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October, 2009

"A Good Band Web Site"

by Webmaster

The September Pow'r Pickin' from the Colorado Bluegrass Music Society has an article by Garian Vigil, "Elements of a Good Band Web site." She lists the following elements:

  • The site must be readable and easy to navigate.
  • Content about the band for prospective employers and publicists
    • Music samples: that demonstrate your kind of music, your skill level, your songwriting
    • Band biography: same as in a press kit
    • High-resolution band photo, which may be in color
    • Complete contact information, several different ways (e-mail, phone, fax, mail)

The following are listed as great to have:

  • Quotes and testimonials
  • Full articles about the band
  • Posters that can be downloaded
  • Links to MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, etc.
  • Fan forum which should be constantly monitored
  • Links to favorite venues, memberships, sites that link back to yours
  • Photos that are refreshed frequently
  • Current tour blogs or lists of upcoming dates

She ends by mentioning some do-it-yourself sites that enable a person who isn't totally web savvy to build an effective band web site.

All of this is good. At this point, an internet presence is necessary for almost any business to survive. And each of the items she listed as necessary, are necessary.

However, there are a few things to think about when you decided to do your web site yourself.

Do-it-yourself sites may not do well in search engines. There are coding techniques to help sites show up in search engines, and these are rarely used by do-it-yourself sites.

If you hire a web master, be sure that the web master is more than a graphic designer. Some graphic designers know how to use web-building software, but nothing about how to make a site do well in search engines. I recently heard a graphic designer explain that one of her sites didn't do well in search engines because the search engines couldn't find the low-price web host she chose for her client. It's an interesting excuse, but not a logical reason based on how search engines work.

As one business owner told me recently, "I don't care what the site looks like, if no one can find it in the search engines."

Once you build your web site, you need to maintain it. This means keeping the content current and fixing things that stop working (like links to sites that don't exist anymore). It can wind up being a lot of work that you don't understand or enjoy.

I recently visited a web site of a touring musician, hoping to contact him. I eventually made my way through the broken links and missing pages to an email link for him on a related site. I could only hope that it is a current email address. I have no idea if my email got through to him. This is not a web site that will help him promote his music.

Lately, there's been a growing demand for blogs on web pages. They DO require monitoring and editing. That's even more work for musicians who would rather be practicing, rehearsing, performing, writing new songs, recording and are on the road a lot. Plus, blogs are not the automatic fix to search engine placement that people expect them to be. If they aren't kept current or if people don't post to them, they won't help the site do better.

I love writing songs and recording them. I'm taking a break from performing while I finish recording my CD and polishing my own songs to take out in public. Songwriting and playing music are labors of love.

And, building web pages is a labor of love.

I get clients who want me to build them a web site then teach them how to maintain it. I'm willing to do that, and I have done that. I tell them what's involved and then ask them, "How do you want to spend your time? Would you like to spend your time playing music / painting pictures / taking photographs / composing new music? Or, do you want to spend your time on the computer updating your web site?"

"Wow, You are quicker than doing it myself. Thanks so much for being 'pushy' and recommending such a great web master." — John Fisher

Good websites don't have to cost a fortune or take months to get requested updates.

Use Google to find sites for performers or bands who play music that is similar to yours. Use keywords that potential new fans would use to find you. Check out the sites that are at the top and see who built their web sites, or ask them who built their web sites.

Thanks for visiting AcousticByLines.

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