No Label Needed: How To Make Your Own Website

by marc

As part of winning the No Label Needed Contest and Series, Iron Thrones received a new website that they can easily manage. The site was built using the Sons of Nero artwork and Wordpress content management system (CMS) as that is one of the easiest to update and manage. The Syndicate’s Bill Shouldis explains how any band can create their own, inexpensive website below and provides more detailed information after the jump.

Here’s a list of some suggestions for getting your band’s website up and running. On the website for Iron Thrones, we did more advanced coding by creating a customized Wordpress theme based off the blank 3 column theme from refueled.net. The bare bones theme allowed us to easily add and subtract features as we needed them

Below I break down a few different options in various categories that I think bands will find useful. If you have any positive / negative experience with some software that you are using for your band, feel free to leave in the comments. This is meant to be a stepping stone for people who don’t know where to start, if you have any questions leave in the comments and we will try to answer them for you.

WEBSITES

tumblr.com
Free and easy to use and customize if you have some html skills. Allows you to easily update your fans and connect your site posts with Twitter and Facebook. Also has a community feature so that other tumblr users can follow you. Another plus is that the free themes are better designed and look more modern than Blogspot and other competitors.

Costs: Free + price of domain to map. Some themes may have additional charges.

Wordress.com
A version of wordpress that is hosted on wordpress.com and can be set up in a few steps. Allows users to easily update blog posts

Costs: Free with additional add ons for fees.

Wordpress.org
This is what we used for IronThrones.com. This is open source software that you set up on your own hosting/database. This is by far the most robust solution in comparison to the other we are discussing here. Similar options would be to use Joomla or Drupal which have slightly more of a learning curve for non developers.

Recommended Plugins: Gigpress, Vipers Video QuickTags, WP Stats, All In One SEO, Google Sitemap, Audio Player, Next Gen Gallery and Various Mailing list plugins

Costs: Free software but you need web hosting and your own domain. Depending on the template you use that could cost between $0 – $50 on average.

flavors.me/
Easy to set up / super clean and professional looking websites.

Costs: $20 a year


ONLINE STORES

Storenvy.com – Free and easy to use, just upload a header image, change colors, add your product images/details and you have a classy looking store in a fairly short amount of time. Offers lots of good statistics and lets users pay via credit card or PayPal. A huge plus is that it has a Facebook application to add your store to your Facebook fan page for users to shop your store and the site also features community features so that others can follow your store and keep up to date with your new products

Costs: Free! you just incur PayPal fees when you sell something

BigCartel.com – Similar to Storenvy in that it has an easy use interface that allows you to do customization to the code to style the store as you want it. Storenvy seems to have a lot more features now and a lower price tag, though BigCartel has been around a few years longer and many are familiar with it.

Big Cartel is set to be launching a digital download system soon. It is currently in beta testing.

Costs: Free for up to five items then monthly fees kick in as well as PayPal fees

BandCamp.com – Best choice for digital sales. Can offer your songs in a variety of digital formats at a set price, a sliding scale (like Radiohead) or for an email address. The site gives you 200 digital download codes to distribute for people to redeem free downloads. More codes can be purchased at a very reasonable price. The site also allows for you to sell physical products with immediate digital download only downside is that it is not well suited to selling your shirts and hoodies alongside your music.

Costs: Free + charges for PayPal fees and additional download codes if desired.


MAILING LIST

Mailchimp.com – I recommend mail chimp because it has a simple interface and they allow you to send up to 500 emails a month for free. Perfect for when you’re building your fan base and once you have enough fans on the list to where it will cost you the monthly fee, you should hopefully be making some money as a band to cover the cost. There are free open source options like Pommo or PHPlist which require you to do development and maintain them which for the most part is not worth the hassle.

Also useful Ping.fm and ArtistData.com to use for updating your site and social networks at the same time.