So you’ve got your
band together, picked out a band name and have told all your friends.
Now how do you get people other than your friends to find out about
your band? There are a plethora of different ways to promote you and
your band, but today I’m going to talk about everyone’s
favorite, the World Wide Web.
This is an age where everyone has a website and expects everyone else
to have one too. If I’m an indication of the general public, I
go directly to the web before I look anywhere else for information.
If a band contacts us, I know I can find out more about them at their
website, and if they don’t have a website, I figure they’re
either not serious about their music, or they’re over 70 years
The first rule is to
make your site name easy to remember. I know it’s tempting to
go with the free Geocities site, but if you’re at all serious
about your band, go ahead and spend the money to get your own domain.
You want something that even the drunk people at your show will remember.
Obviously if you can get www.yourbandname.com that’s ideal, but
that might not be possible with the many domains already taken. A few
ways to work around that is to try .net or .biz or other common postfixes.
You can also add hyphens between words or use your band initials instead.
If those are all taken find something related to your name. Our www.callthecow.com
works on several levels: not only was www.apocalypsecow.com already
taken, but many people can’t spell “apocalypse” on
the first try, which is something else to keep in mind. We chose “call
the cow” because it was catchy and memorable and a call to action.
(For all you non-marketing folks, “a call to action” means
you’re suggesting the next step a fan should take.)
Advertise your site in traditional
There are, of course, the traditional methods of advertising to get
people to come to your site. Anything you hand out or sell should have
your website address printed on it, as well as the usual band name and
contact info. This can include your albums or demos, posters for shows,
newsletters or postcards, every page of your press kit, stickers, buttons,
Search engines are a huge resource and where you should make sure your
name comes up. Your goal with search engines is to be on the first page
of results. Most people don’t go beyond the first page and certainly
not past the 3rd page of results. So I’ll concentrate on giving
you a few pointers on how to make sure your page comes up high in the
results so you can get more hits.
With any search engine, there are usually ways to add your site URL
to their index. Some of them you have to pay (Yahoo), others you don’t
(Google). One to check out for sure is the Open Directory Project, which
you can find at dmoz.org. To submit your site to a search engine, either
look for a link that says “add url,” or start going through
their categories and picking the best category you fit into. When you
can no longer go further, you should be able to find the “add
url” link and add your website here.
I’m going to concentrate mostly on Google since that’s probably
the most popular search engine. Google uses what’s called web
crawlers, which search the entire World Wide Web for a number of certain
parameters in your site and come back with the most relevant search
results. They use a complex algorithm to get your page rank, such as
site content and links, as well as others they don’t tell you.
They do give out a few pointers for your website to get your rank up.
You can find these at their site under the webmaster link and read about
a few of them right now.
Links are one of the most important aspects of your page rank. You want
to get as many other people to link to your site as possible. The more
links pointing to you, the better. It helps if the links come from related
websites, such as other band’s websites or a recording studio.
How do you get links from other people? The number one way is to just
ask! If you’re friends with another band, ask them to exchange
links. Exchanging links is great because it helps you both out. There
are also a lot of reference websites such as purevolume.com where you
can submit your band page free of charge, and you’ll be added
to their directory and sometimes they’ll even post your music.
These websites usually have genre, location, and other categories that
will help people find you as well.
We link to every band we record. If you’ve worked with us and
don’t see your name or a link under our “clients”
page, let us know and we’ll be sure to update it. And in return
it’d be great to get a link back to us on your website.
Content not only gets people to spend time at your website and learn
about you, but also helps you with search engines. Google uses the search
terms entered and will search the content on your site to see if the
terms match. So for search engine optimization, it’s wise to include
into your content words people would search for to find your site.
Search engines like Google can only search text, not images or some
Flash-type sites. Keep this in mind when designing your site. Try to
use mainly text links and keep image links to a minimum. If you have
something in your text that’s important, make sure it stays in
text instead of rendering it out to be an image. Some sites made in
Flash or a similar graphic web developer, while looking very cool, may
not be picked up by search engines. Also, dynamic pages (i.e. URL contains
‘?’) are not found by all web crawlers either. To test how
your site looks to web crawlers check out a text-based viewer such as
Lynx. If you don’t see your site in Lynx, Google’s web crawlers
Make sure important words people would search for to find you are displayed
prominently on your site, such as headings of paragraphs or links. Your
title and alt tags should be descriptive yet accurate, since Google
searches these. It’s also a good idea to include a site map of
your site. The site map includes links to every page, or main page,
on your site, hence giving you more important headings the web crawlers
can search for.
THINGS TO AVOID:
As mentioned earlier, avoid starting or being a part of any link schemes
used only to boost ratings. If you are found out or related with these
sites you could be banned from Google. Avoid hidden text or hidden links
on your sites. Also, don’t employ cloaking or sneaky redirects
to fool Google. Avoid link schemes where people have websites full of
just links. This could hurt you if Google deems the site unsuitable
for their search engine. When adding links to your site, try to limit
them to less than 100 per page.
Ways to get people to come
to your site:
Putting up new content on your site on a regular basis will help people
come to your site more. People have no reason to visit your site more
than once if it never changes. A great way to keep your site changing
is updating your news. I’ve seen that most bands do this, which
is fantastic. Just remember to keep it updated. If you want to, take
a cue from us and start putting out newsletters to your mailing list.
This not only keeps you in your fans minds but also is something new
for your fans to check out at your site.
A good way to get people involved in your site is to create a forum
or message board. The forum can have topics ranging from your band and
show dates to other bands, car clubs and your plastic-molding hobby.
Anything that you think people would want to talk about. This is also
a great way to get feedback from your fans and find out about new fans.
You can also join in on other people’s forums to meet new people
who might be interested in your music. Always have a signature line
with your web address so people can check out your page.
GAMES OR APPS
Include fun web games on your site to keep people coming back just for
the entertainment. While they’re there, they can look around to
see what’s new at your site as well. If you have a game that you
created, try to get other people to add it to their site, and make sure
the game links back to you. The same link idea can be added for any
web applications that you might develop if you’re computer savvy.
Adding some of your songs to your site is a good way to get people hyped
up about you. It can get people to check out more of your site while
listening to the songs. And to bring people back to your site, you can
rotate the songs on a monthly basis. And with any luck it will peak
your fan’s interest enough to buy your album.
While these are not all
the ways to help get traffic to your site, it should point you in the
right direction. And even if you do all of this, it doesn’t guarantee
that you’ll make it big on the ‘net. But since today there
is so much competition in the music industry, every little thing you
can do will help you get ahead of the others. So get out there and create
a great looking website that’ll help bring those music execs shoving
contracts in your face.