This week part of my producer to do list has been to set up a website for my theatre company The Secret Theatre Society. Last week I joined the world of twitter, this week the world of websites. I am certainly getting an education on the web. So what are the website options for an unfunded company? Do we have to pay for a website, or are there free options out there which are just as good? It has been my mission this week to find out. So here is part one of my website search which is unfortunately incomplete.  It would seem that finding the best and cheapest website is a lot more difficult then it would seem.

The first part of my website research was our domain name.  We obviously wanted our theatre company’s name, but did we want www.thesecrettheatresociety.co.uk or www.secrettheatresociety.co.uk? Our name is The Secret Theatre Society but is the ‘the’ likely to be dropped or forgotten? And more importantly ,I personally find long website address easier to forget; the loss of three characters might get us more visitors – or it might make no difference at all. After much debate we settled on www.secrettheatresociety.co.uk and I am satisfied this is the right decision.  After checking that this address was available we began to search for the best website deal.

This part of our search took us to some dubious looking websites, and maybe I just have a suspicious mind, but I felt they were all trying to con us in some way or another. £2.99 for two years sounds very cheap but what does this include? Most likely not a lot. We then attempted to discuss bandwidth and how much we could get. More is obviously better but to be honest I am not exactly sure I would recognise a good amount of bandwidth if it hit me in the face.

I have to admit that bandwidth, domain names etc are not my biggest concern, as the most important aspect of the website for me will be how it looks. I realise that its function is to provide information about our company and shows and give us an online presence, but I want it to look good! When I look at a theatre company’s website online I often make judgements about the work it does because of its website. This is probably the wrong attitude to have but first impressions do count for a lot. When people look at our site I want them to get an insight into both the work we do and the style we do it in. And another important aspect of the website is that it looks professional so our audience will be assured that the show they are going to is worth seeing. There is nothing worse then looking at website and finding it tells you nothing or hasn’t been updated in months. So I am asking a lot from a potentially free website, but I think if something’s worth doing it’s worth doing well.

So after what seemed like a long time staring at the computer screen we decided to set up a blog instead. You may think this was chickening out but WordPress is so much simpler then trying to build an actual website, and it will tide us over until we get one set-up – hopefully within the next couple of weeks.  So now to write our first blog which should be up in a few days, although when it comes to the internet nothing is ever as simple as it seems…

Image by Spencer E. Holtaway