The Bandzoogle Blog

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

Musician Website Inspiration: Colourful, consistent content

Music website Mikaela Kahn

Every week, we highlight one of our favorite websites on Bandzoogle.

Who: Mikaela Kahn

What: Singer-Songwriter / Alt R&B / Indie Pop

Where: Austin, Texas

Why her website rocks: Everything on Mikaela’s site is put together cohesively, tying into the muted, gorgeous colors of her newly released album. Her Homepage offers music and video, plus a few text tidbits and assorted quotes.

Her design is simple and stellar: using one of our themes that offers a full-width header area, each page has a different header image, and every one of them mimics the same color scheme, with her logo keeping it all consistent.

The rest of the pages are clean and allow her content to do the talking - from the Press page filled with quotes, music, and hi-res images, to her summer songwriting camp page. Lots to look at and listen to, made easy with a beautiful design. Well done!

Check out her excellent website at: http://www.mikaelakahn.com

Bandzoogle Staff Interview: Listening to music at work

Music makes the world go round, but does it make you more productive at work? While researching for this blog post I found some really great in depth articles on the topic of music and work productivity. One of the best articles I found on this topic was The Complete Guide to Listening to Music at Work by Adam Pasick.

Instead of rehashing all the great information and tips about listening to music at work, the effects of music on the brain and productivity levels, I thought it’d be fun to get a bit more personal.

I sent an email to the Bandzoogle team asking some questions about their music habits at work. I really enjoyed the responses and hope you will too!


1) Do you listen to music while working? Why or why not?

Chris - Yup.  I work best in the evenings, and always have music on.  Anything without lyrics, or with non-english lyrics so I can concentrate.

Stacey - Half of the time, yes. i concentrate best when there is background noise and it helps keep my energy/motivation up during the day while i work from home

Allison - I’d love to but I get too caught up in the lyrics, riffs, background vocals, etc. so it’s too difficult to focus. Because of that I usually work in complete silence. Sometimes I go stir crazy so I do put on an ambient noise app like Coffitivity or listen to music without lyrics.

Melanie - I prefer total quiet and don’t tend to turn music on while I work.  Which is funny because my husband is a musician so his practicing on the grand piano downstairs tends to bleed through, and I love listening to that!

Justin - It depends on what I'm doing. If I'm doing a task that has a lot of repetition in it, I'll listen to music to keep my mind active. If I'm doing something that requires a lot of focus, I turn the speakers off. I find I get too into the music to split my focus.

Joseph - I love to but there are some exceptions there. Depends on the complexity of whatever I'm doing at that moment, if in chat and have multiple conversations going I'll keep it paused to focus.

Adam - Often, but not always.  If I’m having a conversation in chat the tunes are off, or if I’m working on some tricky troubleshooting I’ll pause the tunes to maintain better focus on the task at hand.

David E - No. Answering chat and e-mail demand a lot of focus and in rotating through the various member sites, where many have autoplay enabled, it just isn't feasible for me.

Desi - I typically do, because I need background noise. If I don't have music on, I have the TV on.

Dave Cool - Most days yes. I use it to either help relax if it's a hectic day/I've had too much coffee, or to get me hyped up if I'm feeling sluggish/haven't had enough coffee. Basically it depends on my coffee intake.

Colin - Almost always. I enjoy it and it usually helps me to focus.

Dave S - Yes, I listen to music most of the time no matter what I’m doing. But quite often when getting into something complicated I have to pause to concentrate.

Daniel - Usually, yes. It sets a tempo and mood for my day, and is also just enjoyable.

Eli - I don't usually listen to music while working, mostly because I forget to turn it on! Sometimes CBC radio mumbles away in the background.

Josh - I pretty much listen to music all day as I find it helps me keep focused.

Jorge - No, I don’t. I prefer silence to focus. I have tried in the past, when I worked in a place that wasn’t as quiet at my current home office, but I learned that background music affected my concentration.

Serge - Depends on my mood and depth of work at hand :-) Music does go well with support work or working with familiar code. But it is too distracting when trying to hunt down a particularly pesky bug or learn a new API.

2) Why type of music do you listen to?

Chris - I'm on a world-music kick recently, which is also great for working.  Sierra Leone's Refugee All-Stars (who are Bandzoogle members) and Tinariwen are recent favorites.  Both have inspirational stories behind their music.

Stacey - Classic rock. Bob Seger, Journey, Lou Reed, Queen, Fleetwood Mac, ELO, CCR. If it sounds like an anthem I probably have it on repeat.

Allison - My favorite music is Gospel (Smokie Norful, J. Moss, Kirk Franklin, Coko, Stacie Orrico) followed strongly by R&B, Hip-Hop and Rap (Mint Condition, Jhene Aiko, Chris Brown, Drake, Nicki Minaj, Ciara, Ne-yo), then other genres like rock (I love Paramore) and a bit of country (Dolly Parton, Carrie Underwood, Kenny Rogers, Jamie O’Neal). I also really enjoy Air Supply, Jimmy Buffet, The Carpenters, Crystal Gayle and Beach Boys because it reminds me of my parents.

Melanie - I love singer/ songwriter folky pop music.  Meaningful lyrics and a great melody.  Right now some of my favorites are Kathleen Edwards, The Civil Wars, Gabe Dixon and Amos the Transparent.  I was also raised on classic rock like The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Beach Boys and we put on those same old records all the time.

Justin - I have a pretty wide range of artists that I like to listen to - classics like Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison, Elvis, and The Beatles, Canadian folk artists like Bruce Cockburn, The Claytones, Red Moon Road, and James Hill (who has a website with BZ!), and, like Eli, I also love German lieder, and listen to (and learn it!) pretty frequently.

Joseph - Depends on the day and the weather! My music library is a compilation of everything I listened to in early high school up to now, so you'll find a range of bands like Pantera, Megadeth and Nine Inch Nails to Wilson Pickett and The Gipsy Kings.

Adam - Electronic, Motown, classic Hip Hop, Punk Rock, New Wave… almost everything.

David E - Mostly classical although I do dabble in other genres.

Desi - Cliche as it is, I listen to everything! My favorite band is a rock band, but I also really love folk-y Americana, jazz, top 40, "classic" rock, indie pop, and living in Nashville has even gotten me into a little bit of country!

Dave Cool - Usually instrumental music, which isn't too distracting for writing. I love listening to Bandzoogle member Sam Rae for that reason, or Jon Hopkins. I often put on the "Afternoon Acoustic" playlist on Spotify as well, and have discovered a lot of great artists that way.

Colin - I grew up in the 80s listening to punk, alternative, and industrial music. I still listen to that sort of music pretty much, along with plenty of other types. I wouldn't say there's any particular kind of music I prefer. One thing that has changed for me is I like to be challenged by the music I listen to, whether that's via the politics of the music, the sound/style, or something else.

Dave S - I’m a rock and metal guy at heart but listen to a wide variety of music, anything that catches my ear really. For example recently I got Tove Lo’s Habits (Stay High) stuck in my head for weeks and that could be heard throughout the house multiple times a day. Mostly my entire music collection is on shuffle but I step into entire albums a couple of times a day when a favourite track comes along. I have to be careful during work hours as I’m surrounded by guitars and have to resist the urge to pick one up and figure out something that catches my ear or play along to a song I love to play.

Daniel - I’m all over the map. Everything from electro to jazz to metal to folk to hip-hop.

Eli - My favourites to concentrate by are Indonesian Gamelan music (such as Ottawa's Evergreen Contemporary Club Gamelan), Sufi Qawwali (can't beat Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan), and German Lieder.

Josh - I'll listen to any genre but mostly Jazz, funk or rock. In general I like intense music that has a technical element to it. For example, I love early Metallica as much as I love John Coltrane, and I love the Minutemen as much as I love The Tower of Power. The genre really makes no difference to me.

Jorge - All kinds (a cliche, I know). My playlist includes some fixed picks like Queen, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Joaquin Sabina, Mecano, Fito y Fitipaldis, some U2 (don’t tell Colin)… Periodically I like to add songs I grab from top lists in bulk (both international and Spanish), so you won’t hear me complain about mainstream music.

Serge - Anything goes. But I keep coming back to mostly electronic stuff.

3) Do you listen to different music at certain times of day or while working on different tasks?

Chris - Definitely.  My most recent playlist is "Baby tunes" to entertain my 10 month old daughter Molly, with Raffi, the Beatles, and BZ members Caspar Babypants.

Stacey - There is pretty much always music playing in my office/house. It goes on with the coffee pot and out with the lights.

Allison - I mainly listen to music when I’m getting ready to go out, in the grocery store, cooking, in the car, when I workout or when I’m hanging out with friends/family. It pretty much always turns into a mini-concert when music goes on because I really get into it. If I’m working and I want to listen to music I usually go for a 90’s mix (like Rob Base & DJ EZ Rock radio) or something super chill like piano or violin music.

Melanie - I always put music on when I’m not working.  My 2 year old loves Johnny Cash and Raffi, so that’s on a lot in the morning and evening.

Justin - Just depends on my mood! Sometimes, I like to listen to something chill and soft, and sometimes I need something to amp me up, like Meatloaf's Bat out of Hell.

Joseph - I generally keep my entire library on random but definitely prefer the more mellow grooves in the morning and then ramp it up slowly as the day progresses.

Adam - I’ll listen to music based on the mood I’m in - if I’m in a good rhythm, I’ll put on something that’s all beat and bass.  Usually something with a reasonable tempo for work, like LCD Soundsystem, Ark Analog or Silkken Laumann.  I tend to lean towards more downtempo music when designing, like Massive Attack, Elsiane, Becks new album, or some good soul like Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings or Charles Bradley.

David E - The selection is dependent on mood. Recently, I have been listening to a lot of string music ranging from Bach's works for solo violin, through Shostakovich's string quartets and Takemitsu's Requiem for Strings.

Desi - I listen to music basically 24/7. From the time I get up in the morning until my record player ends after I fall asleep.

Dave Cool - Yeah, so for when I'm writing, I stick to instrumental & mellow electronic music. If I'm responding to a bunch of emails, I'll put something on that will help get me a bit hyped up, like Rival Schools or Cold War Kids.

Colin - I have a long drive to get my child to and from school, and he's been obsessed with the soundtrack to the Matilda musical, so we listen to that a lot in the mornings and afternoons. Otherwise, I'm pretty flexible.

Dave S - No whether it’s 9 am or midnight my music of choice is whatever I want to listen to right then and there, the neighbours haven’t said anything about the death metal at 2am - yet. Listening to instrumental music is best for not getting (too) distracted, such as acoustic guitar virtuosos like Michael Hedges, Andy McKee and Tommy Emmanuel but I can only listen to something without a beat in short bursts.

Daniel - Absolutely. When I’m really needing to focus I usually put on deep house/trance/Berlin techno or an instrumental jam of some kind. When I’m doing repetitive work, it’s often a more upbeat jangle pop, Caribbean soul, reggae, or even classic rock. And when I’m in a creative design flow, I usually go for art indie.

Eli - Not sure if my tastes change based on context. If I have a craving, I'll listen to it.

Josh - I find that Electronic music like Deadmaus or Darkside can be the perfect work music. It's not something I would listen to all the time but it keeps me in a good rhythm and focused. It's the modern equivalent of the drums on the slave ships in Ben Hur.  A good part of my day is doing design and I can listen to just about anything while doing that. If I have to write or communicate with folks I have to avoid music with vocals.

Jorge - I love and need music when running. I have empirically learned that without music my already pretty limited endurance gets seriously affected. I also love my music when cooking.

Serge - I just fire up my Rdio, try on a few things to see what fits and then adjust accordingly throughout the day :-)


As you can see the BZ crew has very diverse music preferences. It’s great because we all share and learn about new artists/music from each other.

Now it’s your turn…. In the comments, we’d love to hear your answers to these three questions as well.

1) Do you listen to music while working? Why or why not?

2) Why type of music do you listen to?

3) Do you listen to different music at certain times of day or while working on different tasks?

Bandzoogle in Toronto for Canadian Music Week & Member Meetup!

Next week our Director of Artist Relations Dave Cool and Quality Assurance Specialist Justin Ralph will be in Toronto! They’re headed to Canadian Music Week and will also be hosting a member meetup while in town. Here’s where to find them:

Canadian Music Week: Panel + Free Website Reviews

Dave will be speaking on a panel on how to turn fans into customers online, and both he and Justin will be offering free website reviews at the Bandzoogle booth during the conference:

Social Conversion Formula: Turning Fans Into Customers Online
Thursday, May 7
1:30PM - 2:20PM
SHERATON HALL A

In analog days, “meet and greets” were the preferred avenues for artist/fan interaction. Now people may be friends and followers before they become fans. This new, intimate dynamic is ideal for building a fanbase and a career from the ground up. This session examines the social and digital tools artists and managers have successfully used to launch careers. Monetizing a fan-base can take place completely outside the media spotlight – to the point that when it finally discovers you, you’ve already “arrived.”

Moderator: Darryl Ballantyne, CEO LyricFind

Panelists: Dave Cool, Director of Artist Relations Bandzoogle; Mark Steiner, Co-Founder & CEO GigSalad; Hayley Rosenblum, Music Outreach Lead Kickstarter; Mark Meharry, Founder & CEO, Music Glue; Mike Fiebach, CEO Fame House

Free Website Reviews at the Bandzoogle Booth
May 7 - 9
9AM-5PM

We’ll have a booth at the CMW Tradeshow where we’ll be offering free website reviews. Come by to get your site reviewed by Dave or Justin, and get some free candy while you’re at it. And if you’re a member, be sure to get a free Bandzoogle shirt too!

Toronto Meetup

While in town for CMW, we’re going to have a little informal meetup for Bandzoogle members!

So if you’re a Bandzoogle member in Toronto (or you’ll be in town for CMW), please join Dave & Justin to network with other members, find out what’s coming up next for Bandzoogle, and to let us know what features *you* would like to see us build next. And best of all: drinks are on us!

Details:
Friday, May 8 @ 6PM
Monarch’s Pub at the Eaton Chelsea Hotel

Please RSVP, as space is limited!

And if you stick around that night, Bandzoogle members Turbo Street Funk are performing right there at Monarch’s Pub at 9pm!

Musician Website Inspiration: Great Mobile Layout

Every week, we highlight one of our favorite websites on Bandzoogle.   

Who: Lyris Hung  
What: Violinist / Producer
Where: New York City, NY
Why her website rocks: Lyris is using our Manhattan theme, which is just one of our 100+ mobile-ready themes. We love how she keeps it simple with the content and layout on her Homepage. This really translates well when viewing her site on a mobile device, and makes it so visitors won’t have to scroll down forever to see relevant content.

You can press play on the site-wide music player to listen to her music while you browse through her latest blog posts, signup to her mailing list, and check out her upcoming shows. Speaking of which, looks like touring with the Indigo Girls is going to keep Lyris pretty busy the next few months!

And if you click on the “hamburger” menu when viewing on a mobile phone, visit her Bio page and you’ll see that she not only tours regularly with the Indigo Girls, but has also played with hip-hop giant Jay-Z and Beyoncé too! Pretty awesome.

Check out her site (from your phone!) at: www.lyrishung.com

 

Get More Gigs: Growing Your Band’s Web Presence

This is a guest post from GigSalad. GigSalad offers promotional tools and exposure to help performers get gigs. All kinds of event planners and talent buyers use GigSalad to book talent for corporate, private, and public gigs. Their members get booked for venues, weddings, corporate events, birthday parties, festivals, TV shows, commercials, movies, and more.


As a seasoned musician, you’ve probably noticed a shift in the way people are discovering bands and new music. With so many sharing platforms out there, the web is crammed with musicians trying to make their way to the top. More than ever, the difference between getting a gig or not very often depends on how easy it is to find your music on the internet. Simply having a website isn’t enough to make your band stand out. The hard truth is, if you can’t catch a user’s attention during their clicking frenzy, you’ll get lost in the noise. Here are a few things you can do to help grow your band’s web presence, attract new listeners, and get more gigs.

Create a straightforward website

When someone visits your website, your services should be obvious to them. Answer the questions your clients would want to know.

What are you offering me? Why do I need you? What makes you different from your competitors?

But, don’t just tell them; show them. Use photos, videos, and audio clips to engage your site visitors. With each element, however, you must follow a few guidelines:

Display your latest high-quality photos. Great imagery can grab the user’s attention, but make sure that the images you’re using are as relevant and recent as possible. If your band has a logo, make it visible, but it shouldn’t be the main focal point. Event hosts looking to book a band for personal events are typically more attracted to photos of actual people rather than graphics. And try not to go too avant-garde here. Just a clean, simple photo showing all of your band members will be enough.  

Share a video performance. For musicians, videos are key for showing both your sound and stage presence. But much like your photos, make sure you’re providing high-quality footage. Don’t worry, there’s no need to buy a professional production camera. Here are a few affordable apps and tools for your iPhone that can help boost the value of your videos:

  • Videon -one of the best all-in-one video capturing and editing apps.

  • MoviePro -an advanced video recording app with higher resolutions and fully manual controls, but no video editing component.

  • GorillaPod -a phone or camera stand that provides excellent stability while filming.

  • iRig Mic -a solution for improving the quality of audio recordings on your iPhone.

Keep your videos as up-to-date as possible. By always having fresh content, you can avoid confusion as to how many pieces are in the band, what music you typically play, and if your style is suited to the client’s event.

Keep your writing concise. Once you’ve piqued interest with great visuals, be sure to follow through with your writing. Ideally, you’ll want to keep the text short, but include the essentials: the services you offer and how they can book you for their gig.

Find a great website builder. Fortunately, you don’t have to be tech-savvy to have an impressive website for your act. Website builders are typically mobile-friendly, offer stylistic flexibility, and make it easy to plug your media and information into a beautifully designed template. Most of these services are highly cost-effective and will even provide hands-on support services. We recommend Bandzoogle because it’s built specifically for musicians, making it easy to add downloadable music files, manage gig calendars, and sell band merch.

Research online platforms with great SEO

Search Engine Optimization refers to the practices that improve your site’s ranking in top search engines. SEO can be a beast to understand and conquer, but the benefits of this process are incredibly important to your web presence. Because these practices (and even the definition of SEO) are ever-evolving, it is continuously being researched and analyzed. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to dive into SEO analysis. However, you may want to consider linking up with sites that already have the expertise. There are platforms specifically for entertainers that have already built up high credibility in search engines and allow you to showcase yourself as a professional working musician.

For example, GigSalad.com is a prime spot for musicians to promote their talents and facilitate bookings. Not only can it help land you in a top position on Google, but it also brings in thousands of event planners every day who are searching for local bands to book for their events. So you will also find an influx in gigs just by being a part of the community.

Maintain Online Professionalism

Sometimes, when a performer receives a quote request through their website or booking marketplace, the inquiry is viewed as more of a “lead” than an actual person requesting information. Dehumanizing these requests can influence the way you interact with potential clients as well as the etiquette you’ve developed in your face-to-face encounters. It’s important to remember that our actions affect our reputation and potential for referrals. Word travels fast – especially on the internet, which allows for uncensored and instant communication. Here are a few ways to maintain optimal online professionalism:

  1. Respond to online inquiries quickly. Performers who deliver quick responses are typically the ones to land the gig. Set up your website or booking platform to allow quote requests to be sent to you via email. This way, you can access them from your phone and respond from anywhere.

  2. Use correct grammar and punctuation. This goes for all outgoing emails, your social media posts, your blog, and any direct correspondence with clients. Your language is directly linked to your level of professionalism.

  3. Be courteous. Some musicians have an ego about the types of gigs they’ll perform, and that’s fine – but your communication with event hosts should never indicate this in a negative way. Regardless of whether or not a potential gig is your ideal situation, remember that this may just be a milestone event for the person contacting you. Don’t belittle that. Also be aware that the performer working without rigid gig requirements has the fullest gigging calendar, the most networking opportunities, and typically, the best reviews.

  4. Respond even if you’re unable to make the gig. It’s frustrating for anyone to ask a question and wait a while before realizing they’re not getting a response. The majority of the quote requests you get will be associated with a specific event date, so the event host can’t afford to waste time.

The more professional and courteous you are with your online and offline communication, the more positive reviews you’ll receive. Great reviews can do wonders to make you stand out among your competition, and event hosts are more likely to book you after hearing from previous satisfied clients.

Making a living as a musician isn’t an easy task, but with the right combination of professionalism, talent, and web visibility, you’ll position yourself to land gigs with ease.

Find out how GigSalad can help you book more gigs by visiting their website at www.GigSalad.com

Online Marketing Workshop + Member Meetup in San Diego

After the ASCAP EXPO in Hollywood, we’ll be heading straight down to San Diego to give an online marketing workshop for musicians and meet up with local members there! We hope you’ll join us for the workshop and networking afterwards. Here are the details for the event:

Online Marketing for Musicians:
How to Gain More Fans & Generate More Income for Your Career

There’s no shortage of online promotional tools for musicians, so it can be daunting to figure out just how to use them effectively to promote your music. Which social media sites should you be active on? Do you still need your own website? Are mailing lists outdated?

Join Dave and Allison from musician marketing and website platform Bandzoogle, as well as musician Brad Perry, to discuss how to use all of these tools in a cohesive strategy to gain more fans, and generate more income for your career.

Food and drinks available for purchase at the venue. Following the workshop, stick around to network and have drinks with the panelists and attendees!

Presented by the San Diego Songwriters Guild in association with Bandzoogle.

When:
Sunday, May 3
6:00pm (Registration begins at 5:30pm)

Where:
Mainstream Bar and Grill
13385 Poway Road
Poway, CA 92064

Cost: $5

Click here to let us know you’ll be attending!

Submit Your Site for the Website Demolition Derby at ASCAP EXPO!


Bandzoogle is going Hollywood! We’ll be at the ASCAP EXPO at the Loews Hollywood Hotel April 30th to May 2nd to host our signature “Website Demolition Derby” panel. We’ll also be offering free website reviews for conference attendees, and hosting a Los Angeles member meetup! Here are the details:

Website Demolition Derby

Saturday, May 2nd
1:10pm - 2:10pm (Hollywood Ballroom B/C)

This eternally awesome panel will offer live, no-holds-barred critiques of real websites. Our panelists will assess design, organization, content and functionality. How does the website fit with the artist's overall online strategy, and how successfully does it achieve the artist’s goals?

Our experts have worked with hundreds of songwriters and musicians (including themselves), from major label superstars to secluded basement composers. They know all about website best practices, and they’re deeply allergic to bad design, music that auto-starts, Flash widgets, and unreadable fonts.

Panelists have been instructed to leave all diplomacy aside, so if you’re courageous enough to submit your website for their scrutiny, send a note to: dcool[at]bandzoogle.com

Note: you must ATTEND the panel to have your site reviewed!

Moderator: Dave Cool (Director of Artist Relations, Bandzoogle)
Panelists: Ari Herstand (Musician, Blogger at Ari's Take/Digital Music News), Cheryl B. Engelhardt (Creative Career Coach, Branding Strategist at CBE Music/In The Key Of Success), Rebecca Calejo (Sr. Director, Partnerships & Biz Dev, Section 101), Delaney Gibson (Independent singer/songwriter).

Free Website Reviews at the Bandzoogle Booth 

If you would rather not have your website reviewed in front of a live audience, that’s ok too! Just drop by the Bandzoogle booth between 9AM and 5PM during the ASCAP EXPO and we’ll gladly review your site.

Los Angeles Member Meetup!

While in town for the ASCAP EXPO, we’re going to have a little informal meetup for Bandzoogle members!

Please join our Director of Artist Relations Dave Cool and Allison from the Support team to network with other members, find out what’s coming up next for Bandzoogle, and to let us know what features *you* would like to see us build next. And best of all: drinks are on us!

Details:
Saturday, May 2 @ 5:30pm
H2 Kitchen & Bar at the Loews Hollywood Hotel (Lobby lounge)

Please RSVP to confirm if you'll be attending.

We hope to see you there!

Musician Website Inspiration: Mailing List Call-to-Action

Mylets Music Website

Who: Henry Kohen aka Mylets

What: Loop rock

Where: Los Angeles

Why his website rocks: We love Mylets website for a few reasons: it features a fantastically streamlined design that is not only simple and sleek, but also gives you a sense of who he is through his excellent header images.

With such an effective design, Mylets is able to really focus his website visitors attention on the main feature (or call-to-action) of his landing page: the mailing list signup form. There’s nothing like growing a solid mailing list to reach your fans to inform them of your upcoming shows, good news, or most importantly, once your new album is ready!

Check it out at http://myletsmusic.com

Bandzoogle Hosting Website Demolition Derby at Chicago Lake FX Summit + Expo

This week our Director of Artist Relations Dave Cool is heading to Chicago for the Lake FX Summit + Expo.  

Presented by Google, it’s a free conference for artists, creative professionals, and entrepreneurs. The inaugural four-day event, running April 16-19, will feature keynotes by industry leaders, professional development panels and workshops, networking opportunities, music and film showcases, an Expo resource fair, and a marketplace featuring local artisans.

We’re thrilled to have been invited to host our signature “Website Demolition Derby” panel at the summit. Dave Cool will be moderating and will be joined by some amazing panelists. It’s open to artists of all disciplines, so they’ll be reviewing websites for not only musicians, but filmmakers, as well as visual artists and performers as well!

Here are the details:

Website Demolition Derby

Friday, April 17 @ 12pm
Chicago Cultural Center, Claudia Cassidy Theater, 2nd Floor North

Live critiques of artists' websites! In this interactive session, artists in all disciplines submit their websites or social media pages for review, then each site's design, organization, content, and functionality will be assessed.

Speakers: Dave Cool, Bandzoogle (moderator); Chandler Coyle, Berklee Online / Music Geek Services; Matt Dennewitz, Pitchfork; Tom Giles, StageBloc.

Artists/creative entrepreneurs can email their websites in advance to Dave Cool at dcool[at]bandzoogle.com

SEO for Musicians: 3 Tips to Optimize Your Website Content

Music website SEO tips: website content

Making your website rank well in search engines can seem like a daunting task. Now more than ever, people look to Google to find out information, and it’s important for your music website to work in search engines.

Not sure where to begin? Even starting with a few small things can help with the search engine optimization (also called SEO) for your website. Let’s look at a few quick ways to update the text on your website to help it rank better in search results!

Content update 1: Page title

Writing a descriptive page title tells Google what your website’s pages are about, and improves the chances of matching a search query.

Let's look at Bandzoogle members Gladstone Ave, a new band just starting out. They have a generic band name and no custom Page title yet.

Changing their page title from the default "Gladstone Ave - Home" to "Gladstone Ave - Acoustic-folk duo in Toronto" gives a bit more information about them right off the bat. It makes the page more likely to return in search results that include "acoustic-folk" and "Toronto," and a user is more likely to click on it because they know what they are clicking on (that IS the band website I was looking for!)

Band website in Google

To do this with your Bandzoogle music website, click the Pages tab and choose Edit Title and Settings. Look down the page to the 'Meta tags for this page' area, and click Custom.

This will open up a Page Title field and that’s where you’ll write out your text. Try to keep it under 55 characters so that it will show up in Google without being cut off.

Content update 2: Page Description

Similarly in the Edit Title and Settings area, you'll see a spot to add a custom meta description. This tells the search engine what that specific page is about in more detail, and helps match the page to search results.

You can set a page description in your Pages tab, again by clicking Edit Title and Settings, then looking for Meta tags for this page: custom: Page Description.

By default this is set to 'Automatically generated from your page content' which can work well. But it's nice to have a bit more control, especially for your pages that don't have much text, or if the text that you do have is not very descriptive or keyword friendly.

For your Home page, describe your band in detail. For your Music page, you'll talk more about your sound or your latest CD. With your Events page's description, you might mention that you play at a certain venue regularly, or an important upcoming show. Write these details in paragraph form, using around 155 characters.

SEO music website page description

Another reason to add a great page description? Social sharing sites like Facebook tend to use a page's description when that page is shared.

Content update 3: Homepage text

Remember, Google is a machine, not a human, and can only match what people type into the search engine to your website if you provide the words. So adding a short paragraph to your Homepage that includes words that describe yourself and your music (called keywords) will help your website come up more easily in search.

To do this, write your bio and make sure to include your band name, your genre, your location - things that you think people would type into Google to find you - and put it right on your Homepage (need help writing this? Here are a few tips on creating a perfect pitch).

Search engines are also very smart, using complex algorithms to determine what is relevant on your pages, and can penalize you for stuffing many keywords that make no sense in context onto your page. So keep it simple, relevant, and human-readable.

Updates complete? Submit to Google!

Once you've done these updates, you can re-submit your website for Google to crawl here: Submit Url to Google

I hope that these tips give you a bit of insight into how to make your website more search engine friendly! Have fun adding or updating your page title, page description, and homepage text.