A lot of artists find the idea of building a musician’s website daunting. It’s difficult, it may be expensive, and is it really necessary with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Spotify, Bandsintown, and all the other profiles you need to manage?

In a word, yes.

While a huge amount of business and fan growth takes place on social media, if you don’t have an effective website, you’re going to have a hard time being found and noticed by fans and industry (bloggers, managers, A&R reps, etc.) alike.

You absolutely need to have your own domain as it represents your shingle out there on the web that is fully in your control. Effective social media trends come and go, (hello Facebook!) but your domain is yours forever. tweet

It is perfectly possible to create an effective website at an affordable price.

There is a global marketplace of fabulous platforms and talented designers (like ours) who can help you build a beautiful site for a few hundred dollars.

Or, if you are willing to do some of the work using a templated design, an effective website can be created for less than $20/month with no upfront costs!


A lot of artists drive themselves crazy building websites because they forget that simplicity is key.

Your website exists to do two things:

Number one: Help you engage with current fans and make new ones.

Number two: Make you money.

That’s it.

Here’s how to set yourself on the right path…

Step 1: Register Your Domain 

The easiest way to register a domain name is to use GoDaddy. You can register a domain in almost any country through GoDaddy, or you can use other country-specific sites like crazydomains.com.au (AUS).

Register the domain that you would like to use. I highly suggest a dot com (.com) with no slashes and underscores if possible. GoDaddy will guide you through this process, and if you have any questions, their customer service is great.

TIP: Try to purchase a domain name that matches the URLs on your Facebook Page, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, etc.  This way, if someone Googles you, they’ll easily find your website and all your social media channels.

Step 2: Choose How You Build Your Artist Website

DIY Pay-As-You-Go Website Builder

Working with a website builder can get you up and running quickly and if you are computer savvy, you won’t need a designer to build the site for you.

Here are my favorites in alphabetical order. All have excellent call-in customer service to help ease the confusion.


Their lite version starts at $8.29 per month (if you purchase a full year). It’s easy to use, there are many great templates to choose from and the first month is free! Use this link for a discount! 


Squarespace is wonderful and highly flexible.  Sites come with a free custom domain, and they make it easy for you to create a beautiful, professional website. You can choose from a vast array of templates (some designed specifically for musicians), and you can switch between them at any point.




Working with a Web Designer

If you are challenged by the builders (they are navigable but not that easy!)  then you might think about hiring a designer to help you initially.

Might I be so bold as to suggest hiring us? 

Kayla on our team designs fabulous sites and she would love to speak to you about how fast her turnaround time is (she’s fast!)

TIP: Don’t pay more than $1,000 for a basic site. (we charge $750 )

and if you do hire a designer to help you, don’t go crazy with elaborate films and Flash intros. If people get confused by your website, they’ll leave fast so, keep it simple!

Step 3: Make Your Homepage POP!

Your entire website should be easy to navigate with a navbar across the very top of each page so visitors can see it (not buried where they have to scroll down).

Your homepage should feature your name and your pitch, or a captivating image that makes people understand who you are and what you sound like.

Remember – your site needs to support your brand! The colors you choose, your logo, the pictures you use… these things are all incredibly important, and help tell your story.

Figure out what story you want to tell, and then keep your brand consistent. Make your socials match your site colors and style as well.

Here are a few effective and affordable musicians websites we have built recently.


These artist websites were built using Bandzoogle:

MattDeVer Music Website



This artist website was built in Squarespace:

Don’t forget to link to your socials! Most of the site builders featured above will help you do this. Your website should be a focal point, where a new fan can find everything you’re doing in cyberspace. A Spotify follow button is also a good addition to a homepage.

Step 4: Create The Following 7 Sections on Your Artist Website

1. Your Pitch

Your pitch does not have to be lengthy to be effective; it just has to explain your sound in a few words or sentences and, if you can, add it to your homepage or make sure it really stands out in your bio. Here is a 2-part video series to help you along featuring me and Derek Sivers. 

2. Artist Bio/Press Kit

artist bio

Your bio is very important.  Make sure it is up to date, tells a story and is captivating.  It is after all the foundation of your brand.

You must have a press section/press kit on your site that displays photos, links, your bio and album art.

Embed your best videos, put up your best press quotes, link to an interview you did with a music blog. The more legit you look, the easier you make elements findable for writers and promoters.

TIP: Photos/Images. Make sure your photos really capture who you are, and give clear instructions on how they can be downloaded.

3. Buy Merch/Stream Music

Make sure people can find where to buy your music (iTunes, Amazon, etc.). People are so used to streaming nowadays, that if your homepage doesn’t have a readily available Soundcloud or Spotify link, they may lose interest. An embedded Bandcamp link is a good compromise for this (people can stream it, but there’s still an option to buy, or even better – pay what they want).

And if you have Merch add it too!


4. Shows/Tour

We recommend using Bandsintown for this. This allows you to link your shows across different platforms. To have your fans alerted to your shows while they are in Spotify streaming your music, you need to use Songkick.


5. Your Newsletter

You need to direct people to sign up for your newsletter! This means you also need to send your newsletter at least one time a month with great attention to what actually goes in it. A ‘free download in exchange for email’ box is an easy way to build your list. I recommend using a Noisetrade widget. Create an artist account, upload a track (or two, or ten) then go to the Tools section and scroll down to ‘Embeddable Widgets’. This will give you a beautiful little button to put on your website.


6. Your Contact Info

Make sure that you have your contact information with an e-mail address or a contact form so people can contact you for online publicity, booking, or just to tell you they like your music.

TIP: Don’t make it hard for anyone to connect with you online. Nothing pisses the media or a booking agent or venue off more than having to hunt you down to talk to you!


7. Your Links to Active Socials

You need to make it easy for people to find you on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube or wherever else you want to be found.

TIP: Only link socials that you actually maintain – you don’t want to lead fans to a dead page (and for god’s sake if you still have a MySpace link remove it!)

Remember, your social channels and narrative should also match the tone and style of your site! See how our client Laura did it above- she GETS IT 🙂 See how it’s all red and blue and muted and wonderful?


Step 5: Final Advice: Don’t Let Your Site (or Socials) Ever Go Stale

After your site is complete, make sure you return often to keep it and your socials updated! That means daily for socials and at least once a month for your site.

This way your whole site remains interesting and dynamic and fans will stop by again and again.

Good luck, be creative, and have fun!


Want to have us design a musician’s website for you? We would love to!

Click below to fill out a form to tell us about your needs and we will arrange a call to start your website build asap.

Musicians Website Work With Us

32 Responses to “The Musician’s Guide To Building a Website”

  1. Daveando

    Hey Ariel, great post and agree completely. I'm an artist, from Perth and also a web designer, who's worked in marketing for 10 years. I make wordpress sites, having done everything in my time, from using expensive web designers to building it myself. I've read your advice for years, as well as @dubber so hopefully I know what I'm doing. Please check out my stuff readers and drop me a line. I always go the extra mile, and I teach you how to run the site. http://www.florenceroad.com

  2. Kristian Jackson

    On the money as usual, Ariel. One of my best friends is a WordPress developer and he consistently is having to fix up websites for clients after they've spent $5000+ on a website that just isn't functional.
    My site, kristianjackson.com was done in iWeb and so was very easy to create, but I'm moving all operations to WordPress over the next few months because WordPress is that good. I'm not a web designer, and can't code to save my life (did I mention my code-capable friend?) but have managed to create sites that are functional and look good (except when widgets go awry as two have on mine). Have a look at a work-in-progress site I'm constructing for my day job – http://rock-ed.net .I'm using this one as a sandpit for a few ideas for the kj.com upgrade. If you check it out, remember it's being built and so sweeping changes can occur in between visits.

    This brings me to my main point, and the subject of a yet-to-be-written MTT post. Ask yourself this question, “How does my site look on a mobile device?” If you don't have a site yourself yet, visit kristianjackson.com on an iphone, an ipad, or even an Android device. Can you hear my music? Can you join my email list? Can you take advantage of my free track offer? Nup. My site is useless on these devices, and therefore I've cut out a hell of a lot of people, particularly anyone under the age of 25. “Why is that?”, I hear you ask. It's simple, I've used a lot of Flash based widgets, and as you should know, the iOS (the operating system of the iDevices) doesn't support Flash (a decision I fully support, for the record). My widgets are from Reverbnation, but the other providers use Flash for their widgets too. Even Nimbit, whose Bandsite product is a great WordPress implementation, the audio player won't appear on an iPhone/iPad. See the problem? From my last round of research, Fanbridge is the only one (out of the music focussed email list services) to offer an alternative Html based email collection widget. It's not very attractive though.

    I've raised the question of the over-reliance of Flash by these service providers a number of times and am always intrigued by the silent response. I think I've worked out why they haven't developed non-flash players/widgets (because, they do actually exist). Two reasons, actually. First, they're lazy and have settled for a sub-standard product while turning their focus to other avenues of revenue. Oddly, that segueways nicely onto reason two. Notice how we're now being offered the chance to have our own mobile app by a number of providers? Hmm, I think that's why. Yes, by all means sign up for your own iPhone/Android app to cater for your true fans, but a casual listener or prospective fan isn't going to download an app for an artist they're just checking out. So your site must provide immediate access to your music, on all devices.

    There is hope. If you use WordPress for your site, install the JW Player or mp3-jPlayer plugins and your media will be accessible on any device. Both players do a cool thing where they'll use Flash if it's available but will revert to HTML5 if Flash is unavailable. In plain English, you don't have to worry about whether or not your media works on a mobile device, it just will. They both have a playlist feature too. I've been messing around with both on the rock-ed.net site and am really happy with the result. (JW Player is the one you'll see being used there.) It does mean that you'll have to get your hands dirty and learn to how to install a plugin, but seriously, learning a new skill never killed anyone. We're not taming lions here. 😉

  3. michaelshoup

    Great post, Ariel. One thing you could point artists to, as well, are FREE services like Flavors.me, Tumblr, and Bandcamp. With these three combined, you can actually put together a fairly rockin', ecommerce based artist site, at your own domain, and for only the cost of your domain.

    example: http://blog.michaelshoup.com

    Thanks for the great post!

  4. Charles Alexander

    As always Ms. Hyatt, you're right on the money. Never heard of the merchluv.com site before, thanks for the tip.

  5. sussan

    Great article very clear and succinct.
    I think the reason why most people don't have their own website is the idea of creating one freaks them out, but you really don't need to and it really doesn't have to be that hard. But if you are going to have your own website/URL it should be the king pin ie this is the one site that should ALWAYS be up to date and all other sites should lead back to it.

    Secondly when getting your head around creating your own web site, remember the KISS principle Keep It Simple Sweetie Just because your website has all the bells and whistles and splashes colour up the wazzoo does not mean that this is going to do anything for you. In fact more often than not its going to drive most folk insane particularly if they have an ISP from hell like me. Having a webpage take longer than 2minutes to load (you think that's short sit there and count to 120 how bored are you) is not going to cut it.
    Your site needs to reflect you which can be as simple as your fav colour, font styles or your latest album cover. It should easily direct folk where they can see here & buy your music and should say where and when they can see you perform. If you're directing someone to another page on your website there should be a link to go back to a home page. If you are linking to another website this should open up a new tab, ie page or browser so that your punter still has your website up.

    Include something of you on the website, a little bloggy type thing, not your typical myspace info blog “he was born at an early age and played music at the age of…. blah blah blah yawn yawn yawn” What does your music sound like, what inspires you, what do you like about playing gigs who do you like playing gigs for, have fun with it make it a little personal. Don't take it too damn seriously. You want to make a connection with your “public” you want people to come back time and time again to find what you're doing and if you have some precious little bits of stuff that only they can own, even if they have to pay for it. (we do like the pay for but it shouldn't really the main focus no one likes to feel like someone's meal ticket)

    Go browse the net, take note of the pages you use the most, why do you visit it apart from the services or goods they provide is it easy to navigate, is the information clear etc etc. What do you hate about it etc etc then use some of those thoughts to use on your own website. You don't have to know how to implement them but when you go to a web designer (not an artists we don't want fancy shmancy we want workable) you just need to know what you want and the rest is easy, relatively speaking.
    Before i end my diatribe, pack up my soap box and head back into the ether. When you contact a web designer or anyone for that matter who you're trying to get to do service for you. Ask questions, assume nothing, ask for clarity even if you think its going to make you sound stupid, better stupid than broke with something that does nothing for you or does something that you don't want to do.

    Put what you want in writing and get the designer to sign off on it as to what you want. Make sure that you are both on the same page.

    Questions to ask. What happens if something on it breaks, can i get it fixed, how much does it cost me to get it fixed. Will you upgrade it for me, can someone else upgrade it for me if you're not available. Can i make changes ie add tour dates, blog entries, upload pictures, videos, mp3 , include additional links for new sites

  6. guitartam

    Ariel, I always look forward to your posts.
    I have to say I disagree with you on you on this one.
    Focusing on TIme, Money, and Quality I wanted to point a few things out:
    Your website as Ariel will attest to is the center of your Social Media Universe. It is your calling card that shows people who you are AND is a reflection of the quality of your work. Can you afford to have it look DIY?

    godaddy.com has treated SO many clients poorly, Subpar service, and endless horror stories with customers jumping through hoops TRYING to opt out of their svc to get their domains released after being held in limbo.

    Very few artists (unless they have a marketing or business background) have the knowledge and skill set to craft their own DIY websites to concisely target their marketing message and keep things clean as they update.

    Artists, As a creative person do you have the time to dedicate to designing a really great website?
    Do you have a marketing background? Do you have a clearly defined brand, and business strategy for your creative business? These are all valuable assets that go into a professionally designed website.

    Sites like BandZoogle and Hostbaby have design fees, and costs *listed in the the fine print of their T.O.S.
    They also have limited hours of support- that could leave you hanging if your site goes down during their “off hours” what if happens as your dropping a new release or kicking of a big promo, something happens to your site, during down times? BandZoogle, has said they will get to it as soon as they get back in the office! REALLY? Then how much business is that going to lose you over time?
    And these services have monthly re-occuring fees for as long as you use them.
    When you lay it all out the total cost of your home made site are within a few dollars of finding a skilled web designer or developer to do the work professionally.

    Ariel, I think your article is a great template to help artists gather collaterial they need to gather to work with a web professional.
    There are excellent revenue generating sites that can be created for artists
    that include the design considerations you recommend for a one time cost of $600. the cost of which you get to write off as a business expense on next years taxes.

    Thanks for allowing comments,

    “Providing business solutions for creative minds”

  7. Kristian Jackson

    Hubert, I think you missed something.

    “TIP: Don’t pay more than $500 for a basic WordPress site.”

    Notice the word “basic” is used. And for a basic site with an email capture tool, simple player and a couple of pages for photos, bio etc, $500 is plenty. Yes, I do agree that you must build with the future in mind, but a good designer/producer should be able to plan a roadmap with the client for staged implementation and so major overhaul shouldn't be required every time a new element needs to be added.

  8. Kristian Jackson

    Hey, just wanted to say I like your site. Nice, clean and simple. I know what you're offering and your portfolio front and centre. Only feedback I'd give is that I just went to click on the big Twitter symbol thinking that it would take me to your twitter page, only it didn't.It might be just the way my brain is wired but I thought all those symbols were going to be links out to your social sites. I like the last tweet at the top but a “join me on twitter” link underneath would make it easier to connect with you there. Hope that's helpful. k

  9. CyberPR

    Thanks for clarifying!



  10. CyberPR

    cool that you disagree Tamara… Just putting ideas out so that artists who don't have $500 can get started asap.

    As many don't have that kind of money in their budgets.

    I dont think an artist needs a “marketing background” to put a simple website up hat matches their look and feel.

    In fact I just Googled “how to brand yourself” and found several fabulous articles that will help set you in the right direction.

    I've had many of my sites with with GoDaddy on multiple sites for YEARS and never ever had a problem once.

  11. Chris Rockett

    I guess that some people would rather trade their money for time saving but $5000 is a joke for a site when you can install wordpress so easy.

    Hopefully this post and others like it will get through to the majority of musicians.

  12. HubertGAM

    Hey Kristian, thanks for your reply. I feel like this is something that needs to be hammered-out to something that people can actually understand. I thank Ariel and her crew for inspiring a blog post.

    The problem with a $500 template is that – at the price given – most sites will look a WordPress blog, if I am a designer dealing with musicians. If you want an EFFECTIVE wesbsite, then you will likely need custom work. The tools given in this post just creates the same websites that jam 5 widgets in the sidebar that people barely use.
    I tend to advise against getting a “basic WordPress site.” I understand budgets are tight, but that just means you need to save more money and sacrifice a little more. Not to mention, I doubt many serious artists would want websites that looked like everyone else's.

    I can use your site for an example of how I would advise a re-design. Now your site may be effective for you, as I don't know your music marketing strategy. I am not saying this is an informed response, but just checking the homepage, I find it very busy. The only thing catching my eye is the ReverbNation widget, which should be given more space to breathe to allow the “Download on iTunes” button to show. Now my question would be, what is your main goal? Are you just interesting in just selling songs? What about the long haul? I see the e-mail list widget, but how important is it to you? With it being at the bottom, I would guess not that important.
    This is the kind of thing that should be established before going to any designer for help, because you might have much less site, but you will have an effective site because it only does what you need it to do at the moment. Hopefully, you have a marketing plan connected to it to generate revenue, wherein you can afford to expand the site.

    My point being is, an artist website does not need to have a bunch of stuff on it just because. It all should make sense. If you want to showcase music, get a subdomain and attach a Bandcamp page to it. You can create a pretty basic landing page with links to the other places that you keep your music and your main domain gets all the ownership for the traffic. You can probably get this for under $500 with the right person. It will be very basic, but it will be clean and forces action.

    Far too often, I see information being shared that caters to the person that is delivering the message. I manage two acts and I know how much things cost. As someone that builds websites and also works in the communications field, I have a unique perspective on this. No one should be short-changed. Yes, artists can build their own websites for fairly cheap these days, but we should be instructing them to truly consider how to optimize that website beyond packing a sidebar with widgets.

  13. Robin Burks

    I find a lot of these comments disturbing. I do design websites for musicians, with full customization and include a web store (I have a license for the Shopp plugin for WordPress) for less than $500 and it's far from basic. I think the problem is that many artists think a good website has to cost more than that.

    My best advice is to do your research and find a good web developer who understands branding and good layout aesthetics and how to sell what you're doing (which is what your website needs to do, as listed above) without overcharging you for it.

    However, I agree 100% with this article. You need a website and not just a presence on social media.

  14. Alex

    Some very good points about bands and websites. We can create you a custom WordPress site as suggested. If you're interested then give me a shout at [email protected] – we have musicians and music industry experience in our midst, so we'll know where you're coming from.

  15. Kristian Jackson

    Tamara, you're essentially underlining the point that Ariel is making. $600 for a developed site is not an over-the-top quote. I think that's the point that many seem to be missing here. Many developers are charging $6000 for sites that really could be done for 1/10 of the price. I'm not including any custom artwork that needs to be created, that's graphic design, not web development.

  16. Kristian Jackson

    Couldn't agree with you more. I build my own sites but most certainly wouldn't call myself a web designer. The thing I've learned about WordPress is that you need to start with a theme design that not only suits image-wise, but also has the functionality and customisation that the client needs. Then there's the question of plugins. Someone like yourself who lives and breathes WordPress knows where to look for good premium themes, and also knows what plugins do what and which plugin developers update regularly and are reliable. You guys can also dive in and tweak the CSS and the PHP and all that other stuff very quickly too. But that's just it, you're tweaking the code, not building it from scratch. Starting from scratch these days, unless it's absolutely imperative to the project, to me is just a developer being vain.

    I think the reason many artists think a website is going to cost them the earth is because, for a long time now, web developers have held onto this mystical role in society, being renowned for being able to conjure up html voodoo. We artists used to be able to sell CDs for $30 too once using the same tactics 😉

  17. Kristian Jackson

    Oh, by the way, I checked out your portfolio. I like your work. Just realised you're US based. That was Ariel's original point when she was out here. What you charge $600 for, people are charging $6000 for the same thing here Down Under. Not everyone, just the voodoo merchants.

  18. Robin Burks

    Thanks! I also live in an area where the cost of living is low, so a lot of my pricing is lower than many places in the United States. It also doesn't hurt that I'm one person, rather than a company (who do tend to overcharge to cover their overhead). Almost every site I do these days, regardless of the industry, is built on WordPress. It's more or less a no-brainer and the clients like it because it gives them the functionality to update their own sites.

  19. CyberPR

    Thanks Alex!


  20. CyberPR

    I met the founder Todd at MIDEM and was so impressed with his vision and he showed me some of the beautiful MerchLuv merch as well – its really cool.

  21. JOANPi

    Virb also is an easy – cool- solution for websites for 10$. I use it, it is really simple & elegant at the same time.

    Btw maybe it sounds stupid when at this era when you have twitter real feed on your website do you really need blog posts? Aren't there newsletters (that u can share) for long posts now?


  22. Jay Jolley

    Good Point about keeping it simple. Overcomplicated websites only drive people away.

  23. Carol

    All these ideas really resonated as we worked with a WP specialist on the main site (which we update now) and pulled the rest of the elements together ourselves. Simple has worked best for us, particularly with our listener demographic (mostly boomers). Lots to return to here, thanks!

  24. jennselke

    A couple of my favorite resources is Squarespace rather than wordpress. Just so much easier to deal with for a novice. I also like 99designs for design work. It is a little less expensive than crowspring.

  25. Tribhu

    I think there are tools more effective for musicians than traditional website. For example, you can use a lot of WordPress templates to make your musician’s website.

  26. Michael H

    Hey everyone.. I’m very new at this, just getting a website up. What does this comment mean from Ariel: “TIP: your socials should all match your site colors.” I can understand my social media page(s) having the same (or similar) profile photo, but matching colors? How does one even crank the color scheme in, say, Facebook? Is this truly necessary? I’m wearing my newbie hat, so don’t flame, just help me understand. Thanks 🙂

    • Ariel Hyatt

      Hi Michael,
      You can not adjust the colors of sites like Facebook (blue) but what I mean by this is be mindful of the colors you use in posts so they match your overall brand. If you are all over the place with fonts, colors and styles of content, it is very hard for fans to understand continuity and “brand” Hope this helps

    • Ariel Hyatt

      Hi! It means your profile photos and top banners should all match. Hope that helps.

  27. Jhon Mourish

    Informative blog for me. Keep sharing.

  28. Paulin Curlay

    I guess it’s time to admit I’ve been stalking your blog like crazy! I had never really thought about blogging as something I might enjoy, but thanks to your blog, I’m officially in a constant state of brainstorming and have been drafting a few posts. Hopefully I can make the leap and publish sometime soon! I’m having trouble with my domain and tagline. I agree that going with my name is easy and allows me to go in any direction, but I don’t know if it’s too hard for people to remember (Shallary Marie) What do you think? Thanks for all the info! Your blog is very motivating and easy to understand.


Leave a Reply