All musicians need websites to present their work to the world, attract concert presenters, and establish relationships with fans.
The following guidelines will empower you to publish an effective site at low cost and regardless of your facility with technology.
If you need additional guidance to create your site or otherwise advance your music career, contact me to discuss possible coaching via Skype.
Build a Musician Website in 4 Steps
Step 1: Determine the purpose of your site
For rising performers and composers, websites generally serve as portfolios of their work and can also promote income-producing activities such as teaching, concertizing, and gigging.
It’s vital, therefore, that you consider who your audience is and how you will use the site to communicate your mission as an artist.
To gather ideas, visit the websites of others in your field.
Step 2: Draft a list of required pages
For performers, essential pages typically include:
- Home page, featuring a compelling photo along with a press quote or mission statement
- Bio page, with another powerful photo; you could also have a link to a resume and/or electronic press kit
- Media page, with audio and video clips
- Events or calendar page, if you’re sufficiently active
- Repertoire or Sample Programs page – depending on your specialty, you might alternatively title this page Compositions or Projects; performers do well to include sample programs
- Teaching page, if appropriate, describing your mission and services (performers who are busy teachers will commonly publish a separate teaching website)
- Contact page, with a fill-in form
In addition, you’d include links to your social media, integrate a blog if you publish one, and incorporate a sign-up form for any newsletter. If you sell merchandise, you could include a page titled “Shop” or maybe “Merch.”
MailChimp offers the top freemium email newsletter service. It’s free for lists with fewer than 2000 subscribers, and not overly costly for larger lists such as mine (I use MailChimp to distribute The Musician’s Way Newsletter).
Step 3: Assemble content for each page
Gather photos and videos, edit your recordings, draft your bio and other text.
Aim to assemble different photos for every page of your site such that the photos tell the story of what you do as an artist.
Include the likes of head shots and full-body shots, performance and rehearsal stills, and images of you practicing or teaching. Bear in mind that our brains process images far more quickly than text, so uplifting photos can make immediate and lasting impressions on site visitors.
In total, this content-gathering step is typically the most time-intensive part of the site-creation process.
Step 4: Start building
With all of your content in hand, you’re ready to build. For starters, you’ll need to purchase a domain name, if you don’t already own one (i.e., a URL such as yourname.com); the domain can typically be acquired via the company that hosts your site.
The resources below represent a sampling of commonly used services for hosting and constructing websites.
Opt for a drag-and-drop interface such as Weebly, which is remarkably easy to use and provides plenty of attractive design templates. With your content ready, you can create a site in an hour or two. Alternatively, consider Bandzoogle or SquareSpace.
For an easy-to-launch professional teaching website that enables you to accept credit card payments, maintain an online calendar, and more, consider MusicTeachersHelper.com.
I recommend WordPress.org, a free platform with abundant themes and plugins (note that WP.org is distinct from WP.com, which is more of a simple blogging tool).
With WP.org, you purchase a domain name and hosting plan separately, e.g., from GoDaddy.com. (WordPress.org is the content management system I use to publish MusiciansWay.com; I host with GoDaddy.)
For development tips, see: WPBeginner.com. To speed up page load times, I use WP Rocket. I also find the free web-building tutorials helpful at W3Schools.com.
Contact me if you need help building an effective site or otherwise advancing your music career.
Visit the Music Career Resources page at MusiciansWay.com for additional online marketing and search engine optimization tips.
The Art-Career Tango
Preparing for Portfolio Careers
© 2012 Gerald Klickstein. Updated 2018, 2020
Excellent post, thank you. As a web developer/musician myself I’ve actually stopped doing standard.simple websites for artists & just recommend them to try http://bandzoogle.com/ instead. It’s a cheap and effective way to do the job. More aimed at bands but I reckon some of your readers would find it a good alternative.
Thanks for contributing, Rob! I agree: bandzoogle offers solid value and functionality.
Love your blog! I would like to point out that many musician believe that they must create a huge web audience in order to become famous.(Justin Beiber with Youtube and countless other celebrities.)Websites are acceptable because we must be represented as professional. But the big problem I see is that musicians are signing up to a lot of social networking sites and worrying less about their music and more about their internet presence. Don’t you think it would be great to have a site where you can see multiple social networking sites at once and see your YouTube views, twitter follower, and Facebook likes? Are there any?
Hi Rita – Phyllis offers one excellent solution, and there are other options available such as those listed under the Career Resources on MusiciansWay.com: https://www.musiciansway.com/music-careers/
You point to a major issue, one that isn’t easy to resolve: How do we balance our efforts as both artists and professionals? I offer some thoughts in my post The Art-Career Tango https://musiciansway.com/blog/2010/08/the-art-career-tango/