So... you want to DIY your website?

I know starting up a new band or your own business is no joke.

And when you’re doing that you don’t usually have money to hire a web designer. So today I’m going to give you a Website 101 crash course. I’ve been coding and designing websites since 2010, so you could say I’ve got some advice when it comes to websites.

You can either continue reading on or watch the video replay below for all the info!

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Did you know...

  • There are over 966 MILLION websites!
  • Mobile media time has exceeded desktop media time

  • There are 2.9 BILLION Google searches per day with 2.7 MILLION blog posts published every day

(Read more at HostingFacts.com)

Now let’s talk about YOU! Because with stats like these, you’ve got to stand out online!

You’re reading this post because you know a good website is important, but you’re at a stage in your career where you need to DIY it.

I got you.
I know what it’s like to trying to turn your ideas into reality.
And that’s why I want to share these tips with you today.

As a website designer I obviously believe that your visual branding can make or break you in this online and digital world that we live in. I also think with just a little knowledge you can make your DIY website look less DIY… and that’s my goal for today.

During this webinar I’ll be sharing all about...

  1. Platforms

  2. Hosting vs Domain Names

  3. CTA (Call-To-Action)

  4. Mailing List Integration

  5. Designer Tips

Maybe you’re already like, what the heck is some of that? Don’t worry, I didn’t understand anything until the end of my second coding class in college. Trust me, I know what it feels like for all this to sound like a foreign language.

So if you’re ready, I’m ready…

#1 Platforms

There are various website platforms such as Squarespace / WordPress / Wix / ReverbNation / Weebly… and more. But, for the purpose of this webinar I’ll be talking about Squarespace. I know this can be a highly debatable topic for some people, but the reasons I go with Squarespace are because my clients always want 3 things...

  1. All Squarespace templates are mobile friendly right off the bat
  2. The front end is drag and drop and very easy to use without any coding knowledge
  3. Squarespace has a very clean and modern look - which I like!

I’ve built sites from complete scratch, and have used WordPress, but ultimately I go with Squarespace because it’s easy for my clients to use once sites are launched - and that makes everyone happy!!

When we get into the Designer Tips, I’ll be showing you a little behind the scenes action on Squarespace. So I’ll go into more detail on this in a bit.. I just wanted to start with this so we’re all on the same page.

#2 Hosting vs Domain

So moving on to talk about hosting vs domain names. To have a website, you’ll need both, and I’ve come up with an analogy that I tell all my clients - ok, so think about your house... You have to have land to put your house on, and your house is useless without and land to put it on! Right? So think of hosting as the land, and the domain as the house.

Again, hosting is the land, and your domain is the house. Both are useless without the other.

Hosting is essentially your “property” and space on the web, and your domain name is your address. So for example my domain name is www.designingtherow.com.

Going back to Squarespace, it’s not just a bunch of pretty design templates, but Squarespace also provides you the hosting part of the equation.

They can provide domain names, but if you have a domain name say through GoDaddy, Network Solutions, BlueHost, or elsewhere - that works too! You can use the two together! If you have any domain questions, just let me know in the comments!!

I know this part is always super confusing.

#3 CTA

Call-to-actions! This is where we really get into the good stuff!

I want you to think about this for a minute…. What ONE thing do you want viewers to take action on when they visit your site?

Do you want them to check out your tour dates… visit your merch store… sign up for your newsletter?? It’s up to you, but you need to pick one. And just one!

On average, at least for the websites I manage, viewers spend about a minute and a half TOTAL on a website. So while you may have multiple pages, you need to get your point across quickly and clearly. If you want people to sign up for your newsletter… create an announcement bar to draw their attention, add it as a main action item on your homepage, add it to your footer so it shows up on every page, give viewers an incentive to sign up for your list.

So basically, pick a clear call to action and make it obvious in several different ways that it’s your objective!

I’ll show you a few examples of this in a minute. I want to move through these points so we can get to the part where I show you how it all works and take some of your specific questions!

#4 Mailing List Integration

Just like we talked about with Platforms, there are all sorts of different email marketing systems. For this webinar, let’s talk about MailChimp. It’s free to get started which makes it perfect if you are in the DIY stage of setting up your online presence!

I’m sure you’ve heard it said before, but unlike social media, your mailing list is completely yours. It won’t change algorithms on you or anything like that - and all the subscribers are there for you and you can talk to them directly in their inbox. And that, that’s powerful these days!

So basically what I want to get across to you here is that:

  1. If you don’t already have a mailing list set up, get on that… like, yesterday!
  2. Add your sign-up form to your website in multiple places
  3. Give people an incentive to sign up for your mailing list
  4. When you send out emails, don’t make it all about you… people don’t have time for that. Send emails with content that can inspire or benefit the reader.
  5. In a minute I’ll show you how easy it is to connect MailChimp and Squarespace. If you aren’t on Squarespace yet, I don’t think you’re gonna believe how freakin easy it is.

#5 Designer Tips

Before I dive into showing you some site examples… I have 5 designer tips for you to keep in mind when you’re DIYing your website.

  1. Your logo should be the biggest text on the website
  2. Keep your colors and fonts on brand with your most recent album to create consistency
  3. Stick to 3 fonts or less
  4. Leave room for white space… and when I say white I don’t literally mean white, I just mean give your content space. Don’t cram everything together!
  5. Update your content consistently. This will give viewers a reason to continue coming back to your site!

Q&A

(Watch the video replay for answers!)

"I have a free Weebly account linked to my domain name under GoDaddy. what would you recommend to someone to bump their website up to the next level? Stay with Weebly, upgrade, choose another route, etc? Also, how does someone go about embedding Instagram feed into their website? I can't seem to find anyway to do this."

"I would love to know the pages and info that a website should have in the most basic form without having to update much! That or how/advice on having a one page website. My deal is I know I need one as a home base for my media and socials as well as looking more professional but I'm not doing a bunch of shows right now that I need a page dedicated to that, nor do I want to have to constantly update content so that my site doesn't look abandoned if that makes sense!"

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Katherine Forbes, Nashville musician website designer

Katherine Forbes, Founder of Designing the Row

Designing the Row is a web design and marketing studio based in Nashville, TN. I'm Katherine Forbes, and I love creating websites to help share others' music online. I believe there is more to a website than just pretty graphics and layout. Each website needs to reflect the design and music style of the artist but also have a marketing strategy to help fans navigate easily.

 

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Katherine Forbes

Nashville, TN