So you’re a music maker? Here are 10 things every musician website should have these days. If you’re missing something, add it.
1) On the main page there should be a way for people to contact you easily. For instance, in the upper right hand corner of the main page, it’s a great idea to include your phone number or email address so anyone looking for more information can reach out to you. You’d be surprised at how many artists forget to put a way to contact them directly on their website. In an era when people demand easy access, you’re doing yourself a disservice if you try to remain elusive and hard-to-get.
2) I like to think of your bio as your quick calling card to the world. A couple of paragraphs to tell your story is a great way for fans and music reviewers to get some real insight into who you are, what you do, and why you do it. Those are the three questions to answer in your bio.
3) It has been said people don’t read much anymore. We live in a totally visual society. So photos of music artists often matter more than the words that accompany them. Believe me, people will instantly figure out whether or not they’re interested in you based on one photo alone. Therefore, it behooves you to make sure your main photo captures people’s attention and looks clear, sharp and dynamic. Find someone who “takes great pics” if you don’t think your own efforts are up-to-par. Keep in mind that “high resolution” photos are vital, esp. for the times when media want to use them online, in print, and on TV.
4) Some people might say, “Well, I want people to pay to hear my songs so I’m only going to direct them to where they can do that.” Sorry, that’s not a good way to do it these days. Music has become ubiquitously free whether we like it or not. Therefore, you must have samples of your music on your site for people to hear. Smartly, why not offer 30 second samples and/or a couple songs off an album rather than the whole thing in order to entice them to actually pay for more?
5) Thanks to smartphones, videos are dominating the social media and Internet landscape today. Therefore, it’s important for you to include a couple videos on your site. They can be elaborate music videos or something as simple as you talking to your potential fans about who you are and what you’re up to lately. It’s better to have some video online than no video online. Without video, you’re behind-the-times. I recommend posting your videos using YouTube and then embedding those on your site.
6) You’re not legit until some media person writes about you. It could be a blog– any blog– or Rolling Stone. If there’s an “article” out there about you, you should include it (or a link to it) on your site. This shows people that others take what you do seriously and care about it. You can also get and use “quotes” from these articles to further show people you’re kind of a big deal!
7) I am the friend of a band who won the Hard Rock contest to open for Paul McCartney at a fest in London. You can bet they use that nugget of gold on their site. Is it bragging? Yes. As a music maker, you are allowed to and expected to brag a bit! So don’t be afraid to showcase your major accomplishments. Oftentimes, that involves telling people who you’ve collaborated with– name dropping is a good thing in music!
Social media stuff
8) Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are the big three of social media. You should include links or embeds of them on your musician website. If you also use things like Pinterest or Snapchat, feel free to include those. Typically, most musician websites include the icons of social media sites somewhere on their main page, so users can easily click them to go to them.
9) Both Soundcloud and Bandcamp offer a nice way to embed a music player on your musician website, such that people can easily hear what you’ve put out. With Bandcamp, they can pay to download tracks if they want to, which is a good thing. While there are other sites and services which offer music players, I’ve found these two to be the best at this time.
What makes you unique?
10) Finally, what makes you unique? There are thousands of other great singers and bands out there today. What is it about you/your band that stands you out from the crowd? Whatever that is, be sure and communicate it on the main page of your musician website.