How to Choose A Website/builder and Host For Indie Artists


 

 How to Choose A Website/builder and Host For Indie Artists

 

Website

When it comes to choosing a website for your music it can be quite complexing at the beginning. From choosing a trustworthy host, a theme or even domain all come into play.

 

From my experience, there has been quite a few hosts and trials which I’ve tried and tested and it wasn’t until Music Talks grew to an extent, I tried to implement idea’s and found it was very difficult to do so, resulting in the move to a different host and re-building the entire site again.

Now, many would say, “why couldn’t you just upload the FTP file across”.  Simply because it was not at all possible.

Why You Need A Website

But let’s get back to the easier solutions for an indie artist. An artist should have at least a basic website as their base. This should be their space, their place, their own little piece of the net in which they own to send fans and business personnel.

Your website should feature your latest music, all your social media links which are easy to see, a newsletter subscription, contact details, pictures of you, and video if you have any.

These are the basics and should be kept up to date!

You can even have a private portal for PR purposes only so you can include your latest music and PR release for download to radio, management or other business industry professionals.

 

WIX/WEEBLY

The easiest and cheapest solution without having your own domain name as a stand-alone domain name, is either Wix or Weebly. (you can have your name in the URL, but it will be set up as a sub-domain) This means that your name will be at the beginning of the URL and end with either Wix or Weebly. (See Example here: https://traceyarbon.wixsite.com/musictalks-xyz-old/home)

 

Wix or Weebly providers require little to no coding experience and provide a drag and drop builder. Once you learn and know where everything is, it is quite easy and very fast to just get in there and do what you need; well at least that’s the aim of it, and should be that way.

I did find by using Wix, that it took quite a long time to upload pictures and quite often during my experience in the editor, the site editor would freeze. (however, this could be due to the fact that the site just became too big and I was on it every day.)  

Wix only offers the plugins they have on offer and nothing outside, unless you have coding skills. And I did find that by using Wix, the SEO was affected. I believe this is also the case with Weebly.

However, it is very good for a simple site for artists at very little cost.

If you do like to purchase your own domain name, I would suggest not to purchase from Wix itself. Wix is locked in with  Network Solutions, which means, should you wish to re-locate your domain with a different host, you are unable to transfer your domain immediately. If you do wish to transfer your domain, it takes 60 days, which will mean your site will be offline for that period of time. You can point your domain to your new host if you do not wish to take 2 months off the web. 

The other disadvantage is with Wix, is that you cannot download your FTP, which consists of all of your content. This means your blogs, pictures etc. can not be downloaded all at once in one file. You have to copy and paste every single article into your new site or onto a word document and be super organized.

You can download your pictures one at a time.

So, if you plan on building your site into a huge blog site or E-commerce site, I would not suggest Wix.

However, I do stress that it is perfect for the simple few pages of an artist for their music, gig dates, have a base place for fans or business personnel and to sell your music directly from Wix. You will need a Paypal account set up for this as well.

If you do want to purchase your domain, I would recommend Namecheap, Bluehost or Go Daddy. There are quite a few to choose from.

Namecheap and Go Daddy also have website builders available for free as well, with hosting at very good rates and support is average.

 

To Upgrade to one of the premium packages for Wix, which allows your own domain, begin at $10usd a month but does not give much bandwidth or any e-commerce features, nor your own email.  Email accounts need to be purchased separately and can be done through Wix, but is a G-Suite email account.

You can see what they have on offer here. https://www.wix.com/upgrade/website

A domain name alone will cost you around $15USD a year from a separate host if you choose to purchase this outside of Wix.

laptop

 

WORDPRESS

The other options are WordPress. So many options will have your head spinning,

However, to build a simple site for an artist, you can set this up with a simple WordPress theme for free.

You will need hosting and purchase your own domain name. Using WordPress has so many options available and it is nice and fast.

The down side of WordPress, is if you are always needing to add content on a daily basis it can take a bit longer, and you need to be on top of understanding more about certain aspects of how a site works. But hey, with so many using it around the world, it can’t be too hard.

If you are using WordPress for a large site, you need to keep an eye on your plugins and their updates, as they can break your site. Word press hosts also usually have unlimited email accounts and sub-domains included in their plans. Shared hosting is the normal option and is absolutely fine to use for sites that are not huge businesses. 

 

SQUARESPACE

Other options are Squarespace,  which looks amazing, but I think are quite expensive after looking into it, but super easy to use, fast, have great themes and looks to be able to do it all. However, you will need to pay for all the bells and whistles.

 

For a simple artist website, you would be looking at paying approx. $23USD a month if paid annually on the Basic Commerce package, which includes a checkout page should you wish to sell merchandise. Squarespace does not include emails either and needs to be purchased in addition to paying for hosting.

 

BANDZOOGLE

Bandzoogle looks like a fantastic option for artists and if you are looking at paying a little bit and get a lot, then this looks to be perfect. Prices here: https://bandzoogle.com/pricing

Bandzoogle don’t require coding skills. Email account is not included and to be paid annually in addition to hosting fees.

I could keep going, but it really does depend on how much you can afford to pay, and what you need on your site.

My recommendations from my own personal experience with website builders – in order from Free to paid purely for independent artists are:

 

  1. Wix/Weebly – https://www.wix.com (free version)
  2. Bandzooglehttps://bandzoogle.com
  3. Squarespace – https://www.squarespace.com
  4. Namecheap – https://www.namecheap.com 

 

Two other platforms/hosts with domain and easy building platform which I have not used, but also look good are:

 https://www.jimdo.com

https://www.site123.com/

 

Other Recommendations

When looking at hosts check/ask what their uptime/speed is.

If you wish to become familiar with WordPress, expect to learn and take the time to work it out.

Recommended hosts for use with WordPress are:

 

  1. Namecheap – https://www.namecheap.com
  2. Hostgator – https://www.hostgator.com
  3. Hostpapa – https://www.hostpapa.com  (very good support)

 

Again, it does depend how much control you want over your site. As you will see, many sites with builders do not include your own emails and have to be purchased separately, so the cost can add up.

When using word press, as mentioned above, you will only need to pay for the hosting, any paid plugins (but there are many for free), and if the host does not offer a SSL certificate (which is recommended), you will need to pay for that. Check the hosting packages and what it includes. Word Press can end up being the cheapest option, but requires a bit more work.

If you want to save money and have your own domain with emails and subdomains, I would highly recommend using WordPress. You can also update and change themes. You are in full control.

Hope I haven’t confused you.

Advertisements