Elements of a Great Band Website

By   |  Stashed in Webdesign

As web designers, we never know what field our next client is gonna to come from, so we always have to be prepared to work in their niche, even if it is outside our proverbial design box, and therefore outside our comfort zone. Though research comes naturally with most design work, already having a base to go from never hurts.

This base, could also mean the difference between getting the job, or getting passed over. So it beneficial to familiarize yourself with the common elements that normally make various niche sites stand out from the others in their genre. In this post, we will be looking at the elements of great band websites. So if your next client needs you to build a site for this field, here are some must-haves for your design.

Also, you will notice scattered throughout the post are a few ‘Greatest Hits’, or in other words, some of the best band sites out on the webs.

Band Photo & Member Info

The first, is the most obvious, and one of the most important elements to include. The picture of the band with band member information. Remember most of their fans not only want to know more about the music, but they also want to know more about the individuals that make up the group. So remember to make this a priority, not only because of its necessity to the site and the fans, but also because of the way it can feed the design.

With band websites you want to make sure that the design of the site matches the personality and attitude of the band without going overboard with flash. The time you invest to build the site and put everything together could all be for not if the design doesn’t embody the essence and feel of the band. Keep it simple so as to not detract from the band, make it useable so they can get all the info they need, and make it relevant to not break from the tone of the band.

Greatest Hits – Fallout Boy

Fallout Boy’s website does a great job of both showcasing the talent and allowing the band to connect with their fans. I love their Q&A section for allowing fans to ask questions, it’s a great personalization technique. Their tour info page could use some work to make it a bit clearer, but it’s not much of a deterrent. Joining and signing in may do that, but I wouldn’t recommend making fans join your site just to get your touring info.

Showcase The Music

Now given that the band’s art is their music, you want to make sure that it is highlighted on the site with an appropriately styled presentation befitting their work. So be sure to have a great looking playlist for the users. Remember not everyone visiting the site has necessarily heard the band’s music before, they could have been sent there by friends. Having a well designed playlist can draw new listeners and help to gain new fans, so pay attention to this element.

And being that past is prologue, you want to be sure that you are not only focusing on the band’s current music, but also featuring and pointing visitors to their full discography. Without listing their past body of work, you are in effect minimalizing the band’s previous efforts. And while it is not necessary to have their entire discography on the front page, you are going to want to make sure that the navigation to it is clearly marked and easy to find.

Quick tip: Don’t have the music start automatically, let the visitors decide whether they want to listen or not. Generally it is not a good idea to take over a user’s sound.

Greatest Hits – Kings of Leon

The Kings of Leon’s site is another great example of a band site done right. Their Discography allows logged in fans to rate and review the albums. This is not only a fantastic way to show confidence in the music, but also to demonstrate how much the band values their fan’s input. Their events page lets you know that there aren’t any upcoming events so you don’t have to wonder if the page is working, and removing any guesswork is a must.

Merchandise

Another main element that fans of the band are going to be looking for when coming to the band’s website is merchandise. Not every band will want sell merchandise on their site or even have any to offer, but if your clients choose to have a shop you need to make sure to use a dependable shopping cart system to set them up. Also the presentation of the merchandise is key, so pay attention to the styling you use. You want to compliment it, do not distract from it.

Once the shop is in place, you may think that your job there is done, and it very well could be, if that is how you want to play it. However this is an opportunity to go above and beyond and help steer your client in the direction of some reliable and safe outlets to provide great customer service. By helping them find a service to assist them in this arena, you are demonstrating your passion for customer service, and helping your reputation. Pointing them in the direction of services like Zendesk, and getting them a customer service base to work with helps guarantee they will not be calling you to handle these needs.

Greatest Hits – U2

If you are designing for a big name band, then you have a lot to live to up to, but in the case of U2’s site you can see another way it has been done with style. The site has a great tour page where you can actually find links to purchase tickets to upcoming shows. The depth of the Discography is also engaging, containing backgrounds on each album as well as lyrics to each song.

Calendar of Events

Another classic must have element when designing a band site, is a calendar of events. This is another area of the site that the fans are certainly going to be searching for, so you do not want to make them have to look far. You need to be sure that the fanbase knows where and when they can catch the band performing, and you as the designer need to include this section and make it really pop. You want this to be more than just a stagnant event list, you want it to draw as much attention as the rest of the site.

This can be a tricky element to effectively include, especially if the client has to be in charge of updating it regularly with information. The client may not have much experience with site maintenance, and that can often tie your hands as to how to work in an element like this. This could also offer an opportunity for you to get a recurring maintenance contract with the client to handle these updates to insure that they are done without breaking the design.

Greatest Hits – Arctic Monkeys

Arctic Monkeys are another great band with an equally awesome website. Just like U2’s site, AM’s gigs page also allows visitors and fans to purchase tickets for upcoming shows. This is one of the few band sites I came across that actually had a way to contact the band. They also have a really in depth discography allowing users to comment on their music. And most of their songs have lyrics posted on the site.

Newsletter

Beyond just a calendar to help the band’s fans keep up with what is going on with the group, the inclusion of an online newsletter than can be posted to the site is another great way to get this done. This element offers a bit more of a personal reach into the band, making more of a connection with the fans. So steering the client in this direction not only furthers the scope of the site, but the effectiveness as well.

Newsletters offer you yet another opportunity to flex your design muscles and wow your clients and site visitors alike, but again, this may not be an area that the client wants to go in. Though if you can explain the benefits effectively to them, you might soon find yourself designing the layout of a band newsletter.

Greatest Hits – Band of Horses

The Band of Horses website is an awesomely creative, extremely original and well designed site with fluid navigation that really adds to the overall feel of the band. The band incorporates a newsletter and blog into their site, along with a performance schedule to fully connect with their audience and keep them informed. Which does demonstrate a desire that your clients may share, to have all these various avenues to reach out on their site.

Contact Information

Now this next element is not necessarily specific to a band site, but the customization and styling of the contact information is still key for those looking to get into contact with the group. You also want to make sure that the information is easy to locate and access so that opportunities do not easily slip passed your cient.

Also, given that you are setting up a website for a band, the amount of contact information may be limited so the group does not get overwhelmed with fanatical followers bombarding them with fanmail spam. So it may be a better idea to set up a contact form on the site rather than simply giving out the various phone numbers or e-mail addresses. Once again, you will want to be sure that this is a form that you can customize to fit the tone and feel of the rest of the site.

Greatest Hits – Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan has been a musical icon for generations, and his transition to the digital world via his site is just as stellar as the man himself. Encompassing so much more than just what we have discussed here, Dylan’s site has some extra features that go above and beyond to highlight the fans. Like a community page that pulls in fan blogs that discuss the music and the man behind the myth.

That is a Wrap

That covers things from this end. What are your thoughts on the matter of band sites? What makes them shine? What elements would you include on your list of must-haves? And what band sites do you think are doing things right?

About the Author

Angie Bowen is a freelance web & graphic designer and co-founder of Arbenting and Dead Wings Designs.

More posts by

Website   

  • http://www.designthatrocks.com Design That Rocks

    Great collection and information. My 2 cents would be that bands ALWAYS keep the tour schedule updated. Even if they are not touring, or are in the studio, I as a fan always look to see what they are up to. It is disappointing when there is no info on that.

    A band site that I think does it right is KISS at http://www.kissonline.com. Always updates, latest content and merch…has everything the way it should be.

    Again, great post…keep up the good work!

  • http://www.artaberry.net Halen

    cool collection. your designing sense is very inspiring.

  • http://multilayerdesign.com/ Kev Jaques

    Great post Angie!
    The music and the fans is what it’s all about and definitely take out any guessing of what could be on the site.
    The newsletter has to be a huge thing for bands, it gives them an opportunity to reach out to more people on a regular basis, keep them informed of tour dates etc… it’s an essential piece of marketing.

    Another aspect not really covered is high contrast, a lot of band sites tend to go for the darker trend but still have high contrast elements to draw attention to specific areas.

  • http://blogpost.dj23.net/ jared thompson

    amazing post as ever from myinkblog! great topic of discussion.

  • http://xpirtdesign.com Xpirt Web Design

    I’m actually working on a record label website right now, these tips will come in handy. Thanks!

  • http://sexidesign.com Melody

    Love the design for arctic monkeys..other great elements of band sites can be seen in myspace band designs…

  • http://arbent.net Angie Bowen

    Thanks so much for the great comments everyone!

    @Craig – I totally agree that everything on the site should be as up to date as possible. That’s also another great reason to have both a blog and a newsletter.

    @Kev – High contrast elements are a great addition. A dark, muted website with bright areas that really draw the eye is a great way to denote the page hierarchy.

  • http://www.elatio.hr/proizvodi/aluminijske-ograde/ Alu ograde Elatio

    Great topic of discussion Angie :-)

  • http://www.orphicpixel.com Mars

    great article you got here mate

  • http://www.liquidskydesign.org/ Claudia

    It’s a great write up, I’ll take al these suggestion while creating a band website, thanks =)

  • http://www.champagnes.org.uk/champagne/krug/ krug

    Great Read. I hope you don’t mind me posting here. I love your site, I’m looking forward to your next piece

  • http://connect.nola.com/user/jeramywilliams2000/index.html DANNY

    Great stuff my friend! Love reading stuff about this.

  • http://www.sjlwebdesign.co.uk SJL Web Design

    Very interesting read, certainly a lot of inspiration and advice on designing a band’s website.

  • http://www.radio-en-vivo.com estaciones de radio gratis

    I have bookmarked it and I am looking forward to reading new articles. Keep up the good work!

  • http://www.mixdinkz.com Jeremy Stidham

    Respect for the post, I will append this website to my links, my room mate just made mention to me about this just the other day. this is the best

  • http://gadgets-blog.net/ Mervin Danforth

    Hey , i would like to say thank you about this cool post, very helpful to me, Thank You.

  • http://www.1-800customers.com Jill

    One of my favorite customer service quotes is “Well done is better than well said.” -BENJAMIN FRANKLIN

  • http://www.heavenlyoils.com Jung Matero

    Great info, thanks for the post!

  • http://www.australiangovernmentgrants.org Jacki Stegner

    Very greatful for the information presented. I have a great time reading your content. Keep it up.

  • Jimmie Laack

    I really enjoyed reading this article. It gave me a little to think about for my site. I appreciate it!

  • http://www.travelplaninfo.com Travel

    hello!, thanks for the info, this post was really nice.

  • http://wwww.emohairstyle.net Leta Duff

    Hi, nice post, looks like you have a good number of readers here, I was wondering if you are selling advertising space on your site? If not, do you think you will anytime in the near future?

  • http://www.kchains.com Keychains

    great article, thanks for the info.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1319305700 Filiberto Rykiel

    Hola thanks for the last blog.

  • http://www.davebrownphotography.com/BlogInstall/index.php Denver Photographer

    I like how you pointed out how important the band photo is. You can’t ever negate how much photography sells a brand or in the case a band.

  • http://trafficmayhemsystem.com Adam from Traffic Mayhem

    Couple of things that would contribute to a great website for a band. Its gotta be clean, have some sweet high resolution pictures, a good bio on every band member and tour update for their fans. Follow this and this will help you out in the long run.

  • http://funnyrecord2439.wordpress.com Damian Winrow

    Thank you for publishing this thought, bookmarked and added to my personal RSS.

  • http://celluliteaqueuse.blogspot.com/ cellulite aqueuse

    Hi, your page is beautyfull Many thanks for sharing.

  • http://www.techzooms.com Hikaru Ju.

    know i’m a little off topic, but i just wanted to say i love the layout of your blog. i’m new to the blogegine platform, so any suggestions on getting my blog looking nice would be appreciated.

  • http://www.oraljellykamagra.com Oral Jelly

    I really like the designs of those Band Webpages their pretty awesome!

  • http://p90xexercise.wordpress.com/ P90x

    Love the ideas you have to really create a nice band website. I love the look for the Greatest Hits – Kings of Leon theme you have listed first. Looks very professional and intriguing.

    - Jarrod

  • http://www.shoppersmanual.com/ Milford Meiler

    Exceptional blog site! I genuinely seriously how it is easy on my eyes as well since the facts are properly published. I am wondering how I might be notified whenever a brand new post has been made. I have subscribed for your rss feed which need to to complete the trick! Possess a nice day!

  • Kamag

    I love articles about music and websites. Really great design with Band of Horses web site. I immediately wanted to visit, a great example for all.

  • http://dspickett.co.uk DSPICKETT

    Really great post! :)
    I really like the style of the U2 site as well.

  • dparks

    With so much crud out there to nav through, I’m glad you focused on Band sites – working on one right now!!

    Bookmarking JUST for this – and hope you post a follow-up soon – maybe soloists?