Troupe websites

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Troupe websites

Postby Brad Hawkins » February 29th, 2012, 12:11 pm

Time to design a new troupe website! So I thought I'd pick the hivebrain for some input:

In your opinion, what are essential elements of a troupe website? So far I've got the following:
    * Calendar of upcoming shows (the real raison d'etre of any troupe site)
    * Cast bios
    * Troupe history
    * Explanation of format/philosophy

What else is essential?

Also... Sound off on existing troupe sites (Austin or elsewhere) that you find particularly well-designed. I'm looking for function, mainly, but form is important too. [/list]
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Postby sara farr » February 29th, 2012, 12:22 pm

I would add press and awards/recognition, including "official selection" into festivals, as well as a "gallery" for photos and/or video. You might also want a contact & "join mailing list" link, or a link to your FB. If you blog, you might want a link to that, or maybe the site IS a blog!! (Wordpress rocks!!)

http://getup.austinimprov.com/
http://www.pgraph.com/
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Postby trabka » February 29th, 2012, 12:58 pm

Depending on your troupe goals a standalone website may be excessive in the day of Facebook pages. The added bonus of getting people to like you is that they automatically get your updates in their feeds provided they don't unsubscribe from you.

Even if someone chooses not to actively engage in your page they can still use it to get the same info they would from a website.
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Postby Brad Hawkins » February 29th, 2012, 1:02 pm

trabka wrote:Depending on your troupe goals a standalone website may be excessive in the day of Facebook pages. The added bonus of getting people to like you is that they automatically get your updates in their feeds provided they don't unsubscribe from you.

Even if someone chooses not to actively engage in your page they can still use it to get the same info they would from a website.

All true. My main concerns about being Facebook-only is there are still people who aren't on Facebook (yes, really) and people who've gone away from Facebook. I don't want to exclude them. Plus a standalone URL gives a simple point of entry that looks good on promotional materials. That's all I can think of for reasons to have a standalone site.
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Postby trabka » February 29th, 2012, 1:04 pm

You can always have your standalone URL direct to your Facebook page if you'd rather have www.improvtroupe.com than facebook.com/improvtroupe.

People can still use pages even if they don't have an account.
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Postby Brad Hawkins » February 29th, 2012, 1:07 pm

trabka wrote:You can always have your standalone URL direct to your Facebook page if you'd rather have www.improvtroupe.com than facebook.com/improvtroupe.

People can still use pages even if they don't have an account.

Now, see, that I didn't know.

Nonetheless, I have come up with an additional reason (for me, anyway) to have a standalone site: No sense putting all my eggs in someone else's basket. This applies to a great deal more than just improv troupes, obviously. I wouldn't make Facebook my sole point of contact for myself, nor would most people. What happens if Facebook goes under? Or even just falls out of favor? Or just institutes GUI changes which make it nearly impossible to find information? (It's already not great for searching through past updates blog-style) Better to have at least SOMETHING I can call my own (and the data on my site, properly backed up, is mine and can be moved to other hosts in an emergency).
Last edited by Brad Hawkins on February 29th, 2012, 1:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Rev. Jordan T. Maxwell » February 29th, 2012, 1:08 pm

it also looks better for festival submissions (in my experience).
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Postby trabka » February 29th, 2012, 1:11 pm

Rev. Jordan T. Maxwell wrote:it also looks better for festival submissions (in my experience).


That's where my "depending on troupe goals" caveat comes in.
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Postby Spots » February 29th, 2012, 1:34 pm

Easily accessible video page.


That's where my eyes go first on any website.
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Postby Tim Traini » February 29th, 2012, 7:37 pm

Here's a thought, what if someone ran a public Austin Improv wiki (using Mediawiki so everyone's familiar with the formatting), with some guidelines to adding new entries (like only entries allowed for troupe pages, format names, no things like describing how funny a performed show was unless it's a quote about a format/troupe).

Also, and I say this as someone who has set up and used but not thoroughly perused all it can do, I'm fairly confident you could edit in something like a showdate and have a calendar on the mainpage pull from all dates for the current day/week/month. I don't think it would require any coding experience, just a knowledge of wiki editing.

But the point is, troupes can have their info listed at their main site if they want, but also at a collective that has info and can direct them to said main site/page. Or even if they don't want to put more effort than a Facebook page it's low maintenance and about 5 minutes of typing to set up tops. The only downside is if a calendar was set up though is it might lead to individual troupes having to mark when their shows are by themselves.
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Postby Brad Hawkins » March 2nd, 2012, 5:41 pm

Sara suggested I take a look at PGraph's site... which, of course, I'd seen before, but like most people, never really looked at it. Yes, I decided, that's what I should be emulating.

I even considered buying the Wordpress theme package from the people they got theirs from.

Then I realized... not every theme is going to work for every troupe. For PGraph, who have a lot of pictures and video and a history to tout, the theme they've got makes sense. For Goat, though, it would be a lot of blank spaces waiting for media to fill it. Best to start more simple, and then graduate to a more elaborate look when the time comes.
The silver knives are flashing in the tired old cafe. A ghost climbs on the table in a bridal negligee. She says "My body is the life; my body is the way." I raise my arm against it all and I catch the bride's bouquet.
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Postby Roy Janik » March 2nd, 2012, 6:12 pm

Brad Hawkins wrote:Sara suggested I take a look at PGraph's site...


Thank God that thing is up to date.
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Postby Chelley » March 8th, 2012, 4:49 am

Confidence men's website is pretty simple and it's well designed. Try checking theirs out.
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Postby happywaffle » March 8th, 2012, 4:36 pm

Chelley wrote:Confidence men's website is pretty simple and it's well designed. Try checking theirs out.


Jesus, the content MOVES on the page?

Confidence Men. I am disappoint.
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Postby ninkyphx » November 13th, 2012, 3:47 pm

Hello! I am Nina, I am an improvisor and web designer here in Phoenix. I am not looking for work, I just wanted to add my thoughts.
I think really well written and interesting performer bios are a big help. I have learned this through lots of different community based projects trying to reach lots of different audiences.
At the end of the day, people are interested in people. People magazine is still pretty popular, Kardashians are famous for very little, etc. So when people are thinking about checking out a show they have never seen by people they don't know, if they look at your website at all and you have bios that show you are fun, interesting people it helps.
Improvisors are interested in improv, so if you want an all improvisor audience, then format and improv talk will do that. If you want a broader audience, just talk about the people involved and why they will have a good time/ be changed as a person/ write a strongly worded letter.
I am enthusiastic about almost everything.
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