Does My Band Need A Website?
By: Jerry A. Greene
Question: My band has a MySpace page. Do we really need to have our own website, and what are the costs like?
Answer: Band websites are extremely important. Having your own domain name is also a key to your success.
Band Website vs. MySpace
First of all, you never want to put all of your eggs in one basket. Relying on a service like MySpace, and not having your own website is extremely dangerous. Many bands think that due to MySpace's popularity, it's the website that they should focus all of their time and energy on. Yes, MySpace is important for musicians, but relying on someone else's service can be a ticking time-bomb waiting to go off. What would happen if MySpace was suddenly shut down? It's not as impossible as it may seem. Just think of all of the problems that MySpace has had, with predators using the social-media site for preying on people and how much trouble MySpace has gotten into with parental-control groups. Having your own site, and email list, eliminates a lot of those issues because you have complete control of what happens to your site and gives you the ability to contact your fans, should something go wrong with MySpace (or similar sites). One other reason why it isimportant that you have your own domain name, is that it's usually much easier to remember than a MySpace URL!
Your Band's Domain Name
You want to have a domain name that is easy to remember; hopefully your band's name, if it is available. You'll want to put it on everything that your band puts out, postcard mailers, flyers, press-kits, cds, t-shirts, everything! Matter of fact, make some t-shirts up and wear them all the time! You also want to make sure that every person you know, knows your web address. Make absolutely sure that your fans are told, many times a night, what your website is...and tell them to go there!
Registering Your Band's Domain Name
Registering your own domain name is no longer expensive (under $10/year for .com's). Some of the most popular domain registration sites out there also have web hosting available.
Hosting Your Band's Web Site
Once you have a domain name registered, you'll want to make sure to get hosting, since your entire website must reside somewhere. The cost for hosting is now typically also very inexepenive (also under $10 a month for most small websites). Another advantage with working with GoDaddy is that you don't have to worry about any DNS issues (if you don't know what that means, just understand that is one less "important" thing that needs to be set up for your site to work).
There are many popular programs out there, that make creating your website a breeze. You no longer have to know how to do web coding (html). Many hosting providers also include web designing software with your account (usually on the server that hosts your website). If you don't understand web design, then you'll definitely want to look for a hosting service that provides some kind of system for designing and putting up your site.
Blogs for Bands
Blogs are also included on web hosting accounts. Instead of having to design a site, you can use pre-made templates to build a blog for your band. You can then use it to link to other places that you sell your music. The most common blogging software around is Wordpress and it's free! If you don't have it included with your site's hosting, you'll want to download it from the Wordpress website and install it yourself.
Promote Your Website!
I can't overstate this. You must tell everyone, in every possible situation, about your website. Just building it, will generally not ensure that people will come. Promote your website!