It’s the 21st century, and the world runs on the Internet. This is the perfect time to look into creating a website for yourself or your band. A well-crafted website will give you exposure, another income stream, and somewhere to develop your brand. Luckily, web hosting is cheap. $5 a month is a small price to pay for what could potentially lead to increased exposure and recognition. In this post, I’m going to tell you exactly why you should have a website.
Let People Discover You
Connecting with current and potential fans is the number one reason why you should have a website. Only having social media pages is just not enough. Here’s why. Let’s say you’re a virtuoso shakuhachi player, and you’re looking for a place to share recordings you’ve done with the hopes of forming connections with new fans. Searching for “shakuhachi players” on Facebook probably won’t lead to you. It might work on Twitter depending on how popular the search term is. The problem with Twitter is that it lists tweets based on date. Unless you constantly tweet, you’re unlikely to be found.
Google, on the other hand, uses a different system of presenting information. Pages with authority appear higher in Google searches. So if you create an awesome website that showcases your portfolio, discusses the instrument you play, and succeeds in drawing readers and fans, Google’s going to love your website. You’ll rank high in Google, and people will find you.
I’ve been developing and updating my personal website for a little over a year. I’ve carefully branded my website as a source for information on using Apple MainStage in musical theatre, and I rank very high when relevant search terms are used. When searching for “MainStage musical theatre” in Google, my website is usually the first or second result. Due to my extensive posts on the subject, Google sees me as an authoritative figure in general (not a scam). This is also why my website ranks #1 when searching for “brian li” in Google. I’m sure there are thousands of Brian Li’s around the world, but two of my websites currently hold #1 and #2!
This would’ve never happened on Facebook or Twitter because those social media platforms don’t really work like that. I believe that social media in general is a great tool for making announcements, but it’s not a place for long-term information.
Don’t Use Tumblr or SquareSpace
So now you’re convinced you need a website, and you’re looking into how to create one. Let me recommend something – don’t use Tumblr or SquareSpace…or any of the other free website creation services. Instead, you should look into getting your own web server. Let me explain.
When you set up a website on Tumblr or SquareSpace, you are storing your data on their servers. This means it’s not easy to just back up your entire site. When you have your own web server, it’s easy to just backup your whole website to an offline location in case you ever need to switch servers. Secondly, hosting your own website gives you an edge when it comes to SEO (search engine optimization). SEO is hugely important if you want to see your website in the first few pages of a relevant Google search.
What You Should Use
So, what should you use? First, you’ll need to find a web host. For smaller websites, I’ve used BlueHost in the past. I currently use Servint, but it’s overkill if you’re just starting out. You’ll want to look into “shared hosting”. This means your website will be sharing one server with a few other users. For small portfolio websites that aren’t getting hundreds of thousands of hits a month, shared hosting is perfectly fine.
WordPress is the CMS (content management system) you’ll be using on your server. It’s pretty much an industry standard solutions, and everyone from basic bloggers to huge corporations use it as a backend for websites. WordPress is free, and there are tons of themes (both free and paid) you can choose from to personalize your website.
The great thing about WordPress is that there are tons of plugins you can install to expand functionality. Everything from SoundCloud integrating to setting up a professional looking online store to sell your music is possible with WordPress for FREE. Lastly, having a website means you get to use your own personal domain name. When a good domain name is chosen, your brand image will be enhanced even more.
There you go. Successful online promotion is all about carving out a niche for yourself. After you discover what makes you unique, use that as the cornerstone of your website. People will find you. In conclusion, there is just no downside of having a website except for the monthly web hosting cost. With that said, it’s easy to find cheap hosting for $5/month. Just don’t drink Starbucks for two days, and you’ll be all set!
Check out our complete tutorial series on how to create your own WordPress portfolio website!