Band website advice!

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Band website advice!

Post  Admin on Sat Mar 07, 2009 11:55 am

This will be from a marketing and Google search perspective so tell me what your website objectives are eg
Are your website objectives to help you
- build a following
- get wedding and function gigs for 3000 Euro a pop
- play pubs for fun
- impress your mates with that picture of you standing in the rehearsal studio in tatty clothes, and the "ironic and post modern" use of the c word all over the site - even though you are only 14 and want to be taken seriously by agents and venue booking people but hope your mum never looks at the band website (I've seen all of these in the past)
- Find a manager and rekkerd company deal
- Show festival bookers what you can do and what you have done
- Don't have any objectives but every band has to have a website don't they?


Here's a few things you might like to check first

- Don't use a Frames site. Google hates them and so does viral marketing - both tools any band should be using to their fullest capability.
- Don't use free space masquerading as a real website (that's where your url says but it's actually located on or whatever) Google specifically excludes sites in that situation and will not spider the pages - ie there's nowt you can do to get any of your site (except the url ) visible on Google.
Forget it, shell out the 30 quid a year and get onto real web space from or or someone.

Search Engine Optimisation
- Make sure you have good page tags. 55 characters max including spaces, no wasted words like "Welcome to the website of .." and "and" and such like, just meaty key words that say what you do<br />"Dung Beatles tribute band Brighton Hove rock pop wedd (that's 55 chars) ing party dance.. "<br />-Make sure you have a description meta tag . These are essential if you are to get good results on Google (and let's face it guys, if your site doesn't show up on Google then you are wasting your time having one)<br />" The Dung Beatles are an outstanding young Brighton based Beatles Tribute band playing weddings, funerals bah'mitsvas, pubs and prison breaks. John Paul George and Ringo think these guys are the real Ticket to Ride Imagine that She Loves You and has a Revolver" Or whatever. A readable sentence (cos this bit is for humans to read as well as Google robots) but load it with the key words describing your band.<br />Always make your location obvious, preferably in the header of every page (function and wedding type bands) this crucial piece of information will filter the real gigs from timewasters.<br />- Make sure you use ALT tags on all images. Add search terms here too (See below)<br /><br />- MySpace – (best for bands building a following) Google MySpace customisation and/or templates and check out the options. You are not stuck with the somewhat style compromised layouts and colours they give you. Be inventive, be stylish, be different.<br /><br />Pictures<br />Always have a picture of the band - or the singer - on your Home Page. This single image will get you gigs and a following. People will judge your entire band and everything you do from this image. They will assume you can play Ok but they really do want to see what you look like and they really want to see it on the Home page. Choose your picture well. They will only progress into the website and check out your amazing playing and stage performance if they like the look of that first picture.<br /><br />If they don't like the look of you they will be off to Google find another band. <br /><br />So.......<br /><br />- Only use good pictures. Edit out anything that looks bad. <br />One good picture is better than 50 rubbish shots of you rehearsing in your mate's front room. Take loads of digital pics and phone pics at gigs and get your mates to as well. Costs nothing and you'll get a few usable ones. Try taking gig pictures with and without the flash. The ones without the flash will look much better. Edit the pictures with Photoshop, Paintshop Pro or a free package. Crop out any crap.<br /><br />Choose your Home Page picture well ... <br /><br />Images and <Alt text><br />Any image on your site should have < alt text>. <br />There are three reasons for this:<br />1) People do look at sites with the images off. This is especially true of people surfing the web using a phone (it used to say "modem" but no one knows what that is any more ) <br />If you have Alt text they can see it even when they can't see the image. <br /><br />2) Disabilities Discrimination legislation says your site should make sense to disabled people. In this case it means that people using, say, a screen reader will still be able to use your site. When the reader gets to the image instead of reading out the rather useless "image" it Will read your alt text. Thus the site visitor will know what that image is and if it's relevant or important.<br /><br />3)Google reads that alt text! and it counts towards your ranking. Cool or what? <br /><br />If you have no alt text, it just says "image" and that's no use whatsoever. <br />Google’s going to read it so put some key words in the alt text eg:<br /><br />“Dan Veall playing his Shuker custom 7 string purple bass at Bootiful's club Norwich with his jazz rock folk band Veall and the Small Calf Cases”<br /><br />Result? Your key word score increases.<br />How many images do you have on your site? Not just the pictures of you and your mates but headers, page tiles, bullets, any kind of graphic can have alt text <br />Don't over do it, though. One or two key words per image (as well as the info text) <br />It also helps when people do a Google image search - another way into your site.<br /><br /><br /><br />More Search Engine stuff … <br />Once you have done all the stuff mentioned above (go on, back you go and read it all again ..) you should get as many relevant and inbound links into your site as possible. <br />Links from your mates garden centre site or a forums on heraldry will not enhance your Google status at all. Links from MySpace, gig-guide other bands, agents, etc will. That's inbound links. ie they put a link on their site to yours. Outbound links, ie doing it the other way round (linking to their site from yours) does nothing for your Google ranking and may hurt you once you start getting a good ranking. So, avoid outgoing links if you can. <br /><br />If you can tell the inbound link's site person how to format the link from their site to yours then you should do:<br /><br />Ideally you want is an image which is linked to the relevant page on your site. The image should have good, keyword loaded alt text (see below) and next to it there should be a text link that is your band name or url or other key word. Just having "click here" works but isn't nearly as good. So, do that and you get two inbound links and several key words in your favour. Result! Subtle but effective.<br /><br /><br /><br /><br />A word about Flash;<br />Flash is absolutely brilliant. It is also absolutely bruddy awful; it depends on how you use it. It’s a bit like a Flanger… <br /><br />A little Flash can be really enhance a website - even a splash page. Unlike commercial sites where Flash Splash pages have been a bad idea for at least 10 years, Art sites like band sites can get away with it, sometimes. Always have a Skip Intro function though. <br /><br />An all-Flash site is only really suitable for a band site where you are not trying to build a following, use viral marketing or depend on Search Engines for people to find you. (because an all Flash site just looks like one single picture to Google, unless you know what you are doing, and that is not good.)<br /><br />That does not mean it is wrong - <br /><br />All-Flash sites are brilliant for Agent only sites where the Agent selling your services on your behalf wants something to show the punter. This kind of site does not have to do particularly well on Google as people will be searching for a band name or will know the url. <br /><a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"></a><br /><br />Or ... if you have a record contract/management/promotion and someone else is doing your marketing, but then you probably have no say over the website anyway .....<br /><br />If you are not in these categories, avoid Flash, especially the kind of Flash movie made by a mate in year 7 at school with his first computer .....<br /><br />If you have a flash site you need to google these two phrases<br />"flash 99% bad" and Flash 99% good"<br />and read the results.<br /><br />Admittedly band sites can frequently ignore the rules needed for commercial sites and claim Art Site immunity to things like functioning browser back buttons, the ability to print stuff off, cut and paste stuff and for content to be visible to google, screen readers etc. but you do need to be careful if you do have a Flash site if you want it to be found on Google.<br /><br />One of the sites I've reviewed, as part of this service, was a 100% Flash site but it was nice, showy and unchanging. It was for a function band. It worked well in that context where a client or agent would just look through it one or twice and then contact the band for a chat (the primary objective of most function band sites). They had also used the extra things they needed to do for a Flash site to work in Google (use Google to find these things if you need to.. Beyond title and description tags there's content description fields too, I understand, but that's way too techie for me)<br />It can be done and, in context, Flash is good stuff and great eye candy. Normally, as ever in life, a bit of Flash is a bonus, a lot of Flash can be a drawback.<br /><br />Some Good Band Sites<br />Ok thought I'd pop a few good examples up here as I come across them:<br /><br />This is E2 - a very professional Agent-only, all-Flash site for a band who’s -base- fee is about £1500<br /><a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"></a><br /><br />This is Big Tuna, Jaco's band. The site works a treat<br /><a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"></a> <br /><br /><br />Your First Website?<br />If you are building one from scratch and you haven't done it before then either just do a Myspace and forget about doing your own - no, seriously a good myspace will work just as well - or Google "website templates" and you'll find load of free ready-made shells you can just copy and use as the basis of your site.<br />Use one with HTML and external CSS file rather than simple HTML. They come with the good stuff built in already - as a minimum you just have to replace one graphic with another and the text, and copy("save as") that page to make the next one etc. But you end up with something 100 years ahead of what you can build as a beginner 'cos they have been made with nice graphics and good techniques by professionals who are 3000 pages ahead of you in several thick manuals, well some of the time <br />Some break web conventions though - and that can be a good thing in an "Arts" site like a band one - but you still need to make sure people can get around it OK and find the info you want them to, contact you etc .. <br /><br /><br />Database driven sites<br />If you have a database driven - ASP website - and the url has a ? in it, and you can ask things of the tekkie involved, ask them to “sort it for google”<br />I am not sure what they do but it involved replacing the ? with something else, or using a clever url re-writing technique but it can be done. Of course if you can get them to do that then the whole site will benefit 'cos, generally, apart from the home page, all the pages will suffer from being invisible to Google. <br /><br />There's Three types of Google searchers<br /><br />Type 1) they know you are there and know you have a website they just left the url in their other suit or use Google ‘cos it's easier.<br />They search on Dan veall or doodle and find you<br /><br />Type 2) They've kinda of heard of you a bit, maybe saw you play somewhere and liked what they heard and they hope you have a website cos it's 2am, they are stoned and they want to find out where your gig is tommorow (of course this may well be your drummer )...<br />They will search on what they know about you: dan veal dan meal dan veel solo bass player purple 7 string bass norfolk norwich the venue name <br /><br />Type 3) The I Wish person. "Dear Google. I really wish there was a long haired 7 string bass player with a Shuker custom in Norwich that's playing a gig some time soon that I can see. Please make my wish come true ..."<br />They will search on stuff they want to be true about you 'cos they don't even know you exist (or your band if you are in a band), they just hope and wish you do ... It's a "concept" search <br /><br />Every site needs to allow for all of these types of searchers. Every site needs to have key terms in its text and tags that all of these people will use. <br />That's it really. Simple Actually that's also the hardest part of the whole process - defining the key terms to use. <br /><br />Another Google trick is the "dissatisfied?help us improve" link at the bottom of the results page when you search for something. It leads to a form where you can enter the URL you were looking for so you can go on and enter the URL of your site. (Thanks Alun)<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />Automatic music<br />Apart from MySpace, don't do it, people, unless you want your visitor to be embarrassed at work and instantly close your website. This is especially true of band sites. Sure have music but make it optional. For instance the sofake people made one for Dixie Chicks so I click on that and it too starts automatic music as I get there so now I have the sofake music and the Dixie Chicks music running at the same time what do I do? Well I turn off the speakers or close the browser window with the offending noisy site in it - either action negates the advantages of having the sound on there.<br />Doh!<br /><br />Auto music is basically the audio equivalent of a Pop Up.<br />People prevent pop ups because they are annoying as hell and they will prevent audio pop ups too - by switching off the audio. <br /><br />That stuff should all be "opt in" so.. have a "play music" button, sell your sound samples well enough for people to choose to play them, don't ram them down people's throats. <br /><br />It's bad manners and bad marketing.<br /><br />I nearly always work with some kind of web radio on. If a site starts playing music automatically it's a pain. <br /><br />Resources<br /><br />This is a great CSS resource for those that are interested and has lots of nice designs and I'm sure even all the standards dudes agree which is unusual. (Thanks Stevie Dee)<br /><br />Zen Garden <a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"></a> <br /><br />Apologies of this has already been posted in this thread(did have a quick look and couldn't see it) but I found this very good for learning CSS... 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