You don’t need a website, because you’re all over social media? WRONG!
And here’s why: On those other sites, you’re just a speck in the crowd. Yes, there are millions of websites on the internet as well, but your site is YOUR playground.
While the process of setting up your site is quite simple, and the appearance should be as well, the thought process behind it is rather complex. Instead of trying to cram it all into this one post, I just picked out a few elements that seem to be missed in all the other advice posts I read so far.
1. Choosing a domain name
“If I had been serious about this music business, I would’ve chosen another name..” Who said that? Dave Grohl (Foo Fighters) did, in their documentary “Back and Forth”.
You could come at this from different angles. Do you intend to create a business/company around your artistry? Then it would be advisable to use the company name. Or would you rather create a stand-alone side just for you? Assuming you being an indie artist, working on gaining exposure and (best case scenario) other, even financial, benefits, the obvious is the best. Now, some people use their real names, some people carry stage names. If you make your choice, make one that you’re sure to be able to stick with for (preferably) your whole career. Especially if you already have an audience, changing your name could be detrimental to your career.
2. Artist bio
There are indeed people who write their bio like a CV?! Other peole like to tell you seemingly every little thing that took them to where they are today.
For painting the whole picture, but not serving an overload of information you have to find the balance between both approaches. Maybe invite a friend to create your bio, ousiders (meaning people who are not you) tend to make you at least reconsider.
There’s another, much better reason, not to put every information in your bio; You could use other outlets like a blog or a video platform to write or talk about these things. Which is a refreshing approach to connect with your audience.
3. Mission statement
While mission statemenst are commonly used by companies, I think it’s great thing for artists as well.
There are a few obvious things that most artists have in common. But, in addition to the more data-based bio that reflects on the past, a mission statement lets your audience know where your goals lie, how you intend to get there and your underlying general attitude.
4. Press coverage
“They can google me” is an attitude you should apply very rarely. You being helpful to interested people to find coverage about you, doesn’t make you show-off or sell-out.
You could create a sub-section on your site as a library. No, I don’t mean, copy and paste everything. Jeez… You could just add links with short descriptions to articles, videos, interviews etc. that other sources created about you.
Keep it updated regularly.
5. Gig dates
Whatever level of fame (don’t take that too seriously) you can call your own, always let people know when and where to find you live (and not just out for grocery shopping).
Tweets can be awesome, but they can also be missed by a lot of people.
Keeping a simple list on your site is a reliable way to make sure these dates are available for a lot more than the local folks who usually attend the venue.
If you don’t have live gigs, put up your video/streaming schedule.
6. Places to actually buy your material
I see too many artists’ websites missing this elementary point, not to write about it.
If you have quality material to sell, whether it may be an album, EP or other artwork, do so.
Yes, using marketplace services is a great idea as well, but you also want the whole program on your own playground as well, right? Even if you don’t have a webdesigner to help you, you can do amazing things with Content Management Systems and plugins.
Too many people just ask for donations. This is something much better on many levels, just think of audience loyalty and longevity.
7. “Can you afford it, to look DIY?”
This is a question I read in one of those advice articles I mentioned before. Of course having a budget for your online presence is/would be great. But I personally can’t stand professionals and those who call themselves that, telling motivated and creative people they’d need to spend hundreds of dollars on their artist website or they wouldn’t be taken seriously.
There are small DIY websites that look – quality-wise – like any other big brand. On the other hand I see websites that look so cheap it’s a miracle to me they belong to a commercially successful business.
Using a CMS like wordpress is an easy and effective way to create an awesome online presence on a budget. No matter the size!
Any questions or suggestions?
Let me know in the comments or Twitter!