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The best musician website tips

You’ve probably heard this a thousand times before… as a musician, you need to have a website.

Sure, it’s easy enough to put together a website for your music with all the easy website builders available today, but making a REALLY EFFECTIVE website? One that will help you actually engage with your fans and sell more music? That’s a little more difficult.

So I’ve got some easy and quick musician website tips you can use to take your website from good to GREAT.

To help you make sure your website is a powerful tool that will help you grow your fanbase, connect with your fans, and sell more music, merch, and tickets, Dave Cool from Bandzoogle and I are hosting a free website webinar on Thursday, May 18 at 1PM EST.  See the agenda below…

Sign up for free to join us live, or sign up to get the free recorded replay.

But in the meantime, here are some musician website tips and best practices you can start using right now.

Give Each Page a Purpose

I want you to start thinking of your website like a tool – something that will help you promote your music, connect with your fans, unlock opportunities, or sell music and merch.

And that means each and every page needs to have a specific purpose – something that you want to accomplish through the content on the page or some action you want your fans to take after viewing the page.

So if you have a gig page, the purpose should be to sell tickets to your upcoming gigs. You should have a gig calendar with buttons to purchase tickets, and possibly an email signup form where you offer some kind of gig-related incentive in exchange for an email address (like early access to tickets, or notifications of secret meetups or events).

In the same way, if you have a press page or EPK, all the information on that page should be 100% focused on getting press coverage or a review. You don’t need an email signup form, a gig calendar, or social media feeds.

As a little exercise, take a look at your own website. For each and every page, ask yourself, “What is the purpose of this page? What am I trying to get my fans to do? What am I trying to accomplish?” If you cannot think of a specific purpose for a page, change it, consolidate it into another page, or just remove it entirely.

Keep Your Navigation Simple

This builds off the previous point, but you really want to keep your website’s navigation as simple and straightforward as possible. The last thing you want is for people to click off your website because they can’t find what they’re looking for.

As a rule of thumb, don’t have more than 8 buttons in your navigation and limit the amount of sub-navigation pages you have if possible.

So instead of having a “Gig” tab with sub-navigation pages for gig calendar, live recordings, book a house concert, and live photos, consolidate to pre-existing pages. Your live recordings can go to your music page, your live photos can go to your media page, and house concerts could become a separate tab if it’s something you want to really focus on.

Focus on Engagement

Once you’ve simplified and streamlined your website, you need to ask yourself, “What will keep my fans coming back again and again?”

For the most part, musicians will keep their website pretty static and maybe update it every few months. That’s definitely a good start, but first and foremost, your website is the place where you will sell music, sell merch, and get fans on your email list, right? And if fans aren’t going back to your website on a regular basis they won’t be exposed to those offers.

So how can you keep your website’s content fresh, dynamic, and interesting? One options is to create a blog where you publish new content on a certain schedule – maybe it’s once a week, or maybe once a month, the key is to find a schedule that works for you.

I know “blogging” sounds kind of silly to a lot of people, but it’s important to remember that a blog doesn’t have to be you just writing about your day diary-style. You can write posts or release videos on whatever topics interest you.

Use your blog to share more insider-access to you and your music. You could easily create a blog post about how you get a certain tone or how you set up your gear, you could do video tutorials of your songs, you could post monthly Q&A’s with questions that you gather from social media, or you could share the behind-the-scenes process of your current project.

As a bonus tip – try giving each blog post a purpose by linking to relevant items on your store, gig page, or email signup form. So if you’re taking fans behind the scenes at your gigs in a blog post, link to your gig page. If you’re talking about the tone from your newest single, link to a place where they can actually purchase it.

AGENDA:

Here are a few of the musician website tips you’ll learn during the webinar:

  • We’re going to tell you exactly what you need to include on your website and WHY (so you don’t miss out on opportunities and sales)
  • We’ll break down the big website mistakes to avoid (You’d be surprised how many musicians make these mistakes, but we’ll show you EASY ways to fix them!)
  • Learn the 3 DIFFERENT audiences your website needs to be serving (most musicians only focus on 1)
  • Enter for a chance to win a LIVE WEBSITE REVIEW! (Yep – a few of you will get live feedback on your website and actionable tips for how you can make it BETTER 🙂
  • Plus all your burning website questions answered during the live Q&A

Sign up to join us live or sign up to get the recorded replay.
We hope to see you there!

Every musician today needs a great website. Each week someone asks me what platform is the best band website builder for musicians to create a killer website. There are many choices to be sure.

Bandzoogle has what appears to be the best balance of features and performance at an affordable price. Their monthly packages start at $8 per month and they do not charge any commission on sales of music or merch or tickets of any kind. As of the date of this post, Bandzoogle artists have generated over $21 million in sales of music, merch and tickets using its proven cloud based platform. Don’t you want to do that too?

best band website builder for musicians

Over 25,000 musicians have signed up for Bandzoogle, including many New Artist Model students. These guys have the best solution for presenting yourself online as a musician or band. And they have agreed to give you a 90 day free trial so you can check it out. This is a no brainer if you need a website or want to update the one you have.

Click here for a free webinar on building the ultimate musician website

Bandzoogle is easy to use with a step-by-step system that will get you up and running in minutes with a custom site that can grow along with you. With over 100 different mobile themes you can easily customize a site to really stand out.

Move your existing domain over or setup a new one.

Here’s what you get with your Bandzoogle website:

• Sell music, merch & tickets commission-free.
• Stream your music and setup downloads.
• Built in email list to send professional newsletters.
• Integrates with all online musician services.
• Reports and analytics to target your fans.
• Unbelievably great customer service.

Pull in content from all of your online services like Soundcloud, Bandcamp, Pledgemusic, CDBaby, Gig Salad, Bandsintown, ArtistData, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, iTunes, Amazon and more.

Add a store to your site in two clicks and start selling music, downloads, tickets and merchandise without having to pay any sales fee.

Create a blog and EPK. Post music, videos and photos. Setup your events calendar and a lot more. Everything you need is built-in and just a click away.

Try it for 3 months for free. After that, plans start at less than $10/month. Or you can simply walk away and pay nothing.

What’s the best band website builder for musicians to use to create a killer musician website? Check out Bandzoogle.

Just last week, Dave Cool of Bandzoogle and I did a webinar.

Build the Ultimate Musician Website

  • BUILD a high converting musician website.
  • LEARN exactly what features you need and why.
  • GROW your email list and expand your fanbase.

Click here to watch this recorded webinar – all free.

New Artist Model is an online music business school developed by Dave Kusek, founder of Berklee Online. The online school is a platform for learning practical strategies and techniques for making a living in music. Learn how to carve a unique path for your own career with strategies that are working for indie artists around the world. Learn to think like an entrepreneur, create your own plan and live the life in music you want to live. New Artist Model provides practical college-level music business training at a mere fraction of the cost of a college degree. Programs start at just $29/mo.

For more info on the New Artist Model visit http://newartistmodel.com

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By now I’m sure you understand the importance of having a website for your music. However, a sloppy, hastily thrown together website may actually be hurting your brand more than not having one at all. I’m sure you’ve all visited a website that was unorganized, out of date, or unprofessional looking and clicked off without even giving the content a chance. You don’t want that happening to your website!

The fact of the matter is that with all the tools and services out there to help you build a clean, professional website, you don’t really have an excuse. There’s also a ton of people with basic web design skills these days. There’s probably someone in your extended group of friends and acquaintances who knows all about WordPress or can write HTML. Even with all that, building a new site or refurbishing an old one can seem a daunting task, so I’ve broken it down into 5 things you should keep in mind through the design process.

 

1. Declutter

It’s a common error in the music industry to try to fit everything on the first page of your website. After all, you’ve been told time and time again that you want to be able to deliver content in the least number of clicks possible to avoid losing people. However, this can easily backfire if you’re not careful. A cluttered homepage looks unprofessional. Visitors won’t know where to look and they’ll most likely click away before giving your content a chance. Not only will this drive potential fans away, it will also keep your current fans from visiting and buying your products. In other words, you could be losing out on potential income!

So how do we remedy this? Take some time to really think about your biggest strengths as a musician and make that the focus of your home page. You want people to be able to visit your website and say “Oh, I know what these guys are about.” If you have a killer live show and play gigs more than anything else, hire someone to take some awesome live photos and use them on your homepage. Instead of just a basic music video you could include some footage from your shows (just make sure the video and sound quality is good). A rotating banner is a great way to convey a lot of different kinds of content in a relatively small space. You could even have a blog on your homepage with thoughts and photos from the road.

 

2. Keep it relevant

If your website has obviously outdated content right at the top of the home page, visitors will automatically assume either a) you’re not a serious musician, or b) the band has broken up. While they might still buy your music, they probably won’t come back very often. You want your fans coming back all the time! The more they visit your website, the more opportunities they will have to sign up for your mailing list, buy a ticket to your gig, or buy your album.

Even if you only release albums once a year, you can still have a continuous stream of relevant content. Make videos or recordings of cover songs to give your fans new music on a regular basis. Blogs are a great way to keep your website relevant. Write up quick posts weekly or daily depending on how much interesting content you have. You could post photos from the studio, short sections of lyrics you’ve been working on, footage from your band’s rehearsal, a picture of your new guitar, or even just interesting and funny stories.

 

3. Call to action

If you’re just putting out free content on your website you’re only going halfway. Of course you need great content like blog posts, photos, a few music tracks, and videos to keep fans interested and to keep them coming back. But the really cool thing about a website that sets it apart from social media is that it really takes fans from the information through the purchase.

After you have your relevant content set up, the first step up the ladder is a mailing list. You should have your mailing list signup featured prominently on your homepage. A mailing list is a great way to forge a stronger relationship with a fan. After you have people signed up for your mailing list, you can send them exclusive information, discount codes, and product offerings, but that’s for another post.

You need to be able to sell your products on your website. Of course, the products you have available will depend on your current financial situation, but try to have a few different options at a few different price points. This could be a free download single, individual digital downloads, album digital downloads, and physical albums. If you want to go beyond that you can offer t-shirts, vinyl, and box sets. Make sure your fans can easily find and purchase your music. Many musicians have a few tracks featured on the homepage with a “buy” button that goes to the purchase page.

 

4. Address different kinds of fans

Your website is the hub of your online presence. Your fans will come here to check up on news, find out about tours, and buy your music. However, people who are just discovering your music for the first time are also coming to your website, and you need to plan your content accordingly.

New fans may be interested in a short biography of the band. They may want to listen to some of your best tracks, and they will probably be interested in downloading one song for free. A download for email promotion is one of the best ways to engage these new fans. They get a song, you get the chance to connect with them and hopefully drive a purchase down the line. Your current fans will want to see tour dates and more behind the scenes information. A blog is a great way to keep them updated on what you’re doing.

Pledge Music is a great tool to give different fans the content they want. It’s not just a crowdfunding tool. You can pre-sell your album and merch and also give your superfans exclusive and one-of-a-kind products and experiences to keep them coming back.

 

5. Don’t neglect the visuals

Now that you have all your great content in place, you need to take a minute and address how your website looks aesthetically. Just like how out-of-date content can drive away visitors, so can clashing colors, cheesy fonts, and out-of-proportion text. When in doubt, opt for a clean layout and design. It’s easy for your photos, videos, and content to get lost if you have a blown-up photo as your site background. Instead, go for a solid or minimally textured background that will let your logo, photos, and videos shine. After all, your website is about you and your music, not that cool flame picture you have as a background.

Keep your music and image in mind when addressing the look and feel of your website. A metal band should use a completely different color scheme from a pop singer-songwriter. There are a ton of pre-made color scheme’s out there that you can draw inspiration from.

Like in all aspects of your music career, the key here is not to go at it alone. Even if you’re a pro web designer, if you’re sitting in a dark room staring at the site for hours, you will easily miss color, font, and layout problems. Ask one of your friends who has a good visual eye to take a look at your site and give you feedback along the way. There’s also some great web design services for indie musicians, like Bandzoogle, that will provide you with pre-made templates that already look good.

If you want to learn even more about website design, the website services available to musicians, and some of the cool ways you can be using your website to grow your fanbase and engage with your fans, we cover a lot more in the New Artist Model courses.

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The New Artist Model is an online music business school for independent musicians, performers, recording artists, producers, managers and songwriters. Our classes teach essential music business and marketing skills that will take you from creativity to commerce while maximizing your chances for success. We’re offering access to free lessons from the New Artist Model online courses to anyone who signs up for our mailing list.

 

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Here’s another post with information and insights straight from SXSW. This one comes from the Cyber PR Team who participated in the Website Demolition Derby along with David DufresneEmily WhiteBrian Felsen, and Michael Schneider. Here’s a short excerpt, but you can read the full article over on the Cyber PR Blog.

KNOW YOUR PURPOSE

It’s important to know that not all websites fit under one umbrella. While many of our clients for our respective companies look to us to attain fans for their music or their blog, attaining fans may not be the #1 priority if you are a session player looking for work. The important thing to note about websites is that you must know what resources are most relevant to your particular case. A session player’s LinkedIn profile may be a high priority, whereas a band probably won’t have one at all. One piece of advice is to reference somebody who you compare yourself to, and note what they emphasize on their site.

Speaking of Social Media Links…

 

LESS SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS IS MORE

Are you actively posting on all of these social media sites? When was the last time you posted on Google+? Has anyone interacted with your MySpace page lately? The only sites that should be included in this list are the ones that you actively maintain. Otherwise, you are driving fans to sites that are either barren, or dead. Not a good look for you!

 

DRIVE YOUR SALES TO ONE SITE

All artists are selling their music digitally through distributors like CD Baby, TuneCore, The Orchard, etc. We don’t need to see all of the stores which we can buy your music from. We already assume that it’s there. The best way to sell your music is to embed a BandCamp page on your website, or another direct-to-fan platform where you can a) retain traffic on your website, b) get an email address for your mailing list, and c) retain 100% of your sale, while skipping the 30% distribution fee.

What’s your biggest website challenge? Let us know in the comments below!

If you’re ready to bring your website to the next level, check out the New Artist Model online course. We go into website design in depth. You can also sign up for 5 free lessons from the course to learn more.

A website is one of the most important tools in the musician’s marketing arsenal. A website will make you appear more professional, it serves as a single, unifying platform for all your web presences, and it is a great tool to run promotions to engage your current fans and make new ones.

Basically, your website needs to accomplish two things:

1. Help you engage with fans and make new ones.

2. Make you money.

Creating a great website can be a daunting task for someone that doesn’t know anything about web design. But it doesn’t have to be! There are some great tools out there that enable you to make a great looking, affordable website for as little as $20 or less per month. You don’t need to shell out thousands of your hard-earned money to higher a web developer. Here’s how:

Step 1: You must have a domain name. 

To register a domain name go to godaddy.com (USA) crazydomains.com.au (AUS)

Register the domain that you would like to use.  I highly suggest a dot com (.com) with no slashes and underscores if possible.

TIP: You should also make sure that the YouTube, Twitter and Facebook page names match the URL that you purchased.

Step 2: Choose which payment option you would like.

Pay As You Go

A pay-as-you-go option with a web site builder can get you up and running very quickly and you won’t need a designer to build the site for you.

Here are my favorite 4 in alphabetical order. All 4 have excellent call-in customer service to help ease the confusion.

Bandzoogle – http://bandzoogle.com/

Their lite version starts at $9.95 per month easy to use and the first month is free!

Hostbaby – http://www.hostbaby.com/

Owned by CD Baby, you can store unlimited emails and send newsletters through your custom site. It costs $20 per month or $199 per year.

Reverbnation – http://www.reverbnation.com/band-promotion/sitebuilder

Reverbnation continues to te the one-stop shop for digital music marketing tools. Reverbnation’s Site Builder allows you to create a custom website that can utilize their full suite of tools, including Reverbnation’s Fan Reach (newsletter platform).

Spacecraft – http://gospacecraft.com

Spacecraft allows you to build a simple, highly customizable website with a responsive design that makes mobile browsing easy for your fans.

Working with a Web designer

I suggest crowdspring.com or LinkedIn for finding affordable WordPress designers. Make sure you read the designer’s reviews and see examples of his/her work before you hire him/her so you don’t get any unpleasant surprises.

TIP: Don’t pay more than $1,000 for a basic WordPress site.

TIP: Don’t work with an “artsy” web designer who does not build in WordPress because he will give you a flash movie intro or a complicated site. If you want artsy, buy a fabulous new outfit, or create a physical piece of merchandise using http://www.MerchLuv.com that’s really cool, and expresses who you are, but please don’t be “artsy” on your website.

Your website must be clear and functional!

To read the full article, and learn more about the content you should include on your website visit Cyber PR.

Making a musician website is fairly straight forward, especially with all the tools like WordPress and Bandzoogle to make the process easier for those with little to no web design experience. Even so, making a good website is a little more difficult. You need to make it relatable and accessible to both new fans, potential fans, and super fans. It needs to be easy to navigate and not too cluttered. On top of that, your website needs to look good visually and reflect your brand and artist image.

This guide analyzes the website of Ed Sheeran. We’ll take a closer look at the items on his home page so you get a better idea of how you could organize your website. The point of this guide is not to enable you to make an exact copy of Ed Sheeran’s website and slap your name on the top. This guide will give you ideas of where items should be placed, what items should be included, and what items should be left out.

The Video On The Front Page

The first things I want to mention about Ed Sheeran’s website, is the video he displays near the top middle of his home page. This is what most people will instantly notice when they visit for the first time. Not only is it in a prominent position, but it’s also eye catching.

In this space, Ed puts his video playlist. The reason for this is simple: video is one of the best ways to get people interested in what you’re offering!

Think about it, how many times does it take you hearing a song before it sticks in your head? While it’ll only take one listen for some songs, in general it usually takes two, three or more. On the other hand, usually if you see a good video, you remember it instantly. It’s also a lot easier for most people to get hooked watching a video, over hearing a song for the very first time.

Of course this is generalizing as everyone takes in music differently. But as a general rule, video and music grabs people’s attention a lot quicker than plain audio does.

My bet is that this area is one of the most popular on the website’s home page.

One more thing to note about this area is that the embedded video also contains a playlist. So if you’ve seen the first video he displays, you’ve the option of looking through his other material either for something you haven’t seen before, or for your favorite song of his.

To read the full guide, visit Music Think Tank.