11th May 2014
Websites for rock bands
by Trevor Locke
In this article, we look at websites for bands (also applies to singers, groups and rappers.)
To find out how many Leicester bands have their own websites, we went to our list of Leicester Bands (at that date)
and selected the first 10 bands we could find from that list that had their own websites.
To find out if a band had a website, we clicked on the link given with that band’s name and went to the ABOUT US page (on their Facebook account) to see if one was listed. We excluded those who had only a page on a listings site such as Bandcamp. We selected those that had their own domain name.
We selected the first 10 bands on the list.
[some of these sites might have closed since this was written]
So, what is needed to have a band website?
Three things are need to put a band website online:
1. A domain name, bearing the name of the band – either .co.uk or .com or something similar.
2. Web space. The website is delivered from a web server, to which the domain name is pointed. The website is made and stored on the space hired on a web server. Many companies sell web space.
3. A package that makes web sites. These days, the majority of websites are made using an on-line Content Management System. The most widely used of these is WordPress. It is possible to have a website designed by a web designer and uploaded to the server using that designer’s own hand-written code.
This latter option however usually means that only the web designer can make changes to the site and band members themselves are probably not able to log-on and make any changes themselves.
Is it worth having a web site?
Nearly all bands will have a Facebook page. In addition, many bands now have accounts on ‘third party’ sites such as Bandcamp and Soundcloud. This enables the band to makes its recorded music available. Some bands have opened accounts on MySpace and similar platforms. Many bands will also use YouTube to published films of their live performances or recorded songs.
Social networking sites – like Facebook and Twitter – have made it less necessary for a band to have a website. Some would, however, argue that if a band has a website – using its own domain name – it makes the band look more ‘serious’, or professional.
The other benefit of having a domain name is that the band will then have its own email addresses: most are content to use Hotmail, Gmail or Yahoo services that are freely available. If you have your own personalised email – such as firstname.lastname@example.org, for example, then that looks better to people in the music industry.
Once you have a domain name, any number of email addresses can be set up, such as bookings@, info@, manager@ press@, newsletter@ and so on.
The advantage of having your own website is that you can decide what to put on it. Third party systems like Bandcamp or MySpace limit the content to what they allow. All websites can of course be linked to other third-party sites such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Soundcloud.
It is also possible to make your website sell your stuff – CDs, tracks, merch, gig tickets, t-shirts, wristbands and so on. You might be able to have a mini online shop on the website itself; otherwise, you can put in links to on-line outlets from which your stuff can be purchased on-line. Putting in a Payment system – such as PayPal – is not that difficult. This will allow you to sell direct to your fans and take all the money yourself (nearly all of it.)
How much does it cost to make a band website?
If you want your band to have its own website, you have to pay for two things: (a) The domain name and (b) hosting space on a web server.
You might also have to pay a web designer to set the website in the first place and these days most bands should be able to log into a Content Management System (CMS) and add to or make changes to a web site themselves. It is quite easy.
Domain names (such as .co.uk and .com or .org.uk) are commonly sold in two year periods, although some are paid for annually. A typical price would be around £9 for two years for a .co.uk domain name. A .com domain name might cost around £10 to £15 a year, although it is a competitive market in which prices can vary and in which there are frequently discount offers.
The cost of space on a web server varies a lot; my rule of thumb is to budget for around £40 to £60 a year for a good space that offers a lot of free facilities and allows for up to 5 different email addresses.
Software like WordPress is often available free of charge and should be available to install on most modern web servers. This CMS is fairly easy to use and there are a lot of free templates that can be selected to use with it. WordPress will allow your website to take feeds from your band’s Twitter account and Facebook page and this can be automated simply by installing the appropriate widgets.
Things like visitor statistics (how many ‘hits’ the website gets, should be provided free of charge either by the website hosting service or through a CMS like WordPress.
Are there any drawbacks to having a website?
If you create a website for your band, you will have to update it. There is no such thing as a finished website. Each time your band gets a new gig date, it needs to be placed on the website; this also applies to new songs and new photos of the band that are worth putting on-line, for publicity purposes.
There are some labour-saving widgets that are freely available that means that all new gig dates and links to songs can be listed only once and will then appear on the website, Facebook page, Twitter and possibly also some other social networking facilities.
It is very important to keep a band’s website updated.
We will be talking about band websites some more, so come back to this page again in the future to see fresh articles on this subject.
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Trevor Locke is proprietor of B2B Web, a service he established in the year 2000.
See also B2B Web on Facebook.
Register your band with Music in Leicester
How to get a gig in Leicester
Music media in Leicester
Trevor’s Music Blog
Page updated: 28/10/18