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A Quick and Easy way to establish your band on the Net.  By Rock n World Managing Editor, Keavin Wiggins 

So you have a killer band, and you want to build a web site to show case your music. It really is not difficult, we here at Rock n World want to help new bands as much as possible. Therefore this is our "how to establish you band on the net forum". This article is in three parts. (skip over the ones you may not need, like how to make a web page if your band already has one.) 

PART I

How to make an affordable Web site for your band. 

The first thing you will need if you want to have a web site is a web server to host the site.  You can find many free hosting services which offer a few megs of web space for you to post your site to. They ask in return that they display banners when people visit your site, like the pop up window you get when you visit a GeoCities page.  You may already have web space with your internet service. Many ISP’s offer web space to customers as part of their service.  Even AOL gives you ten megs of space to use. ( If you are an AOL customer type in keyword ‘ my place ‘, details and help are available there. You get 2 megs per screen name on your AOL account.) Check your providers home page for information about free web space.

Here are two places to find free web hosting for your band. 

Geocities
http://www.geocities.com 

or 

Angelfire
http://www.angelfire.com

If you want to have a domain name for your band i.e. www.yourbandsname,com you will have to pay for it, the average cost is between $20 to $25. And you can get anywhere from 2 megs to unlimited space and usage for that fee. You also have to pay for the set up with most services the average cost is $50.00. As well the domain name is gonna cost you $70.00 (that covers the first 2 years, you must renew every year after that for $35.00). 


Now we move on designing your page. If you are using a service like Geocities, AOL, or Angelfire, they have utilities that will walk you step by step through creating a very basic web page.  We recommend that you do it yourself, you have a lot more control over how your page looks if you design it. 

To design your own site you do not need to know programming, all you need is a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get)  HTML editor.  The one we recommend is Netscape Composer which you may already have if you have Netscape Communicator installed on your system. Best part about Composer is it is so easy to use, and It is FREE  With Composer you just open a blank web page from the file menu by selecting new blank page, and you start typing away, using the tool bars to add links and graphics. It is really easy and you should be cranking out your web pages within minutes. 

Graphics? Ok here is the tricky part, how do you make graphics?  Well we won't be able to turn you into Picasso but you can download a great Shareware program called Paint Shop Pro, and start making some graphics with that.  You will need to make a band logo if you do not already have one, and maybe some titles for the sub pages of your site, for example  Bio, links, Sounds, etc.   You can use Paint Shop Pro for free for 30 days before you are asked to register it. 

Ok now what pages should you put on your site?   We have found the best pages to include are the following,  a band Bio giving members names, instruments, and a history of the band as a whole. If your band has produced any demo’s or CD’s  a discography page is a must.  A tour dates page to give your visitors times and Venues where they can see you live. A links page, you will find trading links very valuable in getting people to your site. A news page, give your fans the latest and greatest on your band, and we also recommend an update page where you post additions you have made to your site. 

Now since this is a music site, you should add music.  It is real easy to do, simply go to the Real networks page and download their real encoder, It’s free.  Ok now get a tape or CD of your music, plug your stereo into your computers sound card for tapes (use your stereos rca or head phone jacks with a mini pin connector to plug it into your sound card), or just use your CD ROM for CD’s.  Encoder comes with a great wizard which will walk you through how to set up and record a real audio file. We recommend real audio. Reason one) almost everyone has the player. Two) the files are streamed, not downloaded, so more people will listen to them, and Three) the files are small. A five minute song recorded for 28.8 modems in mono is only about a half a meg in size.  *Remember to upload the files as binaries.

Ok here is where this article really begins to help you. What if you do not have a real audio server? You can still stream audio from your web site.  Simply open a text editor and type in the full URL (internet address where you uploaded the file to 
i.e.: 
http://www.geocities.com/yourbandsname/yourrealaudiofile.ra

Ok have the URL in the text file?  All you have to do now is save the text file with the extension of .ram instead of .ra or .rm. Then link to that file, your real audio songs will now stream from your web server even if you don’t have a real audio server. 


Uploading check the help or FAQ section of your hosting services for instructions on how to upload your files. 

PART II

Wow now you have a web site with a few cool page, some graphics, and real audio!  Now what? 

Let people know you are alive on the web.   The absolute first place you should go is UBL.com. from their main page click add a link, and follow the prompts, and add your band to their data base. Have similar music to another established band?  Go to their page on UBL and click add a link and follow the instructions on how to add a “SEE ALSO” link. (after you have added your band to the UBL database.) 

Next submit your band to search engines, you can use a commercial service to automate the process like submit it. Most offer a free verity of their service, that submits your page to the most common search engines. Or you can go to the search engines add your site. Look for add url link on the search engines home page.

Ok now look for web sites for your local clubs etc., especially if you have played there, email the web master of their site, and ask if you can trade a link with them. Then do the same with other locals bands you know. 
 

Link Trading works really well, you will be surprised how many people find your page from links from other music pages.  (remember to link to us)

You can also start an email group for your band and their fans.  They are free to create click on over to Onelist.com and sign your band up for a free email list. (these list are a forum where subscribers write messages to each other through email.) 

Last but not least  submit your band to pages like Rock n World who feature unsigned bands. 

PART III

Page maintenance 

Now that you have a web site and people are visiting it, it is important to make timely updates. Always keep Your tour dates up to date, and include phone numbers and addresses to the venues. If the venue has a web site Link to it. 

If your using sound files, like real audio you should rotate your songs. Try posting 2 at a time and changing them every two to three weeks. People need a reason to return to your site, and real audio is a great way to do that. 
 

We hope we have helped you get established on the web, now you can go back to doing what you do best, making Music! 

--

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