DIY Website Check For Independent Artists, Musicians & Bands
An independent band's website is not quite like a standard small business website where its main keywords are products or services and is the first point of contact for a customer. The band's main keyword is usually their name and the band's website is often the second point of contact for the fan, the first point of contact might be a flyer. The differences between, what you might call, a normal small business website and an independent band's website, highlights the need for an additional promotional effort on behalf of the independent band.
This is the Do-It-Yourself version of UnsignedBandPromotion's Free Website Check.
- Easy to find and loads fast
- Looks good and is credible
- Is in character
- Is user friendly and all the links work
- Is useful
- Is interesting
- Has purpose
- Is different
- Is entertaining
- Offers an easy mailing list sign-up
- Doesn't use questionable black hat methods for Spamming
- Offers something free
- Music is easy to buy and download
- Accepts credit cards
- Has a newsletter
- Has very clear navigation
Band Name & Domain Name - Keywords
- Are the band's name and the domain name the same?
...if NO, is the domain name relevant to the band?
- What are the top five keywords on the home page?
...are the top five keywords relevant and are they in TITLE tag?
Meta Information & HTML Coding
- Does the page contain a <DOCTYPE> META Tag?
- Does the page contain relevant <title> Tag content?
- Does the page contain relevant <description> META Tag content?
- Does the page contain relevant <keywords> META Tag content?
- Does the page contain a <content-type> META Tag?
- Does the page contain relevant <author> META Tag content?
- Check HTML with The W3C Markup Validation Service
CSS Cascading Style Sheet
- Is the style set out in a CSS?
- check CSS with The W3C CSS Validation Service
- Note: if you have not got a style sheet, try to get one - it makes life easier!
- Search engines and visitors like authenticity.
- Are you showing who is behind the website?
- Are you displaying who wrote/created the website? (note: ask webmasters to keep their credit link to a minimum)
- Are you showing if this belongs to a real, established artist, musician or band?
- Is there an email address?
- Are there any testimonials and/or press cuttings?
- Is it easy to see if the page is current and up-to-date, is it dated?
- Has the page been updated recently, is there a date of last revision?
- Note: News and blogs are good for the home page.
- Is the website useful and entertaining?
- Is the spelling and grammar correct?
- Is the page in good taste and correct for its intended audience?
- Note: Under construction signs are a massive turn off.
Linking (anchors) and Navigation
- Do all the links work? use: The W3C Link Checker
- Is it easy to see from the first page how the site is organised?
- Are the links logically grouped?
- Is the layout consistent thoughout the website?
- Are the links easy to identify and are they clickable?
- Is it possible to satisfy the visitors requirements with one click from the opening page?
- Is there a link back to the home page on each supporting page?
- Are the links' destinations obvious?
- For image links, is there an alternative text link available?
- Is there a site map?
- Are URLs definitive? (Meaning, do they point to the actual page?)
- Note: if the textual content and the links are the same colour, it will make navigation a problem. Google has a free service for providing site search on large websites. Create clean, logical URLs. Use: TITLE="". Pop-up windows are horrid and often blocked by software. Use image maps very sparingly. Create some link code for your fans who have websites and want to link to you.
Content and Design
- Do each of the webpages contain alternative keywords (other than the band's name, that the band can be found for) within the TITLE tag, DESCRIPTION tag and within the main body of content?
- Does the website reflect the band's image?
- Is the overall look and feel in character?
- Is there any relevant textual content (word count above 250) on index.html page?
- Does the content engage and inform the visitor?
- Is the font size and style easy to read?
- Do the font styles and background make the page clear and readable?
- Are the text/background colour combinations suitable for the colour blind and visually impaired?
- Is the text block width narrow enough for easy scanning (by the eye)?
- Is there an easy mailing list sign-up?
- Note: avoid blinking text, marquees, garish backgrounds, unreadable text/background combinations, weird fonts, "best viewed with...", "resize your browser to...", unreadable small text, hit counters and guestbooks.
- Note: don't use auto-streaming of music on initial load?
- Are there text alternatives within images and/or multimedia files?
- Are the multimedia files slowing down the download?
Security and Privacy
- Is ANY (customer's) personal data stored online by you or an associate?
- Are appropriate online security procedures in place?
- Is the website fully available to everyone?
- Is there a text-only or non-frame version of the website?
- Is the website multi-browser, multi-device compatible?
- What is the download speed? [should be <2 seconds]
- Note: with simple clean code you *almost* don't have to worry about browser compatibility. Most people use MSIE or Firefox. I believe conformance to the W3C standards is important. Use the ALT="" attribute within IMG, text and Braille users need to know what is going on.
Search Engine Compatibility
- Can the website be found in the search engines?
- What is the page rank (PR)? page rank checker
- What is the search engine position ranking? search engine position tool
- How many pages do the search engines list? search engine saturation
- What is the number of incoming links? link popularity checker
- How do the search engines see the website? search engine simulator
A Short Search Engine List
- Is there a comprehensive home page, index.html?
- Is there an obvious mailing list, newsletter and/or RSS feed sign-up?
- Is there an up-to-date Blog?
- Is there a biography (CV of the band)?
- Are there full contact details?
- Is there a gig listings page, including: latest news, updates, diary, venue address and travel information?
- Is there a press pack available?
- Are there reviews with links to the reviewers?
- Is there a merchandise page with multimedia downloads?
- Are the CDs, mp3s and other merchandise easy to buy?
- Does the website accept credit cards?
- Is there a free gift?
- Are there plenty of images and pictures of fans and of the band?
- Is there a site map?
- Is there a links page?
- Are the pages easy to print?
- Note: please read: The Most Frequently Found Website Promotion Mistakes
Compiled 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.
DIY Website Check For Independent Artists, Musicians & Bands is offered to you under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License, which means: it's yours to use as long as you Attribute the work to Unsigned Band Promotion and Link Back. See: © copyright