Thinking about making a website for your music? While social media is free and easy to use as a quick way to engage an audience, the best way to make and keep real fans focused on your band is through your own website.
So how do you create a custom website that looks and sounds good? Check out this list of dos and don’ts of band website design to see if you’re hitting all the high notes with yours.
First, let’s have a look at all of the things you'll want to do to make your music website the best it can be.
1. Do have a website
If you’re a serious musician, you need your own website. It’s less distracting than social media, and you can tell your own story, in your own way, on your website. There are lots of good reasons to have your own website as your home base online. Make sure that you have one!
2. Do have a great Homepage
As the most visited page on your website, and your best chance to make a lasting first impression, your Homepage is probably the most important page on your website. Keep it up to date with news, events, and your latest music. To learn more about creating that perfect Homepage, have a look at this post about building a great Homepage for your band website.
3. Do use professional photos
It’s worth the time and effort to invest in professional images of your band. You will use them all over your website, from your Homepage, to your bio and photos pages. Get a variety of photos and use them in your press kit as well.
It’s tempting to use a placeholder image snapped from your phone as your main image - but go for professional images. They’re guaranteed to be high quality on all screen sizes.
4. Do use a call-to-action
A call-to-action is the primary thing you’d like visitors to do once they hit your website. It directs your visitors' attention to what you’d like them to do, instead of aimlessly looking around. Some examples would be to buy your latest single, watch your newest video, or to book you for an event.
5. Do have a mailing list signup
If your goal is to build your mailing list, add a mailing list signup form right at the top of your website in a call-to-action. You can sweeten the deal by offering a free track in exchange for an email address.
A mailing list is your best way to keep in touch with your fans, and let them know of new music, merch, and tours. This creates a steady connection between you and your fans that you’ll want to nurture for years to come. You can even add a mailing list signup form to multiple pages.
6. Do tell your story
Have a dedicated bio page that talks about how you got started, what you’ve done, and where you’d like to go next. Having it written in third person makes it easy for media professionals to use parts of it in interview introductions and articles.
Plus, a great bio creates a connection between you and your fans as they get to know who you are, and what you’ve accomplished.
7. Do have music for sale
Adding songs to your website may sound obvious, but you’d be surprised at how many band websites we see without any music on them. Still working on a full album? Add a single for now, or even a video. Words can only go so far in conveying your sound, and adding some music to your pages really brings a band website together.
You can add music to any page on your site with just a few clicks. From there you can set any track to free, free with email, fixed price or pay-what-you-want. If you set a price your fans can buy your music from your site and download it right away.
8. Do have a mobile-friendly website
With the rise of personal mobile devices, your website needs to work seamlessly on all screen sizes. A mobile-friendly website will ensure that anyone who tries to visit your site on a mobile device will have a good experience.
As a note, Bandzoogle websites are optimized for mobile. You only have to design your site once, and it will scale to the screen size your fan is using.
9. Do have an EPK
An EPK, or Electronic Press Kit, is a page that includes the most essential parts of who you are as a musician or band. This may be the only page an industry pro visits, so you’ll want to put your best music, videos, and photos on this page for easy access.
If you’re looking at adding an EPK to your website, we’ve got some tips on how to do that here: The 8 things that should be in every band’s digital press kit
10. Do customize your template
You might be thinking that using a ‘template’ will stifle your ability to design a creative music website. However, starting from a mobile-ready framework and adding on options will allow you to build a website that’s both functional and beautiful.
Creating a unique look is easy to do with styled sections, fixed scrolling, background images, and more.
11. Do optimize your website for Google search
Once your website is designed and filled with content, you’re ready to get it listed in Google search results. This will make it easy for fans to find you by typing your band name into a search engine. Once they’ve gotten to your website, they’ll be able to listen to your music and check out your content.
We include SEO options behind the scenes at Bandzoogle to be sure your website will rank well, and you can also check out this SEO Checklist for Musicians to be sure you’re setting yourself up for success.
Create a modern, mobile-ready website that’s easy to update. Design your own band website with Bandzoogle today!
If you’ve incorporated all of these points into your band’s website design, you’re off to a great start. Now for a few things that you may want to consider not doing, to be sure your website looks professional.
12. Don’t have a pointless intro page
An Intro page is great for displaying a temporary message, but shouldn’t be used long-term. When you visit a website, you want to get to the content and music. An Intro page adds an extra step that often means visitors are searching for a way to click through to get to the good stuff. Extra clicks means they’re less likely to continue on to your website.
You want to encourage fans to come back, so make your Homepage the focus of your band’s website design instead.
13. Don’t autostart music
You may want to set up your music so that it starts right away and hooks in your website visitors. But in reality, most people are savvy enough with websites that they will resent not having full control. If a song comes blaring on the moment your website loads, your visitor will likely bounce, close the site, or fumble in a panic for the volume button. It’s not the first impression you want to create.
Chrome, Safari, and Firefox no longer support audio on autoplay on desktop, tablets, and mobile - there’s a reason for this. Don’t force it.
14. Don’t make it hard for fans to find what they need
The beauty of your own website is that you control the experience. So make sure it’s a good one for your visitors. Welcome them to your online home, and help them find exactly what they’re looking for. Avoid confusing navigation and make the menu clear with easy to read, familiar page names.
To do this, use eight or fewer pages in your menu. If you’ve got more, consider using sub-pages to condense your menu so that it’s clear.
15. Don’t use too many colors
With so many options and the desire to make your band website design stand out from the crowd, you might be tempted to go crazy with color. But try to stick to 3 ‘main’ colors: draw inspiration from your main image, and choose a main color, a secondary color, and an accent color. Have a look at your design overall and make sure the color scheme feels simple and soothing, rather than overwhelming.
16. Don’t use wacky fonts
Choosing the right font can tie your website together and give it a cohesive feel. There are a ton of font options out there. As a rule of thumb, use three fonts or fewer. You can choose a fun, funky font for your logo. Then go for a clean, easy to read one for the body font, in your content area.
17. Don’t clutter the pages
With each page, consider the layout, as well as the look and feel. Don’t add too much to each page or it will be hard for your website visitors to sift through. Each page should have a focal point; ask yourself if the content you’re adding reinforces that.
Avoid long bits of text with no breaks. To make the content easy to read and digest, you’ll want to make good use of whitespace by creating space between text, images, and your music and video players.
18. Don’t overuse bold, italics, and ALL CAPS
Bold, italics, and upper case text are used to emphasize a point. If you’re using those too much in your content, they'll become tired. Consider using each one sparingly - for example, use italics for the source of a quote only. Use bold only for the name of an album or song within your entire bio. That way, you’ll draw emphasis to only a few things that are truly important.
19. Don’t embed every video you have
Videos are no doubt an important part of any music website.. However, if you create a page and add video after video, it will slow down the time it takes for your page to load, which will deter visitors who don’t want to wait.
To make videos an effective medium on your website, you’ll want to curate them. Add videos of your newest songs, and your most popular songs. If you’ve got lots to choose from, use different videos on different pages, from your EPK to a videos page.
20. Don’t use a random donate button
There’s a good chance that your fans want to support you. But adding a donate button with no context won’t encourage people to give you money. Try selling music and allowing fans to pay what they want to increase revenue. You could also add a tip jar and include an image plus some text to explain why a tip would be beneficial to your career.
21. Don’t abandon your website
Once you’ve got your website designed just right, make sure to check it regularly! Post your news, accomplishments, behind the scenes information, and keep things up to date. A regularly updated website is not only the best way to reach music fans and industry pros, but it also looks professional and capable if it's well-maintained.
So there you have it! Follow these tips and you’ll have a band website that looks great and is well-organized, giving your fans the best possible impression of you and your music.
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