Why should independent musicians have a website of their own?
I can hear your objection: aren't social media platforms enough?
In the last few years, the increasing popularity of platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and, more recently, TikTok, left a good percentage of independent artists putting all their eggs in one basket.
Social media and streaming platforms became the main focus for most of us. We developed editorial calendars for our Instagram profiles, learning how to take impeccable selfies and flawless pictures. We spent night after night getting in touch with Spotify playlist curators, hoping that our latest release could be favored by the algorithm and take over the charts. We even engaged in dance challenges on TikTok because that seems the latest, most important trend.
This is all absolutely fine. If your marketing strategy involves these tools, you should definitely keep engaging in these activities. In this article, however, I would like to offer an alternative perspective.
First of all, even if a "viral" marketing strategy on social media or streaming platforms results in success, you are missing out a lot if you don't direct all that traffic to your personal hub (a.k.a. your website).
Secondly, if that strategy just doesn't work and you fade in the background among the incredible number of fellow artists and content creators who compete for the attention of an audience, you need to shift your focus.
In both cases, having a website of your own is not just important. It is essential.
Here are just a few reasons why.
- A well-curated website can help you improve your online presence and make you more "present" on search engines.
- A website of your own allows you to have control over the branding and the user experience. Social media and streaming platforms, instead, offer a standardized experience you cannot tweak nor improve. They also present their branding.
- A social media or streaming platform can kick you out or go out of business at any time. Your website is yours instead.
- A website allows you to monetize in different ways.
The list could go on and on, but I think these four points are more than enough to convince any independent musician it is time to build a website.
However, it is not as easy to handle a site. While social media and streaming platforms make it super simple to publish content, building a website from zero can require technical knowledge you may not have. After all, you are a musician, not a web designer, so it is totally okay!
My goal, in this article, is to show you how to build your website without too much hassle and technical knowledge.
But first, let's see what your website should include.
Three essential parts in a musician's website
Of course, you can get very creative and add as many pages and sections as you'd like to your website. This is one of the advantages of building one from scratch! However, there are three essential parts I would recommend you have.
Some informative pages
Imagine you are a stranger, landing on your brand new website for the first time. This hypothetical visitor needs to know something about you and your music, so they can decide whether they are interested in exploring more or not.
You will need to feature some short, impactful, and on-point information about your music and your activities right on the home page. Consider adding some visuals to go with that explanation: photos, videos, or illustrations that tell your story and describe your music are the best way to grab the attention of a visitor and effectively communicate with them.
You will surely need a bio or about page, where you can provide more details about your journey in music.
I suggest you build a separate music page where you can showcase your best songs, maybe offer them for free in exchange for an email address, or even sell them. Take advantage of this page to offer some more insights about your releases. What genre are they? When did you publish them? What is the story behind them?
Don't forget to add a contact page and/or to display your contact details and links to your social media in the website footer. Some people will want to get in touch with you and maybe check out your YouTube channel or Instagram profile. Don't miss out on this!
It could also be wise to have an Electronic Press Kit (EPK) easily accessible on your website, especially if you are interested in promoting your music to venues, promoters, blogs, radios, and music journalists.
"Grab those contacts" pages
Some musicians add a mailing list opt-in form right on their contact page.
Some others, instead, have a specific landing page, with plenty more information on what subscribers can expect to receive once they have subscribed to the list.
This choice is up to you, although I would suggest you go for the second option.
It is no longer enough to say "subscribe to my mailing list to keep updated" to get those contacts. You will need to offer something, to provide quality content, and valuable time in order to grow your list.
To explain what your quality content will be and communicate the value you are willing to offer, a specific landing page with a mailing list opt-in form is essential.
For more information on how to start building your mailing list, check out this article.
You can also download the article in PDF format, with a bonus checklist, down here.
Monetize your content
Your website could also offer some additional, brilliant ways to monetize your music and your content.
You could open a shop to sell digital products and merchandise, for example. A website of your own, with its e-commerce section up and running, will allow you to have control over the whole buying process, making sure that your fans (and clients) have the best user experience. You can even personalize that experience and make sure it is in line with your brand and your vision.
Another way to monetize the content on your website is through a membership.
You are surely familiar with platforms like Patreon or Fanhouse. Wouldn't it be cool to have your own membership space right on your website?
You can offer endless rewards to members, such as songs, music lessons, live streaming concerts, and more.
The best part? You won't have to rely on an external platform to have your membership business up and running.
Bandzoogle: a ready-made solution for musicians
Now let's get to the tricky part: how can I build a website with zero technical knowledge?
There are many platforms out there that provide some easy solutions to design your website from scratch.
WordPress, Wix, Squarespace are just a few of the possibilities you have.
I personally use Bandzoogle (please note: this is an affiliate link). In fact, the website you are visiting right now is made with Bandzoogle!
The reasons why I picked this company to build my website are various. First of all, they offer features specifically designed for musicians and music teachers. Secondly, they have some amazing customer support.
We could say that Bandzoogle is a ready-made solution for music websites. It allows anyone, with zero technical knowledge, to build a website from scratch. We will see how in just a few seconds.
Before diving into the interesting features Bandzoogle offers, I want to give you a little warning.
As with many other ready-made website builders out there, Bandzoogle doesn't allow much room for personalization. It surely has some limitations when it comes to tweaking the user experience or adding features not supported by the platform. However, it is still a great solution, since it offers almost anything a musician needs for their web presence.
I can also ensure that the team is very open to suggestions and ideas. New features are released quite often, as well as new website themes and designs.
Now, let's see what features you can use through Bandzoogle to make your music business thrive.
First of all, with Bandzoogle you can build a responsive website. This means that your design will adapt to various screen sizes. You have some degree of control over this, as the main editor is accompanied by a mobile editor that allows you to modify certain items to make them work even on smaller screens.
Of course, you don't have full control over the designs, as certain items are pre-set according to the theme you choose. However, you have a lot of options to personalize these themes with fonts, colors, pictures, and even videos.
In other words, Bandzoogle offers a limited, but very simple way of designing your website visuals, making sure they are adaptable to smaller screens as well.
The good news for musicians is that Bandzoogle integrates with many social and streaming platforms we might already use.
For example, you can import tracks directly from SoundCloud or feature beautiful Bandcamp or Spotify players on your music page.
Another interesting integration includes Printful, which allows you to sell merch directly on your website while using the popular print-on-demand service.
Bandzoogle also supports payments from PayPal and Stripe, so you can integrate your accounts on these payment processors with your website.
Last but not least, you can even display YouTube and Twitch videos or social media feed on your web pages, as Bandzoogle fully supports these features.
If the platform of your choice is not supported by Bandzoogle, don't worry! You can still embed much of the content you have online through the HTML code.
Bandzoogle allows you to build a mailing list and send out broadcasts. Unfortunately, it doesn't offer advanced email marketing features, such as automation. However, this is not a problem because you can easily use an external email marketing platform, such as ConvertKit, and display your opt-in forms on your Bandzoogle website using the HTML feature.
If you are not ready to use advanced email marketing functions, the Bandzoogle mailing list feature is more than enough to keep in touch with your fans and nurture your relationship with them through some interesting and valuable content.
One of the best things about Bandzoogle is that it offers many monetization options for your music.
Not only does it support the sale of digital tracks, but it also features a subscription option that allows you to monetize through memberships.
Through your digital store, you can sell more than music. Bandzoogle supports the sale of tickets (and it integrates with BandsInTown too!), digital products such as PDF files, and even merchandise.
Last but not least, Bandzoogle has a crowdfunding feature that allows you to start your campaign in seconds, and keep the whole control over it at all times.
These are just some of the features you can find in Bandzoogle. Visit their website to find out more!
Are you interested in a complete walk-through? Have questions or remarks? Let me know in the comments!
Good luck with your brand new website!