Find out how to make a simple but flexible website using basic html and css.
If you've already got a website, read our how-to guide for advice on attracting visitors. There's information on search-engine optomisation, and advice on advertising your website.
Bands as companies
Find out how it can be worthwhile to form your band into a limited company. It may sound crazy, but will save agro later on!
You can't quite beat vinyl - find out how to cut a 12" record, and what you'll need to get it done.
Promoting your web site
So you've created a website to promote your talent... but how do you get people to visit it? Promoting a site can be a challenge. Here I'll give you some starting points to help you get the word round.
Much of the web is driven by "search engines" such as Google, AltaVista and Yahoo. Users searching for, say, a musician based in the South West might type, for example "independent musician south west". They'd expect to get a listing of sites for musicians in the south west.
Problem is, unless you're on the first page of search results, chances are they'll never get to your site. And if you do a search for that kind of search term, you'll find that there are hundreds and hundreds of sites, all vying for top spot.
There are a lot of things you can do to help your site get a good ranking on search engines.
- Aim to get high ranks on more specific search terms - eg. rather than "Musician in South West", aim for "Acoustic musician Bristol, South West".
- Try and get such search terms into the text of your website. In particular, headings, and the title of your page should contain relevant keywords.
- Search for keywords you'd like your site to appear in, and contact the sites that come up first, asking whether they'll swap links with you. Search engines like Google look at how many sites link to your site, to help it work out which sites are "popular" and therefore more likely to be useful.
But "search engine optimisation" is certainly a black art. My advice is to not spend too much time on it. There are other ways to get visitors into your site.
A really good way is to get listings on more general websites that list talent. You could also treat your site as a kind of calling card - adding the URL to advertisements, press releases, etc. Some websites will charge to list your site, but many are free. Musicians should check out the Ultimate band list which will list a link to your site, plus a biography and graphics. Another good resource for any type of performer or artist is the Open directory project (ODP) A side-effect of getting listed on other websites is that your "popularity", as viewed by Google, will increase too.
Another avenue that often works well for our clients is to actually advertise on Google. If you do a search on Google, you'll find "sponsored links" on the right-hand side. The system is straight-forward. You specify the maximum price you'll pay each time someone clicks on your advert. The more you pay, the higher up you get. You can choose many keywords for which your advert will appear, and if you wish can set the "cost per click" for each keyword. It works very well - go to Google adwords for more information.