In Making a Website: Musicians and Artists Part I, we talked about registering a domain, installing WordPress, and setting up the structure of your site.
This time we're going to talk about content. Content matters. It's your videos, your pictures, your brand, your messaging. The first step in building your content is to figure out where it's going to go.
Before you get your content together, first go over a few of these examples of pages to get some inspiration about what exactly it is you want your website to look like. Make sure to draw out a template so that you know what you're going to need for your content list.
From the example at the top we knew that we would need.
1 full size promotional video
2 blocks of event information
2 small pictures with text on them
3 artist pictures
3 artist Bios
Once you set up your layout and your content list, its time to dive a little bit deeper and start collecting the content.
Colors make a huge difference in the way people see your brand. Deciding on a color palette can be really simple and honestly really fun. It will make a big difference in the look and feel of your website.
I use two tools for making a color palette.
The first one is https://coolors.co/
Coolors helps you generate custom color schemes based on a color that you input or just based on random combinations it generates.
All you have to do is go to their site, click 'Start the Generator', and hit the space bar to generate colors.
If you have an idea for a color that represents your style, you can add it to the generator. This brings me to the second tool which is ColorZilla.
ColorZilla is an extension for Google Chrome that let's you pull colors from a web page. A great drummer in our city, Jerome Martin, wanted to use a red color from his drum kit in his color scheme so we used ColorZilla to grab that color from an Instagram picture of his drums and put it into Coolors to make his color scheme.
Picking a font always sounded so simple to me. Picking fonts is actually really creative and impactful. Here are some sites to help you learn as much as you want to know about fonts.
Divi comes with some great fonts already built in, but here are some places you can look for even more.
One of the most important parts of your site really has nothing to do with your sites layout or code. Having good pictures makes all the difference in how listeners feel when coming to your site.
We recommend to our artists to plan their website first and then reach out to a photographer to work with to help them get the right shots. You want pictures that will work well visually with the color scheme you selected. This means potentially making wardrobe choices for your photoshoot based on the color scheme you select. You can also use photo filters to help you achieve cohesiveness between your photos and website.
If you don't know a great photographer or don't have the budget for it, lots of smartphones now come with great cameras. Combining your smartphone with some of the awesome photo editing apps out there can get you in the ballpark of having some aweome site pictures. Here are some apps to consider!
Logos can be really expensive and hard to create. Never underestimate the value of writing your name as a font and rolling with that. Sometimes this is just a nice minimal way to establish your brand. Just make sure you really like the font first.
A quick way to get up and running with some basic graphics is Canva. This site makes it easy to start with a template that already looks great and customize from there. They have fonts, allow you to input your color scheme, and can really help you make professional looking graphics without having to build the skills to use Photoshop or Illustrator.
If you need to create graphics on the go, Snapseed has some great features for layering text and icons.
Once you have your branding and content together it's time to put your site together. Whichever theme you're using, it's going to take some time to get used to WordPress and how it works. You're going to get stuck and something won't work when it should work. This is where having a theme that includes support is really helpful.
Google and YouTube are your best friend in this endeavor. The secret is that building a website works the same way as building a song. Start small and do each thing well. Don't feel like your site has to have 10 pages. Make one page that makes your music really easily accessible and include a newsletter signup and make that page look really great.
Speaking of newsletter...if you've always wondered about how to set up an email list check out Mailchimp. Mailchimp is simple to use, there are tons of WordPress plugins you can use to install a sign up form on your website.
The last part of this tutorial is really important. One of the biggest benefits of having a website is using it to better understand your listeners. Analytics is a whole 'nother field, but this service called LuckyOrange can be a really useful shortcut.
LuckyOrange lets you basically watch back a video of what the user does on your site.
This is really useful because you can see how people interact with your music. When people play a song do they listen to the whole thing or only 5 seconds of it? Only 5 seconds? Time to work on those hooks...
When you post on Instagram you can see how many likes your photo gets, but how many of those people actually go to your website and check out the rest of your music? It's simple to install and works really well. We use it all the time!