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November 26, 2013

LibreRock Records Website Design and Website Hosting Package

Filed under: LibreRock, SEO, Band News, Band Promotion — ian @ 11:43 pm

LibreRock Records Website Design and Website Hosting Package

My friend Matt Early from MattEarly.com and LibreRock Records is offering a brilliant Website Design and Website Hosting Package that includes Domain Name, Hands-On Support and everything else you need, for only £197 (one time payment). And that’s a bloody good deal. If you don’t believe me, search google for: “cheap website design and hosting” - make sure you read their small print!

The LibreRock Records’ Website Design & Website Hosting Package is the ultimate deal for any independent artist, musician, band or songwriter looking to advance their Web presence, attract new fans and progress their business. Matt’s experienced and individual touch for intelligent website design is second to none. But even better than that, I’ve offered to help with some Free Website Promotion ;)

YOU decide how your website looks and how it functions, for instance: you may want a crowd pulling speciality landing page, to promote a gig and increase ticket sales - Matt can do it.

This is what you get:

  • One off cost of £197 - no hidden fees :)
  • Any available .co.uk or .com domain name
  • 12 months secure hosting (After 12 months: hosting and domain name costs: £10 a month or £100 for the year)
  • 12 months free technical support and website tweaks
  • Multiple domain based email accounts (you@yourdomain.com)
  • The Handmade Website is custom designed and developed to be Responsive (a responsive Website reacts to user’s device - desktop, tablet and iPhone/Smart Phone, etc.)
  • 60% discount on future major website updates, inc. back-end coding or additions made to site after completion
  • Fully integrated Content Management System
  • Feature packed cPanel
  • Easy to use blogging software
  • Full image and video support
  • Integrated enquiry/contact form with spam protection
  • Social media links to: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, SoundCloud etc.
  • In-depth website visitor statistics
  • Google Analytics integration
  • Basic Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
  • Easy meta-tag editor to assist with SEO
  • Compatible with all major browsers: Firefox, Google Chrome, Safari, Internet Explorer and Opera
  • Free LibreRock Website Promotion Package

I think Matt wants to be paid through PayPal, because it is an incredibly safe and secure method, very easy too!

Contact Matt Early: webdesign@librerock.com
or @Matt_LDN on Twitter

September 8, 2013

The Whaam Showcase Widget

Filed under: SEO, website promotion, Band Promotion — ian @ 12:09 pm

Whaam Showcase Widget

I was emailed by the marketing whiz kid @FredrikNederby who works for a Swedish start-up called Whaam - “We are releasing our latest service to open beta the 2nd of September. The service is called The Whaam Showcase Widget. It is a kind of business card for artists and bands to show what they have on the web.” And I thought Oh My God here we go again, yet another website offering links to bands …Sorry to sound so cynical Fredrik.

My cynicism is born out of my experience with creating and promoting UnsignedBandPromotion’s now defunct Online Z-cards, which are Microsites for bands and are ostensibly on the same wavelength as The Whaam Showcase Widget, see: Build Yourself A Microsite.

Night Riot’s Whaam Showcase Widget

Are bands looking for another place where they can hang their hats? I’ve an extremely strong suspicion that they’re not! I have a feeling that it is the Bands’ Flyers Go To The Wall scenario all over again.

Whaam’s mission is to change the way music related content is presented; and that’s my problem, the Whaam Showcase Widget isn’t really all that different and it’s certainly not as exciting as the interconnection between Facebook and ReverbNation for bands; it’s also a lot like: ThingLink, but not as good in my opinion! Read more: ThingLink/learn.

The Whaam Showcase Widget is embedded in an iframe. An iframe is usually used to display information supplied by another website, in this case Whaam, on your web page. What is the effect of iframes on search engine optimization? Not good, web crawlers will either skip the iframe’s content or get diverted and miss out the rest of your website; plus, the iframe will not help your website’s pagerank either! What helps improve pagerank? Content. Actually it would be very easy to create an online business card, a Z-card, for yourself within a <div> tag - Google would love it. Need some help? Just ask. I’d say it’s best to avoid using iframes if possible!

I can hear Fredrik saying, “But The Whaam Showcase Widget is a simple line of code and easy to share.” True, very true Fredrik - Share this why don’t you: <a href=”http://www.unsignedbandpromotion.com/”>UnsignedBandPromotion</a> A Simple link. BTW, it’s easy to set up a share button with sites like AddThis.com.

Why won’t The Whaam Showcase Widget be successful? Here’s why:

The Standard Package for independent artists, musicians, bands, small blogs, etc., is FREE - there are conditions though. The Premium Package for larger blogs, small record labels, small festivals… $9 per month - and there are still conditions! The Premium+ Package for large festivals, large record labels, ticket agencies… $99 per month - Sorry Whaam, but you’ve got to be fucking joking; good luck with that. Seriously, I mean it, good luck.

Please note Fredrik, LibreRock Records can not afford $108 per annum for a glorified hyperlink.

The Whaam Showcase Widget is now beta testing; don’t be put off by my negative comments, please give Whaam a whirl; and I would love to hear how you got on - I’d also be happy to blog your band’s Showcase Widget.

August 19, 2012

Major Artists Make A Big Splash With A Webpage

Filed under: SEO, website promotion, Band Promotion — ian @ 10:27 am

Diroski - Building Success In The Music Industry by Connecting, Building Relationships, Reaching Out To The Media & Not Relying On Facebook or Myspace

The Website DIROSKI seems to be down - So Link Removed

Gemma Diroski Lou left a comment on my blog post Facebook Versus Your Website #BandPromotion and of course, as per usual, I visited her website. What caught my eye and got me thinking, was the advertisment and title of Gemma’s first music industry report, “Aren’t Splash Pages Just Stupid Barriers To Real Content?” With a subtitle of, “So why do major artists make you and their fans go through them?” Yeah, I’m looking forward to reading that (due out 30th August ‘12 [it’s running late]) because it’s been one of my pet subjects since 2004.

And I thought, “what’s needed here is an off-the-cuff preemptive blog post” - a sort of pre-post, as opposed to a follow up post. I’m Not trying to be confrontational. Anyway, I often have a go at newbie bands who’ve got a new website and their opening page is a splash page, so I thought I’d better state my case - BTW, splash pages aren’t as fashionable as they used to be, thank God.

A Splash Page is nothing more than an introductory opening page that precedes the website’s main home page, a little like a magazine cover. They usually contain Very Little Content, just a massive attention grabbing image of the band or Flash thingamabob that acts as a link to the band’s home page ‘CLICK HERE TO ENTER SITE’; or worse, the link points to one of the band’s social media profiles like SoundCloud or Facebook …turns out the band hasn’t got a website, just a bloody splash page!

If a band wants to maximise their website’s promotional effectiveness, they should not have a splash page. Having a splash page is one of the most extravagant promotional luxuries for normal independent artists, it’s pure vanity and is a colossal mistake - there, I’ve said it! However, there is more to this than meets the eye.

The clue is in the subtitle “So why do major artists make you and their fans go through them?” Major Artists. The reason some major artists direct visitors through their splash pages is because they are acting as Sales Pages (squeeze page, landing page). These pages will often include three elements, image of band with Enter Site Here, their latest video and a link to ticket sales or album sales. And they work because of the extremely high volumes of targeted traffic.

I’ve an inkling Gemma’s report is going to look positively at splash pages and recommend that artists use them as a sales page or even a pre-sales page; however, splash pages don’t really work for independent artists because they don’t have the same widespread exposure or high volumes of traffic visiting their websites as the major artists. Independent artists should concentrate on search engines, networking (including web links) and real world methods (i.e. visitors type the URL directly into the address bar) for their visitors - yeah I know that might sound boring and a little defeatist. This means Search Engine Optimization (SEO) becomes very important as does usability.

One of the main issues with splash pages is their lack of content that’s required for SEO (see: What’s on your index page? An article from 2004 & needs updating, but the message is there), search engines will list the splash page because it’s the default index.html page, meaning the homepage (where all the content is) isn’t necessarily listed; also, web crawlers have a tendency to hang on splash pages (caused by Script & Flash) and consequently may never fully index the rest of the website! It is textual content that makes search engines understand your website, without it they may misunderstand your website and might list it incorrectly.

I know what you’re thinking, ‘I’ll add some content!’ Well, a splash page with real content isn’t really a splash page anymore!

A splash page makes the visitor click through to find the content that they are looking for, that’s Unfriendly Usability. People don’t like interruptions and being messed around! The faster you can get your messages across, the more likely you are to be successful. So, excessively large images and Flash which can cause download speed and user device problems are big no-nos - usability is always important to website design and productiveness.

Looking positively at splash pages; they do play an essential role in warning us about controlled content on adult, alcohol, gambling and gaming related websites - they’re not all bad.

An independent artist’s website exists to promote the artist to a wider audience, to enable the artist to have full control over their business, and to introduce an air of Stability (a key word. Might also be called professionalism) in an otherwise turbulent and fast moving world wide web. I think an artist’s or band’s opening page should be a simplified version of their press pack, that contains everything a new visitor or fan is looking for!

If you MUST have a Splash Page make sure it includes: 1. An exciting free gift. 2. Your latest video. 3. Album details. 4. An attractive ‘Download/Buy Now’ button (album cover). 5. A mailing list sign-up form. 6. Details for your next gig. 7. Images of fans. 8. Your contact details. 9. Links to the rest of your website. 10. Your photograph and a written description of who and where you are.

Oh, and BTW, I hate it when I follow a link from an artist’s Facebook page to their website only to find a massive image of the artist and a daft link back to their Facebook page - Bounce Rate or Yo-yo effect?

Written by Ian Robson
IanUnsigned 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 and Twitter. Ian has been working on website promotion techniques since 1994.

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.

July 1, 2010

Music Website Is A Hit

Filed under: SEO, Band Promotion — ian @ 9:40 pm

"Like farming, gardening and vegetables, SEO and linking in my view should be organic. Organic SEO and organic linking are free and natural, it’s being found in the top ten search engine results without paying for the privilege, and linking with websites that are like minded and relevant to yours. Organic links tend to receive much more traffic than non-organic (unrelated) links…" Search Engine Optimization SEO For Bands - by UBP June 08. But what would happen if a band chose Black Hat SEO!

Black Hat SEO

The name Black Hat comes to us from the hacking community, he’s the baddy, the bad man, the villain dressed in black with a black hat like "Angel Eyes" in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, "Harry Lime" in The Third Man, he’ll send you down a blind-ally, shoot you between the running lights or fuck you up by injecting you with a virus - just for the fun of it. Black Hat SEO is using unethical methods to gain a top search engine ranking. A typical Black Hat SEO tactic is spamdexing: Keyword stuffing/spamming - filling every available URL, meta tag, tag, attribute, title, link and textual space with duplicated keywords and key phrases that maybe irrelevant and unrelated to the website’s actual topic. Using hidden or disguised text and links. Using link spamming/farms… there’s a long list of dirty little tricks, the one I hate is where the villainous bastard copies a high-performing webpage and implements a sneaky redirect on it so the visitor is sent to another webpage without their knowledge, or they hotlink to images and copy well written content to blur the boundaries between two websites, so they can gain a sort of disguised recognition and look legitimate and ply their scurrilous trade - phishing, or installing a virus, trojan or some other shitty badware onto the HD of the poor innocent victims who visit their swindling websites.

A note about inline linking (hotlinking), a while ago I was looking through my website statistics and I found that a band had hotlinked directly to one of my images - the image was only a one pixel by one pixel transparent spacer gif @ 85 bytes, odd, but not really a problem - of course there is a serious side to hotlinking as the perpetrator is steeling bandwidth - in the case of the spacer gif not much, but if the object file was large and the perpetrator’s website was popular, then it might be a different story. Just in case you don’t know what I’m talking about, inline linking is where webpage B links directly to a file, usually an image, video or mp3, that is hosted and owned by webpage A. Webpage B is also said to be using/stealing the bandwidth of webpage A - which is bloody annoying if the monthly bandwidth allowance is exceeded - doubly annoying because they are probably committing a copyright violation!

If a webmaster catches you stealing their content or bandwidth that they’ve paid for, without their permission, they will always think of something nasty and the sword of Damocles will soon fall upon your band! Obviously the consequences of being caught by a search engine for using black hat SEO tactics are equally harsh, websites are often blocked and/or removed.

White Hat SEO

White Hat SEO is the opposite to black hat, he is The Lone Ranger, a web standards hero, a content and linking star, and it is the way to go for all music and art related websites. Here are five ways to make your music website a hit using white hat SEO:

  1. Concentrate on your visitor, not the search engines, your website is for people, not some mindless computer - unique and relevant content are key words of great importance.
  2. Make each page within your website relevant to your theme, don’t go off-message or be disjointed, stay focused and keep adding value by creating more interesting content.
  3. Use textual content, actual words, not images, to deliver your message. Humans type words to find you. Web crawlers don’t see words contained within images. I know images are very important for website design and visitor experience - use descriptive title elements and img alt attributes to include some extra and much needed text. SEO is a word thing!
  4. Don’t become a slave to PageRank and go down the "I must get a link from everyone" road, it’s bollocks. Link with friendly and like-minded websites.
  5. Make sure your website loads quickly:
    • Keep HTTP/image/JavaScript requests to external websites i.e. Google and affiliate ads, free hit counters and stats. etc. to an absolute minimum.
    • Try not to use JavaScript and Style expressions within the page, create external scripts instead.
    • Don’t use frames (which could mean loading four pages) redirects or cloaking.

    How quickly your website loads can also be seen as a green, carbon sensitive issue because it helps to reduce bandwidth and costs, which is why Google is now looking kindly on speedy websites.

June 22, 2010

Why Should An Artist Care About SEO?

Filed under: SEO, Band Promotion — ian @ 11:14 am

Virginie Berger wrote Well, what is a good digital music strategy? and I replied to Part 5 - Master the web! on MTT or is it Part 6 – SEO or Search Engine Optimisation? The reason I’m posting it here as well, is because it fills a gap in how I feel about SEO in: Search Engine Optimization SEO For Bands. Promoting Gigs From Your Website. Make Money From Your Bands Website. Links And Linking The Dark Art.

Why should an artist care about SEO? Because SEO is a part of branding, and branding is a part of the ‘big idea’, has your band got a big idea, an aim, a goal, a commitment? I bet it hasn’t, it’s why most bands fail (apart from the fact they can’t stay together for more than ten minutes), they don’t have a plan, strategy or any ideas, they don’t even know the difference between a Myspace page and a website (bands attach their URL to their MySpace page, really, I’m not joking).

Helping musicians and artists to get their websites noticed by fans, search engines and the music industry is what I love doing. Actually, most bands aren’t interested in SEO at all, they are more interested in branding, which is OK by me, I wish I had a pound for every time a band asked me to help them get their name out there, however, many bands don’t even have a website, they only have a MySpace, Facebook and a few of the other usual networking suspects like ReverNation, and when I do visit their profile pages, they’ve got the same egotistical self-indulgent mind numbing shit daubed everywhere and this isn’t helped by the social networking sites who actively encourage synchronization and therefore taedium vitae big time, tip: use different content on different social networking sites so when people ‘click around’ they don’t feel the need to stick a vacuum up their nose and suck out their spongy frustrated brains, anyway, bands shouldn’t be getting bogged down with worrying about SEO, it’s not that difficult and employing an SEO professional will not make that much of a difference to your band’s website - only to your pocket, and if you do go for an SEO consultation it won’t be long before the consultant is trying to baffle you with science and talking about ‘the long tail’ and ‘pay per click advertising management’ and ‘conversion ratios’ and ‘channelising traffic for transactional websites’ and ‘integrated search marketing strategy’ and ‘brand exposure’ and ‘keyword science linguistics research relevancy & themed saturation’ and ‘consumer business fan base profiling’ and ‘web analytics’ and bloody ‘bounce rates’ until you’re holding your hands up in defeat and saying "It’s OK, you do it for me", and if you don’t, the clever highwayman (they’re not all crooks) will still find a way of lifting your wallet. Don’t be lazy by leaving SEO to the professionals, do-it-yourself (sounds like I’m contradicting myself), most band’s websites would only take two or three hours to sort out once you know what to do and if you don’t know what to do, Ask Me.

I’ll help you for free.

And then your band’s website will appear in the first ten search results, for your band’s name and ’something else’, I’m not talking about misdirection and being found for bollocks or difficult keywords like ’sex’, ‘mp3′ or ‘MySpace Rock Bands’, I’m talking about targeting people who don’t know you, but who share your band’s lifestyle choices, potential fans. SEO can also be about second guessing, attempting to predict or anticipate what people are going search for to find your website, it’s an odd topic with loads of scope for error and success! And yes, forget about going viral, the tantalizing teasing lure that draws in hundreds of thousands of bands to overloaded social networking sites (like: YouTube and MySpace), with its promise of fame and fortune, it’s a dream, it ain’t gonna happen.

Blow SEO, spend your time with your music and getting to know your fans.

Helping Indie Bands With Website Promotion,
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.

April 1, 2010

Promote Your Genre From Your Website

Filed under: SEO, website promotion, Band Promotion — ian @ 8:20 am

Promote Your Genre

folk rock
Folk Rock
gothic rock
Gothic Rock
indie rock
Indie Rock
punk rock
Punk Rock

“What colour is rock music?” That’s a hard one for me to visualise, nothing really comes to mind - maybe yellow & chrome? Indie rock is easy though, light blue with a little light fern green, so is Punk, pink & black, Gothic is black, purple & red, and Folk rock is browns, burgundy & moss green. I wonder if my colour perception of music is the result of looking at too may bands’ websites and album covers?

My inquisitiveness gets the better of me, I log-on and head to Google image search, and look for punk music/rock/band/s, and I repeat the search using AltaVista, nothing jumps out at me and I’m not really satisfied with the results. So I open up Photoshop and create a new image. Then I copy and paste the first three or four most relevant images (filtering out the dross) from each of the search results into the new image file. Blend a little, resize, pixelate and crop… Wow! Bingo! The image feels right. I repeat the process for folk, gothic, indie and the big one, Rock. The images have the feeling of their genre (they do for me anyway). What does your genre look like?

Before you set out to promote your genre, you need an aim and a strategy, you don’t need an elaborate and convoluted plan. Find out who your fans are and work out what is the most appropriate promotional mix to connect with them. Don’t concentrate on your website in isolation to everything else, however, it is important that your website is a part of your overall promotional strategy. Be aware of the different time scales - a lot of UnsignedBandPromotion’s tips are short term, but You also need to think about the long term and the bigger picture.

A note about branding: it’s not just about getting your name out there, it’s about getting your brand out there! You do this by creating a strong, positive and unique identity within your genre and by promoting it at every point of contact with your fans.

rock
Rock

Genre Promotion Tips

  1. Not many independent bands put much effort into identifying their niche in the marketplace, branding or promoting their genre, so it’s an easy prize for those bands that do.
  2. I think that it is important for a band to define their genre before they start promoting themselves, just like it is important not to promote your website too soon. Nail your genre as soon as possible - I wouldn’t be a trailblazer by inventing a new one, just keep it simple!
  3. Use the search engines to find out what other bands of your genre are doing and to keep an eye on the competition. The top five search engine results will normally be well-connected authority sites (as per usual). Some worthy bands are:
  4. The easiest way to promote your genre from your website is to write it into your website’s title tag i.e., “post-rock band” V.simple. Also works incredibly well when joined geographically i.e., “post-rock band farnborough”.
  5. Using Meta tags is not a secret ingredient, however, you could give the Genre Meta Tag a whirl!?
    <meta name=”Abstract” content=”(’http://www.your-url.com/’ Genre: punk rock)”>
  6. Team up and get involved with websites that fit-in with your genre and lifestyle - from a fashion house to a plant food supplier to a motorcycle dealer!
  7. Constituents that reflect and define a band’s genre: your name, your band’s name, the brand’s name, URL, logo, avatar, slogan, website design, colours, graphics and images. Your sound, techniques, styles and context. This information should be on everything and everywhere.
  8. Promoting and marketing your genre, style, image, aura and brand simultaneously through your website, can have a powerful effect.
  9. Get yourselves a Social Media & Website Co-ordinator.
  10. The most effective way to promote your genre from your website is to fill your website with relevant and spellbinding content - blogs are good for this.

[Ed. note] Just because UnsignedBandPromotion happens to be #1 in Google for MySpace Band Promotion I get a few bands asking if I can “get their name out there”. No. I do not get hands-on and help bands to promote MySpace, PureVolume and profiles in general, or FreeWebs, Yahoo! GeoCities, LYCOS.tripod and other free webhosting type of pages - You Need A Real Website.

Written by Ian Robson
IanUnsigned 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 and Twitter. Ian has been working on website promotion techniques since 1994.

February 9, 2010

5 Easy Website Promotion Strategies For Bands

Filed under: SEO, website promotion, Band Promotion — ian @ 8:46 pm

Et des images - Chris CB Photographie

  1. Tweak and improve your band’s website 5 times a year. Don’t cloud your mind (or website) with Web 2.0 and Apps., just think about your fans and aim to project your band’s identity.
  2. Find the top 5 keywords and key-phrases that best describe your band. Think about what your potential fans will search for. Then stick them in your Title tag, Description meta tag and Body of the appropriate page. Now you’re being found for something else in the search engines other than your band’s name. Example:- it could be: your genre (indie rock band), your location (Chelsea, London), the name of your favourite venue or your album and song titles…
  3. Link with 5 other websites each week. For linking think networking and for networking think conversations. So that’s, get into conversation with five new people each week and swap links. Start off by making your website the focal point of your social networking profiles.
  4. Blog 3 times a week (What? Not five!). Blogging regularly will really get you thinking about your subject and enable you to talk about your music. It will increase the size, quality and visibility of your website and therefore make linking easier.
  5. Announce your website 5 times a year via a newsletter. Start off with a free MailChimp (mailchimp.com) mailing list. Four band members should easily be able to assemble a legitimate mailing list of about 300 people - ask them first if they want to be on the list, then ask them to recommend you to their friends.

August 29, 2009

Links and Linking - The Dark Art

Filed under: SEO, website promotion, Band Promotion — ian @ 9:09 pm

You asked "Band Needs Help With Promotion - how can we promote our band’s website to get our name out there and get more fans?" I looked at your band’s website I found two common problems, poor content and a poor linking strategy. I often rant on about content, content and content (take a look around my Blog) so now it’s the turn of Links and Linking!

Have you got a linking strategy? I couldn’t find one! A linking strategy is Your way of getting backlinks to your website that will help you to achieve your aims and goals - it’s all about planning and the big picture.

What are you aiming to achieve by promoting your band’s website? You said, "to get our name out there and get more fans", so I’m going to go with that.

A word about content: you’re going nowhere with zero content, who’s going to link to bollocks? Fix your content problem first - I see you’ve got a blog, make it your opening page, that would be better. For content think conversations.

O.K., basically there are three types of links: Outgoing links. Incoming links. Internal links.
Outgoing Links are links that lead Away from your website. They are important partly because the hypertext becomes a keyword.

Incoming Links (also called: backward links and back links) are links that point To your website. They are very important and represent one of the main ways future fans will find you.

Internal Links are links that point To your website from Within your website. They help to define the understanding of your website.

Linking in my view should be organic. Organic linking is natural and balanced, it’s linking with websites that are relevant and related to yours using a wide variety of different methods. Organic links tend to receive more traffic than non-organic (unrelated) links. Try to link with like minded websites. For a very basic example of content and linking in action see: Garden Lighting Berkshire (the page only has about 20 back links).

A Mini ‘Brainstorming’ Session

Well not really true brainstorming, but, discuss with the band…

Set Your Goals

To get our name out there - build a brand: name promotion.
To get more fans - build a fan base: invite friends, start a mailing list.

Do Some Research

Keywords be found for something else other than your band’s name:
Genre: indie rock band. Location: Wandsworth Common, London.
Other Ideas: favourite venue name. album and song titles. …remember the long tail.

How will your future fans discover you - Online or real world and how will you mix it?

Who are your existing fans and who are your target fans - what are their interests, lifestyles and how might they be attracted?

Your geographic location - local colleges & universities, independent record shops, fashion shops, cool coffee houses, pubs and nightclubs, etc. have they got websites? Will they let you put up a flyer, swap links? Do you know someone who works in one of these places?

Find Local Bands To Link And Gig With - for linking think networking
electronic rock bands London - on Google
rock bands - on Google Directory
"add your link" "rock band" - on Google
site:profile.myspace.com electronic rock band - search MySpace for ‘electronic rock band’ on Google

Do - Action

Take a look at your genre, your music and the people who listen to it, then target websites that fit-in with the "lifestyle" e.g., you are an electronic rock band, try approaching Urban Clothing &or Headphone websites like WeSC (We are the Superlative Conspiracy) - sorry about the poor example Julian, but you know what I mean.

Make your band’s website The focal point, Link To Your Website from all of your ’social media’ profile pages: MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, Last.fm, ReverbNation, Wordpress/Blogger, YouTube, etc.

Keep a record of what you are doing by creating a link directory.

Create simple, bold and easy to recognize: avatar or logo, banner image, flyers - think branding, consistency and identity.
</brainstorming_session>

The What, Where and How of Back Links

The wide variety of different methods…

Reciprocal Links To get links you have to give links, it’s called reciprocal linking. Reciprocal linking with like minded, complementary websites (esp. other local bands) that fit your genre, is a good way to start promoting your band’s website and should be a matter of course. Each time you come into contact with a ‘compatible’ band start networking and swap website addresses (get some business cards). If you’re an SEO expert or an Internet marketing guru you might now be thinking ‘balderdash’, but I disagree, reciprocal linking is still alive and well - just don’t go mad with it and be very selective with whom you swap links.

The One-way Back Link An un-reciprocated link. This is the type of link fans, friends and family can help you with by including forum signatures, contributing to blogs and linking to you from their websites - not to mention social networking esp. Twitter. Make sure they don’t spam or more harm than good will come of it. Venues often link to performing bands’ MySpace, get them to link to your website.

The Big Bertha Link Just one link from a powerful site like the BBC.co.uk or the Guardian.co.uk could do it for you, of course they’re almost impossible to get, but if you keep chipping away you should get a link somewhere i.e., the BBC’s Onemusic or BBC London (BBC local).

Media Links Following on from the Big Bertha link, links gained from the media are invaluable for obvious reasons. The best places to get links are: local radio and TV. local newspapers. specialist, niche, genre magazines. online radio, podcast sites. You can get these types of links by promoting yourself through and on-the-back-of your chosen charity (instead of doing ‘free gigs’ ask for a donation (+link) towards your charity), local media are often looking for ways to appear philanthropic! Keep your eyes on the news and be ready with a story!

Press Release Links And following on from the media link… A press release is written and sent by you to a press release submission service or a journalist (if you know one), in order to highlight an important gig or pass on information that describes the who, what, where, when, why and how of your story. There are quite a few free press release submission websites, as for the journalists, look for journalists and publications interested in your genre. Obviously we’re talking about quality newsworthy information that journalists can get their teeth into.

Directory Links Google Directory, DMOZ and Yahoo are the most well known, but there are many specialist music directories and "lists" you just have to look around. Some directories ask for money, personally I wouldn’t pay for a link!

TLD Links Top Level Domain links are worth making the effort for because they usually transfer a little of their higher ‘trust’ and ‘page rank’ to you. What I’m talking about here is getting links from established websites with domain extensions like: .edu .gov .net .org. To qualify for these types of links your website needs to contain high quality content.

Signature and Comment Links The classic way for a band to increase the number of links pointing to their website is by using signatures in forums and commenting in genre related blogs. Forums, blogs, guestbooks, message boards and newsgroups - there are many thousands of these. You will get the best results if you become part of the community, spend some time reading before posting, don’t just blatantly plug your band, it’s bad for business. Create a very short signature that includes a link to your website. The true promotional value of forum, newsgroup and blog, signature and comment links is very moderate at best, what you actually have to say, your input, has a much bigger bearing on the result - so that’s content again!

Wheel Links This is taking internal linking to the extreme. You create twenty or so totally independent websites with their own domain names and hosting, they all give one-way links to your band’s website - The Authority Hub. This method does work, but it’s very time consuming and expensive - it may not be worth the time, effort or the money. It can be done with free webhosting sites like FreeWebs, Yahoo! GeoCities, LYCOS.tripod and from social media profile pages too, but unless you’ve got time to kill, I wouldn’t bother! You’ve got profile pages but you’re linking to your MySpace - ‘Think Website’.

Crème de la Crème Not to be confused with a profile page, the cream of the crop is a hosted content link or a presell page, which is a stand-alone HTML file dedicated to you and your band’s website. I make them, they’re called Micro-Sites and they’re a marketeer’s linking dream. You get textual links placed within targeted relevant content that promotes the band’s: url. name. genre. venue. Encouraging organic human click-through traffic, the page is an additional, dedicated entry point to your website. The Micro-Site should rank for itself and will add rank to yours. Your adverts and content are included on an established and trusted website (UnsignedBandPromotion.com). Plus, bands can own ALL the adverts, which has a number of important spin-offs. This type of link is almost impossible to get, especially as I’m not making them anymore, well, they’re by invitation only.

Avoid… In My Opinion Websites selling paid text links, Free For All links pages, Automated Link Exchanges and Webrings, they could bring a massive surge of traffic to your website, but not through genuine inquisitiveness or interest and they almost always increase spam email to beyond the limit. The only person/website to benefit is the person/website that set up the scheme in the first place. Handle with kid gloves. And if they are asking for money, run away as fast as you can. Buying links should only be done in very special circumstances - there are plenty of free linking opportunities.

Linking Notes

SPAM Don’t do it. When I read the words, "Sorry about the shameless self promotion, but…", rightly or wrongly I think Spam and I don’t read on. And in a way that’s the problem with spam, the actual and the perceived, for instance, here’s the entire contents of an email I received, verbatim, "We have a professional produced CD. If you have interest in listening, please send name and address and we will pack it off" Was that spam? I think bands walk a narrow path when they are in the act of marketing and promotion. If you’ve enlisted some promo. help from fans, friends and family, warn them about spamming or it will cost you dearly.

Content Keep your website up-to-date, don’t let it get stale and do your best to come up with original ideas. Content is always the keyword in website promotion. Good content means other websites will want to link to you.

Page Ranking There’s no need to worry about PR, unless it stays at 0 for a long period. PR will improve with the quality and quantity of Content, in combination with the quality and quantity of Back Links, and Time. Pick your linking partners based on quality, relevancy, traffic, and how they fit in with your lifestyle and aura.

The Linking Mix You wouldn’t put all your eggs into one basket, so don’t rely solely on one method of linking, vary your linking strategy as much as you possibly can.

Oh, and don’t forget Julian I can give you a reciprocal link, see: Band Promotion Links.

In Conversation With Bands,
Unsigned Band Promotion
~ 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 ~
http://www.unsignedbandpromotion.com/

August 13, 2009

The Arabella Question

Filed under: SEO, Band Promotion — ian @ 4:21 pm

Arabella blues pop band coventry - Kasbah nightclub West MidlandsI received an email from James (Vox, Guitar) of Arabella a dirty blues pop band from Coventry, West Midlands asking: “Please would you explain how micro-sites help SEO so much as the results seem pretty remarkable”? My answer: “An UBP Micro-Site is almost the perfect link”.

Yeah, but there’s more, SEO is a method of increasing the amount of visitors to a website by targeting the website specifically to a particular search engine, ensuring the website will be found in the result pages for targeted keywords - that’s one of the definitions anyway. There are two main directive headings; Content and Linking, and each of these have many subheadings all with tomes written about them and industries built around them. Unsigned Band Promotion’s Micro-Sites are reasonably well placed within most of the SEO criteria.

Of course I could just give bands a backlink, but compared to a simple text link a Micro-Site offers much more…

  • Links placed within highly targeted relevant content that promotes the band’s: url. name. genre. venue.
  • Organic human click-through traffic - an additional dedicated entry point to your website.
  • The Micro-Site ranks for itself and will add rank to yours.
  • Your adverts and content are included on an established and trusted website (UnsignedBandPromotion.com).
  • Bands can own ALL the adverts, which has a number of important spin-offs.
  • The Micro-Site is ‘a presell page’ or ‘hosted content’ - a marketeer’s linking zenith.

I am not making Micro-Sites by request anymore, only by invitation, sorry. Don’t be downhearted though, you are welcome to copy a Micro-Site and alter it to include your style and information. Please include a link back to me.

Arabella blues pop band coventry - Kasbah nightclub West Midlands Arabella blues pop band coventry - BIOGRAPHY Arabella blues pop band coventry - MUSIC Arabella blues pop band coventry - PRESS Arabella blues pop band coventry - MEDIA
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