation, we remember a time without the Internet. We remember a time when it was a new technology. We’ve seen its evolution. New buyers have never not known the Internet, which is crazy. [laughs] But also what comes with that is their level of knowledge, their trust in the platform and their understanding of how it works is so much greater. And so now we’re seeing high school age kids are able to build, and maintain, and put together a pretty decent looking website. These are common skills. So that means that as businesses, we have to up our games even more because we can’t have something that looks homemade, or amateurish, or you know.
Anne: Yeah, there’s a lot of technologies out there that allow you to maintain or create a website of your own. I’m still going to get halfway up on my soapbox and mention that I do believe that if you don’t feel confident in your skills in creating a professional looking website, that you hire somebody that can. Go to websites that you frequently shop at. What makes you want to stay on that website? What makes you trust that website? What makes you want to pull out your credit card and say, “yes,” right? “This is what I’m looking for, this is what I will purchase.” What are the qualities of those websites that you see? And try to create that on your platform, on your website as well.
Gabby: The view from up here on the soapbox is quite lovely.
Gabby: I always enjoy this view with you. You have to steer the ship, much like any other part of your business, much like your demos. You can’t simply put blind faith, blind trust into another party that you are going to hire because you say “oh, I don’t know anything about this.” That is not an acceptable way. That’s not BOSS.
Anne: You’re the director here.
Gabby: Yeah, it’s just not BOSS, it’s just not. You have to have a sense of what do I like, what don’t I like, why, and also again what applications, what features, what things do I need from my consumer? Because Your web designer, web developer, that’s not necessarily the knowledge they have. You know your product, your audience. They just know the web.
Anne: There are a couple of different things to consider here. A programmer that might put together your website and handle backend technical things, determining what platform – is it going to be a Wix site, is it going to be a WordPress website, whatever it is, those types of technical things are one particular type of person. A person that designs a website that is easily navigated, that looks pleasing to the eye, that could be a different person. Understand you might be working with a company that has a team of people that can handle the technical aspect and design aspect, the graphical aspect of your website. Know that if you have a person, they might be good at one and maybe not the other.
Gabby: My experience anyway, I’ve always seen those two people is just that: they’re two separate people. I have yet to find a designer and an IT backend person all in one that are really great. They tend to be very different functions, and now we’re seeing another phenomenon. We’re also seeing a third component in web development which is writing.
Anne: Goodness yes, Gabby. Yes. [laughs]
Gabby: For a long time, right, that was sort of the afterthought. Now because of the game that is SEO, and because of how difficult it is to be found on the web and the sea of content that’s out there, “content is king” has been the mantra for a long time with the Internet, but now people are realizing “oh man, it has to be good content.”
Anne: It does!
Gabby: It has to be. Yeah.
Anne: It has to be clear, concise.
Gabby: It has to have the right language.
Anne: Absolutely. Absolutely. I could not agree more.
Gabby: It becomes like advertising meets art, meets function, meets tech.
Anne: I’m always telling people who are asking me to assess their online presence, “who are you and who are you as a business?” Because if I – let’s say I know nothing about voiceover, and I happen upon your website, am I going to know what types of services you provide? There’s so many people that are out for the pretty, uncomplicated look of things, but I love that you mentioned the writing, because Gabby, you have to be clear and concise what do you offer, what do you provide, what types of services. If you don’t have that written in your website, it can’t be found because that’s kind of how Google works. It works on words.
Gabby: Yeah, and that’s the tough part. I think people have long sought the clean, clear, beautiful, crisp graphic heavy website, but when I do a web consult for people, it’s one of the first things I look at. If I don’t see any text, I’m like “umm, so you know it’s beautiful, but no one knows how to find it.”
Gabby: Google is kind of lost right now.
Anne: Google doesn’t know what to do with that.
Gabby: When you’re planning your website, when you’re in those early stages, decide something really important. Do I want a website that is simply a calling card, meaning just like a business card, I have to physically put the website into people’s hands? I have to get it out there and make sure that I’m funneling traffic to it, sending people to it, or do I want a website that brings organic traffic? Because those are two very different things.
Anne: Bing, bing, bing, bing, bing, I’ll take that second one. please.
Gabby: I want people to find me. I can’t understand why you wouldn’t, but I do get it. There’s some folks who, they want to have that really just almost like stark kind of –
Gabby: And that’s cool, but you’ve gotta work that website for it to be effective.
Anne: That’s a lot more marketing on your end if you’re going to make people, if you’re gonna give people your URL. Otherwise, yeah, having people find your website is a lot better, I think a whole lot easier. Because I could be sleeping, and they can find me, and then say, “oo, I like her voice. Let’s try to hire her. Let me send her an email.” Right?
Gabby: The problem with that is then you’re sleeping, and they find you, and they want you to record something.
Gabby: But it’s true if I want the super clean, you know, clear, posh site, that’s like having a marketing tool that requires more marketing. It’s a little bizarre.
Anne: Today’s society is an educated consumer, really. And I think that when we buy something, we want to really be able to understand the product that we’re buying, we want to be able to find out information about it, and I think that’s why branding is important as well, to have a reflection on your website and of your brand so that people can get a sense of who they’re going to be working with. And that has so much more impact I think than most people think. They think, “ok, I’m going to get a website up,” and it becomes like the last item on their priority list. And it’s like, “so ok, got my demos up there, I got my contact, everything is there on one page,” and then they stop, and they don’t think about, “oo, what makes me want to go to a website and buy off of it?” You know? Is it fast, does it come up right away? That’s a whole other aspect of your website that you do need to consider, if you’ve got a lot of things happening on it, and it doesn’t come up quickly. We’re very impatient. We’re a very impatient society.
Gabby: I don’t see the web, I don’t see that there will ever be sort of like a nostalgic web appreciation where people will go backward like on a time capsule type site and look back and go, “oh, remember that? Look how great” – no.
Anne: Unless they want to kind of chuckle at it, because there are – there is actually a cool website out there, if you ever wanted to look at like projects you did on another website, or –
Anne: The one that I used to work on like in 1994 or ’96, and it archives old websites, you can look at it and go “oh my God, look at, look how cheesy that was.”
Gabby: To laugh for sure, but I mean, you know, none of us are gonna like miss the good old days. No.
Anne: No, I don’t think so.
Gabby: It’s just like video games, right? The forward momentum is always going to be there. I’m going to make my closing statement the following. I just want people to know that the voice actors and the creative professionals that have in my opinion the most successful websites and the sites that are really doing something for their business, those same individuals are very hands-on with their websites. They don’t simply set it, and forget it, and walk away. They are actively continually learning and evolving with that site.
Anne: There is something to be said, Gabby, to evolving with the changes on the web. There are trending looks and trending feels to websites. I certainly don’t want to go to a website that I feel was created back in the 1990’s and hasn’t evolved. Because that makes me worry a little bit about whether the business has evolved as well.
Anne: Of course, still up on my soapbox, like I always am, I still just want to say, guys, it may take an investment to do this. Don’t think about that last. It really is a huge part, I think, of your business to have that online presence. And even today I’m going to say there are some veterans out there in the industry that have done so well throughout the years, and they still have very strong voiceover careers. Even now like their agents are saying to get their websites up-to-date, get their social media up-to-date, because you don’t want to seem to be outdated. So I think that fresh looks, you have to continually evolve with the looks and the trends. I guess my big word of wisdom would be yes, it is an investment. And if you hire somebody to do that, make sure you have every bit of information that you need in order to maintain that site, meaning a login and a password. Do not pay somebody and not get that. And guys, it’s OK, just as you evolve your skills in voiceover and take voiceover classes, I think the same thing can be said for your online professional presence.
Gabby: Yeah, don’t become a Hall and Oates song.
Anne: [laughs] I’d like to give a big shout-out to the forward thinking, always evolving in technology, sponsor, ipDTL, who we love, and allows me to connect with Gabby on practically a daily basis. [laughs]
Gabby: Sometimes twice daily.
Anne: Sometimes twice daily. You can find out more at ipDTL.com.
Gabby: Anne, that’s a cool thing because really both of our sponsors, they are web innovators. They are technologically advanced companies, and I think that’s one of the reasons we like them so much and we’re able to get behind them. Of course I’m also talking about Voiceovers.com. So these have come on the scene and are really trying to do something very different with the process of online casting and again change it for the better.
Anne: They’re disrupting things, guys.
Gabby: But it’s a good disruption.
Anne: In a good way, in a good way.
Gabby: Efficient, fair, transparent. Check them out.
Anne: Ok, guys, have a great week, and we’ll see you next week!
Announcer: Join us next week for another edition of VO BOSS with your hosts Anne Ganguzza and Gabby Nistico. All rights reserved, Anne Ganguzza Voice Talent in association with Three Moon Media. Redistribution with permission. Coast-to-coast connectivity via ipDTL.