If you’re a musician or in a band that’s trying to get your music out to the world, your website is a valuable marketing tool. Your website helps your fans, bloggers, and journalists find out who you are, what you sound like, and where you’re playing. It’s important that your website contains content for all types of visitors, from fans - current and potential - to booking agents and media outlets. Below are ten essential elements that every band’s website should have.
- Relevant information.
- A current bio.
- Reliable contact info.
- Hi-Res PR photos.
- A way to showcase your music.
- Sharing features.
- Newsletter signup.
- Google Analytics and Feedburner.
If you have an album out, include easily accessible info about when it came out or will come out, the track list, and the label. Post a tour calendar with upcoming shows so fans can see when and where you’re playing, how much it costs, and where they can buy tickets. Be sure to include links to the venue website, ticket sales, other bands who are playing, and your Facebook Event.
Your bio is your opportunity to tell your story, share your history, and talk about your influences and accomplishments. Press and bloggers often refer to band bios when writing features and reviews, so it’s important that your bio is current, interesting, informative, and versatile. Can your current bio be used on a venue website to promote an upcoming show? Does it convey the message that you want to your fans? If not, it’s time to refresh your bio.
If journalists or bloggers have questions, they expect to easily find reliable contact info on your website. If you have a PR/publicist contact, list who it is and how to contact them. If you don’t have a PR contact, list who to get in touch with and how.
Journalists (bloggers, web editors, print editors) who want to cover a band usually accompany any given post with a photo, but sometimes it’s hard to figure out which photos are for the press. Be sure to have high-resolution photos available on your website for journalists and bloggers.
Your music is your art, and anyone visiting your site is going to want to hear it, so make sure you have a way for them to listen and sample it. You can share your music on your website with a music player, embedded tracks, or MP3 downloads.
If you have merch and music for sale, let your fans know where they can purchase it. If you have an online store (iTunes, Bandcamp, CD Baby, Amazon) that’s separate from your website, be sure to link to those online stores. Also, if your music is for sale locally at coffee shops and/or local record stores, be sure to list those addresses too.
Think of your website as your home base and all of your other digital presences as extensions of that presence. Each social network potentially has a unique audience, demographic, and benefit for your fans (with some crossover). That’s why it’s important to integrate, or at least link off to all of your digital touch points from your website.
You also want your fans to be able to share the content on your website with their friends. Social bookmarking plug-ins to allow your fans to easily share content from your site on their favorite social networks. With over 500 million users, a Facebook Like Button, Like Box or Activity Feed is a no-brainer. Want to keep your fans in the loop on what you’re working on? Be sure to add an RSS button or “subscribe via email” widget to your site, so that your fans can subscribe to your posts.
Even if you’re not regularly sending out a newsletter (yet), you should have way for your fans to sign up for one. Newsletters are a great way to directly reach your fans and create a more personal connection with them about new releases and upcoming shows. We recommend MailChimp, Constant Contact, orFanBridge. In addition to having a newsletter sign-up on your website, you should be collecting e-mail addresses at every show.
The key to getting your music heard is always building more fans and attracting new people through creative marketing. Music videos are just another form of creative marketing for your band. They allow you add another layer to your artistic capabilities and capture the full attention of your audience by combining your audio with visuals. Music videos also make your band look more legitimate and professional, help you stand out, provide your fans a sneak peek at what they might experience at your live performance, and give any prospects a more personal look at you as a band.
Want to know where your fans are coming from and find out what parts of your site are getting the most traffic? Google Analytics can provide this information. Using such analytics can help you measure your website performance, help you drive traffic to your site, and cater to your fans’ online behavior. FeedBurner’sservices allow publishers who already have a feed (RSS) to improve their understanding of and relationship with their audience. Once you have a working feed, run it through FeedBurner and realize a whole new set of benefits.