7 Reasons Your Band MUST Have a Website – And How to Get One (Guest Post)
Guest Post, Written by: Nicholas Rubright
Because of the fact that they have Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts, many musicians consider a website as an optional extra.
It’s upsetting because a website is one of the most valuable things a musician can use to promote their music online.
Yes, you technically have an “online presence” by making a bunch of social media accounts, but even hobbyist musicians have these.
Here are 7 reasons your band needs a website and how to go about getting one:
#1. You have full control
The best thing about your website is that you can do whatever you want with it. This means you have full control over how you present your band and can make sure the style and layout of the site reflects the image of your music.
Not only is full control of your site great for branding, but there are also a number of things you can do with your site that you can’t with social media.
One example is that you can use your website as a hub for a fan club. Let users sign in to their account and track points they earn from sharing your music with friends.
Instead of running Facebook ads just to get video views, maybe create a page on your website to grow your email list and send the traffic there.
When you combine full control with creativity, the possibilities are endless.
#2. You can sell whatever you want, however you want
On iTunes, you’re limited to selling your music for $0.99 per song, and you have to upload properly mixed and mastered recordings of your songs.
On Bandcamp, you’re limited to their standard process when it comes to how you sell merchandise.
With a website, not only can you sell whatever you want, you can get creative with how you sell it. Offer coupons, give fans access to unmixed demos, up-sell at checkout or after a free download, or let your fans bundle things together. You can also more easily make use of a free plus shipping model that’s popular with lots of Facebook advertisers these days.
The point is this – the way you display and sell your products is important in generating revenue for your band. With a website, you have full control of what you sell and how you sell it.
#3. You keep all of the profits from those sales
When selling things on your own website, you keep 100% of the profits. No 30% split with iTunes, and no Bandcamp fees on merchandise sold through their platform.
More profits means more money can be reinvested into the band. Think about what this could mean for your growth as musicians. With enough sales, you’ll be able to afford that new guitar with those extra profits in no time!
#4. It’s easier for people to find you
Sure, people can find you on social media, but it isn’t easy.
Think about it – how many times have you gone looking for a band on social media only to find that there are multiple profiles with the same name? With a properly branded website, this isn’t a problem. When people come across your website and see your logo, they’ll instantly know they’re in the right place. Additionally, with proper SEO (search engine optimization) for your band's website, you can rank in Google for keywords related to your band so that people can find you more quickly than they otherwise could on social media sites.
#5. Important people will take you more seriously
Here’s the hard truth – if you don’t have a website, then booking agents, managers, and other industry insiders wont take you seriously.
Believe it or not, having a website results in better gigs and will help you get press mentions. Booking agents, venues, and promoters look at a band’s website to determine a band’s legitimacy, and journalists look on a band’s website for photos and reference material if they’re doing a story on you.
People who have access to the audience you’re trying to reach look for a website. If you don’t have one, you’re going to miss these opportunities.
#6. You can’t rely on social media
Social media sites come and go. Just a few years ago, Facebook was huge among audiences of all ages, but now, younger audiences are flocking to Instagram.
These services also update their algorithms constantly and become more competitive over time, so if you only go after social media followers, you risk losing your ability to reach to them as these platforms become more crowded.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t use social media – you should. Social media is an important piece of the marketing puzzle for your band. I’m saying that you shouldn’t rely on social media as your sole channel for promoting your music.
With a website, you don’t have to worry about platform shifts or algorithm changes. The Internet as a whole isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
#7. It proves you’re serious
Even hobbyist musicians have social media accounts, so having these in place doesn’t separate you from the crowd.
If you want to look professional and serious about what you’re doing, you need a website. Not having a website makes you look like you don’t care enough about your music as a career.
How to get a website for your band
Now that you understand the importance of having a website for your band, let’s go over a few options for getting one made along with their pros & cons.
Hire a web design firm
You’ll get high quality work, assuming you hire the right design firm.
You’ll have access to more knowledge and abilities than you would if you did this yourself.
You’ll have access to support when necessary.
Since you aren’t working with a single individual, you won’t need to worry about losing access to your site if something happens to them.
It can easily become expensive if you have more complex needs.
Hire a freelancer
Can be cheaper than a web design firm. Especially if you find someone overseas.
If something happens to the freelancer and you don’t have the appropriate back-end information for your website, you’re stuck.
Hiring good freelancers is hard. You might end up spending more money trying to find the right person than you would by hiring a web design firm.
For web design, the quality of work might be less than that of a full team.
Use a DIY website builder (like Wix or Squarespace)
Easy to set up and cheap to get started.
No coding or design skills required.
Less control than with a freelancer or design firm.
Not custom designed.
Slower load times than custom websites, which can affect conversion rates and search engine rankings.
Limited pages and features.
Set up a WordPress site yourself
Most custom option available. You can do almost anything you’d need to with WordPress.
Tons of professional themes available online. Many are free.
Lots of plugins available for search engine optimization and e-commerce.
Requires some technical know-how and has a steep learning curve for those with little to no programming or design experience.
Custom layouts are hard to use.