Why social media sites aren’t always the best places to hold a contest

Champions Cup Icon Band ContestHolding a contest online is a great way to engage your audience and make new fans. But, I think a lot of artists go about it the wrong way. A lot of contests happen exclusively on social media, and this is a missed opportunity. I’m not saying you shouldn’t use social media to promote your contest—you should—but you want to make sure that ‘the act’ of actually signing up for your contest happens on your website. You need to lure your friends and fans from the seductive world of social media and get them to visit your artist website. Why? Well, let me tell you . . .


On your website, you can capture emails instead of likes
You’ve seen the stats. With Facebook’s constant algorithm updates, only a tiny fraction of your Facebook fans actually see your posts. Facebook has become a pay-to-play game. So how do you connect with your fans without paying Facebook your hard-earned dough? Simple: get your fans signed up to your email list and you can chat with them anytime you like—for free. Next time you hold a contest, ask your fans to sign up to your email list and leave a comment on your blog to enter. Forget about getting people to like your Facebook post or Facebook page to enter; an email address is worth far more.

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How a web design goes to hell

Web design horror stories

A collection of web design horror stories

If you’ve ever done any freelance creative work, you can relate to the plight of the designer in this comic. If you’ve ever been on the other end of hiring a designer to build a website for you, this just might give you some insight into what it’s like to be a web designer. Have you ever requested some minor changes that grew into an endless list? Or maybe you design your own sites, and you’re not sure who to ask for feedback — or how.

Well this cartoon from The Oatmeal is for you. Read it, internalize the message, and DON’T act like “the client” in any of these stories.

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HostBaby not affected by Heartbleed

HostBaby not affected by HeartbleedYou may have heard a lot over the past week about a newly-discovered internet security bug called Heartbleed.

Our IT staff has been keeping track of the Heartbleed flaw since news first broke in security forums, and we wanted to let you know that HostBaby was not affected by this bug. Our systems remain secure and your data, including your financial and login information, is safe.

That being said, this IS a serious bug. While all HostBaby, CD Baby, and BookBaby sites are secure, many other sites on the Internet were impacted — and some are still working to make their sites safe. So we think it’s a good idea to change your passwords as soon as possible for ALL sites, regardless of their vulnerability to Heartbleed. 

Yes, we know: MORE passwords to remember!!! Ah, the Internet.

Website Design Trends in 2014

website design trends 2014Web design is changing so fast it’s hard to keep up. Recent advancements in web development have given designers many more avenues to explore and experiments to conduct. In addition, the overwhelming adoption of mobile and tablet devices are rapidly changing our web design expectations. On top of that, faster internet speeds are allowing websites to use larger images and videos like never before. All this together has culminated a new web aesthetic that has taken the web by storm. So what are the design elements of this new aesthetic?

Here’s the design trends we’re seeing  in 2014:

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What if I don’t rank for my own artist name in Google?

seo for bandsTake a breath. It’s not the end of the world. You typed in your band or artist name into Google or Bing . . . and nothing. Your band’s not there. Or maybe your band did come up, but at the very bottom of the page. Or even worse, you showed up on the 2nd or 3rd page of search results (AKA no man’s land).

Well, don’t panic. We can get through this together. Search rankings are not set in stone. In fact, they are fluid. You may rank in the 20th spot one day, and 7th the next. You’ll probably see varying results on different computers because of personalization settings. You’ll also rank differently in different cities and countries because of localization settings. That’s why it’s important to use a rank checker to confirm that you’re really not ranking for your band’s name. I recommend this one.

So. You’ve checked your rankings in the rank checker, and perhaps you’re still not coming up on the first page of Google for your band name. All is not lost!

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6 Spring Cleaning Tips for Your Website

spring clean websiteIt’s that time of year, when we take time to clear out closets, dispose of mismatched socks, reorganize the basement, mow the yard, and take inventory of things that could use a little sprucing up. Your website is no exception. The web changes at lightening speeds. An outdated design or website can have the same effect on a web visitor that no-running-water and broken windows have on a potential guest.. If you don’t give your website a good spring cleaning, you could be left in the dust.

Here’s 6 tips that will help you update your site this Spring

1. Get your design aligned with the times

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Introducing the new slideshow theme from HostBaby

Backdrop Slideshow by HostBabyWith Backdrop Slideshow, your background photos transform with beautiful fades

The new Backdrop Slideshow website theme is now available in all HostBaby accounts. This theme is completely customizable with the added bonus of setting background photos that act as a slideshow behind your content. Each photo fades into the next creating a seamless experience your fans will love. You can upload up to 4 images and change them out anytime you like. You can also change the speed that the photos change and the length of the fade.

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Dave Grohl’s expletive-infused advice for aspiring musicians (NSFW)

Dave Growl is asked what advice he’d give to a new band trying to make it today. Dave doesn’t hold back in his answer. Warning: contains colorful language.

What do you think about Dave’s advice? Is he right on the money? Let us know in the comments below.

10 free website background images for spring

Trees_1400x900The vernal equinox was yesterday, and for many, spring has already begun. For others, winter’s still holding on with its last few icy fingers. But in any event, the time for spring cleaning is fast approaching.

Your website is no exception. It needs a little freshening up every once in a while. Some reorganizing. A little dusting. A new coat of paint. And there’s no better time than now to bring your tired website back to life!

Are you looking for some great hi-res images to use as your website’s new background? Well, HostBaby has designed 10 FREE background images that are light and spacious — background images that will remind your visitors spring is in the air.

Give your website a fresh look in less than a minute with these 10 FREE background images

1. Seeing Spots

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10+ spectacular tools for color palette inspiration

ColorsPicking the color scheme for your website is a big decision: you’ve got to consider how it will work with any current logos or branding, how you might want to coordinate it with future projects, and how it will impact the overall feel and vibe of your site.

With HostBaby, switching up the colors for the different elements of your site is easy, so you’re free to experiment in real-time to your heart’s content, but what if you’re having trouble deciding on an overall theme, or need some inspiration when it comes to finding colors that complement each other?

Check out Marianne Manthey’s recent article on some tools you can use to not only get inspired to try new things, but also blend colors, pull palettes from images, and learn a ton about how web color works. Continue Reading . . .