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Having a presence online is a crucial aspect of your marketing endeavors. Whether you're a musician or an engineer, having your own website complete with your portfolio and information gets more and more important every day. You don't want to rely on third party social media sites for your marketing. You also need your own domain, where you are the king of the castle.
In the following tutorial I'm going to show you some easy steps to create your own web presence. We'll set up a website and e-mail account, and hook up the social media connections you need.
Step 1: Hosting
You need a domain, which means that you'll need a hosting company to host your website. For my own website, Audio Issues, I use BlueHost. BlueHost has worked pretty well for me, and they have easy to install WordPress plug-in that enables you to set up a WordPress blog in just a few simple steps.
There are numerous options out there, HostGator and JustHost to name a couple. A quick search on Google gives you easy resources for cheap and reliable hosting, like this one here.
Step 2: Choosing a Domain
Choosing the correct domain name is very important. There are so many domain names already in use that you might have a difficult time finding a domain name, especially if you are a band. Many times your band name, as original as it might be, is already taken. Usually, you can rectify this problem by adding a suffix like -theband, or -music to the domain.
My friends are in a band called Vicky, and that simple domain name www.vicky.com was already taken so they registered www.vickytheband.com instead. A very simple solution, retains the brand image of the band and to some extent even reinforces it by putting -theband at the end.
Lastly, when you're choosing a domain name, make sure it's easy to read and easy to spell. That way it's easier for everyone to remember, and you don't have to spell it out to everybody every time.
Step 3: Setting Up a WordPress Site
I'm not a fan of over-complicating things, so I use BlueHost's easy-to-install WordPress feature. Obviously, there are other website and blogging platforms out there, but WordPress is definitely one of the best.
In the back-end of BlueHost you scroll down and select Simple Scripts, and from there you are guided through a few easy steps to installing your WordPress blog.
There are a ton of options in the simples script area for you to choose from, but we're focusing on WordPress. Just scroll down until you see the WordPress logo and click that.
You'll want to install WordPress on the domain you chose when you registered for your hosting. After WordPress is installed, you can easily log-in to the back-end of WordPress by clicking Admin Login.
Step 4: Get a Simple Theme
No need to spend tons of money on a theme, or even any money at all. There are so many free themes out there that when you're starting out, you should take advantage of them.
A simple way of finding themes is inside the WordPress back end. Just click on Appearance>Themes and click the Install Themes tab. There you can search for the type of theme you want.
Another option is to simply search for them on Google. There are so many websites dedicated to free WordPress themes that with a relatively simple search you will probably find all the options you need.
Finally, ThemeForest is a great resource for premium WordPress themes. I've found many great themes on there, and if you want to pay for a high-end theme, ThemeForest is definitely the way to go.
Step 5: Setting Up Your Pages
An easily navigable website should be your main priority. For a musician there are some must-have pages that you should create as soon as you set up your website.
- About Page – You should have a short but sweet biography on the band. No need to write the life story of all of the members of the band. Make sure that everybody who reads the page knows what kind of music you play and why you stand out. For engineers you should focus on your strengths, what bands you've recorded and what experience you have. Are you a really great mixing engineer or do you mostly do mastering? Sum it all up simply and effectively with easy to read sentences.
- Contact Page – Preferably have a way for anybody to contact you on your About page, but you should also have a separate contact page in your navigation. Depending on your situation, you can either have a simple e-mail address or you can but your business phone number and address if you run a studio or a business.
- Upcoming Shows – If you're a gigging or touring band, you want to let everyone know where your next gig is going to be. WordPress plug-ins like GigPress are really helpful with this, as you can input all the information for the show and then insert the plug-in code on your Upcoming Shows page.
- Recent Projects/Testimonials – If you're an engineer then you should try to include all the projects you've worked, preferably with audio samples. Separate testimonials or stories about the projects are also great ways to create interest in your services.
- Music – The most important page for any band is the music page. Your visitors probably want to know what your music sounds like, so make sure you have some audio samples of your work.
These pages are the most important ones to have in place before you launch your web presence. Other additional pages are videos, pictures from shows, blog posts and press items. If you're starting out you might not have any of those, but keep them in mind so that you can add them later when the opportunity arises.
Conclusion (For Now)
So far we've gone over the basics of setting up a website. We've gone through all of the pages you need and the installation process of setting everything up.
Next time we'll look into creating professional looking e-mail that's efficient for every band member, creating a presence on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter and then finally hooking everything up via ReverbNation.