Student Web Presence Requirement
Beginning with the class of 2016, Meadows dual-admit students (Music, Theatre, Art, and Film and Media Arts majors) will be required to maintain an online presence that showcases the skills and talents that make them unique artists - and all Meadows students, regardless of major and classification, are encouraged to participate as well. This is a key starting point toward artists being able to market themselves and their art!
Students are expected to begin this process before the first semester of their first year and keep it up to date throughout their studies as well as into their careers as artists.
What is an online presence? It's not just having a Twitter account or website. It's about presenting yourself and your work professionally across multiple digital platforms.
Meadows students are required to have a Facebook Page (NOT just a personal profile!) as well as a website with a domain name attached to it.
Note: The SMU WordPress blog server is now open. View instructions to get started.
The following steps will help you get started.
- Pick your name.
The presence you build for yourself online is the first step in your professional career; it lays the foundation on which you will build over the years. It's very difficult to change who you are, though, once you've started! Remember, the Internet never forgets.
The time to define how the world knows you is now.
There are many factors to consider: Does another artist already have my name? Is that name already strongly branded with someone/something else? Your parents might not have thought about these things, but you can. Read more about the issues to consider when choosing your stage name.
- Choose your host for your website.
Before you register your domain name, you have to decide where you want to host your website - your website has to live on a computer server somewhere. We recommend most students sign up for a free WordPress account through SMU. There are small drawbacks to hosting with SMU, and advanced students are welcome to use an external host and get started right away. Read more about web hosting, or sign up for an SMU WordPress account.
- Register and buy your domain name.
Now that you've chosen what name you want the public to know you as, and now that you know whether your domain name will point to your SMU site or to your externally hosted site, it's time to register your domain and set it up. Don't worry, it's not that expensive. It can get a little technical, but we're here to help. (This step can be done before step #2, but if you do choose to host externally, it's best to register your domain and host your website with the same company.) Read more about domain name registration and setup.
- Launch your professional Facebook Page.
Your friends want to see pictures of your dog. Your artistic followers want to see your work. And your friends are trusted people you know, while your fans might be strangers you've never met. It's time to think about how to keep those two worlds separate. Use your professional name, get your friends to like your Page, and start posting photos and inviting people to events. Read more about social media usage and privacy as an artist.
- Build the website.
This is the fun part. This is where you make your website yours. SMU's hosting is done with WordPress software - there are several themes to choose from, in which you can insert your images, video and words. Learn more about using WordPress.
- Keep it up-to-date!
Just because everything is launched doesn't mean it's done. Keep coming back. Make improvements. Show off your latest work. Remember: Keep your audience engaged! Launching is just the first step toward a successful online presence.