Web Design for musicians

I listed web design as my last thought on the list of skills I have as a musician that will help me make it full time with no side income. I have chosen to elaborate on it first. I have used a number of programs to design a number of different types of websites for different industries. I didn’t go to school for it. I have not been trained. I am not an expert. I am just naturally curious and have the stubborn belief that I can do almost anything I put my mind to. (Though I STILL can’t do a cartwheel and drywall is way too heavy for me to install myself.)

You can learn almost anything from the internet. I learned by trial and error and have had lots of practice. I have had to deal with crashes and glitches and billing and bosses and programs that companies just decide to get rid of *coughs*iWeb*coughs*. I have survived. I have also gotten pretty set in my ways. Now, when I make a website I will insist that you allow me to use my own hosting through HostGator. I will hope you will buy your domain through GoDaddy. I will not use any web design program other than WordPress. I will even go as far as to persuade you to use the same theme that I always use but with different colors, backgrounds and photos. Why? Because learning new programs takes way too much time. I have already mastered these. Why complicate things? As a result, I limit my target market. I know exactly who I am willing to work with. The customer benefits by enjoying my very low prices as a result of saved hours.

Web Design Screen Shot

As for musicians, I want to design for bands and artists who have a Reverbnation account and a domain (example: www.yourbandname.com). Additionally I like them to place into a DropBox folder some typed out information about the band and its members and a good number of media items for me to mess around with. I have already bounced some ideas off of the musician community in Facebook world with this website I designed. They seemed interested, but not quite ready for my services. I can jump right into designing a website if I am given a deposit and the appropriate resources. Once a basic website is laid it, it can be tweaked pretty easily. I can even show the band how to edit it.

Problems I have run into:

1) Pricing. Am I charging too little? Am I charging too much? I have no idea.  Web design people think I need to charge hundreds or thousands of dollars.  Most musicians I know would NEVER spend that much.  I try to keep things really simple to keep costs down.  I will have to do a couple of them before I really know. I spend countless hours messing with mine. I have done quite a few others, but my own website has given me more than enough experience. However, it isn’t a good way to gauge time and determine hourly wage.

2) The artist doesn’t have a clue how to buy a domain name or use a dropbox folder. Should I be charging to walk an artist through this? They really need to buy the domain on their own so that I DON’T OWN IT. I’m nice like that. If the band can’t figure out how to do these basic things, they are going to spend a small fortune paying me to help them, so I would prefer just to let them figure it out and come to me when they are ready.

3) The artist is unwilling to put in the time to put together biographies and dig up photos.  It is going to take some time to prepare everything for me.  Anyone looking into getting a website should be aware of that.

4) Picky about everything. I WILL charge to edit repeatedly. My advice to anyone considering me for web design is this:  Make sure everything is already in the dropbox including documents of words you would like on the site. I can just make stuff up too. If you don’t like a photo, then do not put it in the folder. Try to label file names specifically with band member names and things like that. Also, understand that I can’t actually edit the layout of the website. Look at my website closely. It will look something like that.

 

Once I get through those issues, I am quite ready to do the work. I have a contract ready and a system for payment. I will be super available once my kids are in school. As part of my mission to be full time, I may attempt to book a couple of these in September. I will let you know how I deal with these problems.

Why would a band go to me for web design and not just use a program like BandZoogle or FourFour? Why not just design their own and use all of their own hosting and stuff? The charge-per-month websites will eventually cost you more than mine with you doing all of the work. I will do the bulk of the work and teach you how to edit your own site and should only have to charge a small fee for hosting after the first year. Also, you should be able to update almost everything on your site simply by updating your Reverbnation page. That means you only have to edit one thing and your Reverbnation, your Facebook and your website all update at once. How convenient. Regarding free sites and purchasing your own hosting, I spend a pretty good amount of money to pay for extremely reliable hosting. It is a matter of quality at that point. Also remember that I will be doing the bulk of the work to make your website easy on the eyes to your fans and potential customers. That means I already know not to use flash or automatic music players or complicated backgrounds on your site from EXPERIENCE. People will click right out of your site.

What I will not do:

Graphic design. However, I have a person for that if you really want it.

Special code things. I specialize in SIMPLE websites. If you want complicated, hire a specially trained web designer and pay his special price.

SEO stuff. (Getting you higher in Google). I will occasionally update your site map, check your website on the Google Blacklist, and all of the stuff in the photo below, but I cannot guarantee that it will make you rate higher.  There are services for that, if you are interest.

SEO tools

Fold your laundry. I hate folding laundry.

If you are interested in any of this, feel free to visit my web design link for more information. Please like my Facebook page to keep up with future blogs or sign up for automatic e-mails on the top right.

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