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11 Things your movie’s website needs

424968_468718339833022_1921720425_nFrom Platypus Underground: These days everything is online. Basically, if information about your movie isn’t online, it’s almost like the movie doesn’t exist. You can hand out flyers and postcards around town to drum up some attention, but your hometown is only a small area. The internet gives you immediate access to millions of people around the world.

So what goes into making a website for a movie? Here are a few tips:

  1. Mobile and Desktop version
    If you don’t have a mobile optimized website, you need to change to a different web host or upgrade NOW. If you use Google Analytics or any other kind of web-traffic program, you can find a break down of where most of your views come from based on devices used. It turns out that over 70% of our traffic is from people using mobile devices. That means 7 out of 10 people are looking at your website on their phones or iPads. If your website isn’t mobile optimized, you’re scaring away lots of viewers who have to struggle with the drag-and-pinch technique to view your tiny website.
  2. NO FLASH!!!!
    This goes hand in hand with the first point. Apple products don’t support flash. That means if your website incorporates flash, anyone using iPhones, iPads, iPods, etc can’t even view your site. How many people do you know who use Apple products? A lot. Make sure you keep flash off your website. Opt for HTML instead so everyone can see your site.
  3. No banners or stupid intros
    Besides the fact that most of these annoying graphics use flash, they also slow down your websites load time dramatically. Keep your site simple so it loads quickly. That also means you need to tweak your photos so they are optimized for web viewing. Large photo and video files slow down web speed the same as flash and other graphics. Slow loading websites are the bane of internet users’ existence.
  4. Include a trailer
    The one big piece of media you will want to include on your website is a trailer for your movie. If you haven’t shot anything yet, then use a compelling image. A poster made in Photoshop should work, but you can also include a great behind the scenes picture as well. Since film is a visual medium, you will want to show your visitors what your film is going to look like. Strong visuals will draw in a viewer faster than words.
  5. Short description
    Like your press kit, you will want to include a short 2-3 sentence description of your film to let viewers know what the story is about. Make it dramatic by adding conflict to the story. That way it will draw readers in quickly.
  6. Links to social media sites
    Somewhere on your website you should include links to your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, blog, etc. so that viewers can follow you more easily. Unless your site is updated daily and gives people a reason to come back again and again, don’t expect to see many viewers more than once. Keep them up to date by showing them where you live on Facebook and Twitter so your movie will stay on their radar. Creating and linking to a newsletter signup is also a good strategy to keep fans in the loop with news about your film.
  7. Link to Kickstarter/IndieGoGo
    If you are in pre-production, you should have your Kickstarter or IndieGoGo campaign prominently displayed on the home page of your website. Websites should have a reason for being online. When you’re crowdfunding, that reason is to raise money. Give your readers a strong “call to action” by adding a link to your Kickstarter and telling viewers why it is important to donate to your film.
  8. Cast/Crew bios
    Include a page for your cast and crew where you introduce them to your readers. Give brief bios and include any previous work experience your cast/crew has. This will make your project more credible, and readers will be much more inclined to donate if they know they can trust that you and the people working on your film will make something great.
  9. Contact information
    Give readers a phone number or email address where they can contact you. This is especially important if you are putting out casting calls or looking for help from other filmmakers to collaborate with. Don’t hide this information on your site, make it visible!
  10. Post links to watch/buy your films
    If you’ve already completed some films, post links to them so viewers can watch them on YouTube, or if you’re selling them, post links to your PayPal or Amazon page where your readers can purchase the film. Make a strong “call to action” by creating a large button to show where viewers can go to see your film.
  11. Include press
    If your film has been accepted into film festivals or if you’ve been interviewed for a magazine or someone reviewed your movie, post about it on your website! Show everyone how well your film is doing. This will give you a great advantage when you begin seeking funding for your next project, and will encourage viewers to watch your movie.

There are many more things that make up a great website, but if you can include these basics you will be off to a great start! If you do have a website set up and are looking for feedback, send us a message or post a link in the comments. We can give you an impartial view, and perhaps some of our readers can add their input as well.

Good luck!

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About Winter Film Awards

Winter Film Awards (WFA) is a volunteer-run and operated celebration of the diversity of local and international film-making. Our Mission is to recognize excellence in cinema and to promote learning and artistic expression for people at all stages of their artistic careers with a focus on nurturing emerging filmmakers and helping them gain recognition and contacts to break into this difficult industry. We pride ourselves on our diverse collection of Festival selections, allowing our audience to enjoy films they normally wouldn’t think to seek out. WFA is a minority- and women-owned registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization.

Posted on May 19, 2014, in Filmmaking Tips & Advice and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

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