How to Start a Website for Your Band in 5 Easy Steps
Why create a band website when you have a huge social media following and millions of subscribers on YouTube? You might ask.
While the idea of having a traditional website in this age of social media might sound obsolete, a simple but well-designed band website can give you an edge in your music career and a whole host of other advantages.
For example, with a website, you control your band’s professional image and give your fans a definite destination where they get all information about you – pre-sale information, ticket links, music, tour dates, without the distraction on social media.
It also gives you full control and the freedom to post content that you deem fit for your fans, unlike social media sites that filter content posted on their platforms. Facebook may deem video content as overly sexual and pull down the video or worse still shut down the account.
Plus, social media isn’t actually free. They collect your data. (Watch the brilliant video below that explains it.)
Having said that, let’s look at how you can create a website for your band in five easy steps. You don’t need to know how to code, so don’t be terrified.
5 Steps to Building A Website For Your Band
1. Choose a Site-Building Method
There are two different but easy ways to build a website.
For non-tech savvy people with no coding experience, the easiest method is to use a website builder like Wix or Weebly. Another way is to use a content management system (CMS) such as WordPress (AudioMentor.com is on WordPress) or Drupal.
Each approach has its merits and demerits.
For example, with a CMS such as WordPress, the learning curve is a bit steeper than when using a website builder. However, WordPress is quite versatile and offers unlimited themes, layouts, and options to advance to more complex design features.
A website builder, on the other hand, is template-based, which means that the website building process is quick, easy, and straightforward. Think of it as creating a PowerPoint presentation. The only downside with a site builder is the limited customization options.
What to note:
When using a website builder like Wix, the platform often provides the hosting for you. In this case, a web builder like Wix offers you packages that comes with hosting.
However, if you’re building a site with a CMS like WordPress, you can self-host it yourself. The advantage of self-hosting your own website gives you more flexibility when it comes to modifying the site or making changes such as creating a professional email for yourself.
Check out this comparison on Wix vs. Bluehost review. Bluehost is a hosting company and while both offer all-in-one website building packages – Bluehost is more flexible and gives you more options to work with.
2. Pick Your Domain Name
Once you’ve settled on a site-building method, you’ll need to pick a domain name. A domain name is simply the address or URL that people enter in their browsers to find your site.
Picking a domain name is easy. However, there are some important guidelines that you need to follow. For one, your domain name should reflect the type of product or service that you offer so that people can easily find you through the search engine.
So, in this case, your domain name should be similar to the name of your band. You also need to decide on your TLD (Top-Level-Domain).
As a general rule of thumb, choose only .com , .net or .org. domain extensions.
While there are loads of non-traditional TLDs, choose one that people generally recognize and avoid lesser-known domain extensions like .xyz, or .cafe
Domain names cost $15 per year on average (make sure to find a coupon) but can go as high as $50 per year depending on the extension you choose.
3. Choose a Reliable Web Hosting Company
As mentioned earlier, all-in-one website builders often take care of the hosting for you. However, for a customized or CMS website, you need to host it on a web server.
A web hosting company makes this possible by renting you some space on their web server where your website files are stored. This way, your website can be retrieved via the World Wide Web by anyone, anywhere with an internet connection.
To a large extent, the performance and functionality of your website will be determined by the hosting company you choose.
Here are some things to evaluate when choosing a hosting company:
- Price (Some hosting companies lure you in with low prices, but then have lots of upsells later on)
- Speed and reliability of the servers.
- Support offered. (How quick is their support?)
- Features (Are there easy to use features, that would be handy for a non-coder like yourself?)
Typically, for a band website, you don’t need the fastest cloud server.
Start off with a shared hosting plan, that typically costs around $3 to $10 a month. Most hosting plans are scalable, so you can always start with a basic shared hosting plan first, then upgrade your hosting with more server horsepower such as VPS or dedicated hosting as traffic to your website continues to increase.
A good way to learn about the reliability of a web host is to read it from people’s experiences. Here’s a good review comparison to start with: Bluehost or Hostgator
4. Build Your Pages
A professional website entails more than just a static home page. You’ll need multiple pages devoted to various aspects of your band.
The three pages to start with are:
- Your bio (about) page. The about page is one of the most visited page of a website, so make sure you get this up.
- Contact page. How can people book your band?
- Online store. Get people to buy your music and merchandise.
- Music. What’s a band website without some music to listen to?
- Subscribe. Include a way for your fans to subscribe to you. The next time you launch a new single or album, email them.
Designing a site towards your band style may take up time and money. First, you have to hire a graphic designer to create a logo and a UI/UX designer to set up the look and feel of your website.
Having your site designed and built towards your band’s brand identity is important – however, don’t get hooked up with getting everything right. Understand that a website is always a work in progress and there will be constant iterations.
A really important thing to know and to get right is that most visitors visit websites on a mobile phone. Therefore, it’s crucial that your pages are responsive, easy to read, and navigate on a mobile phone.
5. Test and Launch Your Website
Before you launch your website, remember to test it.
Nothing turns a first-time visitor off than him/her not being able to find what he logged on the site for.
Create a to-do list for a quick bug-check:
- Check how your website loads on different browsers. (Google Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Edge, etc.)
- Check if your site loading speed with tools like Google Pagespeed Insights
- Check if all links on your site are working.
Google Analytics is a must-have for website owners.
Install Google Analytics, a free web analytics tool on your website to track your website traffic and understand your visitor’s behavior.
Google Analytics provides a ton of insights that can help you do better optimization on your website. To master Google Analytics, check out Google Analytics Primer, a comprehensive online course for website owners.
A website is important not only for a business but for your band – even your personal brand.
I’ll leave you with a quote by Jimmy Wales.