Are you utilizing your website data effectively to engage your fans?
Updated: Oct 23, 2018
Your website is a gold mine as you are in complete control of the data that is produced from it. Hence, not only does having a website become crucial for presence, but also utilizing the data produced form it will help you grow your fanbase from 100 to 100K.
In this article, we will talk about the following:
1) Setting up a domain for your website
2) Creating your website and how you could do so without knowing how to code
3) Connecting your website to social media for stronger presence
4) What to not miss on your website
5) Data you can collect from your website and how you can utilize it
1. Setting up a domain for your website
A domain is a unique address to your website (Although I'm sure you already knew this).
As you might imagine, getting your first choice of domain name is getting difficult. If you can't find a '.com', '.co' and '.me' are other good options you can consider.
Make sure that your website domain is simple and easy to remember. Also, consistency is key. Hence, having a website domain that aligns with your twitter handle, Instagram username or even stage name will show consistency and will be easier for your fans to recognize and remember you.
There are two main sites that I usually use for domain registration:
1. Google Domains - Google Domains is easy to set up and use. You can search for your desired domain name and see if it is available. Google also provides the option for customizable sub domains such as, shop.example.com etc. In addition, it also has the option to choose new domain endings like .management or .gold. You can view the full list here. I would suggest not to choose such domain endings unless they align with exactly what you offer.
2. Go Daddy – Go Daddy has been around for a long time and hence is widely used. Also, its prices are usually lower compared to other domain registration websites. Again, it's simple to set up a domain using Go Daddy. However, while checking out (while buying the domain), make sure that there aren't extra services added to your cart.
Please let us know in the comments if you would like a detailed step by step guide on how to set up your domain.
2. Creating your website
There are three options for you to create your website:
a. Building your website from scratch using HTML & CSS - This option is the cheapest. However, it is not easy to implement since learning HTML can take 6 months or more. Learning CSS and PHP will also take time. Hence, If you want to create your website in under a day, other options will be more suitable.
b. WordPress - This is the most popular among all options. WordPress is free to use and offers a variety of themes you can customize, as well as tools and plugins you can use.
However, you will have to pay to host your site. Bluehost is often a common choice for hosting websites and is low cost (around $2.95 per month).
c. Website builders - Website builders are easier to use compared to WordPress but have less flexibility. WordPress might have a learning curve due to the need for tweaking code for making certain plug ins to work. Whereas, website builders are easier to use due to their drag and drop interface. You can read about the comparison of different website builders here. However, there are two most popular website builders:
1. Wix - Wix is intuitive and easy to use. There are a lot of themes available that you can customize using. It also offers a variety of tools including blog and e-commerce store, as well as apps that can be added for forms, website analytics etc. The ability to edit the mobile version comes in very handy when using Wix.
2. Squarespace - Square space is a little more expensive compared to Wix. It has a variety of templates you can choose from as well. You can add also custom CSS on Squarespace. However, Squarespace is rigid in terms of theme customization. Even though it has a mobile view, you cannot edit the mobile version of your website.
You can also buy domains through these website builders. Personally, I prefer Wix due to the number of templates it offers and the ability to customize extensively. You could potentially have your site up and ready to go in less than 2 hours while using Wix.
Squarespace is great as it offers minimalistic themes that look great, especially for artist websites.
However, both these options cost around $12-$18 a month on average. If you don't want to pay so much, WordPress is the best alternative. Read more about website builders vs. wordpress here. You can also hire a company or individual freelancer on a site like Upwork.
3. Connecting your website to your socials for stronger presence
Of course, connecting to your Soundcloud, Apple Music, Spotify, and/or Youtube is essential for any artist. In addition to that, your Twitter account, Facebook page as well as Instagram account become important. What I have seen at times is that people connect a lot of different social media accounts including the ones that they are not active on. My suggestion would be, avoid doing this and select a few socials that you are most active on.
Another thing to keep in mind is linking your socials back to your website. It is important that you guide fans to your website. For example, if you have a post regarding a new special edition song you have released, you could guide your fans to download the song from your website. This way, you will be guiding the traffic to your website that can then be analyzed.
I have also observed that putting links directly in instagram stories is a great way to divert traffic. However, the one main drawback is that only certain accounts can put in the link in their stories, at least for now.
4. Things you cannot miss out
A few pictures, a bio and your socials are a must. However, we made a list of a few other things that you might want to have on your website.
1. Sign up sheet for newsletters - Newsletters are a great way to get more information about your fans.
2. Online store for selling merchandise - Selling your merchandise is an effective way to not only generate revenue but also spark conversation about the artist or band. I have noticed that a lot of artists go with the usual t-shirts as their merchandise. That is great considering it's easy to make custom t-shirts on sites like Customink or Bonfire, and they sell fast.
However, its always good to be creative. For example, I saw an artist selling custom made iPhone home button stickers. I thought that was pretty smart since it is something that is always in sight and can get other people asking about it (although this might not be a great idea now considering the new iPhone comes without a home button). Fans also appreciate when artists themselves have taken the time out to create something rather than just printing it out. For example, one band was selling tiny hand-painted matchboxes.
3. List of songs and preview - You should have a list of your albums and songs on your website. You could either connect a Spotify/AppleMusic/SoundCloud plug in or just upload youtube videos. In addition, you could have special bloopers or extension tracks on your website as well for fans to discover and engage with.
4. Events - Having a list of your concert venues and tour dates (if you have that going) is great. You can sell tickets through your website directly or link it to another platform.
5. Polls/Voting - Pools are a great option for getting your fans/audience to feel like a part of your journey. For example, you could have a poll regarding what should be the opening song for a particular concert.
6. Trackers - Trackers including google analytics, eye tracking, scroll tracking etc. are helpful in understanding your audience and how they engage with your website.
5. Data you collect from your website and how to utilize it
1. Newsletters - Newsletters become an important tool to engage your fans, as well as get a basic overview of what your fans look like. When setting up newsletter sign ups, you can ask things like name, gender, age, city etc. which can give you a insight on the demographics of your fans. By understanding this you can start to tune your marketing strategy for your tours, merchandise and brand image in general. Having their email ids also becomes an asset for you as you can market concerts or merchandise directly.
2. Online Store - Try to gather data regarding what sort of merchandise was most popular or what was the pattern in the sale. For example, did the sale go up after a certain concert or performance? Did the sale go up because of a specific post on one of your social accounts? Understanding and analyzing such instances becomes important as it will help you strategize your future sales. Aridat can help you optimize and increase your merchandise sales through analytics.
3. List of songs and preview - Obviously the statistics on your website would not give you anything near what your Spotify, Apple Music or Soundcloud statistics would give you, but it's definitely a small piece of the pie. You can always add an option for people to comment, or for custom artwork to be featured by fans for specific songs.
4. Events - If you have control over ticket sales or receive the data from your ticket seller platform/provider you are golden. You can then conduct advanced analytics regarding selecting tour locations, dates, opening performers, predicting revenue and even use the data for marketing. We, Aridat help artists and their teams specifically with this. Definitely, get in touch with us if you would like to know more about it.
5. Polls - This is more for engagement but at times it can also give you data to analyze who is more engaged. Maybe ask a fan to connect his/her social when making the vote or taking part in the poll.
6. Tracking - This is probably the most underutilized asset that your website can provide you. The ability to track the engagement on your website.
Google analytics lets you track where your website visitors are clicking, where they are coming from (e.g. which website or social guided them to your website), demographics of your website visitors (including an approximation of their age, gender and country/state), and a whole lot more. We will talk about this in detail in our next article.
b) Heat Maps
Heat maps help you identify what are people clicking on the most. Google Analytics can help you do so as well if there are links attached to certain buttons. However the heat maps are easier to set up. They can also tell you if there is a certain area or button that the visitors are clicking on which is not a link. This can indicate to you that you should put some sort of link there as well. Sites like Inspectlet and Hotjar offer you these tools. Personally, I like Inspectlet the most due to its price point.
c) Eye Tracking
By visualizing the users mouse movements, the tracker an analyze which part of the site is receiving the most views. It can help you decide what to place where to increase engagement. Again, Inspectlet, Hotjar and also Decibel are great for eye tracking.
d) Scroll Heat maps
This tracker can show you how far down the visitors are scrolling on your page. You can understand how engaged your audience and what parts of the page are most interesting and customize your website accordingly. For this too, Inspectlet, Hotjar work well.
You can also record sessions of users actually viewing your website. You can read more about this here.
So at last...
In conclusion, it is important to have a website and track the engagement on it. The more data that you collect in the form of visitor acquisition sources, fan demographics, event performances and merchandise, the better you can strategize your marketing and touring, and the faster you can grow from 100 to 100K fans.
I hope you enjoyed reading the article. Please leave a comment below and let me know what your thoughts on the article.
Also, get in touch with our team if you have any questions regarding our touring and merchandise analytics services. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org