The best website builder for musicians and bands?
by Mike Neal
If you’ve even had a cursory search online for a website builder that’s apt for building a musician or band website, you’ve probably since been inundated with remarketing ads from some of the big subscription website builders. And you likely cannot watch a music video (or any video) on YouTube without seeing an ad for Wix or Squarespace first. These companies have huge marketing budgets and their ads clearly work as there are many thousands of people who opt for this kind of website builder.
However, those in the know; those that have even a passing interest in or knowledge of web design, know that there is another website builder that, whilst not spending hundreds of thousands on omnipresent ads and other marketing, has been running for much longer than the likes of Wix and Squarespace. But rather than being ‘old hat’, yesterdays news, formerly glorious, this platform is not just going from strength to strength; it powers a staggering 40% of all websites across the globe (well, across the internet. Where in the world is the internet based, anyway? I guess we’ll never know).
What’s more, even if you have heard of it, which you most likely have, chances are you didn’t think of it as a website builder in the modern, Wixy, Squarespacey sense. I am, if you hadn’t figured out already, talking about WordPress.
An old dog with bags of new tricks
What is WordPress? Or more to the point, what was WordPress? WordPress started as a blogging platform way back in 2003 but has evolved into much, much more. It is now a complete website building tool (or website builder, to use the current vernacular). And as we’ve mentioned, it is the most popular platform to build a website in the galaxy (sounds more impressive than “in the world” Any aliens out there who would like to contest this, feel free to get in touch and we’ll publish a correction).
Designed to be used in conjunction with WordPress ‘themes’ (essentially a group of files that dictates the overall appearance and functionality of your site), self-hosted WordPress, known colloquially as WordPress.org after the website HQ of the same name, is a free and open-source website builder. This means that you’ll have full ownership of your site as well as full control over its design and functionality.
However, unlike subscription website builders who always incorporate hosting into their service (hosting means allocating space on a web server – a computer for physically storing and ‘serving’ websites – for a websites files), with WordPress you sign up for web hosting independently. Unless you’re a computer whizz and have your own server. Finding a hosting provider is really not a difficult task, though. And it gives you more options to find great deals (though, like with anything, you typically get what you pay for, so beware of hosting deals that seem too good to be true).
Plus, specialist music industry companies like Band Theme, that provide you with all the tools you need to build a music website in one easy-to-install package, also often offer complementary hosting packages. So you have the choice to keep things super simple (and often get a great deal, much like you do when you get, say, your gas and electric from the same supplier) and buy a WordPress theme and your hosting from the same vendor, or shop around and find the right hosting for your specific wants and needs. Just to blow our own trumpet though, the hosting that we offer here at Band Theme is truly fantastic. We would say that, of course. Fantastic hosting means stability, maximum up time (meaning when your site is actually reachable), and fast loading times.
Is WordPress the original AND the best website builder?
One of the main reasons why WordPress is one of the best website builders out there for music websites (or any website, for that matter), is because it’s so darn flexible. Just about whatever you could possibly want your site to do, offer, or display, you can achieve. And with thousands of themes available, from free no-frills themes to all-singing all-dancing premium themes, you have the website world at your feet.
Because of the open-source nature of WordPress, there are also literally tens of thousands or third-party ‘plugins’ that you can use to do everything from tracking the location of visitors to selling merch and tickets for your live shows. Again, these come in free and paid form. The sheer number of plugins available, many of performing a similar function (with varying degrees of aptitude) can be a bit daunting for newbie though. That’s one of the other benefits of Band Theme: though you can opt to install additional compatible plugins to your Band Theme theme, we preload all theme designs with the best plugins a music artist, band, record label or any other music industry entity could need (in our expert opinion. And we are experts, having built websites for everyone from Motown to Oasis to Katy Perry. We’re modest, too).
So how does WordPress compare to other popular website builders really?
As we’re all about the showstopping theme designs, and understand the importance of being able to switch them should you have a change of heart on how you want your site to look, it has to be said that one of the major downsides of the Wix website builder is that you pretty much have to stick with one theme for your site. Wix have made it exceedingly hard to switch between templates (their version of themes) like you can with the WordPress. With Wix templates, pages need to be edited individually, rather than making use of smart blocks of content which can be transposed from one base theme design to another, should you wish to change themes.
Wix does have plenty of features, but the interface is very fiddly, getting more sprawling and confusing the further you get into your build. Getting it to do what you want can be very tricky (and sometimes impossible, depending on what you’re demanding of it). It’s certainly not as easy as they make out in the slick marketing videos! Furthermore, Wix isn’t really designed for people who anticipate needing to create large websites with lots of pages, as its default page navigation system doesn’t allow for complex website structures. So if you’re creating a record label website or a comprehensive band site with lots of pages dedicated to different releases, music videos, artwork, lyrics, blog posts etc, you may struggle with Wix.
Squarespace is a popular website builder that’s primarily aimed at small businesses, sole traders and budding entrepreneurs. Though you couldn’t say that it’s particularly rich in features, it does provide everything you essentially need to launch a website. Is it suitable for bands and musicians? You could make a music website with Squarespace, but it would definitely lack the customisation and unlimited possibilities of WordPress as a platform, and the functionality and design credentials that themes purpose-built for the music industry have. It comes with a fair few templates that share quite a similar, sparse aesthetic and feel, often with a strong emphasis on whitespace and typography, which offers a clean and professional look but not particularly rock n roll…
That’s not to say it’s unsuitable for all creative types; freelance photographers and videographers for instance can make professional-looking, simple portfolio sites with Squarespace. But as a website builder for musicians and bands, it doesn’t really hold up compared to WordPress. Squarespace’s eCommerce features are somewhat limited also. Though simple to set up, you cannot do anything particularly complex like you can with WordPress eCommerce plugins such as WooCommerce (which comes pre-loaded with Band Theme, incidentally).
As you may have gathered, we’re firm believers in WordPress as a platform and as a website builder. And yes, we do think it’s both the original and still the best. In fact, we believed in it so much, we set up a business to turn the best website builder in the business into the best website builder for bands, musicians, DJs, producers, studios, record labels, and more.
Welcome to Band Theme!