How to Make a Great Band Website for Under $100 Per Year

WordPress changes everything.

You can now create your own band website easily. What was traditionally the hardest part of the process, it no longer exists!

All you need is a domain, hosting, and a one click install of wordpress and you’re on your way.

Getting Started

Now coming in as a complete beginner it can seem like a very daunting task to create your own website, but fear not! You can create a website without knowing any html and still be able to create a masterpiece.

So lets go in a logical order and go through the first step you need to take right through to the last one. I’ll get pretty detailed into optimising your website for your band and can show you how to build things like mailing lists and e-commerce (you can sell your music on your own website!).

Web hosting and domain creation.

I am an affiliate for HostGator and I am because I personally use their services. There are other great services out there like bluehost so don’t feel as if you have to use HostGator but for demonstrational purposes I will use it as a guide. Now in order to get it under $100 you have to go with the hatchling plan. If you can afford it however I’d definitely go with the baby plan as you get hosting for unlimited domains.

This is what your summary should look like for a year plan with the hatchling plan. Make sure you uncheck all additional addons, including domain privacy protection at the top.

hostgator-checkout

So you get a domain and hosting for a year, pretty decent for $88 if you ask me.

Installing wordpress

Once you have registered your account and domain you’ll have to wait a couple of hours before you can install wordpress to your account. You’ll log into your gateway (your email from HostGator will explain this) then scroll to the bottom of the list of services.

quickinstall-demo

Once you’ve done this you will get directed to a page where you’re going to look for the wordpress one click install (it’s not hard to find).

This is where the real fun begins! Once it has installed you’re going to be able to access the back end of your website from the internal Content Management System WordPress. In simpler terms, this is where you get to design your site! Just type your url that you registered followed by /wp-admin and you will be able to login to WordPress.

The first steps with WordPress

You may be slightly intimidated when you log in but don’t worry, you’ll have your band website up in no time! First select a good theme. Now you can find some really good free and some even better paid ones. Just remember that it’s going to be filled with your content so a lot of it will look more individual and less generic by the time you’re done.

Once you’ve selected your theme you’ll want to upload a favicon or site identity tab. This will be the picture that displays in the tab at the top. Make sure it’s a square image and isn’t too detailed as this thing is going to be tiny.

Plugins!

This is where the fun begins.

I will go through a list of plugins that I think will be useful to your site. I’ll briefly explain 4 plug ins which you’ll likely find useful. That being said there are heaps and heaps of plugins for all manner of purposes so chances are you’ll find one that gives your website the functionality that you want.

plugins

 

Contact Form 7

This plugin lets you create a basic contact form and is really easy to use.

Easy Digital Downloads

I love this one, you can upload any file and attach any price then this plug in will take care of the whole transaction through paypal and the money will get sent straight through to your paypal account. This plugin is a great way to sell your album online without having to sign up with a third party website!

Easy Google Fonts

This opens up a whole heap of extra fonts for wordpress which will give your site character and charm

Facebook Comments Plugin

Of course you want your band website to be social media friendly. Let your fans comment on pages that you’d like and get an interaction going!

Design: Getting it looking tasty

Now one of the important things I want to stress is to make your website look clean and nice. Don’t overcrowd your homepage with stuff, that is what a different page is for. Keep it simple and make sure you’re not putting too much multimedia on your homepage as the load up time will suck. For more information on optimising the speed of your site check out Blog Tyrants post on site speed.

Creating specific pages

Because WordPress is a content manager it is really easy to create pages for your songs, tour dates, photos, videos etc. All multimedia can be stored on wordpress and inserted into any page you create. A nice menu bar at the top of the page linking to your different content is really all you need, no need to complicate it too much.

Use high quality original photos

A picture says 1000 words and can really grab your audiences attention. Make sure not to skimp on this area!

A plain background

People always want to make their background some really complex thing. Keep it simple though, it will decrease load time and make it easier for the audience to actually view the important content of your band website.

Content

Make sure you are putting up gig dates, latest photos, a blog page etc. Also, make sure that it’s regular and up to date. Nothing turns away people faster than seeing the last thing updated was over 6 months ago! Your band is always evolving and sharing experiences so share them!

Videos

Videos really grab peoples attention and are a great way to show the personality of your band. Messing around on the weekend is likely content that will make your audience connect with you more.

Blog

A regularly updated blog is a great way to keep people involved with what you’re up to and a great place to announce new things to fans.

Music

Duhhh, get your music up pronto and start doing something with it!

Wrapping it up

So you see, it ain’t too hard. Having a band website puts you way ahead of all the bands that don’t. You can make something that looks professional and it won’t cost you more than $100.

Let me know how you go with your creation or how you find wordpress if you are already using it. I may be able to give some pointers as well if you have anything you want changed about your site!

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