How to Create a Stunning Band Website
Making great music is just the first step towards your success as a band or as a solo artist. The next step –and the most important one– is getting that music in front of an audience.
Luckily, we live in an age where the vast amount of business and fan growth occurs on the internet. As such, the need for a stellar online presence cannot be overlooked.
And I’m not just talking about your presence on platforms such as Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, Bandsintown, YouTube, Shopify, or any other profile you might have – I’m talking about a well-designed, professional band website.
Of course, most of your fans will discover you through these channels. However, having a place to link them to – is very important. And that’s where your website comes in.
With a website, you will not only be searchable on Google and other search engines but you will also give your fans a one-stop destination where they can learn more about you, view your schedule, get ticket links for upcoming events, and buy your merchandise.
Better still, a website will give you plenty of freedom to promote your band as well as your type of music – unlike social media sites which will impose restrictions and filter content that’s posted on their platforms.
That said, I know that designing a website can be a bloodcurdling task – especially for a musician like you. And you probably don’t know where to start or even how to do it. But don’t fret, I’ve got you covered.
In this article, I’ll take you through the various steps you’ll need to follow when creating a website for your band. So, read on.
Creating a Band Website: An Overview
Let’s face it. Creating a website for your band is a major undertaking and should be taken seriously. Besides, if you don’t – who will?
In that regard, here is a handy checklist of the steps that you’ll need to follow through to create a stunningly phenomenal band website.
- Establish your goals
- Choose a website building method
- Pick a brandable domain name
- Choose a reliable website builder and web host
- Refine the look and add essential elements
- Review and publish
Now that you are familiar with the steps, let me take you through each of the above steps. Buckle up.
1. Establish Your Goals
If the simple idea of creating a website for your band makes you cringe, then you need a clear plan. So, before you do anything ask yourself. Why do I need a music website? What exactly do I stand to gain from it?
Once you’ve identified the purpose, drill further and this time try to define your website needs. Think about the functionality. How would you like your website to look like? Will it be a single-page website or a multi-page website with a navigation menu?
Would you like it to be photo heavy? What about sample songs and videos? What of integrating the website with other apps such as Bandcamp, Spotify, etc.?
If you have no clear objective and you feel like you are guessing things, don’t worry –everyone starts from somewhere. In this case, your starting place would be to do a little market research.
Scour the internet and see what other bands are doing with their websites. The idea here is to learn and gather design inspirations and ideas that you’ll capitalize on when building your website.
Another very important dynamic is your budget. As always, everything narrows down to money. Consider the cost of hosting your website. Similarly, consider the cost of purchasing a premium theme or plugin.
2. Choose a Site Building Method
There are two easy but different ways to make a website. The first method involves using a website builder and the second method involves using a content management system (CMS).
While both of these are intended to achieve a common goal, they differ when it comes to usability. So, the choice of which website builder is best for your band website will depend on your goals as well as your technical background.
For instance, a website builder – which is an easy option for newbies and non-technicians who do not know how to code – offers readymade templates & layouts, drag-and-drop functionality, and other DIY elements which makes the entire website building process stress-free, quick, and straightforward. However, the level of flexibility varies from builder to builder.
A content management system, on the other hand, is more complex and has a steeper learning curve compared to a website builder. CMS platforms are a favorite for most people who are looking for enhanced flexibility in web design.
One very popular CMS is WordPress. Offered as a free open-source solution, WordPress is quite versatile and offers plenty of customizations options and with a good knowledge of CSS and HTML, you can create virtually any kind of website.
3. Pick a Domain Name
A domain name is the “web address” that your audience will type in their browsers to access your website. Every website has a domain name. As such, it’s a critical component of your omnichannel marketing strategy and the backbone of your digital presence.
And since a domain name’s main objective is to make it possible for your fans to visit your website, you should pick a domain name that’s simple and memorable.
Many artists, record labels, and bands use their name as their domain name. I’m not saying that you do the same, but using your band name makes it easy for you to be found. Your name also gives you more credibility and strengthens your brand.
Something else that you need to consider when picking a domain name is the domain suffix or extension – which is also referred to as the TLD. While there are several types of TLDs such as .com, .org, .net, and .edu – you’ll want to choose one that’s easy to remember and represents the objective of the website.
For example, a .edu TLD is associated with educational websites. So, using it on a band website would be ridiculous. That said, you should also remember to check the availability of your domain with an accredited domain registrar.
Sometimes you might find that your preferred domain is already taken. If this happens you have three options – that is to go with a different domain name, choose a different extension, or offer to buy the domain name from its current owner. The first two are the cheapest options.
Typically, domain registration will cost an average of $12 per year. However, some web hosts will give you one for free if you subscribe to their hosting plan. Some great examples include Wix, Bandzoogle, and Bluehost.
4. Choose a Web Host
For your fans to be able to access your website via the internet, you’ll have to lease out some space on a web server where you’ll store your website’s files. Think of it as renting out a room in an apartment building and sharing out your address so that people can easily find you.
A web host provides the technologies and allocates your website some space and resources on their web server. However, web hosting providers are not created equal – some are good while some are bad.
For the most part, the web host you choose can be the gateway to your success or stumbling block in the way of your growing success. And with hundreds of web hosts proliferating the market – all promising to help you build a website of your dreams – it’s possible to get caught up in the shackles of enticement.
To be on the safer side, I’d recommend that you take your time and go through each feature that your preferred hosts offer. This will help you narrow down your search. You can start by evaluating features such as uptime, page load speeds, bandwidth, storage, eCommerce functionality, customization options, templates/themes, SEO packages, SSL certificates, customer support, social media integration, and upsells.
In my research, I identified some great web hosts for musicians and bands. However, to help you get an idea of what I’m talking about, I’ve selected three that we will take a quick look at. They include:
Wix: All-round website builder and a great choice for beginners
Undoubtedly one of the most popular website builders, Wix is an industry leader in web design. The platform offers virtually anything you could think about. From web hosting, professional business emails to customized SEO plans.
As website builders go, Wix is pretty cool, simple, and straightforward. The platform uses a drag-and-drop interface which makes it easy for complete novices to get grips with. But that’s not all. Wix comes with an artificial intelligence tool (Wix ADI) that’s targeted at beginners who are not looking for creativity.
Wix also has some of the most modish templates in the market, with a curated selection of music-specific options. You can get a couple of templates for bands, solo artists, and even DJs. Along with that, it has an extensive app collection that you can integrate with your website.
Now, in terms of hosting, Wix offers some of the most competitive plans that come with generous storage, unlimited bandwidth, SSL certificate, and industry-standard uptime. They also offer domain registration but I would recommend you get one from a third-party provider such as Namecheap or GoDaddy and connect to your Wix site.
Bandzoogle: Best band-specific website builder and host
Designed exclusively for “musicians by musicians,” Bandzoogle is a leading website building tool and hosting service that lets bands create professional websites, promote their albums, and sell directly to their fans.
Just like Wix, Bandzoogle uses a drag-and-drop site editor and comes with 100 plus stunningly attractive, responsive, and customizable pre-made templates for musicians. With this awesome site builder, you do not have to get mired into coding. Everything has been done for you.
While Bandzoogle is not the most economical hosting option in the market, it’s worth a try especially for bands that are concerned about selling and promoting their music, merch, and more – commission-free.
What’s more, Bandzoogle offers great loading speeds and sufficient bandwidth thanks to the cloud infrastructure that it’s built upon. That said, I think Bandzoogle is a great option for musicians looking for inspiration. They have a 30-day trial period that you can use to your advantage.
Bluehost: Best for WordPress hosting
If there is one name that you won’t miss in the web hosting arena then it’s Bluehost. Officially recommended by WordPress as the hosting provider of choice, Bluehost provides one most cost-effective ways of setting up your first band website.
This top-notch hosting provider offers a range of website hosting plans. They include shared, cloud, VPS (virtual private server), and dedicated server hosting.
Some of the common features that come with each of the four plans include free domain & SSL certificate for the first year, automatic updates, easy 1-click WordPress installations, unmetered bandwidth, and customer support.
Bluehost is also quite versatile. For instance, it offers Weebly as a free add-on for all the hosting plans. Weebly is another great site builder that you can use to build your band website. So, regardless of the hosting plan you choose, you are free to use WordPress or Weebly.
5. Customize Your Theme and Add the Essential Elements
You’ve picked a website building method, registered a domain, and chosen a web hosting plan? Excellent! Now it’s time to put the pieces together.
Regardless of whether you choose a website builder or WordPress, you’ll need to install a template or a theme. And since this themes and templates are pre-made, they’ll display your website in their default status.
Keep in mind that it takes more than a static homepage to create a professional website. As such, you’ll need to customize some things. The idea here is to ensure that your website gets an enticing visual appeal and is also easy to navigate.
Some of the things you’ll need to work on include the menu layout & position, color palette, website fonts, and navigation.
With regards to menu layout and position, think about the number of pages you’d like to have. The general rule thumb is to keep things simple and visually enticing. So, 5 to 8 pages will suffice. Too many pages will not fit into a template with a horizontal menu bar.
Likewise, the color palette should identify with your band. Ensure that you only stick with three main colors. A primary, secondary, and an accent color. This will help keep the color tone consistent and professional. The same should apply to your website font. That is, only use one type of font throughout all the pages.
Lastly –and with emphasis is your website’s navigation. Remember that your website will be having new visitors every day. With clearly presented pages, you’ll give them one of the best user experience.
With that said here’s the order in which your website’s pages should appear.
Your homepage is the virtual window to your website. In other words, it will be the most visited page on your website and the very first page that your fans will see. It should therefore set the tone for the other pages on your website.
Make sure it has a logo, the band name, a picture of the band, and succinct headers. It should also have a short, spicy bio about your band, a “watch new” video, and a CTA (call to action) to purchase your latest album.
Under this section, visitors should be able to know you better. So, it should include the backstory of the band. Something like how it started, the challenges, achievements, and future plans. People love inspiring stories – so make yours as interesting as it can get to capture the emotion.
The main aim for you to create a website was to create a one-stop-shop for your fans. A place where they can listen to all their favorite tunes and proceed to make purchases without having to search all over the internet. It would thus make a lot of sense to include a music page and also embed a player.
Apart from live performances, your band can earn some money by selling music. And of course most of your fans will feel better buying your music from your website than from other third-party stores.
To make the entire process easy, you need to add an eCommerce store and list down your music there. Ensure you add images and a description for each item.
People love to see pictures of the members of their favorite band. So, add as many high-quality pictures of your band members as you can. But make sure they are relevant. They could be shots of the band performing, musical collaborations, promos, etc.
Just like your music page, add a video page where fans can watch your videos first hand before others can watch them on YouTube.
Bands are known for tours. Adding an events page will make it easy for your fans to know when an event will be taking place and buy their tickets early. There are various tools and plugins for adding this feature.
Lastly, make sure you have included your contact page. Some of your fans may want to hire you to come and perform at their weddings or birthday parties. Adding a contact page with details on how to reach you ensures that you remain in touch with your fans.
6. Review Your Content and Launch Your Website
With everything in place, you might be tempted to hit the publish button. However, if you haven’t tested and retested everything, the process isn’t quite over yet. Note that when it comes to web design, even the finest, little details count. So be attentive.
So before anything else test the different elements of your website. Make a list of those that you’ll prioritize first. For instance, check how the website opens on different mobile devices and browsers.
Along with that, test the links to see whether they are broken. What about the videos and the images? Are they loading? How long does it take to load the pages? Go through everything that you can think of – from the homepage to the contact form.
Once you are convinced that everything is perfect – it’s time for your moment of truth. Now hit publish and launch your website. And that it! Your band website is now functional and visually impressive.
The music industry is very competitive. As such, you have to stay ahead of the competition – and one way is by creating a dedicated website for your band.
Without a website, your band will not only be losing out on press and promo opportunities – but on gigs too. Besides people want a one-stop destination where they can get more information about your band.
Avoid investing too much on social media. Remember Myspace? Most artists who had put too much time in the platform lost connection with their audience when the platform fell out of favor. Keep in mind that website designs may change, but you will never lose your fans because of that.
With that said, I cannot stress enough the importance of creating a website for your band. It’s easy and quick. Just register a domain and choose a website builder or CMS, get hosting, customize, and you’ll be good to go.