“Blog” is just another name for your own website, one that you add stuff to regularly. They’re cheap (as in free), and easy to set up and update. And if you want any kind of success at all as a DJ or producer nowadays, the truth is that you absolutely must have one.
Before you put your fingers in your ears, and sing loudly “I’m not listening to you!”, let us show you exactly why you need to do this today, and explain in simple terms how to go about it. and if at the ends of this piece you still feel you can’t do it yourself, consider getting some help – but if you want DJing to be more than a hobby, you really ought to find a way.
Why you need a blog
1. It gets your name out there
Forget all that complicated SEO (search engine optimisation) stuff – if you write a blog, update it regularly, and speak about your scene, where you play, who you play with and so on, you’ll naturally attract eyeballs online. So when someone types “electro in Birmingham”, if you’re an electro DJ from Birmingham your blog will over time become visible just through you talking about it! (By the way, it takes three to six months, so you need patience and you need faith.)
So is there a big secret? Nope. Make every post 200+ words, mention a different thing you want to be found online for a few times in each post, including in the headline (so if you want to do well for “electro in Birmingham”, you’ll use those words two or three times in your post and also in the headline – “Why I Love The Electro Scene In Birmingham” is good), and you’re done.
Oh, and crucially, make it worth reading, and Google will get you indexed and visible. Can I let you into a secret? We spend zero time on SEO for this blog. Zero. We spend all of our time making it as good as we can for our readers instead. Google likes that.
2. You’d be foolish to rely on Facebook, Twitter etc for your online presence
They are “branches”, sure, but you need “roots”. You need somewhere for all your experiments on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube etc to gravitate back towards. A home. How many people got stung as MySpace crashed in popularity? Suddenly a feature-packed MySpace page with all your music etc on it didn’t look so clever. Also, keeping your online presence centred on something you can control is a wise idea. It can change and grow as you do. And a blog is ideal.
3. It becomes your autobiography
This has two benefits. Firstly, it pulls you to task. If you’re not doing anything interesting, why not? It helps you to document your progress, and ensures that you actually make some – or at least, mirrors it back to you when you are being lazy or not trying very hard, as you’ll have nothing new to add. And when you are working hard towards your goal, and posting your gigs, mixes, photos etc online, it becomes your scrapbook, your history, your timeline – and a great place for new fans to catch up with what you’ve been doing.
4. It can earn you money
The hard fact is that if you are serious about DJing, you need to get some cash in the bank. Doubly so if you’re into DJ/producing, because producing is notoriously badly paid. But if you have a website, you have a bargaining tool. Yeah sure, you can sell ads on it, but think outside the box here – how about offering advertising to the venues who book you? Or getting your local DJ shop to sponsor you in return for an ad on your site?
Your “real estate” is valuable, and you can use it as a bargaining tool to barter for what you want elsewhere. In this way, while your site may not earn you money per se, it could get you paid jobs nonetheless.
5. It shows you are serious
When venues and promoters are booking DJs, they often want reliability and professionalism as much as talent and popularity. If you do a good job and always turn up, you’re half way there. A website is a great way for you to put your best foot forward. A nice website stands you out from the rest of the DJs in your area who haven’t bothered to get one set up.
6. It helps you build a list of fans
Lists rules. Even nowadays, email is king of interaction with your fans. Simply having a signup form on your website and gathering a list of email addresses, and then doing nothing more than emailing them every couple of weeks with a short summary of what you’ve been up to and links back to the relevant pages on your blog, will work wonders for keeping your fan base loyal. Staying as close to your fans as you can is paramount, and email is still the best way to do this – but you need a website at the heart of it.
7. It’s easy!
This is the thing. While it’s not as easy as getting a Facebook Page, it isn’t that hard to set up a blog. You may need a web-savvy friend to help you, but you can do it in a day. You need a domain, some hosting, the free software WordPress installed, a nice theme (pay US$30 or so for something you like from somewhere like Themeforest), and a logo (try 99designs).
Then you need to install a form for people to sign up for your emails (there are plenty of one-click add-ons for WordPress, including forms), and finally you should get your web-savvy friend to help you configure the look and feel.
Once you’ve ordered a beginner’s guide to using it (Amazon has loads of them), and presto! You’re online. Believe me, the days of spending thousands for a simple website are long gone – with some will power and a little bit of help, you can be up and running in days and for next to nothing in cost – and your site, and therefore your online presence as a DJ or producer, will look A1.
We spend a lot of time coaching people who want to make a career from DJing or producing, but the truth is that nowadays it’s a cottage industry. You don’t suddenly get “discovered” then get all the good stuff thrown at you. You need to cover the basics yourself, and become good at it all on your own – only then a record contract may follow, or a big DJ agency may take notice.
So if you want to have as much time as possible for the music, for playing or composing, for letting your creativity flow, why not put the effort in now and set up all the “back room” stuff so as you get better at the creative stuff, you have the system in place behind you to support your growth? It’s a smart move, and will force you to think more seriously about your DJing and your career. Talent and determination are not enough – you need a “system”, and you need commitment – and your personal website should be at the heart of it all.
• The original inspiration for this post came from 5 Reasons Why You Should Be Blogging on IndieHipHop.net.
Have you got a blog that’s helped you to succeed? Are you thinking of setting one up? Or do you wish you didn’t have to worry about all this stuff, and just get on with playing or writing music? Please let us know your thoughts about this subject in the comments.