You’ve probably caught on to the fact that artists today should be sure to get on social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and Myspace. They’re a great way to connect and communicate with fans directly and can work as excellent music promotion tools. But while it’s essential to get in the social networking scene because of the millions of built-in users, you should never overlook the importance of creating your own website. A website allows you to have a central hub for all things related to your music, a place to write blog posts, even for selling merch. You’ll never have to worry about your own site shutting down, unlike profiles on social networks. And the best part is, there are no restrictions to work within when you make your own content.
Even if you’re not too web-savvy, it’s not out of your reach to get a good website going.
Domain Name and Email
The first step is buying a domain name. The best one is, of course, just the name of your band. So if your band is called the Flying Blueberries, flyingblueberries.com is the way to go. If it’s not available, there are many other options, from adding words like theflyingblueberries.com or flyingblueberriesband.com, to changing the address to one of many “.com” alternatives such as flyingblueberries.net. You can check availability and buy domain names for very affordable prices through services such as GoDaddy.com.
Besides being your home on the web, a domain name is important for another reason: email. It’s about time to give up your Gmail, Yahoo mail, SBCGlobal mail, etc. in favor of an email address that sports your name. Not only will it look more professional on a business card, people are more likely to take you seriously knowing you went through the small effort to set up your own domain email.
Design and Hosting
After your domain name has been purchased, you’ll need to find a hosting service. This is the place where all of the files for your site will be stored. There are several services tailored specifically to musicians such as Hostbaby and Bandzoogle that can help you get the features you’ll be needing for a music site (like music players, email lists, etc.). These sites can also help you with designing your homepage as well if you’re not knowledgeable in web design—most of us aren’t! This can be a big plus as hiring a professional web designer could set you back thousands of dollars. The advantage to hiring someone, however, is that you can completely customize everything about your site’s look to your specifications, as opposed to working with a pre-made template.
Even if you’re not one to write intimate details of your personal life for the world to read, having a blog on your site can be incredibly useful if only for simple news updates. Everything is archived and dated automatically, and writing a post usually requires little to no computer/web skills. Blog posts help you keep your fans up to date with what’s going on with your music and can tell them about interesting things that are happening with your career. Fans love interaction, and blogs make that easier.
Several hosting sites like the ones mentioned above have built-in blogging software. Also, many sites use the popular WordPress platform for their blogs.
Music, Bio and Shows
Besides a blog, there are a few things that every musician’s website should have: a brief bio, a music player, and show dates. Fans go to artists’ sites to learn more about the band (bio), find out what they sound like (music player), and learn when they can see them live (shows). Some services such as ArtistData give musicians a way to update their show calendars on their websites and across their social networks simultaneously. It’s also a good idea to link to Twitter, Facebook, and any other social sites you’re a part of.
Last but certainly not least, don’t forget the main reason you want people to come and listen to your music: to buy it! Even if you don’t have a merch store set up on your site itself, you should always, always have links to places where fans can buy your stuff (whether that be CD Baby, iTunes, Cafepress, etc.).
If you’re in need of some quality music recordings to put on your website, click here to start a production today!