The days are long gone where you would have to pay local web designers thousands of dollars to create a music website. You can now do it on a minimal budget and with limited technical know-how.
Using this process, you could pretty easily expand the website later on to include a music store where you could sell music, merchandise, samples, etc!
In this article I’m going to tell you how to do the following:
- Create your new website
- Get a website address
- Customize your website design without having to learn to code
- Add music videos, embed tracks, images from social media sites.
- Track your website clicks using Google Analytics
- Get your site on Google
Follow the below steps to create a music website in no time.
There are two main ways to create your site: either use a site builder like Squarespace, Wix, or WordPress.com OR host and control your own website.
I generally recommend that you host your own website when creating a music-specific one, because it gives you a lot of control to expand and customize your website later. You could easily expand it later on for merch sales or add additional plugins.
It can work out as much more cost effective, particularly if you want to add more websites to the same account.
I recommend Bluehost for website hosting, as they’re cheap and easy to get set up. When you create your bluehost account, you can choose the web address (domain name) that you want your site to be on. This means that you have everything registered in one place, which can save you from a lot of hassle.
Alternatively, another great option is SiteGround. Their support is really excellent and it’s really easy to create sites on this hosting platform.
Oftentimes, people say that hosting your own site is more problematic than using a website builder. However, if your host supports automatic updates then this takes away the majority of the hassle.
Step 1 – Select a website host
If you plan to host your own site then the first thing you should do is figure out what type of hosting package you need.
If you’re only planning to run one single website, then I recommend that go to bluehost.com and select the basic plan (or another web host of your choice). This will have enough power for a basic website, and you can upgrade it later on if you want to. If you want to host multiple websites then you could opt for the ‘Plus’ or ‘Choice Plus’ options.
Alternatively, SiteGround offer the StartUp plan, which is also a great choice for a single website.
The rest of this guide will follow the bluehost process for creating a website, but the process is quite similar for most other hosts.
Step 2 – Create your web address (domain)
The domain name is what your website address will be (e.g. electronicdrumadvisor.com). Pick this very carefully, as it’s the main web address that you’re going to use for your site. If you’re unsure of your domain for the moment, then pick ‘choose later’.
If you really need to, you can change your website address later on. However, it can be a bit of technical hassle and it can cause issues with your rankings on Google.
.com or a country-specific web address?
A .com domain name is almost usually the best option for a music website where you have the potential for an international audience. They’re generally more reputable and it’s also speculated that they get the highest priority in Google search ranking results.
However, if you’re setting up a covers or wedding band website then your country domain name might be a better option for you. For example, if you’re based in the UK then weddingbandname.co.uk, for example, could be a better option because viewers will instantly know that you’re a UK band.
Domain name ideas for music websites
If you have a unique band, musician, or artist name then this will be very easy. Alternatively, you can add ‘music’ or ‘band’ to the end of your artist name. There are also some inventive and creative website addresses of bands. If this fits your style, then go for it! Just make sure that it’s recognizable as your artist name.
Later on, you can also reserve some other domain addresses (at additional cost) and redirect them to your main website. This can be useful for misspellings, plurals, and alternative band names or website addresses.
Step 3 – Create a website hosting account
The type of information and packages may vary depending on your hosting provider. However, they generally offer the same types of services.
Package extras are usually offered as part of hosting packages.
The most common one is Domain Privacy Protection. It’s important to understand this. Basically, for most websites in the world, you can easily search up the details of the owner (including name and address) through online WHOIS records for free. You can even try it for yourself right now.
With domain privacy protection, your name and details will be replaced with the details of your hosting company instead. So the owner will show up as ‘Bluehost’ instead of ‘John Smith’ for example.
Step 4 – Install your website automatically
WordPress is free software that you use to build and maintain your site. A very large percentage of websites around the world are built on WordPress. It’s not just a blogging platform, it supports e-commerce, marketplaces, and many different types of use-cases through the use of additional plugins (many of which are free). It has a massive community backing and there are always great software and security updates.
- Login to your hosting account
- Go to the website section
- Select Install WordPress
- Press Install
- Follow the instructions (keep a note of the username and password for your website)
It’s usually fine to use the default installation settings.
When your website is created, you will have two views. The front-end (what the user sees) and the backend (what you will use to customize and manage your site, add posts and pages, users, etc).
To go to the back-end, simply add ‘/wp-admin’ to the end of your web address.
E.g. if your website address is torchfighters.com – then your back-end login will usually be torchfighters.com/wp-admin. Simple!
Please note: If you very recently registered your web address name, it may take up to 24 hours for your domain name to fully update (This is known as domain propagation. Although it usually happens a lot quicker than this). Therefore, if you’re getting DNS errors showing up, then sit tight and wait a little while. You can also follow these instructions to use a temporary URL, or contact support if you think there is an issue.
Step 5 – Customize your website design
Go to your website address (e.g. torchfighters.com). If your WordPress installation was successful, then you should see a pretty generic site design like below.
I’m going to quickly run through the important points below on how to customize your site:
The great thing about WordPress is its many available Themes. There are plenty of free options available that you can switch to instantly.
- In your WordPress dashboard, simply go to Appearance > Themes
- Click the ‘Add New’ button at the top
- You will be presented with 1000s of free themes that you can install. You can narrow the options by using the search bar. For example, type ‘music’ in the search bar.
- You can click the ‘Preview’ or ‘Install’ buttons on any of the themes.
A note on themes: Your theme is one of the most important parts of your website. It defines the design and customizability of your site. There are many free themes available. Some of them are based off a ‘freemium’ model, where the theme developers offer a lite version of the theme and then charge extra for premium features.
If you have the budget, then I highly recommend that you go with a premium theme (themeforest.net is a good place to start). I used to work off free themes for years, but paid themes are generally a lot better and offer way more features for your website.
There are also many music-specific related themes and include lots of features and plugins that can be used for bands and musicians.
Step 6 – Add text and embedded content (music, videos, images).
WordPress has great functionality that allows you to easily embed content from other sites.
These might sound obvious, but many musicians forget to include them:
- An about page: Tell the website visitor who you are. Make it as personal as you can.
- A contact page: It’s shocking how many artists don’t include their contact details. You can use a WordPress Plugin such as WP Forms to quickly add a contact form to your site.
- A gigs page: Your upcoming shows. You can use a plugin for this.
- Music page: A list of embedded music tracks or links to purchase your music. You can easily embed music from spotify, bandcamp, youtube on your WordPress website.
- Video page: A list of embedded music videos. For example, to embed Youtube or Viemo videos on wordpress pages, simply copy and paste the video link onto the article in the ‘Edit Post’ view and it will automatically render the video!
- Blog: Fresh content for your site in the form of blog posts and articles. This is great to keep your audience engaged and drive traffic to your site.
Bands and musicians should consider embedding content from the following:
- Youtube – Music videos
- Vimeo – Music videos
- Spotify, Soundcloud, Bandcamp – Music tracks
- Instagram – Artist photos, gigs, practice sessions, etc.
It’s great to use these external services to embed your content, for the following reasons:
- It can help gain exposure for your music social media pages
- The videos, images, and tracks are streamed from the social media websites. Therefore there is a much lower server load on your own website. This means that you can have much more visitors on your website before you will need to increase the power of your hosting package.
How do I use embedded content in WordPress?
There are two main types of content in WordPress: Pages and posts.
In general, these can be treated as the same thing, but it’s best to separate them into different concepts.
Posts should be used for all other content, such as blog posts and articles you’re planning to upload to the site.
The social networks I mentioned above all have ‘embed links’ that you can copy into your WordPress pages and posts. They usually look something like <iframe… > or <object…>. Simply code the embed code from your social network and paste it into the ‘Text’ version of your website post/page.
The ‘Visual’ and ‘Text’ view of WordPress pages are just different views of the same thing. The text shows the website code that’s used to generate your page. The ‘Visual’ box shows how your page is going to be shown on your website.
Other useful steps for music websites
The following are also useful steps for music, band and artist related websites.
E-Commerce – Sell Products on Your Music Website
The music industry is a difficult place to make a living. The more sources of income you have, the better. That’s why it can be a great option to start selling merchandise on your own website. That way you take the vast majority of the profit (apart from a small percentage of payment processing fees from Paypal or alternative providers).
If you’re self-hosting a WordPress website, then just go to the Plugins section of your site and search for WooCommerce. It’s a highly popular e-commerce platform that’s super easy to set up, add products, and set up payment processing.
Social Media Links
Include social media links somewhere on your site. Many themes include social media icons on the header or footer. Make sure these are populated and link to your social media sites.
Start building a mailing list now!
You might think email is dying, but it’s one of the most valuable tools in building a fan-base. There are countless bands and musicians out there that are doing just this.
When you have your own email list, you’re independent of fickle social networks. When you invest in an email list, it could be useful for almost the life of your fans. Social media sites can quickly die out or your accounts can be canceled with no come-back.
Think I’m wrong? Myspace quickly died out after being the biggest music social network.
Facebook is showing serious signs of fading away. This almost definitely will happen to new and future social networks.
It’s important to gain exposure on social media accounts online. However, they should not be your only strategy for gaining fans.
Check out our detailed guide on how to build a band mailing list to get started.
Sign up for a free Google Analytics account and add a tracking code to your website. You can then view an incredible amount of information about your website visitors. It’s surprising that Google Analytics is free to use, but you could say that about a lot of Google services.
Google Search Console
If you want your website to appear in Google then definitely follow the below directions:
Sign in to Google search console using your google account and set up your new website on it.
This is really important to help get your site high on the google search rankings.
Install a plugin called Yoast SEO on your website. The plugin can automatically generate a Sitemap that you can add to the Google Search Console. This instructs Google about what pages and posts are on your site. It helps Google Index your website more quickly and comprehensively. Use the directions in the following guide to do it for free.
More information about hosting and expanding your website
In this guide, I have recommended that you use Bluehost as your hosting provider.
This is known as shared hosting, and it’s the cheapest type of hosting that you can get online.
If your website expands to a very large amount of visitors, you can invest in other cloud or dedicated solutions. However, these solutions cost a very large amount of money. It’s better to start on a small package. You can move onto something a lot bigger when and if your website traffic requires it.
Summary – Creating your music website
So that’s the low-down on how you can quickly get set up and running with your new music website. It might seem like a lot of information, but it’s actually all quite easy to configure.
When doing this, you will also learn all of the basics of creating a website, which you can re-use for other projects.
If you have any questions or additions to add to this then please write a comment below!
Note: This article contains some links where I can gain a commission upon purchase (at no additional cost to you), which is used to keep this site running. I only ever promote products that I believe will provide great value to my readers.
Portions of this article were used with permission from musicianwave.com