The complete guide to building your website and online presence for musicians: Introduction

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I’ve written a good deal on how to run lean with your musical presence online and AFK. I’ve told you that your Facebook page is not a website, that you should just pick one social medium, that you should be wary of the Facebook laziness pact between musicians, how to make sure your music is available to everyone even if it isn’t everywhere, how to get the most out of your time in the studio, and how to record at home for less than $500. The fact is that you, as a musician or artist, can establish yourself on the web for little money using free social media services and profit sharing services to sell your art. But let’s talk about how to do it “right.”

Over the next 7 weeks, my column on SongCast will be devoted to all the steps you need to go through to create a website for your music, to develop a social media presence, to sell your music online, and a way to put it all together so that it runs nicely without taking too much time.

Why you should do it right

Before we dive into all the things to do, we should address why you should do it “right.” I keep putting “right” in scare quotes because there really is no right way. There are as many paths to a successful online presence as there are individuals playing music. There are plenty of creative success stories launched through one social medium when a work went viral and turned everyone’s attention to the artist. Those are the exception. There are also plenty of stories of bands and musicians sabotaging themselves as they lose a domain name or struggle for months with a website.

As I talked about in a piece called “Chasing Lightning,” it is a common creative impulse to go full throttle towards the completion of a work. When we’re talking about one piece of art, sometimes that’s how it works. You find yourself in the tempest of creativity and you just let it blow you around. But if we want to do sustained creative work, we have to put up some boundaries and structures in order to repeat success.

Our web presence isn’t a mad work of art. It can (and should) be creative but it is really an answer to the questions: Who are you? What do you do? Where will you be? A web presence is the solution to a common problem. As such, there are many technical structures and services already available to solve that problem. We’re going to look at the best-in-class solutions and walk through each step.

How we’ll do it right

Next week we’re going to cover how to build your website from start to finish. Bear in mind that none of the steps we’re going to cover from building a website to executing a strategy are a mad work of art. They are things you want to set up correctly and solidly at the beginning so that you can build work on top of them. I know that all musicians have to stay conscious of their budgets but we’re not going to take the freebie path.

If you want to do some homework before we dive in, read some of the articles I linked above to set the stage. It is my goal to be able to provide you a map to guide you through every step of creating an online presence so that you can follow it and repeat it as necessary. If you have any questions that you would like to hear me answer, tweet them to @heytodda.

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