I have spent years jumping from myspace, MSN messenger, to BBM, to Facebook, to Twitter, to Google+, to Youtube, to Soundcloud, to Bandcamp, and the never ending list goes on. The fact is, we are not in control of these places. At anytime the company could change its policies unfavourably to you (Facebook) close its doors and platform (MySpace), or sell to a larger company that re-designs the site to favour their profits (again Facebook). I didn't understand the importance of a personal website until recently.
Yes, I am guilty of the free-loading, social network slug trying to keep up with the ever changing landscape and platforms. There are just to many! Wouldn't it be nice to have your website as the one thing you can control all the time and host material, share experiences, etc.
1. Calls To Action - Do you have a new release, a crowdsourcing campaign, or are you looking to grow your email subscription list? There is always something exciting going on in an artists life. The best way to keep your fans and website engaging in your projects, is to have a "call to action" Something at the top of your page that will as the visitor to do something. Sign up for emails, download a new song, visit our Facebook page, or contribute to our indiegogo campaign. There are endless possibilities to use this high volume real estate on your site.
2. Clean Simple Navigation - Easy to use, easy to look at, and direct pathways to the content you want to be most visible. If you want people to read your blog, there should be a clean link to the blog on the home page, directing traffic that way. If you set your site up properly, it will be like a perfect infrastructure in a cities traffic system. Red lights, controlling flow, and intersecting mainlines. Think about how you want your web experience to be, and try to provide something above those expectations for your fans and visitors.
3. Consistent Content - Why does anyone want to return to your website? They can see it all in 20 clicks and 20 minutes. There is no reason for them to come back unless you are providing continuous content. Blog posts, video series, combine those and do some "vlogging" or just put up some new music/media on at least a weekly basis. If there is no new content, you can't expect to get return visitors to your webpage or subscribers to your blog! The more content you provide the more reason I have to come back to your site on a weekly basis. Or even daily if you are that busy and pumping out the content! Consistency is half the battle but it also needs to be valuable content. It needs to be worth my time to come to the site. Im not showing up to read 4 sentences on your studio time. You know what I mean.
4. Landing Pad; Social Network Growth - Of course we want to be involved in all the avenues for sharing and promoting your b(r)and. Facebook, twitter, Instagram, Youtube, and beyond are going to be great tools for reaching out to your fans and driving them back your website. Its nice to try and get a cyclical movement going. Some material is on Facebook driving traffic to your website and from the website you want to promote your social networks. Growing your networks is obviously valuable, and I think having a one click from your webpage directly to all of your networks will help you grow your fans. When they hear that song on your webpage, they may decide to follow you on twitter to find out when they can catch you live. Its a self sufficient machine. Think about getting people touching on all of your various online avenues.
5. SEO (Search Engine Optimization) - This is putting you on the front of the google search results when the web user is searching a specific keyword or phrase. The only way to climb the rankings is to get unique visitors coming to your site on a regular basis. Most web design platforms offer many little options for optimizing your webpage's exposure when certain search terms are used. Page descriptions and proper page names will help, but its best to have great content you can share in places like Twitter, Facebook and as I recently found out Reddit. Find some subreddits and post valuable material there. Provide good content and people will visit your page, thats the bottom line!
Im no pro, I just launched this page in early May. But I have manages to get my content featured on a European music sharing site, and I am attracting well over 1000 unique visitors each month. This is VERY SMALL, don't get me wrong, but for only 3 months, and very little content at this time, I think its a great start.
I would love any tips or tricks you use to keep your website lively and relevant. Lord knows I could use as much help as I can get. There are so many sites and musicians out there, its very tough to stand out.
Looking forward to some comments below to help make this post even more valuable for new bands or musicians starting a webpage!
Stay well until next week, I have a great topic on hand.
Kev - PS, check out my homepage - www.kevdfoster.com