Create The Perfect Website

Any band taking itself seriously these days need a perfect website. An effective and well thought-out site can make a big difference to your band’s profile, both with fans and music industry types, so it’s worth getting it right. If you’re starting from scratch it’s a daunting business. But you don’t have to be a technical genius to get started.

Firstly you’ll need a domain name (the www bit). Registering a domain name is getting cheaper and you can probably get your site for a few quid a year. Next you’ll need a server to host the file. Some are free but place adverts on your site, so it’s a trade-off between how much control you want and what you can afford.

You’ll need a certain amount of space (maybe for audio, video and graphics files) so make sure you sign up for the necessary megabytes of storage, a fast enough bandwidth and any other facilities you might need, like an email account for an e-commerce shopping cart.

As for design, there are countless ways of going about it. It’s unlikely you’ll have the budget to get professionals in, but the basics are easy enough to learn at home. Netscape and Internet Explorer come with tools to help, but the results are inevitably formulaic.

The more you learn about software tools such as Microsoft Frontpage and Adobe, or about the actual bare bones of website programming languages HTML and JavaScript, the more individuality and personality your site will have. You’ll also need basic graphic editor like Adobe Photoshop to manipulate the pictures you want on the site.

It sound tough but don’t worry. Far and away the most important aspect of any site is content. There’s no right or wrong, but here’s a basic guide. Band news and gig details are vital. Fans want to know what you’re up to and where you’re playing, so make sure that the information is up there and bang up-to-date.

If you don’t keep the content current, visitors won’t come back. You’ll also need a band biography and some pictures, as well as contact details. Uploading a couple of MP3 files of tunes (demos, live recordings, whatever) is a way of giving people a taster of what you sound like, and a chatroom for fans to interact and post their opinions is a neat way of creating and online community vibe.

Whatever you put up there, make it user-friendly. Keep fancy animation to a minimum, the linking buttons abvious and choose colours and backgrounds that make the text easy to read. A lot of this is trial and error, so don’t be disheartened if early versions of your site look a bit amateurish. If you put in the time, the site will improve.

© Doug Johnstone

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