Step by Step Instruction
I’m assuming in this guide that you have little to no programming or coding experience. Also that you want to keep things as simple as possible. I’m using WordPress as the platform. Other platforms are available (like Joomla or Drupal) if you don’t like WordPress.
Step 1: Decide what kind of Artist website you want
I know that might sound simple, but you’ve got to think it through. What do you want your website to do? Showcase your blog posts, sell your music and other products, give your fans a central place to find you online, be a space for discussion & comments, be a portal for concert tickets, etc. Or all of the above. You’ll be happiest if your website does exactly what you had in mind!
Step 2: Pick a Name for your Artist site
This is another thing that seems obvious; you’d want the name to be the name of the artist or band, right? It is possible however that those names may not be available. You might have to get creative and add suffixes(“BandNameOnline”) or other descriptors to the base name to be sure that it’s available as a domain name.
So what name do you want your website to have? Consider carefully because complicated names can sometimes make it harder for your visitors. Unique names can be good, but if you get too complicated with your naming scheme (especially if you add dashes) it can be more difficult for new visitors to find you online. Remember that these days people are going to have to type that name of yours into their phones more often than not. If your stage name as an artist or the name of your band is complicated or lengthy, simplify it. Trust me, that’ll be better. (Three words or less, one word is best.)
Step 3: Pick a Domain Name host
It’s really advisable for you to do this step before you’ve even named your band. You don’t want to pick a name that’s not available in any form or combination. Or end up having someone try to sell you your own name back as a domain name for thousands of dollars. I kid you not.
Once you’ve decided what you want to name your artist site, you have to check to see if that name is available. Again, it may or may not be. So you need a Domain Name host to check that for you. If the name you want is available, you can also purchase it from the domain host. As well as all of its associated suffixes (.com, .net, .org, .info, etc.) if that’s what you want. The cheapest option will be if you pay for it annually. The most expensive option is if you pay month by month. And yes, you have to renew the name every year. It’s not a once and for all time purchase. If you lose the name it will be an AWFUL experience trying to get it back, especially if the band blows up. Can you imagine The Rolling Stones losing their domain name?
So be sure you pay attention to your renewal dates. Here are some recommended Domain Name hosts:
Step 4: Pick a Site Host
Think of hosting as renting apartment space. It’s a place on the web where all of your files are kept; your pictures, your posts, the way your website is organized, etc. As a beginner you probably don’t have your own server, so you’ll need a host. And yes you have to pay for hosting, remember it’s rent on the internet. Do some shopping comparisons to be sure that the host you choose has everything you want. Check their payment plans, if they have automatic backups, ease of access to your website’s administration page, etc. And again, cheaper to pay annually, and you must renew. Nothing is a once for all time purchase. I again recommend going with one of the following:
Step 5: Check your email
You’ll get emails from both your Domain Name host and Website host with specific instructions as to how to sign in for both. Once you do, change your password immediately and make sure you can remember it!
You should also get a least one free email with the package you sign up for in terms of your hosting. Use that email for a general admin account. (Contact@BandName.com, Admin@ArtistName.com, Info@BandNameOnline.com, etc.)
Step 6: Load your Site Software
Most site hosts these days offer 1-click installation. That means that when you’re ready to load your WordPress software (which is what tells your website what to do) you can do so with just one mouse click. That setup will take a few minutes, and the system will alert you by email once it’s done. You’ll have the option to watch a few more videos. Watch as many or as few as you choose, but be sure to watch any that tell you how to connect your brand new domain name to your brand new website. It will involve something called DNS, domain name servers. You have to change them to ensure that your domain name points to your site.
Step 7: That’s it!
Once you’ve done all of the above, you’ll be done with the basic setup. What you will need to focus on next is configuring your website to make it look how you like and do what you want. There are absolutely, positively, millions of different combinations to make that happen. I have another very simple step by step instruction guide that shows you just the basic WordPress setup. Again, if you use Joomla or other website building software, this will not apply. But I’ll show you some very basic things you need to do once you get into your WordPress site. Click HERE to go to Step by Step: Basics of WordPress.