I received an eloquent email from Tony Boyd a guitarist in The Primary - a folk rock band made up of a group of expats living in and around CheongJu, South Korea. My first cynical thought was, “Uhm.. expats ay, I wonder how long that band’s going to last?” In their email they list their initial goals, which are very typical of an emerging band: to maximise the number of fans downloading their EP. to increase gig attendance. to raise the profile of their band to a local audience. to improve their visability in the search engines.
I don’t want to be sardonic, I’m like that sometimes, or disbelieving of their commitment, instead I would like to show my support by offering up this blog post to them (hope it helps you Tony), but this post is not just for The Primary, anyone with a Website can make it famous in a weekend :)
O.K. let’s get started
Planning And Preperation You are going to need an incentive (a carrot, a hook) or basically something that will motivate your target audience into visiting your website - it needs brainstorming; it’s a good idea to brainstorm with a small group of colleagues (i.e. the band).
- Firstly and obviously, you need a website. The Primary do have a site, but if your band hasn’t already got one, get it sorted out tonight and over the week ahead and start making your new website famous next weekend! I recommend two website hosting providers:
iPower Hosting - “Pro Plan”: $3.95/pm (Sale Price @ time of writing). free domain name. unlimited webspace. unlimited bandwidth - I am an affiliate.
And Easyspace - “Starter Hosting”: £2.25/pm (@ time of writing). free domain name. 500MB webspace. unlimited bandwidth - I am an affiliate.
Both iPowerweb and Easyspace are continually running sales promotions and are very competitive with their pricing and services.
- If you can’t afford to pay and are looking for a free website I heartily recommend WordPress.com; then later if you want to upgrade it’s only $99.00/pa for free domain name or domain mapping. 10GB webspace. unlimited bandwidth. No Ads - of course! VideoPress plugin. Employing a freelancer to design a wordpress site for you is a good idea if you can afford the ’small’ investment. The band PRIMER use Wix.com which is free and typical of a free web hosing provider - easy to use! You can upgrade Wix to “Unlimited”: £7.76/pm (best value @ time of writing). free domain name. 2.5GB webspace. unlimited bandwidth. No Ads. $125 worth of vouchers. SEO pack. Bloody good value.
- Focus On Your Objective “To make your website famous in a weekend.” WTF does that mean - getting a whole load of visitors in one sudden rush then nothing but ignominy? Or maybe it’s not a short term quick fix surge of frenzied traffic, possibly it’s the start of something that’s going to take a lot longer than the weekend! Yeah, that’s it; realistic website promotion is always a multi-disciplined, long-term effort - actually there’s no magic bullet. You’ve still got to set your goal though - perhaps it’s “to get my name out there”? - that’s your name, not mine, haha :p
This Weekend We Are Going To Drive Traffic Your Website :) How’s that? O.K., no distractions then, it’s going to take all weekend.
- Create a plain text file on your computer to Keep Notes [important].
- You are going to need some Online Resouces, so, sign up to:
- MailChimp - a free email marketing and email list manager that allows you to design, send and track HTML email campaigns - Also think about Constant Contact, they’ve a 60-Day free trial offer - brilliant for email marketing.
- Google Alerts - emails sent to you when Google finds new results (i.e. on websites, blogs etc.) that match your search term (i.e. your band’s name, album title and your genre e.g. indie folk rock); so you can monitor the Web and find out what is being said about your band.
- Google Analytics - so you can evaluate your progress. Keep track of your website’s statistics and social analytics.
- Google Adsense - so you can evaluate your progress finacially.
- Google FeedBurner - for spreading the word!
- SiteTrail - find sites you find interesting and compatible with yours and “trail” them. Then see an aggregated news stream of all the sites you’re trailing - interesting and helpful!
- WordPress.com - get a free blog (even if you can host one yourself on your own website).
- If you’re not, you should be on, so sign up to (before you sign up you should visit namecheckr the social username availability checker):
- Read: The Most Frequently Found Website Promotion Mistakes
- BTW, keep up-to-date with the latest Band Promotion Ideas Subscribe to the Band Promotion Blog
Bon nuit mon ami
Morning :) Today is all about getting ready for the big push on Sunday.
Just to get it out of the way and because I know your thinking it, the fastest way to make your website famous is to generate lots of incoming links from important and busy websites that are related to your website’s subject matter, i.e. the indie folk rock scene.
However, we’re not going to spend all weekend building links. We are going to: create the right environment that will satisfy your target audience. then point your potential fan towards your website. Your visitors will keep returning and become fans if they are continually entertained (so it’s an ongoing thing). Your hit count will improve with the quality and quantity of Content, in combination with the quality and quantity of Incoming Links, and Time - it’s not all going to happen overnight!
- Do some tests on your website to see how it’s standing (IMPORTANT: take notes):
- W3C HTML Validation - check the HTML
- css validation - check the cascading style sheets
- PageRank - has a number of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Tools, including: ‘keyword density analyzer’, for determining the optimum keyword density for your web page. ‘related keywords’ enables you to identify related keywords and search terms that are closely related to your website and shows an estimate of their monthly search volume. ’search engine simulator’ displays a simulated view of how a web page would be seen by the search engines; it shows you only text that search engines can read - Very Handy For Bands. ’search engine saturation’ shows the number of pages a given search engine has in its index for your website.
- Submit Express - This handy tool is a meta tags analyzer, SEO analyzer, website load time checker, keyword density checker and more…
O.K. then make the appropriate important changes.
- Check your TITLE tag (in head), the DESCRIPTION meta tag and the KEYWORDS meta tag. If you don’t understand, read Band promotion for unsigned bands, then shoot me an email for more help.
- Check that your band’s website loads quickly (Google PageSpeed also Submit Express), is in character for your genre, is entertaining, has a purpose and offers an easy mailing list and or newsletter sign up - get some outside opinions.
- Find about 20 keywords and key-phrases that best describe your band and its genre; think about what your potential fans will search for - for example it could be your: genre indie folk rock, location CheongJu South Korea, favourite venue Club Freebird Hongdae, Seoul, album Beneath The Tide, song titles Faith Healer, Head In The Door… etc., then add them to your website (think SEO) - you’re being found for something else in the search engines other than your band’s name and that’s something V.important.
- Unify your web presence creating a simple, bold and easy to recognize: avatar or logo, banner image, flyers - think branding, consistency and identity.
- Make the changes to your website - it should take all morning! Double check image ‘alt’ tags and anchor link ‘title’ tags are correct, it will help with SEO.
- To host your own blog use, WordPress.org - free blog software, easy to install, loads of free templates and plugins. BTW, WordPress.org is for downloading wordpress to your website; the WordPress.com version is a blog hosted free by WordPress!
- Add these plugins?:
- Trackable Social Share Icons - enables your readers to easily share posts on social networks, i.e. Facebook and Twitter.
- Google Analyticator - adds code to enable Google Analytics.
- Googlyzer - a handy dashboard for viewing Google Analytics data without leaving the WordPress Admin console.
- Twitter Badge Widget - for displaying tweets from a specific twitter user.
- AddThis - a widget like ‘Trackable Social Share Icons’.
- Tony, you have got a very distinctive avatar, but does it conjure up the aura of your band’s genre? Don’t, Ever, use Twitter’s default avatar, that comes over as being really, really pathetic.
- Use your band’s name as your Twitter name! Obvious!
- Always include your location. Where you live can be seen as a selling point; it’s certainly essential information for booking agents - think about your geographics, locality is important.
- Use your index.html page’s Description meta tag to write an intriguing Twitter profile bio that describes your band in fewer than 160 characters. Add it to Twitter. Everyone who visits your profile will read this, but more importantly, everyone who’s thinking about following you will read it too.
- Include a link to your Website, not to your Facebook page. If you haven’t got a ‘real’ website, get a free Wordpress blog and use that as your band’s website. Promote your website first over social media profiles; and think about which way the traffic flows to and from your website.
- Prepare a list of approximately 20 sentences (140 characters) focusing on Your Band’s lifestyle to help trigger a discussion tomorrow - be elegant.
- Create an email list or database of fans, friends and family using MailChimp. Especially target those within your locale - a group of five should easily be able to assemble a legitimate mailing list of about 400 (ask people first), aim for around 1,500 - 2,000 subscribers - a 2000 subscriber email-shot should be free!
- Draw up a list of people to approach, for a small, hands-on and dedicated ‘Promotion Team’ (superfans only) that can work both online and offline - a proactive and knowledgable ‘E/street’ team can really help to increase your fan base. Send them an email asking for help.
- Keep a record of what you are doing by creating a link directory - it’s another one of those plain text files.
- Add your band’s website to: ODP - Open Directory Project - the most comprehensive human-reviewed directory of the web. It’ll take a little time to get listed, but it will help with your search engine ranking and you’ll get more traffic.
- Link to your website from all of your social media networking profile pages: Facebook, Twitter, Last.fm, ReverbNation, Wordpress, YouTube…
- Search for blogs who write about your genre: ‘indie folk rock‘. Join. Contribute unselfishly, don’t talk about yourselves - your link will be included when you leave a comment :)
- Search for 30 genre and lifstyle related websites: ‘south korean indie rock band‘. Take notes.
Mornin’. No chatter. Let’s get goin’.
- Write a 500 words article about the style of your music to put on to your website’s blog (if you’ve only got a wordpress.com one, post it there). Blogging regularly will really get you thinking about your subject and enable you to talk extensively about your music - share generally.
- Write a 300 words blog post (for wordpress.com) showcasing the brilliance of your fans, include photographs. A great way to get fans involved with your band and get them talking - share on FaceBook.
- Ping when you post - WordPress supports automatic pingbacks (a type of linkback method) where all links in a published article are pinged when the article is published. It’s an easy way to reach out to other blogs when you post.
- Add your band’s blog to local search – for more inf. see: Google+ Local Help - if you really want to target local traffic.
- Find a band’s blog that is enthusiastic and compatible with your band’s lifestyle and genre. Join in, support their community and share generally. Don’t spam them, it’s all about the community, not you. I would say this is the most time consuming task this weekend.
- Using Twitter Search, search for genre related bands. Follow and or engage in conversation. Make a note of their ID: @BandPromotion. You can search Twitter by using Google (folk rock band Twitter via Google) for some interesting results.
- Follow other bands followers (that’s why you made a note of their ID, so you can come back to this one) - I think that it’s important to only follow people who have the same high Twitter standards and code of behavior that you do. Firstly that means, a full and expressive profile, for instance: no lazy egg head twitter avatars, a real avatar is a must. a username that’s identifiable. they ’should’ (but it’s definitely not essential) live in or around the same location as you, don’t forget, only local people will come to your gigs. a bio (and tweeting record) that gives an indication of their approval for your genre. a link to a real website or better still a blog (local music bloggers are a prize catch). Don’t be tempted to go down the, ‘Follow.Unfollow.Repeat’ road.
- Tweet ONE link to your “new” website, announcing your changes. Then get back into conversation with people asking them about their interests.
- I assume each member of the band has a Twitter account? Well plus one for the band, in The Primary’s case, that’s 6 Twitter accounts! Using the pre-prepared tweets, interact with each other and get into conversation, drawing in other bands use #hashtags. Do this activity throughout the day.
- DON’T SEND UNSOLICITED EMAILS - NEVER SPAM
- Create a short 4 line signature for the bottom of each email you send - include: Your name. band’s name. phone number. URL. email address. a 40 character strapline. Add it to your email client or by using your email list and marketing manager dashboard. Make it look attractive
- Email your superfans, friends and family (on your mailing list) to join you on all your main social networking platforms, and ask them to evangelise via: Email, FB Likes, Retweets, Tagging, Commenting and Sharing. Provide them with interesting material so they can talk about your band, lifestyle and genre.
- Email 20 ‘local’ websites that fit-in with your genre and lifestyle; ask to swap links - they could be local charities, record shops, cafes, pubs, clubs, venues…
- Create a simple plain text (or nearly plain) newsletter using MailChimp (or the like). Announce your updated website and talk about your blog posts. Tell them about your incentive (that hook you brainstormed).
- Got a newsworthy event for Press Release worth publishing? It will boost your popularity and web traffic for a limited time only, but it could be very well worth it! I recommend (UK) PRWeb’s Basic Press Release Package at about £40. They say, “The basic package allows you to attach your website, provide contact information so those interested can find out more about your business, and chose two regional targets so you can focus in on your market.”
- Referencing the link directory you made yesterday, contact and link. For linking also think networking and for networking think conversations. So that’s, get into deep and meaningful conversation with all those new people - and don’t forget to hook up with them on their favourite social media network.
That’s it - Good Night. If you’ve got any specific questions, please feel free to ask and I’ll do my best for you. GOOD LUCK Tony :)
Written by Ian Robson
Unsigned Band Promotion help musicians and artists to get their websites noticed by fans, search engines and the music industry in half the time they could do it on their own. Find UBP on Google+ and Twitter. Ian has been working on website promotion techniques since 1994.