Even if you’re just trying to pay some grocery bills, you’ll want to invest in making a name for you or your group. Nothing says “professional” more than having a website! It shows that you’ve put a lot of time and thought into your brand.
Make no mistake – trying to make a living as a musical artist is the same as being a business owner.
Here are some great resources, tips, and ways you can make money as a musician by establishing your very own website.
Choose Your CMS
A CMS, or Content Management Platform, is what allows you to build your website. Unless you want to code your website from scratch – if you even know how to – then you’re going to need to choose a platform that allows you to easily insert text, graphics, videos, modules, and so on.
There are three big players in the website-building space:
WordPress: This is an open-source CMS that’s been developed by the public for over 20 years. Originally intended as a blogging platform, it has expanded to launch hundreds of software and plugin companies that develop tools just for this platform. More conveniently, there are hundreds of thousands of themes, both free and paid, that can help you build your website with ease. To build a WordPress site, you’re going to need to purchase your domain from websites like Dreamhost, and you can even host your website there too!
Squarespace: This platform offers incredibly modern, easy-to-build websites for an affordable price. They offer a suite of different packages for your needs – you most likely will only need the basic package. You can either purchase a domain name and point it to Squarespace, or both buy your domain and host it with them as well.
Wix: This platform is similar to Squarespace but offers less than Squarespace in terms of features. However, the pricing isn’t as high – you get what you pay for! You may remember the Wix commercials from YouTube or floating around via Facebook ads.
Designing Your Website
When you’re building a brand, you don’t want to copy another musician or group’s website. You should come up with your logo – something that will let fans remember you, placed on your cover art or music videos – and prominently display in the top of your site.
If you need some inspiration, here are some fantastic examples:
When you’re building your website, there are several elements that almost every music website has prominently displayed; these may vary depending on how active you or your group is:
- Latest News: If your fans are active and keep up with what you’re doing, it’s important to keep listeners updated with upcoming tours, album and single releases, and even behind-the-scenes events.
- Upcoming Shows and Events: This should also be placed by itself in its own category; you’ll notice that on some of these sites that their upcoming performances are displayed right on the front page of the website.
- Blog: Keeping up with an active blog is important, especially to your fans; they love feeling like their a part of your musical journey! You may need to brush up on your grammar – no one wants to read a blog with run-on sentences and spelling errors!
- Merchandise: This is one of the big money-makers for any musician! If your listeners are loyal, they will purchase t-shirts, keychains, hats, and other memorabilia that show their love for your music and your brand.
- Media: Content such as pictures, videos and other rich media content will help to bring your website to life and keep your visitors entertained.
- Story and Bio: New fans of your music may want to know more about you, your band, and/or the members of your group. Help your fans get to know who you are outside of your role as a musician and make yourself relatable!
- Community Forum: Some websites sport an internal community chat on their website, and this is extremely valuable because it allows your fans to talk about their excitement, things they wish you would be doing with your music or places to tour, and other important information.
- Mailing List: By getting your fans to sign up for a mailing list – a common practice for almost every serious website out there – you will be able to send your fans email updates, newsletters, and sales emails.
There are many other elements you can incorporate on your website, of course, but these are some of the essential elements you should create and place throughout your site.
Just as many blogs have integrated advertisements onto their website, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to add them to yours as well!
When you’ve established a large fanbase and have increased visitor traffic to your website, one great way to bring in passive income is to embed paid advertisements on your site as a publisher.
There are many platforms to help you accomplish this, but below are some of the most popular:
Your musician website should incorporate features that not only help establish you or your music group as professionals, but also monetizes itself and collects listener information to give yourself an edge.