I had a friend recently ask me about improving his website. He's a talented musician, and since I'm contemplating how to improve my website in 2015, I had been giving this a ton of thought over the past few months. Here are 8 ways I think musicians can make their website more effective:
1. Fresh content. The more of it that I push out, the higher my search rankings. Blogging is one of the best ways to do that, but I’d also think about other things like instagram, etc. Anything that can generate updated content for your website.
2. Visual content. The more personalized high quality pictures and videos you can put up of yourself, the better. One of my big purchases of 2015 is going to be a Rebel T3i so I can start posting more high quality visual content on my site. The Rebel T3i takes great pictures, but I’m mainly getting it for the video content.
3. Develop your voice. You’re so awesome to talk to in person, and the more that you can bring out that voice and stay away from the generic “ad” style of talking, the better.
4. Stay consistent. It’s common to see musicians post tons of content for a few weeks on their site, causing them to burn out and completely abandon their blog and news updates after a few months. Staying consistent keeps an audience engaged and growing, and will also keep you on top of the search rankings.
5. Keep it short. I’ve found that the briefer your blogs, content, and other info, the better. People just don’t read much past 300-400 words at a time any more. If I go over that amount of words, I try to use numbers or points to try and keep people interested.
6. Actively focus on ways to give back. I’d say about 90% of my contacts are with people who are trying to solve problems or asking for favors, and that’s okay. As a Christian, this is one of the best ways that I can give to people. Also, it allows you to talk to some awesome people, too.
7. Get an email newsletter going. Mailchimp has an awesome free way to get an email newsletter started just from your blog. This is still the best way to send out info to your readers. If you'd like to subscribe to my weekly email, click here.
8. Find a niche. When I started my blog two years ago, I experimented with a ton of different kinds of blogs and different formats, and kept careful track of my analytics using Google’s free analytics app. After about 6 months I realized that 90% of my blogs about Apple’s program Mainstage were performing better than the rest of my blog, so I started blogging once a week about Mainstage. I eventually added a page on my website dedicated to sharing info about the program, and offering free patch downloads. A year later I developed custom patches for Mainstage and started selling them through eBay, and this last year I sold a ton of them (thanks to you, my dear blog reader!)
If you’d told me when I started if I would get into selling Mainstage patches, I’d have said there was no market for it. And that’s the advantage of finding a niche not based on what you think should work, but on what your audience is telling you they want.
(In contrast, I tried to launch a website called www.greatstringsnow.com about three years ago that offered high-end string arrangements and recordings, and it completely bombed, even with me investing some serious cash into marketing. I made the mistake of coming up with an idea that required initial capital, and then I tried to convince people to use it, instead of figuring out what people wanted first, then figuring out a way to sell it to them.)