Websites and the Artist Entrepreneur
Internet Marketing Part Deux
In last month’s Newsletter, I talked about the importance of not only having a presence on the Internet but having a presence that would be easily discoverable by your prospective customers, clients and fans. And that the trick to being found is through the use of good key words and SEO principles.
But first you have to have a website. It amazes me that there are still people who think they can get away with a MySpace, Facebook, or ReverbNation profile as your primary internet presence. Using your Facebook page, or whatever, as your landing page on the internet is a mistake for several reasons including:
- You have no control over your content – because you don’t OWN Facebook, MySpace or ReverbNation.
- These sites can shut down with no notice or just shut down your profile/page with no notice and you will lose everything.
But beyond that – it communicates to the industry that you’re just not that serious. You aren’t willing to invest a few hundred dollars (or less) to set up your own website.
I also don’t recommend the template options that are abundant out there. For example, if you’re a musician or band, you can build a template website on Bandzoogle, Nimbit or Hostbaby to name a few. And it can be useful as a quick and dirty shortcut. But I don’t think you save money in the long run and you run the same risk as using Facebook, MySpace or ReverbNation for your website – you don’t own it.
I recommend using WordPress to build a site that you host on a web host like Hostgator. This way, you own it. And using WordPress will allow you to update it, edit it, and even change the look and feel of the site as often as you need to without spending thousands of dollars to do it.
OK, now that I’ve convinced you that to grit your teeth and create your own website – what should you have on it? I recommend 5-6 main pages – some will have more, but I don’t think you want to have fewer:
- Calendar of Events (If you never play out or show your work – you can skip the Calendar/Tour page)
- Press Kit
You can use either your Blog or the Bio/About page as the landing or home page (I hate the flash entry pages). The store can also have music samples, your art images, etc. as long as it also has a way to purchase those items. You can call that tab “Store” or you can call that tab “Music” or “Art”, it’s up to you.
Some websites have “Video” as a separate section – but you can also just build it into your blog – which becomes a vlog. Actually I would recommend posting the video’s first to YouTube and then using the YouTube code to pull it into your website – but I digress…
I recommend that the Contact page be a form rather than your email – it’s still too easy for bots to steal your email and flood you with spam. I also recommend using your website domain in your email address (firstname.lastname@example.org or whatever). This promotes your domain with every email. If you don’t want to use your host’s server for email – and there’s a lot of reasons why you wouldn’t, you can create a Google Apps account for free with 7 Gigs of memory.
In addition, the Theme or Frame must be built with a sign-up for your mailing list and links to all your social media, so that they appear on every page and post.
If you are tech savvy – you can probably figure out WordPress in a few days. Several of my private clients have done it in a weekend. But if you’re like me, NOT tech savvy or with other things to do with your time, I recommend hiring a designer. Then you can get them to give you a quick tutorial on WordPress (I learned the basics in an hour). And you can add your copy and blog posts yourself.
“The confused mind doesn’t buy.”
Andrea J. Lee, Author of Multiple Streams of Coaching Income and Money Meaning and Beyond
Here’s the bottom line about your website. Less is more. The purpose of your website is to engage, entertain, and develop prospects into customers, clients and fan. If it’s unreadable people won’t stay. If it’s too cluttered, people won’t stay. If they can’t easily and quickly find what they’re looking for, people won’t stay. So:
- Use larger font
- Light type on a dark background is impossible to read – if you want a cool dark frame, that’s fine – but use a lighter color for the background of the text box and a dark font
- Make the navigation easy and simple to follow
- Don’t be mysterious about what you do – be ridiculously obvious – state it in the frame, so it appears on every page and post.
What are your biggest questions about your website and internet marketing? What are your biggest pet peeves when you land on someone’s site? Please share with us!