Here’s a list of everything you’re going to need to build a band website.
Your domain name is the address of your digital home. If people know where you live they know where they can find you. But, a domain name is just an address, it’s not a home.Your hosting account is the home of your website. You need to link your domain name to a hosting account.
You’ll find domain names priced between $10 – $15 per year. Often you’ll find them cheaper because companies are always running promotions. Some will go as a low as a $1 for 1 year of domain registration. Understand that, after the first year the fee will jump to their standard cost of $10 or $15.
Hosting will cost around $100 or more per year. Your hosting is your website’s home. Owning your own website is like owning your own home. You’ll have your mortgage – the monthly cost you pay for your home – plus maintenance fees. When you own your own home, you’re responsible for repairs. The same goes for owning your own website. You’ll have to pay a web administrator to manage your website with regular updates, security checks, repairs, etc.
It’s possible for you to learn how to manage your website yourself if you have the aptitude. There are a lot of books and online courses on web design you can use to get the knowledge. Keep in mind that what you don’t pay for in money, you usually pay for in time. Though doing it yourself is the cheaper option, it’s also much more time-consuming.
Linking a domain name to a third-party
Using a free third-party platform can be like living with your mom. Because it’s not a house you own or are even paying rent to live in, you’ll have a ton of restrictions. You can’t paint the walls and you can’t replace the furniture that’s already there. It’s really difficult to customize your page.
Be careful which platform your domain links to
If your domain takes me to a Facebook page I’m going to Like your page and expect to see your content in my News feed. In the event that I want to seek you out, I’ll run a search for your name on Facebook. I’m NEVER going to use your domain name to get to your Facebook page. The same thing applies to linking a domain to a Youtube channel or a Soundcloud page. It’s counterproductive, don’t do it!
Choosing a top-level domain name
Top level domain names are the suffixes that come after your domain’s name like .com, .net. .info, etc. People generally choose what they like or whatever’s available but they serve once served a purpose. .com was for commercial businesses, .info was for sites that provided information, etc. That’s pretty much irrelevant now. The most recognized top-level domain is .com and everybody tends to use it.
On smartphones, you’ll see .com as an actual button to help make life easier when you’re navigating to a website. If someone can’t remember the exact name of your website, they’re going to assume it ends in .com. Here’s what can happen if you choose any other top-level domain and exclude .com:
Say Youtube wasn’t a .com and instead was Youtube.tv. I could create a website called Youtube.com and hijack their brand. Millions of people a month will mistakenly type .com instead of .tv and land on my site instead of theirs. This can pose a security risk because my site could be a fishing site used to steal customer data. This could negatively impact their reputation as visitors will assume my site, is theirs.
No matter what other top-level domain you choose, you should also own the .com destination.
Choosing a domain name
Actually choosing a domain name is pretty easy. Your domain name should be your artist name or the name of your company. Sometimes someone will get to the name before you. In that event, you’ll need an alternative so it’s good to create a list of names you can live with.
The faster you get to registering your domain, the better. There are people who register domain names as a business. They do it in the hopes that someone will need it and be willing to fork over 10 times the price to own it. I had friends forget to re-register a domain which would have cost them $15. Someone bought the name and tried to charge my friends $500 to get it back. You should leave here and go to Bluehost, run a search for your name, if you find it, buy it. I mean that!
In order to sell products online, you need an e-commerce solution. An e-commerce solution will simplify things like product and checkout pages, maintaining inventory, etc. Bluehost and Godaddy both provide you with free e-commerce solutions like Magento and others. If you’re using a Content Management System like WordPress, you can use the Woocommerce e-commerce solution.
You use Payment gateways to process transactions on your website. Paypal is a payment gateway. Visitors are redirected to Paypal when transactions are handled. Stripe is a payment gateway that allows visitors to be kept on your website. In order to process payments on your website, you need an SSL license. An SSL certificate will secure your visitor’s connections and prevent data theft.
Godaddy charges $60 per year for an SSL license.
You have options like StorEnvy, Wazala, etc. With these types of platforms, you’ll find a range of issues. First, they all take a percentage of sales, each of them may do it in different ways but they do it nonetheless. Second, they tend to be restrictive with customizations and force your page to fit the overall scheme of their site. Third party platforms will charge you to break their scheme and completely customize your page. You’ll find some third-party platforms limit the amount of products you’re allowed to sell. Others will limit how many images you can show for any one product. Another thing some of them do, is cap your sales and not allow you to sell over a certain amount. With sales caps, you can sell more by upgrading your account and paying for your page.
You can use Tumblr as a website but you’ll need an e-commerce solution that integrates with Tumblr if you plan on selling anything.
Paid Third Party Platforms:
There are paid third-party platforms like Shopify and BigCommerce. These platforms will provide you with pretty much everything you need to run a website. You’ll still need to register a domain name but outside of that, everything else is taken care of. They provide you with hosting, an e-commerce solution, Analytics, 24/7 customer support and more.
For the most basic package, you can expect to pay around $30 per month which is around $360 a year. Keep in mind, they want you to pay more and have higher tiers that they try to rope you into by restricting you from doing certain things. You have what’s called “Abandoned checkout recovery”. Abandoned checkout recovery sends automated emails to customers who abandoned the checkout process before completing their order. With something like Squarespace, you’ll have to upgrade to a $40 per month plan for that capability. Because it’s not your website, you don’t have access to the code which means you just can pay someone to install it. You either pay them to do it, or you don’t do it.
You’re going to have to pay a designer to build your website. A designer could run you about $500 or more. You can cut costs by using a template – which is a ready-made website that you just customize. One thing to keep in mind here is that even customizing a template takes design knowledge. You may still end up hiring a web designer. It will cost you less money to have a template customized than to have a site built from scratch.
The best way to simplify things for yourself is to use a Content Management System like WordPress. WordPress is an extension that you’ll find available with one click installs on Bluehost and Godaddy. WordPress has a long list of templates for you to choose from for your site and makes customization really easy. You can pick a template to install directly on your website but you’re going to need some design knowledge. Paid third-party platforms provide you with free templates as well.
Content is a biggie. The web is very visual so you’re going to need quality photos for your website. In addition to photos, you’ll need verbiage. You’ll need product descriptions, text for an about page, a logo and possibly more. BEFORE you start the process of having someone build you a website, make sure you have content.
A web designer is going to charge you a down-payment to start working on your website. You’re going to be paying for your domain name while you’re waiting for your website to be built. You’re going to be paying for your hosting while you’re waiting for your website to be built. Waiting to get quality photos and gather content after you’ve started the process is counterproductive. Some clients end up paying for photos, their designer’s balance, and the renewal fees for their domain and hosting. All these things come at them at the same time. A lot of times they can’t afford everything and the site goes down.