Friday, 16 September 2011

Tip #85: Build an official website

By Dan Parkes (Director/editor)

Setting up your own official film website, such as we did ( does not need to be a difficult and expensive option these days. Not only does it mean you have your own place on the web that you can advertise on your film trailers and posters, but it also gives you much better sounding e-mail addresses!

It is essentially a simple 5 step system:

1. Register a domain name
Obviously this will be the name of your film or a variation of it, followed by .com or etc. Keep it short and simple -if your film title is already taken you can try just adding the word "movie" or "film". Most domain names can be bought for a year or more, and many companies can offer both the domain name and the hosting as a combined package. Note: Register the domain name as early as possible to avoid being scammed and be careful of any subsequent offers to continue or buy the domain name -they may also be a scam.

2. Choose a hosting package
Now that you have a domain name (i.e. a website address) you now have to organise the hosting -which is the allocation of space on a web server to put your website, and also how much bandwidth is allowed (every time someone visits the site it means data is downloaded from the server - there may be a limit imposed on how much a month is allowed to be downloaded).

3. Design a site
You can actually download free website templates, or buy more professional versions that only need the text and images changed. This is a much faster and professional way of getting a website on-line. We use the free html design software Nvu ( but there are many out there worth checking. Make sure it is WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) as that is much easier for beginner web designers!

You can also add some great little tools such as Wibiya which includes links to your twitter, facebook feeds and can also create a custom contact page, and a button that translates the entire page into several different languages!

4. Upload
If you are constantly uploading and updating your website you might want to also look at Ftp software which will make this a lot easier. You can use your own computer's operating system to do this or use separate software which can be easier. We use Wise-ftp, but there are many other free alternative ftp programs out there worth trying.

Above: the homepage to our official website
is designed to reflect village life.

5. Check
It is a good idea once you have your website set up to test it on different browsers and different computers including smart phones to see how it looks and if there are any critical compatibility issues. Also check that your new e-mail addresses are up and running and if you have put a redirection to another address in place that it is working correctly.


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