Chris WagnerNeed a website tuneup?
Chris Wagner’s lecture on voice over on the World Wide Web will give you several ideas on how to renovate your online real estate.
Read, take notes, and apply!
Discover some of the hottest website secrets unleashed at VOICE 2007.

Chris Wagner was the first to lecture on the second day of the VOICE Conference (Thursday March 29, 2007). A veteran of the computer industry, Chris works for Sun Microsystems and is currently a voice actor and the owner of WBCDesign. Chris carved a niche for himself in the business of voice acting online, 30 years in the making.

Chris began his lecture by sharing the results of a search he conducted on Google recently for the term “voice actor”, a search query which yielded over 350,000 results. In 1994, there were only 3000 websites on the Internet. To give you an idea of how far we’ve come in this the Information age digitally, this past month alone (March 2007), there are over 110 Million websites online.

By anyone’s calculations, that’s quite a number of websites to think about let alone rank above. This lecture was engineered to help you build a proper web presence and reach your target audience. The first step is to know who you are targeting and what your message is. A simple website design is better. When you complicate things, people get confused and it is easier to stray from your main objective which is converting traffic into customers.

Try to keep the number of clicks on your own personal website to a minimum. Saving people from having to click may earn you their business by keeping them focused on the task at hand while evaluating your website and voice over offerings.

According to Chris, you should AVOID:
• Sites more than 1 page long
• Information that doesn’t correlate with your main message
• Automatic audio that cannot be turned off (install a mute or stop option)
• Multiple font types
• A hit or visitor counter
• Linking to unrelated websites
• Linking to your competition
• Poorly written text (copy)
• Reliance on search engines for all business
• Copyrighted material that you don’t have permission to use
• Offensive materials that slander other businesses
Now, here’s a list of things you SHOULD have on your website.

Website Elements
• Contact Information
• Voice Over Demos (current demos)
• Testimonials
• Links
• Professional Headshot
• Biographical Information (2 paragraphs)
• Credits and Work History

Delivery Options
• Email audio files
• FTP (File Transfer Protocol)
• Secure client login to FTP

Website Improvement Ideas
Keep in mind that you are never really ever “finished” working on or improving your website. Here are some great tips to build into your website maintenance and promotion regime.

• Follow a review schedule
• Make a list of changes / improvements
• Keep time sensitive material up to date
• Check your website on a regular basis
• Submit your website to major search engines
• Focus on Keywords
• Use domain name as part of your email address
• Do link exchanges with and other marketplaces

Potpourri (A Hodgepodge of great ideas for you)
• Use web filters to stop spam!
• Make use of ID3 tag templates in recording software for demos to tag your audio
• Send a newsletter to clients that ties back to your website
• 1074 by 678 is standard for pixel size
• Place tracking software on your website (Google Analytics)

Lastly, your website should reflect your unique personality. After all, you are really selling you and your voice over services.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this article – it was one of my favorite lectures.
Looking forward to your comments,

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Stephanie Ciccarelli is the Co-Founder and Chief Brand Officer of Classically trained in voice, piano, violin and musical theatre, as well as a respected mentor and industry speaker, Stephanie graduated with a Bachelor of Musical Arts from the Don Wright Faculty of Music at the University of Western Ontario. Possessing a great love for imparting knowledge and empowering others, her podcast Sound Stories serves an audience that wants to achieve excellence in storytelling. Stephanie is found on the PROFIT Magazine W100 list three times (2013, 2015 and 2016), a ranking of Canada's top female entrepreneurs, and is the author of Voice Acting for Dummies®.


  1. I would respectfully disagree with the point Mr. Wagner makes regarding one of the things he says you should have on your web site: “Professional Headshot”.
    I do not include a headshot on my site on purpose. If I were a big name voice artist, it might be fine, but for folks like me it can be a hindrance. One of the most respected agencies in Los Angeles will tell you that voice talent should refrain from placing their headshot on the site… it has absolutely nothing to do with voiceover whatsoever.
    A voice actor should allow the listener to imagine you as they want.
    For example: Let’s say someone is looking for a movie trailer voice; before they even click your demo they will make a determination of sorts about what you might sound like from your picture and perhaps choose not to listen at all… you DON’T want that. They usually envision a big husky guy yet you might not fit that description at all… will they take the next step to listen, maybe and maybe not.
    Another example: If I’m producing a spot and need an older male voice, you might very well be able to sound like an older male but your picture looks like you are in your late 20’s, thus I immediately consider moving to the next talent… it’s simply the way our human minds work and as voice actors we need not shoot ourselves in the foot… let the client’s mind work in your favor.
    Headshots, in my opinion, have no place on a voice actors web site… we act with our “voice”.
    Try out what I’m saying, check out some talents sites who have pictures and see what your first impression is when you see their face… it’s interesting!
    Brian in Charlotte

    • I completely agree with B-rian on this one…well..except for when he made an unnecessary reference (read: joke) about Plaxico Burress. That was just mean-spirited (FYI: it was his leg, by the way)!

      (I’m joking! *rolls eyes at the necessity of explaining jokes (to young people?–>who may come across my post later)…over the…sigh…Internet *frowny face thingy*)

  2. Laurynda,
    Great job recapping the Chris Wagner lecture!
    I took the most notes during Chris’s session- over 4 pages! What a fantastic, professional, and knowledgeable person Chris is!
    It was hard putting my own website ‘out there’ for his critique (in front of 200 of my new friends!), but what I learned was invaluable! Needless to say my website will be redesigned soon… professionally! Hah!

  3. Laurynda,
    Thank you for this post. Chris had a lot of excellent and thought-provoking things to say during his presentation. I enjoyed it all even though, like Brian, I didn’t agree with every point.
    For voice talent that also work on camera or on stage, a head shot makes sense. For those of us who work exclusively on mike, it does not. Brian has also made the points about this very clear.
    The other area of disagreement for me is about linking to the “competition”. At the end of it all, none of us really has any competition; because each of us has a unique sound that is shaped by life experience, age, training, and a host of other factors. If someone wants my sound, they’re not going to hire Brian, or Kara, or Frank or Don or anyone else. They’ll hire me.
    What’s more, if they come to my site looking for a specific sound, don’t find it in my demos, but do find it at one of the sites to which I’ve linked that’s good. The client is satisfied and one of my friends has more work. I see that as a win-win. I haven’t lost anything, because not being right for the job, I wasn’t going to be cast for it anyway.
    Be well,

  4. Thank you for such comprehensive coverage of VOICE 2007.
    I do have a headshot on my site as I do on camera work sometimes. I also trade links. I felt Chris’ lecture points were poignant. I wrote several memos to self during his presentation, as well as other items I’ve posted for myself on my blog too.
    Thanks for listening.
    Bobbin Beam

  5. Laurynda,
    I am honored that you took such great time to capture the essence of my presentation.
    I can tell you that VOICE 2007 was a wonderful experience for me, and I enjoyed meeting as many people as I did.
    I think that what I was aiming for in my presentation was to get people to think more about their web site, and how they could use the internet to further their Voice Acting business.
    If you got just one thing out of it that worked for you, then I reached my goal.
    I would be shocked if everyone agreed with everything that I said. I think the variety of opinions and best practices that are out there make not only our community stronger but a more interesting place as well.
    Just a quick point to Brian in Charlotte on the professional headshots. I am sorry you misinterpreted what I said, or perhaps I wasn’t as clear. Yes, people do make choices based on what they see. I really feel it is up to the artist whether they want to have their headshot up there or not.
    What I said was that if they were going to place a headshot on their site, make sure it was a professional one, not a headshot taken by a friend or family member with a disposable camera.
    It comes down to what you want to present on the site and whatever you choose to put there, make it look professional.
    I look forward to reading more comments, and just want to let you know that I really respect your opinions!
    If we all thought the same, what a boring world this would be.
    Wishing all of you the best for your Voice Acting career!

  6. Outstanding Chris. Well done and soooo professional.
    You are truly legit!
    I like the “avoid” and “what to look for” I wish I were in voice overs so you can be my mentor.
    I do a cute little animated cartoon voice that my kids love. haha
    Love ya cuz,


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