Guest post by Dave Cool, Director of Artist & Industry Outreach at musician website & marketing platform Bandzoogle.
First and foremost, yes, you need to have your own professional website. Social media is great for fan engagement, but it will never replace having your own website.
Your website is where you can bring fans into your world so they can read your blog, sign up to your mailing list, and buy music and merch.
For bookers, festival programmers, and media, your website is often the first place they’ll go to check out your music. You’ll want to make a good first impression on them, as well as give your fans a great experience on your site. Here are 6 ways to do just that:
Nothing can give visitors to your website a negative first impression quite like unprofessional photos. It might seem unfair, but your music and your career can be judged based on the imagery on your website.
So be sure to invest in hiring a professional photographer. You’ll not only use those photos for your website, but for your official promo photos, social media profiles, poster and flyer designs, and more.
Clean design & navigation
Simple is often better when it comes to website design. Don’t try to do too much on each page. A good rule of thumb is to stick to one clear purpose per page on your website. If a page is too cluttered, it will make important content harder to find.
Also try to avoid being too creative with your menu names. If visitors have to think about what content might be on a page because the name isn’t clear, chances are, they’ll skip it. So stick to names like “Bio”, “Music”, “Shows”, and avoid vague names like “Experience”, “Discover”, “My World”, etc.
More people now access digital media from mobile devices than from desktop computers. Your website not only needs to be mobile-friendly, the experience must be seamless.
Make sure your site loads quickly on mobile devices, and is easy to navigate – no pinching the screen to zoom in or out! Your content should be easy to find, music easy to listen to, and e-commerce tools should work perfectly on mobile devices.
If the last update on your website is an announcement for your Christmas album from 2 years ago (I’ve seen it happen!), chances are visitors will think you’re no longer active. This will also create a negative impression for any media or bookers that visit your site.
If you’ve started blogging on your site, be sure to keep it updated. You can also embed your Twitter feed, and Instagram photos on your site to show your latest activity.
Exclusive offers & music
To reward your fans when they land on your website, have something new to offer them. This could be a previously unreleased track, an exclusive live EP, or other music they might only find on your website.
At the very least, be sure to have your entire discography available for fans to buy directly from you. Selling your music directly to fans not only allows you to make more money, but gives you their valuable email addresses so you can follow-up with them about future releases, shows, and merch.
Dedicated Press Kit page
One way to really impress bookers, media, and other industry gatekeepers is to have a Press Kit page in your website. This will allow them to find all the information they need in one place, like your bio, reviews, photos, and more.
Find out how to build a great digital press kit by reading our post How to Build an Effective Digital Press Kit for Your Music