Don't Forget Your Website!

Advice, Tools, & Tips, DIY Musician Artist Advice — By on December 30, 2010 9:34 am

I know that tweeting or making a 20-second Facebook post is way more fun than updating your website. But here’s the thing: your website is the only place online where you control the entire visitor experience. Don’t neglect it!

Whether you’re displaying concert photos, escorting fans through an interactive liner-notes page, asking them to sign up for your mailing list, streaming new demos, or driving visitors to your online store, your website is the place where you can do it all YOUR way.

Here is an interesting analysis, written by Michael Brandvold, of how the band KISS  greatly increased their social media presence at the expense of their website traffic, which has cost them some dough. Granted, KISS ain’t exactly “indie.” But the lessons learned should apply to all artists.

-Chris R. at CD Baby

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14 Comments

  1. The Alpine Red studio has a nice little ebook (free) on how to get your band on the web with a simple web site and blog. Go to http://www.alpinered.com/resources

  2. Thanks for picking up my article! I hope others will find this useful, and of course if anyone has questions feel free to reach out to me. Have a great new year!

    • Chris R. at CD Baby says:

      Hey Michael,
      Thanks for the info. We’re going to be including this blog article in our next DIY Musician Newsletter, so you may see some traffic coming to you from CD Baby in the next 2 weeks.
      Happy New Year to you, too!

  3. Chris, where can I sign up for the newsletter?

  4. Thanks. I got an error message when I submitted, I then reloaded the page and it said Thank You. But, no link to a next page to download. Might want to check to see if it is working. Can you also confirm that I was signed up as I didn’t get a confirmation email.

  5. Gerri Gribi says:

    Thanks…I needed that.

    I’ve had my own domain and website for nearly 15 years. In 1999 I wrote an article for Sing Out! Magazine called “Beyond Cybersex: The Internet for Folkies” that explained how I was (among other things) converting all my promo materials to pdfs and uploading them so people could read about me while I slept. This was waaaaay back before MP3s, which are also now at my website, along with video demos I posted before YouTube existed. I spent a lot of time (and had a LOT of fun) dreaming up ways to use the Internet that people using social networks now take for granted.

    Over the years that site has grown into much more than just my promo kit…I’m an “infomaniac” so I kept adding cool resources until it would now print out to well over 1000 pages. It’s not slick or fancy, because my web stats tell me the majority of visitors are still using operating systems like Windows 98 and I want to keep it accessible to everybody, not just those with the latest tech doodads, but it’s been cited as a resource in several books, and even won a couple of awards, most notably a mini-grant from the Society for American Music.

    About once a month I read an article that almost convinces me I ought to dump my handcrafted labor of love and switch to one of the social networks instead. I can just never bring myself to do it because I like having total ownership and complete control over what I’m producing. Or as you put it, “Your website is the place where you can have it YOUR way.”

    I also had an early experience which makes me leery of putting all my eggs in somebody else’s basket. Anybody remember Songs.com, the early competitor with cdbaby? As a member, we got a domain name like Songs.com/artistname which they browbeat us to put on our CDs and promo material in the interest of mutual promotion. Songs.com got gobbled up and dismantled by a big Nashville music conglomerate and BOY, was I ever glad I’d just put my own domain name on everything.

    Anyway, thanks for the article. Maybe it’s reinforced my decision to keep doing what might ultimately be the wrong thing, but I love my website so I’ll latch on to any excuse to keep investing my time in it. Today, it was this article!

  6. Nico Boesten says:

    Yes, for creating long term fans having an updated site as your hub is crucial. I see these other sites (Facebook / Youtube) as marketing tools to bring them into your hub. Eg. I’m just thinking of the last time I visited OKGO’s site (never) but I’ve seen most of their videos.

    Nico (co-creator http://sayvee.com)
    Web fuel for artists

  7. Excellent article by Michael Brandvold! We’ve stayed away from Facebook, Tweeter, and You Tube since we could not control the environment. Instead, we use Pay-Per-Click advertising on Bing/Yahoo as well as some on Google Adwords to drive traffic to our website. Our ads got over 8 million impressions in December 2010, and over 50,000 hits on our website for a Christmas TV show we were showing. We use Viddler to host our music videos linked to our website, and HostBaby for our website with free music streaming of some of our tracks. And CDBaby for our CDs and digital downloads for iTunes,etc.

  8. That is exactly why I pay for a pro version of a Ning network – to have my own community on my own domain.

    Also, there is absolutely no SEO benefit on facebook and twitter.

    Dan-O

  9. gRassrootsy says:

    The basic rule is to update your website as often as you want people to visit.

    We’ve a few good articles about building web traffic and creating meaningful content for your site in DRAWING TRAFFIC TO YOUR WEBSITE

  10. Thank you everyone for the great feedback! One thing that Gene Simmons told me once that still sticks to me….

    They are our fans. I don’t want them buying Poison or Ozzy merchandise, I want them to buy KISS merchandise.

    Of course after doing this study he may need to look at how things are now working. But, the rule is important… they are your fans keep them. Don’t let someone else make money from your work and your fans.

  11. I’ve always said that your website is more important than social networks, and here’s why: you never know where that social network will go. One day it’s on top, the next, bankrupt, and takes all your users and data with it.

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