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Call me opinionated, but I am absolutely convinced that a musician’s online presence begins with their website.
Social media is great, and it certainly has its place, but a band that has all of their content hosted on a social network is almost certainly setting themselves up for failure.
A website is a powerful tool that enables you to connect with your fan base and show the world (including the media) who you are and what you do.
To me, your website is the foundation to your online presence. You can build a house on top of it, but if you start building the house without the foundation, it is liable to fall down or fall over.
So, here are several reasons why you should be prioritizing your artist website.
To Appear More Professional
This is not a hard concept to grasp; if you have a website, you look more professional, period.
Why does professionalism matter for musicians?
Well, think of it this way. If I Google your band name and find your website, I know that you’ve invested the time, effort and money required to get it set up. If you have a nice-looking website, I’m more prone to thinking that you’re putting the same amount of time and energy into your music too.
If you only have social profiles, I’m going to think that you don’t take yourself terribly seriously. You have no intention of building a career over the long haul.
Even though that may not be true, it’s still the assumption I’m going to make.
If you care about getting more publicity, booking more shows and selling more albums, I can’t state this strongly or clearly enough: please put a priority on building your website.
To Secure A Position In Search
We now live in a world where anybody can write something about your music (yes, your music) and publish it online.
I’m not saying that they will, but if they do, their articles might start appearing above your social profiles (assuming that’s all you have) in search rankings.
If you build your website, you can prevent this from happening. You can pre-empt those that might have malicious intentions.
You can ensure that the first impression people get is a positive one.
If someone else writes about you, you can’t control whether it’s a glowing testimony or a scathing critique.
Having your dot-com domain name appear as the first result in search for your band or artist name is wise. As long as there aren’t other blogs, websites or businesses out there with the same name, this should be relatively easy to do (make sure to do your research!).
Put your website online, make sure your artist name is in the title, and start building content.
To Own Your Content
Whatever you post to social media isn’t really yours.
The terms of social networks are dictated by large companies that have no obligation to their users whatsoever.
We’ve seen Facebook change their design, policies and terms of service over and over again, much to the dismay of many users. Do you really think this is going to stop?
On Facebook, you have to pay for the same amount of exposure you used to get without payment, and even the effectiveness of advertising is somewhat suspect at times.
On the other hand, you get to keep whatever you post on your own website. You get to keep your email list if you’re building one (you are building one, right?).
You have so much more flexibility with a website that you simply do not with social networks, up to and including design, layout, monetization methods, and so on.
For The Extras
When you set up a hosting plan, you don’t just get a space to upload your website files to; you also get a lot of useful extras!
This largely depends on the hosting plan you purchase, but some of the extras might include:
- Free advertising credits for Facebook, Google, etc.
- Customized email addresses (i.e. firstname.lastname@example.org).
- Storage; a place to save and backup files.
- Website editors that make it easy for you to get up and running, build your site, customize the design, and so on.
- A free domain name for a year.
- Access to discount codes for partner services or tools.
Again, this is not a guarantee. What you get will largely be contingent on the hosting plan you purchase. You might get more, you might get less. In some cases, you might not get anything!
For me, the customized email inboxes are worth the price of purchase alone.
You just look more professional when you send your emails from an address like email@example.com and not firstname.lastname@example.org (yes, these are real email addresses that I use).
Looking to get started with your website? Awesome!
If you don’t know where to get started, don’t worry; that’s why I’ve built the toolbox section of the site.
The first thing I would do is purchase a hosting plan with Bluehost (this is an affiliate link; if you purchase any hosting services through this link, I will receive commissions on the purchase).
They have been really good to me, and so far I don’t have any complaints!
The second thing would be to install WordPress, which is basically a one-click affair at Bluehost. It couldn’t get any easier than that, right?
Finally, if you want to use professionally designed themes that are mobile optimized, you might want to look into the Genesis Framework & StudioPress Themes for WordPress (this is also an affiliate link).
That’s what I use, and though there are plenty of other WordPress theme options available – both paid and free – I know for certain that the Genesis Framework has what Google wants built right into it, which means less time messing around with SEO.
At the end of the day, it’s up to you. Will you choose to take your music career seriously? Will you step up your game and take it to the next level?
I’d love to hear your thoughts. Don’t forget to leave a comment below before you go!