Building a website has never been easier. But if you are a musician, you shouldn’t create a website just for the sake of it.
Let’s say you don’t know much marketing and someone says to you “Hey create a website”, that sounds like good advice, right? And you know why?
Because everyone (almost) has a website and so it only makes sense that should have one too.
But that’s not good advice, especially for independent artists.
If you are still confused about the idea of building your own website, don’t worry.
I have compiled a list of four key components that are crucial in order to build an effective website.
This is not the usual Kumbuya “How to build a website” advice, No.
So without wasting any more time, let’s dive in.
Design a Landing Page
A landing page should be your first priority when designing a website. For the average website, the home is the landing page.
But for a musician website, that’s boring. You can do better than that.
Just in case you don’t know what is a landing page and how it works for musicians. It is a standalone page on a site designed for promotional purposes.
Say someone clicks on your website, whether this was via social media, online adverts – the visitor is then directed to your promotional offer (on the landing page).
In a musical context, your offer can include a free music download, exclusive merchandise, et cetera.
You just have to use your imagination.
The following is an example of a landing page template
2. Embed Your Music
Is your music available on SoundCloud, or iTunes?
I hope so.
Try to leverage on that by displaying some of that work on your website.
Instead of directing traffic to third-party websites in the form links, you can embed your music using Soundcloud .
You simply copy a code (of each track or the entire playlist) and paste it to your personal site.
It is possible to include your entire catalogue (singles and albums) on your site as long as you can make it easier for visitors to find your music.
Can I upload my music directly to my website instead?
Yes you can, BUT…. it’s a bad idea!
If you do, remember that all your audio files stay on your server. And you and I know that the average audio file is more than 1MB.
In the long run, as you add more files, the website speed and performance will decrease and that will hurt your user experience and traffic.
Imagine clicking the play button only to wait five minutes for a song to load?
3. Optimize It
There’s a popular catchphrase out there, and it goes like “If You Build It They Will Come”.
Sure there might be some truth in that. But I said SOME. So, it’s not entirely true.
As an independent artist on the come up, it is important to have a following in order to have a constant flow of web traffic.
But it’s easier said than done
I’m not going to explain how to build a fan base, but the objective here is to help you turn your web visitors into fans!
You don’t want to do all that work and end up with a white elephant, now do you?
What I mean by the word optimize – to ensure that your website is search friendly. In simple English, make it easier for people to find you online. That’s It.
But then again you are an artist and not a web designer. And I’m assuming this is all new to you.
But that’s okay, stay with me.
How to optimize a musician’s website for search engines (and users)
Search engines are your Google’s, Bing’s and Yahoos of this world.
But here, I’m referring to Google because it is the market leader after all and most people are familiar with this gigantic brand.
In my humble opinion, a musician’s website should include the following:
Home Title – This is the title of your home page and it should be descriptive. It might be a challenge to come up with a unique title. But you should include keywords that tell people what you’re all about.
Title Pages – Say you create an “About Us” page, instead of leaving it as is you could include something like “Free Music Downloads South Africa”. That is a descriptive keyword and most people are searching for free music. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not encouraging you to just give away all your music. But I’m illustrating my point on how to pull visitors to your website.
On-Page Content – Here you can tell people about yourself. But you have to be as a creative as possible (something that you know too well) and use the right keywords. The keywords in this context could include any record label, manager or artist affiliations.
Meta Descriptions – This is the first thing people will see (or not, Google decides) on search engine results. The Meta description encourages people to click and visit your website. It’s basically a description of your web page (see title pages above)
Mobile – Most people have access to smartphones. So it’s important for a website to be optimized for mobile too. If ignored, you might miss out on the potential traffic from mobile users.
4. Email Subscription List
As an independent artist trying to get your name out there, an email list is a must.
In this day and age, most people have an email address. If they have a social media account(s), chances are they have at least one email account!
The advantages of an email subscription list for a musician:
- You can interact with your fans
- Send them exclusive tracks
- Free music downloads (people love freebies)
- Sell or distribute free merchandise directly to your subscribers
- Run competitions
You name it!
But the idea here is to build a Real Fan base from the ground up.
Some of you would argue that social media is the way and far easier than building a mail list of subscribers. And I agree but to certain extend….
A Facebook artist page doesn’t always represent a true reflection of real fans, unlike email subscribers.
A thousand followers on social media doesn’t necessarily translate to a “thousand fans”.
How to build an email list
Well there are several ways to do it, but I would recommend the following:
Email pop up on your website – When a visitor lands on your home page, a pop-up message will appear on their computer screen. Avoid this on mobile though.
Landing Page – I mentioned this earlier, check out point # 1 to refresh your memory
Using a lead magnet – such as a free download, eBook, etc. You can incentivise people by giving away free music or any product you have in exchange for their email address.
Include a CTA (call-to-action) at the end of your content – Request the email but tell them why they should subscribe to your website.
If you are starting out, I recommend Mailchimp for email marketing campaigns. It’s free but you can only add 2000 subscribers.
Sure, I understand that collecting emails can be as hard. But trust me it is more authentic.
If you are patient and you do it the correct the way, it will pay off gradually.
There’s so much that goes into putting a website together. The design is just the beginning and not the end.
As a musician, you shouldn’t be doing things the conventional way.
Technology is advancing at a faster rate now. And if you don’t adapt and move with the times (I’m sure you’ve heard this so many times), you will fall behind.
If you follow the above steps and incorporate it with your social media and offline marketing, you will reap the rewards of your hard work in no time.
It’s not easy though but it’s simple.