I’ve looked through hundreds of band websites, from the professional sites designed by high-tech designers to the free sites you’ll find at MySpace or Facebook. From this research, I’ve learned a few simple techniques to designing a website that serves its purpose. There are two purposes to every band website: first, to sell your band; and second, to sell your CDs or digital downloads. If your website does any less, you are selling yourself short. So let’s get started with 12 hot tips on how you can turn your website into a money maker.
1. KIS. Keep it simple. Websites should not be flashy. You can try to impress people with killer graphics and dazzling animation, but all you are doing is limiting the number of fans who will visit your website. I can’t tell you how many times I stopped trying to surf a website that opened up with some fancy FLASH or gave you a blank page with a pop-up. That’s popular with the Major Labels, but more surfers find it necessary to use pop-up stoppers because too many people use pop-ups to deliver SPAM.
2. Use consistent navigation. It doesn’t ultimately matter where you put your navigation bar, but be consistent. Place it at the side or top of the page and give it quick and easy access. Also realize that search engines need clear and easy paths if they are going to navigate your website, and search engine traffic is something every website should try to gain.
3. Know your market. You can’t be all things to all people, so focus on a niche. If you play death metal music, cater each page to that style of music. Submit your website to those websites that link to that market. Exchange links with bands in your niche market.
4. Include your contact information. Just like with regular press kits, your website should be packed full of contact information for your band, including a booking phone number, a mailing address, fax number if possible, and an email address. Nothing is more frustrating than having to search a website just to find the owner’s email address. Post your contact info at the bottom of every page of your site, along with your email address. Offer the option to send from a form AND a hot linked email address easily found on your pages.
5. Keep graphics to reasonable size. I have high-speed internet access, but the vast majority of the world does not. Most of those who don’t, don’t want to have to wait two minutes for your graphics to load. Optimize your graphics so that they are under 30k, and your visitors will be even happier with your band when they get to the music and information in a reasonable amount of time.
6. Add a newsletter. If you don’t have a newsletter, you’re selling yourself short. Many folks don’t buy immediately. They wait until the time is right. Encourage your visitors to sign up by offering incentives like free MP3s, discounts on a CD, free ringtones or notification of upcoming gigs. Send out your newsletter on a regular basis to get your visitors excited about learning more about YOU. Use RSS feeds to easily allow for subscription to your latest news.
7. Regularly Add content. People need a reason to come back to visit you, or they may forget about you. Include regular news updates on your site, a journal, chat room, or discussion board. Build a sense of community so that your visitors will want to come back again and again.
8. Get a domain name. I know you don’t want to spend a lot of money on a website, but a domain name is essential for any professional band, and you can purchase one as for as little as $10 per year these days.
9. Use META Tags. It seems that more and more people are forgetting to use META tags on their web pages. Despite the fact that search engines no longer weigh them heavily in their algorithms, they are still used to determine how well your site will rank.
10. Make it easy to accept payment. If you don’t take credit cards on your website, you are losing sales! There are still a lot of great ways to accept payment through credit cards. Paypal, for example, allows you to setup a simple customizable store on your website, and best of all they only take a very miniscule piece of the sale. Customers do not need to have a Paypal account to order.
11. Content, Content, Content. If you’ve been to any marketing websites, you will have heard how important relevant content is for your website. This remains as important now as it as ever was. Good content on your website will sell your music products. This might mean streaming or downloadable MP3s, articles about your style of music, reviews of bands playing your style of music, or great ad copy that will sell your products. Great content is what makes a great website. If there is information or resources that are useful, you will develop repeat visitors. This will ultimately result in increased sales.
12. Add a Links page. Many websites require you to add a reciprocal link from your website in order to be added to theirs. Make sure you set up a links page to trade links with other websites.
While you won’t see instant success by implementing these steps, you will begin to see increased traffic and increased sales. This will begin to move you in the right direction of turning your music into a profitable musical career. For more details about online marketing for you or your band, visit http://madison-niche-marketing.com/specials/musician-specials/
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