Elements of a Great Artist Website

by Susan Tucker

spring-clean-websiteAs a performer it’s imperative that you set up and maintain a great website. It should be the hub of all of your marketing efforts. It can be anywhere from 5 to 15 pages but there are things that it definitely needs to have or to accomplish. We’ll talk about them in this blog article.

The first decision is whether to have a professional do your website or whether you will be designing and maintaining it yourself. I always believe that when you can afford to have a pro create it for you, do so! Most of us don’t have the money in the budget and will choose to make a stab at creating it ourselves. Today there are many services that offer fill-in-the-blank types of sites for this. (see below for a list with a few that I am aware of)

Choose the domain name:

Most of these sites (listed below) will also help you get/register your domain name for your site. Of course, it should have your name or band name as part of it. Quite often unless your name is extremely unique, you might need to put a bit additional in order to find something not taken already. For example, the site name www.susantucker.com is gone. My second and third choices might be, susantuckermusic.com or susantuckeronline.com.

Let’s assume for the sake of this article that you have decided to build and maintain the website yourself.

Give it a professional look:

You should look at every single element of the website to make sure it looks as professional as possible. I’m even suggesting that the fonts you choose are important! And the size of the fonts matter as well. Look at some music sites you know have been professionally done for samples.

Pictures are very important to a good website. Not fuzzy out of focus pictures, but good high res pictures. It’s really not at all hard to get quality pictures these days, even from our phones.

If you are a solo artist, take a point and shoot camera to your gigs. You can generally find someone to snap a few shots for you. Another good use of the camera is for you to take a picture of your audience. Try at every gig to get a picture of you and several fans. Tell them you’ll post to your website by the end of the week, to please drop by and check it out.

Look involved and busy:

Regular updates to your site are important. If you don’t have a lot going on yet as far as gigs go, get creative. Talk about writing, or reviewing songs. Pictures from your album cover photo shoot would be fun.

If you’ve decided to have a blog on your site – make it clear how often people can expect to see something new from you. If it’s going to only be once a month, state that fact somewhere. Title it MONTHLY MUSIC BLOG. Then make sure that every month you have the new blog article.

Then find things to do to be legitimately busy!! Get some bookings, do some interviews.

Calendar or no calendar?

If you aren’t gigging a lot, then a calendar may do you more harm than good. You can include upcoming dates on the news page.

If you are gigging fairly regularly then put up a calendar with dates, times and links to the venues for public performances. The appearance of a full calendar, makes you look really good! Flaunt it!

Include social media links:

I’ve found that some social media sites are great for one artist and nothing at all for another. If your fans are on the young end of the scale, you may want to put more focus into Instagram and Twitter. If they are up the scale a bit, then Facebook may be your numero uno. This is an important fact to know for your marketing, so find out early on who you are marketing to and adjust accordingly.

The website is STILL YOUR MARKETING HUB though.

Fan sign-up

First, I encourage you to publish a fanletter when you feel the time is right in your career. Therefore you need to have a list of fan emails. Include a sign up form on your Home page to collect these names. You might offer a discount on a merch item, like a hat or t-shirt. Or you might put everyone’s name in the hat to give away a free CD. Find a fun, creative way to grow your list.

Include your music:

You need a page where folks can listen, download or purchase your music. Most sites only allow you to upload mp3 files. Make sure you upload the highest quality MP3 that you possibly can.

YouTube:

Today video is extremely important for performers. But make sure its GREAT video that shows you in the best light possible. If you’ve had a bad cold and don’t sound good, then the video does not need to be there for all to see.

Include video of you talking directly to your fans. They are interested to know more about you, so share some insights about what’s going on.

Max out the Home page:

Many times (most times) people might drop by your site and go no further than the Home page. That may be all the opportunity you have to interest them in you and your music. You have to accomplish a lot on that page and you have to make it interesting.

  1. At least one picture of you
  2. Picture of your CD (if you are promoting one)
  3. Very short bio
  4. All your contact info including social media links
  5. Current big news
  6. Some reviewer or fan comments

Your website is a really important part of what you do. Make it an important part of your focus!

Check out:

Hostbaby.com
Bandzoogle.com
Bandvista.com

Susan Tucker is artist project manager at Kim Copeland Productions. She works closely with recording artists to manage the business of recording their projects and guidance in promotion and marketing.

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