How To Create A Band Website With WordPress: Part 1: Domain, Hosting, and E-Mail

First off, I’m definitely not the first to do a site like this or to do a blog post about it.  Do an internet search, and don’t take my word for gold.  Actually, trying WordPress is a first for me.  I might end up hating it.

I went head first with WordPress and GoDaddy.  That doesn’t mean you should do exactly what I do.  I know how to program and learn new web technologies.  But, I’m limited on time and cash, so I chose WordPress as a CMS  (Content Managment System).  I also chose GoDaddy because, well, they have hot chicks on their ads.  And it’s easy to find discount codes for them.

Chris Rocket of Promote Your Music has a great setup for musicians for $23.  Please read this as an alternative to see if it fits you better.  My setup costs about $80, but for a full year.  This amounts to $6.70 dollars a month, but you have to pay the full cost for the entire year.  Do not do what I describe unless you have $85 in the bank.  Even Chris’s recommendations cost you a monthly fee.  Calculate the full year balance to see what is best for you.

GoDaddy

GoDaddy tries to upsell you on everything at every step.  Some of the things they offer seem like you really need them.  “Drive more traffic to your site!”  “Domain Privacy.”  “Secure certification of your site!”  But you don’t need them.  These really don’t do much for you except tag on a significant increase in yearly cost.  You are a musician, and you are broke.

Here’s the golden rule.  When in doubt, go cheap!  Remember this.

Choosing Your Domain

GoDaddy.com is a hosting and domain site.  The domain is your address on the internet.  When you see something like facebook.com, that’s a domain.  You want a unique domain for your band.  Actually, even if you can find the domain name you want, double check that shit.  If you’re using “dashes”, you’re doing it wrong.  If your search for your band name turns up a page of results before the name of your band, choose a different band name.  That’s why I chose “Shiplosion” for my band name.  No one has that name, and it’s unique.  If your name is “The Band”, good luck, fool.

DON’T STICK WITH A COMMON BAND NAME.  Make sure your band name will come up first if people just search for your band name.  If you have to tell people to use quotations in their google search to find your band, you’re doing it wrong.  I know.  My last band was called “The Them”.  If you don’t use quotations, my last band’s name conflicts with “Them”.  Van Morrison is still way more popular than my band.  Seriously, research a bit first to save yourself years of heartache.  3 years into your career is the worst time to change the name of your band for legal reasons.

Now that you have a band name, go to GoDaddy.  On their front page, you can type in to see if your band name is available as a .com.  The “.com” is the most memorable domain name.  I would suggest getting a .com.  If the .com name is taken, I’d recommend getting another band name.  Most people will naturally search for the .com name and will give up searching for you if they don’t find it the first time.

Domain name search

 

Do I need .co, .org, and .net as well?

Now, remember GoDaddy will try to upsell you on everything.  You don’t need multiple domain names for your band.  You don’t need a .mobi, .co, .music, or whatever they are selling.  Just get the .com.

Choose the ".com"

Just choose the ".com".

 

Domain Settings

The next step is choosing how long you want to purchase the domain name.  I chose one year.  GoDaddy will notifiy you when your domain needs to be re-registered, so don’t worry about losing it.

Choose to leave your domain uncertified.  Again, a “certified domain” is just another upsell that’ s not necessary for your site.

The next step wants you to sign up for extra “privacy” settings.  Ignore this, unless you really, really don’t want your address listed on “WhoIs”.  Every domain gets entered into a “domain registry” that lists your name, phone number, address, and when your site registration expires.  This is so people can contact you if they would like to buy that domain.  Also, so the public, in general, knows who owns this domain name.

From what I’ve read, this privacy protection doesn’t do much for you.  So it’s your choice to hide your whois info.  Personally, I haven’t seen any extra spam or any type of identity theft.

E-mail and Hosting

The next step is setting up your e-mail and your hosting.  The e-mail part is optional.  You can set up a free Gmail account.  Personally, I prefer having e-mail that has my band’s website on it.  I chose the smallest number of e-mails and storage.  I will probably only use one e-mail address, and I doubt I’ll need to store more than 2GB worth of mail and attachments.

The hosting part is important.  The domain name is just a name.  In order to have an actual website, you will need hosting.  Hosting means they give you a place to put your website.  Choose the 10GB, economy option.  You can upgrade later if you hit that space limit, but why waste money in the short term?

The other two items I ignore.  “Drive traffic to your site”?  You know what actually drives traffic to your site?  Content.  That means your music, pictures, show dates, and videos will drive traffic to your site.  Nothing else.

SSL certificate?  How secure do you think websites are if anyone signing up with GoDaddy can get an SSL certificate?  Useless.

Paying:  Keep it cheap and don’t forget the promos

Now you’re at the last step:  paying.  Remember, they’re going to try and upsell on this page.  Keep it simple.  Choose cheap and choose least number of years.  If you have the dough, you can potentially save money by choosing 2 or 5 year plans.  Personally, I don’t have that much cash.

The important thing however, is the “Enter Promo Code”.  GoDaddy has a TON of promo codes!  Go to Google and search for GoDaddy + promo code.  You might be able to save yourself 5 to 15% off the cost.

That’s it for part one.  The next part is actually new to me, installing WordPress.  I just installed it the other day, and, it’s cool, but a bit challenging.  However, if you want a website, and you don’t want to learn web design, WordPress is awesome.

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10 Responses to How To Create A Band Website With WordPress: Part 1: Domain, Hosting, and E-Mail

  1. thekai says:

    Looking forward to your experiences with installing WordPress yourself.

    For the super broke bands, you can just create a free blog account at WordPress.com and then link to it from your facebook page. RSS is our friend.

    • I thought of that, but WordPress does a few annoying things if you let them host your site. The most annoying is they don’t let you install plug-ins. Want a media player in your sidebar? Can’t do it with WordPress.com. Plug-ins are essential. If you can’t use plug-ins, not much of a point for a band to have a WordPress.com hosted site.

      Also, they serve up ads on your site. You have no control over this unless you pay them $30. Want to use AdSense on your site? Not possible with WordPress.com hosted blog.

      Finally, after you realize how little control you have over WordPress hosted site, you will have to go through the pain of transferring everything over to a new site.

      I’m learning this the hard way because this is exactly what happened with howtorunaband.com. The real pain in the ass is I can’t transfer the site immediately. After purchasing a domain, you have to wait 2 months before you can transfer it to a different host.

      Now I risk breaking RSS feeds and losing content. It’s worth it to save up $80 and do it right the first time.

  2. Candice says:

    My reaction to GoDaddy trying to upsell a bunch of crap to me is to get hosting somewhere else. I’ve used them in the past, but as of a few weeks ago every last one of my domains has moved to a new home. Bonus, my new registrar/host offers private registration at no extra cost. You’ll get some spam — including the snail mail variety — if you don’t choose private registration, but the big concern to some might be that anyone and everyone can get their hands on the listed phone number and address. (If you register a domain name you’re going to get spam addressed to everycommonusername@yourdomain.com regardless.)

    Many hosts have control panels that allow popular software like WordPress to be installed with just a few clicks, so that’s another thing to look for if going with a GoDaddy alternative.

    I’d also recommend using Gmail WITH your own domain name for email. Just set it up here: http://www.google.com/apps/intl/en/group/index.html — there aren’t many settings you need to edit yourself, and Google has walkthroughs written specifically for most popular registrars.

    • Thanks, Candice! I was considering using Gmail for my domain’s e-mail host, but I saw that they want $50 a year. GoDaddy is about $25 a year. If I need to upgrade how much e-mail I’m using, I’ll definitely switch to Google!

      Which host are you using?

  3. Candice says:

    I’m using Dreamhost, and they work for me, but I have about 25 websites with all sorts of crazy back-end stuff running. For someone who needs something less loony there might be something better and/or cheaper out there. So many variables to compare!

    Gmail gives you 50 users and something like 7GB of space per account for free, which should be enough for almost everyone. I think it’s the same or close to a regular Gmail account, and I’ve never gotten past 5% on any of mine.

    BTW, I’m really enjoying following this website — I know all sorts of technical nonsense from doing web for years and years, but I’ve never done much serious promotion, and I’m currently working on setting up new websites for my husband’s band and related projects, so I have tons to learn!

    • I should have done more research on hosting, but I just got excited and went for it. I just checked Google’s business mail, and it says $50/year for 25GB per user account. Looks like the number of users on an account is unlimited now.

      I’m a dummy on back end web services. Feel free to correct me at any point. My girlfriend is learning Joomla and PHP, so I’m going to force her to teach me. She just got a laptop, so now we can go out to coffee shops and be all geeky together. I’m just that punk rock.

      Well, hope I can find some cool music promo stuff. I just need to get a damn BAND first. Your husband’s doing way better than me! 🙂

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