All musicians need websites to present their work to the world and build relationships with fans.
These guidelines will enable you to publish an effective site at low cost and regardless of your facility with technology.
Step 1: Determine the purpose of your site.
For rising performers and composers, websites generally serve as portfolios of their work but can also promote income-producing activities such as teaching, concertizing, and gigging.
It’s vital, therefore, that you consider who your audience is and how you will use the site to communicate your mission as an artist. To gather ideas, visit the websites of others in your field.
Step 2: Draft a list of required pages.
These typically include:
- Home page featuring a compelling photo along with a press quote or mission statement
- Bio page, with another powerful photo; you could also have a link to a resume and/or electronic press kit
- Media page with audio and video clips
- Events or calendar page, if you’re sufficiently active
- Repertoire or Sample Programs page – depending on your specialty, you might alternatively title this page Compositions or Projects; performers do well to include sample programs
- Teaching page, if appropriate, describing your mission and services (performers who are busy teachers will commonly publish a separate teaching website)
- Contact page, with a fill-in form
In addition, you’d include links to your social media, integrate a blog if you publish one, and incorporate a sign-up form for any newsletter. MailChimp offers the top freemium email newsletter service; it’s free for lists with fewer than 2000 subscribers.
Step 3: Assemble content for each page.
Gather photos, edit your recordings, draft your bio and other text – this step is typically the most time-intensive part of the site-creation process.
Step 4: Start building.
With all of your content in hand, you’re ready to build. For starters, you’ll need to purchase a domain name, if you don’t already own one (i.e., a URL such as yourname.com); the domain can typically be acquired via the company that hosts your site.
The resources below represent a sampling of commonly used services for hosting and constructing websites.
- Tech-challenged musicians: Consider using a drag-and-drop interface such as Wix.com. With your content ready, you can create a site in an hour or two. For a teaching website service that enables you to accept credit card payments, maintain an online calender, and more, consider MusicTeachersHelper.com.
- Tech-knowledgeable musicians: You could either use one of the above services or employ WordPress.org, a free platform with abundant themes and plugins (it’s not just for blogs). With WP, you purchase a domain name and hosting plan separately, e.g., from GoDaddy.com.
- Tech-savvy musicians: You might opt for WordPress.org or you could buy a domain name and hosting plan from the likes of GoDaddy.com, use html editing software, and learn about coding via the free tutorials at W3Schools.com.
Visit the Music Career Resources page at MusiciansWay.com for additional online marketing and search engine optimization tips. See Chapter 14 of The Musician’s Way for strategies to develop an authentic artistic vision.
© 2012 Gerald Klickstein