Dos and Don’ts of Building Websites

pexels-photo-257897.jpgPeople do judge a book by its cover. A great looking, well organized website can go as far as taking your artist brand to the next level, just as the opposite could disrupt your reputation. It is very easy to create a website, but if it’s not quite representing your artistic brand, it could lead to a poor first impression of your brand. So, creating a professional website is quite a task for artists. In this post I will get into the basic requirements of creating a website for various groups of artists and how they can make decisions on creating their website for what they need.

The first question is whether to go the custom design route, or take advantage of one of the many website template services out there. If you do your own custom design, you’ll have unique differentiation and can make it look and feel however you want. However, having a website designed and coded for you specifically can get expensive. That’s why many Artists choose to take advantage of one of the website template companies that do a lot of the design work for you, at a very affordable price.  The two leading platforms are Squarespace and Wix. Squarespace charges 12$ per month in exchange and they also have a student discount. Wix can be used for free but they put either put ads or they put a sing in the bottom of the website ‘made by Wix’. Both have great templates you can choose from for a variety of designs and they even have specific choices for the type of artist you are (photographer, writer, musician etc). While my personal choice is Squarespace, it really depends on what kind of a website you want to build for your brand.

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The first step would be to choose a template for yourself. A great way to start this would be to check out the websites of your favorite artists and see how they built their websites. Big artists usually update their websites according to popular design and internet trends and they can be great reference points to start with. You can take notes of your favorite features from these websites and have a vision of what kind of website you want to have. What is their homepage like? Is it simply a couple of pictures or does it have a news feed along with the social media accounts? What is the bio page like? Or the gallery and the video page? It will be much easier to choose a template if you know what you want, as there are hundreds of templates out there.                

The second step would be to decide on which sections you will have on your website and what is going to be the text/photo-video ratio going to be like. There is no right or wrong answer for this, but the basic rule of thumb would be of course if you are a visual artist, have a visually dominant website over text.

In terms of which tabs/sections you are going to have – it is best to ask who, what, where,  when, how… You obviously will start with a homepage, or a landing page. Then your ‘Who’ is your biography page, which should be written from a 3rd person perspective and shouldn’t be longer than a page.

‘What’ is where you’re demonstrate your work. If you’re a musician, this could be some song samples and videos, if you’re a photographer this would be your gallery, if you’re a gym instructor, this could also be your videos and such.

‘Where’ and ‘When’ should be your event listings. If you are a musician, these could be tour dates, book signings if you are a writer, exhibitions if you are a photographer, class list if you are a gym instructor or yoga teacher and such…

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You can also utilize your website to connect directly with your fans and use it to generate revenue as well. An obvious way of generating revenue would be to sell merchandise from your website’s online store. This could include anything from your main product (CDs, books etc) to clothing lines and accessories. You can also utilize bitcoin and blockchain technology to utilize your transactions if you would like to get ahead in terms of digital trends. If you would like to learn more about these, feel free to refer to the blog post about blockchain. You can also create a section for mailing lists, so your fans can sign up to receive regular email or text messages from you, where you can also sell merchandise and create extra revenue.

It goes without saying that you should integrate your social media accounts to your website also. Better yet, it would be optimal to keep your visuals consistent across your social media pages and your website. Moreover, you can feature your social media feed on your homepage if you would like to direct your fans to your social media platforms.

What are some strategies you use when you are building a website for your brand? Feel free to comment below!

Alper Tuzcu is a Berklee College of Music and Denison University alumni, and a Boston based guitarist, songwriter and producer. His debut eclectic album ‘Between 12 Waters’ featuring 8 different vocalists is available on Spotify, and you can follow him on Instagram or Twitter @alpertuzcu, or visit his website http://www.alpertuzcu.com

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