Does My Band Need A Website?
100% YES, your band needs a website. I think it's actually more important than your social media in many ways. Today, I want to lay out 6 overarching reasons why your band needs a real website.
Reason #1: People Will Google Your Band
What's the first thing you do whenever you're curious about something? You Google it! Pay attention to how often you pull out your phone and search for something that you're curious about. I guarantee you do it a lot more than you realize.
If you're doing your job right, people you find you on Spotify or meet you at shows will want to know more. More often than not, they're going to go right to Google. They may also go to your social platform of choice, but a search is universal.
Because people WILL Google you, you need to make sure that what they find looks professional. You want the first result to be YOU. If they can't find much about you or it looks like you're not a legit band, that will leave a bad impression. Social sites sometimes show up in the rankings, but it's sometimes hard to predict and can vary depending on your name.
I've seen artists without a website have their Submithub profile rank higher than their official Instagram – which literally doesn't matter to anyone but curators on Submithub while they're actively reviewing your song. Ouch.
If your name is based around common words or phrases, you need to give all the evidence that you exist to Google – and that people care about you. In general, more references to you as a band = the more likely that Google will serve information about YOU rather than showing random Amazon listings related to your name.
Reason #2: A Website is a Platform You Have Complete Control Over
Just like you want the first result on Google to be you, you also want to make sure that the first result is an experience you control. The 1st search result gets about 33% of the traffic, while the 2nd result drops to 18% and it declines from there.
In PR, you almost always want to control every aspect of the messaging, experience, branding, calls-to-action, etc. You can't do that with Instagram or whatever the social flavor of the month is. You always have to play by Zuckerberg's rules. Their goal isn't to help you out… their goal is to have users spend more time on their social platforms – often at the expense of directing people away from your content! They could push a new update to the algorithm tomorrow that makes it impossible for your posts to show in people's feeds.
Social is great for having FUN, but as a PROFESSIONAL tool, it has severe limitations. A website can adapt to whatever needs you have. Creating something as simple as a list of links (to albums, shows, past publicity, etc) is impossible on Instagram… but on a website you can easily make that and design it however you want.
Reason #3: Fans Aren't The Only People Who Take an Interest in You
Ever hear the expression “It's not what you know, it's WHO you know?” Well, think about what those “whos” are gonna do before throwing you a bone. Remember you need to make a good impression with:
- Venues/promoters/booking agents
- More established artists
These are all people you need to make a good impression on if you want their help on your journey. These VIPs WILL do their research on you. Remember that music is a business and they're going to be examining you from a business standpoint. If you don't have a website, that's a business red flag. It means you don't take it seriously enough. Why would they risk their time and money on you?
If I had to pick only one reason why bands need websites, it's this reason. Most fans probably won't care if you have a website, but it's about making a good impression WHEN you really need it.
Reason #4: Websites Need Domain Names – Which Means You Can Make Pro Email Accounts
This goes hand in hand with reason #3. It's about first impressions when it really matters. If you're cold emailing playlisters, bloggers, venues, etc, and only have 3 seconds to make a good impression… which looks more like someone this VIP want to partner with?
Exactly. Don't look like another trash local band that's too cheap to treat their band like a business. Look like you have your stuff together when first impressions matter.
Reason #5: Websites Let You Collect Emails for Email Marketing
Email is by FAR the best way to promote to your existing fans, so it's critical that you start building your email list. I know it's not as sexy as reaching millions of followers on Instagram or Twitter, but the data speaks for itself. You're way more likely for people to buy tickets, listen to your song, buy merch, etc via email than on social media.
Remember that while he plays nice, what Zuckerberg wants and what YOU want are vastly different. Facebook wants users to stay on their apps (even at your expense), while you ultimately need people to get off that platform to listen to music, buy tickets, go to shows, etc. Email just shows up in someone's inbox and they at least will see the headline (if they open it is another story). There's no algorithm or limits on links to screw you over.
Reason #6: Websites and Email are Forever
Social sites come and go. Remember MySpace? You probably won't if you're younger than me, but back in my day it was THE platform for bands because “everyone is on it” and “it lets you post music easily.” Too many people put their eggs in that basket and just pointed people to their profile. When people left MySpace for Facebook a lot of bands had to rebuild their entire web presence.