Elements and Content for an Artist Web Site
An artist’s web site should contain elements that help achieve the goals set out at the beginning of this chapter: branding, promoting products, creating a sense of community and generating repeat traffic. As a part of the branding process, the overall look of the site should reflect the taste of the artist and the expectations of the target market.
An artist’s web site should contain the following basic elements:
- A description and biography of the artist. The home page should have some information or description, but a separate biography page should be created for in-depth information about the artist.
- Photos. Promotional photos, concert photos, and other pictures of interest. This can include shots of the artist that capture everyday life, photos of the fans at concerts, and other photos that reflect the artist’s hobbies or interests.
- News of the artist. Press releases, news of upcoming tour dates, record releases, and milestones such as awards. This page should be updated often, and outdated materials should be moved to an archive section.
- Information about recordings. Discography and liner notes from albums to increase interest in the recorded music of the artist. Comments from the artist on the recordings. Information on the recording process.
- Song information. Lyrics and perhaps chord charts (again to increase interest in the recorded music).
- Audio files. These may be located on the purchase page to encourage impulse purchases. They may be 30- to 45-second samples or streaming audio rather than downloadable files, to protect against piracy. Third-party music sampling and shopping widgets will be discussed in Chapter 8.
- Videos. Music videos and/or videos of the artist performing have become an important marketing tool for artists. After all … this is the entertainment business. Club owners want to see what an artist’s onstage performance is like before contracting them. Fans are more engaged in the music when the visuals are accompanying it. (See Chapter 8 for more information on videos.)
- Membership or fan club signup page. Allows visitors to sign up for your newsletter or to access more exclusive areas of the site. This will help you build an email list and allow for more control over content posted on message boards in restricted areas of the site.
- Tour information. Tour dates, set lists, driving directions to venues, photographs/video from live performances, touring equipment list.
- E-store. Merchandise page for selling records, T-shirts, and other swag.
- Contests or giveaways. To increase repeat traffic and motivate fans to visit the site. These can be announced at concerts.
- Links. To other favorite sites, including links to purchase products or concert tickets, venue information, the artist’s personal favorites, e-zines (online magazines), etc. Ensure that all your offsite links open in a new window so the visitor can easily return to your site.
- Contact information. For booking agencies, club managers, and the media. This could also include print-quality images for the press.
- Message board or chat rooms. This allows the fans to communicate with one another to create a sense of community. This can be an area restricted to members only.
- Printable brochures or press kits. Electronic versions of any printed materials that the artist uses in press kits and to send out should be made available on the web site. On the link to retrieve these items, be sure to mention if they are in the PDF format—some older browsers and slower modems lock up when attempting to open a PDF file in a browser window. Sonicbids is an online site that offers users the ability to create professional looking electronic press kits for artists.
- Links to social networking pages. Be sure to have direct links to your Facebook fan page, a link to sign up to your Twitter feed, and direct links to any other social network sites you actively maintain.
- Widgets for assisting web visitors in posting your information to their social network pages.
By including these elements you will cover the goals of the web site, generate traffic and repeat visits, and provide an around-the-clock source of information and entertainment for fans. Coupled with an aggressive web promotion campaign, a well-designed web site can increase the visibility and popularity of an artist at any stage of the artist’s development and career. Once you have determined what content should be included on a web site, decisions must be made regarding the design and layout—what colors, fonts, images, and so on should be used.
The best advice is to scour the Internet to find web sites and web components that are appealing and serve as examples and inspiration for building the perfect site. If a design expert is to be employed, these examples will illustrate to the designer what is expected of the new site. For the do-it-yourselfers, templates are available for most web design programs. Some are offered as part of the software package, some offered as free downloads, and some offered for sale (often for a small fee) through commercial software web sites. It may be worth spending a few dollars on a template with a professional and contemporary look. All templates can be modified or customized—the idea is to keep the elements that work and replace those that do not. A good web site can also be the product of evolution. Each time the site is updated, it is tweaked with minor improvements until it finally has the intended look of professionalism and success.
In conclusion, the web site is considered the home base from which promotions are launched. All marketing and promotional materials and campaigns can then direct fans to the web site for more of what they like about the artist. But the web site is just the beginning of the Internet presence for an artist. Chapter 7 addresses how to maximize the web site to increase traffic and sales. Chapters 10 through 12 outline how to promote the web site and the artist on the Internet.
Excerpt from Web Marketing for the Music Business, 2nd edition by Tom Hutchison © 2013 Tom Hutchison. All Rights Reserved.