The Bandzoogle Blog

10 years of advice, inspiration and resources for musicians navigating the new music industry.

How To Create a Perfect Page to Sell Music on Your Website

How To Create a Perfect Page to Sell Music on Your Website

What is key to a great music website? An engaging, easy to scan, music page, with lots of songs to listen to. It should reflect who you are as a musician, and offer lots of options for your listeners in an organized way.

Remember, people are visiting your website to hear your music - so make it easy to listen to!

You've set up your perfect Homepage now, and added a great band bio page - time to tackle the music page to start selling music online!

Music, and more music

Make sure you have music on this page that’s easy to listen to. Add a track list, an album, or some singles and make it clear how to press play and listen, right away.

While you should have your full discography available to sell online, you don’t have to stream your entire catalogue. You can pick some songs to play in full, or set up preview clips.

Ron Block Music page

Include some free music

Offering a few free digital downloads is a great way to build your fanbase. Often, someone will download a song just because it’s free. Then they’ll listen to it and come back for more once they know they like it.

Even better, offer a few tracks in exchange for an email address. An email address is the most effective way to keep in contact with your fans to sell your music, and is well worth exchanging a song for!

[Why Email Newsletters Are Still a Vital Marketing Tool for Musicians]

Include lyrics

With digital downloads and streaming, gone are the album/CD jackets with lyrics, but many fans still want to find the lyrics somewhere. So on your Music page, be sure to also include lyrics for your songs (this can be easily done within our "Album" feature).

Another option is to create a "Lyrics" submenu page for your Music section and post all of your lyrics there. Just make sure that fans can find them on your website!

Gothard Sisters Music Page

Offer music for sale

Front and center on any music page should be digital downloads. With our no-commission music store, you keep 100% of the sales. So that’s more money in your pocket than if you sell through iTunes.

You've got lots of options to offer your music for digital sale. You can add full albums, a track list of assorted singles, mixtapes, and more.

You can offer music in MP3, WAV or FLAC format depending on who you are selling to. You can also set a fixed price on your tracks or album, or allow fans to pay what they want.

[Let fans pay what they want with Bandzoogle’s music players]

To sell even more music online, hype your upcoming release by using our pre-order option for your fans to buy music early.

Micah Barnes music page

[8 Effective Strategies to Sell Your Music Online]

Include some physical music options

In addition to digital downloads, be sure to include some physical options to ship out. Some people still love to have something to hold in their hands, and to pop into the CD player.

You can also add limited edition items, like signed CDs or vinyl, and track inventory automatically in your store.

[7 ways to sell more music online]

Think about layout

It's tempting to put every single track you have ever recorded on your Music page. If you do this, though, it scatters the focus of your music fan and potential customer.

Add your most recent album at the top of the page and include your album art. This will give your page an eye-catching image, a big play button, and a list of tracks. Easy to scan, play, listen, and buy.

David Tolk Music Page

Then use columns underneath to lay out the rest of your content. You could add a full width column with some text about your music. Then 2 even columns side by side with 2 older albums, and so on down the page. Or, do differently sized columns, with music players to the left, and content in a smaller sidebar column on the right. Mix it up a bit to keep it interesting!

Swamp Donkey Jass Music Page

Make it more personal

One great thing about your own website is that it’s all yours! You control the content, and you can add more information to make your music page personal. This really appeals to fans and can convert them from listeners into super fans.

So rather than only placing an album with description and artwork on the page, write out a bit more about that album. Talk about your style, and how and when the album was made.

Include anecdotes and images that are on point and professional. This will make your music page more appealing, and add context for your fans.

Offer alternate ways to get your music

It works well to sell music directly through your store, but you may want to include additional options that some of your fans will be comfortable with. You can connect your bandcamp store in seconds, or embed code from other music stores, like iTunes.

Have fun setting up your Music page! Think of it as a one stop shop to learn all about you and your music. Make it sound great, offer music that’s easy to listen to and download. Then organize it an a visually appealing way, and you’ll be all set to sell more music online!

Build your own website with a music page and sell more music online! Sign up free with Bandzoogle now.

Website Design Inspiration: Best Beat Producer Websites

Website Design Inspiration: Best Beat Producer Websites

As a beat producer, it’s important to set up your production business as a professional. One major difference between a pro and an amateur is having a nice online presence with your own website.

[How to Build a Website to Sell Beats Online]

That’s exactly what some of our beat producer members have done. Take a look at the website for our member, Chysty Productionz.

You’ll see a nice professional header image and an option to buy music right away on the homepage. You’ll also notice the mailing list signup form right up top which makes it easy for fans to get on his list. Getting fans on your mailing list is super important as email marketing is more effective than Twitter and Facebook combined.

[9 ways to build your mailing list (and sell more music online)]

Website Design Inspiration: Best Beat Producer Websites

Another great option making it easy for fans to buy is our built in sub-pages. This is a great option if you sell beats in different genres or styles. You can create a page for each style, add the music to that page then link to it from the menu.

Breaking up your pages this way allows fans to listen to all the beats in the style they are looking for. This saves time since they’ll be able to buy the beats the want right away.

Website Design Inspiration: Best Beat Producer Websites

 

Another member doing a great job with his beat selling website is Beats By Ced.

Website Design Inspiration: Best Beat Producer Websites

To show off a recent production, Ced added a SoundCloud widget. He’s also added many tracks to the homepage for fans to stream previews of his beats. To show he stays active on social media, he’s also using our built in Twitter feature as well.

Website Design Inspiration: Best Beat Producer Websites

Another great way to keep fans coming back to your site is with a blog. You can add topics about you, your music or industry topics in general. Ced does a great job of this on his dedicated Blog page. He’s also got a Vlog page which makes it even more visually interesting.

Website Design Inspiration: Best Beat Producer Websites

The great thing about having your own website is that you can sell beats online in several ways. Female producer LBean does this by offering $.99 beats on the homepage, then more exclusive beats on the Beats for Sale page.

Website Design Inspiration: Best Beat Producer Websites

Using our built in music feature you can sell beats at a specified price or let your customers set their own price. Also for pro plan members you can use sale pricing or discount codes as well. Another great option is to use a more robust beat selling store like myFlashStore. You can do this by pasting the embed code into our HTML feature as LBean does on her music page.

[How to Sell More Beats Online Using Discount Codes]

Website Design Inspiration: Best Beat Producer Websites

On many beat sites music takes center stage, but what about the producer who wants to make a name for themselves?

With our custom theme editor you can make yourself stand out like member Al-Taquan’s done. Many of our themes allow you to upload a large header image and you have the option to add several images to make it a slideshow as well.

[Meet Bandzoogle’s New Theme Designer]

Website Design Inspiration: Best Beat Producer Websites

You’ll also notice Al-Taquan using a dedicated page for his bio. This gives your fans insight about who you are and how you came to be a beatmaker. Fans love learning about you personally so creating an About page is a great idea.

[How to Build a Great Band Website Bio Page]

Website Design Inspiration: Best Beat Producer Websites

If you’re thinking, “I don’t know about websites, I just wanna sell my beats!” No problem, we’ve got you covered there as well. Bandzoogle was created especially for music producers like yourself, who don’t know how or don’t want to code their own website.

With our sitebuilder you can sell your music (commission-free), promote your music through our social media share options, and stay in touch with your fans with our mailing list. All these tools are already built-in so you don’t have to grab plug-ins or widgets from other sites.

Selling your beats online has never been easier!

Cut out the middleman. Sell your beats on your Bandzoogle website and keep 100% of your music sales. Sign up free now!

New Website Theme: Prismatic

Band website template Prismatic

We’ve just added a new, stylish and modern website theme - Prismatic!

Prismatic features a large image on the Homepage. This image fades in nicely with a smooth animated effect, and slides your menu down into place as the website loads.

There are 3 variations to choose from, then you can customize each one to suit your style of music!

What makes this new theme modern and stylish for your band website?

Smooth scrolling animation

In addition to the way your website loads smoothly, there is a modern animation effect on the landing page that is triggered on scroll. Your main title fades away into content as your website visitors move down the page.

Inner page design

The inner pages (everything except your Homepage) feature your title or logo at the top. Then, your content is overlaid by a semi-transparent background. This really makes your features, like your music store, shine through.

You can also change your background image for each page with variation 2 and 3, using the Pages tab (click your current image at the top, then replace it. Done!)

More customization than ever

With so many elements, we’ve added lots of options to control the look and feel of this theme.

You can change the color, size, and font of your main site title, as well as its position (no more covering up your drummer’s face!). Plus, the title that appears on scroll, in the top left corner, can be a different color.

You can change the menu items (color, font, size, hover color), the submenu background and text color, as well as the mobile menu text color.

We’ve put together a quick video to show you all of the customization options with this theme. Check it out!

Image Filters and Background options

We put image filters like color, diagonal lines, and brightness on the background images to give your photos some interesting contrast. You can customize these or turn them off, using the Design controls.

You can also customize the color of the gradient over your background, from top to bottom.

Feature style

We’ve styled the features to match this theme, so your mailing list sign-up form, social media icons, and play buttons are square instead of rounded.

You can also add site-wide social media icons and they will be placed in the footer area of your website, on every page.

Mobile-ready website

This website template is fully mobile-responsive and adapts well to all phones and tablets. You can preview how it will look on your mobile device right from the Theme Designer!

Mobile responsive band website template

Remember, you can change your website’s theme at any time without having to redo any of your content. Plus, with our recent Design updates, your previous themes are saved in case you want to revert back to them later on.

Have fun playing around with Prismatic - we hope you enjoy it!

Get your website up and running in minutes using the new Prismatic theme. Try Bandzoogle free now!

The New Artist Model Approach to Musician Websites

The New Artist Model Approach to Musician Websites

Guest post by Dave Kusek.

Your website is arguably the most important piece of your online presence - it’s the glue that holds everything together. But it can be so much more than just the place you sell your music.

Your website can be a powerful funnel that drives your fans towards more engagement and helps them up the ladder towards superfans. It’s the place where you can convert people from casual fans to paying customers. And it’s the place where you can start more direct conversations with your fans as you grow your email list.

I don’t want you to think of your website as a just static page. Instead, think of it as a part of a big funnel - a tool to move your fans towards deeper engagement.

If you want to go even deeper to optimize your musician website to be a powerful platform that will drive engagement and sales, make sure you join Dave Cool and Dave Kusek in a free online musician website workshop on Thursday, May 26 at 1PM EST.

We’re going to go through the key elements every musician website needs, plus we’ll be doing a few free website critiques, so don’t miss it! Even if you can’t make it live, signup here to get the recorded replay sent to you!

Hit the Big Three

The first step to really make your website an effective funnel is to make sure you’re hitting the big three. In other words, your website needs to specifically address three different types of fans and give them the content they’re looking for. (You also need to have content specifically for press, but we’ll talk about that in the free online workshop)

1. Potential Fans

Number one is potential fans. These are people who have just discovered your music. Maybe they got a recommendation from a friend, they saw you open for another band they like, or they heard your music on the radio. Either way, they’re looking for more information and they’re looking to solidify their opinion about you - and that means you need to make a good first impression.

First and foremost, you want to make sure you’re website looks visually pleasing - that means not cluttered, easy to navigate, and a cohesive look and feel with consistent photos, colors, and fonts. Potential fans aren’t invested in you or your music, so if they can’t find what they’re looking for quickly, they’re gone.

These people are mostly looking to hear more of your music, so make sure you make it easy for them. Include a music player with full versions of a few of your best songs at the very least. Make sure this player is above the fold when people hit your site - like we said before, the less searching they have to do, the better.

2. Current Fans

The next group of people you need to cater for are your current fans. These people make up the vast majority of your fanbase. There’s definitely a spectrum of dedication among your fans, but for the most part, they’re looking to get to know you a little better and to buy things when they visit your website.

For these guys, make sure you have a well-crafted bio. Try to tie in your personality - like it’s coming from you - so they feel like they’re getting to know you on a more personal level. A blog is also a great way to keep your fans up to date on what you’re up to. Try sharing the behind the scenes work that goes into your music, photos from the road, or info on your gear.

You also want to make sure your store and tour info is set up, easy to navigate, and up to date. These fans are much more invested in your music and they want to buy your album, merch, and tickets to your next show. It’s best to have your store and tour info built right into your website so they don’t have to click all over the web to get it.

Like we said earlier, there is a spectrum of buyers here, so try to have a few different price points available. Have digital downloads and physical CDs, lower-end stickers and T-shirts.

3. Superfans

And the last group you need to think about when creating your website are your superfans. You won’t have a lot of superfans, but they will probably make up a big portion of the buying power of your fanbase, so it’s really important to give them what they want.

For the most part, superfans are looking for a more personal connection with you and your music and exclusives. Your blog is a great place to give them the insider content they want. In addition to your update posts, try to get a little more personal. Tell them the stories behind certain songs or what the lyrics mean to you. Another option is to have a member-only login-restricted area of your website where you post this kind of content just for superfans. Charge for this or keep it free, the point is to just give it some exclusivity.

If you can, try to offer limited runs, meet and greet packages, and exclusive sets on your store for your super fans. Maybe create a batch of 100 limited alternate design or alternate color T-shirts, or special bundles for your new album.

Make Your Website Part of Your Funnel

Alright, now that we have your content figured out, let’s quickly go through each step of your website funnel so you can see how fans travel through your site’s content and move up the ladder towards superfans.

Social is at the top. This is where you gather your community around your music and start linking them to your website. Think of your social interactions the start of a conversation - you start the relationship, you get them interested, and you link to your website or your blog to find out more.

Next is your blog. This is where fans can get to know you a little better. Post behind the scenes info and let them into your world. Your blog should be the most dynamic element of your website - you should update it on a regular basis to give your fans a reason to keep coming back. After all, the more they visit your site, the more they’re exposed to your offers, and the greater the chance they’ll make a purchase.

Next you have your email collection. A great approach is to give your fans some incentives for signing up. Up front, you can offer them a few free songs in exchange for their email address, but you also need to think about what you’re going to give them after they’re on your list.

Your email should really be the place you give your fans even more exclusive content. (After all, why part with their email when they could get the same info on social media? Try offering early access - to new music, new merch, and new videos - exclusive discounts, and more personal, deep, and funny stories behind your music.

[9 ways to build your mailing list (and sell more music online)]

And finally we have your store. A paying fan is one of your biggest assets as a musician, after all, you have to make a living! All the previous levels of the funnel will drive fans here - the point when they’re comfortable enough and invested in your career enough that they’re willing to give you money.

If you want to learn more about the specific elements you need on your website step-by-step, you can sign up for the online musician website workshop on Thursday, May 26 at 1PM EST for free here. Dave Cool and Dave Kusek are going to be breaking the essential website strategies for indie musicians and doing a few free, live website critiques. If you can’t make it live, signup here to get the recorded replay.

Dave Kusek is the founder of the New Artist Model, an online music business school for independent musicians, performers, recording artists, producers, managers, and songwriters. He is also the founder of Berklee Online, co-author of The Future of Music, and a member of the team who brought MIDI to the market.

Bandzoogle websites have a built-in mailing list tool, and you keep 100% of your sales when you sell music, merch, & tickets online. Sign up free with Bandzoogle now.

How to build a guitar teacher website

How to build a guitar teacher website

Are you looking to grow your guitar teaching business? Convert your website visitors into new customers by building a website that’s informative and attractive.  

On your guitar teacher website, you can advertise music lessons and workshops, as well as promote your own performances. Let’s take a look at how to get your website online with relevant content and a great design!

Key Elements for a Guitar Teacher Website

Homepage

Choosing a simple template works well for a guitar teacher website, which should focus on content. Simple textures or an image of yourself playing the guitar will work well in the header or background area.

Add a few words about yourself here - how long you have been teaching, where you’re located, and what you offer. If you have a video of yourself playing, or of your students in your studio, add that to stream on the page as well.

Place an image of yourself playing guitar, or your teaching space, within the content area of your page, to the side of your text. This will give the page a more familiar feel while remaining professional.

guitar-teacher-lessons-website


About / Bio page

Although writing your bio can be tricky, it’s important to convey how qualified you are to teach, and what you have accomplished to date.  

Write out everything you can think of that you’ve done, and then trim it down to include a brief overview of teaching career. Some things to consider: How long have you been teaching? Do you give workshops regularly? What kinds of festivals or performances do your students take part in?

[How To Build a Great Band Website Bio Page]
 

guitar teacher lessons web template

Events Page

Use a calendar to create an online schedule for recitals, workshops, and other important upcoming events. Within each event, you can add the location, and details like start time and end.

If you plan to give master classes, guitar clinics, or workshops, and want to sell tickets, you can do that as well through the event listing!

[Sell Tickets for Shows Through Your Website]

Store page

With the built-in Store feature, you can sell guitar picks, lesson books, practice MP3s, and CDs to your students directly, or even accept payment for lessons on this page.

You can also offer online lessons using tools like Skype or Facetime, and add a discount code to encourage new students to sign up.

guitar teacher lessons

[10 Ways to Make More Money Selling Music Lessons on Your Website]

FAQ

A frequently asked questions page is a great way to address common concerns and questions up front.  Some things to talk about on this page include:

  • Do you offer 30, 45, and 60 minutes lessons?

  • Do you accept one time students as well as weekly ones?

  • How do you accept payment? (Include a link to your Store page here if you plan to take payment online)

  • What style do you teach? Classical guitar, jazz, cover songs, etc?

  • Do you accept students of any level of ability?

  • Do you offer group lessons, and if so when are the times? (You can add a link to your Events page here if you list out group classes on there).

guitar teacher lessons online

Contact

A clear Contact page, usually the last page in your website menu, should be the main way to get in touch with you. Use a custom form for inquiries, and a phone number for people to get in touch. Include your studio hours here as well, so people will know when you are likely to be reachable to discuss lessons.

Single page dedicated to teaching guitar

Many music teachers are also performers who earn money playing music as well as teaching it..

In this case, you can dedicate a page to teaching, then add features to create a condensed version of a music teacher website.  

Jon Hart does a great job of this on his Tuition page, where he includes information about lessons, a few videos, and a contact form.

Jon Hart guitar teacher website

Being an organized guitar teacher is made easier with an online home to advertise lessons, accept payment, and list events. We hope this gives you ideas on how to build a website that will help book more guitar lessons!

Build an easy to update, professional guitar teacher website with all these features and more! Try Bandzoogle free now!

What's It REALLY Like to Be a Full-Time Songwriter for a Living?

What's It REALLY Like to Be a Full-Time Songwriter for a Living?

This is a guest post by Sam Friedman, which originally appeared on the Sonicbids Blog.

For most songwriters, writing is a way of navigating through life. Each song signifies growth, reflection, and future aspirations. Many tunesmiths write solely for themselves and their respective audiences, but there's more potential to share our songs and stories.

Now 26, Lacy Green took her relentless passion for songwriting to Nashville several years ago, where she landed a full-time gig as a staff writer for one of Nashville's famous Music Row publishing companies, Dan Hodges Music, at just 24 years old.

Any aspiring songwriter would probably wonder, what is it really like to write songs for other people as a job? Does the passion subside once you're working for a publishing company and have to meet a quota? And how do you even land a coveted full-time songwriting gig in the first place? We had a chance to catch up with Green to find out the answers.

You've been writing songs since you were 13. Tell us about the evolution of your songwriting – how has it developed over the years, ultimately getting you to where you are today as a staff songwriter in Nashville?

Writing has always been the best way for me to sort things out. As a kid, I was always writing stories and poems and free-form stuff. Even when I got in trouble, all of my apologies came in handwritten letters. Likewise, music was a constant presence in my house. When I was 13, my dad taught me a few chords on the guitar, and those two loves merged to lead me to songwriting.

For the next several years, I was writing solely on my own and for myself. [The songs] were pretty bad, and I wasn’t that intentional about them, but about the time I decided to move to Nashville, I was lucky enough to land a few of my songs on the soundtrack of an indie film. That opened a few doors, and for the next year and a half, I did nothing but co-write and try to learn from more established writers in town. Six months after I moved to Nashville, I met my current publisher, and a year later, he signed me to my first deal.

All the years I spent writing on my own were important – that's how I developed my voice as a writer – but being in Nashville collaborating helped me to broaden that voice and become more consistent.

[How to Find Co-Writers]

Do you have a particular songwriting routine or process you typically follow?

I think the best way to describe it is controlled chaos. I try to show up prepared (usually with some lyrical idea or piece of music), but also with a willingness to go off script if that's where the magic is that day. I believe that if you're always trying to serve that particular song/idea, it will take the lead and tell you what it needs to be. Some days, it's like searching for a drop in a flood, and other days, it's like trying to create a flood out of a drop. So it just depends.

At just 24 years old, you landed a publishing deal in Nashville, allowing you to write songs full-time. What were the key points in your journey to landing that deal?

"This business is about so much more than just a great song."

My strategy was pretty simple: try to write the best songs you can, and then go out and play them for anyone who will listen. Everyone knows someone in Nashville, so no opportunity is too small. Say yes to everything you can, and you're bound to get better and get connected.

I would also tell every aspiring writer I know to become a member at NSAI and to get connected at a performing rights organization. Those organizations are open to everyone and can provide invaluable resources and knowledge.

This business is about so much more than just a great song.

What does a typical day of work as a staff writer look like for you?

Most days, I show up at my office to write between 10:00 and 11:00 a.m. I'm typically co-writing with someone that's been set up by my publisher or myself. We'll typically write through to the afternoon, at which point we've hopefully come out with a decent song. We'll make a quick work tape (which is code for iPhone recording) and send it along with the lyrics to our respective publishers to get their feedback. Sometimes I'll have a second writing session around 2:00 or 3:00 p.m., at which point the process starts over.

The rest of the time is spent drinking copious amounts of coffee, recording demos, performing those songs live at writer rounds around Nashville, and generally just trying to give those songs life and support so they can be heard and found.

How does it feel to be writing songs for other people as a job vs. writing for yourself?

My mom is a real estate agent, and she used to talk about how the key to selling a house was about allowing the buyer to see themselves in it. So if your house is so overly cluttered with your stuff, then it's more difficult for someone to visualize their own life in it. I think about that a lot when I'm writing. Whether it's me or someone else delivering the song doesn't really matter. The question for me is, am I writing an honest song? Am I writing it in such a way that someone else could still see themselves in it?

What's the most surprising thing you've learned about the business of songwriting and music publishing?

I think it was realizing that this business is about so much more than just a great song. It's unbelievable the number of amazing songs that are written in this town every day that will never make it out of the room they were written in. Great songs require great champions, great artists, and great timing to take them to the someone else's ears. There are so many variables.

[Do You Need a Music Publisher?]

Through Sonicbids, you landed an impressive gig at Nashville's legendary Bluebird Cafe. What was that experience like?

It was awesome! The Bluebird Cafe is my favorite venue in Nashville. You can just feel the magic of all the great songs that have been performed in that room. I always leave there feeling grateful, inspired, and wanting to write better songs.

Bandzoogle lets you create a professional website in minutes with all the music promotional features you need including a blog, mailing list, and social media integrations. Try Bandzoogle free now!

10 Ways to Book More House Concerts

10 Ways to Book More House Concerts

Guest post by Joy Ike

House concerts: everybody loves them, but most artists don’t know how to get them. They are the most-coveted type of gigs for singer/songwriters and acoustic bands. They don’t require a lot of promotional effort - which means less time behind your computer, and more time behind your instrument.

Yes, in the ecosystem of gigs, house concerts are king! So how do you book them? Here are some simple ways to make it happen!

1. Play out...a lot!

Public shows are your key to private ones. And house concerts are essentially private shows. The more you play out publicly, the more people know your music, and the more fans you have to pull from. More fans equals more potential house concert hosts.

If you do this right, 99% of your house concerts will come from people who already know you and have heard you perform live – not some house concert booking site that you have to pay to become a member. Playing out guarantees you’re getting your name out there and connecting with the very people who will ultimately book you in their homes.

[14 Ways Musicians Can Make Money from Live Shows]

2. Build Your Email List

Ok, so you’re playing out. What next? Well, take full advantage of the fact that these people are just sitting there listening to you for an hour, or two. Pass your newsletter around during your set. The following day, send an email welcoming new subscribers to the mailing list. Include a short paragraph at the end inviting people to consider hosting you for a house concert. You may not always get someone to bite, but you will get them thinking about it.

[9 ways to build your mailing list (and sell more music online)]

3. Just Ask.

Facebook! It’s where all your fans and friends are, right? Drop a note on your wall and let people know you’re currently in booking mode for your upcoming tour. Tell them you’re filling holes for a few dates on the road.

If you’re sticking close to home, make an announcement about playing fewer public shows and the fact that you’re trying to do more intimate acoustic events. If you’re not posting about house concerts on social media, you’re not using your most powerful marketing tool (second to your newsletter, of course).

[How to Book a Tour without a Booking Agent]

4. Explain What A House Concert Is

This might sound unnecessary, but you need to explain what a house concert is. Some people have never been to one and have no idea what you’re even talking about when you say the words “house concert”. And people DO NOT like to step into unknown territory unless they know what they’re getting into.  

Break it down and spell it out. One of the most frequented pages on my website is What Exactly Is A House Concert? (if you borrow any content from this link, please credit me with a link back to www.joyike.com). I stick a link in my welcome newsletter (for new subscribers) and in my monthly e-blast. I send it to anyone who tells me they’re considering hosting one. I send it to people who ask me questions that I’ve already answered on this page. This page comes in handy a lot.

5. Be Accommodating

People don’t think they can host a house concert unless they have a ’’reason’’ to. That’s not necessarily true, but for people who need a reason, let them know house concerts are great for birthday party gatherings, anniversary events, summer BBQs on the back deck, and even benefits concerts.

One of my all-time favorite concerts was put on by a group of 10 guys who wanted to give their wives a memorable and sentimental Mother’s Day. They cooked lunch for the women and hosted an afternoon concert in one of their homes.

Another memorable house concert was for a teacher in Washington D.C. who wanted to raise money for a program she was doing with her high school students. 50% of the funds raised went to her program. The other half went to me.

6. Talk About it From the Stage

“NEVER underestimate the power of suggestion.”

You don’t need to give a speech, but sharing a brief sentence or two (or three) about why you love house concerts will go a long way towards getting a few on your calendar. Having a page on your website to discuss the ins and outs is really helpful, but talking about it in person really helps fans to capture the essence of what a house show really is. NEVER underestimate the power of suggestion.

7. Create Postcards

Tag-team your on-stage pitch with a stack of postcards at your merch table. Spend $50, print a bunch of 4×6 handbills (front and back), and make them available.

This is the 3rd most effective thing I’ve done to generate house concerts. When your show attendee takes a handbill off the table, it usually means they want to sit on the idea and mull it over for a bit. They may even need to convince a fellow housemate or spouse of the idea. Handbills are a great visual reminder. They’re a tangible version of your speech from the stage. Here’s what mine looks like (front and back):

Joy Ike House Concert flyer

8. Ask Your Friendly Musician

Seriously, ask your friend. If you see your friend playing a house concert series, ask them to connect you with the host. This works best with established house concert series that are always scouting out new music to add to their lineup.

This does not necessarily work for a regular homeowner who only hosted your friend because they are his/her superfans. For them it was a one-off, not something they are looking to do monthly.

9. Recruit On-Site

People who are most likely to be house concert hosts are people who have been to one before. While you are at a house concert, take that opportunity to find your next host in that same city. It only takes a little effort. Example:

"If you’re having a good time tonight and would like to host something like this the next time I come through town, please let me know. I’ll be happy to take your contact and reach out next time I’m booking in this area."

If you want to take it one step further, you can create an email sign-up page specifically for people who want to be contacted about hosting.

10. Social Media

Last but not least, post, post post! Snap and post a photo of the Welcome sign at the front door – the one the host’s 4-year old made for your show. Or post a shot of the potluck spread before the show...or a photo of the awesome Victorian house you’re playing in. Or post a photo someone took from the audience perspective.

Again, don’t overdo it, but when you post about your host concerts, you begin to create an association between your name and the house concert concept. It’s called branding. And these posts will serve as tiny reminders to your social media followers – reminders that they can host you too. Here are some cool example posts I found on Instagram. I searched the #houseconcert hashtag.

via @eugenioinviadigioia

via @allysonreynoldsart

via @jdeicher

via @widadmusicusa

The moral of the story is that house concerts are literally everywhere. And your fans really do want to host you if you’re willing to take the time to educate them, be accessible, and show them how much fun a house concert can be.

Good luck!

Joy Ike is a full-time singer/songwriter based out of Philadelphia, PA. She is also the founder and primary writer for Grassrootsy, one of the most-read music business blogs on the internet. She believes the greatest tragedy in the world is having a talent and keeping it to yourself.

Your band works hard to put on a great show. We work hard so you can make a great band website, easily and affordably. Build your own Bandzoogle website in minutes. Sign up free now!

How To Build a Great Band Website Bio Page

How To Build a Great Band Website Bio Page

After showing you how to build the perfect Homepage, next up is your Bio page. Having a great bio page is essential to making a memorable first impression.

This is a page that many newcomers to your website will visit to learn about you and your music. Keep it up to date and interesting, with a clean, organized feel to show your listeners what you’re like.

The two key things to think about when creating a killer band bio page are content, and design. They go hand in hand to produce a bio page that describes your band well, and looks great!

Write some killer content

Writing about yourself can be one of the hardest parts of building your band website. Your bio should be like a resume - an introduction to your band, and a description of your achievements.

Your bio should also reflect your voice - try to express yourself in words that are in the same tone as your music.

Imagine you are describing your band to a total stranger to give context to your music. Identifying your style and genre is important, but no need to talk about out every single open mic you’ve played. Hit the highlights, and keep it professional.

[The 3 Audiences Your Band Website Needs to Impress]

Lera Lynn bio page

Some things to pull together in writing your band bio include:

  • Who you are, and where you are from
  • Your style of music (include what you sound like, and your influences)
  • Accomplishments (think festivals, collaborations, accolades)
  • Your story (what sets you apart from other musicians?)

Mention your band name in plain text on this page. Avoid saying “I” or “we” when describing yourself. Also be sure to add specific words to describe your music, from the genre to your album name. This will help with your website rank for these words in Google.

[SEO for Musicians: 3 Tips to Optimize your Content]

Make it relevant

Update this page with new information as your music career progresses. Have you completed a successful tour recently, sold out a number of shows, or gotten positive press? Include these new details in your bio as they come up.

Also, add a little bit about what you are currently doing, whether it’s songwriting, recording, touring your latest album, and so on.

Ray Banman about page

Use images effectively

Select a few great full band images, or individual member portraits to pair with text about each band member. You want your band Bio page to look great, and a few professional photos can go a long way to present your full image.

You’ll always want your photos to represent your music, so choose a few that match your style, and work well with your website’s design, too.

Keep it simple

Name your bio page something that is obvious by a glance at your website menu. You could call it “Bio” or “About” or even “Meet the Band” so that the page is clear, and easy to click.

The page itself should be fairly simple. If you have a great music video, you can add it, but otherwise stick to a few paragraphs of text and a few images.

Turbo Street FUnk bio page

Think about layout

Mix it up with text and images to keep the page interesting visually. You could add a quote from a third party source about your band, or your music, at the top of your page. Then place your biographical information next, and images on the side.

Signy Website Bio page

To make the layout look polished, use feature titles to break up the text. You can also try out different columns layouts, putting text in a wider column on the left, and images on the right. This is especially important if you’re adding separate bios for each band member.

The Ragged Few website bio page

There’s nothing like an up-to-date and interesting bio page to engage new fans, and give backstory to returning listeners. Make yours stand out with some relevant text, images, and a solid layout.

Build your own website with a great band bio page to engage your fans. Sign up free with Bandzoogle now.

9 ways to build your mailing list (and sell more music online)

9 ways to build your mailing list (and sell more music online)

This guest post was written by Jon Ostrow. Jon is the Director of Sales at Bandsintown, Founder of MicControl, lover of all things music, a raging Phish head, and a coffee addict.

Question: which is more important: Facebook or email?

Believe it or not, your email is not only more important than Facebook, but also any other social network. Email marketing has been shown to be as much as 40 times more effective than Facebook and Twitter combined.

So it is the most important marketing tool you have to keep in touch with your fans, and to make more money for your music career.

Why email is so important

"You will now, and forever, own your mailing list."

Beyond the critical fact that 80% of people between the age of 18 and 44 years-old check email before even brushing their teeth in the morning, there is really only one reason that matters.

You will now, and forever, own your mailing list.

This means that no matter which social media platforms stay relevant (or don’t), you can always directly reach your fans.

So as you develop an online marketing strategy for your music and further advance your career, you’ll want to have that mailing list handy.

[Why Email Newsletters Are Still a Vital Marketing Tool for Musicians]

9 ways to build your mailing list

There are plenty of ways to build a mailing list that you should be taking advantage of. Some require very little upfront effort such as a signup form on your website or social accounts.

But as those may help to slowly build a mailing list, you’ll want to use some strategies that help to really jumpstart the process of building your list. Here are a few ways to make that happen:

1. Email for a download / stream

This is the go-to suggestion for building a mailing list. Offer an exclusive download in exchange for an email address. That email will be worth much more to you in the long run than the $0.99. You can even automate an email-for-download through Bandzoogle’s mailing list tool.

Another great platform to look into for assisting with this process is NoiseTrade. They’ve built an entire platform around the concept of building a mailing list out of album downloads.

But people are moving away from downloading and towards streaming. So NoiseTrade recently introduced a new ‘premiers’ platform where artists can offer an advanced stream of a yet-to-be released album in exchange for the email address.

2. Sweepstakes Opt-in

Never underestimate the power of a sweepstakes. It creates urgency, and can create an easy high-value proposition for a fan to give you their email address in exchange for the opportunity to win something great.

But keep in mind, the sweeps needs to do just that, offer something great. A signed album likely won’t work. Think VIP, exclusive, and unique experiences when creating this offer.

3. Fan-Content Based Contesting

On the other hand, you can also offer opportunities for fans to gain your spotlight. Ideally something exclusive like backstage passes, or dinner before a show, etc. This type of contest requires the fan to create their own content and submit for review with their email address.

A remixing contest can be a great opportunity here. But other contests to think about could be more simple such as album artwork, tour posters, tattoo ideas, etc.

4. Access to exclusive content from the past

Your computer hard drive or cloud based data storage account can be a treasure trove of content that your fans would love to gain access to.

Demo recordings, lyrics for songs that never came to be, alternative artwork for albums, etc. Curating this content is a great way to make a unique experience your fans will certainly trade an email address to gain access to.

5. Future access to pre-sales before anyone else

This is a no brainer. Let your fans that sign up to your mailing list gain access to future album pre-orders, or tour pre-sale opportunities before anyone else.

6. Direct to Fan Purchasers

Let’s not forget those who are already purchasing from you. Anytime someone purchases from you through a direct-to-fan platform like Bandzoogle, Bandcamp, or PledgeMusic, it’s an easy opportunity to add to your mailing list.

7. Incentivize existing subscribers to help drive new subscribers

Why not offer a pledge drive? Create a timed offer that incentivizes your fans to help spread the word and drive new sign ups.

If a fan drives X sign ups in 1 month they will get [enter your prize here]. Make sure that prize is killer – you don’t want to make it feel like you are begging fans to help, nor should the experience feel like work for the fan. It should be something they want to do as the reward outweighs the effort.

8. Make it the primary channel to debut new material / videos

Similar to the idea that fans will get early access to pre-orders or pre-sales, why not take the next step and make your email the primary channel for all new debuts as well.

Any time a new song is released, your mailing list subscribers will find out about it first. New video? Your mailing list subscribers will see it first. Doing this ups the ante and continues to develop a higher-level relationship with your fans that shows you appreciate their interest in you and your music.

9. Create multiple lists for different reasons (i.e. segment your fans based on their needs)

And finally we get to an often overlooked concept – not all of your fans are the same. Some will be interested in you. Some will be interested in your recordings. And some will simply only care when you come to town because your live show is so unique it’s not to be missed.

These segments should be considered and you should start to develop separate mailing lists (and unique reasons to sign up to such a mailing list) for each type of fan.

Making the most (money) from your mailing list

Now the time comes to leverage your list to sell more music online and make more money for your band.

Here are a few ways to ensure your efforts are optimized for sales:

1. Only use one call to action

You may have an album out for sale, tickets for upcoming shows, and your online merch store fully stocked. But it’s important to avoid the instinct to offer all three at once.

Use a clear and simple call to action to drive attention to one thing that matters most. A study by WhichTestWon shows that sales conversions increased a whopping 1,617% by using one CTA (call to action) instead of multiple.

Also - your CTA must be a direct request for the email recipient to take an immediate action, such as ‘Buy the album Now’, ‘Take the survey Today’, ‘Share Your Feedback Here’.

2. Use your mailing list segments

Having trouble deciding which offer to focus on with your call to action? Lean on #9 above, and further develop these segments, or groups of fans, based on specific interests to make your offers more precise.

Know a group of your fans are only interested in new music? Send a newsletter to these fans with a call to action to buy your music online.

3. Create timed offers

Another great way to increase your sales is to develop a sense of urgency by offering something exciting or exclusive, with a very small window of time for people to purchase.

Try things like offering a unique bundle package. Maybe an album, tickets, and/or merch at a steep discount for one day only, or for the first 20 who purchase.

[Use Sale Pricing for Your Music & Merch Store]

4. Pay attention to analytics from past efforts to inform future efforts

Finally, remember to pay attention to your analytics. Try out different calls to action in different monthly newsletters. You can even try a/b testing a single call to action by splitting your list into two and seeing which performs best.

You can also test different times of the day and/or times of the week to send offers to your mailing list. The more you can study the data in relation to driving online sales, the more you’ll be able to optimize for future sales.

Bandzoogle websites have a built-in mailing list tool, and you keep 100% of your sales when you sell music, merch, & tickets online. Sign up free with Bandzoogle now.

How to Build a Wedding DJ Website

How To Build a Wedding DJ website

The best wedding DJ websites include a few key things that add up to a professional look. This includes great images, testimonials from happy couples, and an organized price list to convey your services. Let’s take a closer look!

DJ website design

As a professional, you want your website to appear sleek and simple. The focus should be on content - what you can offer in the way of music to make an event memorable.

Surround is a popular DJ website template here at Bandzoogle, as it showcases a large image, plus plenty of room for content on the inner pages.

Choose a clean, sans serif font in your content area to make it easy to read. Then use an elegant, script-like font for your feature titles to separate content blocks and columns.

In terms of color, aim for 3 colors. A black and white palette works nicely for wedding DJ websites, with an accent color like green or blue. If you want more color, choose a primary and secondary color, then an accent that is picked up by your images.

Key Elements for a Wedding DJ website

Homepage

A great wedding DJ homepage will offer a look into everything you do! Add a short bit of text explaining who you are, where you are located, and the services you provide. Place a link to your Services page (where you’ll go into more detail).

Adding a few images, or your Instagram feed will give this page a bit of visual interest. You can also put a single testimonial on your Homepage to make a great first impression!

Wedding DJ website

Photos

If you have some professionally taken photos of yourself at the DJ booth, here is where to put them! Impress your future clients by using images of weddings you’ve spun for in the past.

Make sure to include a few of yourself and your setup. Try to create a fun vibe to show how you can get the party started for any wedding. Using the tiled layout will give your photo gallery a modern look.

DJ Wedding Website photos

Services

A services page should be well-organized and easy to scan. List the different kinds of packages you provide, and let interested clients know if you can tailor to their wishes.

Do you provide music for the party only, or are you open to playing songs during the cocktail hour as well? Add a few price options here if you can do different packages.

You can also include a custom quote form here, and a link to your contact page.

Also in a wedding band? Check out “How to Build a Website for Your Wedding Band.

Songlist

Add a list of songs that you can play, and an example set list or two. This will help potential customers know exactly what they’re in for.

If you can do something custom for them, such as getting them to pick out the era of songs, or take requests live off the floor from the guests, put that information here as well.

Reviews / Testimonials

Word of mouth is still the best recommendation - so be sure to include plenty of nice words from previous clients, both the wedding couple and their guests! You could use the Quote feature to to post reviews.

When adding your reviews, make sure to get feedback on how professional you were, and how important the DJ service was to make the big day just right.

Wedding DJ website

Booking

Create a form here that includes all of the options you’ll need to produce a quote. Include the date of the event, the number of guests, and the size of the room. Leave a text area for any additional details.

You can add an image, and your social media links. This page should focus on contacting you, so no need to add to much else!

Wedding DJ website template

Client area

Make use of a password protected page to accept client payment. You can give out the direct page url with a password.

On this page, you can use a Store feature to take deposit payments in advance, or the full price. Having a quick and secure way to take payment in advance will help keep things clear on the day of the event.

Don’t forget: Make it searchable online

One thing all wedding DJ websites should have is a good online search ranking. Then, if people check Google to look for wedding DJs in their area, your website will show up!

[Learn how a Bandzoogle member booked over 50 wedding gigs using his website and Google Adwords]

Customizing your page title and description on every page will help it rank in Google, and will also allow you to tailor the text that appears under your website when it pops up in results. That’s an important part of what gets people clicking on your website.

[SEO for Musicians: 3 Tips to Optimize Your Website Content]

We hope this post will help you set up a professional and organized wedding DJ website! It’s a great way to get exposure for your business online to gain more bookings. Good luck!

Build a professional, mobile-ready wedding DJ website that is easy to update in minutes. Try Bandzoogle free now!