Your artist website is your conversation with the world. In most cases, this will be the first ever conversation you will have with a potential fan, event planner, media representative or talent buyer. Your website will help them decide whether to contact/engage with you, go to your show, or move on to the next artist. This is a very important conversation and ironically you are not even physically present while this conversation is going on. For this reason, it would be a good idea to present yourself in the very best possible light, answer as many questions as possible, and provide the items your audiences would need.
So, here is my top 10 list of Must Haves for your artist website.
1. Contact Information
It is imperative to include your contact information on your website. This includes your phone number, e-mail address, and your social media profiles. If you have a team such as a manager, booking agent, media contact, include their contact information as well. Even if it’s your cousin answering the phone, these contact points can make you look great as it shows you have a team backing you which lends you even more credibility. Don’t leave it to a contact form. You will miss out on a good percentage of potential phone calls and e-mails by not including these contact points on your website. Some people don’t like filling out forms online, plus they may be in a hurry and don’t want to wait on you to reach back out to them.
2. Ease of Navigation & Professional Look
Make sure your website is easy to navigate through and looks professional. All main links should be on the home page in a very prominent place. When someone goes to your page they should be able to find what they are looking for within seconds. Anticipate what your audiences will be looking for and make it available for them on your site. You will have several different types of audiences such as a potential fan, a talent buyer, venue, or booking contact, a media representative, and a current fan. Each of these people will have different needs and questions when visiting your site. Be sure you are accommodating all these inquiry types on your website.
3. Your Music
Don’t forget to include your music! It should be live streaming so they can listen to your sound. If you don’t have the coding capabilities to do this yourself, there are many sites, such as SoundCloud.com, that can help you embed a music player. Not having music available to listen to on your site is like going to the fair without bringing any money. It’s just not good sense.
4. Professional Promo Photos
People want to know what you look like if you are an artist. Your look is a HUGE part of your act. It is your branding. It will help people get to know who you are and why you sing what you sing. It is a big piece of your brand and you need to showcase that all throughout your website. Your home page should include a big picture of you. Additionally, you should sprinkle multiple photos throughout your site and throw in a few personal quotes along with them if you can. This will help them get to know you in a personal way. The photos should be professional and high quality. Have a professional photographer or someone with a DSLR camera snap interesting photos of you for your website. It also would help to include some photos of you performing live to give your audience an idea of what you look like on stage.
5. Live Footage of you performing
Potential fans and talent buyers want to see what your live performance is like. A few song tracks will not cut it. There are too many other artists to choose from and you not having live footage will limit your opportunities. The live footage must be clear and sharp with little to no ambient noise. Footage of you performing at a venue is preferable, but if you can’t do that, another option is to set up a video shoot somewhere interesting like an art gallery, warehouse, empty stage, a wooded area, etc. Make sure the video is lighted adequately and the audio should be clear. Don’t stop at one video. You need multiple videos. If someone is trying to make a decision about you, they will want to see several video samples.
6. Up to Date Calendar
Your calendar or lack thereof says a lot about your consistency and relevancy. If you don’t have one, people will assume that you’re not a working musician. They will think that you tried but you just couldn’t seem to “make it.” If you do have a calendar, but your last show was 6 months ago, they will think you have trouble finding work and assume you’re not that good. You should keep a current calendar of shows and try to include a variety of different show types – solo gigs, full band, duo, open mics, house parties, corporate functions, traditional venues. Having different types of shows demonstrates that you are versatile and that you maintain a consistent schedule. This gives them confidence that if they book you or come to your show that you’ll show up.
The bio on your website is for people who want to learn more about you after seeing your other materials. Be sure to include a quick 50-100 word bio for those who don’t have time to read as well as an extended bio for those who do.
8. Press Kit
This sounds more sophisticated than it actually is. Generally a press kit is a package of materials you give to someone to help them better understand who you are and to hopefully partner with you. In the case of your website, a press kit is all of your materials aggregated neatly on one page. It includes your best music streams, photos, videos, your bio, your calendar, any press clippings, reviews, and a way to contact you. You will use this page mainly for talent buyers and event planners to help them see why you’re the best artist to perform at their event or venue. It is good to have this on a single page as well as downloadable in PDF form. This is also good for media representatives if they want to do a story on you.
9. E-mail Capture
Well, if they are coming to your website, why not capture their information? You are in the business of selling after all. Use a pop up box to capture e-mails in exchange for a free album or song with a mail management service such as MailChimp. That way you can enter the conversation with them and take them to the next level of interacting with you.
10. A Personal Touch
If you can garner a connection with someone, both you and they will get more out of the relationship. If you can garner a connection with a potential fan who visits your website for the first time, they will be more likely to reach out to you somehow or come see you perform, or even buy your music! This is plenty incentive to include a blog on your website or some personal quotes talking about why you became an artist and the meaning of life. Adding a personal touch like this can help further the conversation.
Take the time to craft a website that speaks, answers questions, provides needed items, and helps to continue the conversation. This is where people are making decisions about you. It is in your best interest to use your website to help convince them to choose you.