Being a self-employed musician means you can have so many plates in the air at any given moment. You need to be amazing at your craft and continue to grow and practice (which takes tons of hours, if not years!), be able to market yourself properly to get more work, be active on social media, be out networking and making new connections, book and organise gigs and teaching, keep track of your accounting…the list is endless. You get what I mean though, and I think this line of work is often much more difficult than musicians get credit for.
In recent years, having a notable online presence and being active on social media have become increasingly necessary for booking gigs, wether at festivals and venues or with your ideal clients for their wedding. Bands who don’t have a website and social media channels (or badly built ones) are simply harder to sell. If you’re not online in a big way, you’re missing out on a huge part of your potential audience; you’re missing out on being front of mind with both people who would be paying to come and see your gigs as well as the people who are going to be booking you for those gigs.
Having a social media presence is equally as important (and I’ll get to that in a different post!), but to reach your audience and market yourself properly, you need to have a well built website. A one-page site with a list of (hopefully not outdated) gig dates, a couple of nice pictures, and a link to bandcamp doesn’t really cut it anymore if you want to command attention, show people who you really are and what your music is all about.
Any easy website builder (the likes of Wix or Squarespace) will absolutely do in the first instance if you need somewhere to start and can’t afford to spend any money on your website. But for a small investment in yourself and your brand, there are many reasons why a professionally built website can be infinitely better. Here’s my top reasons why you should make the jump and invest in yourself:
1. You won’t have as many technical glitches.
With this I don’t mean only having techy issues while building your site, but free website builders can come with an array of technical issues such as being extremely slow (they are often all hosted on the same servers), having unprofessional domain addresses (and then asking you to pay a more premium price for a different domain name), and irrelevant adverts popping up across your site. All of these can affect how professional your site looks, how well it works for you, and other factors like your SEO rankings.
2. Your websites will rank higher for SEO.
SEO is essentially how Google and other search engines rank you in their search results. SEO is a huge field in its own right, but there are a several reasons using website builders can be bad for your site’s SEO. Speed is a huge factor; having a slow website is largely penalised by Google (and also makes people a lot less likely to stay on your site). Having a good website structure is also essential for good SEO rankings, and lots of website builders create one-page scrolling sites. Search engines love when your website is well organised with good data and site hierarchy! Depending on your web designer, you should also get some good initial SEO optimisation with your website build that you wouldn’t get otherwise should you try to use a free website builder.
3. It will be easier for your brand to stand out.
If you’re a musician, you’d better believe your brand is important! When you hire a professional web designer, they should discuss your brand with you before they build your site. This includes important aspects such as your tone of voice, photos, and colour palette. Your website should be your online home where you’re able to get these important aspects of your brand across to potential agents and your audience. You want people to visit it and feel like they know you! Using a template on a website builder that everyone else is using won’t be as effective a way to get this across.
4. You’ll be able to have all the extras and extensions that you could really use to your advantage on your site.
Ideally you’d have social channel integrations, mailing list signups, social sharing and a shop on your site. Many musicians these days use Bandcamp, which is an easy way to set up and sell your products online. However, Bandcamp charge 15% for digital sales and 10% for merch. As someone who is self-employed, wouldn’t you rather avoid that if you could? If you use a web designer who can build you an e-commerce shop, you’ll be able to manage your whole shop directly in your website’s CMS and the only percentage you’ll pay is a small amount to a company such as Stripe, which allows you to take payments online.
5. You won’t need to spend your time figuring out how to build a website.
These days it’s possible for almost anyone to spend a few days or weeks learning how to put up a quick one-page site to get their info out there and have something to link to from social media. When you’re self-employed, you most likely always have a huge to-do list. Why not let someone qualified take care of your site building for you? As the saying goes, time is money, and you should be spending your time practicing, planning the logistics of getting to gigs, and working on new music rather than sitting at your computer for hours on end trying to piece together a passable website.
To sum it all up…
I understand that even at a low price, paying for a website can seem a bit much for a one man band. There are certainly reasons why piecing together a quick site is appealing, and there will be pros to doing that as well. However, if you want to be taken seriously by others you shouldn’t worry about taking yourself seriously, and making a small investment in yourself and your work. If you want to get ahead of the game and have a notable online presence, a well designed website will help you standout both to agents and audiences alike.
Get in touch with me here to have a no-obligation chat or get a free quote for your site. I’d love to hear from you!