It’s Mega March at HostBaby!

Mega March is all about getting $260 worth of hosting for $149 and releasing UNLIMITED music while you’re at it.

Mega March at HostBaby is here‚ and you don’t want to miss your chance to get a year of hosting for way below our normal price. All you have to do is log into your account during the month of March‚ pay $149‚ and you’ll receive 13 months worth of hosting credits!

You’ll save $111 and get UNLIMITED CD Baby submissions throughout your year of hosting. Plus‚ no more monthly bill!

Already paid ahead a few months? No problem: the 13 months will get added to your total.

Just log into your account here to make your $149 payment and save! Not a HostBaby member already? Sign up today‚ get your discount, and create a site your fans will love.

Let’s get MEGA!

Got a “News” section on your site? Update it regularly.

Having a News section on your site is a great way to keep your current fans engaged. It’s also bound to be one of the first places new visitors check out when they visit you on the web, possibly looking for your newest song, show dates, or what’s coming up next for you and your music.

But if not given the proper amount of regularly scheduled attention, this section of your site can make it look like you’re on hiatus, have nothing going on, or have stopped making music altogether.

Should you be expected to have earth-shattering developments in your music career every week or month? It sure would be nice, but for most of us, we’re grinding away when we have time and major victories are hard-earned but few and far between. That’s OK! No one expects you to be checking in from your world tour every three days.

That being said, posting something at least once a month in your News section has great benefits, even if you’re not announcing your latest Grammy nomination. Talk about recording. Talk about song ideas you’re workshopping. Share a picture of your new instrument, pedal, or other gear. Heck, talk about a movie you watched recently, what you thought of it, and how it’s influencing your current creative process. Share a funny YouTube video. Just post something, and post it on a regular basis.

If you get into a rhythm, your site visitors will too, and they’ll make a point to check in every week/month to see what’s going on in your world. Then, when you do have that big news – a new video, a new album, some new tour dates – they’ll be right there to read about it.

Any suggestions on using the News section of your site to your advantage, or any tips for keeping things fresh? Let us know in the comments.

Playing live? Don’t forget to take photos!

If you’re playing live, it’s a great opportunity to get photos of you and your music in action. You know that. I know that. So why do we always forget?

Honestly, it’s probably because we’re so focused on the task at hand – playing a quality show. But if you’re not already, it’s time to start thinking about making that show work for you, even after it’s done.

I am – ahem – a little older, so I’ve played gigs in the pre-cell-phone era, when, if you forgot your camera at home, you were most likely out of luck. That’s clearly no longer a problem, but you still need to remember to ask someone to take photos of you from the crowd. Photos taken by a band member from the stage can sometimes work, but you’re taking the risk of an awkward onstage moment and capturing a photo that only represents your perspective, which, while good for your personal files, doesn’t usually make for a great photo to share.

So: next time you play a show, make sure you get someone to take photos, and make sure you post them on your site and socials shortly after the gig. It’ll give people an idea of what your live show looks like, let them know you’re actively playing out, and give you content to use for promotion, artwork, or whatever else might come up.

And keep in mind that some of the best photos come from unconventional venues: don’t hesitate to post your photos, no matter where you’re performing. And they don’t have to be “pro” shots – phone photos are everywhere, obviously, so slap a filter on there, make it look cool, and promote your next show while simultaneously cataloging memories of your previous ones.

The simpler your site, the better.

The word “basic” has become an insult in some circles, but when it comes to your website, it can be a compliment. In past years, users might have been looking for an “experience” when they came to your site – I remember (not fondly) sitting through so many overlong Flash intros just so I could see tour dates – but today, they’re not hoping to be wowed: they want info, want to hear your music, want to see your videos, etc., and they don’t want to spend two minutes sitting through animation or poking around your abstract menu to find what they want.

You know what’s a very 2019 experience? Making navigation and usability as simple as possible for your current fans and potential new ones. Don’t feel like you have to fill every header category suggested to you in your template. If you don’t have something that fits, don’t use that section. Some of the best musician websites out there only have 4-5 links.

So don’t get overwhelmed by everything you can do; concentrate on what you should do – picking actions you want your site visitors to take and making it easy for them to do so.

Any insight or suggestions? Let us know in the comments!

Tell your site visitors about 1¢ shipping on 3 CDs or more

Through the end of the year, CD Baby is offering 1¢ shipping on orders of 3 CDs or more. Got 3 physical CDs up for sale on store.cdbaby.com? Now’s a great time to push your back catalog via a bundle sale! Encourage your site visitors to pick up a selection of 3 of your discs – maybe even at a limited holiday sale price – and tell ’em shipping will only cost them a penny.

Don’t have 3 different CDs up for sale? Buying 3 of one of your albums at a holiday discount with the added bonus of penny shipping can encourage your friends and fans to pick up your CDs for gifts or stocking stuffers.

Feature this offer on the front page of your site and remember: it never hurts to mention that people can feel good about spending their holiday funds on a product like yours – unique music made by an independent, DIY artist.

Got other tips on how to take advantage of this limited-time sale? Let us know in the comments!

5 quick tips to make the most of the holidays

Have you heard? The holidays are here!

Yes, it’s true. And it’s a great time to do a few easy things to make your site look festive, and maybe even help you gain some new fans and sell some music! Let’s get into it:

1. Holiday-ify your site – switching up colors on your HostBaby site is easy, so you can get in there and add some red and green touches, or whatever gets you in the mood.

2. Got a holiday song? Feature it front and center – There’s still time to record a holiday song and get it distributed, though make sure you keep your eye on CD Baby’s holiday deadlines. Got a new holiday song? Embed the video on the front page of your site or use a music player to embed your song or album. Got an old holiday song? Do the same thing! It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and the accompanying music is timeless.

3. Give your site visitors a holiday gift – This could be a limited-time free download of your latest single, a special price on your back catalog, or even a personal holiday greeting via a video message, wishing everyone the best. Strap on some antlers and get in the spirit!

4. Make a Spotify playlist – If you’ve got a holiday song, create a playlist featuring your track, followed by some of your other favorite Christmas-time music. People LOVE curated playlists, and they’re especially useful during these months when more gatherings take place than ever. Feature it up front on your site and make sure to let your fans and friends know about it.

5. Email your fans and friends – Last, but certainly not least. Even if you just send a general “Happy Holidays” email to your contacts, they’ll appreciate the gesture. But it’s also the perfect opportunity to let them know about any of the above things you’ve got going on your site, or to fill them in on your plans for the new year.

Got any holiday ideas of your own for making the most of the season? Let us know in the comments below!

Organize your webmail with message filters

If you get a lot of email, you can now make sorting it simpler by using automatic message filters to filter messages into folders using criteria you specify. It’s time to organize to your heart’s delight! Here’s how.

If you’re using Moving Pictures but not using this feature, you should be!

I found myself on a great-looking HostBaby site the other day, the home of the Dirk Quinn Band. When you first land there, you can see they’re making perfect use of the Moving Pictures theme: with some great live footage of the band looping continuously, their site is dynamic without being overly busy, and really makes a solid first impression.

To add to this vibe, they’re also taking advantage of a widget option that is exclusive to Moving Pictures. In the bottom-right-hand corner of their site (also pictured above), they’ve got their social links, email list, and tour-date widgets rotating smoothly, catching the eye without distracting.

These widget choices reflect their priorities – gaining social-media followers, building their email list, and getting fans out to their shows – and they’re now able to include those actionable items across every page of their site in a cool, rhythmic way that goes hand-in-hand with the overall feel of the theme.

Are you using Moving Pictures and not taking advantage of this cool feature? Hook it up! Just select the widgets you’d like to have rotate through (you’re not limited to the ones mentioned here) and watch ’em add even more depth to your site.

Look like something you’d like to try but you’re using a different theme? Again, this is exclusive to Moving Pictures, so switch to that theme and give it a shot!

You can find even more info on HostBaby widgets here.

Are you using this feature currently, or did you just set it up and want to show it off? Hit us with links in the comments and we’ll check ’em out.

Are you missing out on sales because you’re making this mistake?

There are a handful of things to discuss here in regards to the above tweet:

First, Dave is using the word “purchase,” not “stream” or “listen to.” Dave seems to be the kind of fellow who enjoys supporting bands via buying their music (artists love guys like Dave!), but I’m not sure that even means vinyl or CDs. He could just be talking about downloads. Either way, he’s not saying he looked for a Spotify link and didn’t see it. He’s saying he was ready to BUY something and couldn’t. That’s not a good luck for a musician’s website.

Second, don’t forget about consumers like Dave! It’s easy to get caught up in thinking that streaming is king now, especially if you’re in a younger demographic where it seems like everyone just listens to music via Spotify, Apple Music, etc., but there are still a TON of people who prefer CDs, vinyl, and downloads. These items make you more money, and some of your fans know that, so they feel better buying a physical product from you or paying full price for a download. You should let them do this!

Third, even if you don’t have physical products, people should be able to download your music. Maybe you have a “listen” link on your site, and that’s great! But maybe you could consider changing it to “Listen/Purchase” or “Listen/Buy” or something else similar. Then you’ve got a great “try before you buy” setup that allows people to listen to your embedded music on your site and purchase directly from the links you provide on that same page.

Bottom line: missing out on a sale (and maybe a new fan!) by not being clear and deliberate on your site is easily preventable. Make your buy/purchase/download links prominent, so when someone’s in that space where they’re really excited about your new music, they can get what they want instead of getting frustrated. You’ll get some cash, they’ll get your music, and everybody’s happy.

A decade-old indie music DVD taught me the importance of having your own website

I suppose I should say “reminded me of” the importance of having your own website, because it’s something we’ve been championing for years! And if you’re a HostBaby user, you already know how important it is to have your own web address and a site YOU control.

When we talk about the benefits of your own musician website, we’re usually focused on the here and now, but staking your claim on your own little space on the web is also beneficial to the long-term health of your brand. Something I watched over the weekend reminded me of this.

I was checking out an old-ish (mid-to-late 2000s) DVD that an indie artist had put together himself, and it featured a bunch of groups and solo performers from his label, showcasing their music and giving each of them some camera time to describe who they were, where they were from, what their music was about, etc.

Every single one of them gave out their Myspace address.

Along with the unintentional side effect of immediately making this video (which was actually a really cool, DIY effort, especially for the time) seem painfully dated, it also shined a huge spotlight on the problems that come with putting all your eggs in a basket you’re not allowed to hold, let alone keep.

Remember how big Myspace was? Depending on your age, you may not, but it was HUGE, and lots of folks – musicians especially, it seemed – spent serious time souping up their Myspace pages. Heck, there were even services that would trick out your profile for a fee. And for a while there, it worked! There were bands and artists who gained serious exposure and huge followings via the now-tumbleweed-infested platform.

But when Myspace fell from favor, it fell hard. And all that work artists put into their pages? They couldn’t take it with them when everyone left. Why? Because somebody else had the keys to the house they built.

A dedicated site with your own, personalized URL? That’s yours. You control it. And it’s basically timeless. There are artists who have been using the same URL for their music for 20+ years now, and though the look of their site has undoubtedly morphed over the years, the home base has remained the same. The website address from the liner notes of their late-90’s CD is still active. Smart move.

And doesn’t “yourband.com” just have a better ring to it than “myspace.com/yourbandmusic4real503”?