So, do musicians still need a WordPress site?
Having interacted with you rock gods for a while, I know some of you are going to give a knee-jerk response to this question before reading anything I etch into my blog.
But if there’s anything I could say to convince you to read even a little further, it would be this:
This is a more nuanced question than you might be inclined to believe. And understanding the ins and outs will better set you up for success. I wouldn’t recommend leaving your mind in a fishbowl.
So, if you’re ready, give me a chance to explain what I’m starting to see (and I’m not presenting this in “I’m your master” kind of way – I’m merely documenting my journey and my latest findings).
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First Things First – Your Central Repository
I had graphic designer Ross Barber on episode three of The New Music Industry Podcast.
I think he said it incredibly well:
You always need to be trying to send people back to where they can find everything, which is your website.
This would be the main reason to ensure you knock it out of the park with your central repository.
Yes, people are going to get lost and get stuck on your website, unable to find what they’re looking for. No matter how much time and effort you put into organizing, simplifying, and optimizing your website.
Some visitors are going to bounce off. Others are going to miss the super obvious call to action in your sidebar. Still others are going to nitpick the badly worded disclaimer in your footer.
Oh well… Who cares?
Your website is for your hardcore, “I’ve got to have it all” fans, and once they’ve stumbled upon it, they’ll have found their personal version of heaven.Your website is for your hardcore, “I’ve got to have it all” fans, and once they’ve stumbled upon it, they’ll have found their personal version of heaven. Click To Tweet
They’ll read your extensive catalog of blog posts, listen to your podcasts, watch all your videos, and ultimately end up on your merch page buying your latest thing… because it’s shiny.
That’s who you’re building your website for. Don’t worry about the others – we’ll find a solution for them (more on this in a moment).
Even Russell Brunson, creator of ClickFunnels (the “website killer”) has a central repository for his content at Marketing Secrets. Gee, I wonder why?
Further, without naming names, noted music coaches and educators (who everyone goes gaga over), who relied heavily on ads for traffic are starting to publish more frequently. Yeah, they’re getting into content too.
Does it Have to be a WordPress Site?
I’ve talked to the good folks at Bandzoogle. I had director of artist and industry outreach Dave Cool on my old podcast (DAWCast: Music Entrepreneurship), and even met him in person last year at DIY Musician Conference in Austin, TX.
Bandzoogle is great. It’s so simple to use.
I once set up a client website on Bandzoogle. Once she realized just how simple it was, she couldn’t have been more thrilled!
(It still took her a while to feel comfortable with it though).
If I were to offer any kind of support to anyone (not saying I will – certainly not for free), I could offer support for WordPress and Bandzoogle. I wouldn’t offer it for another platform.
I still feel a stronger sense of control with WordPress myself, but that doesn’t make Bandzoogle bad. Not at all.
What do You Recommend for Building a WordPress Site?
So, over the years, I’ve promoted different web hosting services and some of the ones I previously used got bought out and suddenly turned from solid to godawful.
I have a couple of recommendations, but for 80% of people, I would say SiteGround (affiliate link – hey, don’t look at me like that, I’m trying to be helpful) is the right option.
It’s fast, easy to use, and you can get WordPress up and running with the click of a mouse.
Yes, buying and setting up a domain as well as hosting can be kind of technical, but once it’s done, it’s done.
I don’t have space to cover the process in detail here, but I’m happy to put together a video tutorial if you’d like (let me know in the comments below!).
Is That All?
So, earlier I mentioned that you should have a central repository for everything you.
But it’s unmistakable that websites are changing.
Like I said, your central space is for people who are warm to you. People who like you and want to check out everything you’ve got.
Many others are cold to you, and are basically going to get stuck, get lost, and bounce off your website. Sad but true.
But there is a way to capture them too.
WordPress is great. But the main issue is, to unlock its full potential, you’ve got to install plugins. And plugins don’t always play nicely with each other. They can even cost a pretty penny and be hard to use.
So, if you’re interested in setting up a fan club, membership, or sales funnel (and I would argue these are good things to set up in these weird times), you’re basically going to end up having to become a technical expert in the process.
You can use your central space to direct people to your offers (and you should), but your offers should perhaps live somewhere other than WordPress. Somewhere distraction free, where people get to learn about your story, your product, and not be presented with links to a million other options.
So, I’ll share a few solutions with you as well as their pros and cons.
So, right off the bat, I’ve got to tell you 10XPro (affiliate link) is my favorite option.
It’s got all the tools you’d possibly need to set up your membership site, course platform, fan club or otherwise.
It’s incredibly easy to use.
If you wanted to, you could even use 10XPro as your all-in-one platform. Yes, you can even use it for publishing. Most other solutions make that difficult or just don’t have the option.
And here’s a biggie:
It doesn’t just have a shiny coat of paint on the front end. You can create a great customer experience on the back end (or on the inside) too. That’s the biggest factor, so far as I’m concerned.
The catch? 10XPro is likely the costliest of solutions available. Considering what it offers, the cost is more than fair, though.
The key for most artists considering 10XPro will be getting to breakeven as quickly as possible, at which point it becomes self-sustaining.
ClickFunnels is great. It truly is. I got to see it all up and close earlier this summer when I took the One Funnel Away Challenge (affiliate link – this training is super intensive and highly recommended, especially at the price point).
The best thing about ClickFunnels is you can use it to build any type of funnel you want (although you can do that with 10XPro as well), and the templates they’ve got are all attractive and customizable.
What I don’t like is this:
The front end experience is awesome. It’s designed to sell. But the back end experience, for me, leaves something to be desired. Almost like it’s good for the seller, but not great for the customer, which is a red flag for me.
I may end up using ClickFunnels for some of my funnels, especially joint ventures. So, in no way am I saying don’t use it. But you should be aware of its strengths and weaknesses.
ClickFunnels is more affordable than some of the alternatives, which is an aspect that goes in its plus column.
Finally, we come to Leadpages (affiliate link).
I love Leadpages. It’s my secret weapon for building an email list!
In no way is it cheap, but the Standard and Pro plans are still more affordable than 10XPro or ClickFunnels.
Still, I think Leadpages works better as a plug-and-play list grower than it does as a website or selling platform.
Don’t get me wrong – you can use Leadpages to build your sales funnels, and it would even work quite well. As with 10XPro and ClickFunnels, you’d just need to connect Stripe, and you could start taking payments.
Customizability is where you’d probably struggle bit. Leadpages has lots of proven, high-converting templates already, so not like you’d need to go in and change everything.
But in my attempts to build my dream funnel and present everything the way I wanted it to look, I just couldn’t see Leadpages being my go-to solution.
I would suggest using Leadpages to grow your list, especially if you’re building WordPress to build your site.
You don’t need Leadpages if you’re building entirely on 10XPro or ClickFunnels though. They have list building features built-in, and they are awesome.
They suck. I’m sorry, they just do.
I’ve looked at what else is out there, and there are cheaper solutions, but I just can’t recommend them.
The above tools all look and function similarly, with some differences. I find the ClickFunnels building platform to be the buggiest of all, but that’s just my experience.
Anyway, the moment you start paying less for your solution, you end up sacrificing your experience as a user, and your customer’s experience of your product as well. That reflects badly on you.
I’m an entrepreneur, so I like the idea of ownership and control. WordPress gives me that. 10XPro gives me that. To an extent, ClickFunnels gives me that. To a much lesser extent, Leadpages gives me that (but if they went away, there would be other tools I could replace it with).
Building your website on Blogger, Facebook, YouTube, Bandcamp, SoundCloud, or otherwise.
Your following on these platforms is owned by the platform, not you.
So, begin creating your ownership strategy now. Get people on your email list at all costs.
I also talked about this in episode 203 of my podcast:
Final Thoughts, Building a WordPress Site
No, you don’t still need a WordPress site, though I argue there’s value in building your central repository on the web. In most cases, this should be a WordPress site, but Bandzoogle is great too.
Solutions like 10XPro and ClickFunnels can be used as your all-in-one platforms. But all things being equal, I think 10XPro is the better all-in-one solution.
Leadpages is awesome, and it can even be used to build sales funnels. But its chief strength is in helping you build a list, not in building a website or funnel.
Is there anything I missed? Anything else I should have covered? Let me know in the comments below.
Shh… Don’t tell anyone. Only the cool kids are talking about it.