Some of you have websites already and some of you don’t. If you don’t, you need one. Why? People want to know who you are before they reach out to develop a professional relationship. The reality is that looks are important. It’s not nice to “judge a book by it’s cover”, but in the beginning it’s really all we have to go by. If you have a professional web presence then others will take you more seriously. It is just how the world works in 2015. With that said, having a terrible website can do more damage than not having one at all. I don’t just mean aesthetically. That is a factor of course, but a terrible website can be one that lacks essential things. Below is a list of “10 must haves” for your artist and songwriter websites. Now, you may notice some established artists and songwriters who have a “landing page” site with minimal information. It’s more of a billboard. That is trendy now a days, and works for some folks who have already made their statement in the industry. But, for most of us having more of a “resume” type site is the best option.
(These are in no particular order of importance)
Songwriter Websites – Must Have #1: LOGO
Part of your overall brand is your logo. Songwriting and performing is your business, and you have to treat it like one. Most all business have a logo. It’s something for people to recognize. Subconsciously it makes them feel a certain way. It creates a first impression in their mind of what they think about you. Is this artist legitimate, or is this artist “not with it”? You can get professional logos created pretty inexpensively. I’ve put some resources at the bottom of this post. You’ll want to use your logo on everything from social media sites to show fliers. Brand consistency is important!
Example: Check out http://www.allisonveltzmusic.com
Allison’s logo is simply her name in a fresh and hip font. In my opinion, you don’t need much more than this.
Songwriter Websites – Must Have #2: TELL YOUR STORY
Why do you write songs? What are your goals? How did you start? What is your approach to songwriting? These are questions that you can answer in your bio section or “About me” page. It’s important that people know your story. Perhaps they will find something that they relate to. They’ll be more comfortable reaching out to you. Also, this is a great section on your site to list some of your accomplishments.
Songwriter Websites – Must Have #3: SAY CHEESE
Are you a creepy serial killer, a beauty queen, or just a normal dude? No one can tell unless you have a picture of yourself on your site. Not just any picture. Your photo is part of your brand. A nice high res photo of yourself is something that you should show right when people land on your site. I recommend not using low quality photos or Instagram selfies. It won’t look like you care.
Again, refer to Allison Veltz’s site.. It’s been around a professional photo of her. http://www.allisonveltzmusic.com
Songwriter Websites – Must Have #4: MUSIC!
If you are a songwriter that has a website with no music than are you really a songwriter? Visitors won’t have any way of knowing. Your music should be one of the first things people see on your home page. If not, it should be very clear where they can go to hear it (such as a separate page for your music). The easiest thing to do is upload some music to a Sound Cloud page. Then you can embed your Sound Cloud player on your website. Sound Cloud is also an awesome way to network with people and find new music, but we’ll chat more about that in another post.
Songwriter Websites – Must Have #5: A CALENDAR
This is important for those of you that perform. If an industry professional is interested in your music then they will most likely want to see you do it live. They want to see if it is real. Have a show schedule that is easy to find on your page. www.songkick.com and www.reverbnation.com provide tools to help you do this.
Songwriter Websites – Must Have #6: MAILING LIST
Having a mailing list is the easiest way to stay in touch with everyone in your circle. You can let people know about new songs, shows, news, etc. It keeps you on the forefront of people’s minds. I recommend using www.mailchimp.com because it is easy to use and free up until you have a large amount of subscribers.
Songwriter Websites – Must Have #7: BLOG!
Blogging is a great way to build a fan base and connect with people. You can blog about anything. Your music, your interests, whatever! That’s the beauty about your blog. It’s yours. Be consistent with your posting. It shows people that you are active. This is important. For example, if someone comes to our site and notices that the blog hasn’t been touched in a year then they probably won’t have much faith that we are a credible website. Most web platforms now-a-days have blog platforms built in.
Songwriter Websites – Must Have #8: BASIC INFORMATION
This seems like a given, but you need to include the essentials. Give clear instructions on how visitors can contact you. Maybe you have a separate email for fans and one for business dealings. If so, tell people. Also, include the city you live in. People want to know where are from and the city you represent. Sometimes I come across an awesome songwriter online, but have no idea where they are from. It’s a bummer. I’m curious. Are they in Nashville? Austin? But, If I come across one in Nashville or Los Angeles then I reach out to them because we have a connection point. I recommend putting your contact info right on your home page so that it is clear to see.
Songwriter Websites – Must Have #9: SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS
Nowadays, social media is the easiest way for us to all stay connected. Make sure that you have links to your social media sites on your site so that interested visitors have a way to keep up with you. Again, check out Alison’s website example above. Her social media links are clearly laid out at the bottom of her site.
Songwriter Websites – Must Have #10: VIDEOS
We live in a visual world, and people love watching videos. Create videos of you performing, working on your craft, talking about your craft, interview a fellow songwriter, etc etc. The options are endless. Videos are another great way for people to get to know you and see your personality.
There you have it. 10 must haves for your website. How does yours stack up? It’s 2015. Have an awesome website! If you are lost when it comes to web design then there are some great resources for you..
For you serious folks, www.12southmusic.com is who we recommend for branding and web development for musicians. They designed the awesome site for Alison Vetz used in the examples above. If you want to try the D.I.Y. route then I recommend www.squarespace.com because it is affordable and has really fresh looking templates.
If you have any additional “must haves” then please feel free to add them in the comment section below!