How to Build a Musician Website that’s Functional, Aesthetically Appealing
Discover how to create the perfect balance of getting your website to look great AND work well. This guide takes you through the basics of building websites, what strategies work for successful artists, and much more…
by Dayna Young of www.fredandaugustus.com
A musician’s website is the foundation for your music promotion. Every artist should have one.
You’re possibly asking yourself why this is necessary in the age of social media?
- A website is a branded online destination that allows for curated and dedicated fan experiences and the ability to capture fan data and create audiences for future marketing.
- A branded website domain also gives fans and industry professionals the impression that you’re serious about your career and allows them to easily search for and find information about you.
- Lastly, Google likes to see that you have real estate in its ecosystem, and functional, search-engine-optimized websites are one example of proof of that real estate.
Benefits of an artist website include:
- Branded domain
- Owned experience
- Search engine optimized
- Email capture
- E-commerce capabilities
- Owned data
- Proof of real estate in the Google ecosystem
Securing a Branded Domain
A domain name is the string of words that appears in your browser’s url. For example, Dillon Francis’ branded domain is https://dillonfrancis.com/
Yours might be www.yourbandname.com. It’s good practice to align your domain with your artist or band name. Doing so will make it easier for fans to search for you and find your music and content online. For example, if your performer name is Kenny Reddich, then it makes sense to try and secure kennyreddich.com, kennyreddichmusic.com, or similar.
It’s easy to buy a domain name. Simply visit a domain name registrar, enter the domain name you want to purchase, and (if it’s available) pay a fee to secure it. Domain name registrars you might wish to explore include:
Branded domains aren’t typically expensive; however, they do need to be renewed, often annually or semi-annually. Set up notifications from your domain registrar to receive renewal notices, or set up automatic renewal to keep your domain online at all times.
Hosting sites offer website-building templates that also contain blocks of content, allowing you to build and create blocks of content on each page. Coding is not required, but those who are familiar with coding can access the code to make changes to the design and layout. There is typically a monthly hosting fee, and a number of these hosting sites also come with a custom domain. You can claim your custom domain as part of the hosting fee or bring your domain name that you purchased over (allowing you more flexibility to move website builders in the future if you need to).
Website builders include:
A number of the above website builders also offer e-commerce functionality. However, if you’re looking for more robust options, consider offerings such as those in the below online stores for artists:
The options for what you can sell are reasonably limitless: CDs, vinyl, USBs, posters, tees, hoodies, and so forth. All of the online stores are easy to set up, and have scalable plans. Each site will take either a monthly hosting fee or a percentage of your sales, so do your research on which will work best for you and your needs. A number of these offerings will also allow you to host the store as a sub-domain on your website (e.g., shop.bandname.com), providing additional branding opportunities and a more seamless shopping experience for your fans.
Securing your Website
Speaking of seamless shopping experiences… One such feature is securing your website with an SSL certificate.
Norton.com says: “An SSL certificate is a type of digital certificate that provides authentication for a website and enables an encrypted connection.” These certificates communicate to the client that the web service host demonstrated ownership of the domain to the certificate authority at the time of certificate issuance.
That’s great, right? But just why do you need it? Well, without SSL, the security of your site is at risk because it is not encrypted. Due to this, your site visitors are also at a higher risk of phishing scams and data breaches. An SSL certificate helps create a secure environment for you and your fans.
Building your Website
When building your website, you should be mindful of:
- Sourcing professional photos
- Choosing a modern aesthetic and template, or at the very least, an aesthetic and template that suits your brand
- Including clear and prominent call-to-actions (known as CTAs).
- Selecting colors and typography that match those provided in your brand guidelines kit
- Ensuring there’s a defined flow or navigation to your site
- Designing your site with a mobile-first mindset This means that it should be mobile-responsive.
- Tell your story! Your website is your dedicated and curated online presence, one over which you have full control. What is the story you want to share with your fans? For example, if you create highly creative music videos that engage and delight your audience, then it makes sense that you would share them with potential new fans on your website.
Every musician’s website should have the following:
- An “About” page
- Press photos
- Social media
- Your Music (Watch and Listen)
- Upcoming shows
- E-Commerce Store
- An EPK (Electronic Press Kit)
- Contact information
- A newsletter subscriber capture form
Musician websites should feature the following pages:
- About (bio)
- Listen (music)
- Watch (video)
- Tour (performances)
- Subdomain Store (e-commerce, fan club, and fan experiences).
- A hidden EPK page is not linked in the main navigation and is password protected.
Many free concert listing services, such as Bandsintown or Songkick, provide integrations with these popular hosting platforms. With the integration installed, when you enter information about your events on their domains, that same information automatically populates on the tour page of your website too.
Remember: your navigation should have an easy flow, clear and definitive page names, sub-menu pages where relevant, and your social icons and newsletter subscriber capture form should feature on every page.
Then optimize your website for Google Search with your meta titles, meta descriptions (see page settings usually), and by ensuring clear page flow, meaning that every page should have an identified H1, H2, and body copy (that includes your keywords).
Pro-tip: Use your branded URL to obtain a branded email address (email@example.com), which you can use as the contact for your website and for all official artist correspondence.
Building an E-commerce site
Let’s talk about the value of an e-commerce platform. Not only does your branded URL have the potential to share your artist story with fans, capture fan data, and build audience data for marketing purposes, but it can also serve as a sales tool, helping you to grow your fan engagement opportunities and your revenue.
Some of the potential items you can sell on your e-commerce site include:
- Tickets to tours, livestreams, and other performances
- Fan club memberships
- Fan experiences
Before actively selling online, consider:
- How you’ll accept payments: Set up a payment gateway to facilitate fast, easy, and secure acceptance of payments. Paypal, Stripe, and credit card payment options are great places to start when researching your options.
- Ensuring your site is secure by purchasing an SSL certificate. Once the SSL certificate is installed on your web server, it will allow sensitive information to be shared in encrypted form, protecting your customers and you from potential threats to online security.
- Building your e-commerce website on a sub-domain A subdomain improves user navigation through a more streamlined site hierarchy. It also allows for improved audience data capture and retargeting capabilities.
- Creating pages for and linking to privacy, shipping, and refund information These pages, when easily found, help to build trust in your e-commerce offering, which will in turn facilitate sales growth.
- a referral and rewards offering. When you reward your fans for purchasing from you, they’ll have a reason to return more often. They’ll make future purchases because they’ve become loyal customers and advocates who actively refer other potential new fans and customers to your store.
Need some inspiration? Check out these artist website examples.
Once your website is built, be sure to promote it online. Share it on social media when you announce tour dates or exclusive merchandise offerings. Add the URL to your “about” information on your social media profiles or Linktree profile and use the URL in any online advertising you might run to drive traffic to your website. Congratulations! You’ve just created an engaging music website designed to impress not just your fans but industry professionals too!
Dayna Young is a music marketer with 10+ years of global experience in music, entertainment, and leading creative teams to success. As the Founder of Fred & Augustus, and FANDA she provides marketing resources for artists seeking to grow their online profile and engagement, with a focus on developing existing and new revenue streams. Ultimately, what gets her out of bed in the morning is the knowledge that she’s creating opportunities for artists.