I recently read an article that was titled “The 5 tips…”, or maybe it was “…6 tips for creating a band website that works”, I can’t remember the exact title. As I was reading, it seemed like a good enough article. Then I got to the end and realized they left out what is probably the most important aspect of any band website! (More on that in a second).
Then I curiously began googling around the web looking for more articles on what elements people were recommending as the basics for an independent musician’s website. I found several more articles and lists missing this same basic and vital element!
So, I figured it was about time to put out my own short and sweet post together on the Minimum Viable Website for Independent Musicians, or Band Websites that REALLY work!
“Minimum viable website” simply means if you can only have 7 basic elements in your website, pick these seven things:
1. A way for people to listen to your music…right there on your website!
This is the element that was missing from several articles I read, and I’ve seen plenty of actual band websites with no place to listen to their music.
If people think this is so obvious that they don’t need to list it in their “Top 10 things to have on your music website” article, they are sorely mistaken.
Remember, a link to your Soundcloud page or your music on Spotify doesn’t count. You should have an actual music player on the first page of your website so that anyone visiting can simply click the play button and hear your music. Don’t bury it three pages deep. Don’t link to another website. Your music is your product. Don’t hide your product! Display it proudly and prominently!
2. A way for people to download/buy your music.
Where can they buy it? Direct from your site, on Bandcamp, iTunes? Wherever you want them to go to buy it, make sure they can easily find a path there from your website.
3. A way to get in contact with someone that represents the band or musician.
Whether that is you, another band member, your manager, a booking agent, or the drummer’s mom, please make sure there is at least an email address. Please?
4. A way to sign up to your email list.
I think at this point, it’s pretty widely accepted that email lists are important and one of the best ways to stay in touch with your fans. Make it easy. Give something away, like a free MP3 or even a whole EP to get people to sign up.
5.A photo of the band/musicians or latest album artwork.
Have at least one large and prominent photo on your website. Try to use a high quality image.
I think this one intimidates some people but you don’t have to write a best selling novel here. Just be sure not to ignore this element completely.
More than ever, people don’t just want your music, they want to know things about you. Where are you from? How long have you been playing? Who influences you? Inquiring minds want to know!
Write a bio. It’s important.
7. Your own domain name.
Mybandname.bandcamp.com doesn’t work. Mybandname.wordpress.com doesn’t work. Mybandname.com works.
That’s it. Those are the six elements of the “minimum viable website.” Every website for every band and every musician that has recorded music that they want the world to hear should have these six things on their site. No excuses!
Obviously, there are many other elements to consider that should be in your site: social media links, a blog, electronic press kit, videos, song lyrics, tour dates, photos from gigs, etc. But that’s not what this article was about.
This was the minimum viable website post. I hope it helped.