Why Every Music Creator Needs a Good Website
By Liz Leahy, CEO of Section 101
If you’re a singer-songwriter, composer, producer or music company, you’re likely spending more and more time thinking about what online strategies are valuable to you, and what is worth your time, energy and, ultimately, finances. For example, social media is something that people who want to self-promote tend to invest a lot of time in. I always tell Section 101 clients that it’s smarter to be consistently visible on a few social networks, rather then run hot and cold on many. If you spread yourself too thin, you won’t captivate anyone.
One item that often goes overlooked by music creators is your website. You can’t get away with not having one at all, but it always surprises me when I’m at events and people I meet don’t think it’s all that important. If you were to do a web search for a company, and they didn’t have a website, would you still be interested in what they do? Probably not! The same holds true for those in the music world – when a booking agent, manager or a magazine is pitched on your band/brand, one of the first things they do is look at your website. Not having one is kind of like someone without a cell phone. Sure, those people exist, but…they’re outdated.
A professional website takes more of an investment of time and money than a Tumblr or Facebook page. There are free website tools, but let’s be honest, there isn’t a lot of variety when you work with one of those. They’re “cookie-cutter” and tend to look alike. If your website doesn’t look unique, it isn’t going to garner a second look. And it won’t reflect what’s distinct about you as a music creator, either.
Whether you’re a songwriter, a producer, a performing artist or a record company, there are many steps to creating a level of public awareness, and a good website is central to all of them. We live in an “I need to know right now” ecosystem, where people have the ability to get information at any time they want. They don’t even have to be in front of a computer anymore – mobile has become just as dominant, which is why your website should be optimized for the mobile experience. Your website should be your home base, the place that people know they can go to find the answer (whatever the question may be).
There’s also control in having your own website. Yes, Tumblr allows you to do some design work, but it’s still a Tumblr URL. From a discovery perspective, if someone finds out about you, they can see and experience your art the way you want them to. You’re in control of what they see and hear first, and you will be able to get feedback on what’s working with our metrics. Your goal is to keep people engaged.
Emerging artists and brands don’t have to spend a lot of money to have a website that looks good. If you’re interested in having a presence online, look around and see what you like. Section 101 sites have social media and e-commerce plugins, blog capabilities, music and video players and more. And what’s really cool is that you can design your website to support a specific tour or release, and then change it in a few months when you’re working on something else.
The bottom line is that if you choose music as a career, it is ultimately your business, and your website is your calling card. A part of anyone’s success is having a distinct, unique, vibrant website that looks good and is well maintained in both content and design. It’s as much a part of your career as releasing a new single, giving out postcards after a performance or promoting a free show at a local college so you can get people to sign up to your mailing list…which, ahem, you’d need your own website to be able to do effectively!
Look at it this way: when you go to a meeting, you want to put your best foot forward. Ultimately, perception is reality. All the things you do to get ready for that big moment culminate in your success, so why wouldn’t you make your website part of that process?