7 reasons a blog is the fastest, easiest and most effective type of website for your show
So you’ve spent enough time poking around on Sold Out Run that you are now convinced you need a website for your show. Awesome. Before you ask your geeky nephew to throw something together, though, I’m going to tell you the absolute best format for your new site. No long, drawn-out build-up here: it’s a blog.
What’s a blog? It’s a website where the content is arranged by date. Like a journal.
That’s really all there is to it. So much fuss and hullabaloo over this word “blog” in the media. It’s just an online journal. Also: it’s exactly what you need to promote your show.
1.) Easy to set up
Blogs are laughably easy to setup. If you are using a hosted service (meaning your site address will be something like myshow.wordpress.com) then you could literally have it up in a few minutes. If you want your own domain name (meaning your site address will be something like www.myshow.com) it might take a little bit longer – but not much.
By the way the blog platform I recommend and use on all my sites is WordPress. Its’ free and has a wide community of developers building custom themes and plugins to let you change how your site looks and even how it functions.
2.) Easy to update
Blogs were specifically created to make it easy to be constantly adding new content to your site – without needing to understand any of the code behind the scenes that makes your site work. Doesn’t that pretty much sound like a perfect fit for what you need?
If you can use email and Microsoft Word, then you have the necessary technical savvy to update a blog. It isn’t just words, though. You’ll also be able to upload images, videos, and audio files.
3.) Latest news is at the top of the page
You know that feeling when you go to the home page of a site and it is so obviously out-of-date? It’s always such a let down. The experience is completely different when you go to a website that has information from this week. Now you stop and look around.
Although you can change it, blogs are traditionally set up with the most recent blog posts showing up at the top of the page. As you scroll down the page you can see older posts. (I suppose it’s a bit like reading a diary backwards.) People respond better when they go to a site and see current information. This is the default blog format for a reason.
4.) Set expectations leading up to the show
The strategy here is that you give people a little bit of information many weeks before the show. As the clock keeps ticking closer and closer to opening night, you keep giving them a little bit more information at a time. As they keep learning more and more about the show and the people behind it, they feel closer and more connected to the show. They become emotional invested. By the time the show opens, they are dying to see the show and have already taken a few tentative steps toward falling in love with your characters.
For this to work, obviously a visitor to the site has to understand that there is going to be new information added all the time. Blogs have now crossed into the popular consciousness (or at least the popular consciousness of people who are regularly online). When people visit a blog site, they immediately understand that new content is going to keep being added. (In fact the expectation is so strong that you will upset some people if you go too long without adding something new.)
5.) Schedule updates in advance
As you were reading that last section, did your palms start to get a little sweaty? Is the pressure to constantly be adding new information to the site sound exhausting – especially in the weeks leading up to your opening? No need to panic.
Blog software lets you write a new post for your website today and schedule what date you want everyone else to be able to see it on the site. In fact, you could write 14 posts all at once and then schedule them so one post is added to the website each day for two weeks. You still have to find the time to create the posts, but you won’t have to be sitting down at 3am each night during tech week to update the blog.
6.) Easy to spread the work around
On that note you don’t need to be writing all the content yourself. You can give other people logins to your site to write blog posts, upload pictures, and add video. I recommend that you only give them ability to add “drafts” of new information, but they can’t schedule a post to go live until you’ve had a chance to review it. Ultimately that depends on your team, though. You may have some people you want to give free reign to add to the site whenever they want… and you may have a few people you want to keep a watchful eye on. Your call.
7.) Keep the momentum going
Finally a blog is a fantastic format to keep adding material to the site after opening night. Upload photos of all the smiling people in the lobby after the show. Maybe you can even sneak a quick picture of the audience standing and clapping from the house. (Or why be shy about it? Just have your lead walk out during the bows with a digital camera in hand.)
After the show closes, a blog is still the perfect format to say thank-yous and give updates about the show and its people.