Many experts advise musicians, “build your own website.” It’s great advice, but it is often neglected.
Why is that? Maybe artists are turned off by the cost of registering a domain name or setting up web hosting. Perhaps they are intimidated by the thought of having to code and debug. Maybe they think it will take too much time.
However, building a website is not expensive. It may require some upkeep, but that goes for just about anything you own. It is not difficult to build a website. There are great tools like WordPress that you can use to manage your content. You can also outsource the production of design elements at a fairly low cost.
It’s not good to become too reliant on social media. Having your own website should be priority even above that. Here are five reasons to consider:
1. Prepare for Exposure
If the press wants to get in touch with you, chances are they are going to run a Google search on you. But what will they find first if not your website? Your Myspace or Facebook profile? Some random and scattered pieces of content about you? That just won’t do.
You need to have your bio presented in a neat, simple format that anyone can understand. You need your EPK and a high resolution photo (for when the media publishes articles about you). You need to provide contact information, the genre your music belongs to, and other artists you sound like.
You should also have your music available in a variety of different formats on a myriad of online stores, apps and streaming sites. You could miss out on some serious sales if you don’t, because people consume music differently in disparate parts of the world. You need to be prepared.
2. Control Your Content
Social media platforms are great for marketing and all, but they’re not content hosts. They don’t have any interest in holding on to your content beyond the traffic you bring to their site and the ad revenue you produce for them.
The very fact that there are ads on your fan page should point to the fact that social platforms have no vested interest in you. If you’re going to go to the trouble of getting fans to visit your page, you don’t want them to be distracted by an ad and navigate away from your page.
If you have ads on your website, at least you’re the one making money from them. Moreover, you get to keep the content you produce for your website. You own it.
3. Control Your Branding
If your content is hosted on a social platform, unfortunately you don’t get to frame it the way you want to. You can usually select a profile picture and a cover photo, but you typically don’t have enough control over things like text and link color, background, layout, etc.
All of that is very much within your control on your own website. You can decide what colors to use, where you want to position what, how you want to come across as an artist. After all, the image you present is important. You want to look professional, don’t you?
Andrew Dubber from New Music Strategies even went so far as to say use your image to project the level of success you want to have.
4. Create a Fan List
If you haven’t started yet, you need to begin collecting email addresses from your fans immediately. Not only is email marketing still widespread and effective, it is quite possibly the only way for an artist to create a long-term income strategy.
If you own your website, you can decide how you want to collect email addresses, and where to place call to actions. Not doing so would be a serious mistake, because visitors may come and go, but once they’re on your email list, they have opted in for a longer term relationship. You get to benefit from the website traffic you create.
5. Build Your Community
Social networking sites are hosts to global communities; that’s why they are so great for marketing. However, as an artist, it is ultimately your community that you want to build – not somebody else’s.
Think about it. Your fans need a central hub to hang out at and to read up on the latest news about you. A social platform can serve that purpose, but again we return to the reality that you don’t own Facebook or Google+. You don’t own the content that's published there. These platforms could one day dissolve.
Having your website gives your fans a place to go. It gives media a place to learn about you. It provides you with the opportunity to create more income streams.