What An Unsigned Artist Website Should Look Like

(click to enlarge)

Earlier this week I had asked for people to submit bands they knew of to be featured or spotlighted on the site and of course a URL to check them out. I normally expect links to social networking sites or other sites where I could hear music, but the rarity these days is to get a link to an actual website and have it be a website. Usually, if I get a bandname.com URL to check out, I wonder to myself which of the social networking sites I’m about to be forwarded to, because seriously about 95% of the time the bandname.com URL forwards to Facebook, Myspace, or even Twitter. And honestly, I hate it, because I never know where I’m going.

However, for those 5% that don’t, the bands’ websites are hit or miss. In the case of the band Evoked, I was actually really impressed. There is a screen capture of their website you can click, or even better just open up getevoked.com in a new window and follow along. Design-wise with the fonts, patterns, and colors there’s a bit to be desired, but this is an almost perfect example of functionally how a website should be. In the time it takes me to open the page and scroll just a bit, I now know where every single thing I could want to know about the band is.

Right up front, the background image is taken from their latest release and their band logo in stylized font is right there, so I know their “brand” right away. Immediately after that just going down the page, I have their music ready to stream, their latest Facebook updates with a like button and some of their fans (and if I were signed in and some of my friends liked them, it would show those people), I see a tour map with a list of tour dates to find them live, I see their news headlines, an opportunity to buy their merch and music, videos of them live (big plus for people like me who want to get a total feel for the band), an opportunity to join their mailing list, banners with embed code to help promote them, a widget to allow people to sign up for their mobile club, photos, and then their latest tweets. Finally, at the very bottom, who their represented by and a link to everywhere else, like facebook, twitter, myspace, flickr, youtube, EPK, Reverbnation, CDbaby, and iTunes. There’s only two things keeping the site from being absolutely functionally perfect, and that’s contact info (email or phone) and an internal store (instead of linking elsewhere).

It really is unique to see something like that, and honestly it’s sad that I was so impressed by it. But honestly, it’s one of those little things that bands don’t really do anymore, when they really should. There’s no excuse not to, especially since SideStage.FM will build and even host your website for free. If you’re in an unsigned band or work with one, it’s better to have a portal page that simply says “yes, this is in fact the official site of [band name]” and has links to all the social networking sites than to just forward to any other page.