Social Media

Social media is a great way to connect with friends and customers. Websites like facebook make it easy to post pictures and share status updates. Being on the various social networks is a great addition to any entertainer’s online identity, but should NOT replace the need to have a website.

I have heard several entertainers who have said that they don’t need a website because they have a fan page on FaceBook. I totally disagree. I think that a website is a MUST for any entertainer who hopes to reach potential customers. Even if you are on other gig websites, a website is still important.

There are different reasons why an entertainer may feel they don’t need or want a website. Some think it is too expensive. Others think they wouldn’t know how to maintain and update it. And others feel that as long as they have something on the Internet, it is good enough.

One reason why I feel that a social media account is not enough is due to the fact that you cannot control what they may change in the future. There is the saying, “Never put all your eggs in one basket.” Every few months, FaceBook changes something about how it works. If the only place your customers can find you is via your fan page on FaceBook, what happens if FaceBook changes the rules and decides to start charging people to keep their fan pages? They already limit who sees updates to the few people who have interacted with the page recently unless you pay to boost your reach. Having a website protects you from loosing contact with your customers or having to reprint all of your business cards if they change the URL.

A website does not need to be expensive of complicated. You can register a custom domain name for about $10/year and find hosting packages for less than $10/month. Is your business worth the $150/year investment in having a website? You can pay a few hundred dollars to have someone help you create the website or you can learn how to create and maintain it yourself. If you are able to send email, upload pictures to facebook, and surf the web, you likely have the basic skills needed to figure out how to run your own website.

Building a Website

There are a lot of options available to anyone who wants to build a website. There are advantages and disadvantages of each option. Some are quick to get something published on the Internet and others are easy to maintain well into the future.

When I got started working with web pages and websites, I did everything by hand. I created each and every page of the website in a separate HTML file. By creating each website by hand, I had full control of how the website looked and functioned. I could customize anything I wanted to meet my needs. It let me create some good looking websites, but over time, it proved more of a challenge to update and maintain. Making updates to the website required me to open the source files, edit the content, and upload the new files to the website. If I wanted to add a page or change how things looked, I often had to edit each and every file for the website. As a result, I made fewer and fewer updates to the website over time.

When I built websites for others, I continued to hand code all of the websites. This gave my friends and customers good looking websites, but it also made them rely upon me to maintain and update their website. If they wanted to change out the pictures, add new content, or just make changes, they had to get me to do the work for them.

Several years ago, I installed my first WordPress blog. Since WordPress is a content management system, it was very easy to edit content or even add new stuff. Since it uses a database running on the website, I didn’t have to worry about needing to edit the source HTML files, I could log into the website from any computer and quickly make a change. But, one of the downsides was the fact that WordPress uses templates. I was limited to how much I could customize without learning a lot more about how WordPress works.

I have now created several more websites using WordPress. I still don’t know everything there is to know, but I am confident in my abilities to customize the templates and other files to make websites that meet my needs. For someone just getting started, they would likely run into many of the same issues I had when I first tried to use WordPress. There is a learning curve and it takes time to successfully figure out how to customize a website.

Many people like using WordPress and some of the other content management systems to create websites because they are free and relatively quick to install and configure a basic website. If you don’t have a background in website design, I think a good option is to work with a web designer/developer to setup your website and then learn how to make the updates yourself. For more complex changes, you can go back to the website developer for help. This gives you the best of both worlds, a professional looking website with the cost savings from doing things for yourself.

All of Your Eggs…

OK, I may not be the smartest person when it comes to the Internet and I know that I don’t always follow my own advice, but here is one important piece of advice that everyone should follow: Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket.

The Internet is a wonderful place and it has lots to offer for both businesses and customers. Some services are free, some cost businesses to use and some cost the customers who want to use those services. For better or worse, I know a lot of entertainers who are “cheap.” They will go anywhere on the Internet that is free, everything from free websites to free advertising. I have nothing against using free services (as long as you know both the advantages and disadvantages). I just want to remind people that once popular websites are quickly forgotten. Not too long ago, MySpace was the hottest social networking website. Thousands of people used to access the Internet using AOL. Yahoo! used to be a more popular search engine than Google.

Let’s say that you decide that you don’t need to have a website and will just have a fan page on Facebook. While that might seem like a fine solution for today, what happens if Facebook decides to start charging people to use it or people decide that another social network website is better. If you put all of your eggs on Facebook, one day, you may miss out. A better approach is to have your business information on several social network websites and have them all link back to your main website. Your goal is to drive people to your website. Too often, people drive customers away to places like YouTube to watch videos or another website to see pictures.

You don’t have to drive customers away. Most of the social networking websites let you embed your content onto your website. People can see your YouTube video on your website without having to visit YouTube. The advantage is that if YouTube goes away, you still have a website. You can find another place to post your videos.

Recent Projects – Bubble B and Mr B

This year, I have created websites for several friends. In the past, I have always hand coded all of the websites, but I recently decided to try using WordPress to create the websites. I have used WordPress for blogs, but never for a whole website. The one thing that attracted me to WordPress was the fact that I could more easily add pictures and update content. I could also teach the owner of the website how to log into the website and make their own edits. It seemed like a win-win solution.

Bubble B and Mr B Website

Bubble B and Mr B Website

One of the first new websites I created using WordPress was for a clown couple in West Virginia that go by the name Bubble B and Mr B. I met with Mildred, aka Bubble B, and discussed what they wanted on their website. She gave me a large collection of pictures and other content to use. I customized one of the WordPress themes to fit the colors and style that I wanted. I created a custom header graphic and made a fairly simple website with only four pages, Home, About Us, Services, and Contact Us. I often add another page, Pictures, but I felt that wasn’t needed since I filled each of the pages with the pictures that Mildred had provided.

Are you looking to get a website for your clown or children’s entertainment business? Do you already have a website but feel that you are not getting the most out of it? You have come to the right place. Mike Becvar is a web developer in addition to being a clown, balloon twister and face painter. He has created and maintained websites for himself and others. He understands how to make an effective website for children’s entertainers.

Custom E-Mail Address

I know a lot of people who have gone to the effort of getting a website but still use gmail or their internet provider for their business email account. If you are paying to register a domain name and to host a website, be sure you also get your own email address.

I have several email addresses. People can send email to me as Mike Becvar, Sir Toony Van Dukes, or Balloons By Mike. They could also send me email to my account with gmail or Verizon. Part of the magic is that all of the messages end up at the same place, my email inbox. I have configured my website to forward email messages to a single account. I have that account configured so I can send email messages under any of those names.

I think it looks a lot more professional to tell people my email address is Mike-[at]-BalloonsByMike-[dot]-com instead of some generic name like Mike-[dot]-Becvar-[at]-Verizon. I am also much less likely to need to change my email address if I move or change Internet provider.

Check with your website hosting account to see if you can setup your own custom email account and check with your current email account for settings that will allow you to send and recieve emails from multiple addresses.

Website Design

Website Design
By Mike Becvar

I am Mike Becvar, aka Sir Toony Van Dukes. I am a web developer by day and a clown, face painter, and balloon twister on the weekends. In this article, I will give pointers on writing content that will help your customers find your website when searching for entertainers on one of the major search engines like Google. There is a whole industry dedicated to Search Engine Optimization (or SEO). Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the visibility of your website in search engines in the search results. Although you can hire someone to help optimize your website, there is a lot you can do on your own to make the information on your website work for you to attract customers to your website and ultimately book you for their events.

A critical aspect of website design is the content because it is the content that drives your potential customers to your website, and it is what keeps them interested in what your website has to offer. Additionally, effective web content can compel customers to take action and ask to book you for their events. Generally speaking, website content is what you have on your website. It can be description of your services, news, articles, blog entries, pictures or videos (and the captions), or links to interesting or entertaining resources.

Let’s look at how website content can help drive customers to your website. If a mom from Springfield is looking for a clown to come to her son’s birthday party, she will likely go to a search site like Google and type something like “Springfield clown” or “birthday party in Springfield”. Google will return several results and the mom will likely visit one of the top ten websites in the list. If you are a clown in Springfield, you want your website to be one of the first few websites listed by Google. It is the content on your website that Google uses to determine where your website ranks for any given search.

Google uses special programs to “crawl” the Internet and copy content to its database while following the links from page to page. It uses a formula to index and rank the content so that when someone searches the Internet for “Springfield clown” it can present a list of the most relevant websites. Although Google will not give out details of its formula, most people who develop websites agree that the page ranking system Google and the other major search engines use is based on the quality of the content, the keywords, the links both to and from the website, and the frequency of updates to the website. Some people think also that Google will ignore websites or pages with less than 250 words or with content that is copied directly from other websites. Note: Although highly graphical or Flash-based websites look great, Google and the other search engines cannot index any content that is presented with graphics.

Quality of Content

You can improve your rank in Google’s search results by writing quality content that has very few spelling or grammar errors. If you write your own content, make sure you use a spell checker. Better yet, ask someone else to review the content before posting it to your website.


Keywords are like a summary of the content on a website. The keywords for a clown’s website might include things like: clown, birthday, magic, face painting, and entertainment. Keywords may also include locations such as Springfield or Metropolis. They are also the terms that potential customers may use when they perform a search at Google. You can increase the number of keywords on your website by writing better descriptions of the services you offer and the locations you serve. The quality of your content is important so it is better to use full sentences instead of a list of keywords.


Links both to and from your website are also important. When another website places a link to your website from a page on their website, the major search engines regard that as a ‘vote-of-confidence’ which can improve your page rank. It is important to note, that using some of the link exchanges can actually hurt your page rank as the major search engines see some of them as “link farms” designed to sell ads. You should seek to have links from your local clown alley, other clowns, or the restaurants, festivals, and businesses you visit.

It is also important that your website includes links to other websites. You can increase your page rank by providing occasional links to other related web pages. A good way to include links is to tell about upcoming events and provide links to the event website. Another way is to include pictures from your trip to a clown convention and provide a link to the convention’s website.


Finally, it is important to keep the content of your website updated. The major search engines will give higher page ranks to websites with content that is updated on a regular basis. Many businesses build a website and forget about it. If a customer visits your website and sees that the last event, award, or other date mentioned was 2-3 years ago, they may wonder if you are still in business. Google also gives higher page ranks to pages that are updated on a regular basis. There are a few different ways to keep your website up to date. You can include a blog (or news page) on your website where you tell people about upcoming events, provide party planning tips, or post pictures from recent parades or clown conventions. You can have a page listing of upcoming appearances. Also, in your text, you can mention the upcoming season and remind people that you are available for their office Holiday party or summer picnics.


With all of that in mind, what content should you include on your website? Well, what services do you offer and what information will potential customers look for? Getting potential customers to your website is only half the battle. You still need to get them to take action and contact you about coming to their party or event. Pretend a customer just called and asked what you would do at her son’s birthday party. You would likely answer by giving the essential information about how you can help, and why you perfectly meet her needs, right? And I’m betting you’d want to explain it in the most compelling fashion you could, given what’s riding on the deal. Think of your website as needing to do the same thing. You need to use the website to tell your potential customers that you provide the services they are looking for and that you work close to them.

One way to get ideas is to look at other websites. Identify the things you like or do not like about their websites and incorporate the better ideas in your own website. While it is NOT polite to directly copy their text and definitely NOT appropriate to use their graphics, it is OK to get ideas from how they present the information.
Hopefully, this will get you started thinking about the content you put on your website.


Based on an article submitted to the Mid Atlantic Clown Association for publication in The Big Top.

Having a Website

Do you consider your clown character to be part of a business? If you don’t, you probably should. And as a business, it is important that people have a way of finding you. Even if you only clown at charity events or parades, people will respect your time and talents more if you are able to present yourself as a business complete with business cards and a website.

You can have business cards, ads in the local magazines, or banners at the grocery store, but you will be missing out on business opportunities if you do not have a website. I am a firm believer that all businesses NEED a website. Today, it is more important than ever before for businesses to be on the Internet and have a website. You can create a web presence using social media sites like Facebook or Twitter, but I suggest also having a real website with your own domain name.

Clowns are some of the busiest people I know. Some have full time jobs during the week and still manage to do several parties on the weekend. Add to this a family, alley meetings, balloon jams, and Kids Night at the local restaurant, there isn’t much time left in the week. It is easy to say that you don’t have the time or money to build a website. Unfortunately, your customers are looking for entertainment for their next party on Internet and will start finding your competition because they did find the time and money needed to build a website.

Is your business down? Do you blame the recession? Do your friends seem to be busier with parties and events than you are? It is possible that the recession is not your problem, maybe customers don’t know about you and can’t find you on the Internet.

I plan to use this blog to present ideas for building an effective website and using it to grow your clowning business.

Welcome to Websites for Clowns

Welcome to Websites for Clowns, a new blog about creating websites for clowns and other types of children’s entertainers. This website was created by and is being maintained by Mike Becvar aka Sir Toony Van Dukes.

Welcome and let’s hope for a long and successful future.