Do indie musicians need a website? 

I know what you're thinking: "Hey, isn't my glamorous Instagram profile enough to get an extraordinary career in the music biz?"  Sorry to be a party-pooper but no, it is not enough!  Social media and online music platforms provide tons of tools and opportunities to reach a new audience. However, there are a few factors to consider about their functioning. 

First of all, you don't own them. You don't own Facebook. You don't own Twitter. You don't own Instagram. All of these magical platforms could shut down overnight without even letting you know.  Would you be happy to lose all the fans you gathered there, after months or, most likely, years of hard work? I don't think so! 

Secondly, you have no idea about how their algorithms actually work. Yes, you might have read a few blog posts explaining how the latest Facebook algorithm update made it necessary for you to pay ads to reach your audience. If you're very techy you might know the details, but the core of these algorithms is unknown to the public. How do you feel about letting an algorithm decide whether or not a fan of yours should see your latest post? It doesn't feel right, does it? 

These two reasons alone demonstrate how necessary it is for independent musicians to own a website.  

Having a sort of virtual headquarter for your music will not only help you succeed, but it will also affect your mindset in a positive way. Sure, in 2020 it is necessary to have a social media presence, but when you see these networking platforms as a mere instrument to get more people to your virtual hub, you will have more clarity and fewer distractions. 

I know, there might be difficulties preventing you from building a website. It might be the cost, it might be the lack of time or the lack of technical knowledge. If you are experiencing any of these obstacles, stick with me: I will discuss how to create a music website on tight budgets and with little technical skills in the next few weeks (let me know in the comments in that's something you could find useful). 

My goal today is proving that independent artists need a dedicated website for their project. Here are five reasons why. 

1) You will be more organized 

As I mentioned earlier, owning a website will slightly change your mindset, or at least your perspective. There are so many social networks and music platforms out there it can be easy to lose focus and find yourself with no ideas on how to reach a wider audience. By thinking the other way around (from social platforms to your website) you will have more clarity and you will be able to draw your blueprint way more easily. 

2) You can personalize the experience 

Social media profiles look all the same. Social networks have their own branding to show, so fonts, colors, layouts all look the same. Your website, on the other hand, could be truly unique. If musicians need a brand (they do...), they also need a website. A virtual hub where you can show yourself, your vision, your art is necessary to make people aware of how serious you are about your career and offer your fans a personalized, meaningful experience.

3) Simpler URLs look more professional (and help with S.E.O.) 

If you want to direct people to your music, having a webpage with a neat URL is way easier than sending random Facebook or YouTube links. It looks more professional and it helps with your S.E.O. too.

4) You can make more money with a website 

Now, this is something you'll be able to see in the long term. You will need to bring traffic to your website before being able to make money out of it, but this is a possibility you don't have at all with social media. Even streaming platforms such as Spotify are not as profitable as a website of your own can be.  You can sell songs, physical CDs and merch, or concert tickets directly from your website. You can build an online teaching hub to move to the virtual world what you probably already do in the real world (teach music). You can even place ads or affiliate links to make some extra money on the side. 

5) You can build (and own) a mailing list 

Let's pretend you are in your fan's shoes. You scroll your Facebook wall and see a lot of content. You don't even care about 99% of what pops up in front of your eyes. How can you focus on something you might be genuinely interested in?  Oh, but you just received an email! Let's check. It's a message from that band you saw playing at the corner of your street the other day. You were impressed by their songs and left them your email address to be kept updated on their shows. You know the sender. You actively chose to sign up for their newsletter. You trust them and you are interested in what they have to say. You open the email, see that a show is coming up in your town tomorrow night et voilà: you call your friends and organize a night out. Of course, it's not always as straight-forward but that's a reality: your mailing list subscribers will be way more likely to check out your content than the average Facebook user who put a like on your artist page (maybe they just pushed the wrong button on the phone!). Your website will be the necessary tool to build a mailing list and keep your audience always updated on your projects. 

What do you think?  Are these five reasons enough to convince you it's time to get a website? Let me know in the comments!

Photo by Ilya Pavlov on Unsplash

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Podcast contents:

00:01:30 Two reasons why social media aren't enough 
00:03:28 A more organized approach 
00:04:17 A personalized experience 
00:05:20 The importance of URLs 
00:06:35 Make more money 
00:08:20 Build a mailing list

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