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Three Challenges for Every (Aspiring) Professional Guitarist

Tomorrow (May 27,2011) at 2pm I’m going to be speaking at the Louisville Guitar Festival. I’m going to cover business — what it means to market yourself online and what are some of the tools that anyone can use.

At the end of my lecture, I’m going to issue these three challenges to the folks in attendance.

1. Create a Website or Make Yours Better.

Every musician needs a website. We live in a world where people increasing look for information online, and you need to be in that space to even have a chance of getting noticed.

But there’s a catch. You need to be able to update and edit this website very easily. It’s a big problem if you need to hire a guy every time you want to add something to your site. That gets expensive (see point two).

So if you do have a site already, consider having it redone using a content management system (CMS). A CMS gives you an administrator area which you can log into to easily add or update pages. There are tons of options: WordPress, Modx, Joomla, etc.

2. Create One New Piece of Content Every Week.

If you have tracking software installed on your website, you’ve probably looked at it thought, “Wow, why do I bother with this? 3 people visited last week.”

So let me tell you a secret: the way to get more visits is to invite people over (via social media or search engines or links on other websites), and the way to keep people coming to your site is to continually add new content for them to check out. Content can mean anything from an audio file to a video to a blog post.

Think about your core business and what makes you a living as musician. What sort of things could create that relate to that business? What sort of concerns do your customers have, and can you address them in an article? How about a video?

Once every week create a new piece of content and put it on your website. Try to focus on things that are evergreen. In other words, content that is not time sensitive. That blog post about your upcoming concert doesn’t count (sorry).

3. Learn HTML and CSS

I firmly believe that anyone who has a website needs to know HTML and CSS. HTML is the stuff that gives the website is structure, and CSS (cascading style sheets) make it pretty.

The good news is that HTML and CSS are pretty easy to learn. I used this book. Spend a half our a day learning a bit about HTML

7 Responses leave one →
  1. 2011 May 26

    Suggestion #4: join a forum or a blog and contribute information to the topics. Posting information that may be useful helps people that have similar interests learn, and also helps establish new contacts. In addition, to increase your “worthiness” in search engines, having different links both directing towards, and going away from your site will improve your search engine rating. (this came from http://www.entrepreneur.com )

    • 2011 May 26

      That’s true to some extent. It’s good to make connections, but forums are tricky business. Its way to easy to get roped into some ridiculous flame wars and such.

      I used to be a big participant in the Delcamp forum, but not so much anymore. I do still stop by from time to time.

      • 2011 May 27

        I was a member of Delcamp also and know what you mean. One of the hard things, especially for beginners was to be able to sort through what information is good and what is not. Kind of like you mentioned in a recent thread, use the information, but research the background first before passing it off as truth.

  2. 2011 May 26

    Great post, I always enjoy your business related topics. I could certainly follow rule number 2 more. I always intend to update my blog every week but never do.

    In the interest of learning more HTML and CSS I think i am going to be moving my website over to a WordPress platform. I am currently on Squarespace, and its very convenient, but WordPress is one third the price. Plus I think its probably more flexible in terms of tinkering with the code and SEO. I’ll probably have to learn some PHP as well.

    • 2011 May 27

      WordPress is hugely flexible!

      You don’t necessarily need to learn a ton of PHP, but you can start with the wordpress template tags. They’re what you’d be interacting with for the most part.

  3. 2011 May 30

    Kompozer is a fantastic program to use for creating / maintaining a website. I use this in conjuction with a web template. It cost me very little to make a good website and I am able to update it myself very very easily. Kompozer is free, BTW.

  4. 2011 May 30

    Amen to WordPress!

    I didn’t know what you’d include when I clicked on the headline, so I’m surprised to see an internet-centric list here. (Well, not THAT surprised…given that this is classicalguitar.org…)

    Little did I know that being a guitarist would involve also being an entrepreneur, web designer, internet marketer and online content creator. But at least it appears that I’m on the right track if this post is correct.

    So why don’t all music schools offer mandatory website creation courses?

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