Whether you’re looking to improve your current site, or making a website for your music for the first time, this comprehensive guide will show you how to create an effective website that will impress both your fans and industry professionals.
Here’s how to make a website for your music:
Note: You can download a pdf version of this guide here.
Why you need a music website
You might be asking yourself whether musicians still even need a website in the age of social media. The short answer is: Yes.
It’s more important than ever to have a professional website that you own and control. Here’s why:
1. You own the address
With your own website, you’re guaranteed to own that little slice of the Internet. Social media platforms come and go, but your fans and the industry will always be able to find you at your official website address.
2. You own the experience
With your own music website, you have complete control over the design and branding of your site. Unlike with social media platforms, there are no design limits, no sudden changes, and no distractions like ads and links encouraging visitors to click away.
3. You earn more money by selling music and merch directly to fans
We’ll cover this is more detail later in this post, but if you’re selling music or merch, having your own website is even more critical. You get to keep more of the revenue (100% with Bandzoogle!) by selling directly to your fans.
Plus, your fans can join your mailing list when shopping from your online store. You can then let them know about new albums, tours, crowdfunding campaigns, and more.
4. You own the data
With your website you get detailed data on your fans. That data can help you book shows, decide what merch to sell, and more.
But more than data, you also own your fan list. There's no “export list of fans” option on social networking sites because they own that database. Remember, your list of fan emails is a very valuable tool. It allows you to maintain direct communication with your fans.
Still not convinced? Check out 10 reasons why you need a website
How to create your music website
We’ll start off this guide with the most fun part: creating the design for your website. There are many elements that go into the design, including the website template, colors, fonts, and imagery.
When choosing a template to start your website’s design, you’ll want to consider a few things:
Header image layout
Do you want a large horizontal space for your header image? Or something that fits portrait images? Do you want plenty of room to add a call-to-action with text and a button? Or maybe you prefer to have a large background image, with content scrolling on top of that.
To really grab the attention of visitors coming to your website, you can also consider using a header slideshow or a video header.
Where do you want your website’s navigation menu to be? Above the header image, or below? Or you might prefer to have a vertical sidebar menu.
Will there be plenty of room for your content on the page? Will you be adding sections with backgrounds (image-heavy), and adding several features per row, with sidebars, music players, and more?
Website template colors
You might choose a website template based on its colors. If you’re not planning to do a lot of customization, then going with a template that fits your brand right out of the box is a great option.
With Bandzoogle’s website templates, the designs are fully customizable. Our designers create beautiful templates that you can start using right away, and they include neutral versions that are suitable for any genre. With any template, you can customize all of the colors, buttons, menu, fonts, and more, to really make it your own.
If you really want to get creative and start with a blank canvas, you can choose one of our blank website templates.
Is the website template mobile-friendly?
Google actually punishes sites in search that aren’t mobile-friendly, so you’ll also want to make sure that whichever template you choose is responsive. This means that it will adapt to look great on any screen, including desktop, tablets, and mobile devices.
All of Bandzoogle’s website templates are responsive, so there’s no need to build separate versions of your site for desktop and mobile!
Are you building a one page website?
One important consideration when choosing the template for your website: are you building a site with multiple pages, or a one page website that has all of the content on a single page? This might affect what kind of template you choose, because with a one page site you’ll want a nice wide content area and the ability to add sections and section background images.
Build a professional website in just a few clicks where you can sell music and merch commission-free! Sign up free with Bandzoogle now.
Choosing the color scheme for your website can be a lot like choosing the colors for your album cover. You’ll need to make sure that your website’s colors work well with your music and your brand.
With Bandzoogle’s Visual Editor, you can save up to 12 different custom color swatches to apply to your design. While it can be tempting to go with a lot of different colors, as a general rule you’ll want to stick to 3 main colors to keep the look consistent and professional: a primary brand color, a secondary color, and an accent color.
If you’re not sure where to start, pick a few colors out of your main image or your newest album cover to keep your banding consistent.
The first step is to decide on your primary brand color. Once you do that, you can check out a color wheel to help find complementary colors. like the Adobe Color CC.
You’re likely going to have a lot of text on your website, from your blog posts, Bio page, EPK, and more. So your main content font should be simple and clear, making the text easy to read. Fonts with curls, swirls, or jagged edges may look fun, but are unprofessional and hard to read in paragraphs of text.
Bandzoogle’s designers have carefully chosen fonts for each template, but you can of course change them or even upload your own custom font.
To make sure your text is legible, choose a color that stands out from your website’s background. Black on white is the classic example, but mostly any dark color on a lighter background will be good for legibility.
It’s also important to keep the typography on your website consistent. Choose one content font and color and use that throughout your site pages. Also avoid using all caps for body text (don’t shout at people!), and use bold and italics sparingly to keep text looking neat.
Only use professional photos for your website
It might be tempting to use some shots taken with a phone. This should be avoided - if the photos aren’t optimized properly, are badly cropped, or display blurry, it will create a negative impression of you (and your music).
It’s definitely worth the time and investment to get professional photos of yourself or your band. You’ll use these photos in many places on your website, including:
- Header photo
- Header slideshow
- Background images
- Section background images
- Bio page
- EPK page
- Photo galleries
Plus, you’ll also need professional photos for your social profiles and promotional content.
If you don’t have professional photos, or if you’re more of a behind-the-scenes type like a producer or composer, then using high quality stock images is a good option.
Whether you’re using your own professional photos or stock images, be sure to check out this post from Bandzoogle’s Lead Designer on how to make the most of your images using our built-in design tools and image filters: Theme Editor Pro Tips: How to Give Your Website a Fresh New Look
When you’re designing your website, one of the most important decisions you’ll need to make is what menu options to have, and how to organize them. Here are some key points to keep in mind when mapping out the navigation:
Make navigating your website easy
When deciding on your menu options, it’s important to make navigating your website as easy as possible for everyone who visits your site.
To accomplish this, it’s best to limit your main menu options to about 8 choices. More than that and it starts to get messy. Having just 5 or 6 main menu buttons is fine. Any less, though, and you’re likely leaving out key information and content from your site, or some of the pages will end up being too cluttered.
Have one clear purpose per page or section
When creating your menu options, a good rule to follow is to have one clear purpose per section of your website. So your Bio page (or section) should focus on your bio. Don’t add a store or events calendar where you want visitors to focus on your story as an artist.
Keep the names simple
When naming your main menu buttons, remember to keep it simple. People have very short attention spans, and not a lot of time. If they have to guess at what content might be in a certain section of your site because the name is fancy/cute, chances are they’re going to skip it altogether.
So stick to page names like “About”, “Music”, “Shows”, “Store”, and avoid vague names like “Experience”, “Discover”, “My World”, etc. Better to leave that creative energy on the content of the page for visitors to read once they’ve clicked the menu item.
Here are the essential pages or sections to include on your website:
Your Homepage is arguably the most important page on your website as it’s where people most often land first. This is where you can guide visitors to the information you want them to see, and what action you want them to take.
An effective Homepage should have the following elements:
Great header image
Strong call-to-action (to sign up to your mailing list, or to buy your latest album)
Social media links
If you’re making a one page website, then you won’t have a Homepage because all your content will be on the same page. In this case, you should still have a great header image, then your most important content and call-to-action at the top of the page.
For a more detailed look at designing an effective Homepage, check out How to Build the Perfect Homepage for Your Band Website
Next up is your ‘About’ or ‘Bio’ page. This is important for potential new fans to get to know your background, as well as for media and industry people to read your story.
On this page you can have several versions of your bio (long and short), as conferences, festivals and media outlets have different needs for artist information. It’s also a good place to add a different photo of your or or band.
For some tips on writing a bio, check out How to Write an Effective Musician Bio (with examples!)
When it comes to having music on your website, having a sitewide music player or embedding a player on your Homepage isn’t enough. Your website is your main hub on the Internet. If there’s any place that fans should be able to find all of your music, lyrics, and album info, it’s on your own website.
On your Music page, don’t just send fans away to iTunes or Amazon to buy your music. You should have ecommerce set up on your own site where you can offer digital downloads for purchase. This way you get to keep the majority of the revenue plus collect their email addresses for your Mailing List campaigns.
With Bandzoogle’s music players, you can:
Sell digital albums, EPs, and individual tracks, commission-free
Upload tracks directly, or import your tracks with our SoundCloud or Dropbox integrations
Add lyrics to each song
Set custom preview clips
Set the price
Offer free downloads
Offer free downloads in exchange for an email address
Let fans pay what they want
Report sales to SoundScan
Accept album pre-orders
Offer sale prices on albums and songs
Easily share albums and songs to Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms
You should also include physical options like CDs or vinyl, and offer signed versions for those items for your super fans. With Bandzoogle’s Store feature, you can sell physical items commission-free, put items on sale, track inventory, and more.
For more advice on creating your Music page: How To Create a Perfect Page to Sell Music on Your Website
If you perform live, another essential element to have on your website is a ‘Shows’ or ‘Tour’ section. Make it easy for fans to get info about your upcoming gigs, with details on showtimes, cover charges, opening bands, and the venue.
This is also a great page to showcase one of your best live videos so fans (and bookers) can get a taste of what to expect if they come see your show.
If you want to sell tickets to your shows online (and commission-free!), you can do that with Bandzoogle’s Events feature. When a fan buys a ticket to your show, they’ll get a printable ticket by email and you'll get a guest list to give to the door person at the venue.
It’s no secret that fans love to look at photos of their favorite bands. So be sure to include a ‘Photos’ section, which will also help keep fans browsing your website longer.
To help organize your photos, create different galleries for promo shots, live photos, fan photos, etc. You can also connect your Instagram feed using Bandzoogle’s Instagram Gallery feature to keep the content on this page fresh.
One common mistake on music websites is to simply send people away to YouTube to watch videos. In doing that, you’re sending them to a site that is filled with distractions, ads, and lots of unrelated videos to watch.
Instead, create a ‘Videos’ section on your site and embed your best videos there. This allows you to curate which videos people see, because there might be hundreds of live videos filmed by fans on YouTube that might not best represent your band.
If there’s any place online that fans should be able to buy your merch, it’s through your website. As with selling your music, selling merch directly to your fans means you not only get most of the money (100% using the Bandzoogle Store Feature), you also get their email addresses to keep in touch with those fans over the long term.
Some quick tips for setting up your Store page:
Keep the page simple and easy to navigate. If it’s messy people might leave the page without making a purchase.
Have at least one image for each item in your Store.
Add context: describe each item and explain why your fans will love it.
Add a clear way to contact you. When people are shopping online, they want to know that they can easily contact the seller if they have any questions.
For merch ideas and more details on setting up your online store, check out The Ultimate Guide to Selling Band Merch Online
Last but not least, make sure to include a ‘Contact’ page on your site. Some people bury contact info in the footer of their site, but it’s best to make it easy for site visitors to get in touch with you, especially considering media or industry professionals.
So, create a specific ‘Contact’ page and include info on how best to reach you for booking, media inquiries, and fan correspondence. To avoid spam bots, use a custom form rather than having your email address listed on the page. You can also add your social links and a mailing list sign-up form to this section.
If you’re actively promoting a new album or looking to book more gigs, have a specific EPK or Press Kit section to centralize information for media and bookers. With an EPK page they can quickly find all the details they need.
Here are the essential elements to include in your EPK:
Bio: Media and venues have different needs for bios, so it’s a good idea to include a few different versions (at least one short and one long) so that they can easily use the bio that works for them.
Photos: Include your official promo photos, with vertical and horizontal options, as well as black & white versions. You can also include your album cover artwork for music reviewers.
Music: Have your latest music available to listen to, with a few tracks set up for free download. In case a reviewer wants your full album, include clear information on who they can contact to get a copy.
Video: Embed a few of your best videos to encourage your EPK readers to watch a high-quality video that best represents your band.
Press/reviews: Of course, you’ll need to add some press to your Press Kit. Post links to your best reviews and interviews alongside the best quote from each review.
Notable achievements: If you’ve won any awards, charted on radio, had your songs placed in movies/TV/ads, or performed at noteworthy festivals or conferences, include this information in your EPK.
Contact: Include detailed information on how to get in touch with you, your publicist, or booking agent. You can also add your social media links so bookers and media can quickly check out your social profiles.
Catch the attention of industry & media with a professional digital press kit integrated onto your own Bandzoogle website in minutes. Sign up free now!
If you’re promoting something in the short term like a new album or song release, you can add this information to an Intro or “splash” page on your website. This will focus your visitors’ attention on a specific call-to-action.
Be strategic about this “splash” page, though, because an ineffective one can hurt your site traffic. If the first page of your website is an Intro page, there isn’t a lot of content to let search engines know how your site is relevant to search queries, which can hurt your site’s ranking. Plus, it can be annoying for repeat visitors to have to keep clicking through to get to your main site.
The better option is to set up your Homepage with a clean layout and a clear call-to-action. If you do decide to add an intro page to your website, it should be temporary and focused on a time-sensitive call-to-action.
In certain cases, you’ll have information that doesn’t fit into your main menu options but is related to them. This is where a sub-menu option, or sub-page, can be useful.
For example, if you want to have all the lyrics for your songs on your website, you could make that a sub-menu option of your ‘Music’ page. If you’ve decided to have a ‘Media’ item in your menu instead of separate ‘Photos’ and ‘Videos’ sections, you can set those up as subpages of ‘Media’ in your site menu.
Use sub-pages sparingly, though. You want to keep navigation as simple as possible, and having too many sub-menus can make navigating your site a confusing experience.
With all Bandzoogle Plans, you get a free custom domain and hosting included. So you don’t have to worry about registering a domain somewhere else, or paying for hosting through a different company. And if you already own a domain, you can of course easily point that domain to the site you build with Bandzoogle.
Having a custom domain name means owning a little slice of the Internet for your music and your brand. Even with other domain extensions available, registering a “.com” is still the clear standard. So, ideally you can find yourbandname.com, but if it’s not available, you can consider yourbandnamemusic.com, yourbandnameband.com, etc.
For more tips about choosing a website domain, check out: How to choose a domain name for your music website
Setting Up Email
Along with your custom domain, it’s a good idea to create an email address using your domain. This gives you an address that’s custom only to you and allows you to stay on brand. It also looks more professional!
You can set up custom email inboxes through Bandzoogle for $14.95 per inbox, per year. For more information on setting up a custom email address, check out: 6 reasons you should have a custom band email address
To help drive traffic to your website you’ll need to make sure that fans can find it easily in search engine results. This is where SEO (search engine optimization) comes into play.
SEO is free, and is a very effective tool used by millions of businesses to drive traffic to their websites. For musicians it’s a great way to get more fans engaged, listening to your music, and exploring your content. But, it can feel complicated and time consuming to learn.
If you’re interested in optimizing your website for SEO, we took all of our SEO advice and created this quick checklist: SEO Checklist for Musicians
If you’re looking to dive into the details for everything found in that checklist, download our comprehensive free eBook: Complete Guide to SEO for Musicians
More resources to help make your website
While this guide provided a solid foundation to help build a website for your music, if you’re looking for more tips, check out these free resources:
[WEBINAR] Custom Website Design Tips & Tricks
[VIDEO] Getting Started with Bandzoogle
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