If you run an independent record label, creating your own website is an essential part of marketing yourself, promoting your artists and developing a credible online presence.
You don’t need to be an expert coder to set up a great-looking website, but to make things easier, we’ve put together a comprehensive guide to launching your own online platform.
How to create a record label website
Purchase your domain
Before you get started building your site, you’ll need to get hold of the perfect domain name.
Hopefully, the name of your record label will be available to purchase. If not, you will need to either reach out to the current owner of that domain and ask to purchase it from them, which can be costly, or choose a different domain name relevant to your label.
Build your site
You have a couple of options when you come to create your label’s website.
You could hire a web design agency, who will meet with you to discuss and turn your ideas into a shiny new, custom-made site. This is a far costlier way to build a site, and if you’re strapped for cash, it’s probably best spending your money elsewhere.
Another more cost-effective way to create your website is to use a free service like WordPress. With WordPress, you can simply sign up and develop your website with easy-to-use tools. You don’t need to be a trained developer to use WordPress and quickly get to grips with how it works.
You can also download various website themes to use with WordPress and give your site a sleek, professional look. There are myriad themes to choose from on services like Theme Forest and WordPress’ own theme directory.
Create a homepage
Now you’ve got the basics down, it’s time to develop your site’s layout. And of course, the homepage is the best place to start.
Keep your homepage simple but eye-catching, with a clearly visible and easily navigable main menu linking to the other pages on your site (which we’ll discuss shortly).
You should also make sure your homepage includes a prominent banner featuring whatever is at the top of your promotional priorities, whether that’s your latest release, and upcoming tour, a new music video, etc.
Don’t forget to include a mailing list signup form on your homepage too. Music email marketing and building an engaged mailing list is still one of the most important promotional tools for labels and artists.
Showcase your artists
Showcasing your artists is, of course, incredibly important. So you should create a section of your site dedicated to your label’s roster.
This part of your site will obviously look different depending on how many artists you currently have signed to your label. If you’ve got a whole host of artists and bands to feature, a grid format might work well. However, if you’ve only a small number of signings, perhaps use one or two columns.
Make sure to include all the relevant info about each of your artists, including short bios, press shots and links to their music and videos. You could even have a subpage of your site dedicated to each artist.
Set up a store
Got merchandise, vinyl, gig tickets, digital tracks or anything else to sell? Why not sell them directly from your website?
You’ll need to set up a few things to start selling on your site. Often, you’ll need to purchase an SSL certificate to prove you’re trustworthy. Then it’s a case of download an e-commerce plugin compatible with WordPress like WooCommerce to start selling your products.
A calendar of events is another great addition to any record label website, keeping visitors up to date with the release goings-on, from gigs and tours to release dates and pre-order availability.
You may prefer to actively scout for new artists to sign to your label, but including a submission form on your site is one way to let emerging talent to come directly to you. You never know, you might unearth a hidden gem!
Embedding a Google Form on a page of your site is a straightforward way to accept submissions from the general population.
Add about, contact & social pages
A blurb about your label, your contact information and links to your social media pages are all essential for your site.
Where you decide to include this info is up to you. We’d recommend you feature social links on your homepage, while your ‘about’ and ‘contact’ details can be placed on their own page or on the homepage. Your choice.