Is an artist website crucial as a central hub or redundant with all of the online marketing tools available to me these days? Will a website even bring in any money if my music is sold through iTunes and beyond? What are the do’s and don’ts of building a successful musician or band website that works for me? All of this and more in this episode.
About Ross Barber and Electric Kiwi
- Ross Barber is a web designer based in Scotland under the name Electric Kiwi. He builds professional, custom websites for bands, musicians, and artists. As a musician himself, he has a great eye and knack for helping artists brand themselves.
Crucial Components for Your Website
- Mailing List Sign Up — but MORE importantly, a good incentive to get people to sign up. It’s not just about collecting email address. It’s providing opportunities for people to pay with email addresses rather than dollars.
- A Blog — If you’re going to use it. No point in having something if you’re not going to update it.
- The ability to hear your music and see your videos/photos.
What to Do Before You Start Building
- Most websites today are built with a Responsive Design, meaning they will adjust themselves to fit whatever screen they’re displayed on. Before you invest in a website, check to make sure they are responsive. (Hint: you can assume that they are)
- Ross says that, as a musician, your music is an important thing but your brand is who you are as a person. Your brand is you. In order to best convey that when you start to build your website, you need:
- Good photography that captures your brand in a captivating way. (A good photographer will do this for you, you just have to be yourself and they’ll do the rest.)
- Music that is high quality and represents you as an artist right now. (It will change as you evolve as an artist)
- The willingness to be yourself. A good photographer or web developer will be able to help translate your brand into your photos and website, but they will capture the wrong brand if you can’t be yourself when with them.
Helpful vs Nightmare
- Ross says the most helpful client: already has photography, good music, examples of websites they like (or don’t), and has everything neatly organized. It’s also helpful when they have awareness of the timeline and good communication.
- The “Nightmare” client: doesn’t know what they want and generally takes the “artist” approach to making decisions. No examples, no references, no organization.
- We’re always evolving as artists. We’re always evolving as brand. Your current website and photos are merely the latest version of your brand that you are showing the world. As you change, so too must your website and social media. (The good news is, you can just trust your gut on this because you are representing yourself.) So making a decision now isn’t pigeon-holing you into that brand for the rest of your life. It will grow and change with you.
Do I Really Need a Website?
- You have social media out the wazoo and people seem to find you. Do you really need your own website? (Hint: YES) While there are always options for getting yourself out there other ways, you need a central hub for various reasons: customization of the format and branding, ownership and control of all of the content (photos, videos, and music you’re sharing), and growing your newsletter audience. Less than 10% of your audience sees what you put on social media. A newsletter goes directly to each email on the list. Whether they open it is a different story but it was at least seen by 100% of your list
Alternatives to Custom Web Designers
- Ross views these template website builder platforms as stepping stones: If you don’t have the resources or just want to test something out with your career before making a full plunge, you may absolutely start with a site such as:
- Squarespace – Tons of templates and easy-to-integrate platforms for any website
- Bandzoogle – Specifically for bands and musicians looking to sell music, merch, and grow your newsletter.
Join a community of songwriters helping each other reach their goals.
Ross’ Website: Electric Kiwi
The Brief Survey for Ross’ Upcoming Book (open through Jan 31, 2015)
Electric Kiwi on Twitter
Bridge The Atlantic (Ross’ podcast with Musician Marcio Novelli)
Thanks for Listening!
Thank you so much for tuning in to my conversation with Ross!
If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of the post.
Also, please leave an honest review for SOSstudio Session on iTunes! Ratings and reviews are extremely helpful and greatly appreciated! They do matter in the rankings of the show, and I read each and every one of them.
Thanks again for joining! Until next time!