So you want a website for your reel (and don’t know HTML)

So you want your own website for your demo reel/resume, but not sure where to start? Its easier than you think and it’ll only cost you roughly around sixty dollars a year using NameSilo and Weebly…and you don’t have to learn how to write HTML code.

Obtaining a domain name

Why a domain name?

A domain name, such as amandaemily.com to use mine as an example, is much easier for folks to remember than using say amandaemily.weebly.com. It also looks more professional on a resume. Another reason to obtain a domain name is once you’ve been on-air for a few years and become somewhat known, there are people who will register domains with your name in them and try to re-sell them to you for thousands of dollars. You grabbing your domain first will cost approximately $9.50 a year instead. Much more affordable on a TV salary…

Where to obtain a domain name

I’m not “officially” endorsing NameSilo, but its the registrar I use for the tvnewsstorytellers.com domain along with a few other domains I have. I use them because there are no hidden fees or upcharges and they offer private registration. Why the private registration? By default when you register a domain name, your home address and phone number is put into a publically accessible database that anyone can look up. Even the folks who like to send creepy love letters to female reporters thinking you are going to drop everything and date them…and I don’t think you want them showing up at your residence. Private registration keeps your personal information private.

GoDaddy may appear to be cheap with them sometimes offering domains for one-two bucks, but they’ll hit your wallet with the add-ons such as private registration and renewing your domain the next year.

Picking a domain name

Your first choice for your domain name should be your first and last name as either a .com or a .net (or even .tv if you want to spring for the extra money it’ll cost you). If someone else already has it, you can always pick something like firstnamelastnamejournalist or something similar as well. Just make it something that is you since it’ll be your online identity. I don’t advise choosing something like firstnamelastnameWNBC though since its highly unlikely you’ll spend your entire career at one station.

How to register a domain name though NameSilo is pretty self-explanatory. In the box on the front page, type in the domain you want without the .com extension. If it is available, they’ll give an option to register it and follow the checkout instructions. If the domain you want is not available, just type in other ideas for the domain you want. In the cart when you add the domain you want, there will be an option for private registration as well as auto-renew that you’ll want to remember to choose yes for as well as making sure the length of your registration period is set to one year.

After registering, you will want to setup the domain to work with Weebly. NameSilo has a tutorial here https://www.namesilo.com/CustomDomain/Weebly.

Obtaining a web site

I suggest using Weebly over WiX. Both cost four bucks a month for their first-tier paid service that allows linking your own domain to your site, but unlike WiX, Weebly also removes ads with paid accounts. Why ixnay on the ads? As a working journalist, do you really want those “eat this fruit and never diet again” ads all over your professional website? Unlike your employer, you can’t approve what ads appear on your site.

To sign up with Weebly, go to http://www.weebly.com/#plans/compare and choose “starter” for your account and follow the prompts. When you get to the option to select your domain, the last option for “connect a domain you already own” is the one you want. Put in the domain you purchased from NameSilo in it and follow the rest of the instructions to setup your website and insert content.

Where to host your demo reel?

You have two options, YouTube and Vimeo. Both are free. If I was you, I’d choose Vimeo since they don’t have pre-roll ads or offer other journalist’s work as suggestions to watch as well. If you choose Youtube, as tempting as it may be with how low TV pay is, don’t monetize your uploads. Your employer technically owns the copyright of you work and they tend to frown upon someone other than them making money off their property. Play it safe and turn off pre-roll ads altogether on your YouTube uploads.

After you upload your reel, you can embed it onto a page on your Weebly site.

I want to blog too

WordPress is free, easy to use and works well for hosting blogs. If you do want to blog, check your employer’s policies first. Some of them such as Raycom do not like their employees writing blogs.

Some advice

A bit of advice if you are in your first market. Always make copies of your best work and keep your reel up to date. Television is not exactly a stable career and you always run the risk of being laid off. If you do get laid off, you may not have access to your work to use in demo reel. Another reason to make copies: your work may not always be on your employer’s website. Many stations only have so much space online to host video and once its filled up, the video attached to old stories is deleted to make room for new stories.