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I Don’t Know html. How Do I Build a Website?

November 4, 2010

ARTIST: Eric Downs of Yours Truly (Pittsburgh, PA)
QUESTION: I was wondering if you could suggest a few things for me to research in regards to building a website. I’ve researched options like the cost of domain registration and hosting fees, but outside of that, I’m relatively oblivious. Do you think you could provide me with some guidance?

ANSWER: Hey Eric. Yea I think the biggest hangup preventing artists from owning their own website is not know html code.  Yea its easy to get someone to design a site for you, but you still need to be responsible for maintaining it.  Here are some great options.

1. Bandzoogle. I’ve heard really great things about Bandzoogle. Artists have told me its great because it helps you design a site without needing to have any html knowledge.  BZ handles all hosting and you can claim your desired domain name through them.  The minimum fee is $9.99/ month. This is more costly than registering a domain and buying annual hosting space on your own…but the ease and user-friendly approach of BZ is what sells the idea.

2. WordPress. Everyone uses WordPress. Believe it or not, many of the sites you visit today are created with WordPress. You have to register your own domain and hosting. And it’s definitely necessary to have some html and css knowledge to establish your site. But once everything is in place, updating your pages is easy.  Wordpress has thousands upon thousands of themes (i.e. designs) that you can pick for the layout of your website. Here are two ways to go about using WordPress.

  • Consider having someone do all the setup (if you can’t), then go in and do all the tweaking. My sister’s band,  The Peace Project,  just did this with their site, but you might never know it’s WordPress. She added and updates the content when she wants.
  • Consider having someone do the setup and design. Maybe you can’t find a WordPress theme that you like. Create one. This is a bit more work and would also require a third-party if you don’t know how to do this. I had someone custom make a design for my website, Css and html knowledge that I didn’t have was required. But it feels great not having to worry about using html when updating

Good luck with your website! I hope it goes well!
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Perception is Reality

November 19, 2008

It took me a while to figure out what my first write-up for this blog would be. But I’m going to start with something that will probably tie together any subject matter covered in this blog. Perception is Reality.  I should preface this by saying that you wont be reading anything extremely profound but just some things that I’ve learned from experience and from other musicians, business people and entrepreneurs.

After graduating from college, I worked at a book publishing company for several years booking radio and tv interviews for our authors.  The biggest problem in trying to promote someone is that no one can promote You better that You.  Some writers think the work is done after the book is published.  Just the same, many musicians think that it’s all about showing up for the gig and playing a 30 minute set.

The truth is that pursuing music has more to do with what you do offstage after you’ve made your initial impressions…. i.e.

  • following up with fans who subscribe to your mailing list (p.s. do you have a mailing list?)
  • promoting your show (don’t leave this up to the venue)
  • trying to get credible write-ups
  • updating your myspace and/or website

Whatever you feed people is what they’ll eat (sad but true).  People only know what they see. If people get a good idea of who you are b/c you’re always on your game, they’re more likely to keep in touch with you via email, facebook, going to your gigs, letting their friends know about you, and even passing on performance opportunities.

The goal is to give people an honest image of who you are and maintain that consistent integrity from start to finish. Hopefully they’ll dig your personality, stage presence, and the fact that you’ll respond to them when they drop you a note on myspace or facebook.


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