Forget MySpace: How To Build The Ultimate Website To Interact With Your Fans

Being a musician these days can be wonderful as well as a daunting - there are so many opportunities out there (especially on the web) to distribute your music it can be very easy to forget what the ultimate goal is - to acquire new fans! That being said many musicians are not very business or tech savvy and can get lost in all the networks and tools everyone is raging about. Should I concentrate on MySpace? WTF is Twitter? How can I get on iTunes? While all of those tools are wonderful opportunities for musicians to connect with their potential audience they are just tools and not a means to building something that's long term; you need to use them but your ultimate goal should be to use those tools to get new fans to come to YOUR own website. Why is your site so important? Isn't it just the same as a MySpace page? The answer my friends is a big NO. Can you sell Mp3's direct from your MySpace page without using a 3rd party service? Do you own that friends" list from MySpace? Do you have access to their emails? No and no. You don't have any control over anything. And control over these things is one of the most powerful things you need to have if you want to take this music career thing to the next level. And I'm here to show you how to do it all for the measly price of around zero dollars. Now don't get me wrong - setting this up requires some serious technical knowledge so you're gonna have to get your hands dirty and learn it the hard way. Also of course you're going to have to pay for web hosting but I pray you already new that! Here is a list of the 6 free things that you can use to set up the ultimate web presence and build your career with.  

1. Wordpress CMS (Content Management System) A website used to be built by writing a bunch of html from scratch as "static" pages. Anyone who's serious about the web knows this is retarded nowadays. What you need is something easy to update and that's where the Wordpress CMS comes in. It's open source (re: free) and can be installed in about an hour after you read through some very nerd and techy things. Don't be afraid - there's plenty of documentation that will walk you through it and once it's installed building your website content will be a breeze. Wordpress is essentially a blogging platform but it's capabilities are almost endless and you can also build regular pages; update the blog regularly and use it to connect with your fans.  

2. Theme Design You'll notice when you install Wordpress that is has a default theme and design and is rather boring. The great thing about using Wordpress is theCommunity,Music Organisations,Community,Music Organisations,Community,Music Organisations,Community,Music Organisations,Community,Music Organisations,Community,Music Organisations,Community,Music Organisations,Community,Music Organisations, Fundingof wonderful designers who create FREE themes that are easy to install and can quickly take your design from boring to snazzy with a click of the mouse. For those who want to get really dirty you can hack and alter your theme with custom graphics (all ya need to do is learn a little PHP and CSS) and you'll have a new custom site in no time.  

How about a contact form or a site map? No matter what capabilities you want your website to have chances are there's a free plugin out there that can help make it happen.  

4. Download Store Speaking of plugins what if you wanted to sell your music directly from your website without using any other service or sharing any of the profits? Why does a visitor need to go somewhere else to perform a simple task like downloading a song? Now worries once you install the Instinct E-Commerce plugin not only can you sell t-shirts and other merch you can also set up a digital download store. Automate it so people can buy your Mp3's while you sleep!  

in exchange for their email address. Then use their Fan Reach service to manage your list (one of your most important assets). Everything is tracked - every listen every download every fan acquisition so you can see how you're doing what's working etc.  

6. Site Analytics In addition to those ReverbNation stats you're also going to need a basic stats package for you to see how your website is doing. While you hosting provider should have some you'll want to compare it to your Google Analytics account which is obviously free and easy to set-up. After installation you can see where your traffic is coming from what people are looking at and how any marketing efforts are affecting interaction. Trust me if you build a website using all these free tools and software you'll have a machine working for you; it doesn't stop there though! Connect the site to all those other tools you've been using (links to Facebook & MySpace iTunes buttons Flickr & YouTube widgets) and you'll have a one-stop shop for everything you (and your fans) need! Now just start generating great blog content networking with others on the web to get some press and keep making good music and you'll be able to see your steady growth using real business analytics along the way!   About the author: "