Bandzoogle is one of the most effective platforms for musicians to build their website and manage their direct-to-fan marketing and sales. Their platform is one of the oldest web hosting tools available for musicians and I have created a few websites through them myself.
Bandzoogle sites are very easy to create, stylish, and they come with some great built-in features. The service is free to try, and offers affordable monthly subscriptions plans, with great customer service. Below is a brief Q/A that I recently had with Bandzoogle’s CEO David Dufresne.
I remember creating several websites on Bandzoogle back in 2006, which is a century in internet time. How has your company been able to maintain its relevancy?
Ha, so back when it looked like this then ? Bandzoogle Circa 2006
It does feel like a century! To answer your question, the first way we stayed relevant is by not only surviving, but by growing in a profitable and organic, independent way, which sadly can’t be said of so many web companies that have come and gone, relying on venture capital and flawed business models.
Otherwise, we keep listening to our users, they are our R&D department. We add requested features when we feel a good number would use them. We are also launching a full upgrade of our platform (preview here) that will make us light years ahead of any other artist website platform out there. Design wise, we keep working with some of the best designers out there to always have fresh themes that our members can use (or help them make their own themes).
With blogging platforms like Tumblr and WordPress becoming so popular how has that changed the way you do business?
It hasn’t impacted our business, really. But it motivates us to keep developing our own blogging features. Blogs and websites are different, and I always felt, that your website should have a blog, but that your website should NOT be a blog (ie. the home page that scrolls down forever…) if you see what I mean. That said, you can now build a full band website using, say, WordPress, but it’s not simple, and out of reach for at least 80% of musicians. You need to add plug-ins and widgets to get the features you need, and when you factor in the cost of web hosting, media hosting, domain name registration and adding a commission-based store the total cost of ownership of a good WordPress or Tumblr site is actually much higher than a Bandzoogle site.
With more and more consumers accessing the web via their mobile devices does Bandzoogle have plans to roll out a mobile platform for musicians in the near future?
So far we’ve focused on making our sites fully compatible with mobile browsers. I don’t really believe in artist-specific apps, except maybe for the really popular artists that already have a very large engaged and dedicated fan base. And with html5 becoming more adopted as a programming language, I prefer to focus on the browser vs. apps. However we do plan to build an app that lets our users fully update and manage their websites for their smart phone. That’s coming soon.
What is the best advice that you would give a new band trying to create a solid online presence?
Think of your online strategy as a “hub and spokes” image. Your website, in conjunction with your mailing list, is your hub. You need to be active and engage your fans on other networks (the spokes), if you think that’s where they spend time and you’re comfortable creating content there (right now, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube get a lot of mind share, so you should probably be involved there). But when you can, use those “spokes” to bring traffic back to your own website; where you own the address, you control the story you tell 100% and the content you put forward, you can get fans to give you their e-mails and you can sell your music and merch directly to them. Plus, many bookers, promoters, journalists and bloggers won’t take you seriously if your main web address or first search result is an undecipherable Tumblr or a Facebook fan page.
Where would you like to see Bandzoogle at in the next five years?
Our goal is to keep growing in an independent and organic way. We want to keep building features that will make our members’ lives easier and help them gain more fans, engage more fans, and create opportunities to make more revenue. Our goal is definitely to get to a point where Bandzoogle becomes the first place artists think of checking out when they decide they need to build or revamp their website. We also have plans to expand our services beyond music, so we want to offer a similar platform to comedians, actors, models, etc.