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February 26, 2012

The Most Frequently Found Website Promotion Mistakes

Filed under: Music Marketing, SEO, website promotion, Band Promotion — ian @ 12:32 pm

Sorry that it has been such a long time since I posted, I’ve been working!

If you are The Unknown Band who wants to get their name out there and would love some help with your website promotion, then take a quick gander at this Open Email - it’s a sort of ‘Most Frequently Found Website Promotion Mistakes’ compiled from my 2011 email correspondence with bands ~ no names mentioned ;)

You Are Not Maximising Your Website’s Promotional Effectiveness

Your opening page is a splash page! Having a splash page is one of the biggest and most extravagant website promotion luxuries and it is a colossal mistake. A splash page is nothing more than an introductory opening page that precedes the main home page; it usually just contains a massive attention grabbing image of the band that acts as a link to the band’s home page (CLICK TO ENTER). Here is some real source code copied from a band’s splash page (Only the band’s name & javascript have been changed):

<html> <head>
<title>The Johnson</title>
<script language="javascript">
<!– {
/*Bollox javascript*/
image_load_javascript_here();
} //–></script></head>
<body bgcolor="#CBBB9B">
<div align="center">
<a href="home.html"><img src="images/artwork.jpg"
width="800" height="569"></a>
</div></body></html>

…No Content There Guys! Personally, I think a band’s opening page should be a simplified version of their press pack, that contains everything a new visitor or fan is looking for :) Please have a V.quick gander at: Press Packs What Should They Include

Quick Fix Get rid of the splash page and replace it with your Home-Page which has loads of content.
Further Reading Search Engine Optimization - SEO for Bands and UBP’s Response To Matt Early’s Blog Post - Splash Bang Codswallop!

Your Links And Linking Are Totally Up The Spout

Linking errors will ruin your chances of success. The question every noobie band’s webmaster wants to know the answer to is, "How can I get people to visit our website, become fans and buy our music?" The answer is simple, traffic increases with the number of Links pointing to your Website in addition to the quality and quantity of your website’s Content. It’s a simple answer, but quite difficult to accomplish.

Most of your links are pointing away from your website to Facebook, Twitter, ReverbNation, MySpace and various other profile pages, and they are not reciprocated. Your website is acting as a landing page to your social media and that is wrong, it should be the other way around.

Also, create a user-friendly navigation structure so it is easy for visitors to find their way around your website - don’t use loads of different and confusing text sizes and colours. NEVER make regular text look like a bog standard link (underlined &/or blue), it confuses people and stops them clicking the real link.

Quick Fix Link with 10 other websites each week. For linking think networking and for networking think conversations. So that’s, get into deep and meaningful conversation with ten new people each week - and swap links!
Further Reading Links and Linking - The Dark Art and Check Your Link Popularity

You Have Got 153 Coding Errors On Your Home-Page

Coding errors are actually the most common of all website mistakes - by a country mile - I’m sure I’ve got some myself ;) Most HTML errors are very easy to solve, go to W3C HTML Validation and run a check to find out more.

However, you haven’t got enough technical flexibilty on the type of web platform that you’ve chosen to build your website on (one of the free web hosts) - which means, your web host, where your website resides, doesn’t allow you to get hands on with the coding (they do it all for you), your website is not created in the most optimum way and there are a shed load of SEO & html issues! Your problems would be solved by moving your website to a real web host like iPower.

The most common HTML errors are: Not including or incorrect use of DOCTYPE declaration. Forgetting to close a tag. Nesting tags incorrectly. Not opening or closing quotes within tags. Not encoding special characters like ‘"‘ and ‘&‘. Not including the image alt attribute.

Note: a lot of the free Web hosts use too much javascript, Flash and frames which can cause problems with Web crawlers; this may result in your website being indexed incorrectly (and slowly) in the search engines.

Quick Fix Get a real website from iPower then visit: W3C HTML Validation
Further Reading Band promotion for unsigned bands

Your Website Is Mind-Bendingly Boring

A band’s website shouldn’t look like a 1990s Online brochure for a small engineering firm. Boring - unless you’re a small engineer ;) A band’s website should be entertaining. And what makes a website entertaining is good content. Content is the all important key word here; if you want people to spread the word about your band, you’ve got to give them something to talk about! Give your visitors regularly updated, interesting and maybe a tad contraversial, newsworthy Content.

It is So easy to get sucked into social networking and at the same time neglect one’s website, because websites take up so much fucking time, and, quite frankly, updating websites can be boring. However, if you want to make money from your music, it is worth putting in the effort. You are posting some lovely images of your band on Facebook, publish them on your website instead. Write loads of compelling description around the images to enlighten and titillate - especially for the people who don’t know your band. Do the same for the wacky photos of your fans enjoying themselves.

Stop using images to replace actual textual content (words).

Quick Fix Turn your opening page into a Blog.
Further Reading Quality Content

There Are Problems With Your Band’s Name

You often abbreviate your band’s name or write it as an acronym, I wouldn’t do this until you are Very Well established. Promote your full name at every opportunity.

Because your band’s name is a Surname, you have got strong competition when promoting it in Google. Write a strapline that describes your band, eg: The Johnson are an indie folk band from Reading, Berkshire Put it in to your title tag and write an extended version (about 150 characters including the spaces) for your description meta tag - Write many different versions and tweet them regularly (note: tweets are 140 characters including spaces).

There are other bands with the same band name as you!

Quick Fix Choose a unique, short and memorable name that reflects your band’s image - make sure it’s O.K. to use.
Further Reading A Band Name That Everyone Cares About

You Are Not Promoting Relevant Keywords

This is how a search engine sees the textual content of your opening page: ‘official’ ’site’ because you do not have any other textual (written) content!

Aim to be found for your bands name and for something else other than your band’s name, like: ‘folk band reading’ or ‘function band berkshire’. What is someone going to type into Google to find you? Second Guessing (attempting to predict or anticipate what people are going to search for to find your website) is an odd topic with plenty of scope for both error and success, but, it’s important - your band’s lifestyle choices could be the way to go! Don’t bother using extremely popular keywords like: music, sex, free, mp3… they’ll never work!

I wouldn’t normally say anything about keyword density here on my blog, however, I would aim for approximately 4 or 5 keywords and or key-phrases per 100 words of written content (not including the header meta tags) - ‘Johnson’ is a keyword, ‘folk bands reading’ is a key-phrase!

Quick Fix Find the top 20 keywords and key-phrases that best describe your band and genre, add them to your website.

Your Free Hit Counter Looks Very Amateurish

Nobody cares about how many hits your website gets - apart from you ~ true! But, the fact that you’ve got a hit counter means that you are interested in monitoring your website’s success, brilliant. If you are interested in marketing your music, keeping track of your website statistics is vital as they will tell you what your visitors like and dislike.

Obviously, by keeping a regular check of your website’s statistics you will be able to build-up a good understanding of your: Advertising success. Traffic sources (the who, what, where and why of how people are finding you). What pages are successful… i.e. the overall performance of your website’s various aspects.

Quick Fix Get Google Analytics - so you can evaluate your progress.

Cold Hard Fact: Your Website Design Is Unprofessional

Sorry, but the one ingredient that separates an amateur website from a professional website is the speed at which the crucial message is delivered to the visitor. A professional website delivers the crucial message immediately, however, your website delivers your album and gig details eventually (one day, someday, never - only if one looks for them), V. negative!

There are two VERY important areas on the opening page of your website:
1. Centre Opening Screen - this is where your most important messages should be going.
2. Top Right Corner Opening Screen (between 1 and 2 o’clock) - the perfect place for a sign up button, a music player or a 300px x 300px ‘clickable’ image of your psychedelic album cover.

Keep the layout simple and obvious, i.e., Upcoming Gigs should be listed with new gig dates at the top and old gig dates at the bottom - why would you make visitors scroll down the page to find your next gig date? BTW, Don’t forget to blog about ‘it’ too!
…Talking of blogs, if you use Blogspot or Wordpress, make an effort to make it look like the rest of your website. Post 3 times a week.

Quick Fix Think about what your fans want. What is your website like from the their point-of-view? Ask them!
Further Reading Make A Sexy Website And Get Laid Like A Rockstar This Weekend
Make Money From Your Band’s Website

The $64,000 Question: How Can We Get More Traffic?

Well it’s the question everyone wants to know the answer to! How to get targeted and consistent traffic visiting your website - quickly, like today? After all, it’s what we build a website for, isn’t it?

The fasest way initially is to collaborate with others. Big Warning: collaboration will kill you if your band is crap and has a pisspoor website!

Create a ‘Target Fan Profile’ and figure out how they will come to your website; there are three usual ways (with multiple criterion): 1. By searching in a search engine. 2. By clicking on an incoming link. 3 By typing your URL directly into the address bar.

Create the right environment on your website that will satisfy your target audience. Point your potential fan towards your website using both online and real world techniques. Visitors will keep returning and become fans if they are continually entertained - i.e. they like you!

…How Fast? Well it is not going to be a 9.58s 100m sprint, getting traffic is much more like the decathlon! Visitor numbers improve with the quality and quantity of Content, in combination with the quality and quantity of Incoming Links, and Time.

BTW, the three most common requests I receive are: Help us get our name out there. How can we get more web traffic. and, Help Promote My Band. Unfortunately, promoting a band Online through its website and social media, doesn’t lend itself to a quick fix answer; like building relationships through networking, promoting a band Online takes time! See a simple and basic outline of a typical website promotion effort in: 100 Fan Decathlon

Your problem is that you are too focussed on social media, that you don’t pay enough attention to your website!

Lastly, and to conclude, did you know only about 20% of bands have a Real Website! That’s it for now, hope that helps a little, if you’ve got a specific question, please feel free to ask and I’ll do my best for you.

Fond Regards

TURN UP THE VOLUME
Unsigned Band Promotion
UnsignedBandPromotion.com
Helping musicians and artists get their websites noticed by fans, search engines
and the music industry in half the time they could do it on their own.

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