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The Singing Voice Award

Web Award

A website and unique domain name is one of the cheapest ways of promoting your act or band on the internet. It is essential for unsigned bands, singers, musicians and songwriters who can showcase their work and access a wealth of free advertising.

Your Domain Name
A domain name is part of your website identity and if possible should contain the name of the band or artist. It is important to secure the name before your first performance and include it on all of your promotional material.

.co.uk domains can cost as little as 2.50 per year from UK Reg with .com domain names ranging from 25+ and there are several other new domains that have been launched that you can used if your name has been taken by the main extensions like .biz, .name and .net. If the name you want has been taken, adding or changing the spelling slightly may be advisable like adding a dash i.e, band-name.co.uk or yourband-online.com.

Some hosting companies supply you with a free domain name in return for using their website hosting packages, many of which contain integrated site builders and pre-made templates that are free for their customers to use and update without requiring knowledge of html programming.

Recommended
SpeedNames $22.00 per year (used for Electric Blues Club site)
UK Reg 5.00 +VAT (6.93) for 2 years (used for Gig & Events Guide site).

Website Design
Your website should be treated just like any other promotional material. It may be the first thing that someone sees and should reflect the bands image and music. Desk top design packages like 'Publisher' allow the user to choose from several pre-made templates to which pictures, text, music and film clips can be added. More sophisticated web design programs like 'Dreamweaver' take some practice but still allow the user to create a website without needing any knowledge of html. There are also many free editing packages like CuteHTML that allow you to code in your design using html and commercial 'WYSIWYG' editors like Dreamweaver which require no programming knowledge.

The main problems when designing a website are finding the time to update it on a regular basis and becoming too involved in the design. What you may think looks great may be too loud or busy for the user to see the most important information:-
Who you are
What you do
Where you can be seen
How to contact you
What you sound like

A website designer can take the hassle out of the process by creating a unique site for your act or band that contains dynamically updating elements to draw your visitors back time and time again!

Website Hosting
There are hundreds of sites who provide hosting services, average costs range from 30 to 150+ a year depending on how much webspace or services you require. There are also sites who provide free webspace in return for displaying advertising banners or pop-ups on your web pages like our previous host Lycos. There are pro's and con's for both and you will need to consider carefully before choosing a provider to host your site as many limit the space, bandwidth, services you are allowed or place restrictions on the service like disallowing downloads or streaming media.

If you don't have the facilities or the time to maintain a website, there are websites dedicated to music like Peoplesound, who provide the artist with a standard webpage where you can upload your picture and tracks. Some charge for the service whilst others take a small fee from each track that is downloaded. There are a links to sites of this nature provided in the Artists Upload section.

Recommended

Buck Host **
Reasonably priced Unix hosting packages starting from $1 a month with fantastico, cpanel, excellent support and a variety of services including site templates and ready made e-business or custom solutions. This company is also the hosting provider for Affordable-Website-Design.me.uk's support site AWDesign.me.uk.

Lycos Tripod offers free or paid options. Free but no support & Frame on right hand side of all pages.

Website Hosting Companies to see our listings of free and budget hosting providers.

Putting Music on your Site
The best way to advertise your music is to allow people to hear what you sound like. This is essential for unsigned artists and working musicians alike. Wether you are hoping for a producer to hear your tracks or using the site to attract more bookings a few sound snippets or free track will allow the user to hear your talent immediately.

There are several formats that can be used for adding music to a website. Wav files are the easiest to create but are slow to download. Streaming formats like MP3, RealAudio, Shockwave etc., are faster and can be formatted using programs like 'Sound Forge'. Streaming media is often more expensive than normal hosting so a list of providers is now supplied at Affordable Website Design.

Selling Merchandise
As well as selling your music from your site you can include other merchandise like T-Shirts, Posters and Screensavers. Your site will need to be enabled for secure shopping if you intend to sell online, alternatively you can upload your music to one of the popular sales sites (see artists upload) and let them deal with the sales. There are also companies who will provide a similar service for your merchandise or you can sell your CD's and other products by using services like:

CafePress
Now you can sell audio and data on through their Audio and Data services! Sell CDs manufactured on-demand in your CafePress Shop for free. The CDs show up in your store just like any other product. Audio CDs include audio samples so your customers can hear your content. Data CDs allow you to add data such as software, photos, clipart, documents, books, etc.

PayPal
A worldwide service that enables people to pay by credit card or from their bank account without giving out their account details to recipients. Website owners can configure buttons and links for donations or products to enable secure online sales. Signing up for PayPal is easy. It takes two minutes, and you'll even get $5 when you complete PayPal's new account bonus requirements.

Nochex (UK)
A similar service to PayPal which is UK only. If you wish to accept online payments at your web site, then you can create a NOCHEX payment link or add a shopping cart that will allow your customers to pay you directly into your NOCHEX account.

Search Engine Submission
Once your site is online people need to find it! Submitting your site to search engines will increase the possibility of it being found and you should add your link and description to as many search engines and directories as possible. Most of these are still free although it can be somewhat time consuming. There are sites that specialise in submitting websites, some are free, others are expensive and whilst they all guarantee to get you in the top listings, the reality is somewhat different as many search engines can take up to 6 months before reviewing your site and others will only list sites that pay a fee. Using multiple submission forms doesn't always work so it's advisable to submit by hand. Click Here for links to search engines and directories.

Internet Promotion
Using the internet to promote your act or publicise the latest gigs doesn't require a website (although it helps!). Free gig guide listings, musicians classified ads (like ours ;-) and dedicated newsgroups are provided by most music websites specifically for you to use to advertise your musical genius.

Email Promotion
Advertise your act/band with every email you write. No need to spam or send unwanted correspondence. Open Outlook Express and click 'Tools', 'Options' then 'Signatures'. Write a short sig advertising your band/act and website address (if applicable) and tick the box to add it to all your outgoing mail.

Services We Offer!
Get a unique site designed by an award winner! Our singing editor and webmaster can create a website for you and advise on domain name registration, hosting and marketing. Click Here to check out clients sites or contact us for further information.

Future additions to this section will include links to domain name suppliers, free and paid webhosts plus sites providing remote hosting services, scripts and lessons on designing and building a website.