Designing Music Websites for Musicians, Bands, Artists

by Matt @ Kurb on December 11, 2008

We’re designing websites! We’re designing a lot websites for bands, musicians, artists, entertainers, right now.

If you need graphic design, web design, it’s all part of our online music marketing packages. All your design and online marketing sorted, starting from US$500 for 3 months. email me, Matt – kurbpromo@gmail.com

I’ve talked about some of what you need to be aware of when setting up your music website, but right now I’m talking about what I’m doing to get artists sites up and running and doing what they need to do.

A lot of the artists I work with don’t have a website that is up to standard. Your website must look professional – or at least purposeful – if you’re going to be taken seriously.

Branding is important, that is creating powerful messages about what you represent that fans will engage with – but the whole purpose of our artist’s website is . . . liberty, baby.

On the artist’s website, we are at liberty to conduct our music business as we see fit.

If a musician wants to run a blog, we will run a blog.

If the band wants to host a gallery of pictures and or video than we shall.

If we choose to charge for content, we will charge as we deign necessary. If we want to give it away free, then we can and we will.

If an entertainer should choose to add ad supported revenue to our site then we will. We might run adsense, we might choose our own ad network, we might choose to promote an affiliate offer.

An artist might decide on infinite iterations of physical and digital products and services that can be provided digitally that they choose to monetize their content.

A musician must have access to fan emails so that they can manage their list effectively.

An act may decide on a new model form which to leverage the value of their content and their brand, such as a membership area, subscription service or a “fan float” fan supported model.

A band must be given the right to choose how they interact with their fans, and to develop that to meet the needs of the times.

The only way you’re going to create true independence, is by establishing your own web properties.

That’s right, properties. I’m not playing any more, it’s almost 2009, a serious act isn’t going to be developing one property. That’s not smart investment. You’ll be developing multiple niche sites along side your flagship official brand heavy site. That’s if you’re wanting to make money from this.

So I’ve talked about why bands need to build their own website and given you an idea of what we’re trying to attempt.

But how do we go into it and start a bands website from scratch?

Here’s what I’m doing with the artists I provide music marketing and online promotions for.

We start with a solid framework, which consists of three parts:

The landing page or squeeze page – this is not the “home” page. This is an action page where we bring the principles of internet marketing to bear. If your website is your shop, then think of this page as the counter.

This is where our ultimate effort lies, to bring new fans to this page. For . . . there is no escape.

Your new fan will be given three options and only three, and it’s an offer no fan can resist.

1: They are offered the opportunity to accept the primary proposition of paying for your music. Buy the CD Now. Get a “Twofer” (means 2-for-1. Don’t you love it when I talk like a real ad man?). Join the membership site now for $17 and download our whole back catalogue. Do a special offer. Do something.

2: They can have a FREE mp3. They can either have it, or not.

And

3: The final resort is to sign up for email updates. Glorious email updates with exclusive access to . . . something. Get them to join your list. Get emails. That is what we’re trying to do. At this point in the game, you’re building your list. Don’t start making big plans until you’ve got 1000 names on that list.

At this point don;t start dreaming about how many of your CD’s you’re going to sell because we are building an email collecting machine. We want those emails.

The purpose of the landing page is focus on outcome. It’s not about branding or anything else it’s pure sales. All our other efforts are driving new fans to this page, so this page is one where we’ll be extremely focused on gauging results

The Blog – Do you know what a blog is for? WordPress is a blogging platform. It allows you to publish content quickly, neatly and efficiently online. As in you, the artist. No webmaster, no frickin file transfer protocol, just you logging into your blog and publishing to your channel. The artist keeps the channel updated with content, while the blog platform will format your new content so it connects nicely with the rest of your site, which is where your marketing team can begin promoting your “feed”. This means literally your RSS Feed by which you can syndicate your content out to fans and other outlets/nodes, but it also means your marketing team will be able to respond to that content and pick it up and really leverage it for benefits that come back to building your websites popularity.

So basically, blogging is a technique where artists can publish regular content easily, and this helps marketing and promotions efforts online to be more effective.

The Actual Site – So this leaves your traditional site, or what I could call the “museum”. Where you put eveything you put so your site looks like a real musicians site. It’s okay if your website is a museum. Y’know. You can walk around and look at stuff (“about” or “bio” “”discography” or “releases” etc.) but you can’t really touch anything. Oh except for the gift shop. But museums are alright. People want to walk around and learn more about you, so you’ve got to curate this exhibit of your talent and perhaps more importantly, your brand, to represent – articulate – the message of what you’re all about.

But this is where you’ve got to think outside the box. Not immediately, but eventually. You want to interact with your fans in a meaningful way. You want to build the experience for them. Yes initially it’s about creating the social proof that your web design and presentation standards are high enough to create engagement, present and convey your brand, and that you have the character worthy of a professional musician.

To successfully communicate those branding messages is the role of the traditional site, but your goal in developing your site for the future is pushing that beyond traditional because positive interactions are the most valuable branding experience. Sure your flagship content – your bio, etc. your archives of info for the fans obsessed must be solid, but beyond that you’re attempting to use the technology of the web in new ways to facilitate more and more efficient interactions between not only you and your fans, but as you grow, building a community where your markeitng and branding sustains itself through fans and enthusiasts interactng with each other.
So in the beginning, you’re building the “email collecting machine”. That’s how you start off.

Giving out free stuff, collecting emails, maybe selling something here and there as you write your blog, and post content.

We build a landing page so we can focus on those outcomes, we create a blog so we can publish content and initiate a platform to interact, as well as leverage content for promotion.

And that’s pretty much what I think about building a basic website for a music act. If you want to go beyond that, and you will if you want to get serious, you’re going to have to start paying me! No, I’m serious!

I am! email me Matt, kurbpromo@gmail.com

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