Build Your Band Website – In 5 Minutes And For Less Than $20
THIS POST IS LESSON 2 OF OUR FREE 'BAND WEBSITE' COURSE. CLICK HERE FOR MORE
In this post you’ll learn exactly how you can launch a bespoke band website using WordPress by watching our step-by-step walk through in an easy to follow video tutorial.
As you’ll know, we believe that having a band website and mailing list are both crucial to the success of a DIY musician and that they provide the engine for growth for your career.
This post is one of a series of posts and videos that will show you exactly how to build and launch the website and fan email capture strategy that we recommend and use with our clients.
We genuinely believe that any musician can follow this process and build an artist website for themselves. If you’re not very technically minded and think this might be beyond you, you’re about to learn how you can do this simply, cheaply and quickly, even if you’re totally new to it.
The entire process is set out in the video in this post and we look at each step in detail below the video.
In this video you’ll walk through buying a domain name and hosting and getting your band website launched.
Watch the video below.
HOSTGATOR DISCOUNT COUPON CODE - MIIM25
If you’re ready to get started, you can go straight to the domain name and hosting providers and begin or read on and come back to this section when you’ve taken it all in!
If you’re ready now to buy your hosting account from Hostgator, take the coupon code and simply follow the steps in the video above.
You’ll enter that coupon code at ‘Stage 5’ and press ‘Validate’ to make sure the discount is applied.
Our current best coupon code for the best discount is – MIIM25
The discount applies to the amount of months you pay for on registration, so it may well make sense to pay for 12, 24 or even 36 months to get the maximum benefit of the discount.
If you’ve watched the video, you have all the information you need.
If you prefer to read through the process rather than watch a video, or you want some extra information, we’re now going to highlight the main steps and you can also download the accompanying checklist by clicking below:
CLICK TO GET THE FREE COURSE CHECKLIST NOW
What Do You Need?
To set up your band website, you’re going to need:
I know we’ve said you can do this in 5 minutes (and you can) but I’m allowing you time to watch the video and then complete the steps afterwards!
Buy Your Domain and Hosting Separately
We recommend buying your domain name from a different provider than where you buy your hosting.
There’s a whole host of reasons why this is a very good idea indeed. In the main, we suggest this so that if there is ever a problem with either of your accounts you can copy your whole site and move it to a new hosting company or change the domain easily, even if you’re having trouble getting into one of your two accounts.
This is perhaps overkill and a little paranoid but it's behaviour that has served us and our clients well over the years.
Get Your Domain Name at Namecheap
The first step is to choose and purchase your domain name from Namecheap.
Your domain is the URL of your band website.
Choosing Your Domain Name
If at all possible you should try to get simply the name of your band or you as an artist with the '.com' extension at the end.
We prefer to use '.com' as we all tend to see that as the highest level and most professional domain (what the experts call a ‘top level domain’ or ‘TLD’).
If that's not available you can try '.net' or possibly '.org'. You might alternatively choose to use other extensions such as '.co.uk' or '.de' for your particular country's top level domain.
In some cases we've worked with artists who have used the ‘.mu' or .'tv' domain extension. These are all acceptable options but we'd urge you to go with some form of your artist name plus a '.com', if that is at all possible.
These days it is unfortunately very likely that you won't be able to get the domain that exactly matches the name of your act - unless your act has a very unusual name! The internet has been around long enough now that most common domains have been long since snapped up.
If that's the case try to get something along the lines of 'artistnameofficial.com', or 'artistnamemusic.com' or even 'artistnamehq.com'. As long as it contains your 'artist name' and is obvious and easy to remember you should be fine.
One other thing to remember is that it's always a great idea to try and be consistent with this domain name and all your social media profiles.
So, if you go for 'artistnameofficial.com' then it makes sense to try and have your social media profiles follow the same naming method - i.e. facebook.com/artistnameofficial, instagram.com/artistnameofficial etc.
So, if you haven’t done so already, spend a little while checking that the name you want to use is also available on the primary social media sites that will matter to you - which we’d suggest includes at least Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Instagram.
There’s a great service called Namechk that will do this for you across all domain names and social media sites in one search. If you need to check, then do that, but come back to Namecheap to purchase your domain so that you can follow along the steps in the video!
And, at the risk of you feeling like I must think you're a bit slow, you, of course, swap 'artistname' for your actual band name or artist name!
For these tutorials we’re building a band website for the imaginatively titled ‘yourgreatband’, so that’s the domain we’re looking for.
Purchasing Your Domain Name At Namecheap
Now that you know what domain name you’re going to buy, click through to Namecheap.
On the Namecheap homepage, simply type in your chosen domain name and hit the search icon.
On the next screen you’ll be shown the options that are available.
If your chosen domain name is available, simply click the ‘+’ add to cart button.
If your chosen domain is not available, start trying the variations we discussed above in the search box on this results page until you get one that works for you and makes sense with your social media profiles.
On the next screen, there are a couple of options to consider.
We recommend switching on ‘Auto-Renew’ so that your domain name registration will renew annually using the payment method you enter and that Namecheap then keeps on file.
Just to the left of the ‘Auto-Renew’ slider you’ll see a drop down option for the length of time (the number of years) you want to register this domain name for, starting with the minimum of one year.
We usually select one year and ‘Auto-Renew’ but if you know that your band is a long term certainty then it can make a lot of sense to register it for longer - say five years. Although that’s obviously going to cost more, if your funds allow it, you’ll be secure in the knowledge that your domain isn’t going to expire.
I can tell you from personal experience that allowing a domain to expire and then seeing someone else swoop in and register it is no fun at all and to be avoided at all costs. So, either click ‘Auto-Renew’ or buy a number of years at this stage, or both!
There are two further options at this stage - ‘WhoisGuard’ and ‘PremiumDNS’.
WhoisGuard hides the name, address and contact details that you use to register your domain name by displaying WhoisGuard’s details instead and routing anything official through them and back to you but also filtering out spam.
This is a very sensible precaution to take to protect you or your manager from spam, unwanted contact or possibly overzealous fans!
We recommend that you switch this on and also opt for ‘Auto-Renew’ on this service as well as your domain name renewal.
The other option on this page of PremiumDNS is not necessary and should be left switched off.
For the reasons set out above do not purchase your hosting from Namecheap!
Once you’ve made your choices here, simply click ‘Confirm Order’ and then follow the steps on the next page to create an account.
After clicking ‘Create Account and Continue’, there’s a second page of account details to complete. On this page, under ‘Account Security’ we don’t bother enabling ‘Two-Factor Authentication’.
After clicking ‘Continue’ you’ll be taken to a page where you’ll be asked to check that all the information you’ve put in for your account is to be used for the WhoisGuard registration.
This will all just be the same as the account details you entered (as this is who WhoisGuard will direct any messages to) and you simply need to check the box that says ‘Associate to this domain and enable at the time of purchase’.
Click ‘Continue’ and then enter your payment details and at the foot of that screen make sure that the domain and WhoisGuard renewal options are checked (that should be automatic).
The next screen allows you to review your order and the click ‘Pay Now’ to complete your domain name purchase.
When you get taken to the success page confirming your order, leave this window or tab open whilst you move on and purchase your hosting account. We’ll come back to this screen to connect the domain name and hosting in a moment.
Note that you’ll also need to check your email for various confirmation emails from Namecheap (and shortly Hostgator) but we’ll do that all in one go once the accounts have both been opened.
Get Your Hosting At Hostgator
The next step is to buy your hosting account from Hostgator.
Web hosting is a remote computer on which you rent space. This is where all the files that will make up your website are stored - the images, text, audio and video files and so on - and which are accessed when someone visits your domain (or URL) to view your website.
Think of it like renting space in a gallery where you can hang your art.
As long as you keep up your payments (monthly or yearly) your website will be found at your domain name.
It’s a lot easier than that might sound! All you’ll need to think about is connecting your domain and hosting and then building your site - how it works can remain mostly a mystery!
Choosing Your Web Host
We recommend Hostgator for your web hosting.
Every single artist website that we have ever built is hosted on Hostgator.
I’m not saying that they are the best, the fastest or that they have the best support, but we have found them to be 100% reliable and have never had a major issue.
If you want to follow along with these steps and the video you’ll want to use Hostgator so that everything looks exactly as we describe, but, of course, there are a huge number of other options for web hosting.
We do get a referral fee if you buy Hostgator through our link but we wouldn’t be recommending it if we didn’t think they were an excellent choice.
What you’re looking for in your web hosting are the following:
- Great Support : You need to be able to talk to the people who have your website files on their servers if you ever have a problem. Quick and helpful support pays off if and when this happens. You need 365 days per year 24/7 support. Anything else is sub-standard.
- Speed : You want your website to load as fast as possible as people have tiny attention spans and a delay may mean they leave and never return!
- Uptime : Most respected web hosting companies have near 100% uptime - that being the time that their servers are fully functioning and the sites hosted on them are ‘live’. If there’s any doubt about this, leave well alone
- Value : Perhaps the most important consideration for musicians is that the combination of uptime, speed and support are matched by a reasonable cost. Don’t look for the cheapest but look for hosting that is competitively priced and offers these other factors.
In our opinion Hostgator ticks all these boxes and that’s why we recommend them without reservation.
They also offer a full money back guarantee for 45 days, so you can try them out and if you’re not satisfied you can get all your money back.
Purchasing Your Web Hosting At Hostgator
Now that you’re ready to buy your hosting, click through to Hostgator.
HOSTGATOR DISCOUNT COUPON CODE - MIIM25
On the Hostgator homepage, simply click on the big yellow ‘Get Started Now’ button.
Although there are four different versions of the hosting under this main offer (including one that specifically says ‘Wordpress Hosting’), you don’t need and shouldn’t opt for any of these.
Stick with the standard offer.
On the next page you’ll be presented with the option of three different levels of plan. The cheapest (and recommended) version, called the ‘Hatchling’ plan, enables you to build only one website, so for most bands and musicians that is going to be fine.
The other two options, called the ‘Baby’ plan and the ‘Business’ plan respectively offer the ability to build more than one website on the same hosting and additional features such as an SSL certificate (additional security) which you aren’t likely to need at this stage.
Click through to the ‘Hatchling’ plan.
On the next page, you will create an account and select various options for the plan you’ve chosen.
You need to start by selecting ‘I already own this domain’, since you just followed our advice and bought your domain separately from Namecheap for the reasons we’ve mentioned above.
Nonetheless, Hostgator won’t miss a trick and they will still throw up a lot of other versions of your domain name that you could purchase.
Don’t be tempted, you don’t need them!
Scroll down to the second section headed ‘Choose Your Hosting Plan’.
Getting The Best Discount On Your Web Hosting
I know that you’ve already selected your hosting plan, but here is where you’ll have to tell Hostgator how long you want to pay for up front.
In the video, I acknowledge that a lot of musicians will opt to pay monthly, which is fine, but when you choose that option all hosting companies make the monthly cost a lot more than the advertised minimum monthly cost.
In order to get that lower per month cost you need to pay for a year (or multiple years) up front.
Any discount that you’re going to get (and we always have a 25% off coupon - code ‘MIIM25’) only applies to the period you pay for at this account setup.
So, if you know you’re in this for the long haul, it makes a lot of sense to select a year, or even two or three years, from the drop down menu to get the maximum saving.
Of course, buying in multiples of years also removes the issue of having to ensure that your monthly renewal goes through every month.
If I know one thing about musicians it’s that a good few of them are bumping up against their credit limit a lot of the time - so saving money at this point and avoiding having to deal with credit card expiry or over limit failures to renew your web hosting is a very sensible move.
If you can pay for 12, 24 or 36 months at this stage I’d advise you to do so.
As I said above, their 45 day full money back guarantee would apply to whatever amount you paid upfront for hosting should you wish to cancel.
In this section you’re also going to create a username and a 4 digit PIN which you’ll need if and when you want to contact their support team. Write both of these down somewhere safe.
In fact, given the amount of logins, passwords and account names you’ll end up with by the end of this process, now is a good time to open a text document and start noting all these things down.
The next section is the standard account payment details. Knock yourself out!
You can pay with credit card or Paypal.
You can enter the name of your band as ‘Company’ and you have the option of choosing whether the account is for an individual, business or charity. I usually put the name of the artist/band in the ‘Company’ box and leave the dropdown on ‘Individual’. I don’t think it’s a big deal either way.
In section 4, entitled ‘Add Additional Services’, Hostgator will offer you additional options which you might or might not choose to take up.
But, do be careful, since some of them will have their checkboxes ticked by default.
So, take a moment to think about whether you need them or not and uncheck them where appropriate.
The options are:
- HackAlert Monitoring : This service monitors your site and notifies you if it gets hacked.
- Professional Email : This is a professional email solution powered by Gmail. Note that your hosting account comes with a simple email system without selecting this option.
- Site Backup : Daily automated backups of your website with simple restore tools.
- SSL Certificate : Additional security for your website - required by some payment systems and increasingly seen as necessary (but not yet!).
We can see the appeal of three of these four options, but the bottom line is that you don’t need them at this stage.
You might come to need them soon enough, but whilst you’re building your site and focusing on using it to grow your fan email list, you have other things to focus on.
On top of that, the security and backup options can be dealt with by third party tools, often at less cost.
There’s also the consideration that Hostgator (and most hosting providers) charge for most of these add-ons annually at the time of setup. In this case, that applies to the Backup and SSL options meaning that your initial bill is going to go up quite a bit.
If I was going to pick one I’d pick the Backup, but even that is optional at this stage.
Once you’ve unchecked any that you don’t want, make sure you double-check before you hit ‘Checkout Now’!
Hostgator Coupon Code
In section 5 you have the option to enter a coupon code.
We always have a coupon code available from Hostgator for the best discount available at any given time.
Our default coupon code, which gives a discount of 25% on your initial payment (hence why we say it’s worth trying to buy 12 months or more at this point if you can afford it is - MIIM25
If there is a coupon code currently available for a better discount than 25% that will appear here (which we update regularly if Hostgator offer a better deal at any time):
COPY AND USE THIS CODE - MIIM25
Copy that coupon code and enter it into the coupon code box and hit ‘Validate’.
Then scroll down into section 6 and review the details of your order, checking the amount of months you’re paying for in your initial payment.
Note that this is when I scroll back up to section 4 and make sure that none of the Additional Services have managed to select themselves!
Check the box to agree to the terms and conditions and click the ‘Checkout’ button.
Hostgator Customer Portal
Congratulations, you’ve purchased your hosting.
Hostgator will take a moment to set up your hosting account and then you’ll be taken to the ‘Customer Portal’.
At the end of this process you will end up with four separate accounts or areas that you can login to which are related to your band website.
These are the Namecheap account for your domain registration, the Hostgator customer portal, your Hostgator C-Panel and your website Dashboard.
Each of these will have separate login details, hence why we’ve said it’s a good idea to open up a text document and start copying the four different logins into one document and then keeping that and the original email confirmations safe!
Don’t worry though - it will become very clear very quickly which of the four areas you’ll need and you will spend 95% of your time solely logging in to your website Dashboard. You’ll only need the others for specific reasons that we are about to cover.
So, below is an image of the ‘Customer Portal’.
This is primarily for solely accessing your account details and support, should you need to contact them. You will very rarely need to login to this portal other than to change account details such as your contact details, or to check your billing information or for support.
Although this has a sub- tab in the Account tab that is headed ‘email’, that is for changing the email address associated with your new hosting account - it is not anything to do with creating email using your new domain name and hosting (we cover that in a later video here).
The tab headed ‘Hosting’ is one way to access a version of your C-Panel, but we’re going to show you the direct login address for that below as well when we deal with Installing WordPress on your hosting.
We’ll cover that in a moment, but before we do we have to connect the two elements that we’ve just bought and make them work together.
Connect Your Domain to Your Hosting
Time to check your email account for a load of confirmation and verification emails!
You’ll have at least two emails from Namecheap.
One is a receipt and the other is confirmation of the account name and password you set up to buy your domain name.
Copy those to your text document for all your login and account information. Hopefully you haven’t forgotten that password already…!
If you opted for the WhoisGuard protection (as suggested) you’ll have a third email from Namecheap that has the subject line ‘IMMEDIATE VERIFICATION required for….’.
There is a legal obligation to confirm that the contact details you have provided and protected by using WhoisGuard are, in fact, controlled by you. You simply need to open this email and click on the confirmation link.
Next you’ll see three emails from Hostgator.
The first one is titled ’Thank you for choosing Hostgator!’ and contains the username and password you created when buying the hosting together with the URL for the login to the customer portal we just looked at.
Again, copy this to your text document.
The email titled ‘Your New Hosting Account Is Ready!’ simply confirms that fact and has links to various bits of advice and training from Hostgator that you may well find useful.
However, don’t go and look at that yet as we’re going to cover most of it in the next steps and if you want to you can go back and dig deeper later on.
However, the third email is the crucial one and is titled ‘Hostgator.com :: Your Account Info’.
This contains the direct URL for your C-Panel (or ‘control panel’), and the details of the two ‘Nameservers’ that you are going to need to connect your domain name at Namecheap to your Hosting at Hostgator.
Whilst you have this email open, copy all the account information into your text document!
Point Your Domain To Your Hosting
Nameservers are used to connect your domain name with your hosting so that when someone types in your domain it takes them to your website. In technical terms what is happening is that when someone clicks on your URL their internet service provider looks up the DNS (the Domain Name Server) record and translates it into an address (the IP address) that their computer or phone can understand.
Complicated? Maybe, but don’t worry about it. Think of it like looking up an address in an old school phone book.
Plus, when you’ve done the connection you don’t have to think about it again!
So, next, copy the ‘1st Nameserver’ details from this email and then we’re going to go to your Namecheap account and change the DNS record so that it knows where to send people looking for your website.
If you still have the Namecheap tab open, you’ll see the ‘Manage’ button right there on the Purchase Summary page. In line with your domain name.
If you’ve closed that, just log back in and you’ll be able to see your domain name and a ‘Manage’ button in the Dashboard area.
Click on ‘Manage’ and this will take you to your ‘Domain List’ page.
Again, click on the ‘Manage’ button on the right hand side of the page in line with your domain name.
This opens a page where you can manage your domain.
Look for the option that says ‘Nameservers’ on the left, click the dropdown menu in the middle that will currently say ‘Namecheap BasicDNS, and from the menu select ‘Custom DNS’.
Two lines will appear that say (in greyed out text) ‘Nameserver 1 ‘ and ‘Nameserver 2’.
Paste in the Nameserver 1 details that you copied a moment ago from the Hostgator email.
Drop down to the second line and paste in the same number, but then edit it to one digit higher (check this against your Hostgator email as necessary but I have only vere seen a pair of Nameservers be numbered sequentially!).
Then click the green arrow on the right to save these settings.
That’s done and now your Domain is pointing to your hosting.
See, that was easy and now you can forget about that (but do keep that text file somewhere safe!
You’ll see a message at the top of the screen where Namecheap will tell you that this DNS change can take up to 48 hours to take effect. That is true depending on where you live in the world, but usually it will actually be done in a few minutes.
With that done, all that is left is to install WordPress on your hosting and launch your new band website.
To install WordPress on your Hostgator hosting we need to login to a new area - the C-Panel and follow a few simple steps.
The URL for the direct login to the C-Panel for your hosting is in that main email from Hostgator.
Open that again and click on the link next to ‘Your Control Panel’. Just before you do that click, copy your password from that email so you have it to hand for the login.
That takes you direct to the login screen for the backend of your Hostgator C-Panel, which is where you manage the WordPress installation.
On this screen enter the username that you created when you set up your hosting account (also in that Hostgator email) and paste in your password and click ‘Login’.
You’re now logged in to the Control Panel (or C-Panel) area of your hosting and you’re presented with various sections.
At the top you’ll see sections labelled ‘Popular Links’ and ‘Essentials’. In both sections you’ll see an icon for installing WordPress, imaginatively entitled ‘Wordpress Installer’.
Click that (in either location) and you’re taken to the installation screen.
All you have to do here is select your domain from the drop down screen in the centre of the page.
Since you’ve just bought new hosting and entered the domain you bought at Namecheap in the Hostgator purchase process, your domain name will be the only one available in the dropdown.
Ignore the section to the right which is for if you were choosing to put your website in a sub-directory of your domain. You’re not, you are installing it at what is called the root domain.
On the next screen you will need to enter the name of your blog and the details for an ‘Admin User’.
This will actually generate the user details (the name) and (on the next screen) a password which will be your login for the backend of your WordPress website.
Generally this can be your name or some people prefer to use ‘Admin’.
I prefer to use your first name as, by default, most WordPress sites will display that name as the author of a post. Since you’ll have fans reading your posts on your site it looks more personal to me to have them authored by you than an anonymous ‘Admin’.
Enter the name of the site, which will be your band or artist name, your email (where your WordPress login details will be emailed) and the user details.
Click the checkbox to accept the ‘Terms of Service Agreement’ and then click ‘Install’.
For a few moments, you’ll see the words ‘Wordpress Is Installing’ and very shortly you’ll get a big green tick and the words ‘Installation Complete’.
In the top right corner you’ll see the ‘Installation Details’ and under that the final set of login details. These are the login details for your WordPress backend or dashboard.
Copy these to your text document. Now you have the full set on that so don’t forget to save it somewhere safe.
You will also get an email confirming the user details that you just created and, in addition, the URL of the login for your website itself. Again, copy that URL to your text document.
Check Your Band Website Is Live
Congratulations, you’ve done everything to get your band website up and running on the internet.
Sure, there’s plenty more to do to make it look great and to build out the systems that will turn it into an engine to drive the growth of your career, but that crucial first step is done.
The next step is to see if your website is actually live.
All you’re doing here is seeing if the ‘DNS propagation’ has taken place - remember we said it can take up to 48 hours.
So, just click on the blue link URL of your domain in the top right of the screen that you’re on, just under ‘Installation Details’.
If you’re taken to a screen like the image below with an ‘Admin Login’ button and with the URL of your domain in the address bar at the top, then it’s game on. The DNS has propagated and your site is live on the internet.
Have another little celebration!
Your website now exists - it’s live - but it’s currently just displaying a ‘Coming Soon’ page. There’s just a few more steps you’ll want to do before you release that and ‘launch’ your website.
If you don’t see this Coming Soon page, don’t panic. It’s simply because your nameservers haven’t propagated yet. They will, so just come back now and again over the next 48 hours until you see this at your domain URL.
Login To Your WordPress Dashboard
If you do see the ‘Website Coming Soon’ holding page, you can login and have a little poke around and start to get familiar with the basics of using your WordPress website.
Click the ‘Admin Login’ button in the middle of the screen and you’ll be taken to the login screen for your WordPress website.
Now is a good time to grab that URL (http://yourgreatband.com/wp-admin) and copy it to your text file. It’s the direct login to your website dashboard that you will use all the time (As I said, there is also a further confirmation email sent that includes this URL, your username and password for the WordPress login).
Use the password you just copied and the username you created in the Hostgator purchase process (These should now all be on your text document, but if not, check your email for a final email from Hostgator with these login details).
On your first time login only you’ll see a screen that says ‘Welcome to WordPress’. You won’t see this on subsequent logins and all you need to do is click the small text line that says ‘I don’t need help’. That’s the case as we’re showing you how to set up your WordPress site specifically the way we know that is most effective for musicians.
You may also be offered various other options or add-on tools. You don’t need these either so close any that pop up.
After clicking ‘I don’t need help’ (and a confirmation that you do want to ‘Leave Page’) you’ll be taken to the WordPress Dashboard of your new band website.
This will become a very familiar place as it’s where everything that you do to your site is controlled from.
The first thing you’ll see is that there’s a message at the top that tells you that your website is currently displaying a ‘Coming Soon’ (or ‘holding’) page. That was the brown page you saw when you had just connected your domain and hosting together.
You’ll release that shortly, but, since you are logged in to your site, you can toggle between what the outside world is currently able to see (the Coming Soon page) and what your website actually looks like.
Click on the name of your website in the top left corner and you’ll switch to viewing your website as it currently looks.
That’s your site live on the internet.
Now, OK, it doesn’t look like much yet, but you’ve taken the first step to building something great and, more importantly, something that’s going to drive the growth of your fanbase.
No-one else can see that yet, so let’s do a few quick tweaks to help you along.
Create Your First Post
Click the name of your site in the top left corner and toggle back to the WordPress Dashboard.
Let’s make your first post.
As you’ve just launched your website, WordPress offers you a bunch of easy to find options right in the middle of the screen - including ‘Write your first blog post’.
You can click that, but as you move forward these links will disappear from your Dashboard and you’ll use the sidebar on the left to select what you want to do.
So, look for ‘Posts’ on the left menu and click that. From the pop-out menu, choose ‘Add New’.
This will open a screen where you can create your first post on your band website.
We explain in the next post what you need to know about the different types of Pages and Posts you can create on your site, but, for now, think of ‘Posts’ as regular news or blog entries and ‘Pages’ as static reference areas (for a musician, these will be things like an About page, a Discography etc).
So, this first post should be some bit of news, such as the fact that you’ve just launched your new band website.
Posts (and Pages) can have whatever you can create within them - so that means photos, diagrams, other image, video, audio players, GIFs - anything that you see anywhere on the web.
Firstly enter a title for your blog post in the top text area box and then write a few lines in the larger text box which is where everything that is post content goes.
Here is where you can also add images or other media.
Once you’ve written a few lines, click the blue ‘Publish’ button on the right hand side.
This makes the post live on your website.
Toggle back to the published view of your website (click the name of your site in the top left) and you’ll now see your new post on the homepage of your website.
That’s how easy it is to post. Again, I know that it doesn’t look like much yet, but lastly in this band website setup tutorial we’re just going to give you a glimpse of how easy it’s going to be to make your site look a lot better.
Install WordPress Theme
Toggle back to the Dashboard.
In the left sidebar, look for ‘Appearance’ and from the pop out menu select ‘Themes’.
Although you could design the appearance of your band website from scratch, almost nobody does.
WordPress works on a system of what is called a ‘Theme’.
A Theme is basically a ready made ‘look and feel’ template for your website. It will have a style and layout designed to look great and usually that is tailored to a particular industry and to have a specific effect. So, you’ll find Themes for eCommerce, for different types of business, for photo heavy sites for fashion bloggers and themes that are set up to make video look great and so on.
There are, of course, a lot of themes that are specifically designed for musicians and bands and we'll look at those in a future post, but we cover five themes and some more ways that they can be used in this WordPress for musicians overview.
There are tens if not hundreds of thousands of options that you can choose from and they all offer the ability to then tweak them to get exactly what you want.
For now, you’re just going to make the most basic change to your Theme using the latest free version supplied by WordPress - just so that you can see how easy it is to do.
On this page you’ll see the current free default Themes offered by WordPress themselves. They release a new one every year and they are called after the year in which they are released.
Depending on when you launch your website, the initial WordPress installation will automatically have installed the current default Theme. As you’ve seen in this post and video your site has the ‘Twenty Sixteen’ Theme installed.
On this screen you can see the currently available default Themes.
At the time we filmed this the ‘Twenty Seventeen’ Theme was not yet available as a default, so to find it you have to click through to ‘ Add New Theme’. (When you are going through this process, the Twenty Seventeen’ Theme may well be on this page already as a default option).
Once you click through to ‘Add New Theme’ you’ll see the ‘Twenty Seventeen’ Theme at the top.
Simply click on it and select ‘Install’ and after a few seconds the button will change to ‘Activate’. Click that.
Note that you could scroll through a whole host of free Themes in this section and install any of them. But, there are also whole market places online where you can find the vast majority of available Themes, none of which are available through the WordPress Dashboard - and it is those themes that your are most likely to end up choosing.
The reason that we’re installing this one is that it’s very simple and in a later post and video we’re going to use it as an example of how you change the header and add your logo.
We are not suggesting that this Theme would be your final design - we simply think it’s a good exercise to go through whilst you get familiar with how WordPress and Themes work!
Now that you’ve installed the Twenty Seventeen Theme, click on the name of your site in the top left and toggle back to have a look at it.
And you can see that with two clicks you have completely changed how your website looks. Most Themes that you might choose will have an even more radical effect when you install and activate them!
Launch Your Band Website
All that’s left to do now is remove the ‘Coming Soon’ page and make your website available on the internet.
However, you might choose to wait on this for a while!
In our post on setting up your musician squeeze page you’ll learn exactly how to set up your mailing list and start collecting fan emails from your website squeeze page, but this can, in fact, be built on the holding page (or Coming Soon page) and your website does not need to be fully open for that critical fan collecting page to be up and running.
In addition, you can build your squeeze page and have it up and running collecting fan emails whilst you build your site, choosing a Theme and putting all your pages together behind the ‘Coming Soon’ page.
That is probably the best of both worlds.
You’ve created a band website that can perform its critical task (collecting emails) and you can work on making the website your online hub without doing it with your website open.
That’s all covered in the post on building your squeeze page.
What we’ll do now is show you how to open your band website - you can always close it again when you get on to the next stage.
So, toggle back to the Dashboard and simply click the line directly under the Dashboard heading to switch off the Coming Soon page.
You have a band website live.
If you’ve read this all and are now ready to start just click the buttons below to get your domain and hosting.
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Don’t forget that you can also download the full checklist to keep on hand as you go through all these steps (which also covers the set up of the email list and squeeze page).
Download the accompanying checklist by clicking below:
CLICK TO GET THE FREE COURSE CHECKLIST NOW
Understanding WordPress for Musicians
In the next post we’ll take a look at how you can make your new website look exactly how you want as well as looking at some of the basic functions you’ll want to use.
We suggest that you read that post and watch that video next.
But, if you want to move straight onto the critical and key step of setting up your fan email software system, creating your first fan email list and Squeeze Page then click here.
You can go back to the hub page for all the posts for the whole system here but if you’re reading these posts in order then click below to go to the next step.
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