Web design is often on of the most misunderstood subjects for musicians and bands. While many artists think a site has to be flashy, the truth is that it doesn’t have to be complicated or elaborate. It’s main goal is to be the “go-to” source of information for fans, potential fans, and anybody else who wants to know about you (like press, record labels, venues, etc.).
Your digital home base should be easy to navigate and have, at a minimum, the following components:
- A Blog/News Section – This blog can be as personal or impersonal as you want it to be (the most successful artist blogs I’ve seen might not expose the artist’s “inner feelings”, but they do at least have a personal touch that connects with fans). Your blog should give fans some insight into your journey as an artist, whether it be diary of your latest tour or a showcase of your favorite art. Pass your inspiration on to your fans and keep everyone up to date!
- A Bio – Fans, press, and anybody who wants to book your for a gig or give you some money (i.e. record labels and sponsors) are going to want to know who you are…they might as well find out from your site.
- Photos – Make them high-resolution just in case a venue or blog needs one.
- Music (duh!) and Videos – Make it easy for your fans to listen to, download, and/or buy your music from your site. Include anything from iTunes and Amazon links for purchases to zShare links for free downloads. Streaming music and videos are a must.
- Social Media Links – Connect with your fans on social networks. Link to your Facebook Fan page, MySpace Music profile, and Twitter account. (Note: You should have AT LEAST 1 of these profiles. If you don’t, start it today!)
- Contact Info – An email link or simple contact form that directs to your email address will do (I suggest using Wufoo to build a sleek HTML ready contact form).
- Email/Text Message List Signup – You should always have always have a way to contact your fans. How else will you announce your latest tour? I’m a big fan of Mailchimp. They have a great free package for starter accounts and their training videos are amazing.
- Gig Calendar – Let your fans know where you’ll be and how to get there. Also include links to ticket purchase sites.
Other great things to add to your site include video and a full-fledged merchandise store. Also, make sure your fans can spread the word about your music. TweetMeMe is a great plugin that allows fans to retweet your material with the click of a button.
This might seem like a lot of stuff for a site, but it can be achieved for relatively little money. Just make sure it’s clean and creative. Make it a place your fans will want to visit at least once a week for updates. I suggest using the WordPress platform for ease of use (if you need a host, try Host Gator [affiliate link]…it’s inexpensive and they have a one-click install option for WordPress). I also suggest searching WooThemes [affiliate link] for your blog theme. They’re easy to customize and has a huge community of users online.
If you need inspiration for your website’s design, check these concepts out: