When I was still getting ready to launch hauméa magazine (if you don’t know, hauméa is Proxima Centauri’s journalistic counterpart !), I was obviously thinking of the way I was going to present the magazine on Instagram. This brainstorming session I had with myself included the link that I was going to put in my bio, and my first thought of course went to the leader of the “link in bio” on Instagram : Linktree.

Well, that was until I did a little research, because I saw that not everyone was using Linktree. I actually saw that some people even created their own “link in bio” from A to Z without using Linktree, and I wondered why they would do so. The answer I found actually made a lot of sense !

Traffic acquisition, getting your understand your target audience, getting to analyze its behavior, personalized online branding… Linktree was not a requirement after all !

And, during my research for this blog post and because I wanted to add to this article some examples of beautiful Linktree/artist websites, I’ve realized that very few of you use them – many of you are only share the link to all the streaming platforms for your latest release. However, as an artist, there are many advantages to having your own website, and it goes well beyond creating your own Linktree.

Before we start : what is Linktree exactly about ?

Linktree’s advantages

Linktree is a service that allows you to get around one of the major restrictions of Instagram : that of being able to put only one link under your profile’s description. Linktree is a kind of an extra-simplified version of a website that allows you, as an artist or as a label owner for example, to give people access to other platforms & social media accounts of yours. And, for you, as an artist, is allows you to redirect your audience to your Spotify profile, your Bandcamp page, your TikTok account and more.

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Linktree’s disadvantages

Don’t get me wrong : Linktree is indeed a very convenient service, but it has several disadvantages that I wanted to discuss. The page is 100% customizable with your own logo and your own branding (i.e your color palette, your logo, your visual universe at large) but, apart from adding links to your Linktree page, you cannot add anything else unless you subscribe to a premium plan – that means if you want to embed YouTube videos directly in your Linktree you’ll have to pay a minimum of €3/month, and you won’t have access to all the data in your account if you don’t pay between €6 and €16 € per month.

In short : while being practical on many aspects, Linktree is not the formula that I recommend to emerging artists. Having a website, although a little more tedious to set up for obvious web design reasons, is much more beneficial in the long run and I’ll explain why. Follow me !

Having a website as an artist is essential.

Not only does a website allow you to highlight your entire visual branding – from your logo to your photos, including your videos and the color palette that defines your visual aesthetic – but it also allows you to promote your existing & future releases. And why not have a blog as well if you feel like it ! After all, many artists like to speak their mind on various social matters, for example. But, above all, a website’s ability to gather in one place all the information that will be useful to professionals of the music to find out about your project, starting with labels and media, will get you places eventually.

A website allows you to expand your musical branding and your visual identity.

“Hey, Cloé, that’s a lot to take it already !” I know, I can hear you whisper through your screen, but it’s going to be a lot easier than you think ! I won’t go into too much detail since it’s something we’ll end up discussing together soon, and something tells me that you’re going to want to be informed before everyone knows what I’m talking about !

Alright, now let’s get into it. As an artist, you have your own aesthetic & brand. You introduce yourself to the world a certain way, you have a musical and visual identity, and whether you are a solo artist or a whole band, you address your community a certain way. You may not immediately realize it, but it’s something you’ll eventually pick up on either by fine-tuning your communication, or by sitting down to make a moodboard for your next music video, for example (which is something I highly recommend you to do at any stage of development of your musical project !)

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Let’s take as an example the French pop-hardcore duo ascendant vierge (who is pictured above) : the duo has a very effective branding that can be seen & easily recognized in all their releases, music videos, photoshoots and even covers of EPs and singles. Their outfits are assertive and unique, they are always to be seen together, their outfits for their live shows are always reminiscent of the ones they wear on photoshoots and interviews, and each of their Instagram posts stands out and always echoes their branding. In short : they have worked on their image and present themselves as pop and hardcore “UFOs”, outsiders ; they are two artists who offer their own artistic vision.

All of the communication assets I mentioned above – photos, videos, even your biography, your discography and so on – can & should be found on your website, especially since they are generally to be found in various places, between your Facebook page, your Instagram profile or your Spotify profile. So having a website allows your audience to discover who you are and what you’ve been up to lately in only but a few clicks !

When it comes to Linktree, I’ve noticed that a lot of artists – including ascendant vierge – only put the linkfire given by the distributor or the aggregator to redirect to the release that has just made its way to streaming platforms. Of course you have to highlight your latest release, but by dedicating this “linktree space” to your latest release only, you will lose the opportunity to showcase other aspects of your art to your audience and especially to those who have just discovered you : they won’t get to know your previous release, nor the links to your other social media accounts (TikTok, Twitter, Facebook depending on which ones you are on). Not to mention that your visual identity – i.e your main color palette, your logo if you have one, etc. – aren’t generally well presented in a Linktree since it is formatted the same way for everyone, and ultimately isn’t so aesthetically pleasing.

So you will have understood by now the point I’m making : it is difficult to introduce yourself & your art correctly in a simple Linktree. That’s why having a website is better in the long run, and will also allow you to promote yourself a lot more freely, because you can put whatever you want on a website, even if your website is only used to redirect your new fans to your Spotify, SoundCloud or Bandcamp page at first !

Before focusing on the ways that exist to create your own Linktree page yourself, let’s first focus on what should be on a website.

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– screenshot taken from Chymes’s website : it is minimalistic, and it redirects everyone to her latest release on the homepage ; the rest of the menu highlights all the important content regarding her musical career

What to add on a website : everything you have to offer as an artist !

Having a website is a good thing, putting the right information on it is better ! The same way you are going to structure your press kit, you are also going to define your website’s structure. Of course, the links to your Bandcamp pages and your Spotify profile are important, but you might as well put as much information as possible about yourself and your musical project.

In a press kit, you include, among other things, your biography as well as a pitch that briefly tells your reader what your future release is all about. On your site, you can do the same : having a “biography” section is essential, and having a “discography” section will allow anyone who’s browsing your website to know where you are at in your musical career.

Pro tip : I strongly recommend having a “press kit” section on your website as well ; whether it is located on the home page or on a dedicated page doesn’t really matter as long as it’s there. As a music journalist myself, I sometimes go on an artist’s website in order to download a picture or two for my articles, or to obtain some additional information on their upcoming live shows, or their overall artistic identity (Instagram is good, but sometimes the website is even more creative). Whether your press kit is a dedicated web page or a simple clickable button that takes your visitor to a Google Drive or Dropbox link (protected by a password so that you don’t leak important information), that’s more than enough ! As long as your press kit gathers all the necessary information a journalist needs to write their articles, you’ll score many, many points because you show that you understand their job and their needs. On top of that, the press kit is an important tool for many other music industry members & companies, such as labels, publishers and even distributors.

If you only have these three categories on your website at first, that’s more than enough. You can also have a “photos” category as well as a “live shows” category when you start performing live & touring around your country. This will not only make life easier for journalists, but also for your fans who will be redirected to your upcoming concerts while giving them an overview of your upcoming tour !

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– screenshot of Irène Drésel’s merchandising section on her website, on which she both sells her vinyl copies and her merch

And, finally, if you have some merch’ and you want to sell it directly to your fans, you can have a “merchandising” section on your website which will either redirect your users to the platform on which you sell merch’, or to a dedicated shop section on your website if you feel like creating one. Well-known & world renowned plugins have been created for you to set up your own online store : I am thinking particularly of WooCommerce for website that are powered by WordPress.

And above all : be creative! I know that many artists have done very creative things on their websites, even turning them into video games, for example. If you are a fan of this kind of digital content and you are willing to do so, go for it ! A website is an excellent way to get around some of social media’s major restrictions and to create new promotional and/or artistic content.

“But Cloé, I’m not a web designer, how can I create my own website?”

Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered ! I’m not a web designer either, and yet I have created hauméa magazine and Proxima Centauri website entirely from scratch and on my own. If I was able to do it, you can do it !

At the end of this blog post, I’ll introduce you to three platforms that allow people like you to create your own website using pre-existing templates and using an interface made for web design beginners.

Creating your own Linktree page : a master guide

Now that we have seen together what to put on your site, you are probably wondering what to put on your own Linktree page. Here are my tips, and the first one I’m going to give you is to not only link to your social networks and to your latest release.

A Linktree page is to be set up according to what your audience is looking for. If you’re starting out and you’re not at your first release yet, the more information there is on your page, the better – without it being too much of course ! – because you won’t know what your audience is looking for in terms of info on your website. So I recommend that you start with showcasing your latest release – or your pre-save link if your first track isn’t live yet – and if it’s a music video, I recommend that you put the embedded video directly at the top of the page, in order to grab your audience’s attention from the get go. If they want to see your music video entirely or in full screen, they will click on the video and go to YouTube watch it all !

Once you have started to gather an audience around your music, you will, from various insights given by their behavior, identify what your audience is looking for content-wise when they interact with what you put out. If you are a band that performs a lot and that mainly grows its audience through live shows, it would be in your best interest to first redirect them to your next concert dates and to put the pre-save link of your next release below this “live show” link. Your links to your social networks may even end up at the bottom of this “DIY” linktree page, because they will not be essential for your community who primarily use social media to be notified of your next live show.

While the comparison may seem a little far fetched at first, here is the “Linktree” page of hauméa magazine – the one you come across once you have clicked on the language of your choice, namely English or French.

Since I know that people who click on this link usually click on it after I have said in my posts or in my stories that the link of the article I just posted is available via the link in the bio, I have embedded the latest article with its cover picture and its title at the very top of my Linktree. Below, I have put hauméa’s main menu – and this in case the people who click on this link are simply curious people who are discovering the magazine for the first time : this allows them to know what are the main article categories they’ll get to read on the magazine. Finally, and I put this directly below the menu because I have a lot of artists who follow me on hauméa : I immediately redirect them to the contact page if they want to send me their next release & promo material. Finally, I’ve added the download link for hauméa’s mobile app at the bottom ; being highlighted in a subtle but visible way, it provides additional information without adding too much text : hauméa is available on the App Store and the Google Play Store.

I was able to change this Linktree page over time according to my audience’s expectations and behavior ; I also set it up visually speaking with elements of my own branding, using the colors, the fonts and the logo I use throughout the whole website. And it also allows me to improve my SEO by doing what we call traffic acquisition : this is why I want to talk to you next about an essential tool that will allow you to better understand who your audience is, and this tool is called Google Analytics.

Analyze your audience’s behavior with Google Analytics

Having a website without installing Google Analytics on it is not very useful. It’s about the same as telling your listeners that you just released a song without telling them the name of the song or where to find it. You are browsing blind and you cannot understand who your target is or your audience.

Google Analytics gives you access to several pieces of information, starting with your daily traffic, but also where your traffic comes from (does it come from Facebook? Instagram? Google directly? From a website that redirects to your site? All of these questions will be answered by Google Analytics !). You can also see where your visitors come from (by country, by city), how long they stayed on the website, and which pages they visited. It’s a tool that gathers and covers a lot of data – while remaining anonymous – and although it is a little complex and not very intuitive at first, there are many tutorials and explanations online to help you understand all this. I managed to handle it on my own, and again, if I did it you can do it !

By having Google Analytics on your website, you will be able to know how many people have visited your “linktree” page. You’ll find out how long they stayed, what type of activity they engaged in – ​​video launch, page scroll, etc – and whether those people came for the first time or came back on your website.

When it comes to my own activities, I know for example that 10% of my traffic on hauméa comes from Instagram, because I know how many people have clicked on the link in my bio, and Google Analytics converts this data for me into a percentage over a period of time that I determine in the settings. I can even now even find out how many people have visited the English or French version of the site while coming from Instagram !

There are many tutorials for installing Google Analytics on your website depending on the CMS – therefore the platform/software used to create your site – that you have chosen. I use WordPress, personally, and I use the Avada theme for both hauméa and Proxima, so I searched for “configure Google Analytics on WordPress Avada” to find out how to install it.

3 softwares to build your own website without being a webdesigner

Now that we have seen together what to add on a website and on its dedicated DIY Linktree page, I can introduce you to three platforms that allow people who are very new to web design to create their own website. Among these, I will introduce you to Wix, WordPress and Squarespace. FYI : I personally only have used WordPress, but I have heard from people who use the other two platforms and they are just as effective, according to them !

Wix & Squarespace : pre-existing templates you can adapt to your own needs

For the very beginners, Wix and Squarespace offer website templates that you can then adapt to your own website project. The theme portfolio is quite diverse on both platforms, and – and the same goes for WordPress – have lots of options whether you want to set up a portfolio, a blog, a homepage (called in web design language a “landing page”) , and more.

These platforms are free but their functionality may be limited ; premium packages exist but require a small monthly budget.

It should also be noted that Squarespace is for websites that are going to be focused on the visual side more than on its written content ; Wix gives you the option to create your website from A to Z with “blank” templates if you want to create everything by yourself.

For best results design-wise : WordPress & the Divi, Elementor and Avada theme builders

That being said, even if it means creating everything from scratch, I highly recommend WordPress and more particularly the theme builders that are Divi, Elementor and Avada – which are all accessible via a paid license but which will make your life easier once your website is created and if you want to modify it later on. Why ? Because these are themes revolve around “blocks” that you place on a blank page, allowing you to customize your website as much as possible and free yourself from pre-existing templates which can sometimes, depending on how they’re built, be hard to adapt to your own needs. On top of that, WordPress is a free CMS that you can set up on your own through OVH for example once you have purchased your domain. You don’t need to go through their paid monthly plans to have WordPress on your website !

For the earliest beginners among you, I recommend Divi and Elementor – both of which have lots of tutorials both on Youtube and on specialized web design sites. If you plan to set up a more complex website, you can go on and use Avada – this is the theme I use for hauméa magazine and for Proxima Centauri and on which I was trained when I learned to use WordPress , but it is more complex than the two other ones.

There you go, you’re ready to create your own website and your own Linktree page !

Want to go further and learn how to create other communication assets ? I have an article that will help you learn how to create your press kit – an essential tool when you decide to promote yourself to media and music professionals – in just 5 steps !

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