How to Start a Music Website
In this guide you’ll learn how to:
1. Select the right template for your band or musician website
2. Choose your domain name
3. Create the right pages for your music website
4. Embed a music player like Spotify or SoundCloud
5. Set up a store to sell your music and merch
6. Promote your site and start improving your SEO
You pour your heart and soul into your music, but as every new band and musician quickly learns, that’s only half of the battle in the music business. After you spend the hours writing and recording your latest tracks, you also want to share that music with your friends, followers, and the world. Despite all of the options out there right now, building a music website is still the best solution for creating a centralized location where your fans can hear your online music and find out about your upcoming concerts. Musicians can also share photos, video and other media, and sell their music all from the same place.
Jimdo makes building a band website easy. Any of our flexible designs can become a wonderful music website template. And our sites have tools to help you land near the top of Google’s results so new fans can find you. It is also easy to integrate third-party tools like social media feeds, online music players, and concert calendars.
This guide will teach you everything you need to know about making your music website with Jimdo.
Start Creating Your Band Website
Whether your band is just starting, or if you’ve already got a big following, Jimdo is a great solution for creating your band’s website. You can even make a music website for free and then upgrade when you feel ready to add your own domain name, get more serious about selling merchandise and improving your search engine results.
Getting started building your Jimdo website is simple. Visit www.jimdo.com/templates and select a starting template. Don’t worry though, you can easily change Jimdo templates at any time without losing any of your work.
Select a Template for Your Music Website
With Jimdo, there’s no one specific “music” template that you have to use — Jimdo’s modern and responsive templates are available for all types of websites. With the right images and text any Jimdo template can be used to make a fantastic music website that will look great on laptops, tablets, or phones. The template determines where on the page your logo, navigation, content area, and sidebar will appear. You can learn more about how to select the perfect template for your Jimdo website on our blog.
Making the best music template choice for your band will come down to the type of specific features and content you plan on showcasing, as well as your personal taste. Choosing a template with a sidebar is a good way to keep your latest album or upcoming concert list in front of your fans’ eyes. The content in the sidebar is always visible, which makes it a great place to promote shows and new music.
Bordeaux or Dublin are both good choices. If you have a lot of great photographs and want to showcase those, you might consider a template like Rome for your music website. You can select or change your template at any time by logging into your website and clicking Templates in the Site Admin and then selecting one to preview from the alphabetical list. If you like it click Save, otherwise choose Undo and try a different option.
To see all the features of different templates and sort them to find ones that will meet the needs of your music website, browse the Jimdo Template Filter, but remember that you can change the color, photographs, and subject matter of the examples very easily.
Choose a Domain Name for Your Band Website
While anyone can create a free band website with Jimdo, most serious music artists will want to use JimdoPro or JimdoBusiness so they can hide the Jimdo advertisement on their site and register and/or connect a custom domain name to make it super easy for people to find you and your music online.
Choosing the right domain name is one of the most important decisions you will make when starting out with your band’s website. Nowadays, many groups look for available domain names before settling on the actual name of their band to make sure that there will be no confusion. If possible, the best choice is still to get the .com version of your band name to avoid someone else getting traffic while looking for you. Domains are not case-specific and can’t have spaces or characters other than letters, numbers, and dashes.
Selecting the right domain might be challenging if your band name is a common word or phrase, or if your name is long or difficult to spell. In cases like this, consider appending the word “band” or a genre label or geographic tag to the domain. If you still are having trouble finding a good domain name, try using a short phrase that is all run together as one word like “JustDoIt.” Since domain names are not case sensitive, you can always make them easier to read by showing them written or typed with the first letter of each word capitalized.
Avoid domain names that are too difficult to spell or ones that use hyphens as those will require you to spend extra time explaining how to reach your band online. Another common pitfall is replacing words with numbers - avoid that at all costs.
What Pages Does a Music Website Need?
Most visitors expect to find certain information on a band’s website. You want to make sure that you provide all the relevant information for all the different groups of people that will check out your site: fans who want to see you play live and purchase your merchandise, press who want to interview and promote you, and clubs, promoters, and other bands who are interested in booking you for shows.
Consider adding these pages to your website:
The home page is your chance to make a first impression. Make sure to have the most important information about your music or band in text on this page in the form of a mini-bio. Also make sure to mention the latest information about new releases or upcoming shows on this page. Update this page often to keep all the news current Consider using the sidebar or footer area of your template to promote your next show or latest release. Content that appears in that area will show up on all pages of the site keeping it always in site for your visitors.
About or Bio:
Place your full band or artist bio on its own page. Clubs, music promoters, agents, and press can use this information in their write- ups about your band. If your bio is good, many will often quote directly from it.
One of the first things that a visitor will want to do on your website is listen to your music. You can easily add audio players from third-party tools like Soundcloud or Bandcamp using the Widget/HTML Element. If you’ve got videos up on YouTube or Vimeo, you can copy and paste the URLs of the videos into the Video Element. Consider using the Columns Element to make your page more organized and better looking.
A page of promotional photographs is very helpful Upload your shots to Jimdo’s Photo Gallery Element to display them in a slideshow or mosaic on the page Another great option is to upload high resolution (300 DPI or larger) versions of your most important photographs using the File Download Element. This will allow press or clubs to easily get print quality images to use in articles or advertisements. If you prefer, you could also put the photographs in the About page instead of making a separate page just for them.
Fans of your music are eager to support you. The easiest way for them to do this is to buy CDs, t-shirts, or downloads from your website. Create a store page and either use Jimdo’s built-in Store features to sell your merchandise, or use a third-party tool like Gumroad or Bandcamp to sell digital downloads.
While some journalists revel in the idea of discovering a new band, most play it safe and want to write about bands that they know are newsworthy. Creating a page of your website dedicated to your press clippings can be really helpful. Make a list of some of the best quotes written about your band and then create hyperlinks to the full articles in case your fans or other reporters want to get the full scoop.
Whether you play around town or are travelling across the country a tour page is great for showing when, where, and with whom you will be appearing next. Some bands also enjoy keeping a record of past shows so fans and booking agents can see what bands you’ve played with and what venues’ stages you have graced. You can make past shows into a section at the bottom of the page or create a separate subpage in the Edit Navigation.
Everyone needs an easy way to get in touch with you, whether it’s to book you for a show, to ask about licensing your music for an independent film, or to schedule you for an interview. You can easily place a Form Element on any page of your site to make it into a great Contact page. Try adding more resources like a list of important email contacts in case you want people to directly contact your manager or booking agent. The Contact page is also a great spot to put links to all of your social media profiles, making it easy for people to find you online wherever they might be. If you can condense the information enough, you could even skip a contact page and put the form, email addresses, and social media links directly into the sidebar or footer of your template which would present the information on every page of the site.
Embed Your Music
What is more important for a music website than actually placing an audio player on the site so visitors can hear your music? In addition to Soundcloud and Bandcamp, the music player widgets we mentioned above, there are many other ways to add music to your website. You can embed a Spotify playlist on your music page or you can even post a music player for entire DJ sets or mix tapes using Mixcloud. The best option depends on the type of music that you record and where you already have an online presence.
If you just want to post a few tracks, Soundcloud might be the best option. If you have entire albums, Bandcamp has a really wonderful player that can stream entire albums, track-by-track which is a really fantastic way for your audience to sample your music before purchasing a CD or a ticket to your next show. They even allow you to sell digital music in a number of different formats very easily.
Sell Your Music and Merch
Creating a store on Jimdo is an easy solution for selling t-shirts, CDs, vinyl, and other swag. While Jimdo doesn’t have a built-in solution for selling digital files, you can upload your music to larger digital marketplaces like iTunes, Amazon MP3 and directly link to those releases on your website. If you want to save a bunch of steps, you can register with an online music aggregator like CD Baby or Tunecore and allow them to add your albums to all of the different marketplaces at once.
If you would prefer to have full control over your digital music sales, you can sign up with a dedicated service to handle sales and delivery of your digital albums and mp3s. Gumroad has been around for awhile and allows you to sell digital music directly from your Jimdo website for a low monthly fee. Other services like Payhip provide a similar service for no upfront or monthly fee, instead taking 5% of each digital sale after taxes. They also have a simple button script that you can add to any page of your Jimdo website by pasting it into a Widget/HTML Element.
Add a Concert Calendar
If you are a touring musician, it is important that your website have a dedicated area to showcase your upcoming performances. This list of shows can easily be done by hand in Jimdo using our standard elements like Text, Photo, and Columns. However, there might be situations where you want something a bit more automated and can also tie into other systems to advertise your shows in places beyond just your website.
Both Songkick and Bandsintown have fantastic touring applications that are completely free for artists. They both allow you to easily embed a concert calendar on your website and will also send updates to your fans and followers through social media or directly through push notifications on your audience’s mobile devices.
Promote Your Music with a Newsletter
Email marketing is a huge part of operating a band today. Every band should be collecting email addresses of their fans at every show they play and on their website. The best option for running an email newsletter for musicians is MailChimp. You can start with a free Mailchimp account that will likely be enough for most musicians out there.
After you are signed up and have started to build your list, it is easy to embed a MailChimp signup form on your website wherever you would like it to appear. Putting it in the sidebar or footer of your website is a good idea as it will then display on each page of your site.
SEO for Music Websites
Once you have all your content on your website, the next step is to make sure you have the basics covered to make sure your music website gets the proper attention from Google and other search engines. The practice of actively trying to make your website more appealing to sites like Google is called Search Engine Optimization. Appearing in all the search results that you want will take time, but by following the advice in this guide, you will be successful.
Start by using the tools that Jimdo provides. Go to Settings > Site Title and entering your name or the name of your band. Next go through each page of your website and click on the SEO button on the Site Admin. For each page, enter a Page Title which will be appended with the Site Title, so you don’t want to make them too long. You will see a handy preview of what your Google result will look like that will tell you if you use too many characters.
Take this opportunity to add a Description for the page as well. Make sure to mention the type of music you play and probably the geographic area as well. Both will be important terms that people will use to find you on search engines.
The most important thing to know about search engine optimization is that Google is smarter than all of us. You can’t trick it, so don’t waste your time trying. Make sure you have lots of text on your website that mentions your band name, your genre, your geographic location, and other noteworthy attributes that potential visitors might search for. It is also important to properly use headings throughout your site. Put a large Heading Element at the top of each page and use Medium Headings and Small Headings to introduce new sections of pages. Also make sure to update your website regularly. This should be easy to do if you are recording new material or performing, but adding news about these things will keep Google (and your audience) coming back to your site regularly.
You can gain further traction for your music website by making sure that you link to your website from all of your social media profiles. Make sure you have a Google Plus listing and a YouTube channel as these are Google properties and usually show up pretty high in search rankings themselves. Then try to find logical web directories that make sense like MusicBrainz.org. Also check if your local weekly entertainment paper has directories of local bands. Perhaps some of the venues you perform at have links to bands in the area?
Do's and Don'ts for your Music Websites
By this point, you should have most of the basics of building a music website down pretty well, but it never hurts to get a bit more advice. Here are some more best practices to follow and some pitfalls to avoid:
- Don’t add any music or video with sound that autoplays to your band website. Arriving at a website or flipping to a new page of a site and suddenly having your speakers blaring to life is a surefire way to scare away your potential fans.
- Do add music and video players to your website. Just make sure that they require a visitor to click a play button to trigger it.
- Don’t make the homepage of your music website into a splash page. A splash page is when you arrive at a site and just see and image and a button and nothing else. This is frustrating for your visitors and will not do you any favors with search engines.
- Do add lots of text to your homepage in a logical and clean way. Adding a small bio that describes your band, music, and style, along with information about your available albums, mixes, and upcoming shows is the best way to give your audience what they are looking for.
Music Website Checklist
Building a music website is not difficult, but there are a lot of small details that you need to make sure you take care of. This checklist can be really helpful to make sure you don’t forget any of the steps that will help you be successful with your website.
- You registered or a connected a unique custom domain
- You created an email address using your domain
- You tried out a few templates and selected the right one
- You have created 4-8 pages of your website
- Your navigation menu does not break onto a second line (for templates with horizontal menu)
- You have a professional logo
- Your logo has a transparent background
- Your headings font stands out but is easy to read
- Your paragraph font is very easy to read and not overly stylized
- Your website colors match your logo
- You hid the login link
- You hid any unnecessary footer links
- Your background images are high-quality and look good
- Remove unnecessary or redundant header text
- You use images regularly on every page
- Your paragraphs are in short blocks of 2-4 sentences
- You are using Columns Elements to place content next to each other
- You have embedded a music player on your website
- You have added videos to your website
- You have added a newsletter signup box to your website
- You added a favicon
- You updated the Site Title
- You added a Page Title and Description in the SEO panel for each page of the site
- You linked to all of your social media profiles from your website
- You linked to your website from all of your social media profiles
- You have linked to all the places where people can purchase or stream your music
- You have a list of upcoming performances on your website
- You have a store area to sell merchandise like t-shirts and CDs
Example Music Websites:
Template: San Francisco
Additional Widgets: Soundcloud (for audio player), small snippets of custom code to link to different digital marketplaces
Template: Rio de Janeiro
High-Quality Free Photographs For your Music Website:
Nothing beats using original professional photographs on your band’s website, but that isn’t an option for everyone. If you need some great music photographs for your website, there are dozens of websites with fantastic photographs that are free and legal to use. Here are just a few ones to start with. Click on each image or links to download the example or others from the same source: