The Bandzoogle Blog

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

New: Preset Pages for your Music Website

Preset Pages for your Music Website

Creating a modern website for your music just got easier! Have you ever wondered what features go well on an EPK page, or how you should organize your band’s Music page?

The key to creating a simple, clean look is to add features without cluttering up your pages. With preset pages, you can now click and choose the page type, then easily populate your content!

There are several page templates to choose from to perfectly balance your website content. For full freedom, choose the blank page option, give it a name, and off you go.

To see all of the preset page options, click ‘More Page Types’. A list of pages, including a Music page, EPK page, Shows page, and more, will appear in a list.

Check out the preset page options in action in this video:

Page options

You can choose a preset page type when adding a page. We’ll prefill the name (such as ‘Music’) to make things quick and easy. You can change the name right away to better suit your page, or edit it later on if you like.

Band website page examples

When setting up your pages, make it a main page, a subpage, or a page not in menu. All main pages appear in your website’s navigation, and subpages will show up as drop down options to click on.

A page ‘not in menu’ is accessible by the direct link, but doesn’t appear in your website’s main menu.

[The Magic 8: Essential Menu Options for Your Band Website]

Quick and easy content

If you aren’t sure what kind of content, or layout you want, this will take some of the guesswork out of creating your website. Create a Store page quickly by clicking Add Page, then choose Store.

You’re all set to upload your latest album, sell your CDs and vinyl, plus offer digital files like pdfs, sheet music, or videos. Just click on the pre-filled features to add your tracks and merch.

[The Ultimate Guide to Selling Band Merch Online]

Music website Store page example

With lots of other page options, you can try adding an Intro page (handy for short term promotion, or setting your website under construction), a Photos page, an About page, a Blog page, and more.

Love your layout

A great way to make your website look organized and easy for visitors to navigate is by using columns and feature titles.

With these preset options, there are suggestions on the pages for full-width columns (think: albums with tracks to listen to), 50/50 columns, or a sidebar option. You can see how it looks, then add your content to fill in the page.

Music website layout example

You can mix and match columns on the same page, with a full-width feature taking up a row across the top, then other features side by side underneath. Click on any feature title (like “Live Shots”) to edit the text.

Get creative

Remember, these are only suggestions. You’re welcome to remove or add features as you see fit to complete your page. You might want to see if a bigger column on the left works well with your content. Add in an extra image, or another album. The sky’s the limit!

Check out these preset pages to build your own music website in a matter of minutes! Try Bandzoogle free today.

How to Promote Your Music to Bloggers

How to Promote Your Music to Bloggers

I know what you're thinking: Blogs are so 2005.

It's true, blogs were a big deal back in the day. But they still are – you just don’t know it.

Believe it or not, as a musician, you need blogs. They are the lifeblood of many artists' careers, and one of the most effective ways for independent musicians to grow their online reach.

So what exactly is a blog?

Nearly every regularly updated media website is a blog! The 10-years-younger version of yourself still thinks it's place where stay-at-home moms write product reviews of diapers, pasta sauce, and their coupon-cutting experiences.

But a blog is simply a consistently updated website where information is provided in chronological order and more recent posts appear on top. Your favorite print magazine keeps you the reader engaged between issues by creating regular online content. That’s blogging. This is a blog. These days, the average website is just a glorified blog.

Blogs come in all shapes and sizes, but here are the 4 main formats (some cross over into other categories)

  • Genre based: Music, sports, foodie, entertainment, pets, daily news blogs.
    Example: Buzzfeed, Sports Illustrated

  • Content based: Video blogs (vlog), audio (song of the day), interviews, reviews.
    Example: Ted Talks, NPR's All things Considered

    note: a lot of audio blogs that archive their content online are usually podcasts.

  • Location: City-based blog (a blog about your city's attractions, events, etc.)
    Example: Humans of New York

  • Company-related: companies will often blog to help connect their customers to their brand.
    Example: Southwest, Whole Foods, Starbucks

Why you should promote your music to bloggers

1. Exposure: Promoting your music to bloggers is your ticket to exposure. While some blogs are younger and have fewer readers, others have a much wider reach. Either way, you are making new fans who haven't previously heard of your music. You can only go up!

2. Disclosure: Fans don’t actually know a lot about the artists they love. But interviews give them a deeper look into the life, work, and personality of their favorite artists. Each interview you do is a new opportunity to share a bit of yourself that may not be common knowledge. Committed fans love stuff like this!

3. New Content: It can often be hard for musicians to find new material to update their website with. The occasional new interview, review, show preview, or blurb not only keeps your site and press kit fresh, but gives the impression that you are an active musician who is sought after by press.

[The 8 things that should be in every band's digital press kit]

4. Shelf Life: You never know when a new fan will come across a blog post from 2 years ago. It happens all the time. Blogs are great because usually content can be archived and stumbled upon.

How to find blogs that will review your music

Roll your sleeves up, because doing your research takes some serious elbow grease.

1. Search comparable artists: Determine what genre you best fit into and Google a similarly styled artist who has been around the block a few times. For example if you play off-center quirky emotional electro pop, you might want to Google Sufjan Stevens. Stevens is an artist who is still fairly off the radar as far as mainstream music goes, so it's very likely a publication that reviews his music would review indie artists.

2. Read the blogs submission guidelines: Do it! If they aren’t covering pop music right now, and you are a pop artist, you should know you're wasting your time. If you're required to stick your name and album title in the Subject line but you don’t do it, that’s another strike. Submissions guidelines are absolutely a must-read!

3. Know what the blogger writes: If John Doe reviews a Sufjan Stevens album and you want him to review yours too, take some time to check out his other reviews. Find a few common threads and facts that will help you pitch yourself better. For example, maybe John Doe only reviews artists with weird names. Or maybe he only reviews artists when they are touring through his city. Knowing a little bit about who you're emailing will help you exponentially!

How to pitch yourself to a blogger

Rules of thumb: It is absolutely essential to remember that content is king. The simpler the better. Be courteous, professional, get your point across, be specific and don’t be wordy. Know what you want. Are you asking for an interview, review, show preview, feature of your new music video on their website, or something else?

Things to include in your email:

  • A detailed subject line: It’s the first thing they see. Make it count!

  • Intro paragraph: Show that you have knowledge of the blog(ger) by referencing some his/her/their past write-ups. This shows you did your research.

  • Describe your music: This is your elevator pitch. Clearly liken yourself to a few other artists and give them a reason to want to check your music out further.

  • Brag a Little…just a little: If you’ve opened for Sara Barielles, had a review on NPR, or done something that will get your foot in the door, stick it in there. Everything helps!

  • Links: link to where they can to hear your music, link to your bio, and link to your website.

  • The Correct Email Address: Before you press send, make sure you have the correct email address! This is by far the trickiest part. Some blogs purposely hide their contact information to limit incoming requests. Others just make it harder to find. Do some digging and make sure your emails are going to right place.

Things NOT to include in your email:

  • No Attachments: Don’t attach mp3s, pdf, or anything else. Music bloggers hate attachments. Give them a link to your press kit page on your website. We're in the age of music streaming so you get the point.

  • Boringness: Don’t tell them your life story. Depending on how large the blog is, they are probably getting a massive number of pitches in their inbox every day. They don’t have time to read your memoir.

How to follow up with a music blog

Waiting is the worst part. Sometimes a blogger’s silence is because they can't dig through all the emails in their inbox and haven’t gotten to yours yet. Sometimes it's because you didn’t send it to the right email. And sometimes it's because they don’t like your music – plain and simple. So here's how you follow up.

1. Give it a few weeks: First things first, put at least 2 weeks between emails. Give them time to decide if they want to cover you and how they will work you into their editorial calendar.

2. Be nice: Don’t send an angry email b/c they didn’t get back to you. Be polite, include the original email in your message, and simply write a 1-2 line email saying you are following up on your initial message.

3. Acknowledge their work: One of my favorite things to write in my email is, ''I know you get so many of these emails every day, so even if I don’t hear back, thank you for taking the time to read this one.'

What to do when you get featured on a music blog

1. Add it to your website: Add it to your press page, your press kit, your homepage, etc. Just make sure it's visible.

2. Share on social media: You will always get the most feedback on social media – especially Facebook.

3. Thank the Blog(ger): Send a quick message thanking them for their time. If it’s a well-crafted feature, compliment the writer on a well-written article.

4. Use it!: Use the blog review or interview to get you your next one! A write-up on a decent blog can open a lot of doors. A good feature on a prestigious blog can do even more!

No matter what you do, don't give up! It might seem pointless to reach out to 20 blogs only to hear back from 1, but everything counts and the more media coverage you get, the more will come. Good luck!

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

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!

Music SEO: Know Your SERPs

Music SEO: Know Your SERPs

SERPs? It stands for “search engine results pages”.

Simple enough. Got that out of the way.

If you’re a musician, especially one who cares about your SEO, then SERPs matter a lot to you. We’re going to focus on Google in this post because that’s where most people go when they search.

Before you carry on reading, head over to Chapter 1 of this multi-post guide to get familiar with your SEO strategy and the Fan Journey. This will all make a lot more sense if you do.

So let’s get into why SERPs matter to you.

“SEO for musicians is about optimizing your online fan experience.”

When most people think SEO, they’re thinking about getting good rankings for keywords. But the neat thing about SEO for musicians is that there’s much more to it than that.

When your fans search for you in Google, they can do more than just find you. They can explore your music and content right in search engine results pages, before they even reach your band website or social profiles.

This is thanks to Google’s Knowledge Graph and the cool things they do with it specifically for musicians and fans. We’ll explain that and show you real-life examples in this article.

So doing good music SEO means getting to know what your fans are going to experience in SERPs when they search for you, because it’s a direct reflection of your band.

Let’s drill that point in: SEO for musicians is about optimizing your online fan experience, when they’re searching for your music and content.

In fact, you could consider your band keyword SERPs to be another online profile you need to maintain, just like your band website or Facebook page. But unlike your other online profiles, fans will visit your band keyword SERPs when they search for you, whether or not you pay any attention to it.

So let’s take a look at some of these band name SERPs, which have different possible components that can change depending on the search term.


Your Band Name SERP

The SERP for your band name is going to be the most important one to you. This is because your band name is probably the keyword people will use most often when searching for you.

As an example, let’s see what Google gives us when we search for Zardonic.

Band name SERPs

This is a pretty typical-looking SERP when you search the name of an established band.

So we’ve got:

  • Zardonic’s band website.

  • YouTube, Facebook, SoundCloud, Beatport and iTunes profiles.

  • A Wikipedia entry.

  • Video results embedded in the SERP.

  • A Knowledge Panel which has:

    • Images that link to Google Image searches

    • Artist information that links to Wikipedia

    • A link to Zardonic’s “official” website

    • Other Wiki-style information like hometown, genre, band members, etc.

    • Album list, that links to SERPs for those album names

    • A list of tour dates, that link to SERPs for those events

    • Social profile icons that link to those profile pages

Other things you sometimes see, that you don’t see in the example above, are:

  • Twitter feed

  • A list of songs in the Knowledge Panel

  • Interviews, reviews and news (usually for higher profile artists)

  • Tour dates (i.e. Bandsintown profile page)

  • Various other kinds of artist profile pages (depending on what you have)

  • Google Image results

So, right away here there is a ton of interesting content and information for a fan to look through during the Exploration stage of the Fan Journey.

This is really the ideal scenario for you and your fans, as far as your band name SERP goes.

Before they click on any results, fans can already see what you look like, the names of your albums, your upcoming tour dates and other bits of information.

“ Fans can explore a lot of your content right in the search engine results pages.”

The thing that really sticks out on this page, of course, is the Knowledge Panel. This is information that’s displayed from Google’s Knowledge Graph.

Google decides for itself what to put there, based on the information it has available from around the internet. But you can influence what’s there by doing - you guessed it - good SEO.

In follow-up posts we’ll explain how you can optimize your Knowledge Panel in detail, but the short answer is:

  • Follow normal SEO best practice advice for your band website.

  • Get as much information out there online about your band as possible - social profiles, music distro, reviews, etc.

  • Optimize your structured data, on and off your band website. It’s not as hard as it sounds.

It’s worth pointing out that getting a Knowledge Panel for your band has a lot to do with how well-known or “notable” you are. If you’re still unknown, you might need to be patient as you build your fan base.

For now you might want to start by just Googling your band name to see what your SERP looks like, and compare it to other established artists to get a better sense of what’s possible.


Your Tour Date SERPs

Google can offer a really nice experience for your fans in the SERPs for your tour dates. There are a couple of ways they can reach these SERPs.

If there’s a list of tour dates in the band Knowledge Panel on your band name SERP, like in the image below, fans can click on it and land on a tour date SERP.

SERP tour date link

They could also reach it by just typing in a search term like “zardonic tour dates”.

Let’s take a look at a tour date SERP.

Band tour date SERPs

A great example of a tour date SERP.

So this is really awesome.

We’ve got:

  • A scrolling event carousel that shows all tour dates. Each one links to another tour date SERP.

  • If the search is for a specific event, you get an Event Card that has:

    • Event date and time

    • Venue address with map

    • Link to your band website

    • There may also be a link to a 3rd party ticket vendor depending on the event

  • The same Knowledge Panel that appears on your band name SERP.

  • The “Shows” page from Zardonic’s official website.

  • Bandsintown, Allevents and Eventful event information pages.

Some other things you might see for other events, depending on the circumstances of the show, are:

  • Paid Google ads, which may appear for major shows when ticket sellers are willing to compete to pay for traffic

  • Results for ticket resellers

  • Results from the venue website

  • Opening act artist website

For a fan who wants to go to a show, there’s tons of great information here to explore before they even carry on to another website.

“ Google has made it possible for bands to create a rich fan experience in search engines.”

We’ll explain in detail how to optimize your tour information in future posts, but in short you need to:

  • Follow normal SEO best practices for your band website.

  • Optimize your structured data.

  • Have your tour date information on YOUR official band website, optimized for SEO, so that you can direct fans to your preferred ticket seller.

  • If you use third party tour calendar and ticketing platforms, like Bandsintown, make sure the tour date information is consistent and up-to-date everywhere (on all websites).

Google has gone to the trouble of making it possible for bands to create a rich fan experience on these pages, but it’s up to you to take advantage of it by feeding Google with the right information.

Bandzoogle, by the way, makes this really easy for you when you use our Events feature, because we automatically add the structured data to your website when you add events. Bandzoogle is the only website builder that is recognized by Google for event markup.

If you have some tour dates coming up, take some time to Google your event names and dates to see how easy it is for fans to find your show information and tickets in the SERPs. Compare what you find to the tour date SERPs of established artists, to see what’s possible.


Your Album Name SERPs

Google can provide a rich experience for your fans in SERPs when they search for your album names.

If you’ve discovered, from doing your keyword research, that your fans are already searching for your album names, this is going to be particularly useful to you. But even if they don’t, you can still optimize this assuming you have at least one album released.

“The album name SERPS are today’s version of what Tower Records used to be.”

There are a couple of ways fans can come across your album name SERPs.

If your albums are listed in the Knowledge Panel for your band, fans can click on them and land on your album SERP.

They could also get to the album SERP by just searching for something to do with your albums. Like this, for the keyword “mudhoney albums”.

Band album SERP

A typical SERP when you search for a band’s discography.

In this case we searched for Mudhoney’s albums in general, so we get their whole discography.

Mudhoney - being musical legends - have an extensive discography. Fans can explore their albums and tracks, watch music videos from the album on YouTube, and easily find links to buy the music.

That’s what you want, so that fans can more easily discover, peruse, and maybe even buy your music. In a way, you could say that the album name SERPS are today’s version of what Tower Records used to be.

So to summarize what we find in this general album SERP:

  • An album carousel card

  • The band’s Knowledge Panel to the right

  • The band’s official website

  • Several Wikipedia entries (most bands would probably have just one)

  • Places to buy the album (Discogs)

  • Press (in this case a chart listing)

If your band isn’t as legendary as Mudhoney, instead of an album carousel you’ll probably get a navigation card instead, like this. Same thing, different look.

Typical band album SERP feature

This is likely what your album SERP will have.

There are some other variations of this too, depending on what your discography looks like. If you don’t have any albums at all, then of course you won’t see anything special showing up.

Now, what if we want to see the SERP for a specific album?

If we (or a fan) click on one of the albums in the album list navigation card at the top of the general album SERP, we get a specific album SERP.

Band specific album SERP

This is a typical SERP when you search a specific album name.

Try it at home (it’s safe, we promise) and notice how the search term has been entered for the actual album name itself, in the search bar at the top.

We (or a fan) might also reach this page by simply searching “mudhoney vanishing point” in Google.

This SERP now shows results specific to that particular album, and the Knowledge Panel on the right side also now shows information for the album specifically (instead of information about the band).

“ For a fan this is kind of a perfect experience for exploring your music.”

So, for a fan this kind of a perfect experience for exploring your music, with a really helpful diversity of content and information.

Again we’ll get into the details in future posts on optimizing your music for SEO, but in short you need to:

  • Follow normal SEO best practices for your band website.

  • Provide Google with good structured data to create the album list card.

  • Properly tag your music videos in YouTube, and following normal YouTube video optimization best practices.

  • Get good digital distro, so fans can easily find you on their store or streaming service of choice.

  • Get album reviews on blogs (easier said than done, we know).

Bandzoogle, by the way, helps take care of some of the structured data needs when you use our Music feature. When you add your albums, structured data is automatically added to your website to help you with your SEO.

An optimized album SERP can help your fans to move through the Exploration and Purchase phases of the Fan Journey. Good for them, and good for you.

Like before, a good place to start here would be to Google your album names, and see how your SERPs compare to established artists.


Your Song Name SERPs

Google provides rich SERPs when fans search for your specific song titles.

Like before, there are two ways fans might reach these SERPs.

They can click on a track name from the album or band name SERP. Or, they can search for a specific song in Google.

Band song SERP

A typical SERP when you search for a specific song name.

For a fan there’s all kinds of great stuff here, even beyond just the track itself. It’s kind of awesome.

We get:

  • A song list navigation card with other singles from Mudhoney. Sometimes you see the other tracks from the same album.

  • A Knowledge Panel for the song that includes:

    • A video still with a link to the video on YouTube

    • Wiki-style links about the song, such as the artist, album, release date, etc. They all point to other SERPs.

    • Because this song has legendary status and has been covered a lot, we also see a list of other recordings of it, with links to other SERPs.

  • A variety of other website results including lyrics and Wikipedia entries.

Sometimes you might also see Google Image results showing cover art and band shots.

If a fan has searched for your song name, chances are they heard it somewhere and wanted to hear it again. So this is this kind of content-rich page you want to provide to these fans, so that they can explore your music.

Some bands are smart about this and publish a video on YouTube for every one of their songs, even if some just show a cover art still as the video.

I like what Travis did for a lot of their videos. They took that same idea and stepped it up a little.

We’ll share more detail in later posts on how to optimize your tracks, but in short you need to:

  • Follow normal SEO best practices for your band website.

  • Provide Google with good structured data for the Knowledge Graph.

  • Create videos for every one of your songs and add it to YouTube, properly tagged following normal YouTube video optimization best practices.

  • Get song reviews on blogs (yup that’s hard, we know).

  • You might even want to try adding all of your song lyrics, and their meanings, to the major lyrics websites such as Genius.


The Takeaway: Get To Know Your SERPs

Google SERPs can be a really powerful tool for you to expose your music and content to fans during the Exploration and Purchase phases of the Fan Journey.

By optimizing your band’s SEO to enhance your band keyword SERPs, you can offer a rich online fan experience that can encourage fans to listen to more of your music and get to know your band - and maybe buy a concert ticket or download an album.

In followup posts, we’ll dig deeper into the technical details for optimizing your structured data to get all of those fancy Knowledge Panel results. We’ll also explain how to optimize your band website, videos, and other SEO best practice odds and ends.

In the meantime, start by Googling your band name, tour date names, album and song names, and anything else you can think of. As you go, try to see things from the perspective of a fan. Do the same for established artists, and make some notes about what you can improve on.

Hopefully you’ll come out of this with a strong understanding of where you need to go with your band’s SEO, and next time we’ll get into the nitty gritty on how to do it.

Read other articles in this series:

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!

The Number One Mistake Bands Make Right After Booking a Gig

The Number One Mistake Bands Make Right After Booking a Gig

This is a guest post by Jhoni Jackson, which originally appeared on the Sonicbids Blog.

You've confirmed with the venue or talent buyer that your proposed show is a go – congratulations! But the celebration should kinda stop there, because you still have a ton of stuff to get in order before you hit the stage. If you want to ensure the event is problem-free, there are a slew of crucial details you've got to nail down – immediately.

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

The worst mistake a band can make after booking a gig is not nailing down all those details right away. So often I get a post-confirmation “thanks!” and nothing else. Silence for weeks – then, a few days before the show, the questions start rolling in. And it's almost always stuff that should've been sorted way earlier.

Waiting until two weeks before to ask who's responsible for posters and flyers, not asking about venue fees until the day of, finding out hours before that, no, they don't have a drum kit you can use – these are things that could totally screw up your show. And if somehow all goes well anyway, the next time you reach out, whoever booked you will remember that scramble-induced panic you caused.

There's some responsibility on the venue or talent buyer, of course, to inform the bands and artists about typical protocol. But even if they offer up details without prompting, it's the band's job to ensure they're prepared for the show, and that means getting all the necessary information ahead of the show.

Don't wait for someone to give you the rundown. Ask questions. You can start with the thorough checklist below.

1. What's the deal with money?

You'll probably want to ask:

  • Can you charge a cover?
  • What percentage of the cover do you get paid?
  • Are there any fees – sound engineer, tax, or anything else – that you should be aware of?
  • If there's no cover charge, will you be paid at all?
  • When does payment go down, anyway? And who's doling it out?

There are no universals in band payment at venues. Don't be afraid to ask. It's important that both you and those in charge of booking are comfortable with the agreement.

[How to Make Sure Your Band Gets Paid for the Gig]

2. Will an employee work the door or should you bring someone?

If a promoter has contracted you for a show they're organizing, then he or she probably has this covered. But if you're the one booking the whole thing, you should find out whether or not you need to provide someone to charge the cover. (And if you do, bring your own petty cash for change.)

3. Is there a backline?

Some venues are equipped with amps and a full drum kit, but others aren't. Find out what they've got on hand and if it's available for use. You don't want to find yourself freaking out when you're missing necessary gear.

4. When is load-in and soundcheck?

People who wait until the day of to figure this out usually end up being late, and that's annoying to everyone else who showed up on time. (You don't want to tick off the sound engineer, y'all.) Avoid any issues by asking about the schedule in advance.

[The 6 Unspoken Rules of Soundchecking]

5. What's the line-up?

If you're organizing, you should make a plan and inform the talent buyer or venue. If you've been asked to play, find out when your set is scheduled. Don't accidentally delay the whole show by not being ready because, uh, you didn't know your band was up next. Additionally, ask how long of a set they're expecting you to play.

6. Is it okay to sell merch?

Probably, but you should ask anyway. Maybe they'll offer up a table so you don't have to bring your own.

[14 Ways Musicians Can Make Money from Live Shows]

7. Are you allowed to bring guests?

One person per band member is the norm for guest lists but, ultimately, it's up to the venue or talent buyer.

8. How will promotion work?

This is a huge one. You'll be promoting your show regardless, but if the venue is willing to supplement your efforts, you should take advantage.

[Band vs. Venue: A Breakdown of Who Should Handle 4 Types of Show Promotion]

Find out who will design the flyer or poster. Does the venue pay for any printing or should you do that yourself? (Likely the former.) Can you at least drop off a poster to display there?

If the venue lists its own events on Facebook, find out if they'll handle yours. If not, let the booker know you'll list it from your own page and send the link once it's ready.

For a full guide to promoting your music, check this tip-heavy post.

Jhoni Jackson is an Atlanta-bred music journalist currently based in San Juan, Puerto Rico, where she juggles owning a venue called Club 77, freelance writing and, of course, going to the beach as often as possible.

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 Singer-Songwriter Websites

Website Design Inspiration: Best Singer-Songwriter  Websites on Bandzoogle

As a singer-songwriter, time is a hot commodity. You not only have to record, perform and promote, but also write all your songs as well. This doesn’t even factor in writing for others, collaboration projects, and basic daily tasks.

With limited hours in a day, building a website may seem like a good idea, but one that keeps getting pushed to the back burner.

We know it can be overwhelming so we’ve made it as easy and painless as possible to build a singer-songwriter website quickly. Not only is the initial set-up a breeze, but adding updates on the fly is a cinch as well.

You can check out many website styles on our examples page, but to further help with this let’s go through some basic pages every singer-songwriter website must have for it to be a success.

Homepage

Your homepage is the most visited page on your website, so you’ll want to spend a bit more time making it just right.

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

The first step is choosing the right theme and header image. The featured image on your page can really make or break the site style, so choose wisely.

Bandzoogle member Nikki Petherick has done an excellent job of this by using a professional image of her and her guitar.

This image tells a visitor right away they’ve arrived to the site of a singer-songwriter. The image is clear, warm and emotive. She’s also using our newest theme Meridian, which allows the image to be the focus with content separated underneath.

Website Design Inspiration: Best Singer-Songwriter  Websites on Bandzoogle

Although the header image is the star of the page, content is the opening act, so you want it to pave the way for the rest of your pages. You need to have enough content on the homepage that makes visitors want to explore more, but not too much to make the page look cluttered.

Kasey Williams’ homepage provides a good example of this balance.

Website Design Inspiration: Best Singer-Songwriter Websites on Bandzoogle

Kasey uses a large fun image as her background, then adds just the right amount of content to fill out the page. The most important item being a CTA, or call-to-action. A call-to-action is the one thing you want the visitor to do while they are on your page. It’s usually a mailing list sign up form, a link to buy your album, or to watch a video.

Next, you’ll want to add a few samples of your latest work, some images, and links to your social media pages so fans can find you.

Bio

A biography is an important piece to any musician’s website, but it’s imperative for the singer-songwriter. Because you are competing with so many others in this genre you’ll want to share your story in a way that’s like, well…. telling a story! Your experiences are what separates you from everyone else.

[How To Build a Great Bio Page]

James Hill knocks it out the park with his entertaining About page. He combines humor and wit with facts and details of his musical journey to create a bio intriguing enough to hold the reader's attention.

Website Design Inspiration: Best Singer-Songwriter  Websites on Bandzoogle

Along with the bio text, you’ll want to include a few images to keep the page visually interesting. If you’ve worked on several writing projects it’s also a great idea to add a link to a Discography page on the sidebar as well.

Music

When a visitor comes to your website they want to hear your music. This may seem obvious but you’d be surprised how many musician websites don’t include any songs! Having a dedicated music page allows you to show off all your own tracks as well as tracks you’ve written on.

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

Lindy Vopnfjord showcases his music in a two-column layout, maximising the space on the page. This gives his fans the option to buy his music either by the album, or by individual track.

Website Design Inspiration: Best Singer-Songwriter  Websites on Bandzoogle

A music page can also include a short post about the project, track notes, and lyrics. Remember the fan is not only buying your music but buying you, the artist. Giving them specifics about how the album came about and your process for creating brings them into your world even more.

Store

In addition to selling digital downloads of your music you can also sell physical CD’s and merch with our built-in Store feature (commission-free!). If you also create sheet music or video lessons, you can sell those as well (PRO plan.)

A great way to get fans invested is to make them part of your team with branded merch like mugs, stickers and t-shirts like Hannah Hoffman’s done on her site.

Website Design Inspiration: Best Singer-Songwriter  Websites on Bandzoogle

[The Ultimate Guide to Selling Band Merch Online]

Shows

For a singer-songwriter, performing live gets your name out to fans and collaborators alike. Make sure your Shows page is easy to read and clear about how everyone can come see you play.

Kaia Kater’s Shows page gives fans a detailed view of where she’s gonna be, and includes a nice show poster per gig. Adding media quotes in the sidebar is a nice touch and provides social proof that Kaia’s show isn’t one you want to miss.

Website Design Inspiration: Best Singer-Songwriter  Websites on Bandzoogle

Press Kit

To build a strong fan base you not only have to wow your listeners, but make them feel you are irreplaceable. This is where the media comes in. When you have magazines, blog writers, and promoters singing your praises, it creates a buzz around you and your music.

As you know, media professionals are inundated with singer-songwriters trying to get their attention. You need to roll up your sleeves and put in the work for them to notice you. Once they do, you need to make it as easy as possible to discover and feature your work.

Having a dedicated Press Kit page will do the trick, and Robert Bruey does a great showing us how it’s done. An EPK (or electronic press kit) is simply a few small pieces of content on one page that highlights you and your music. It will generally include a bio, upcoming shows, hi-res press images, a couple tracks, and a video.

Website Design Inspiration: Best Singer-Songwriter  Websites on Bandzoogle

[VIDEO: How to Easily Create an EPK with Bandzoogle]

Multi-Talented

Being a singer-songwriter shows you’re multi-talented, but what if you have even more skills you want to show off? No problem. Since it’s your website you can set it up in a way that best shows off your gifts in all areas.

Take Cheryl B. Engelhardt for example. She’s not only an excellent singer-songwriter, but also a speaker, consultant, blogger, and podcaster. To keep her site organized she uses one page for each area of expertise.

Website Design Inspiration: Best Singer-Songwriter  Websites on Bandzoogle

Take a little piece of each of these sample websites and you’ll have your singer-songwriter website up in no time. If you need even more inspiration we have a whole blog category dedicated to great websites as well. Once you have your website styled, it’s easy to add new music, shows, photos and videos on your computer or mobile device.

Build your singer-songwriter website in minutes with all of these features and more. Sign up free with Bandzoogle now.

Website Design Inspiration: Best Electronic Press Kits (EPKs)

Website Design Inspiration: Best Electronic Press Kits

Whether you’re a solo jazz musician, a drummer in a rock band, or part of a folk duo, one of the most important pages on your music website is your electronic press kit page. It’s the gateway to getting you booked at new venues.

There is so much content to put on an EPK page that it can be hard to create something that is both well-organized, and visually appealing. Here are a few stunning examples of EPKs that hit the mark in all areas, from strong music, to eye-catching images, and a clear layout.

Highlight your strengths

First, gather a few quotes from reviews, venues, or fans and add the best ones to your page. You can add a quote at the top of your page, or organize a few words in plain text on one side of the page.

Duane Eubanks uses a great quote from the New York Times to lead the way on his EPK page, letting it span the content area. He then organizes his music and content in columns to follow.

Duane Eubanks EPK

Long and short bio option

You’ll also want to have different bio options. Duane Eubanks has a short bio right at the top of his press kit page. Then, he’s added a list of other bio options right underneath it. This makes his bio quick to grab and scan, or copy and paste for venues or bloggers that need it quickly.

[The 8 things that should be in every band's digital press kit]

Make use of music

On your band EPK page, you’ll want to include music. Assemble a few of your best tracks. These can be demos, album tracks, or live songs. Just be sure that they are of good quality. They should show off your performing ability and musical chops with a first listen.

Placing these tracks into a compact music player will ensure they don’t take up too much room on the page, leaving space for all of your other press kit content. You can also display your songs in a short track list.

Chicken Like Birds EPK

Adding a music player with a few tracks as Chicken-Like Birds have done, highlights their tunes right off the bat. Use a styled button with a pop of color to make sure that play button is pressed.

[New Design Option: Styled Buttons]

Pop/rock band Pin Up uses an album to display their tracks on their EPK page, including their cover art. Their art also matches their website’s overall color scheme perfectly, with a neutral background and darker buttons that stand out.

Pin Up EPK page

Arrange your photos and videos

Next up are photos. Add images to download in full, or provide a list of hi-res images. The purpose of this is for bloggers, media, or your fans to grab the pictures to post. Make sure you have a few options to choose from (think: landscape, portrait, color, as well as black and white). Live shots that are good quality will stand out, as well as a few posed photos that convey your musical style.

Alt-pop songstress Briagha Mctavish places her images and music side by side in columns for a fresh look against a clean white background.

Briagha McTavish EPK page

Finally, add your videos. The purpose of videos is to show a potential booker what your band looks and sounds like. Place your videos together on the page, in either a row or a column, to make them easy to watch.

If you have a professional music video, include that, otherwise recent live videos can do the trick. If you are aiming to book intimate shows, like house concerts, or bigger festivals, try to incorporate an example of you playing those kinds of events.

Check out Gal Holiday’s use of videos on her EPK page. They’re placed to one side, easy to spot, and easy to watch. She has both a professionally shot video, as well as some great quality live performances. True to her quirky style, the videos are fun to watch and give the viewer a true sense of what she would deliver at a live show.

Gal Holiday EPK page

In general, for a well-designed electronic press kit page, make sure your media is used sparingly (use only the best stuff) and looks stylish.

[How to create a digital press kit with Bandzoogle]

EPK Layout

To lay out your images, video, and text in a way that’s uncluttered, make use of columns and feature titles. With a label for everything, it’ll help people landing on this page find what they want quickly. Giving each area a distinct section is a nice way to draw the eye to the content.

Tyler Kealey EPK page

Set your feature titles and font to different colors that complement each other to add some contrast to the page. You’ll want to be sure that your content isn’t too busy on the page.

Clear contact option

Now that your EPK is looking good, be sure to give people a way to book you! Use a contact form or place an email address right on the page. You can also include information for a manager, booking agent, or label if you’d like.

These Bandzoogle members have created stylish and organized electronic press kits pages that are sure to help them got booked. We hope these EPK examples will inspire you to create a beautiful press kit page on your own band website!

Catch the attention of industry & media, and music bloggers with a professional digital press kit on your own Bandzoogle website. Try Bandzoogle free now!

Social media marketing for musicians: How to get more fans with Facebook

Social media marketing for musicians: How to get more fans with Facebook

No matter who you are, where you live, or what kind of music you play, we all share a common goal: To find fans and build a fanbase.

There are many ways to get more fans online, but we’re going to focus on the low hanging fruit. The big blue-and-white F-word at the top of the social media food chain: Facebook.

With social media marketing, there are pros and cons to every platform, but ultimately there’s one obvious reason you should be on Facebook. It’s by far (really, it’s not even close) the biggest social networking platform in existence.

This means that whether you’re focused on your existing fans, or looking for how to get more fans for your music, it’s almost guaranteed they are already on Facebook.

Facebook Page vs. Personal Profile

Facebook Page vs. Personal Profile for musicians

While it may seem easier to just start marketing yourself and your music on your personal profile, there are several important reasons why you need to get yourself set up with a Facebook Page:

No fan limit on your page: Facebook Pages don’t have a limit on the amount of fans you can have (personal profiles have a limit of 5000 “friends”).

Learn what your fans find engaging (and what they don’t!): Page Insights can be a powerful tool to let you know where your fans are from, who are the most engaged, and what kind of content is working best (photos, videos, text, etc.).

Promoted Posts: With Pages, you can “promote” a post so that it reaches more people. Depending on how much you’re willing to pay, the posts can even reach beyond the fans who have liked the page. This can be a great way to increase engagement and visibility for your music/content, but it can also get expensive quickly.

Ads: Using a Page gives you access to using Facebook Ads. You can use ads to promote your page and increase likes, promote shows, a new music release, etc. You can even target specific geographic regions, demographics, and interests. But again, just like with promoted posts, ads can get expensive quickly, so set a budget and stick to it.

How to get more fans using Facebook

Now that we’ve gotten the “page or profile” discussion out of the way, the time has come to turn your attention toward your fans.

There are several ways to get new fans as you’ll see below, and while you may be able to try them all, it’s unlikely that they will all work for you equally. Unfortunately, there is no secret formula to which ones you should be focused on, so you should spend some time understanding your fans, and trying out the below to see which ideas, or which combination of ideas, works best for you.

Great /shareable content

The first and most important way to get new fans is simply to have great content. What “great” means may be different for every fan base, but ultimately you’re looking for content that drives interest in you and is engaging enough to keep your fans coming back for more. If you can create content that drives fans to share with others, even better.

Music: No question about it, your music is your craft. It is you. If you can’t create good music, the rest won’t matter. This should always be your number one priority.

[Video] How to share your music with Facebook, Twitter, and Embeddable players:

Images: Be it your own photos posted on Instagram, or your favorite memes that you’ve come across on Giphy, images are an easy way to create quick and engaging content that can be posted regularly and often.

Videos: Videos get by far the most engagement on Facebook of any type of content, with likes, comments and shares on videos all trending higher than that of photos, text or links.

Posting videos to YouTube and sharing on Facebook can be an easy way of simultaneously posting good content and building a presence on YouTube. But posting your video directly to Facebook may help you to build your visibility. Facebook video is likely to be weighed more heavily in Facebook’s algorithm used to determine which content gets served to your fans.

Facebook Live: Facebook has invested in live video streaming as the content of the future, and now anyone can stream live directly from a Facebook Page. Not only is this a great way to turn your content into an ‘event’ that people need to tune in to and engage with, but the live video can then be saved and replayed, helping you to generate video content with more of a long-term value to it.

How to use Facebook Ads to get new fans

How to use Facebook Ads to get new music fans

In addition to posting great content often to your Facebook Page, you may want to consider advertising as a way to reach new potential fans. Many times in the independent / DIY community, advertising is seen as a dirty word, as it often gets mixed into the ‘paying for fans’ conversation.

This couldn’t be further from the truth. Advertising is a time-tested way that any and every business, in any industry, expand the reach of their message and increase visibility or awareness for their brand.

The same can be said with the opportunity to advertise on Facebook, allowing you to reach new potential fans with the right message that will help them to organically become your fan. Here are a few things to consider:

Set goals: When you start advertising, as with any form of marketing, you can only do so effectively if you have a goal in mind. Your goal here can have many layers.

On the top layer, ask yourself what you are trying to achieve overall? If you’re reading this article, it’s likely the response here will be ‘to get more fans’. Great! On the right track.

On the next layer, you want to set a specific number, or your ROI (Return on Investment). Your response may look something like “to get 3x more fans”.

Next, you want to ask yourself what the timeline needs to be. Are you working towards an album release date or a tour that you need these new fans by? Set a timeline for achieving your goal, i.e. “to get 3x more fans in the next 6 months”.

Set a budget: Note, on Facebook there are really two different ways to pay for advertising. The first is CPM, or cost per thousand impressions. This is an inexpensive form of advertising as you’re just paying to reach fans, though there’s no guarantee the fans will take action. This is a great way to advertise if you’re simply looking to generate increased awareness for your band.

The second format is CPC, or cost per click. This is a more expensive form of advertising, but it requires your fans to take action (i.e. you will only pay if a fan clicks, not if they just see the ad). The latter is likely what you want to focus on if you’re goal is something tangible such as ‘getting new fans’.

Once you’ve determined the form of advertising you want to work with, you need to set a budget that your ad can work through over the timeline you’ve set. Facebook works on a bidding system of advertising. So whether you have a budget of $100 or $10,000, the cost itself will come down to the level of sophistication with your targeting. The more targeted, the smaller the pool of fans (though more qualified), and thus the more expensive they will be to reach.

It’s important to consider this as you set your budget and targeting to ensure you are able to reach your goal once your budget is spent. So don’t set your targeting in such a way that each click is so expensive that you can’t afford to gain the amount of fans needed to achieve your goal before you budget is spent!

Set your targeting: Speaking of targeting, there are two ways to go out and find these new fans with advertising. The first is to promote your page to fans of similar bands. Of course if you know your music sounds like someone more established, or maybe it’s a band you’ve toured with, recorded with, opened for, etc., there’s a good opportunity to reach these potential fans by targeting these similar bands’ pages directly.

The second is to upload your own mailing list to Facebook Ad Manager to create a custom audience that “looks like” your current fans. Facebook will basically scan your fans, learn who they are based on their locations, likes, etc. and help to find you other fans who are similar. This is a great tool! Take advantage of this.

Boosted Posts

Advertising on Facebook doesn’t need to be in the form of a display ad. It can also be in the form of a ‘boosted post’, which is a method of turning a regular piece of content published to your Page into a sponsored story.

This often a more engaging, “native” form of advertising, meaning that it’s integrated into the natural flow of the content on the site rather than it being an invasive display.

While you do have the option to reach the friends of those who are already your fans, helping you to gain new fans, using a boosted post is also a way to reach your existing fans who are not regularly seeing your content.

This happens far more than you would expect due to Facebook’s EdgeRank algorithm, which filters all content and determines what content is most relevant for each user. It may help make your news feed cleaner and more relevant, but it also means that only 5 – 10% of your total fans will ever see the content published to your page organically.

Measuring the effectiveness of your social media marketing

Measuring the effectiveness of your social media marketing

This is mentioned above but it’s important to reinforce, as it can mean the difference between effective and ineffective social media marketing.

Using a Facebook Page gives you access to analytics so that you can measure the effectiveness of your content. Each piece of content you publish will have corresponding analytics so you can see how many people you reached and the engagement rate (including likes, comments and shares).

Pay attention to this data, as it can help you to see a trend in what works and what doesn’t (i.e. maybe photos work better than videos, maybe posts on a Tuesday work better than posts on a Friday, etc.). This can lead back to more effectively spending your budget on boosted posts. If you know which posts are most likely to be well received, put a few dollars behind it to expand the visibility of that content and really tap into the potential of your fan base.

Social media is social. Don’t just promote. Engage.

As you continue to build a fanbase through social media marketing, remember that social media is just that. Social. While posting content that is self-promotional is important, don’t make it the focus of your content. By posting great content that your fans can connect with, they are far more likely to seek out that album, tour, or mailing list on their own and be far more excited about it when they get there.

Also check out: Social Media Marketing for Musicians: How to Get More Fans on Twitter

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

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!

Social Media Marketing for Musicians: How to Get More Fans on Twitter

Social Media Marketing for Musicians: How to Get More Fans on Twitter

No matter how many conversations I have with fellow artists, they always say Twitter is their least favorite, and least used social media tool. Some artists admit that they don’t get it, while others think 140 characters just isn’t enough to make a point.

Whatever the reason, it’s pretty safe to say that artists who do use Twitter can use it more effectively. In this post we’re going to give you a full start-to-finish breakdown on how to create a Twitter account, post effective tweets, and maximize your content and engagement.

Setting up a Twitter Profile for your Music

Select a Consistent Username

Your Twitter username should be consistent with your other online profiles like your Website, Facebook page, YouTube channel, etc. If your website is Bandname.com and your Facebook page is Facebook.com/Bandname, then your Twitter handle should be @bandname.

Individual band members can also have personal Twitter profiles, but there should be a dedicated Twitter account for your band/project. For solo artists, one account is really all you need.

Upload a Profile Image (No eggs!)

The default profile image when you create a Twitter account is the infamous egg. People generally don’t follow accounts with an egg as the profile image. You likely won’t be taken seriously, or people will think your account is spam. So upload your own profile image immediately before starting to use Twitter.

You can also upload a header image and background image to your profile. Here’s a great cheat sheet with all the info you need about image sizes: Twitter Cheat Sheet

Add Your Bio

Twitter gives you 160 characters for your profile’s “bio”. It might not seem like a lot of space, but you can make someone curious about your music and give them a real sense of your personality within those 160 characters. Take advantage of it, because leaving it blank could cause someone to lose interest and move on to another profile.

Include a Link to Your Website

Twitter allows you to enter a website that will appear under your bio. Many artists link to other social media profiles like their Facebook page. There is only one link you should have - a link to your own website. Send people to your website where they can read more about you, watch your videos, read your blog, and shop at your online store. Give yourself the traffic. Give visitors a chance to know the person/people behind the twitter account.

[Musicians: 10 Reasons Why You Need a Website]

Twitter Basics for Musicians

Twitter Basics for Musicians

Character Length

Twitter allows up to 140 characters per tweet, which includes your @username, although this will be changing soon. When possible, keep your tweets under 125 characters to allow users the option of easily retweeting your posts. This will accommodate your tweet, your username, and the additional username of the person tweeting your post.

Twitter Symbols

The @ sign: Twitter has two primary symbols – the "at sign " (@) and the hashtag (#). The @ sign allows you to tag other individuals, businesses, organizations, and accounts on Twitter so that they are made aware of the fact that you’ve mentioned them or are trying to correspond with them.

The # sign: # is followed by a word or group of words. The hashtag is automatically hyperlinked and creates a new stream if you click on it, which will include all tweets that have used that same hashtag. It’s a great way to be found on Twitter, start conversations, and join in other conversations with users you don’t follow or who don’t follow you.

Twitter Actions: Reply, Retweet, Like, Tag, and more...

Reply: If you hit “Reply”, you’ll be responding directly to someone on Twitter. The tweet will start with their Twitter username, and only people who follow both you and that other person will be able to see that tweet in their stream. Use this to answer fan questions, say thanks, or respond to people you follow to start a conversation.

Retweet (RT): To “Retweet” someone is similar to forwarding an email. You’re sharing their tweet with your followers. You can simply hit Retweet so that a person’s original tweet appears to your followers.

On the mobile Twitter app, they give you the option to “Quote Tweet”, which puts the original tweet in quotations and you can add your own comment afterwards. On other Twitter applications like Tweetdeck, Hootsuite and Echofon, you can Retweet (RT) and add your own comment before the original tweet.

Liking a Post: If you like what someone else has tweeted, you have the option to “like it” in the same way you would like a Facebook post. The like button is a heart symbol on Twitter.

Mentions & Tagging: As mentioned earlier in this post, the @ symbol allows you to tag other people in your post. When you tag their Twitter account, they also see your tweet. And it increases the likelihood that they will share your tweet with others (retweeting), which means you will get more exposure.

Tagging other bands who are playing the same show, and tagging the venue you are playing at, means (in a best case scenario), more people will know about your upcoming event.

Using Images and Media: Tweets with images (and videos) get more engagement. Just like with Facebook and Instagram, images draw people in and commit them to your post before they even read one word. Fan engagement has gone up ever since Twitter converted from a text-only platform to a multi-media platform.

Uploading Images: It’s important to know that Instagram photos no longer preview automatically to Twitter. In other words, if you have both accounts connected, the image will not translate over. Only a link to the image. So you should upload Twitter content directly through Twitter if you want your photo to appear.

Sharing Videos: Twitter also previews videos. After uploading new video content on Youtube videos, copy the share link and tweet it. Twitter will show that video in your followers’ Twitter feeds.

Sharing Music: Bandzoogle now has a Twitter music player. Just like with images and videos, fans can stream your music directly through Twitter. It’s just one more way of pulling your fans in and enticing them to learn more by visiting your website.

[Video] How to share your music with Facebook, Twitter, and Embeddable players:

Direct Messages: Sending a direct message (DM) is like sending an email through Twitter. Unlike with tweets, there is no character limit for direct messages. DMs are great for asking simple, short questions that don’t require an official email.

What to Tweet

How Often to Post

Unlike Facebook, Twitter is setup for posting more regularly. Because tweets are only 140 characters, and very fleeting in their shelf-life, posting up to 6 tweets in a day, believe it or not, isn’t overdoing it.

Promotional vs. Non-Promotional 

Make sure to space your posts out – both in content and in timing. Not every post should be about next Friday’s show. Not every post should be about your cat. Not every post should be squeezed into a 1-hour time frame simply b/c that’s the only time you can get to your laptop (we’ll talk about scheduled posts later).

Talking about different things shows you are a 3-dimensional person and artist. Fans will be more likely to engage with you if you share tweets they can also relate to. They may have found you through your music, but they may connect with you through other things.

Twitter is a Conversation

It’s a conversation, not a dictatorship. Use it wisely and remember that you are communicating with your fans. When they tweet you directly, tweet them back. When they share one of your YouTube videos, thank them. When they post about something that matters to them, join the conversation. The more 2-way your communication is, the more success you will have on Twitter.

Promoting Other Musicians & Bands

Don’t be afraid to talk about other people. Share other bands’ music, share videos you like that aren’t yours. Don’t be afraid to use Twitter in the same way that your fans use it. You are not a machine!

How to Use Hashtags to Find New Fans

How to Use Hashtags to Get New Fans on Twitter

A hashtag is a way to categorize something – most often a statement, but often an image or video. It allows readers to find tons of content all related to a specific topic, category, event, or idea. It also allows you to find new fans.

Connecting with a Niche audience

One of the great perks of hashtags is finding fans who connect with stuff you already love. For example, when Prince died earlier this year, people posted YouTube covers of their favorite Prince song and used the hashtags #prince #ripprince #purplerain (and tons of others). These posts gots tons of traffic because they were timely and because they reached a huge demographic. You can use this method with anything else.

Getting Involved in Conversations & Topics

You can also search hashtags as a way to start conversations with people who have similar interests. For example, if you want to start using a looping pedal in your live performance, search #loopingpedal on Twitter and find other users who talk about new technology, best-practices, and tweet videos of their looping pedal songs. There are also Twitter meetups that happen on specific nights for people of different interests.

Live-tweet events

Twitter is incredibly popular for its live-tweet events. These are centered around public events – like meetups, galas, tech conventions, and more.

For example, say you have an event at South by Southwest. You’ve probably encountered the #SXSW hashtag in past years that connects everyone to the. You can find out what’s happening at any given moment by following the hashtag to see what people all throughout the event are posting. In the case of bigger events like SXSW, you may even want to use a more specific hashtag like #SXSW2017, or one of the many others.

How to use Search to Find New Fans

How to use Search to Get New Fans on Twitter

Whether you realize it or not, people are talking about you on Twitter, even when they’re not tagging you. Use Twitter’s search to look up your band name. You may find a number of people who have mentioned you and your music. If your Twitter account is @bandname, do a search for “bandname” in quotation marks to make the search more precise.

Using Twitter search to engage in conversations

Just like with hashtags, you can use Twitter’s search option to find people with certain interests. Look up terms or phrases (in quotations) to find other Twitter users who are tweeting about things you care about. The search tool is just one more way to find and engage with new people online.

How to Use Twitter Ads to Get More Fans

Set a Goal

Ask yourself: who do you want to reach? How much do you want to spend? What do you want to promote? How do you want to measure your success: with more followers, more retweets, more conversation exchange on a topic, or an uptick in traffic to the link that might have been in your advertised tweet?  The ins and outs of Twitter Advertising are broken down in this excellent post by Social Media Examiner. Check it out.

Set a Budget

Set a budget that is reasonable. There are many variables involved in setting a budget, such as:

  • How much are you willing to pay for a campaign?

  • How much would you like to pay per day?

  • How much would you want to pay when a reader tweets your post as a result of the campaign?

Word to the wise: for your first campaign, consider starting with a smaller budget so you can get a gain an understanding of how Twitter Ads work. Then, once you’ve got the hang of it and are getting good results, you can spend more on your future campaigns.

Evaluate Effectiveness

Just like with Facebook, advertising success can be hard to gauge. Compare the success of your advertised post with a non-advertised post. Was it worth the money you spent? Do you need to tweak some parameters in order to increase the effectiveness of your advertising?

Scheduling and Monitoring Tweets

Why Schedule Your Tweets

You don’t always need to schedule your tweets, but scheduling can be advantageous especially when you’ll be away from your laptop and still want information to go out. Scheduling also allows you to plan your promo for the week and space out information at an even pace. I’ve personally found that when I schedule my marketing posts, that leaves room for my spontaneous posts to be more personal and less marketing-driven.

The Importance of Monitoring Tweets

Even when you are scheduling posts, it’s still important to visit your account when possible to check fan engagement. Respond to anyone who has replied or retweeted a scheduled post. Answer any questions asked about that post, and make sure you still maintain a presence on Twitter. Don’t let the machine run the show.

Tools for Scheduling and Monitoring Tweets

TweetDeck, Hootsuite, and Buffer all allow you to schedule your posts for a later time and date.  Each of them are simple, clean, and intuitive platforms that are easy to use. And each allow you to monitor and schedule posts for multiple accounts.

Bit.ly is an excellent way to track the success of your posts. For posts that include links to third-party content, convert those links through Bit.ly’s site. Bit.ly tracks how many people click on the link to give you an accurate idea of fan-engagement. It’s one thing for people to read your post. It’s another thing for them to take the next step and learn more, which is why link trackers are useful in helping you gauge where your fans are commitment-wise.

Twitter is one of the longest-standing social media platforms on the internet. If used correctly, it can help you step up your media game. Facebook and Instagram may seem more user-friendly, but Twitter is a powerful tool in its own right and can lead to major exposure, fan-building, and fan engagement. Have fun and good luck!

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

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

SEO Keyword Research for Musicians

SEO Keyword Research for Musicians

Want to do your own SEO as a musician? Before you start optimizing, it’s crucial that you get to know your keywords. This is always Step #1 in any SEO project, and it’s no exception for musicians.

Before you read this, head over to Chapter 1 of this multi-post guide to get familiar with your SEO strategy and the Fan Journey

OK, let’s go.

There is nothing more fundamental to search engines than keywords. Keywords are how we humans directly communicate with the search engines.

There’s a reason the Google homepage is a search bar and nothing else.

Google homepage

It’s important for us to think about keywords first because some keywords get searched more often, or less often, than other keywords. 

Later on, as you carry on doing SEO for your band, you'll work on things like optimizing your website pages, creating new content for your website, getting backlinks, and stuff like that. It's really important to know what keywords people are using to search for your band when doing that work.

SEO is hard work, and knowing your keywords up front will help you make the most of it.


Basic Law of SEO: No Two Keywords Are Equal

No two keywords are equal. Let’s give you an example.

Say you’re a piano teacher in Albany, NY. Without doing any research, you might assume that getting high search rankings for a keyword like “piano teacher albany” will bring traffic to your website.

But actually, people are more likely to search for “piano lessons albany”. And they’re even more likely to search for “piano lessons albany ny”.

How do I know? Google told me:

Keyword search volume

(We’ll show you how to get this data yourself in a minute).

What this chart says is that there are roughly 70 searches per month for the exact keyword “piano lessons albany ny”. There are almost no searches at all for “piano teacher albany.”

So... that makes it pretty clear which keyword is going to bring you more visitors, if you have high search engine rankings for it. Right?

Obviously your top priority keyword is going to be "piano lessons albany ny", because that's what will get you the most visitors to your website.

If you put in a bunch of hard work to rank for the keyword that no one searches, you've kind of wasted your time. That's what we want to avoid!

Even if you're not a piano teacher, if you’re planning to do your own SEO, this lesson applies to you no matter who you are.


The Most Important Keywords for Your Band

We’re going to talk a little about “brand” vs “non-brand” keywords here, because this is where a lot of musicians go wrong with SEO and waste their time.

As a musician, a “brand” keyword is any keyword that includes your band name, the names of people in your band, track titles, album names, tour names. Anything that relates specifically to you and your band and your music. It could even be lines from your lyrics.

An example of a brand keyword is “elephant stone discography”.

These are the keywords that matter to you most as a musician!

Remember the Engagement and Purchase steps of the Fan Journey? If not, go back and read this post. The basic idea here - which is really important to you - is that people are not going to find you in search engines until they’ve already heard of you. Once they have heard of you, they’re going to look specifically for you or something to do with your music.

On the other hand, a “non-brand” keyword is any keyword that doesn’t include anything specific to you, your band or your music.

An example of this would be “indie band in toledo”.

As we explained in the previous post, non-brand keywords are not useful to you as a musician.  (Unless you are a music teacher or another kind of local business, in which case your SEO strategy is going to be more typical, like most businesses).


How To Research Your Band Keywords

Keyword research is what every SEO expert in the world starts with before they do any actual SEO work. Without it, you’re just working blindly. Keyword research lights the way.

We’ll give you a quick lightning tour of how to do your own keyword research using the Adwords Keyword Planner tool.

Step #1: Access the Google Keyword Tool

The Adwords Keyword Planner is the keyword tool of choice for most SEO experts. It’s free, but the catch is that it’s accessible only from within an Adwords account, so you’ll need to take a few minutes to create one. It’s kind of a hassle, but it doesn’t cost you anything.

By the way, if this feels like a hack to you…. it is! Welcome to SEO!

Once you’re in the Adwords account, go to the “Keyword Planner” from the Tools menu, as you can see below. When you click on it, you should get something like this.

Adwords keyword planner

Choose “Search for new keywords using a phrase, website or category”.

Step #2: Enter Seed Keywords

In the next screen, we can plug in some keywords under “your product or service”. We need to seed the tool with some ideas to start with.

We plugged in “tame impala” as our example:

Keyword research musician

Click on the "Get ideas" button. 

Step #3: Sift Through to Find Your Keywords

Click on the “Keyword Ideas” tab, around the centre left of the page, to find your keywords.

Based on the seed keywords we entered, the tool gives us data on the number of searches for them, as well as a bunch of other ideas.

Musician keyword search volumes

So in this image, Google is telling us that there are 246,000 searches per month for the keyword “tame impala”.

You’ll also notice all of the suggestions and ideas Google provides below your seed keywords. These suggestions are useful, but you'll notice a lot of irrelevant keywords that you'll need to sift through. Google tends to leave out a lot of really good keywords too.

So you’ll have to dig for for keyword ideas yourself, by adding different seed keywords and sifting through the suggestions. This is the "research" part of keyword research, and it can take some time.

Be patient, and keep digging.


Building Your Master Band Keyword List

Here at Bandzoogle we brainstormed some ideas about what people might search for, to come up with seed keywords: 

  • People looking for tour dates (tour, live, tickets, concerts, etc.)

  • Lyrics and tabs

  • Specific albums and songs

  • Wiki and discography

  • Merch, like vinyl, tshirts and posters

  • Torrent, Youtube and download (to listen, legally or illegally)

This list could apply to just about any band. So let's check out what people are searching for, using the Keyword Tool, with Tame Impala as an example.

We plugged all kinds of keyword seed ideas into the tool, and then spent a fair bit of time sifting through the data that comes out.

This was the end result of our research.

Band SEO master keyword list

We grouped our keywords together based on what we think the searcher is trying to accomplish (and where they are in the Fan Journey).

For example, someone searching “tame impala tour” is trying to do something fairly similar to a person searching for “tame impala tickets”. So we group those together.

Now give this a try with your band name.

Plug keywords into the tool that you think are relevant to your band, keeping in mind all you’ve learned up to this point about your audience and fan journey.

Make a list in Google Docs, Excel, or whatever you like. Record the keyword and the monthly search volumes, like we did in the screenshot above.

This is going to be your SEO Master Keyword List. These are the keywords that are most important for you to pay attention to, and you’ll refer back to it often.


Other Ways to Brainstorm Band Keywords

The keywords you get from the Adwords Keyword Tool are only as good as the seed keywords you give it. It’s also incomplete and imperfect. It won’t give you all possible keywords people actually use.

So, you’ll need to spend some time digging around and coming up with other seed keywords that you think people may search.

Some places you can dig around are:

  • Google Suggest. Basically, start typing ideas into Google, and see what other keywords it suggests.

Google suggest musician keywords

Plug all of your ideas back into the Adwords tool to find out how much search volume there is. Whenever you find something with volume, add it to your Master Keyword List.


What To Do When You Get No Searches

If you’ve just done this exercise and you’re thinking well, this isn’t helpful because no one is searching for me, that’s ok! 

If your band doesn’t have a big following yet, not many people will be searching for your band name.

Not much of a surprise there, right?

We went to a show recently by a really talented folk singer called Devarrow who was on a tour. We checked the search volume on his name and came up with... nothing.

No search volume musician

If that sounds like you, that’s OK. Don’t be deterred!

If you’re still relatively unknown - maybe you’re just starting out - you still want to make sure that even if just one person searches for you, they can find you in Google.

Just because no one is searching for you right now, doesn’t mean they won’t be later.

So, for now, just focus on looking professional in search results for your band name. Don’t worry too much about other keywords yet, unless there’s something specific you think people might look for, and don’t spend too much time time on SEO just yet.

As you’re building your fan base, every now and again go back to the Keyword Planner tool and check your keyword search volumes to see if people are starting to search for you. 


What To Do When Your Band Name Isn’t Unique

Let’s just start here by saying: it’s a good idea to Google your band name ideas before you commit, to make sure no one else already has it.

Sharing your band name with other things (other bands, or famous people, or famous things) is going to be a problem for your SEO.

Sometimes it’s impossible to avoid though. Like these examples.

Solo Artists With Common Names

Unless you have a really unusual name, chances are someone else has the same name as you. So if you’re a solo musician using your own real name, you might end up competing in search engines with people who aren’t even musicians.

There’s a talented local Montreal artist who goes by his own real name: Andrew Johnston. He actually happens to share his name with a few other notable people, including musicians.

A few months ago, we searched his name and found that the most "prominent" Andrew Johnston was actually a musician from the UK who appeared in Britain’s Got Talent and has charted singles.

Musician SERP competition

The UK Andrew had a lot more press, so he ranked higher than the Montreal Andrew - who appeared as the 3rd result with his website www.thisisandrewjohnston.com - at the time.

Since then, another Andrew Johnston has risen to fame as a golfer, thanks to a recent big tournament win. This Andrew Johnston now totally dominates the search results for his name.

Musician SERP competition for name

Now the Montreal musician Andrew Johnston shows up on the second page of search results, instead of being in the 3rd spot like before. This is a great example of how rankings work when it comes to the names of "notable people". Basically, the most famous person wins.

For fans of the Montreal musician though, this is kind of inconvenient. So they might modify or refine their search term to be more specific, like adding the hometown. In this particular example, they would actually get the results they want.

Musician SERP keyword refinement

So if you're an artist using your own name, this is something you'll need to be aware of when you're researching your keywords. You might want to look up search volumes for those modified or refined keywords as well.

Band Names With Words of Famous Things

Some band names include a word that also happens to be a word used for something else.

The band Of Montreal has this problem. Montreal, of course, is a city. The only thing that distinguishes the band from the city is the word “of”.

So when you search the band name, Google also shows results for the Bank of Montreal, the City of Montreal, and the latest Montreal news.  

Band SERP competition

The band actually dominates the search results page for this keyword because they’re a pretty popular band, and Google is smart enough to realize you’re probably looking for the band because of the “of”.

Band Names With Common Phrases

Broken Back is a band whose name also happens to be a pretty common term.

So when you search for their band name in Google, the first page page of results is filled with articles related to back injury.

Band SERP competition

Broken Back does actually rank at the top of the page, but they're going to have to work extra hard, and be more patient, if they want to have more of their pages ranking on the first page for their band name.

If any of these issues apply to you, you may have more difficulty just getting rankings for your own band name. There’s not much you can do about it, except get more famous (easy, right?).

The main point here is that, when building your Master Keyword List, you’ll need to keep in mind that searches for your band name might be mixed in with searches for the “other thing”.

If you’re an unknown band with 10,000 searches a month for your band name, chances are most people are searching for something else with the same name, not your band. But you might be able to do a bit of refinement.

Let’s take “broken back” as an example again, and add a little refinement to the search term in the keyword tool.

Band keyword search volume competition

It seems pretty obvious here that most searches for “broken back” are by people who are actually looking for information about the back injury, not the band. But with a bit of refinement, we can get a bit of a sense for now many searches there might be for the band.

So, keep this in mind when building your Master Keyword List.


Understanding The Long Tail Keywords

We can’t close off an article about SEO keywords without mentioning the long tail.

SEO people like to categorize keywords into three main groups:

  • Short tail (or Fat Head in the graph below). For example “alabama shakes tour”.

  • Medium tail (or Chunky Middle in the graph). For example, “alabama shakes show toronto”.

  • Long tail. For example “when does alabama shakes play next in toronto 2016”.

Here are some other examples of long tail keywords people might use instead of “alabama shakes tour”:

  • “when is the next alabama shakes show happening in toronto 2016”
  • “what is the next concert date alabama shakes toronto”
  • “alabama shakes tour dates toronto may 2016”

And we could probably make a list of another 10,000 variations of those examples.

It’s important to understand that, when people search in Google, about 80% of the time they’ll use a keyword that only ever gets searched once or twice. Which means they'll never show up in your keyword research. These are the long tail keywords.

Here’s what your typical long tail graph looks like, courtesy of Moz.

The long tail

What this graph is telling you is that the top keywords people use to search for your band - in that yellow area to the left - makes up only a small part of the total keywords people use to actually search for you.

So even if you do a super thorough job building your Master Keyword List, it still won’t fully encompass every single search that ever happens related to your band. Because your Master Keyword List only includes short tail keywords.

The rest of the searches, in the medium and long tail, will be for keywords that, on an individual basis, get searched very rarely. That’s just a reality of SEO that you need to know about.

But your Master Keyword List will still give you a pretty solid understanding of what people tend to look for when it comes to your band, based on how the short tail keywords are searched.


The Takeaway: Build Your Master Keyword List

Now that you know what keyword research is, why it matters, and how to do it, it’s time to research your own band’s keywords!

In follow-up posts, we’re going to dig deeper into SEO. You’ll want to have your Master Keyword List handy any time you work on your band SEO, and refer back to it so that you know what keywords are the most important to you.

And if your band just doesn’t have any keywords with searches yet, then don’t worry about it - there’s still plenty you can do.

Read other articles in this series:

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!

Website Design Inspiration: Best Record Label Sites

Best Record Label Websites

Your record label needs a home on the web to showcase your artists and their music. Bandzoogle makes it easy to build a label website that is modern and organized. The best record label sites use a simple website template, to put the emphasis on their artists, and rotate out featured music and news.

Let's check out some great record label websites to give you some inspiration for yours!

Keep it simple

Simple is key for a record label website. Not only is it modern and stylish, but a website with just a couple of background colors and a bit of text will make the content stand out.

Think about a website visitor first landing on your page. What would you want them to find?

Once you've come up with the most important information to feature, add that. Place your text or music, and break up the content area with images.

[How to Build a Record Label Website]

A great record label website is Sargent House. They set the tone right away with a series of black and white images rotating in a slideshow, and a very simple Homepage.

This conveys visually the style of music that their artists play, and gives their website a cohesive look. They rely on a clear navigation with well-laid out pages to follow.

Sargent House Record Label Website

Make the music shine

With record label website design, think about the music you want to feature. This is key to attracting website visitors, and keeping them informed about your artists.

Indie record label Modular Carnage highlights new releases and forthcoming releases on their Homepage. With tracks on one side and an image on the other to add a pop of color, it’s easy to find and listen to the songs. They also separate out sections using a feature title for a clean look that’s quick to scan.

Modular Carnage Indie Record Label

Easy Navigation

A record label website is often jam-packed with details from upcoming events, to new tunes, and everything in between. Make sure the menu is clear, easy to locate, and navigate.

Add pages about your label, your artists, music, and a clear way to contact you. Keep the page names simple, and create sub-pages if needed for different artists or albums.

Lisbon Lux Records keeps their record label website design simple, with super clear navigation. This encourages visitors to explore their website, rather than getting frustrated trying to find what they want and just leaving.

Lisbon Lux Records website

Anyone visiting this website will quickly see the branding, the music, and be able to choose where to go next.

Emphasize your artists

There are a few ways to organize your artists, depending on how many you have, and how much information you want to provide.

If your label is just starting out, a simple Artists page with a short paragraph, image, a song for each one, and links to their own website and social profiles will do the job. Once you grow, adding a page per artist will give their fans more information. You can also sell music online for your artists, commission-free!

Worldhaus music does a great job showcasing their artists, by adding subpages under a clear main Artists page. On that main page, they also add an image for each one. Each image is similar in color and shape, and gives the page a clean look.

Worldhaus Music Record Label Website

These record label websites are clearly laid out and well-organized. They are full of information that’s presented in a streamlined manner. It’s easy to look through and learn about their artists, and the professional design sets them apart.

For more design inspiration, take a look at some more great band website template examples. We hope these examples give you some inspiration to design your own stunning record label website using Bandzoogle’s built-in features!

Build a professional website for your record label that's easy to update, and sell music & merch commission-free. Sign up for Bandzoogle now!