The Bandzoogle Blog

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

SEO for Musicians: It Starts With The Fan Journey

SEO for Musicians: It starts with the Fan Journey

When we talk to other musicians about music marketing, search engine optimization is a topic that comes up often.

And why not? It’s free, it’s known as a highly effective marketing channel for millions of businesses, and it works.

The downside is that it’s complex, time consuming, slow to see results, and it’s known as a bit of a dark art.

SEO is not particularly easy to do well, and as a musician you just don’t have time to become an SEO rockstar. You have songs to write, tours to plan, rehearsals to organize.

A lot of the SEO advice out there for musicians skims the surface: optimize your title tags, get backlinks, create content, and such. This is all relevant and useful advice, but we need to address the critical strategic aspect that makes SEO for musicians a little bit different than SEO for everyone else.

(Except this excellent article that you should read)

In this article we’ll cover the bigger picture - the abstract and conceptual. We’ll address the big question, which is: “How can SEO actually help me as a musician?

This is a question you need to have the answer to, in practical terms, before you start investing your time in your SEO. Just because certain SEO strategies work for millions of businesses, doesn’t necessarily mean they will work for musicians.

Musicians need a unique SEO strategy with it’s own unique set of tactics. In this article we’ll define a strategic framework to start from.

We would consider this critical reading before you jump into reading any other tactical SEO advice.

The Fan Journey

It all starts with your fans.

For artists, SEO is all about using search engines to help create a positive experience for your fans.

As you build your fan base, your audience will move through some series of steps to eventually reach whatever goal they had in mind. Throughout those steps, they will have experiences online as they engage with your music and brand.

Some of those experiences will involve search engines. So, what we need to do first is understand where search engines get involved.

Wait…. don’t get bored!! Check it out.

To help us visualize let’s adapt a classic marketing framework, the customer journey, and apply it to the average music fan, as it relates to a typical band. We’ll call it the Fan Journey.

We made a fun colourful graph for you (yay!).

The Fan Journey for musicians
Click to open large version

If you’re feeling ambitious, you might want to take some time to map out the Fan Journey for your band, taking into account your unique circumstances.

So, now… "At what point do search engines come into play?"

Take a second to stop and think about it...

OK, let’s break it down by phase.


Discovery

In marketing, this step is usually called “Awareness” and it’s where SEO does its magic for most businesses.

Here's an example: say you want to build a website for your band, so you go to Google and type in “band websites”. There, you’ll find Bandzoogle. Now you’re aware of our company. And that’s very important to us.

But, what if you’re a band that plays original music? How are search engines going to help you here?

Well, they’re not.

Nobody discovers new bands by searching on Google. Nobody types in “new band i’m going to love” and expects to actually find a new band they’re going to love. Nobody searches “indie band in toledo” to find new local music in Toledo.

Ever played to an empty room? Yeah…..

This is what an empty room looks like in SEO.

No search volume when doing SEO for musicians

Womp womp wommmmp.

Not only would you go through a lot of pain trying to rank for a search term like that, you probably won’t manage to do it.

And most importantly, that just isn’t how people discover music right now.

For bands, the Discovery phase of the Fan Journey is probably the hardest - just getting your music in front of people who want to listen. Search engines are not likely to help you directly with this.


Exploration

Exploration happens after a fan discovers you, likes what they hear, and wants to hear more.

This is where search engines start to really matter for most bands.

Ask yourself: “What will most people do after they hear my song, and they really love it, but they don’t know my band yet?

They’ll probably want to know what you look like, where you come from, what other people think of you, what your other music sounds like, where you’re playing next, etc.

One of the first things they might do is Google your band name... Or maybe the song name…. Or maybe some lyrics that got stuck in their head….

Let’s say you just discovered this awesome song you’ve never heard by Elephant Stone. You search their name and…. ding!!!

Search engine results page for band SEO

Awesome, so much great stuff!!

So this is where SEO first comes into play for you, in a big way. It’s your opportunity to show your new fans everything you’ve got. You want to make sure that when they search for your band or music, you’ve got a really pro selection of content for them to check out.

Your audience, at this stage of the Fan Journey, are really potential fans who want to get to know you. Help them out by making sure they can easily find things like:

  • Your website, so they can learn about you
  • Your social profiles, so they can see what kind of things you say
  • Music to stream, so they can sample your sound and decide whether they like it
  • Videos and images, so they can get a feel for what you look like
  • Interviews and reviews, so they can get a sense for who you are and what others say about you
  • Tour dates, so they can see that you're active and whether you're playing in their town

You want potential fans to be able to easily find all of that wonderful stuff you’ve poured your heart, soul and bank account into.

So the Exploration phase of the Fan Journey is where search engines can really help you the most, and it’s where strategically you should spend most of your SEO efforts.


Purchase

The Purchase phase of the Fan Journey is - no surprise - hugely important for any artist who wants to build a sustainable career. Like any business or entrepreneur, you have a bottom line. You need to make money to keep going.

Search engines can help you here.

The key is making it quick and easy for fans to spend their money on you, when they’re ready. As it happens, search engines are really useful when people want to find things online quickly and easily.

Bingo.

Let’s look at Delaney Gibson as an example. If a fan searches for “delaney gibson tickets” or “buy delaney gibson music”, that fan is probably ready to spend money on her.

If you, as a musician, want money from your fans (and we know you do) then you had better be sure they can spend it on you without much hassle.

So pave the way for them. Heck, sprinkle a little trail of skittles if that’s what it takes!

Of course, this is about more than just search engines. You have to sprinkle skittles all over the place, like on your website and other profile pages. But sprinkle some on the search engines too.

Let’s see what Delaney did.

Search results for buying music

Nice.

Delaney has done the legwork and provided her fans with a wealth of different ways to spend their money on her, in whatever way is most convenient, useful or interesting to them. It’s all very easy to find by doing just one Google search.

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

Skittles…..

So we want to make sure your fans can easily find:

  • Tour date information and concert tickets
  • Somewhere to buy your music for download
  • A store to buy physical music formats and merch
  • Your profile on major streaming services to easily sync your music

And here are some skittles you can start sprinkling around.

Skittles

For the Purchase phase of the Fan Journey, you can use search engines to help your fans find different ways to spend money on you, without having to do any digging around.


Retention

In today’s music industry attention spans are short, fans are fickle, and thousands of talented artists are constantly releasing great new music and content. It’s not guaranteed that you’ll keep the attention of your hard-won fans, even after they’ve downloaded your album or gone to your show.

Which makes fan Retention more important than ever.

As far as search engines go, though, there isn’t a lot that SEO can help you with here. Once your fan has gone to your concert and downloaded your album, most of your Retention is going to happen everywhere else but search engines.

So, for example, stuff like this comes into play for retaining your fans.

Social media icons for musicians

Things like: signing fans up to your mailing list, or growing your audience on social media. Maybe fans follow you on Spotify. That sort of thing helps you with fan Retention.

[9 ways to build your mailing list]

As long as your fans can still find you when they do look for you, that’s all the search engines need to do at the Retention stage of the Fan Journey. So it won't be a focus of your SEO strategy as a musician.


Advocacy

The Advocacy stage of the Fan Journey is where you’ve already won your fan over to the point where they become a super fan. He or she follows you, and you’ve created some sort of relationship with them. They feel invested in your success. They want to share your music with other people, to help build the movement. They’re the ideal, devoted fan.

Of course Advocacy is a very important Fan Journey stage for your band. But search engines probably won’t be especially useful to you here, because at this point your super fans don’t need Google to find you - they already know where you are.


The Takeaway: Get To Know Your Fan Journey

At this point you’re probably thinking “Great, this makes sense and all, but how do I actually start doing SEO?

In follow-up posts, we’ll dig deeper into the technical and tactical advice you can use to create a positive search engine experience for your fans.

In the meantime, get to know your Fan Journey. Map it out and explore it. Poke holes in it, and find out where you’re weak and where you’re strong.

As far as SEO goes, you should focus on the Engagement and Purchase steps of the Fan Journey. But look at the other steps too. Maybe there is something specific to your band where SEO can help with your Discovery, Retention or Advocacy strategies.

Hopefully you now have an understanding of where you need to start with your SEO. Next time we’ll explore tactics that you can take action on.

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

How To Create a Stunning Photos Section on Your Band Website

How To Create a Stunning Photos Section on Your Band Website

A picture is worth a thousand words, and it can convey so much with just a glance. You’ve got a great header image setting the tone on your Homepage, an image or two placed nicely on your band bio page and events page. Your music page is ready to go, with your music and a few images as well.

Now it’s time to create a stunning photos page that will give your website visitors an inside look at your music in a fun way!

Gather the best photos of your band

It’s easy nowadays to snap photo after photo when at a gig. Resist the urge to post every photo you’ve got - weed out the blurry ones, and choose the very best.

A few ideas for great photos on your music website include: press photos, studio photos, live shots from a special gig or event, on stage or backstage at a recent show, fan photos taken of you, fan art, or previous show posters.

Music website photos page

If you’re playing a show where a professional photographer is also taking pictures, try to negotiate some shots. When you do an album, make sure you hire someone to shoot some professional, varied images of your band as well.

Make it modern

You can choose from a few gallery formats on your website. Try out the tiled option to arrange your photos in a stylish layout, or a slideshow to add many images that will rotate. You can change your gallery format at any time to rearrange the images you’ve already added.

If you can keep your colors coordinated, all the better to give your Photos page a cohesive look. This could mean creating a black and white template, and using black and white photos. Or, choosing images that have similar colors that go together - all bright colors, for example, or all muted colors.

Musician website photos page

Keep it organized

Now that you have your best photos ready, group them into a visually pleasing layout. Keep the entire page in mind - you’ll want it to pop with photos, and still be easy to scan.

Add a feature title describing the gallery. Add a bit of text to explain where the shots are from. Then add the photos underneath. You can mix and match gallery types to keep the page from getting too long and repetitive.

Musician website Nicola Rivers

You can easily delete photos from a gallery to make room for new ones, or reorder images by dragging.

Update it often

Be sure to add new photos as your band evolves. The Photos page is one that fans often gravitate to (everyone loves looking at photos!) Keep it interesting for your return visitors with fresh content regularly.

If adding more photos often means you have lots of galleries, consider giving each one it’s own page. You can quickly move a gallery using the visual editor by dragging it to a new page. Then add a cover image for your gallery on your main Photos page with a link to that gallery page.

Band website photos page

Need to add photos quickly? You can connect to your Instagram account, then set the number of images you want to appear. New photos that you post to Instagram will display automatically on your website. You can also import photos directly from Dropbox.

[25 ways to get more fans for your band using Instagram]

Share the photo love

Everyone loves looking at photos, so when you add new ones, share the photo gallery to social media. This gets people clicking through to your website (and while they’re there, maybe they’ll do some music shopping in your digital store, or sign up for your mailing list as well!)

Not wanting to make your photos easily shareable? Turn off that option in your Gallery settings.

Band website photos page example

Fans love checking out photos, and setting up an organized and stylish photos page is a great way to brand yourself as a musician. It’s one of the pages that your return visitors will check out most often so keep it up to date with professional image.

Build your own website to add your photos and engage your fans. Sign up free with Bandzoogle today!

8 Kinds of People You Need to Meet in Your Local Music Scene

8 Kinds of People You Need to Meet in Your Local Music Scene

This is a guest post by Hugh McIntyre, which originally appeared on the Sonicbids Blog.

When you’re just starting out, there's almost nothing more important than your local scene. Your city isn't just your home, it's your market. Your scene, which consists of both the geographic locale and those involved in your style and genre of music, are the ones who will champion your music, help build your career, and come to your shows. These people will be your business partners and your fans, and they could even be your friends.

There are a lot of people you need to meet to really know your scene, but who are they?

1. Radio promoters

Every market has a radio station, and even if you don’t live in or near a major metropolitan area, those stations are still important. Getting your song played on the radio is difficult, and the returns may not be what they used to be, but radio play is still worth going after.

Getting to know people at your local stations may or may not end up in your music getting some spins, but there's more that could come of those new relationships. Perhaps the station wants to create some online content, or maybe they host concerts featuring local bands. Many stations are interested in that sort of thing, and if they know you’re around and willing, they could help you out.

2. College radio staff members

Breaking into radio is difficult, and if you’re going to start anywhere, college stations are the best option. Your typical college radio station is run by ambitious young music lovers, and a lot of the time, they're just happy to be involved with bands and artists. It’s exciting, and you should be a part of that.

3. Talent buyers

These are the people at local bars, clubs, and music venues that pick the bands that are going to play. These are very important to you as somebody trying to build a fanbase, as playing live is one of the best ways to do that. Talent buyers get inundated with requests, so keep that in mind when you reach out to them.

[How to Get a Booking Agent to Book Your Band]

Most people who are working in this type of position are invested in their local scene, and they want to help, but you’ve got to make it worth their while. Don’t waste their time, and do everything you can to kill it with every show they're given. If you do it right and you’re good to them, talent buyers will respect you and like you, and they’ll want to keep hiring you.

[Click here to find live gig opportunities in your area]

4. Event promoters

While it might be similar, these aren't the same people that I mentioned just above. Event promoters are ones who run parties and special events that involve music, but they don’t have an actual position at venues. These people typically have deals with clubs or rent out spaces to throw everything from raves to rock concerts, and they're always looking for hot new talent.

These people are cool, connected, and you should seek them out. Look at which companies are hosting the most attended new parties in your city and find out who is running them and who works for them. All of those people are good to know in some capacity.

5. Festival organizers

Music festivals are popping up everywhere, and these days it seems like every small city now has at least one or two of these events every year. Local bands always help round out a lineup that may be headlined by a bigger name, and those in charge of securing talent are always interested in bands and artists that can really bring out the people.

[How To Get Booked at Music Festivals]

Again, look at which festivals are in your area, and then find out which companies run them. You might see the same name again and again, and that’s a good thing. Find those who are involved with the planning of these local fests and let them know that you want to be in the music festival game as well.

[Click here to apply to festivals on Sonicbids]

6. Bloggers

Everybody is always trying to get publicity, but not everyone is willing to start from the bottom. You might not know it, but there are probably a lot of people blogging about music in your area, even if those blogs aren’t well-read... yet. Even if somebody isn’t focused on just those musicians in a certain geographic area, many people have a soft spot for bands from their hometown.

Scour the internet for people with blogs about music who live nearby, and introduce yourself. Even if you’re not exactly what they’re looking for at the moment, it's good to let them know that you're a local. Those bloggers may one day be popular writers for big magazines.

[5 Ways to Get Your Music Noticed by Music Bloggers]

7. Freelance writers

Some of these people are bloggers as well, and others are full-time writers for bigger publications. It’s a common misconception that everybody who writes for well-known and extremely popular websites and magazines lives in major cities. Sure, lots of writers are based in New York, Los Angeles, and the like, but there are a ton of freelancers out there in even the smallest of towns. Those are people who might be willing to come to your show or listen to your music, as they might not be swamped like major critics in huge markets.

8. Other bands

This is obvious, but incredibly important. Get to know the other bands in your scene, especially those that are somewhat similar to you. If your new friend, the booking person at local club X, is looking for recommendations for someone who can open for you, don’t you want to be able to provide some suggestions? If a festival needs a last-minute filler act and you can save the day, they’ll remember that. Knowing the other acts in your town isn’t just good for "business," it’s a great way to make friends and discover great new music. Win-win, right?

Hugh McIntyre is a freelance pop music journalist in NYC by way of Boston. He has written for Billboard, The Hollywood Reporter, and MTV, as well as various magazines and blogs around the world. He is also the founder and editor-in-chief of the blog Pop! Bang! Boom! which is dedicated to the genre of pop in all of its glory.

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!

Website Design Inspiration: Best Rock Band Websites

Website Design Inspiration: Best Rock Band Websites

Your website should rock as hard as you do. Problem is, many musicians get stuck on the technical stuff. Fortunately, Bandzoogle makes it easy to set up, no coding needed! Focusing on one page at a time, and sticking to the basics will allow you to design a rock band website that makes your music the focal point.

The page that does the most for your band is the Homepage. This is the first page a visitor sees when they hit your site. The key features you want to have on your homepage are:

  • A nice professional header image

  • Mailing list sign-up form

  • A short 2-3 line bio

  • Events feature with a few upcoming gigs

  • And either a preview of one song, streaming video or latest news

[How to Build the Perfect Homepage for Your Band Website]

One Bandzoogle member doing a great job with this is UK rock band, Phoenix Calling. Not only do they have one pro header image, but three awesome shots using our slideshow header option.

They keep their fans in the loop by consistently posting updates and new shows. Adding images to the blog feature for news gives the page a nice look so fans can skim for what interests them.

[13 Topics That Musicians Can Easily Blog About]

Website Design Inspiration: Best Rock Band Websites

Another band with a stand-out homepage is folk-rock band The Ragged Few. They’ve chosen our newest template, Portside, to display their professional header images.

A notable addition with Portside is the vertical menu. This new display also provides a prime spot for the site-wide music player above the menu.

Website Design Inspiration: Best Rock Band Websites

Following a great homepage should be a nice About page. You'll want to include your location, how you got started, career highlights and upcoming projects. It should also offer great images to break up the text on the page.

[How To Build a Great Band Website Bio Page]

To connect with their fans, The Ragged Few have given exposure to each member of the band on their bio page. This gives fans a more personal look at each band member in more detail.

Website Design Inspiration: Best Rock Band Websites

A great way to attract new fans is by arming your current fans with cool merch. With our built-in Store options you can sell anything from physical CD’s and branded t-shirts, to koozies and guitar picks, commission-free.

On top of that you can spoil your fans by discounting certain items with our sales pricing options. Bandzoogle members Jaggermouth have done this on their Store page by letting fans download their current album at half off.

Website Design Inspiration: Best Rock Band Websites

If you’ve been around the music scene for awhile like Russian Circles Band, you may have several albums in your arsenal. A great way to display them is with a discography page. This will allow you to set up a grid of album covers, then when an album is clicked you can set it up to go to a dedicated page for that specific album.  

Website Design Inspiration: Best Rock Band Websites

On the individual album page you can give more attention to things like streaming tracks, credits and album notes. They also make great use of our Bandcamp integration!

[[VIDEO] How to Sell Bandcamp Music on Your Bandzoogle Website]

Website Design Inspiration: Best Rock Band Websites

To wrap it all up it’s a good idea to add an electronic press kit (EPK) to your site. An EPK is a digital version of a press packet you’d send to the media. It includes a short bio, press clips, a couple songs, a video, hi-res photos and contact information.

[How to create a digital press kit with Bandzoogle]

Having everything in one place makes it easy for media professionals to see you and your music at-a-glance. Pinup Band’s EPK page is a nice example of how to organize the page to make all the information readily available.

Website Design Inspiration: Best Rock Band Websites

Although rock life can be chaotic, your website doesn’t need to be. Taking pieces of each of these featured websites you can create a pro website that packs a mighty punch! For more design inspiration, check out our Website Examples page and the Beautiful Website Templates category of our blog.

Build your own professional Rock music website in minutes with all of these features and more. Sign up free with Bandzoogle now.

New Design Option: Styled Buttons

New Design Option: Styled Buttons for your band website

We’re excited to share another design update! Now, you can customize the style of your website’s buttons all on their own.

Customize the colors

Customize button colors on your band website

Rather than taking on your link color, you can now set a custom color for your buttons, and the color shown when a visitor hovers over the button. To do it, head over to your website theme designer and scroll down on the left side to get to the Buttons section.

Click on the circle to change the color and hover color. In the color palette, your previous color choices show (to make matching easy), but you can now choose any color you’d like.

Change the shape and style

Custom shapes for buttons on your band website

With the new button options, you can also change the shape of your buttons! From the play button to your mailing list signup button, clicking on Square (rectangle with square corners), Round (rectangle with rounded corners), or Pill (oblong pill shape) will change their shape.

To further customize your button, try changing the style from solid to outline! This will remove the solid fill, and show your background through the button. This modern option will give clean lines to any shape you choose.

These options control all of the buttons on your site. So no matter how you decide to customize them, the buttons will have a consistent look throughout your band’s website.

Check out this video for a quick walkthrough on how to change your buttons:

We hope you enjoy this design update and have fun adding these modern options to your buttons and forms. Try out the new button styles today!

Build a beautifully designed, professional band website in minutes. Try Bandzoogle free now!

How and Why Bands Should Film their Recording Sessions

How and Why Bands Should Film their Recording Sessions

Musicians are creative types, and don’t want to always think about the business side of things - they want to focus on their music!

So to make the business side easier, you should always be taking pictures of rehearsals and gigs. Even better? Start taking videos of your gigs, rehearsals and especially recording sessions.

Doing this will build a great foundation of material for your YouTube channel, social media campaigns, and your EPK, which will serve to promote your music, and help get you booked!

[How to create a digital press kit with Bandzoogle]

Statistics show that a moving image or video (including GIF’s) are more likely to have someone stop and check it out, than a static image. Luckily, the world of video production is getting more accessible to everyone – great news for the DIY musician!

If you have a newer mobile phone, chances are the video camera on it is pretty decent, so start filming away! If you’re looking for something more elaborate, try checking out a go-pro, or a DSLR.

But how do you make your DIY videos look more professional, and less well, DIY? Here are a few tips to get you started.

1. Always make sure you’re filming in landscape

The simple reason for this is that our TV’s and screens are generally all HD now, which is built around of the aspect ratio of 16 x 9 (larger vertically than horizontally). So, you want to aim to fill as much content as possible into that space!  

2. Think about your points of interest, or Rule of Thirds

As a general rule for photos and video, think about how you’re framing the subject. The basic guideline for framing is called the Rule of Thirds.

If you’ve never heard of this before it works like this: you want the point of interest (typically eyes of a person, or an object) to be centered on one of the intersecting points.

Here’s an example – you can see their eye level is generally at intersecting points:

How and Why Bands Should Film their Recording Sessions - Intersecting points

3. Use a tripod or a steady hand

Shaky videos instantly make a viewer think of the Blair Witch Project, and it takes years of practice to make ‘handheld’ camera look good. Too much shakiness is distracting to the viewer, and makes it harder to focus on the important content of the video!

To help steady your camera or phone as you film, you’ll want to make sure you tuck your elbows into your sides. This allows you to put some of the weight of the camera into your core, instead of all on your arms. You can also try makeshift tripods - is there a music or mic stand nearby? These are great ways to improvise when you’re on the go.

If you’re able to invest in a tripod, you may want to look at cool Go-Pro attachments, which can allow for clipping directly onto a guitar. If you’re planning on using a DSLR for your filming, you can purchase a lightweight tripod for under $40USD from most big box or technology stores.

4. Don’t stress (too much) about the audio

These are ultimately videos that you’ll be posting on social media, where the audio isn’t as important, or that you’ll give to an editor to edit your EPK, where the audio may be replaced with your professional recording.

But if you’re looking to up your audio game, try checking out some of the Zoom recorders available. They’re relatively inexpensive, and can really make the sound quality much better. Although phones nowadays have great video quality, they don’t have great sound quality.  

Set your Zoom recorder up near the source of the sound you want to record (whether that be a person or the band.  Do the ‘clap’ test - have someone clap their hands on camera. This is the same as that black and white clapboard on movie sets. You do this so in the editing process you have a visual and audio cue to sync the sound and picture.  

This is the moment of the clap impact:

How and Why Bands Should Film their Recording Sessions - Clap frame

This is what that looks like as a sound wave:

How and Why Bands Should Film their Recording Sessions - Sound wave

At the moment When the hands clap together on camera, you’ll also see a huge peak in your audio. When you match this frame with the audio peak, it will sync your video and audio!

Try out these tips and hopefully you’ll find your marketing campaign and video editors are super happy with the content you’re giving them.

So remember – film often and film right!

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!

How to design a great singer-songwriter website

How to Design a Great Singer-Songwriter website

You write and sing your own melodic driven songs. You have a laid-back, warm vibe about you, and your fans love to listen to you sing in intimate venues. As a singer-songwriter, it’s important to have a website that matches your music and gives your listeners a sense of who you are.

Key Elements for a Singer-Songwriter website

Singer-songwriter website design

When it comes to designing a singer-songwriter website, keep it simple and authentic. You want your website to speak to your visitors much like your music does. So keep that in mind when you choose a theme.

Taking a simple website template, like the Portside theme or the Dusted theme, and adding an image that sums you up is a great start to a design. From there, pull the colors from that image to work with your content area. You can save up to 15 colors in the Theme Designer’s color palette!

You can use light, airy colors, or more moody black and white, depending on the feeling you want to create. To make your design interesting, make use of different backgrounds, or a slideshow.

Jocelyne Alice website

[Website Design Inspiration: Best Songwriter Websites]

Homepage

You’ll want your Homepage to set a good first impression. Add some text about yourself, your band, your influences, and what you sound like. Be sure to include a bit of music as well, either a recent video or a compact music player with your best song.

Make sure you choose a main image for your page that speaks to who you are, and the kind of music that you play. Then organize your content on the page in columns, keeping things easy to read.

Owen Plante website

About page

With a music bio page, it’s a balance of adding just enough text to intrigue your website visitors, plus some images. Make sure you’ve got relevant content on this page, and update it often to include recent achievements, new music, or events.

Design this page to be simple but effective, with an opening paragraph that’s easy for someone writing a bio about you to grab and use. Then fill in some more details, and add an image or two of yourself. You can be a bit quirky in what you write on this page, as long as your words here come across as authentic.

Music page

For a singer-songwriter, a great Music page is an essential way to make your mark on your website visitors. Because you don’t rely on theatrics or showiness when you perform, you’ll want to keep your music page simple and organized.

Add your most recent album at the top of the page, with an image, and your album tracks. Make it easy to see and play your music right when this page loads. You can choose from a few different button styles to make your play button stand out.

Tyler Kealey website

Under this album, add previous music in music features and make use of columns to keep things in order.

Be sure to add a bit of text to describe your songs. Your fans will love to know more about how the music came about. So make use of your storytelling ability to add some inside information.

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

Photos page

It’s worth investing in a professional photoshoot to get some varied images of yourself. You can use these in your website design, and then provide a full gallery on your Photos page.

No time to update a photos page? Even adding an Instagram feature that will update automatically is a good way to keep people interested and checking back on this page.

[How To Create a Stunning Photos Section on Your Band Website]

Press Kit page

A great press kit page is key to booking shows. As a singer-songwriter, you’ll likely be targeting smaller, more intimate venues to play shows. Be sure to add some hi-res images here for bloggers or newspapers providing coverage, a short bio, plus some audio and live video.

If you do perform with a full band as well, at larger venues or festivals, include those specs in a stage plot.

This page can get busy with content, so choose only your best stuff, and put it in layout that’s easy to scan.

Events page

If you have a lot of upcoming shows, or want to highlight a tour, add a dedicated events page. Place your events in a table, list, or calendar to make sure that people can see when you’ll be playing near them.

Using the List view and adding images like posters is a nice way to break up the page some color and content.

Lo Carmen website

[How to set up an Events Page on your Website & Sell Tickets Online]

Contact page

A simple contact form on this page, plus your social media icons, will make it easy for people to send you a message. If you have more specific booking information, or a contact for publicity, you can add it here.

Eva Walsh website

We hope this gives you some ideas when you go to design your singer-songwriter website! For more design inspiration, check out our Website Examples page and the Beautiful Website Templates category of our blog.

Create your own singer-songwriter website that’s mobile-ready and easy to update anytime! Try Bandzoogle free today!

New: Custom Band Email Addresses

Custom Band Email Addresses

It's important to make your band website part of your brand, including a custom domain name (free with any of our plans).

Now, you can also set up your own email address through your website account with our new premium email service for musicians!

A few things that you get with band email:

Lots of Storage

Each inbox includes 25 GB of storage. So that’s plenty of space for all your booking forms, band correspondence, and notifications.

Large attachment size

You can easily attach files up to 50mb each. This should make it easier to send out large music files to your bandmates or producer. You can also attach images or pdf files.

To see how to get your email address set up, check out this walkthrough video:

Sync to your devices

Need to check your band email on the go? Set up your email address on your mobile device, and it'll sync your emails, as well as your calendars, contacts, and tasks.

You can also create an email address for a manager, band member, or for booking inquiries, which can be accessed fully outside of your website account. Set it up and they can log into it at the webmail link, or directly from their device or mail program.

Shared Calendar

Within any email account, you can also set up a calendar to share with the rest of your band members. It’s a handy way to keep track of rehearsals and gigs, and you can even set reminders for your band mates (via email or text).

Shared Band Calendar

Premium Servers

Best of all, these email accounts are hosted on premium email servers to give you best-in-class security, reliability, and spam filtering.

Email inboxes cost $14.95 per year. Billing is maintained seamlessly in your Account tab from year to year, and you can purchase as many email addresses as you'd like.

Get your band website and email up and running in minutes! Try Bandzoogle free today!

How to Achieve Longevity in the Music Business - 7 Questions with Stiff Little Fingers

How to Achieve Longevity in the Music Business - 7 questions with Stiff Little Fingers

Stiff Little Fingers, or ‘SLF’ as their fans also know them, are a punk rock outfit started in 1977 in Belfast, Ireland. They came out of the gate with a unique signature sound that has influenced countless other rock bands, most notably U2, Green Day, and the Dropkick Murphys.

While fronted by lead singer /guitarist Jake Burns since their inception, the band has had a few different line-ups over the years, including former members of other punk greats like The Jam. However since 2006, the band has featured Ali McMordie on bass (who was also an original member), drummer Steve Grantley, and guitarist Ian McCallum.

As a defining outfit in the punk genre, they know a thing or two about musical staying power, keeping fans happy, and have even had their band website with Bandzoogle for over 8 years.

We posed 7 questions to SLF about the differences between getting their music heard when they started, and now, and what they think will be the ways musicians will keep their staying power in the future.

Q. First, congratulations on your latest album ‘No Going Back’ which you released in August 2014, and which reached #1 on the BBC Radio 1's UK Top 40 Rock Album Charts. You decided to crowdfund this latest record using PledgeMusic.com, and it was obviously extremely successful.  Can you tell us some the reasons you decided to fund your album this way?

A. The music business has changed so much from our first days as a band, and we had to move with it.

Realistically, the old model of: get a record deal, put records in the shops, tour in support of the record and hope for radio play/chart position was outmoded. Record shops as such are either specialist stores or online entities now. To reflect that, we realized that we didn’t need to deal with a “bricks and mortar” company and we were better off going straight to our audience and ask them to “pre-order” the album.

Obviously, there’s more to it than that, but at its heart, that’s what it boils down to. It was also really exciting to be “purely independent” again and to be able to involve the audience right from the start.

Q. Are you considering using crowdfunding again for future releases?

A. Yes. We’re just nearing the end of our second crowdfunded project. This time we recorded our annual Glasgow Barrowland show, which happens every St. Patrick’s Night. This year marked our 25th year of playing this show and we, and the audience, felt a momento of the evening was in order.

So, we filmed and recorded the show via PledgeMusic again and I think everyone will be more than happy with the final result when they see it early next month. It’s available as a download, a CD and a DVD.

[VIDEO] How to add a PledgeMusic campaign to your Bandzoogle website

Q. SLF got a lot of attention on radio with John Peel playing your first single ‘Suspect Device’ regularly on its release in the 70’s. It would seem that was a fairly seminal moment for the early success of the band - does radio still carry the same importance as a way to get your music heard?

A. Probably to a wider base, but I don’t feel there is a single radio personality who has the importance that Peel had.

If you look back over his career and the bands he helped via radio sessions, he started with the likes of Pink Floyd in the late 60’s and continued right up through our era and beyond. I honestly don’t think you can over-estimate his importance to British music and musicians.

These days there are many other platforms that you can use to get through to an audience. For example, both the Arctic Monkeys and Justin Beiber gained their initial exposure through huge success on YouTube. You can decide whether that’s a good thing or not!

Q. Stiff Little Fingers have been Bandzoogle members since 2008 - which is amazing. How important is it to SLF to have their own site, as opposed to just maintaining a presence on social media?

A. Hugely important. It’s the one place where we can build a database of our biggest fans, by using the email tools and providing info via our own site first. We use several social media platforms to reach our audience, but we’re very aware that they are in control, and could pull the rug from under us at anytime.

We have over 160,000 Likes on Facebook, for example, but Facebook could just cut that off whenever they want. In fact, they’ve already made it harder to reach those people without paying for it!

A lot of our fans use Facebook to interact with one another and arrange meet ups, post reviews etc., but our slf.rocks site on Bandzoogle is the first stop for getting the word out about what the band are doing and planning.

Q. Two part question - which Bandzoogle tools and / or features do you use the most, and why?

A. The CMS of course, first and foremost. Announcing our tour schedule and other news is most important. We also find that the media uses the bio section for images and background on the band when creating their stories, and that’s great!

We appreciate that Bandzoogle has continually worked to improve the interface and usability. Making sure that the web site is responsive (meaning it displays well of smartphones) is incredibly important. Especially since so many people are using phones instead of computers to access our site.

Also, the fact that Bandzoogle comes with email marketing tools is a huge plus. We occasionally offer contests on social media to drive fans to sign up for email offering free downloads on demos, or a giveaway of a rare items.

These efforts have worked really well, and we plan to do more. We haven’t used the tools yet to offer full downloads of albums, but we plan to.

Q. According to your site, Stiff Little Fingers has a really unrelenting tour schedule. Clearly that’s an important aspect with maintaining your connection with fans - is there anything else that as a band, you feel is important to maintain the relationship between the artist and their listeners?

A. Touring and playing live are the band’s life blood. It’s what we’re best at and what we enjoy most.

Again, in an era where a lot of artists are reliant on big productions and studio technology, we feel that the audience appreciates more than ever a band that has the ability to stand in front of them and play and sing in tune and with sincerity.

[14 Ways Musicians Can Make Money from Live Shows]

Q. Finally, any special wisdom or words of advice you can impart on our readers about how to stick it out playing, writing, and recording for so long?

A. Find your own voice as soon as possible. Learning your trade by playing other people’s material is fine, but I don’t think you’ll have much success as a “tribute act” either intentionally or otherwise.

And, try to write about things YOU care about. After all, if you don’t believe it, how do you expect an audience to?

And…have fun! It’s supposed to be fun, and believe me, in among all the hassles, the problems, the changing landscapes etc., it IS still fun!

Next year is our 40th anniversary of the band, and who knows what we’ll do, but we’ll be using Bandzoogle to help make it happen!

Check out SLF's Bandzoogle powered website at www.slf.rocks

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!

Meet the Music Booking Agents

Meet the Music Booking Agents

This is a guest blog, written by Louise Dodgson, Editor at The Unsigned Guide.

Working with a booking agent is a topic we’re often asked about by artists and bands who wonder whether they should still undertake all gig bookings themselves or acquire the services of an agent who can bag those lusted-after festival slots and tour supports. 

Do I need an agent? At what stage should we approach one? Will a booking agency even work with an unsigned or emerging band? If you’ve ever wondered about any of the above, this blog is for you! 

We’ve enlisted the assistance of 3 experienced booking agents to tackle your questions.

Jack Cox and Beckie Sugden work for X-ray Touring, an established agency working with a huge range of acts from Blur and Coldplay to Courtney Barnett and Black Honey. Adam Gainsborough is the Founding Director of This Is Now Agency, home to Molotov Jukebox, Beans On Toast, Too Many T's, and many more.

Q: How long have you been an agent for & how did you get into it?

Adam: I have been an agent for around 8 years and it all started with my own company called C23 Management after a good friend of mine was doing well in the Fidget House scene and started getting enquiries for shows. He didn't want to deal with the whole negotiating process and asked if I was interested in taking charge of it all. He made me an email address and a MySpace page and we never looked back. Since then I worked for a well-known record label for 3e years which progressed into a management company and then I started This Is Now Agency in 2013.

Beckie: This is my 10th year as an agent and 8th year at a major agency. I was actually a TV news journalist at ITN before I moved into the music industry. Whilst there I got the opportunity to judge the best unsigned band competition to play at Wireless festival, in the MySpace tent! From there I met a few managers and later ended up joining a management and events company on a casual basis, whilst repping gigs in the evenings. I then ended up helping at In The City conference and met a company called 10xbetter who offered me a job as an agent when we got back to London. Having got a years’ experience at the company I naively decided to go out on my own and set-up MixedTape Agency. For a small company we did really well really quickly and by the end there was 3 people working for me on a freelance basis. After only a year I had been approached by William Morris and moved over there…the rest as they say is history.

Jack: 1 and a half years. I got into the agency world through booking a large tour of 250 gigs in 250 days for a band I played in. After the tour ended I knew the band wasn’t working, so I began to explore my options. Agency was a natural direction after hustling for shows. After a little networking a job came up at X-ray. I had to compete for the position but got it.

Q: So, what does a booking agent do? What can you achieve that bands and artists won't be able to do for themselves?

A: A booking agent seeks as many opportunities for their clients as they can to help progress their profiles and careers. Having a good working relationship with both promoters and festivals enables agents to speak directly to the powers that be which artists find hard to do. Having a good reputation with successful acts helps getting quick answers instead of bands themselves having to go through the application process to play at events and festivals.

B: We scout, pitch to and sign a roster of acts. Our job is then to apply a personally tailored, strategic, international touring plan based on an artist’s releases and general activity. It’s about putting the artists in the right place at the right time, in the right way. You don’t need an agent until you have stopped asking yourself this question and you know the answer! We take everything to the next level!

J: A good agent will have the contacts that artists will not have and will be able to give insight into the best live choices for an artist. It’s essential for an agent to elevate an act through venue and promoter choice along with which cities to play and when. In short, on top of booking shows and tours, a good booking agent will guide and advise on an artist’s live career. They will also fight for their act to get the best possible slots in an ever competitive world of live music events. 

In my opinion, the role of an agent is evolving into a more personal member of a musician’s team, along with the manager, lawyer, PR etc. that it didn’t necessarily used to be. Agent’s opinions and advice is being sought after more often than ever as the live career of the artist is now normally the largest revenue stream. 

A mistake many unsigned and/or un-represented artist make (including myself when I was in a band) is overplaying and touring in a disorganised, poorly routed and poorly promoted way. As briefly mentioned before, the live career of an act is the largest revenue stream now, so it must be correctly exercised – a good agent can ensure that this happens. 

Q: How many acts does your agency work with? How many artists do you work with personally?

A: This Is Now Agency works with 13 artists and acts. These include Molotov Jukebox, Beans On Toast, Too Many T's, Will Varley, DJ Format & Abdominal and Skinny Lister. I personally look after 9 and my assistant, Sarah Joy, looks after the rest.

B: We work with hundreds of artists in various genres. I personally work with a roster of 35 acts currently including Anderson .Paak, NxWorries, Hoodie Allen, Deaf Havana, Beartooth, Attila and God Is An Astronaut, to name but a few.

J: I work with around 15 artists (a comparatively low number) and our agency represents over 400 artists from stadium acts to breaking acts.

Q: At what stage in their career should a band or artist approach a booking agent? Is there any point unsigned acts doing this?

[How to Get a Booking Agent to Book Your Band]

A: Bands should really get in touch with agents when they've reached a level that they can no longer manage themselves. Bands obviously can be picked up quite quickly by agents and management due to the potential that’s seen in them, but more often than not a band really needs to do a lot of leg work in raising their profile as much as they can until they need to increase the number of the team that they work with.

B: My rule is that you should not be approaching me until you can sell out a home town show AT LEAST! I personally think being signed is now less important than it has ever been; for me it is more important to have a manager. Different agents will take on bands at different stages and be looking for different things, so I am a big advocate of the saying “nothing ventured, nothing gained!”. Just make sure when you are approaching an agent everything is at its peak i.e. people are clamouring to see you, your branding is strong, you have a clear and infectious vision, the songs are the best you can produce at that moment and the live show is flawless. It’s hard to get an agent’s attention so when you do you need to be undeniable, as competition is fierce.

J: Yes, there certainly is; agents tend to sign bands way before record labels nowadays. I would advise that unsigned acts/artists approach agencies through their lawyer or after you have a manager in place. Do not bother doing so before.

Q: What do you look for in a band or artist?

A: This Is Now Agency's ethos is unique entertainment and we believe the performance is just as important as the music itself. If you make us say “Wow” or make our jaws drop or go, then we're more likely going to want to be say hello. Yes, you're a hard working band who tour relentlessly, but do you sound any different to the millions of other acts out there? If you don't, you need to take a look at what you're wanting to achieve and how you're going to make yourself stand out.

B: The complete package. As I said above, you need to be undeniable in every respect. You need to have songs that stick in my head. I want to see an image forming that fits the band. Your live show should impress and I want to know you have a clear and realistic vision of who you are as a band and where you want to go.    

J: The clear ability to write songs of musically-contextual competitive quality and an amazing live show.  

Q: How do you source exciting new acts to keep an eye on?

A
: We receive a lot of emails from bands looking for agents but more often than not we find new acts through our own network. Whether that’s through friends in the industry, other acts on our roster or at events themselves.

B: Honestly I mainly find my bands through tips within the industry or through my bands’ recommendations. Rarely do I sign a band from a speculative approach. You can be clever with getting on an agents radar i.e. find one of their bands you fit with and do everything you can to get on as a support. Make friends with that band and get them to watch you and hopefully they will recommend you to the right people.

J: I find them myself in the majority of cases. If I receive an email out of the blue from an unsigned and unmanaged act, I can’t treat it as a priority as I need to concentrate on the artists I represent. The best way to find new bands is to get to shows and build up a network of individuals who have good musical taste and who are also positioned to help acts. These can include artist managers, label and publishing scouts and (sometimes!) promoters.

Q: Obviously X-ray work with a pretty big roster of established artists. Do you think this allows you to be more flexible when taking on new/emerging acts than smaller agencies, as you know you can rely on the better-known acts to bring in the money? 

B: It doesn’t work like that as you have to deliver certain earnings based on your roster so if you have the huge headliners on your roster then this could apply, but if you don’t then it just does not work like that. Every new act you take on is a risk, not just financially, but a risk on your time and your ability to be effective for your whole roster. I think that if you love an act you take them on, whatever it adds to your plate.

Q: What do you take into consideration when you book tour dates or festival slots for an act?

[How to Book a Tour without a Booking Agent]

A: It really depends on which acts we're booking the shows for. Unless you're one of the biggest artists in the world who will sell out shows no matter what you have going on, a tour really needs to coincide with a new release so all cogs work together - PR, radio, TV etc. If you have a release coming up, you're also more likely to get bigger and better slots at festivals as these shows can also be mentioned in interviews and listings, which in turn is free promotion for the festivals.

B: Absolutely everything! This is actually a really tough question as you are thinking about things in different ways at different times. So firstly you will look at what releases they have out and when it makes the best sense to tour, then when you have the green light to get it all started, you start to look at what other artists are in the market, public holidays, major sporting events in the area, what avails you can get in venues. There are so many variable factors to consider and take into account when deciding the best course of action. It would probably take a small book to explain this in depth!

J: Every act’s live career and strategy is different. In a very basic sense, a release is usually needed to tour. When considering tour dates and festival slots, I consider placement – a certain act must appear in a live space or at a festival that will benefit them the most. You aren’t going to book a very gentle singer songwriter onto a heavy metal festival. Another thing to consider is how to deliver an incredible show; hard work and creativity is required to elevate a band and an element of this is considering alternative venues and spaces for the act to play in.

Q: How does it work financially? Do you take a straight percentage cut from money made from the gig?

[14 Ways Musicians Can Make Money from Live Shows]

A: We work differently from other agencies out there as we manage a lot of our artists as well as doing their bookings. We look after social media, promotion as well as being the 'tour manager' delivering the itineraries for each show. We have a lot of different deals with our clients, so there’s no real rule of thumb as such, but a straight up agency deal is normally 10%. That is generally for solely booking the show and passing over the details to the band directly or to their manager or tour manager to sort the logistics.

B: 10% of gross is the industry standard. 

J: An agent takes a cut of the fee they negotiate for the artist, the cut is completely different from act to act.

The Unsigned Guide is an online music industry directory. Since 2003 The Unsigned Guide has been used by emerging bands, artists, producers and music managers to search over 8,500 UK music contacts across 50 sectors of the industry. 

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!