25 Free Website Backgrounds

leaves1400x900

It’s amazing how simply changing the background image on your website can make it come alive. That’s why we’ve compiled 25 free website backgrounds created by our in-house designers at HostBaby. These backgrounds can be easily added to any HostBaby Site Builder site with just a few clicks. If you have a self hosted site, you are welcome to use these as well. We’re gonna just let these backgrounds go like a suitcase full of money on the interstate. Grab as many as you can!

Check out the samples below and click the download links to get the real deal! (Note: Depending on your computer set up, you may have to right-click on the link (Cntrl-click on Mac) and select “save as” to save the image)

 

Background images 1-10 are available in two sizes. The dimensions of the larger images are 1920×1234. The smaller ones are 1400×900.

Continue Reading . . .

10 free things to add to your website

There’s just about a ba-zillion website widgets and apps floating about the interweb. Some are super useful and some are not. But who wants to weed through a ba-zillion of anything to find the good ones? Nobody, that’s who! Not even me. That’s why I looked at just a fraction of a ba-zillion and chose just 10 of the most useful and free website add-ons I could find.

Note: Installing web aps on your site should be easy–even for the website-challenged. Basically just copy the code they give you and insert it in your website. If you use an HTML editor (most websites, including HostBaby’s Site Builder, do) you should have an HTML button that you can click before you paste in the code. That’s it. Copy code, click “html,” paste, save, done!

1.Google Analytics

One of the greatest analytic web tools available is totally free. Monitor traffic, social engagement, search rankings, and more. If you’re a HostBaby client it’s super easy to set up. All you have to do is enter your Google Analytics ID on your settings page. See our tutorial.

Create your Google Analytics account here: http://www.google.com/analytics/

2. Google Webmaster Tools

Monitor how your website is represented in search engines and get timely notifications if there are issues with your website. Google Webmaster tools is a powerful ally. Also, check out Bing Webmaster tools.

Google Webmaster tools: https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/

Continue Reading . . .

What if my domain name is taken?

my domain name is takenWhat if your coveted .com domain name is taken? Should you settle for a .net, .org, or one of the new domain extensions like .best, .buzz, or .cool? What if your domain name is being held ransom by a domain-reseller who wants thousands of dollars for it or won’t even return your emails?

Is it worth changing your artist name or business name if you can’t find an available .com domain?

Well, the answer to all these questions is: it depends.

And before you make your decision, there are a number of things you’ll want to consider.

One of the first things to consider is whether the domain name you want is actually a good domain name. The last thing you want to do is to waste time and money on a domain name that doesn’t do a thing for you.

 

Qualities of a great domain name

Great domain names share certain common characteristics. You’ll want to make sure your new domain name qualifies for most if not all of the following:

  • It’s short
  • It’s easy to remember
  • It’s easy to spell
  • It’s easy to read (Make sure your domain name doesn’t spell something unexpected when the words are back to back)
  • It uses your artist/business name
  • It doesn’t use numbers or hyphens (the exception being that your artist/business name contains numbers or hyphens. For example: blink182.com, century21.com‎, etc.)

(Bonus: You get brownie points if your domain also communicates something about who you are or what your site is about–while remaining short and memorable of course)

 

Continue Reading . . .

What music genres are searched for the most on Google?

music genresData from Google can tell us a lot about what’s popular in the world. After all, when people are curious about something, generally they will “Google it”. In fact, Google has created a website called “Google Trends” that lets you track the popularity of search terms over time. It even lets you compare musical genres. Is the music you play in popular decline? Or are you riding the tides of increased popularity? Below is the Google trends report for “rock music” versus “pop music.”

 

 

 

Continue Reading . . .

12 tips for a better band website

aidan-millsOften you don’t need to completely redesign your website to make it resonate more with fans and visitors. Sometimes it just takes stepping into the shoes of your fans and making a few tweaks here and there. Here are 12 tips that will help make your current band website–even better.

1. Get rid of distractions

Kill autoplay on videos and music. This is bound to annoy visitors. Let your visitors decide if they want to click “play.” Flashy animations and pop-ups can have a similar effect. Ditch them.

2. Tell people what to do

What do you want people to do when they land on your site? Preview tracks on your new album? Sign up to an email list? Read your blog? Make sure to let your visitors know what is important to you, and they

might just do it.

3. Make sure your site is mobile optimized
Mobile and tablet usage is skyrocketing. Many of your website visitors will be arriving on your site on a device other than a laptop or desktop computer, so be sure to preview your website on various devices. If it’s not mobile friendly, now’s the time to make the switch. (Hostbaby offers a number of mobile friendly responsive templates. hint. hint.)

Continue Reading . . .

Win Free Hosting For Life (Act now before October 16th, 2014)

unnamed(1)People can tell when a band is trying to pass off a social profile as a real musician website. When it comes to connecting with fans, bookers, labels, and promoters, there’s no substitute for a hosted site where YOU’RE in control.

Don’t believe us? Think your social networks are just as pro as a real hosted website? Try HostBaby today, see the difference, and you might never have to pay for hosting again!

Try HostBaby for free. Win free web hosting for life.

Here’s all you need to do to participate:
1. Sign up for HostBaby’s 30-day free trial here
2. Use HostBaby’s easy drag-and-drop website builder to create your new site
3. Before October 16th, 2014, tweet a link to your new HostBaby site and be sure to include this hashtag: #MyHostBaby

Prizes:
We’ll collect all entries and select winners at random. Winners will be announced October 17th on the HostBaby blog.
1st prize: Free web hosting FOR LIFE for one lucky musician or band
2nd prize: (3 winners): Free web hosting for a year

Create your site today to enter for a chance to win!

How to write about your album

Colorful viny record albumsYour album description is essentially a sales pitch, but that doesn’t mean it needs to read that way. It’s important to avoid tired phrases that mean nothing, and use specific language that really gets at the heart of what your album is about. After all, if you want people to click that “buy” button (that resides right next to your album description) you’ve got to provide some good reasons for people to do just that. But what seals the deal? What can you say that might take that teetering customer over the edge and into purchase territory?

For my money – which I’m never eager to part with – honesty and specificity are the key: Tell me what you sound like, and be detailed. Tell me WHO you sound like, and don’t be afraid to get granular – “Blood on the Tracks-era Dylan” paints me a perfect picture. Tell me about your accomplishments and any notable names that worked on the project. Give it to me straight!

Tip #1: Sometimes we are not the best judges of our own music. We think it sounds like Radiohead and our fans think it sounds like the Talking Heads. Before you compose your album description, ask some friends and fans to describe your album for you. Use this information to create a more balanced description of your music.

Tip #2: Step into the listeners shoes. How will they experience your album? How will they feel when they listen to it? What benefit will they get from the purchase? Use this to inform your writing.

How Not to Write About Your Album

What you shouldn’t do is use a bunch of cliches and vague language that ultimately lead nowhere. Want examples?

“unique” – This could be said about literally every piece of music ever made.

“genre-defying” – If someone put a gun to your head you couldn’t come up with one or two words?

“indescribable” – Try. Please just try.

“eclectic” – Nothing is eclectic anymore because this word has been overused and no longer has meaning.

“like nothing you’ve ever heard before” – This one, like “unique,” is technically absolutely true. It’s also a lazy way to describe your music and not necessarily a good thing. I have very specific tastes, and you think telling me it sounds nothing like the music I KNOW I like is going to sweeten the deal for me? I don’t have money to waste here. Give me some details.

“a wonderful addition to any music collection” – I see this one quite a bit, and I’ve gotta tell you: if you’re trying to say nothing about your music, this is about as nothing as you can get. “Do you have music at home? This is also music. You should buy it and put it with your other music.”

“the hottest new artist on the scene” – Slow down, Mr. Cool! I’m having trouble deciphering your hip lingo.

“a must-have!” – Requirements for life: oxygen, water, food, and this person’s new album.

“something for everyone” – Quick: name an album that everyone likes.

“if you love music, you’ll love this” – Casting your net a little wide there, Skipper.

Which ones am I forgetting? Let us know in the comments, or tell us your opinion on the issue. Does language like this entice you? Why?

Join HostBaby in Support of Net Neutrality

HostBaby Net NeutralityYou’ve probably heard about it in the news. Big cable internet companies like Time Warner, Comcast, and Verizon are planning on setting up internet fast lanes for the tech giants that can afford to pay, and internet slow lanes for everybody else. What does this mean for musicians and HostBaby customers? It means a slower internet experience for you and your fans. But even worse, it means that cable companies have the power to promote the companies that pay, and demote the ones that don’t. This is not freedom of the press. It’s extortion.
Continue Reading . . .

Feature Fans on Your Site. Collect Karmic Rewards.

feature your fansHaving (very) recently experienced the birth of my first child, I think I can say, with a reasonable amount of certainty, that humans have a pretty primal desire for care and attention. In fact, I can’t put down my son for more than a few minutes before his cries announce a desperate need for these very things.

What does this have to do with websites, music, or the price of tea in China? Well, we’re all kinda like my newborn son deep-down. Right? We’re all still in need of attention and care. Thankfully, we’ve moved beyond uncontrollable crying (for the most part) as a means to acquiring these things. But it’s still rather important to most of us that we feel others value our existence and are willing to go out of their way to make us feel valued.

As simple as this information is to grasp, it can be difficult to apply in real life. But it’s important for us musicians. After all, it’s not all about us. Music success can’t exist without devoted fans.

Continue Reading . . .