Making music is the easy part for most musicians. You earn your stripes as a musician, you start playing in a band, and you start hearing about how awesome you guys rock. That’s great, and a solid start to your career. There is more that you should know about being a successful musician that will allow more people to hear your albums and get new fans. You’ll need to create a unique, and distinctive, website.
There are several websites that have turnkey solutions to help you form your brand. Whether you sign up at one of these business, or if you prefer to build your own website from scratch, there are things to remember in order to make your pages pop and draw your listeners in to find out more about you.
The header is the first thing people will see when they come to your website. The header should reflect what kind of music you play and be an instant reflection on who you are as a band. A folk duo might use a photo of them sitting in a field with soft sunlight cast over them, whereas a punk rock band might use a live action shot with them in full makeup. A hard rock band or 80’s inspired hair band might want to have a photoshoot to show off their luscious locks.
No matter what your style is, the header is where you’ll put your best picture, and should let viewers feel your style as soon as they view your website. Make sure that the photos you choose are high resolution and done by a professional. Stephanie Smith Photography is a good source for more information about how to go about setting up photoshoots, either for live shows, location shots, or in studio.
An important factor in website building is choosing the right color scheme. Most importantly, this is how you begin to define your brand. Think about your favorite soft drink company and what colors they use. Whether it’s Coke, Dr Pepper, Sprite or Mello Yellow, a color came to your mind. That is their primary color. Picking this color is a strategic and important decision that isn’t done lightly. It is what will define your brand. You’ll use this color in more places than you realize when you create your logo. Read more about Logo Use later under Create A Virtual Merch Table.
Once you have chosen your primary color, you should also have up to two coordinating accent colors that you’ll use on your website. These colors should not clash with your primary color and should also not create too much contrast. Too much contrast is hard on the eyes. Alternatively, you also don’t want to have too little contrast, as it can be incredibly difficult to read. The background color will complete the aesthetics of your website and tighten up your brand. If you are looking for inspiration, check out friends’ band websites, look at your favorite musician’s site, and see how the look and feel affect you. When you get a great color scheme together, the result is being able to feel the energy of your brand.
Your fans will want to listen to your music, so anything that you can provide needs to be added to your website. Make it easy for them to locate your albums, songs, and add videos as well. Videos from your buddy’s phone probably aren’t a good idea, but any professional videos that you’ve created are highly recommended.
Having options available to your fans for listening, viewing and buying your music is key. Stream your albums from your music page, and offer choices for purchasing your beloved creations. Be it by the song or by the album, people can choose to get what they want. In the end, giving people a variety of ways to listen, see and purchase your albums allows them to get to know you and your band better. Ease of access also allows for quick decisions, especially if you have the price point on target.
The Biography page is one of the most important tools for journalists when looking at your website, and it’s one where we go first when choosing musicians to be highlighted at Independent Music Guide. Convey to your fans and PR teams your background, band members, who plays what, if you are signed or unsigned, or if you are involved with an indie label. Biographies should be succinct and not terribly long. If you have a funny quip on how the band got put together, add it! If you have experienced something that will engage the viewer in any way (make them laugh, snicker, have an “Oh My” moment), they’ll start to feel you more as someone they can relate to.
Merch offerings are abundant these days with cups, stickers, magnets, t-shirts, hats, koozies, sweatshirts, etc. Luckily, you can pretty much sell anything these days with a logo. As we previously discussed, your primary colors will be used in creating a logo that you can use on virtually anything. Selling merch online straight from your website allows people who missed your show, or didn’t have a way to pay in person, to buy things they want at their leisure. Remember, anything that you can do to enhance their experience at your website, as well as make it easy, can only benefit you. Your merch is just a click away!
Photos are an easy way to see what a band looks like. Action shots from live concerts are a great way for visitors and fans to see what you look like on stage. Also, it makes it easy for journalists and PR professionals to access approved photos for articles about the band. Make sure to include photo credits!
Bands tend to skip this step, but it’s critical to have at least a One Sheet with important information about your band. Things that should be included are your band’s name, latest album’s name, price for the album, what label you’re working with, a release date for the album, and contact information. Include any album art and pictures you’d like to share with industry professionals, and again don’t forget the credits. Links to all social media should also be listed on your One Sheet.
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