Another quick improvement you can make to your website is to make it easy for people to listen to your music. First time visitors should be able to sample your music in one, easy, and obvious click. Sound like common sense?
Well, I can honestly tell you that from 4 years of booking bands at a music venue, I had essentially given up going to band websites to hear music and simply used profiles at Myspace or Bandcamp pages instead. It was often difficult to find full songs to listen to on artist websites, and with limited time, I went to the one place I knew I could hear music easily.
Make a first impression: Music to listen to, not only purchase
Keep in mind that a lot of your traffic is from people who aren’t your fans yet. Maybe they’ve heard about you. Maybe one of their friends posted your website somewhere. Maybe you’re opening for a band they like and they want to decide if you’re worth showing up early for. Think of them by putting your best track right there, at the top of your homepage in high bitrate glory (good sound quality). A good video? Even better. That way you’re grabbing their viewing as well as their listening attention.
All too often music pages only have music for sale that at best offer crappy 30-60 second sample clips. Sometimes there is only music available to purchase with no music samples at all, or worse yet, only links to external sites to purchase music, with no music available on the site whatsoever. You should definitely have your music for sale on your website, but make sure to also have at least 1 or 2 songs people can listen to, from start to finish, so they can get a good taste of what your music is all about.
Make it clear where to listen to your music
Once your music is available to listen to on your site, make it very easy for people to find it. Again, best thing to do would be to have a music player right on your homepage. You can also use a site-wide music player that can continue to play while people surf the different sections of your site. Once they start listening, having a “playlist” of your best songs that keeps playing is definitely better that forcing them to hit “play” for each track (because chances are, they won’t).
Speaking of the different sections of your website, “Music” should be in the main menu of your website. Again, this sounds like common sense, but there are still too many websites that either try to be fancy with sections like “Experience” or “Discover”, or have the music buried within another section of the site like “Media” or “Press”. You might only have that person’s attention for a minute (maybe less), so make it clear right on the main menu where they can find your music.
Your website is your hub, give people every reason to stay
Your website is your hub, and you should have everything available on it, including full songs to listen to. If your fans can listen to your songs on Facebook, Myspace, music blogs, etc., then they should be able to listen to them right on your website, which is where you really want fans to spend their time.
This way, they can stick around, listen to your music, look at your photos, read your blog posts, and hopefully sign-up to your newsletter or shop in your online store. If you don’t have any music for them to listen to while they’re on your site, they might leave and go to your Facebook page (or your rarely updated Myspace page), or worse, just leave your site and move onto something else entirely to pass the time (like watching an epic battle between a puppy and a robot).