If you’re planning on designing a new website for your band or project – or even just tidying up an existing one – this guide will show you why websites for musicians still play an important role in building your career as a touring, record-selling artist.
If someone wants to check out your latest release, chances are they’ll head over to Spotify.
If they want to buy some physical product, you’d probably want Bandcamp to be their first stop.
You’ve got a new music video? Youtube or Facebook is the place you want fans to go to.
And if someone wants to see what you’ve been up to this week, social media platforms like Instagram and Twitter take care of that very well…
So with all those platforms already doing a great job, what’s the point of having a website and what does it need to include?
As a musician, your website is your home on the web
Facebook, Instagram, Bandcamp and anywhere else you connect with people may come and go – just like MySpace did – but assuming you have bought the domain name, your website is yours forever and you can do whatever you want with it.
And that’s great not just because we’re all power-hungry control freaks…
It means you have the freedom to showcase, highlight, promote or push whatever you want, when you want.
Let’s assume you have a new album out.
You can rebrand the site with new artwork, add a big banner telling people where they can buy it and add that new music video so it’s the first thing people see.
Or maybe you decide you need to focus on collecting email addresses for your newsletter.
You can make a big ‘call to action’ on the homepage and add the sign-up form right there.
Or, if we really get into technical stuff, you can check analytics to find out where people are coming from, what they’re looking at and even re-target them with ads on the social media platform of the day.
Whatever the case, the choice is yours.
And, despite the rise of social media, it is still the #1 place that most people will go when they want to learn more about you.
Let’s say they hear a track in a playlist on Spotify and Google your name.
Your website (assuming you have one) will almost always turn up in the #1 position and get that click.
Not just because it’s the easiest choice, but because people expect a website to bring together all your best content from around the internet into one handy place.
Who’s visiting your website?
Before we look at exactly what a great musician website needs to include, it’s useful to think about who the visitors on your site might be…
As a professional musician, there are pretty much four types of people who are landing on your web page
These people have heard something about you, but need to discover the rest. They need a simple and smooth experience to be drawn into the site and your music. Hopefully, that will mean they hop over into this next group…
People who already know you. The probably want information, such as where you’ll be gigging, what your latest release is or how they can stay connected with you.
Potential Industry Supporters
These are journalists, concert promoters or anyone else inside the industry who has the possibility to offer you something, but hasn’t done so yet.
They too need a smooth experience, they need to see and hear your music and they need to have the feeling that there is some momentum with your project.
Existing Industry Supporters
As I’m sure you guessed, we’re talking about promoters who’ve booked you or journalists who’ve already reviewed you.
AKA the VIPs!
If they’re back on your site, they are probably looking for specific information and the ease with which they find this could influence their next move…
As I’m sure you’ll agree, all four of these groups have the potential to be massively important to the growth of your career, so it’s vital we give them what they’re looking for, as simply and as effectively as possible…
What Should A Musician’s Website Include?
There’s no point (in our opinion) to reinvent the wheel with your website…
Building a community forum when the whole world is already active on Facebook is probably a waste of time.
Similarly, why upload your music for people to stream on your site when Spotify or Bandcamp already have the players to do that.
You might even decide that building and managing an online store is not really necessary when platforms like Bandcamp do a great job and are trusted by millions of credit card holders already.
In fact, the best musician websites out there act as a hub, simply displaying all their best content from around the internet – and more – in one place.
Here’s the general rule: if you’re hooked up with a platform that already does it better, simply embed or link to it…
Embeddable content in your site
- Pull in videos from Youtube and onto a videos page
- Embed a player from your favourite streaming service
- Link people directly to where they can buy your music
- Embed Songkick to display up-to-date gig listings
- Show social icons on every page
Unique content on your site
So as you can probably see, the majority of content that will make your site look great is already out there. But what about those final touches that will make your site unique, effective and engaging?
There are two final things which have the power to transform this:
As with most areas of your career, the words you use to describe yourself and your music has the power to decide whether people take the next step to listen, like, watch or even book you.
As such, the text you include is a really important consideration when building or updating your website and could be broken down like this:
- Headline (a short one-liner at the top which sums up the project)
- Your 100 words (a paragraph which gives the tastiest outline of your music)
- Your biography (an in-depth overview of your career and project)
- Press quotes (nice stuff trusted sources have said about you)
Many of the embedded pieces of content we looked at will make your website simple and functional.
But the ‘stylish’ part is really down to the quality of images you have.
Picking a great header image (also called ‘cover image’) for your site sets the tone and gives you a reference to build out the rest of the branding and colouring from.
After that, there should be a collection of your best photos for any industry contacts to easily find.
We scoured the web to find these nine examples of great musician websites for you.
The problem with bad websites
It’s also worth considering the problem with websites that don’t provide a clean, simple, stylish and effective way for people to digest their content.
It’s not just a case of missing out on the ‘wins’ of showing people your best content and having a great looking site.
For many – particularly on the industry side – a messy, out-of-date site can hint at other issues.
Club and festival promoters…
…are usually looking for great musicians who can also sell tickets and promote a show.
If their website is unloved, it’s not illogical to assume they are not totally on top of things in terms of promotion either….
Agents and managers…
…are usually motivated to work long-term with artists who are not only playing brilliant music, but are also going to be proactive and easy to work with.
A bad website can hint that there is still a lot of work to be done on the basics and that sounds a lot like hard work!
…are often looking for background info, suitable photos and latest news. If they can’t find that, it can be frustrating at best and cause for them to move onto another album at worst.
…used to browsing professional sites around the web can be easily put-off by a hard-to-navigate site and you lose the opportunity to convert them into a customer or subscriber.
You’ve done the hard part in getting these people to your site; now it’s time to use that to really make progress!
International jazz booking agent, manager and host of Jazzfuel.
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