In this digital age, your website is your business card. It's your portfolio, your handshake, your audition, your voice, and your foot in the door. Having a professional website can cause a record label or music publication to stop and pay attention or pass you by. Consider the following five must-have items to make an impression and cover all your bases.
A well-written bio
Industry professionals appreciate when they don't have to dig around and email back and forth for information. Having a well-written bio on your website saves them a step in their article or their interview. Your bio should give a clear, concise picture of your band, its origin, your sound, and any upcoming projects (tours, releases, etc.). This means that you will need to revisit your bio from time to time to be sure it's up-to-date. If a journalist or a label rep comes across outdated information, it's likely they will move on.
As a general rule, industry reps don't always need or want to see all the bands you've "shared the stage" with, so try including the festivals or iconic venues you've played instead. The events will speak to how you fit into your genre without reaching too far.
Also, don't be afraid to add a little personality to your bio. While the facts should drive the content, your voice can make you stand out. Use your creative skills and craft a bio that represents your music.
Speaking of your music, it should also be on your website! Your music is a primary piece of your electronic press kit (EPK) and should also be available on your website for anyone to access. It's the ultimate testament to your band. This is the product that labels are looking to sell, fans are looking to buy, and journalists are looking to write about.
Most web platforms today make it easy to sync your Spotify artist page as a widget on your site. You can add videos, media players, and pretty much anything you want. There are also platforms like Bandcamp and Soundcloud that allow you to house any music files you need to store online.
Another important element to include on your website (at minimum, on your EPK) is a collection of updated, professional photos. Your photos should be at least 300 pixels per inch to be considered hi-res. These are the images that people will use in articles, online, for media announcements, and for other collateral. It's important that your photos are clear and professional, not blurry and low-quality.
If you're specifically planning an EPK page on your website for media access, make sure you have a variety of images for every kind of need – black and white, color, vertical, horizontal, etc.
In your collection of imagery on your website, it also doesn't hurt to have a link or file that includes your band's logo in multiple formats (jpeg, png, svg, etc.). These files can be used for promoters and booking agents when creating a show flyer, or other management companies to include on their websites. It's important to make it as easy as possible for others to promote your band on their platforms. Having updated photos and imagery ensures that you've offered every opportunity to share your brand.
You could have the most beautiful website in the world, but if you don't include a way to contact you, it fails to serve a vital piece of its purpose. There are a number of options when it comes to contact information on a website. You can include a general band email address, the email address of your publicist or manager, or you can add a contact page to your site. This allows people to reach out directly on your page, and the message will be fed straight to an inbox of your choice.
There are benefits to both methods, it just depends on what you're looking for. Whichever contact method you decide on, be sure it is clearly available on your website as its own page or as a footer.
Upcoming tour dates
The last element to include on your website is your upcoming tour dates. If an A&R rep is looking into your band, they may be interested in seeing your live show in a city nearby. Not only does this allow people to experience your performance; it also shows them that you are active in the music scene and can find opportunities to perform on your own. Listing your upcoming tour dates on your website provides social proof that your band can land the gig, and that social proof can make or break someone's decision to sign you, cover you, or click the like button.
There are plenty of other items you can use to fill out your site, such as a blog or an online merch store, but these five are must-haves. Your online presence begins with a platform of your own, and every social media post or email blast should lead people back to your site. Used effectively, it can be a tremendous tool to communicate the vision of your band, as a portfolio of your sound, and as your news room, and fans will never be disappointed.