Part One: Terminology
A strong internet presence is one of the most important tools in a Christian band’s arsenal to increase your fanbase by finding new fans and staying in touch with current fans. Every Christian band should take advantage of Facebook, Twitter, U-Tube, and its own website. But having sites, posts, tweets, and pages does not do much good if potential fans are not finding them.
Let’s say you started a restaurant that specializes in hamburgers and french fries. You get the building, install all the equipment, hire people and start cooking. Family and friends come to your restaurant and once in a while someone else sees your building and stops in to find out what you are selling… not exactly a huge success. What did you forget to do? Put up a sign. So, all your traffic (people walking through the door) comes from people that already know about your business and their word of mouth. People driving by your restaurant may or may not even know it’s there without a sign. Now let’s say you put up a sign that is golden arches with the word “McDonald’s”. You are going to get a lot more traffic and probably sell a lot more food. Now assume that you are really amazing and you actually put your sign in the best spot – not behind your restaurant, not parallel to the road, not in front of another store – but right in front of your restaurant, facing so everyone that drives by can see it. If you understand this example, you understand the concept of SEO. You just need to learn some terminology.
What is SEO?
SEO stands for search engine optimization. It simply means making sure people can find your web site because you have made it easy for search engines to use your web site. (You put your sign in the best spot.)
What is a Search Engine?
You already know, you probably use them every day… if you are not super tech savvy you just might not know that they are called search engines. A search engine is a computer program that searches the internet for information you asked for using keywords. You type words into a box (called a search query) and the search engine gives you places to look for those words a SERP (search engine results page). The most popular search engines are Google, Yahoo, Bing, and Ask. (You can see what each of the search engines search queries look like by clicking on them.)
What are Keywords?
Keywords are simply the words you type into the search box.
See… nothing hard so far. You do this every day!
The idea we are presenting here is how to make sure your Christian bands website comes up on the first SERP whenever specific keywords are searched. Showing up on the first page is important because most people click on the first couple recommendations the SERP gives. A person who is very determined might look at the second, third or even fourth page. But almost no one looks at the tenth page. So, you want your website to “rank high” (show up at the top of the SERP). Click on each of these search engines to see the SERP for the keywords Christian Band Help. Google Yahoo Bing Ask The rankings constantly change as new information is added to the search engines. So, we need to be constantly paying attention to our SEO.
If you already have a band website or even an e-mail, you are probably getting several spammy comments and e-mails every day from companies claiming to improve your business by doing SEO for you.
Will they charge you for their services? Absolutely.
Will they help get more traffic to your website? Probably.
Will they actually get you more fans because they have directed the exact traffic you need to your website? Possibly.
Will they get you enough new fans, which buy merchandise and come to shows, to make a profit on the expense of their services? Not likely.
Should you hire them to do your SEO? Probably not, at least not yet.
My recommendation is that you should do your own SEO, until you sign with a major label (if that is the route you are taking your ministry) or until you are so busy touring (and making money at it) that you do not have time do it yourself. At that point the label should give you a hand with website development or you can hire someone to do it for you. Until then, you should concentrate on getting the basics right. There is a lot of SEO you can do yourself with very little effort and no cost. These basic steps will give you the bulk of your new fan traffic. The more refined SEO (that the companies will do for you) can really only be done well after the basic foundational steps are done. So, it makes sense to start by doing your own SEO. Save what money you have to buy gas, keep yourselves fed, and stock your merchandise table.
Next up: Part Two – the Basics. We will cover the steps you can take to increase your SEO.
Are you an SEO newbie? Still have questions about this somewhat boring but important topic? Here’s the book for you:
Yup – that’s right – it’s the basics of SEO explained in comics! So cool!
It got great reviews! Can’t go wrong with this.
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