Why your band website matters more than almost anything else

why-you-need-a-band-websiteLet’s face it. The first time most people encounter your music is going to be online. They could be surfing Spotify, watching YouTube, or shopping on iTunes. They might see your band mentioned on Facebook or Twitter. They might see an event invite, a blog review, an article, an ad. There are infinite ways to encounter new music online. Even if a person first encounters your music, by chance, in the real world–on a show poster, or at a concert or a club–chances are they wont hesitate to pull out their smartphones to find out more about your music. This is why your web presence is more important than almost any other aspect of your career. And at the center of your web presence, is your website.

Your website is what people look for after they’ve heard your catchy tune, seen a concert poster, or stumbled across a raving review on a blog or social media website. Your website is the absolute best place for a new or potential fan to learn about you and your music. Your website is the place where the magic happens. It’s where potential fans make the decision to go to your next concert or write you off, listen to your newest album or listen to something else instead. Your website has the power to make a huge difference in your music career.

This is why your website deserves just as much (or more) attention than your stage show, your promotion efforts, your songwriting, and your image. Your website needs to work for you. And when it does, you’ll be rewarded with more fans, better concert attendance, and more sales.

So how do you go about making a killer website for your music? Here’s 10 quick tips to get you started.

1. Buy your own domain name

Well, first you need your own domain name. This might seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how many bands miss this crucial step. If you want to present yourself as a professional band that takes music seriously, you need to spend 15 bucks a year and buy your own website domain. You know: www.YourBandName.com. Just do it.

2. Launch a pro website–not a social media page

A Bandcamp or a Facebook page are great for many things, but they are not a proper hosted websites–and music fans know this. Every 5-day-old band that exists has a Bandcamp page. If you wanna seem like a band that’s gonna play more than 2 shows before you break up: Get yourself a proper band website.

3. Tell your story

Why do people go to your website? Because they want to know your story, of course. If I hear an interesting band on Spotify, I’ll look up their website to see what they are all about. I want to know where they are from, what they look like, how long they’ve been playing, how they became a band, etc. All these factors will contribute to whether I decide to investigate the band further and eventually become a fan. Use your band bio, blog, photos, and videos to tell your story. (related article: How to write a band bio that rocks)

4. Give fans a chance to sign up to your email list

Your website will need an email signup form. Your email list is your lifeline to your fans. Never rely on social media as the only way to communicate with your audience. Social media sites come and go. And most of your fans will never see what you post on Facebook or Twitter anyway. There’s simply too much stuff getting posted every second. Email is different. Email allows you to communicate to your fans in a more personal way–in a place where you’ll actually have their attention.

5. Encourage engagement

Give your fans multiple ways to interact with you on your site. Make sure your fans can email you, leave comments on your blog, share your content, and follow you by clicking social media buttons on your site. Ask your fans to share and engage with you and make sure that you return the favor. This is how you win real fans: make them feel like you are there for them.

6. Stream your music

You won’t gain any new fans if people can’t hear your music. Think about it. Have you ever become a fan of a band, BEFORE you heard their music? It doesn’t happen very often. So make sure that you have streamable tracks on your website. Go the extra mile and offer exclusive free tracks to visitors who sign up to your email list.

7. Sell your stuff

What better place to sell music and merch then on your own website? Loyal fans will know where to go whenever they want to pick up your latest album, and you’ll make a bigger percentage of sales then if you were selling through iTunes or Amazon.

8. Keep a blog

A blog is a great way for fans to keep up to date with what’s going on with your music and life. Forget about long essays: a blog post can be as short as a Facebook post or a tweet–but blog posts are much better than social media posts because your fans will actually see your blog posts. They won’t get buried under an avalanche of advertisements and pet videos.

9. Upload lots of photos

Photos speak louder than words, right? Share your concert photos and band rehearsals shots. Give your fans a glimpse into what you’re all about.

10. Embed your YouTube videos

YouTube is full of distractions. Embed your videos right on your website and so your fans can check out all your videos without getting distracted by funny cat videos.

Is your band website working for you? What techniques do you use on your website to win over new fans? Let us know in the comments below.