How To Make A Music Website | Best WordPress Tools & Plugins 2020
From musicians to producers, it's essential you have your own website to showcase your music. We show you the best plugins & online tools that make it easy & fast to build your own site.
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If you're a musician or producer looking to create a website for your music (or revamp your tired old site) we've found some of the best WordPress plugins and tools to make it painless and easy.
We've included free and paid premium plugins that are the tried, tested and trusted resources out there today.
Why not having your own music website is a recipe for disaster
Whether you're an aspiring amateur, local gigger, or full blown professional, I don't need to tell you; having a website to showcase and promote your material to both music industry peeps and fans is critical if you want to get anywhere.
Not having a website means you might just be robbing yourself of:
- Gig and job opportunities
- Promo and press prospects
- Acquiring more, & engaging with existing fans
- Making money from selling your music from your self-controlled site
10 Must-have elements your music website should have
Musicians, producers and anyone in-between operating in the music industry will benefit from having the following elements on their website:
- An online shop - to sell music and merchandise which means you keep a bigger cut of your royalties and have 100% control. Pretty sweet.
- Audio player - for your audience to listen to your music. Some audio players even direct people to your product page where they can easily purchase your tracks on the spot.
- Event calendar - provide information about upcoming events and gigs
- Photo gallery - show off your band photo shoots, share social media uploads and display album artwork
- Videos - attract attention by showing official and unofficial footage of you at work and play
- Biography section - where your website visitors can learn more about the talent behind the music
- Contact form - for fans and music industry people to contact you directly
- Mailing list- to keep fans in the loop and get more people coming to your shows, buying your music and spreading the word
- Vlog or blog - connect with visitors by posting daily or weekly vlogs. From behind the scenes at the recording studio, to a day in your life, your audience will become super-fans in no time
- Links to your social media profiles - keep fans engaged and create buzz around your music by linking to your social media platforms
Why hosting your own website is better than using a third party website builder
You can't get away from seeing adverts for website building platforms, and you might be thinking, why not use one of these to make life easier? It's a fair point, afterall, there are tons of ready to go templates on website builders.
But there's a reason why so many people opt to create their own sites on WordPress - the web's most popular platform used to manage websites (more about that coming up) - it's easy.
And at the end of the day you get an individual, unique looking website.
The deal is, the positive points about going with a pre-made website builder are also the downsides too. Plus, when you make your own website, you still have access to page builders such as the popular Divi website builder by Elegant Themes. The difference is you will be hosting your site instead of it being hosted by a 3rd party.
Creating your own website has these key benefits:
- you have 100% control
- your website will look unique as you can fully customise it
- building your own website is now easy! Thanks to web-hosting solutions such as Bluehost, you get the full monty package of domain name + hosting + simple one-click WordPress installation.
6 Steps To Create A Website
For every website in the land there are 6 defined stages of creation. This article is designed to take you by the hand and walk you through each step so you can get your music website up and running quick sharpish.
- Choose your website (aka domain) name and web hosting
- Choose your website platform (WordPress)
- Install a beautiful looking theme
- Install plugins to configure & tweak your website for best performance
- Create blog posts & pages
- Promote on social media
Let's get to the best tools to help you complete those steps quickly and with minimum hassle possible so you can crack on with what you love - making music and showcasing it to the world.
Step 1. Choose your domain name + hosting
This first step is the exciting bit. You're about to get your website out of your head, and onto the screen. You need two things to get going;
A) Domain name - Also known as your website address looks something like this: "www.myfunkyrockriffs.com". It's important you choose the right web hosting. You'll need a reputable company who offer fast loading of your website, and good customer support. Afterall, who wants to be waiting days for a reply to a question should one arise?
B) Web hosting - Your site content needs a home to live, and this in a nutshell is what hosting is. You pay a hosting company a small fee each month to store all your pages, posts, images and media.
Because your material is precious, you need to go with a trusted, reputable web host company who will keep your stuff private and secure.
Out of all the web hosting providers we've used, there are 3 that we recommend based on value for money, reliability and ease of use. These are Bluehost.com, GreenGeeks.com and Cloudways.com.
1. Bluehost (hosting)
Bluehost make it really simple for you to start the ball rolling and buy your hosting. Not only that, they offer a free domain name and free SSL certificate (vital to make your site secure and appear legit to site visitors).
Now, if you're worried if it matters that Bluehost is United States based and you aren't, don't be. I have personally used Bluehost for years and I am UK based. They're reliable and the site is intuitive and easy to use.
As a bonus, when you sign-up through this link, you get shared basic hosting from just $2.95 a month (on 36 month plans, a little more for 24 and 12 month plans).
We recommend you consider the Choice Plus Plan, as for just $5.45 you get more benefits such as unlimited website hosting and unlimited SSD storage. Perfect if you're planning on having large music files on your site .
The great news is we can complete Step 2 of installing the content management system WordPress with one click in Bluehost. Once you've selected your chosen plan in Bluehost & chosen your new catchy domain name, Bluehost will automatically install WordPress for you. Easy as pie or what?
Before we get to step 2, here are two other great hosting companies for you to consider also.
Paid | Get hosting at Bluehost.com
2. Green Geeks (hosting)
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Step 2. Install your website platform (WordPress)
There's a reason why 35% of the internet's content is powered by WordPress: it's crazy simple to use. WordPress makes it easy for you to create and manage your website content.
You need WordPress.org and not WordPress.com. This is because if you want to monotise your site you'll need to be self-hosted, and after following step 1, you are!
As you've already seen in Step 1, WordPress is so easy to install even your great nan could do it. Thanks to the 1-click install feature offered by hosting providers such as Bluehost
Step 3. Install a theme
Now the fun begins! Now you're primed ready to go within WordPress, you're now about to make the important decision of what theme you'll use on your site.
Don't mess this up!
And because there's a head-spinning amount of different themes to choose from (literally thousands) including lots for for free and paid, our advise is to future proof and go for a paid theme.
5 Reasons why going for a free theme over a premium theme is a bad idea
Learn from my mistakes! Back in the day before I knew any better I tried saving some cash and opting for a free WordPress theme. Bad move. They caused so many headaches with glitches and lacked any good features.
Here are the 5 main reasons why going free wouldn't be a wise move:
- Free themes, because they're, well, free, are often plagued with problems because they're thrown together and poorly coded. Want to insert a reliable music player on your website? Go for it, but don't expect it to work properly on your free website. Poor coding can lead to plugin incompatibilities you see. Talking of which, see point 2...
- Free themes are often not updated once they're created which is bad news. WordPress updates frequently, and for plugins and themes to remain compatible in the future they need to be maintained and updated. You get this piece of mind with paid premium themes.
- Free themes often have little or zero customer support. The guys and gals who make premium themes are the best in the industry and you'll get customer service if you ever have a question or a problem. This reason alone should convince you to invest a bit of wonga and ditch the idea of settling for a free theme.
- Free themes theme have limited and basic features. This reason alone was why I stopped using a free theme when I started making websites. I tried at least 5 different free themes and got frustrated with the lack of functionality.
- You know we said WordPress has thousands of themes? Out of the free ones that work better than their poorly coded counterparts, some have over 1 million downloads. You know what that means don't you? Samey, identikit boring websites. Who wants to be a lemming and follow the crowd with a website version of a teeny bopper boy band?
To learn how to install your theme, click here. You may find you need a little help customizing a theme to suit your brand.
Let's get to those amazing looking themes then.
1. Elegant Themes
Sure, there are some nice free themes you could choose your site, but what if you want to create a website that's eye catching and stands out from the pack? Head on over to Elegant Themes.
One of the most popular WordPress theme shops in the land, Elegant Themes offers an abundance of knock-out premium themes and plugins that tick the design, functionality and affordability boxes.
Their flagship theme Divi is the most popular WordPress theme thanks to the user-friendly integrated Divi Builder tool. From page formats, to fonts and colours, this drag and drop builder tool helps you easily create and customize your website design.
This versatile theme has multiple variations to suit your niche. And Elegant Themes have created a blog post just for us muso's in fact featuring 10 Divi theme variations specifically for musicians. Feast your eyes for some design inspiration.
Available in three different packages: the personal plan, the developer plan, and the lifetime access plan - you can choose to buy one theme or pay one price to have access to ALL of the premium themes they’ve ever created, starting from just $89.
Perfect for those of you planning on creating more than one website or if you like to keep it fresh by changing your website theme now and then. With great customer support, frequent updates and so many theme options, you'll be able to create the website you've been picturing in your head if you opt for Elegant Themes.
Free | Get Elegant Themes here
For those of us who want a beautiful looking website but know zilch about coding, ThemeIsle is the perfect go-to. From WordPress themes to plugins, you're sure to find the ideal tool to pimp up your website.
All of ThemeIsle's themes are easy to setup and tweak with help of the Live Customiser tool, and their support receives impressive customer satisfaction feedback. Important if you have any questions down the line.
The theme Neve is perfectly suited to creating a music website with the 'starter sites library' where you get umpteen ready-made website templates which you can use out the box, or customise to fit your individual style.
Click here, type 'music' into the search box half way down the page, and check out the latest music skins the theme offers. Who said building a website was tricky?
Expect themes with attention-grabbing features including seamless parallax scrolling, funky animation elements and video ribbons where you can showcase your musical products to the world when you use a theme from ThemeIsle.
Paid | Get ThemeIsIe here
Step 4. Install plugins to configure & tweak
One of the first things you need to do to your new website once you've sorted your domain name, web hosting, and installed WordPress is to start adding important plugins.
To make your music website run the very best, you'll need to install plugins that help you customize your new site and, A) enable you to optimise and tweak your site for optimum performance, and B) make showcasing your music material, products and/or services a breeze.
Great news is, within WordPress itself you have access to thousands of plugins.
In this step, we'll show you 6 essential must-have plugins to install on your site.
1. Yeost SEO
SEO stands for Search Optimisation and is important to help your website rank higher in Google search results and help you get more traffic to listen to your music or read about your services.
This is where the Yeost SEO plugin shines. The plugin helps you optimize your new awesome content for the search engines, meaning your website will become more discoverable by fans and music industry folks.
From improving the readability of your content, to metadata, to optimizing your keywords, Yoast SEO makes search engine optimization a cinch.
Download the free version or consider Yoast Premium. Our advice is stick with the free version for now, it has everything your website needs to get going.
Free | Get Yoast SEO here
JetPack is another essential WordPress plugin. It has 5 million + installations and is a multi purpose plugin that gives you site stats, related posts, social sharing, basic security, and more.
A nice highlight of this good all-rounder plugin that's designed to keep your visitors engaged on your website for longer is The Related Posts feature. It works by suggesting related content within your site at the end of each post. The result is less bounce rate on your site and more exposure for your music related content.
Jetpack offers premium plans that add expanded backup and security features. However, our advice is to stick with the free version for a while so you can see how it positively enhances your website's back, and front end.
Free | Get Jetpack here or in your WP dashboard plugins > install new
WooCoomerce plugin is one of the most powerful free eCommerce plugins on the market. It has a boat load of free and premium extensions and add-ons designed to make building an online store simple.
What this means for you is selling anything from digital downloads of your music to tour merchandise is painless. Once you've installed WooCommerce, to add music click WooCommerce> Products> Add new. Scroll down to Product data section > Simple data. Finally, add a Product Name, then select Virtual and Downloadable. The final exiting step is to to upload your music files.
But you're not finished there. You need to make sure you install a payment gateway such as Paypal or Stripe, because without one, your audience can't purchase your music products online.
You could use the basic Paypal payment option included in the plugin, or you could grab yourself the PayPal Express Checkout Payment Gateway for WooCommerce from our friends at WebToffee.com.
This paid for plugin has advanced features over the Standard PayPal payment option included in WooCommerce which make the customer experience quicker and easier, enabling them to check out in 3 clicks rather than.
Other noteworthy WooCommerce extensions that'll tune up your music site include shopping carts and product galleries allowing you to start promoting and selling your musical crafts.
Free | Get WooCommerce here or in your WP dashboard plugins > install new
4. WavePlayer - WordPress Audio Player
It goes without saying, a music website needs a good music player so your fans and customers can listen to your tracks. You could opt for a free option such as the noteworthy Music Player for WooCommerce, or, you could go for a paid plugin that gives you more cusomisable options such as Waveplayer WordPress Audio Player plugin.
This slick looking responsive music player gives you plenty of useful tweakable features and you can upload your music files in industry standard formats such as mp3, m4a, and wav.
Want to make money from your music? Easy with Waveplayer. It can be easily integrated with WooCommerce where you can batch create products from your tracks or albums, and you can even direct your listener to your product pages from within the player.
A serious music player which is competitively priced and is a great choice for anyone working in the music industry.
Did you know a whopping 40% of people abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load? Your website’s speed will make or break your sites success. Afterall, there's no point in investing your time and money into creating a dope looking website that's so slow and laggy nobody sticks around to check it out.
And because having an efficient fast loading site is so crucial, WP Rocket might well be on of the most important premium plugins on this list you should take a look at...
From page and browser caching, file compression, and image lazy loading to improve the load time of your pages, WP Rocket is one of the best speed-boosting caching plugins out there. Once installed on your website you'll get super fast load times that'll help your site rank higher in search engine results and impress your visitors.
Do this quick test
The best thing you can do once you've started creating content on your website is to go to GTMetrix.com, pop your website address into the "Enter URL to Analyze" field, and if it shows your site takes more than 3 seconds to load, you've got some work to do.
Solution: Get WP Rocket, install it, and with a few clicks it will solve your site speed problems. There's no fiddly confusing settings to worry about, and the plugin launches upon activation.
Because WP Rocket is reasonably priced, has features that free plugins lack and is straightforward to use, you'd be making the right move checking the plugin out.
Paid | Get WP-Rocket here
6. Google Analytics Dashboard for WP
Wouldn't it be great if you could see how many people are visiting your new shiny website? You can, and for free thanks to the Google Analytics dashboard plugin.
Google Analytics is one the the most popular web analytics and measurement tools in WordPress. The plugin is pretty clear-cut to set up, and it helps you analyse plus monitor real-time traffic along with oodles of other important data including:
- Organic searches, page views, bounce rate analytics stats
- Traffic to your website, social networks, traffic mediums, search engines analytics stats
- Which devices & browsers people are viewing your website from
Google Analytics WD provides the most advanced reporting functionality. It’s developed with the emphasis on quality and user experience and can be a good choice for beginner bloggers, small websites and large business or corporate sites alike.
or in your WP dashboard plugins > install new
Step 5. Create posts & pages
Now you've installed a gorgeous looking theme and added some essential plugins, the last step in the website building process is to start creating pages and posts.
We already covered the 10 must-have elements your music website should have here. These are few other other important pages your website needs:
- Homepage – This is the important one. The first page your visitors will see, your homepage needs to pack some punch and establish your identity. Think slick design with enticing elements such as your logo, navigation menus, images, calls-to-action (pointing towards your products), and social media links.
- About (Biography) - this page is where you tell your website visitors a bit about you. If you work solo (producer, dj, engineer, solo artist etc) or you're in a band, you want to describe what you do and what you stand for. Consider listing achievements and accolades, but also keep it informal and light to help people warm to you.
Content Creation Plugins
Designed to take the headache out of constantly coming up with content ideas to fill your website with, there are some cool plugins out there designed to help you easily create content that'll keep your visitors coming back for more.
1. Canva - This fantastic online graphic design resource helps you to create stunning visuals for your website. From your post header images, to your next social media post image think of Canva being like Photoshop, only it's stupid-easy to use, and did we mention it's free?
There are paid upgrade options to consider, however for all your websites image creation needs, the free plan to start will do pretty much most of what you want. Check Canva out here.
2. Feedzy RSS Feeds - The plugin helps you pull in and aggregate content from your favorite blogs and sites such as Youtube.
What is an RSS feed? RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication and it’s a standard sharing technology that helps you receive up to date content from your favorite websites. These could be blogs, websites, news channels and social media platforms.
Feedzy therefore allows you to quickly collect RSS feeds and display them on your posts or pages for your visitors to read. Easy to install, within a few clicks you can display and even auto-post music relevant content on your site. Feedzy is a premium plugin and you can check it out here.
3. Dropbox - We're probably preaching to the converted here - Dropbox is a great tool that helps you move around your large files. Because as a musician, producer or dj you know how big audio files such as .wavs can build up, Dropbox helps you manage all your content with little friction and has a few plans to choose form.
The free plan gives up to 2GB storage, and because that'll quickly get eaten up with your music downloads, consider the inexpensive Dropbox Plus plan. Check out Dropbox here.
4. Modal Survey - WordPress Poll, Survey & Quiz - People love sharing their opinions themselves don't they? How better then to interact with your audience by having a poll or survey on your site? From asking them which of your EP tracks should go on the final album, to asking them what type of audio clips they're looking to purchase.
What a great way to increase your chance of turning your website visitor into a buyer of your music. Check out the Modal Survey plugin over at codecanyon here.
Step 6. Promote on social media
You've heard the saying "built it and they'll come" right? It's not true.
You see, no matter how pimped up and slick your website looks, there are thousands of new websites popping up everyday. How to cut though all that noise you may be wondering? Get promoting.
There are many strategies to promote your website, we'll focus on one of the best tried and tested methods: building a social media presence.
Here are some of the best tools and plugins that'll help you spread the word on social media fast and with minimum fuss.
1. Social Media Share Buttons & Social Sharing Icons
This simple to use social media plugin let’s you add share icons from over 200 social media platforms including the usual suspects Youtube, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.
The plugin comes 16 different designs to choose from and you can set your social media icons to show different functions such as your social share count. This free social sharing plugin does the job nicely without being conspicuous.
2. Revive Social
There's no sugar coating it - keeping people engaged on social media takes graft and constant posting. This is where Revive Social will be your secret weapon. This nifty social sharing plugin is a tool that'll help you increase website traffic to your website.
The Revive Old Posts plugin allows you to automatically share old posts to your social media accounts, whilst Revive Network plugin helps allows you to share content from other websites in your field.
Paid | Get Revive Social here
3. Monarch Social Sharing
Monarch makes it easy for you to promote your content better with 35+ social platforms that can displayed in five locations on your website, including on images and video.
The gorgeously designed social media share buttons and social media follow buttons can be smoothly integrated to you website and benefits from 24/7 customer support being a premium plugin.
The biggest bonus with Monarch is upon purchase you also get complete access to Elegant Themes’ epic WordPress theme and plugin collection including 100+ website packs and the beloved Divi theme.
Paid | Get Monarch here
Summing it Up
Hey presto – you've just been knowledge bombed and have all the amo you need to get creating your music website.
And because your music website will continue to grow and evolve as you do, the tools and plugins in this guide will have your back and make the process cut and dried. Now get doing what you do best - creating.
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