I recently went looking for a friend’s band website and found that they didn’t have one anymore. This is a band that was once on a label, released multiple albums, toured internationally, and just successfully crowdfunded a new album on GoFundMe. I was shocked that they did not have their own website! I can’t emphasize enough how important your website is. This is your online home and should be the base camp for everything you do on the web. Just having a Facebook page, Twitter account, Instagram account, etc. is not enough. Owning your own little slice of the internet is well worth the price.
Why do I need a website?
Having your own website allows you to have control over your online presence. It is really the one place where you can do whatever you want to do with how your fan interacts with your band online. Social media sites like Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, etc. all have their way of delivering your content to THEIR customers. Remember that people visiting social media are THEIR customers more than they are your fans. Plus, you don’t have control over how those sites look, work, or the rules on how they deliver your content.
Have you noticed how often social media platforms change how they work? It is annoying because you have to relearn how they all work over and over. Worst yet, those websites that were the biggest thing since sliced bread could be gone tomorrow. Remember MYSPACE?
Your website is under your control and you decide when to change things up. You have complete control over how it looks, what to include, and what you want the fan experience to be like when they visit.
The first thing you need is a domain name.
The domain name is your website’s address on the internet. I recommend trying to get your band’s name if possible. I also recommend trying to use the .com extension if possible because that seems to be the most memorable. For example, http://www.yourband.com. When I went to register my band’s domain, I could not use that exact formula. It was already taken. My band, Mojo Radio, ended up using www.mojoradiomusic.com instead. This was still close enough to our band’s name to remain memorable when mentioned to people. Adding another word like music or band is a good option since those words are related to what you are. Try to get something that is memorable and describes your band.
You buy your domain name from a domain registrar like GoDaddy or Hover. They have tools that allow you to search for domain names that are still available. This will cost you about $15 a year. Remember my friend’s band? Well, I looked up their domain name and it looks like they let it expire. Even worse than that, somebody else now owes that domain name.
Next, you need to find somebody to host your website.
Now that you have a name, you need to rent space online to put your website. You can find places that will allow you to do this for free, but I don’t recommend you go that route. These free hosts will more than likely put ads all over your site. This will distract from what you want your fans to see when they visit your band’s home on the web. Hosting is really not too expensive, so it really doesn’t make sense to try to cut corners here. There are services like Squarespace, WordPress, GoDaddy, and Bandzoogle that offer web hosting. The cost here ranges depending on your needs. I would say an average of $10-20 a month for hosting is common. Sometimes you get a deal if you pay for a full year in advance.
*TIP – Bandzoogle offers a discount to ASCAP members.
How do I make a website?
Some of the hosting services mentioned above also allow you to easily create a website from scratch. I learned the hard way to create a website in the 90s by learning HTML and doing the code one line at a time. This was tedious, and you usually had a few errors allow the way. If you didn’t like coding, then you paid somebody who did to build your website. These days services like Squarespace, WordPress, and Bandzoogle use interfaces that allow you to build your website quickly and easily. Just drag and drop components into place and you’re done. No coding! Well, unless you want to. The best part is you don’t need to pay somebody to build your website, and you can change things easily any time you want to.
What about all the other online entities I already have?
There is no reason to abandon all the other online accounts you have now that you have a website. In fact, you can direct people to those other things like Facebook, Twitter, etc. from your website. Don’t forget to put your website address on all of your social media sites in turn. You want to be where people are at like social media, but you also want to direct them back to your website where you have the final say.
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