This guest post from Dave Cool is an excerpt from Bandzoogle’s free online guide How to make a website for your music
There are many elements that go into designing your website, including the template, colors, fonts, and imagery. Here’s a closer look at each of these elements to help you make the best decisions for your design:
Choosing a website template
When choosing a template to start your website’s design, you’ll want to consider a few things:
Header image layout
Do you want a large horizontal space for your header image? Or something that fits portrait images? Do you want plenty of room to add a call-to-action with text and a button? Or maybe you prefer to have a large background image, with content scrolling on top of that.
To really grab the attention of visitors coming to your website, you can also consider using a header slideshow or a video header.
Where do you want your website’s navigation menu to be? Above the header image, or below? Or you might prefer to have a vertical sidebar menu.
Will there be plenty of room for your content on the page? Will you be adding sections with backgrounds (image-heavy), and adding several features per row, with sidebars, music players, and more?
Website template colors
You might choose a website template based on its colors. If you’re not planning to do a lot of customization, then going with a template that fits your brand right out of the box is a great option.
Is the website template mobile-friendly?
Google actually punishes sites in search that aren’t mobile-friendly, so you’ll also want to make sure that whichever template you choose is responsive. This means that it will adapt to look great on any screen, including desktop, tablets, and mobile devices.
Are you building a one page website?
One important consideration when choosing the template for your website: are you building a site with multiple pages, or a one page website that has all of the content on a single page? This might affect what kind of template you choose, because with a one page site you’ll want a nice wide content area and the ability to add sections and section background images.
Choosing the color scheme for your website
Choosing the color scheme for your website can be a lot like choosing the colors for your album cover. You’ll need to make sure that your website’s colors work well with your music and your brand.
While it can be tempting to go with a lot of different colors, as a general rule you’ll want to stick to 3 main colors to keep the look consistent and professional: a primary brand color, a secondary color, and an accent color.
If you’re not sure where to start, pick a few colors out of your main image or your newest album cover to keep your banding consistent.
The first step is to decide on your primary brand color. Once you do that, you can check out a color wheel to help find complementary colors. like the Adobe Color CC.
Choosing the fonts for your website
You’re likely going to have a lot of text on your website, from your blog posts, Bio page, EPK, and more. So your main content font should be simple and clear, making the text easy to read. Fonts with curls, swirls, or jagged edges may look fun, but are unprofessional and hard to read in paragraphs of text.
To make sure your text is legible, choose a color that stands out from your website’s background. Black on white is the classic example, but mostly any dark color on a lighter background will be good for legibility.
It’s also important to keep the typography on your website consistent. Choose one content font and color and use that throughout your site pages. Also avoid using all caps for body text (don’t shout at people!), and use bold and italics sparingly to keep text looking neat.
Only use professional photos for your website
It might be tempting to use some shots taken with a phone. This should be avoided - if the photos aren’t optimized properly, are badly cropped, or display blurry, it will create a negative impression of you (and your music).
It’s definitely worth the time and investment to get professional photos of yourself or your band. You’ll use these photos in many places on your website, including:
- Header photo
- Header slideshow
- Background images
- Section background images
- Bio page
- EPK page
- Photo galleries
Plus, you’ll also need professional photos for your social profiles and promotional content.
If you don’t have professional photos, or if you’re more of a behind-the-scenes type like a producer or composer, then using high quality stock images is a good option.
Dave Cool (yes, his real name) is the Director of Artist & Industry Outreach at music website platform Bandzoogle. A former punk rock drummer, Dave has spoken at dozens of conferences including SXSW, CMW, and SF Music Tech, and has been interviewed by The Economist and the Financial Post about the music industry.