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A lot of musicians find the idea of creating a website daunting. Mostly because they still think it's difficult and they're not confident enough they can do it on their own.
While a huge amount of business and growth takes place on social media, if you don’t have a nice website to point to, you’re going to have a hard time impressing the big players (bloggers, managers, A&R reps, etc.). More importantly, you're not going to make NEARLY as many sales as you would.
A common complaint among independent musicians is that building a customized website is very expensive; a few artists have shown me quotes for more than $5000. It’s not 1997 anymore, and you don't need to spend that kind of money to get started. It is perfectly possible to create an effective website at an affordable price.
There is a global marketplace of fabulous platforms and talented designers who can help you build a beautiful site for a few hundred dollars.
Personally, I recommend doing a site yourself though! I built my site without any prior knowledge of coding. I use templates that make it super easy to set up and I have complete control over my work.
I don't have to call somebody every single time I want to add something new to my site because I'm the one who makes all the changes INSTANTLY!
A lot of artists drive themselves crazy building websites because they forget tha tsimplicity is key. Your website exists to do two things:
Number one: Help you engage with and make new fans.
Number two: Make you money.
Here’s how to set yourself on the right path…
The easiest way to register your domain name and hosting is to use Hostgator. You can register a domain in almost any country through them.
Register the domain that you would like to use. I highly suggest a dot com (.com) with no slashes and underscores if possible. Hostgator will guide you through this process, and if you have any questions, their customer service is great.
TIP: Try to purchase a domain name that matches the URLs on your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, etc. This way, if someone Googles your band, they’ll easily find your website and all your social media channels.
Click the image below for a discount with Hostgator!
So now we've got our website name and hosting set up, the next thing we need to do is add a content management system to our site. This is just a fancy way of saying we need to set something in place that's going to allow us to organize the items we want on our page.
If you knew how to code, you wouldn't necessarily need this, but since you most likely don't this is going to make things a wholeee lot easier.
WordPress is by far the best content management system on the market. There are some others, Wix, Squarespace, etc. But there's not nearly as many plug ins and functionality available as there is with WordPress.
In order to install WordPress, you'll need to be logged in to your Hostgator cPanel. You should have gotten an email after you signed up with your hosting and domain name. Log in to the cPanel with the credentials they gave you.
Next, go to that WordPress button at the top of the cPanel. It's super easy to set and can be done in a couple minutes.
After you go through that process you'll be emailed a username and password from WordPress.
You'll be able to log in to your site at www.yoursite.com/wp-admin
So mine would be www.omarimc.com/wp-admin. This will bring you to your dashboard that looks like this. Yours won't have all the plug ins on the left that mine has, but it will still look similar.
I go over in full detail the WordPress dashboard in my marketing course, but you can familiarize yourself with the basics before enrolling too. Then once you're ready for the advanced material, you can join.
You're almost done with the basic website set up now!
All you have to do is add a theme. A theme is a pre-made design that will make it easy to build your site.
There are a couple options you can choose
Personally, I use a premium theme called Optimize Press, here’s why:
You can click the button below you get started with Optimize Press. I watched all their tutorials on the site after purchasing to set up my music website professionally.
Some sites look great, but they're not designed for selling. Your goal is to do both!
Your entire website should be easy to navigate with a navbar across the very top of each page so visitors can see it (not buried where they have to scroll down).
Remember – your site needs to support your brand! The colors you choose, your music logo, the pictures you use… these things are all incredibly important, and help tell your story. Figure out what story you want to tell, and then keep your brand consistent. Try to make your socials match your site colors and style as well.
Your homepage should feature your name and your pitch, or specifically what you sound like. I have my 'About Us' section written on my homepage. If you feel weird creating a “pitch”, use one killer press quote or fan quote, which sums up the way you sound.
Another very effective addition to a homepage is a ‘free download in exchange for an email address’ box. This is an easy way to capture data on new fans, and get your music into their ears. There are tons of ways you can do this with Optimize Press.
I run my mailing list with MailChimp. It's super easy to integrate with my theme and you can get started for free!
Don’t forget to link to your social media! Your website should be a focal point, where a new fan can find everything you’re doing in cyberspace. A Spotify follow button is also a good addition to a homepage.
I also use the Access Press Social Media Counter plug-in in WordPress for my social buttons.
Sign up through that link and you'll automatically get a $30 credit when you sign up for the premium version of MailChimp. You will have to sign up for the premium version to activate the discount, but you'll be given a $30 credit, so it will be free for 3 months!
Make sure people can find where to buy your music (iTunes, Amazon, etc.). Building your own storefront is always a good idea. I recommend putting some of your music up on streaming services like SoundCloud and Spotify (you can now monetize your SoundCloud streams too).
We recommend using Bandsintown for this. This allows you to link your shows across different platforms.
Blogging is a great way to connect with your fans and build your brand. My music marketing blog is a key attribute of my site. Setting up a blog will surely boost your sales and get you connected with fans. There's way to much to write down about how to build a good blog, but there are video tutorials on this in the Academy as well.
Embed your best videos, put up your best press quotes, link to an interview you did with a music blog… Basically, talk yourself up. The more legit you look, the more legit people will think you are.
Make sure that you have your contact information with an e-mail address or a contact form so people can contact you for online publicity, booking, or just to tell you they like your music. Don’t make it hard for anyone to connect with you online.
After your site is done, make sure to keep your social media sites updated! That means daily. This way your whole site remains interesting and dynamic and fully updated.
Good luck, be creative, and have fun!
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