Mother Leads is an up and coming Canadian rock band from the Durham Region. In preparation for their 2013 tour they needed an online presence that could help them communicate with fans and promoters for upcoming stops and news.
Band Website Development – Setting Up
When the band approached me with this project, they had a good idea of what they wanted to get out of their website, and already had a wealth of content to populate it. A chief concern for the band was ease of use for the members as life on the road doesn’t make it easy to learn web development to write a few paragraphs! Band website development is an art form of its’ own, and I was able to help the guys come up with a winning plan to put their minds at ease.
Mother Leads – The Home Page
First we tackled the home page. As this is the first page most of our users will see, we made sure to showcase a bit of information from all the highly updated sources. We used widgets to showcase key information from our main pages at a glance, with a quick selection of the latest audio, photos, video, upcoming tour dates and latest tweets. A slider is featured at the top of the home page showcasing the bands latest PR photo. Underneath the slider we have the latest blog posts. The home page is definitely a great source for all the latest information at a glance in the world of Mother Leads.
Band Website Development – Other Pages
Because the band is known for their fan interaction, we decided to go with a WordPress install for an easy to use blog, keeping the boys close to their fan base at all times. The News page showcases the blog.
There are some standards when it comes to band website development. This gave us a good idea for our structure. Mother Leads is still a young band, so a biography page was a paramount concern. With a quick summary of the bands story as well as some information on each member, the page basically wrote itself.
Next we set up the tour date database and a custom WordPress page style to display the list. We have the upcoming dates at the top of the tour page, followed by a list of past dates for posterity. Less is more on the tour page, so we kept the information clean and concise.
One of the most important features the band wanted for their site was a place to showcase fellow up and coming bands who they had met on the road or heard of. The Scene page does a great job at accomplishing goodwill for link backs from these bands and their respective pages and blogs. A scene page is something I would definitely recommend to any future band website development projects I work with.
The contact page provides a quick email form to get in contact with the band for any general inquiries. We set two widgets in the sidebar to flow email to different accounts depending if it is for press or booking contacts. To increase usability we kept a minimal scheme on the contact page. A contact page is vital for any real band website development.
When discussing what was and wasn’t suitable for blog posts, the band expressed a concern with press release coverage being buried between the rest of their blog content. To absolve this we created a press page, showcasing links from various journalist outlets covering the band.
Nothing too exciting about the next two pages. Our photos page is nothing too flashy, we went with simple galleries. Using the built in WordPress media manager makes adding and subtracting images a snap. Lyrics is simply a list of lyrics linked by album.
Using SoundCloud and YouTube to Reduce Bandwidth
Since the band already was using SoundCloud, we decided to leverage the bandwidth of their service and link out to the Mother Leads account to create a higher SEO strength for Mother Leads searches. When a user clicks on one of the albums they are treated to a page with embedded SoundCloud clips.
Free services like SoundCloud are incredibly useful to young bands. If your band or your client hasn’t set up a Youtube, Soundcloud and Twitter account make sure you start to build a social media plan for them. These days band website development doesn’t end when the site launches!
Building on the theme of the audio page, for the video page we tied into the bands Youtube account. Every time the band posts an update to their YouTube page our plugin will dump it into our video page. We stuck to our ease of use mantra, taking advantage of platforms the band already had experience with to ensure updates and maintenance would be pain free.
Of course, there are more options out there for hosting your bandwidth intensive media files! The important thing to remember is to use services your client is already familiar with, or services that gel with their experience levels. Talk to your client to find out what services they use, what they don’t use, and why.
Finally, we have the shop. The band doesn’t have an especially large selection of products but needed a way to sell t-shirts and albums. We went with a WooCommerce setup using a PayPal gateway to keep things simple and easy for everyone. As the band already had a PayPal account, the connection was a breeze.
If you’re looking for someone to help with your band website development and store creation but don’t have a PayPal account don’t fret! Zach can help get you signed up and taking payments in no time!
SEO and Link Development Programs
After we were satisfied with our band website development, we installed the wonderful Yoast SEO plugin for WordPress and went over our content, optimizing each page for keywords and signing up for Google Webmaster Tools, Alexa, and Bing Webmaster Tools.
To help finance the tour, we added some Google Adsense unobtrusively in the widgets and within some posts. We deliberately restrained our advertising efforts as profit was not a main driving force of the website.
Finally, we signed up for many link development programs and blog listings like Technorati, Blogorama, and BlogCatalog. Our goal here was to increase exposure by using our ATOM feeds to stream our updates to the music and arts section of these aggregators. Another one of the secret weapons of band website development.
Band Website Development – Closing Thoughts
There are some missed opportunities with this project. Though we went with easy to use tools, more training could have been beneficial to the band as some of the pages they are updating aren’t styled in accordance to the brand standards we initially set.
We didn’t add a ReCAPTCHA for the contact form as the band was concerned it would make getting in touch harder for fans. Pending on the amount of spam received we may have to revisit this decision.
It is also a personal regret we weren’t able to accommodate a responsive design for the motherleads.com website. I always advocate for usability, but due to budget constraints we were forced to tone down our original vision. When Mother Leads decides to redo their site next we will be sure to update you!