Preview Of Lesson 4: Setting Up Your Website

How to build a websiteHi guys, I hope you’ve been learning a lot. This week, we will be looking at creating your website. Every independent musician needs their own .com website, so throughout this lesson we’ll be looking at why this is, how to set one up, and how to get the most out of it.

Please note that to make the most of this lesson, you will need to spend a little bit of money on hosting your website and your website name e.g. www.yourmusicname.com. If you haven’t got that money right now, still read this lesson, and come back to setting up your website when you have the finances.

Why Our Website Will Be The Base Of Our Promotions

So, why do you need your own website when you already have a Facebook and Twitter account? Well, there are a few reasons:

  • Your Website Isn’t Effected By Social Trends.
    Who remembers when MySpace was at the peak of it’s popularity? Every musician you knew was on MySpace, and it was an effective tool for networking with other musicians and gaining new fans. People used to spend many hours a day adding new MySpace ‘friends’ and commenting on people’s accounts. Then the change happened. General people stopped using MySpace, and it’s effectiveness dropped greatly. Over time, more and more people stopped using MySpace and switched over to websites such as Facebook. Now MySpace is about as effective as… Well, it’s not effective at all.
    My point is that all social networking websites have a shelf life. Over the years there has been many giants who we thought would always be in our lives, only for them to be surpassed sooner or later. If you invest all your time and effort into one of these sites then something new comes along, all your hard work will have gone to waste when it’s switch over time. If however you only use these sites to drive traffic back to your real .com website and get people on your mailing list, when one of these sites go down, all is not lost. You still have access to people on your mailing list, and fans still know your website url (Your website address). Then you can start using this new website to drive in fresh new traffic.
  • Websites Allow You To Do More.
    While websites like Facebook and Twitter do have their uses, both are quite limited in the sense that you can’t do exactly what you want to do. On Twitter for example, you only have 140 characters to say what you want to say. On your own website you can use as many or as few messages as you want. On Facebook for example, you can’t set up your own customised shopping cart and sell your music. On your website this is easily achievable. If you’re using WordPress to make your website (Which you will be, details on how to do this can be found in the ‘How To Build Your Website’ chapter below) you will have access to a lot of free plugins that will allow you to do a lot more with your website. We look at some of the best plugins you can use in the ‘Making Your Website Do More’ section a few chapters below.
  • Website Followers Are Usually More Responsive.
    With the online world moving as fast moving as it is, if people actually take the time to visit your website and interact with it, it shows they have a genuine interest in you. These are the type of people you want in your fan base, the ones that will stick around and spread the word about you. Get them on your mailing list, treat them good, and reap the rewards when it comes to song and ticket sales.
  • Website Messages Have A Longer Shelf Life.
    While messages you send out on Facebook and Twitter have a limited shelf life, the same isn’t true with your own website. When you post a message on Twitter, people who are online at the time will see it, but anyone coming online an hour later will have no idea you had sent out a Tweet unless they actually go on your page. The way a lot of people use Twitter however, this won’t often happen. While Facebook messages have a longer shelf life, the same rule still generally applies. It will appear on people’s home page for a while then disappear.
    With social networking sites, people want the news to be put in front of them on their home page. If it’s not there, it can easily be missed. People use websites differently however, and are accustomed to going on their to get the latest news. When they do go on, it will be all your stories they see, no one else’s. This minimises distraction, and allows your message to still be read a while into the future.
  • Those Accounts Aren’t REALLY Yours.
    Facebook Pages and Twitter accounts don’t truly belong to you, they belong to the owner of Facebook and Twitter respectively. They are simply allowing you to use these pages until they decide otherwise. I’m sure we have all heard of people who lose their Facebook and Twitter account and are left to start again? That’s because we haven’t got freedom to do what we want on them, and if you attempt to push the boundaries you’ve usually caught.
    These websites have very strict terms of service, and go against them in any way (Even if you don’t know you are) and you risk being banned. While these accounts are worth having in addition to your own .com website, it’s not ideal to base your entire promotional campaign on them.

Even if you have pages on other people’s websites, it is important to own your own .com website as well. You have a lot more control, and your own website makes it’s easier to collect and keep real fans.

Choosing The Right Website Name

Getting the right website namePlease Note: You can find out how to buy your domain name in the chapter below, but please read this chapter first so you know what you should be looking for.

The name of your website is all important. While you can always buy a website name in future and move your website over, this is not ideal. If you do this, you will lose all your rankings in the search engines. On top of that, it can confuse fans. They may look for your website, see it’s not up anymore, and not look any further then that. Both of these things lead to a loss of traffic for your website. Because of these things, it is important to get the name of your website right the first time around.

When it comes to buying a domain name, you will want your artist or band name in there somewhere. So say for example your music name is John Madamson, your ideal name would be www.JohnMadamson.com. I say .com because it is a widely recognised domain all around the world…

To Be Continued.

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