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WordPress for Musicians: 5 Steps to Build a Music Website

WordPress for Musicians: 5 Steps to Build a Music Website
May 25, 2022
Whether you’re an up-and-coming singer-songwriter or a well-known session player, you need to be keenly aware of how well your work is represented, especially online.

In today’s media landscape, artists and musicians have to take on many roles. At least in the beginning, you have to be your own business manager, your own booking agent, and your own digital marketer. Even when you become an established act, these responsibilities largely continue. You may be fortunate enough to hire your own manager, agent, and marketing team, but they still rely on your leadership and artistic vision. You still have to know exactly what they’re doing.

How to build a website for artists with WordPress

Making your own website is one of the first major professional challenges that artists, producers, and instrumentalists have to face.

WordPress is a popular option because of its power and versatility. When done right, your WordPress website becomes a brand-defining marketing engine of its own, complimenting and empowering your social media presence. But not every musician gets WordPress right from the start. Take some time to develop a winning strategy before showcasing your talent to the world.

Here’s 5 steps to building your own music website using WordPress, in a way that will support your brand and advance your music career.

1. Choose the right website builder & hosting

WordPress for Musicians: 5 Steps to Build a Music Website

Professional WordPress developers create websites from scratch using HTML, PHP, CSS, and JavaScript. If you don’t happen to have considerable experience writing code in these languages, you’ll need to use an intermediary tool to create your website.

Fortunately, many of these tools are intuitive, highly sophisticated technologies that let non-technical web designers publish professional websites for their users. Instead of giving you a blank canvas, they provide you with highly customisable web page templates that you can easily configure to meet your specific vision.

Elementor, Beaver Builder, and Divi are great examples!

All three of these builders feature a drag-and-drop interface that removes the need to code your own website from scratch.

At the same time, many of the individual elements that make up your website are entirely customisable. This makes your web page builder more than a simple tool. It’s a valuable asset that drives creativity and expands your expressive capabilities – much like a well-crafted guitar.

To really get your message out, you’ll need to host your website on a platform that can support the technologies it relies on. You have a lot of options here, and your choice matters:

-Shared hosting: this puts your website in a server alongside many others. It’s the cheapest option by far, but it offers no guarantees on website performance or security. They’re not a long-term solution for most musicians.

-Dedicated hosting: this gives you your own web server that you can configure however you wish. This costs a bit more, but it gives you complete control over how your web infrastructure actually works.

-Managed cloud hosting: this will outsource the technical configuration needed to maintain a dedicated server. With your website hosted on the cloud, you benefit from best-in-class infrastructure without having to go through a complicated configuration process.

Note: Some WordPress site builders, most notably, Elementor, now offer built-in cloud WordPress hosting

In most cases, a scalable cloud-enabled hosting option offers the right balance between cost, usability, and capability. You won’t end up paying for resources you don’t use, and you won’t be stuck with the responsibility of performing technical integrations on your own either.

If you’re looking specifically for some free website builders and options, check out our post for a run-down of our recommendations for musicians and bands.

2. Get the critical pages right

WordPress for Musicians: 5 Steps to Build a Music Website

Your website can have as many pages as you wish.

With the right website builder, you can create and publish an entire musical encyclopedia on your domain, or condense your entire brand into a single one-page web experience.

The global music industry is full of successful examples of both kinds of websites, but the vast majority focus 4 main pages above all else:

- Homepage - This is the first page members of your community will see after typing your URL into their browser. It doesn’t need to have an incredibly elaborate design, but it should immediately tell visitors the most important information about you and your career. A good homepage is brief and punchy, more like a punk anthem than a conceptual prog-rock odyssey.

- About - This will likely be the most-visited page on your website. This is where you’ll tell your story with a captivating biography or a description of your artistic message. Keep in mind that most of your About page visitors are brand-new to your brand and your music. Use this opportunity to show them what your career is really about!

- Tour/Portfolio - Touring artists will want to direct as much traffic as possible to the Tour page, encouraging visitors to see a live concert for themselves. Composers, producers, and session instrumentalists will likely have a Portfolio page showcasing what they have to offer to potential partners and collaborators. Many well-rounded career musicians have both pages on their websites.

- Contact - Ideally, your contact page should direct incoming traffic separately for professional inquiries, booking contracts, and press. You might provide a single all-purpose form and ask users to specify their intention with a drop-down menu. You definitely wouldn’t want an invitation to your next big gig getting lost in the wrong inbox!

Having strong, relevant pages as well as a consistent design, theme and clear navigation, are all crucial elements if your aim is to make a music website that looks professional.

3. Embed a streaming feed to tease new music

Although your website is a great place to gather leads, build conversions, and develop your brand, it’s your music that takes center stage.

Great music websites always guide visitors towards their latest releases, turning curious listeners into die-hard fans.

In today’s tech-enabled musical environment, there are many ways to do this.

If you upload music to Spotify, embedded Spotify feeds are one of the most popular options, thanks to the extra credibility they offer to artists who use them. SoundCloud is another great option, especially for electronic artists and DJs, whose audiences tend to prefer the platform over competitors.

Typically, your fans and their greater community of your genre determine which music streaming services are best for your website. Classical music lovers have platforms like Primephonic and IDAGIO, so a classical pianist is more likely to build a successful brand integrating those platforms than Spotify or SoundCloud.

4. Leverage popups strategically

WordPress for Musicians: 5 Steps to Build a Music Website

Once you’ve incorporated a streaming feed that presents new music to website visitors, you can start using popups to nudge users towards becoming lifelong fans. To do this, you need to use popups to enhance the user experience instead of disrupting it.

This is an important distinction to make. Randomly showing advertisements to every single web page visitor won’t work. However, showing high-value content to users who have already expressed interest in your musical output is a different story.

A customisable popup builder lets you set specific triggers that make popups appear. Engaging with your embedded music stream is an example of an excellent trigger. You can configure your website to tease snippets of your music to website visitors, and then trigger a popup advertising your album, nearby concert tickets, or any other product you wish after they’ve had a chance to listen.

This is just one example of how you can use popups to convert website visitors into engaged members of your musical community.

Many more options open up when you have a way to directly monetise your fanbase using an online store.

5. Set up a WooCommerce store

WordPress for Musicians: 5 Steps to Build a Music Website

Rock bands have long learned the value of merchandising. Virtually every famous four-piece in the last half-century has earned a significant portion of its revenues from self-made music merch and products ranging from T-shirts to coffee mugs.

But this monetisation strategy isn’t exclusive to rockstars – it applies just as well to any genre, from classical and jazz to EDM and beyond.

Your WordPress website is the perfect place to set up an online store because all the technologies you need are already at your fingertips. WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin that transforms your website into a full-fledged e-commerce platform, and offers native compatibility with popular web page builders like Elementor.

With WooCommerce driving the e-commerce side of your business, you can easily set up a profitable online store for selling physical merchandise and digital assets alike. Once you have your store up and running, you can fine-tune the customer experience to drive sales – and profitability – even further.

One of the tricks that successful WooCommerce store owners use involves embedding video directly into your checkout page, guiding customers through the transaction process.

Using a purpose-built video hosting solution like Vimeo allows you to keep customers engaged and prevent them from getting distracted and clicking off your website mid-purchase.

Note: Free video hosts like YouTube don’t work for this purpose. Any video host that earns revenue through advertising has a financial motivation to get users off your website and onto their own. To maximise sales with video content, you’ll need a paid ad-free video hosting plan.

Making it as a musician isn’t easy. Beyond the time and effort you put into perfecting your craft, you also need to build a brand, run a business, and maintain a constant connection with your community.

A high-quality WordPress website equipped with an efficient tech stack can help you achieve those goals, contribute to your music revenue streams, and advance your career without demanding constant, heavy investment.

Outfit your website with the right technologies so you can automate the most time-consuming parts of your branding and marketing strategy. Give yourself the time to hone your talent and the artistic freedom to contribute new music to your community.

WordPress for Musicians: 5 Steps to Build a Music Website

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