Musician Sites

ARTICLES: Features to consider for your band/artist website

Here’s a list of features you might want to consider having on your band/musician website:

  • Home page – every website has a home page but you will need to consider what you want to display it. The first page that your visitors land on should encourage them to continue exploring your site. You will probably have some important things to promote such as a new record release, upcoming gigs, etc. and may want to feature them on the home page. But be carefull not to overload the home page and make it confusing for site visitors.
  • Biography (About Us, Bio, Background, Band History, Artist Profile, etc.) – Most likely you will want to tell the world a little bit about yourself or your band. Bands may also want to include separate biographies for the individual band members. Some photos are also a good idea on these pages.
  • Contact Information – you can provide email addresses, telephone numbers and your other preferred means of being contacted. You may choose to provide separate contact information for bookings, management etc. It is a good idea to protect email addresses from the robots that harvest email addresses for spamming purposes. An effective way to do this is to use an image instead of text to display the email address. You may also consider contact forms where someone can send you a message straight from your website.
  • News and/or Blog – a great way to keep your site fresh and interesting and keep your fans coming back is to have a news section or blog that you update regularly. Musicians usually have lots of interesting things going on that fans would be very interested in reading about – e.g. recording sessions, shows that were particularly notable, charting successes, lineup changes, etc. You can also make your site interesting by covering topics unrelated to your musical act that happen to be of special interest to you. You fans can add their contributions in the form of comments or you can even invite some of your fans to write blogs of their own on your site.
  • Mailing List Signup – Most music fans like to be kept informed when anything new is going on with their favorite bands and mailing lists are an ideal way to do this. You can develop a special relationship with your fans and allow them to feel more connected with you. Music fans are more likely to purchase records or go to gigs of artists that they feel a special connection to.
  • Gig/Tour Listings – An up to date listing of upcoming shows is a must for any performing artist and is a prime reason why someone will visit your site. It is best to have listings automatically removed once that date has past so that your site looks well maintained. You may also want to keep an archive of past shows.
  • Press and/or Reviews – If other people are writing favorable things about your musical act you will want to include them on your web site. It is a good idea to have a copy of the articles on your own website instead of just linking to the external websites because the articles may not always be present on the other websites.
  • Press pack (Electronic press kit) – As a compliment to your physical press pack, you may want to provide an online package of information designed for journalists, bookers and promoters so that they can ‘self-service’ themselves and access the information and materials they need when evaluating or writing about your band. If you do not already have a press pack you should find it easy to prepare after putting your website together since you can re-use some of the same content that is used on your website. But keep in mind when using existing website content as a basis for your press kit that your target audience is music industry professionals (prospective business partners) not your existing fan-base or potential new fans.
  • Photo Gallery – Things you will need to consider if you are planning an area on your site for photos are: how you want to organise the photos (all photos together on a single page or a number of different photo albums), should the photos have titles and captions/descriptions?, do you want site visitors to be able to comment on the photos?
  • Guest Book (message board) – A guest book is a great way to allow your fans and site visitors to interact with the site. The comments they leave make interesting reading for other site visitors and add a point of interest to your site that grows all by itself. One thing you have to watch out for is spam. You should monitor the guestbook regularly and delete any spam message you find. If spam becomes a problem you can make the guestbook a moderated one, i.e. comments only appear once you approve them.
  • Discussion Forum (discussion group) – An online discussion forum goes beyond a simple guest book or message board and allows you to organize conversations (or discussion threads) by different categories. It is a good alternative to a guest book if you expect the site to have a reasonable number of repeat visitors that are inclined to interact with the site and each other and provides a platform for band members to communicate with their fans.
  • Online Shop (online store, e-commerce, music sales) – Using your website as a virtual shop for selling your music and merchandise is a great idea and can be very profitable. If you are dealing with hard goods such as physical CDs, tee-shirts etc., you will need to have a plan in place for shipping the orders and providing customer service. One option is to do it by yourself, use a friend or have paid professional fulfill your orders. If there is already an online store that sells your records you might be able to make a deal with them whereby you get a commission for sales made from your website. Alternatively you can use one of the online web businesses, such as CD Baby.com or Bathtubmusic.com, that sell music recordings for independent artists. If you are selling digital copies of your music you can use your website to automatically handle your orders.
  • Music player and/or downloads (music jukebox, streaming music, mp3s) – You have many options for putting your music on your website. A good option is to have a music player on your site that allows site visitors to listen to your music directly from the website. You will need to consider which of your songs you want to make available and whether they should be complete tracks or just samples. Also consider if you want to have your music play automatically when a visitor opens your website. It is debatable whether or not this is a good idea since some users might not be expecting it and may be startled and annoyed by it (especially if they are browsing your website from work!). A better option might be to have a very obvious ‘play’ button that the visitor can choose to click on if they want to hear your music. In addition to or instead of providing streaming music from a website jukebox you can provide downloads of your tracks/samples.
  • Video – a great option for providing video on your site is to host your videos at a video website such as YouTube and simply embed them on your own web pages. You can also host the videos directly on your own site. Videos use a lot of bandwidth and you can use up your hosting plan’s bandwidth allowance very fast if you have a lot of visitors accessing videos hosted on your site. This is not an issue if you are hosting your videos on another site such as YouTube.
  • Links – many websites include a links page but that does not mean you need to do it too. If you have a links page, make sure you have a good reason for having it. A well purposeful and organised links page can be a useful resource to site visitors. It can be beneficial to provide links to other related websites in exchange for them linking to you for the purpose of getting traffic to your website and boosting your search engine rankings.

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