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Web Marketing For Musicians
By Michael Allison - 04/15/2002 - 03:20 AM EDT

I think that it's safe to say that there are more than enough band/artist websites out there. Most of you are probably thinking that there are too many. Though it may seem overwhelming at times, there are ways to get noticed in the sea of music related websites. Though most of the information on website building can be found at any number of places, it's difficult to find information that is directed towards bands and artists. There is also the fact that most artists/bands neglect to do the little things that can help them so much. That is why it is important to go over the basics from time to time. Especially if you are one of those who neglected these important tasks.

Basically, I've simplified the whole website building and marketing jungle of information with what I consider to be a pretty straight forward music related version. What I want to focus on today is a few simple strategies to help get more people to your website. These simple one time fixes should be included in EVERY website, but more times than not, they are not included. That gives you the advantage. Now there are a lot more ways to get people to your site, but these are a few simple things that anyone can do and it most definitely will help in the long run. Plus, you will have these out of the way when we get into the more complicated and time consuming stuff. Simple items like meta tags, referral scripts, search engines, and directory listings are very simple, very low maintenance tasks that will help you get more potential fans to your site. So let's get started.

Meta Tags:
Meta Tags are probably the easiest way to receive a high ranking on most of the most popular search engines. Most website do not use meta tags so this could be a real advantage to you. Using keywords properly will definitely increase your ranking on several search engines. How do you use these keywords properly? The most important place to use these keywords is in all of your title tag. This is the proper way to write a title tag. The <> tags have been replaced by [] for the sake of certain browser problems. Make sure to replace the [] with <> if you copy and paste this stuff.

[title]Crazy Joe - Indie Metal Band That Rocks Like Metallica and Performs Like Motorhead[/title]

Notice the keywords in this title. Indie, Metal, Band, Rocks, Metallica, Motorhead
There are also double keywords or keyword phrases: Indie Metal Band, Metal Band,

The second part to this Meta Tag thing is the description tag. It looks something like this.

[meta name="Description" content="Hot new metal music from the indie band Crazy Joe. They sound like Mettallica and perform like Motorhead"]

Notice the Keywords are also in this tag. Some search engines use this tag to display a description in your listing, then again some don't. It's still an important tag though.

The next tag is usually the Keyword tag. This is where you can get creative with your keyword and keyword phrases. Just make sure that they are "relevant" to the topic of your pages. Here is an example.

[meta name="Keywords" content="Metal music, Heavy Metal, Hard Rock, Metal Bands, Heavy Metal Artist, Hard-core Metal Bands, Independent Metal Music, Hard Rock/Metal band]

You'll notice that we never used the same word twice in the same phrase, and never used single words. This is because it is found that search engines stop indexing your keywords when they hit the repeated words. An example is this. Music, MUSIC, music. It is always best to use keyword phrases because this is how people search. Look at all of the "Music" websites out there. Way too many to be specific. Make your keyword phrases as targeted as possible. What would you type in the search box when looking for a particular type of music?

The next tag is the Robots tag. It is designed to tell the spiders how much of your site to index. It looks something like this.

[meta name="Robots" content="all"]

"All" tells the spider to index your entire website. Not all search engine spiders do this even though a lot of them say that they do. This tag is a good one one to use just in case. We still recommend that you submit all of your pages to search engines by hand. Do about one page a week so that you don't get into trouble for spamming the index.

So, this is the way your meta tags should look in your pages. These should also be on all of your pages. Just make sure that the keywords and description are relevant to your pages. The meta tags should be in the "Head" of your pages. Here is and example.

[head]
[title] Crazy Joe - Indie Metal Band That Rocks Like Metallica and Performs Like Motorhead [/title]
[meta name="Description" content="Hot new metal music from the indie band Crazy Joe. They sound like Mettallica and perform like Motorhead"]
[meta name="Keywords" content="Metal music, Heavy Metal, Hard Rock, Metal Bands, Heavy Metal Artist, Hardcore Metal Bands, Independent Metal Music, Hard Rock/Metal band]
[meta name="Robots" content="all"]
[/head]


There are several other meta tags that you can use, but this is the most common way. There are also Generator tags, Subject Tags, and Distribution tags, just to name a few. This is somewhat of a cat and mouse game so there is a lot of experimenting involved. Just take the time once a month and work on your meta tags and check your rankings. It will all be worth it when you are on the top on the listings. Feel free to check the source of other peoples html and see how they have set up their meta tags. Good Luck!

Search Engine Submission Tools:
There are a lot of companies and services available that will allow you to quickly submit your website to many of the most popular search engines on the web. Some companies charge a fee for these services and some offer this service to you free. The thing is, most of these services do not work. They are usually rejected by the search engines because they make it easy to spam the indexes. If you are paying for a service like this, we recommend that you make sure that they are not using these programs to submit your website. It is always better to submit to each one. If you don't have the time and would rather use this route, we suggest that you use the search engine submitter at JimTools.com. This is one of the few that we have found that really works. It submits your site to 46 of the most popular search engines on the web. It is highly recommended.

FFA links are another big waste of time. Free For All link pages are only visited by spammers and people looking to promote their site. If you do submit to these things, expect a lot of spam!

Directories are probably the best way to promote your website. Getting in these directories takes a lot of good advice and luck. Yahoo is the most popular but there are plenty of others that are worth checking out. For musicians, there are several directories for music only. You will find more visitors visit your site from being listed in the music only directories than in Yahoo!. Why?, because you are targeting your audience. Just because millions of people use Yahoo, doesn't mean that they are looking for unsigned bands. Plus, it's a lot easier to get listed in these smaller directories than in the bigger ones. A target audience and easy listing? That makes for a good combination.

Referrals:
Installing a referral system on your website is a great way to let your regular visitors market your site for you. There are several free cgi scripts out there that you can install yourself or you can use the many free referral services. Our favorite places to get free cgi scripts is at BigNoseBird.com and The Perl Archive. Most of these cgi scripts are simple to install and are simple for your visitors to use. Not all website can use cgi scripts so in order for you to take advantage of this great promotional tool, there are websites set up to do all of the work for you. Just copy in the html and you're set. We suggest that you use a referral program that doesn't make your visitors leave your site.

One of the more popular one is Recommend-it. You may be able to find a better one if you look around. Never pay for a service like this. There are way too many free services out there and they work just as well. We suggest that you add the referral service to every page on your website. You never know when your visitors will find something that makes them want to refer your site to their friends. Now for the big question. Does it work? The simple answer is yes. We know this from experience. A recent survey also found that nearly 80% of the web surfing population would recommend a website to their friends if it was cool and unique or of interest to them. So spruce up your website and add your referral link. This is what ours looks like. Tell your friends about this Website! Try it our to see how it works. Then add one to your site.

Yahoo! and Indie Artist:
Iím sure that if youíve been on the web for any time at all, youíve used Yahoo! to search for something. This is the most popular search directory on the web and for good reason. A lot of promotion/marketing specialist claim that getting listed on Yahoo will give you hundreds and thousands of visitors a day. While this is true for many websites, it is not for indie artist websites. My official artist website was listed in Yahoo for a long time (until I removed it when I retired) and I received very few visitors from them. The truth is, I received more visitors from Alta Vista than any other search engine. Why? Because not that many people are out searching for unsigned bands on search engines and in directories like Yahoo. The way that unsigned bands are found is by being listed on major music websites like MP3.com and others.

Now Iím not saying that you should forget about being listed on Yahoo. What I am saying is that you should focus more on getting yourself listed on all of the major indie music websites first. The people who visit these sites are there because they are looking for indie artist and free mp3ís. There is a large audience for your music. You just need to expose yourself properly. The more websites that your music is reviewed, posted, listed and plastered on, the better your exposure. If my websites had to live and die by the search engines, I would have been dead long ago. Exposure comes in many forms. Take advantage of all of them and you will almost guarantee your success.


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