In this months Mind Your Business, Mark Simon raps about how to pimp out your website.
Im a creative and I need all the work I send out on the streets to look fine. My websites work for me. Look here momma, I cant be standing on every corner asking every John if they want to turn a trick with my art. Thats why I send my girls, my sites, out to pimp my work for me.
Yo, a long time ago I busted my buns to pimp my work. I either had to spend a fortune on overnight freight fees or I had to settle for faxing a black and white version of my work to my Johns, and hope their fax machine was working right. To work with the Johns in my local red light district, I had to carry around large portfolios and print expensive color samples or shoot color slides. We didnt have no color printers of our own. Shiiioooot, momma, you got it easy these days.
Now I just tell each and every John to check out my sites. Theyre somethin' to see, too. I make sure they get to see it all. I want to them to see enough to want to date my art. Site sells.
You aint got no sites working for you? What self-respectin' pimp aint got no sites? Any ol site is better than nothin. Dont wait for that perfect beauty; just get something on the street that sells your work. You can always make it better later.
I may be giving away some street-trade secrets here, but we pimps gotta stay together. Sending bad sites out on the street dont help no one.
But, I dont want my girls looking too slick for their own good. Each of my sites shows only the assets that are relevant to the trick shes turning. My storyboard site shows off her great boards and credits. My animation site reveals hot animations. My writing site titillates you with surgically enhanced words.
Since anything is possible these days, its easy to dress your sites in the latest hot effect or animation. However, be aware of what you are selling. Focus on your product and what your clients are looking for. Im not saying you need to have a plain-Jane, just dont distract your Johns with things that dont matter.
Ive seen girls who like to Flash. They Flash animations, they Flash their designs, they hold their pages together with Flash buttons. But most of those sites dont offer Flash services. Flash is great, but use it to support your girls, not to confuse your Johns.
There are also other issues with Flashing which many creatives dont consider when they are dressing their promotional sites.
Flash pages will usually not print properly unless they are programmed to do so. You want your Johns to print your samples so they can show them to their friends and bosses. Make printing easy for them.
Flash sites often do not have page links that can be forwarded. This happens when the pages and transitions are part of one Flash file and not uploaded as separate HTML pages. It may not seem like a big deal to you until you cant send a link to a specific page on your to one of your Johns.
Try to avoid long Flash transitions. Johns have little patience and dont like to be kept waiting.
Ive also seen sites that try to be too slick for their own good. They use ultra-cool terms for their links that no one understands. If someone doesnt understand one of your links, they wont click on it. The term samples may be boring, but sometimes the classic fishnet hose still work.
Try not to let your Johns get lost. You want them to find their way back to check out more of your booty. Too often pages in websites have no links back to the main page. Better yet, break your site into sections and have links to every section on every page.
I make sure each of my girls have what they need to pimp my work. Every page can be printed and each print contains my contact information. Every sample should print with your name and phone number on it. You never know how your work is going to be passed around or shared and you always want your Johns to be able to get a hold of you.
Each site includes not only samples, but anything else that will pimp my services. Daddy wants a new Cady-lac. You should have pages for credits, awards, bio, list of services, press clippings, anything that makes you special. For example, maybe you use a 10 pencil to service your clients.
My girls are also fast. I can be talking to a John on the phone and guide him to the samples on my site and score before he hangs up.
Now you may be asking how much bling all this is gonna cost. First of all, paying for a month of hosting a website is cheaper than mailing out one overnight package. The cost goes down even more when it helps you land more Johns. How much is a new client worth to you?
You dont need to sell your spinners to afford a hosted website. Some services even offer free hosting and most hosting services have free templates and wizards to help you design your site. Beyond hosting, there are a number of sites that also act as free ads for artists and creatives.
There are a few sites which offer free online portfolios for artists. Each of these free sites also offer:
Portfolios.com offers a free service, which includes five free images and your information.
PortfolioCity.com offers one free page with three photos for artists. Their yearly rates for pro sites are very low.
FolioLink.com and BigBlackBag.com both offer seven days for free in hopes that you will like it and continue.
Our own AWN offers free resume posting online. GreenLightJobs.com offers a free membership with an online application and an online database for employers. There is a fee to upload sample images.
ProductionHub.com offers a free listing in two entertainment industry categories, which can be upgraded to enhanced listings, and targeted leads, which are forwarded, to you.
Other hosting services are not specific to the creative industry, but are free or low cost and also have free templates.
FreeServers.com offers 12 MB of storage online.
AuthorsGuild.net has hosting options as low as $3 per month for member writers.
Yahoo has hosting options for under $5 per month. Their $8.95 per month option offers over 380 template site designs.
Now youre lookin mighty fine! But youre going to be lonely on that corner unless you tell your Johns where to find your sites.
The first thing you need to do is make sure everything you send out or print has your contact information and website addresses on it. This includes every piece of art, every letter, every e-mail, business card, flyer, poster, advertisement and invoice. You could even list your sites at the end of any articles you write, such as this one. (Hint: Look at the bottom paragraph, beee-aatch)
A great trick is to also leave your website address on your answering machine or voice mail. Let your Johns check out your goods while they are waiting to hear back from you.
Most Johns use search engines when they are looking for great creative work and a fun time. You should submit your site to any search engines you wish to be found on. You can do them one at a time, but AddMe.com allows you to submit your site to the top 14 search engines at once for free.
You should also trade links with other sites that share your fetishes. You can get many links on other sites by offering to place their links on your site. Make it easy for Johns to find you.
If you want more Johns, you gotta dress your site up, make it sweet and easy for your Johns and pimp it so everyone can find it. Now you will have to excuse me while I go bitch-slap some Java code.
Mark Simon is an award-winning animation producer, storyboard artist and lecturer who is also the author of books for artists such as Facial Expressions: A Visual Reference for Artists, Producing Independent 2D Character Animation and Storyboards: Motion In Art. He can be found lurking around his animations at www.FunnyToons.tv, his storyboards at www.Storyboards-east.com, his books may be found and purchased online at www.MarkSimonBooks.com and custom resumes for the entertainment industry can be found at www.YourResumeSucks.biz. The Pimp may be reached at MarkSimonBooks@yahoo.com.