If you are in a band, and you’re serious about making it big in the music industry, having your own website is crucial.
You can tailor your website to your fans and choose the content you want to highlight – something you simply can’t do with your social media platforms. If you set it up right, you can make your website the central hub of your online presence – a place your fans go to get the latest updates and buy your wares.
You can use it as a platform to publish blog posts, encourage discussion, grow your mailing list, and create a connection with your fans.
Make sure to create a visually-appealing, high quality site. First impressions matter, so try to make a strong one.
Here are our top 5 reasons why your band needs a website.
Your Email List
A lot of bands don’t have a mailing list, but they need one. With email, you can open a direct line of communication with your fans and let them know about your upcoming gigs or product offerings. Email is the best way to get your fans to commit to coming to a show or buying your album.
It may be necessary to incentivize your fans to join your mailing list in the first place. One way you can do this is by offering a giveaway or a free download – perhaps a demo track or a live video.
Don’t forget to place opt-in boxes in the sidebar, at the end of blog posts, and other strategic places on your site (maybe even in the header!). Make it clear what you’re offering, and make sure your visitors know they can unsubscribe at any time.Make sure to create a visually-appealing, high quality site. First impressions matter.Click To Tweet
Your Online Store
If you aren’t selling your CDs, posters, T-shirts and other merch on your website, you’re definitely leaving a lot of opportunity on the table.
You can use a third-party platform to sell your goods, and while that can make setup easier, the problem is that you don’t have much control over platforms you don’t own. Your merch items could be crowded out by unrelated ads or content.
Your website is the ideal place to sell products and keep an up-to-date inventory, because sending your fans off-site can confuse them and decrease sales.
Your Online Press Kit
Looking to book more shows? Interested in getting more publicity?
Then it is absolutely essential that you create an online press kit and host it on your own site. Your press kit should include high-quality photos, demos, a short bio, press clippings or quotes, and a live performance video.
Then, make sure to create an effective and direct call to action. It doesn’t matter whether it’s “get in touch with us” or “buy our latest album”, you need to make sure that there is a next action people can take. If you set this up correctly, you will see more career-building opportunities coming your way.
Credibility & Professionalism
If you don’t have a professional website, your fans will wonder whether or not you’re legit. And even if not for your fans, I can guarantee that publicists, reviewers, bloggers, podcasters, and other industry people aren’t taking you very seriously.
An effective website will boost your credibility and show that you’re a professional. It will show that you’re active in your music career, putting out new releases and touring all over.
If you one day hope to get signed by a major label, you will need to show that you’ve got work ethic, and there’s no better way of doing that than showing a huge discography and portfolio of past shows you’ve played.
Having An Edge
Having your own website gives you an edge over other bands that do not have a website; it gives the fans easy access to what you are doing and builds your reputation.
Look, there are a lot of lazy musicians out there. They say things like, “Setting up a website? That sounds like work.”
It sure is, but that work is worth the effort. A central hub for your musical efforts will help you to build and sustain the buzz – propelling you forward instead of killing momentum.
How to Build Your Website
There are various solutions available on the market. Some are completely out-of-the-box, some require more “hands-on” setup work, and still others require serious web designer skills (and a higher budget).
Let’s focus on the affordable and nice-looking solutions here:
- WordPress: WordPress is one of the best platforms to build your site on, especially if your hosting plan includes some kind of “one-click” installation option. But customizing your site requires a little bit of technical knowhow. Installing a ready-made theme is one of the fastest ways to get a nice-looking site in the least amount of time. It’s worth exploring AudioTheme’s selection of themes, as well as the Lush theme, which is highly configurable. Both options cost about the same ($59 – $69). Another great option is the Genesis Framework, but you can expect to pay at least $99.95 for the framework and a child theme of your choosing (you need both).
- Squarespace: tired of wasting time trying to design and organize your site? Paying way too much for a designer to do the work? Then Squarespace might just be the perfect fit for you. The thing about this platform is that they practically force you into creating your website content instead of wasting time on the interface and design (which are already elegant out of the box). Plus, all of their built-in tools make it easy to get up and running and start selling your music. You can get started or as little as $8 per month on Squarespace, though the $18 option is probably better if you’re serious about your career.
- Bandzoogle: Bandzoogle websites come with a full suite of options, and are tailor-made for bands and musicians. If you aren’t much of a web developer and you can’t see yourself doing a ton of coding and customization, then this is where you should go – period. Billing starts at $8.29 per month, and goes up to $19.95 per month depending on what option your choose.
- The Grid: this platform is still in beta, and they aren’t accepting new applicants right now. But the concept is pretty neat. You as a website owner create the content, and as you post more, the site evolves and changes all on its own. All you have to do is choose a focus, whether it’s selling a product, building your email list, drawing more attention to your content, or otherwise. The Grid be worth keeping an eye on, and once they’ve released a working version, you might consider taking advantage.
The tools have gotten so good that you have no excuse not to have a website. The rest is up to you. Will you get left in the dust by the competition, or will you put your foot down and choose to become a professional today?
Don’t be afraid of making mistakes – we all make them. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Some risks must be taken, and building your website is one you can’t afford not to take.