A website that you create and control is the best way to make a lasting first impression. It also allows you to promote your music, book shows, and build your brand online.
To get started, you’ll want to gather up your content: music, bio, photos, and video. Next, you can get creative in making your music website reflect who you are as an artist. To do this, you’ll pick a template, choose colors and fonts carefully, and make sure you’ve got content for everyone.
Ready to create a music website that shows who you are as an artist? These 10 principles of great music web design will set you up to succeed online.
1. Get professional photos
Photos are what sets apart a professional looking website. They’re instrumental in creating a first impression of you and your music. With that in mind, invest in professional photos of your band.
You’ll need great imagery to start creating a music website that reflects who you are. You will use these photos countless times: for your background, your sections, and your header image.
You’llalso want good photos to use within your content area. Imagery will make all aspects of your website come to life: in your bio, your electronic press kit, and even on your music page.
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Get a variety of shots in a similar style, that you can use in different ways. Some should be farther away with lots of space around the edges, and some can be portrait style, like headshots.
Once you have professional, consistent photos that convey your music, use them across your website, and on social media platforms as well. This will give all of your branding a sense of continuity.
A grainy photo, or one that’s badly cropped, will leave a negative impression and may even prevent someone from continuing on to listen to your music.
2. Choose a modern website template
Think of a template as providing the overall structure for your website. Within that, you’ll have the freedom to create the look that you want. By using a music website template, your site will adapt seamlessly to all mobile devices. Your fans will be able to navigate your content, listen to your music, and buy your merch from their device without issue.
As a creative person, you’ll want to choose a template that is clean and simple, allowing space for plenty of information. This will allow you to put your own stamp on the look and feel of your website’s design.
The best music website designs often feature simple backgrounds, with the content customized to fit an artist’s personality and the mood of their music. A template provides the bones from which you’ll create your website’s menu, add your pages and content, adjust the layouts, and coordinate the fonts and colors.
A template is also a great option if you’re pressed for time and want to create a modern look for your music quickly. Simply choose a pre-designed template that contains colors that you like, add your text and images, and you’ll be all set to start promoting your music online.
3. Add a clear call-to-action
In this day and age, attention is fleeting. To bring your musician website design together, choose one important thing to highlight.
This could be an upcoming single, a new video, or to join your mailing list. Once you’ve chosen what you’d like your website visitors to do, add a clear call-to-action on your Homepage. This will sit over your main website image, so you’ll want to style it to complement the rest of your website. Make sure it stands out with a border, strong font, or bold button. Also make sure that it doesn’t clash with the rest of your color scheme, or block any important imagery.
If you’ve chosen a website template that doesn't feature a call-to-action over your main image, place text and a button or link as close to the top of your content area as possible. That way it appears ‘above the fold’ - meaning it’s visible immediately when someone loads your website, before they scroll down.
4. Use cohesive colors
You don't have to be a designer to create a look for your website that complements your brand. Add your imagery first. Then, decide which colors from that will work throughout your website. Color is a powerful tool in design, and can go a long way in creating a look that's unique.
If you’re going for a neutral look, add sections with muted background colors. If you’d rather create a playful look, choose a couple of vibrant tones to set off your content.
As a rule of thumb, try to stick to three colors: your main color, a secondary color, and an accent color. The main color should match your genre of music: think earth tones for an Americana artist, something bright and vibrant for a DJ or EDM artist, or a soothing color for an indie musician. The secondary color should go with that main color.
Finally, choose a third color as the accent color. This one will pull the other two together, and you can use it for your text, and your social media icons, for example. Keep in mind that you will want that text and your buttons to be easy to see. Choose a color for those which is in high contrast to the rest of your colors.
5. Select good typography
Your main content font - which you’ll use for the majority of your text - should be simple and clear. You’ll want to be sure it’s really easy to read. A sans-serif font is a good choice for body text across your website.
To help with this as well, choose a font color that stands out from your background color. Black on white is a classic example, but any dark color on a lighter background will increase the chances of your text being read all the way through.
Another good rule to follow when it comes to typography is to keep things consistent. Choose one content font and use that throughout your website. Align your text left, which people are used to when reading, avoid using all caps, and use bold and italics sparingly.
Inject your own creativity into your font choices too, by choosing a creative font for your site title and section titles. These should coordinate with your other fonts and colors, while adding a bit of flair.
6. Create a clear navigation
Making your website easy to navigate is an important part of website design. It’s the difference between someone locating what they want (to buy your music, or book you for a show) and being confused and leaving your website.
Limit your main menu to just the most important items. You can add many pages to your website, but organize them so that your main menu contains eight pages at the most. This will help focus your visitors’ attention and create a pleasant browsing experience throughout your website.
Each page, or section, should have a clear purpose. That way, your visitors will be able to look quickly, find what they want, and leave with the impression that your website is beautifully organized (or stay and look some more).
If you do have lots of content, make a clear plan with your navigation so it stays balanced within your website template. You could create a main Store page that includes sub-pages for each of your albums, or group things by online sales, or physical merch, for example.
7. Make it mobile-responsive
People consume media on mobile at a higher rate than ever before, and this trend is not going away anytime soon. Using a music website template that’s already set up to adapt to mobile is a great start.
Next, be sure that you optimize your images so that they don’t get cropped or cut off in your design. For example, use an image with some space around the edges so that it will adapt nicely on different screen sizes, both in a vertical and a horizontal position.
You can also set the focal point of your main image, meaning that the screen will crop closely to that area when your website zooms in on a small screen.
In terms of content, check over your website on mobile to be sure that the important information flows nicely. Next, make sure your menu is still easy to read when the menu button is tapped. If your page names are a bit too long in the space, consider trying something shorter.
Finally, customize your mobile menu background if necessary to be sure the page names stand out easily.
8. Add an EPK to your music website, and keep it up to date
Your music website can be the whole package: an online hub that contains content for industry, media, and your fans as well.
With this in mind, every musician should add an electronic press kit (EPK) to their website. It’s the easiest way to allow media, bloggers, promoters, and venues to help you promote your music or your shows. Your EPK should be a snapshot of your music career to date, with your bio, hi-res images, music, videos, reviews, and stage plot.
Your EPK helps to create that professional impression of your music. All of your EPK content should be updated regularly, to be sure that industry folks know everything that you’ve accomplished recently.
9. Tell your story
The connection between musician and fan is a special thing. It’s nurtured between live shows, meet and greets, and online support through your website and social media.
Your music is likely also a personal thing, woven from your life’s experiences. Within seconds of looking at your website, your visitor should get a sense of who you are, and how you’ve come to be where you are now.
With that in mind, keep your own personal voice throughout your website. If you are light-hearted and funny, or if you are more serious and your music reflects this - use that same tone in writing your artist bio, in showcasing your photos, and in describing your music.
Make sure all of the text on your website is written with the aim of communicating, rather than solely promoting yourself. Keep things genuine, and it will have a better chance of creating a lasting impression.
10. Give your fans a way to support you
Many musicians thrive with their fans' support, and fans want to encourage their favourite artists to succeed. Whether your goal is to create a website to sell your music, to promote upcoming events, or to build a community through fan subscriptions, offer your fans a chance to come on your journey.
If you don’t give people a way to support you, they won’t be able to. There are no ads, feeds, or distractions on your website, and your visitors are there because they want to be there. So offer lots of direct-to-fan options to rally support from those fans, at every level of engagement.
Make sure to build up your mailing list through your website. Set up a merch store with print-on-demand items based on your logo or latest album art. Set up a virtual tip jar and let your fans know how they can support you.
And for your biggest fans, consider offering fan subscriptions as another way to really keep engagement going.
Whether you’re a touring artist, a DJ, or a music teacher, setting up a website that reflects who you are will help you attract more business. Use these music web design principles to create or update your music website, and make it a cornerstone for your career.
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