Create Your Website
In most cases, you will want a website to showcase your business, services, talents, and/or product. A social media presence alone does not demonstrate the level of professionalism you’ll want to convey to potential employers, so consider creating a website even if you think that your social media presence is enough.
Berklee has partnered with Wix, a website building platform, to provide exclusive templates, discounts, training, and support so you can create a professional website. Find templates customized for Berklee students, or browse their general collection of music templates.
The content of your website will vary greatly depending on your field and skills, but here are a few points that hold true across most professional categories or areas:
- Don’t do it yourself (unless you really know what you’re doing). Assuming you’re not an experienced web developer, there’s no need to spend a lot of time learning how to build a website from scratch. Below, we provide examples of website builders that allow you to select and customize a template to your liking without the hassle of coding, setting up a domain name server, and so on.
- Let your content be your guide. Your website template may include some suggested pages, which may or may not apply to you. Before you pick a template, plan out the pages that your website needs. At a minimum, you’ll need a description of your skills, services, or product; a photo of yourself or your organization’s leadership; and contact information so interested clients or employers can connect for more information.
- Show your stuff. Before anyone calls you to enlist your work, they’re going to check online. Your website should show them the best of your abilities.
- Keep it short and simple. In the creative arena, images, video, and audio can be powerful tools. Keep in mind that your potential client/employer has limited time, so it’s best to keep these samples short. While multimedia can do wonders to showcase your skills, it’s important not to neglect your text, which is the key factor that search engines will pick up on.
- Learn what gets searched. A picture may be worth 1,000 words, but one well-placed word or two on the right page(s) may make the difference between a high or low ranking for an internet search term. Figure out what relevant search terms you can “own” with a top or high ranking. Use those terms on your site, and be realistic. In other words, including the words “live band” throughout your site probably won’t get you far in search rankings. However, if you use “Atlanta, Georgia, reggae band,” now you may be able to compete for that internet search traffic. Refine it even further—“Atlanta, Georgia, reggae wedding band”—and you may be able to “own” that online search term such that anyone looking for that specific service will see you first.
Building a website will not necessarily bring you employment or clients on its own. You'll still need to network and actively engage in the processes described in the Find Work section to make that happen. However, building a professional-level website will help reassure potential employers or clients that they should trust their business to you when they research you after meeting with or hearing from you. It's a must.
There are an array of website builder tools available to you. Some are free, while others charge a monthly or annual fee for the service. Each website builder is better or worse suited to accomplish certain goals, so before you start, know what you will need, then do your research to find a website builder that will best meet that need.
Before selecting a website builder, look at samples of other websites created with that tool, and keep the following in mind:
- Is it responsive? That is, will the website builder enable you to build a website that will look good on desktop computers as well as mobile devices?
- Does it offer built-in analytics? If you want to know how many people are visiting your site, where they’re located, etc., Google Analytics is a powerful tool for understanding your website users. Some website builders come with this feature built in.
- Do you need an online store and/or the ability to sell downloads? If you'll be selling products or services through your website, be sure to investigate the e-commerce features of a potential website builder before making your choice.
- How well does it integrate social media and email newsletter options? If you want to be in close contact with those who visit your site, find a website builder that makes this easy to do.
- How easy is it to use? A website builder may have the capacity to make great-looking websites, but that won’t matter if you can’t figure out how to use it to do so. Especially if you have limited time to dedicate to your website, consider options that will make it simple to create and make updates to your site.
Here are some examples of the many website creation and maintenance tools you might consider:
Wix provides an easy-to-use website building platform that allows for simple drag-and-drop customization, even for those with little to no experience creating websites. Wix has extensive functionality options for artists and musicians looking to showcase their achievements and portfolios. Through Wix's partnership with Berklee, students have access to exclusive templates designed specifically for the Berklee community as well as access to 50 percent discounts on premium Wix Music plans.