Filed under marketing
When I first began marketing online in 2000, admittedly I had little to no clue as to what I was doing. I was like many, thinking that, if I just put up a website and a couple of “buy” buttons I was on my way to wealth. Of course that frame of mind couldn’t have been further from the truth, and today I laugh at my old, inexperienced self. I struggled for a couple of years trying to figure out why I was making nothing more than pocket change. I discovered someone else who was marketing the exact same products as me, but he was actually successful at it. I studied what he was doing different than me, which wasn’t much, but there was one thing that really stood-out to me, and that was that he had built this massive “feeder” site. I didn’t know what it was called at the time, but he basically built one site to feed all of his other smaller sites/pages, and all those smaller sites were in turn feeding his one big “feeder” site.
What exactly is a feeder site you ask? Well, I couldn’t find any exact definitions, but to put it simply; it’s a web site designed to feed targeted/filtered traffic to other similar websites. In a sense, your social media profiles are feeders to your main website. I’m telling you about this because it’s a great way to drive traffic to your website and attract new fans. So how do you build your own feeder site?
Before we get started I’m assuming that you already have your own website. If you do not, you absolutely need one. Not just for a feeder site, but for numerous reasons. However, you will be wasting your time with a feeder website without having your own destination, and no, social media platforms do not count. Now, let’s begin.
You need a plan
First, understand this is not a golden ticket that will solve all of your website traffic woes. Like anything else in the world that is worthy, it will take some work, planning and perhaps even some trial & error before this will begin working for you. The great thing about a feeder site is, once you have laid the foundation you can keep building and building attracting even more targeted visitors to your main website. However, before you do anything you need to figure out how you are going to go about it.
Focus on your niche
Everyone’s overall goal when building a feeder site is to attract new, targeted/filtered traffic to their website(s). ‘Targeted’ or ‘filtered’ visitors on your website just means that you have taken the steps to ensure that you are bringing in people that are actually interested in what you have to offer. In other words, if you are a heavy metal act, bringing in hip hop fans is probably not going to help you, nor is it going to help to bring in every single person that might have the slightest interest in you or your music. You are going to want to focus on the hardcore fans of your niche.
Build your website
I realize for some people this is easier said than done. Personally, I’m no web designer and my knowledge in HTML/CSS is at a basic level, however there are plenty of services (some are even free) that can help you. I can’t say enough good things about WordPress. It’s free for most and they have a plethora of free layouts/themes that can have a new, fully functional website up in a couple of hours. Of course you can do this any way you see fit, but if you do use WordPress just download the software and install it on your server. Find and install a theme that works for you and you will be on your way in no time.
A couple things to keep in mind; while clear, outbound links to similar artists (see below) are very important, be sure that all buy/follow/etc. links are also clearly visible. Yes, the idea behind a feeder site is to feed your main website with fresh traffic, however you still want to take advantage of new ears and eyeballs. We are all lazy to some degree and sometimes, as dumb as it may sound, making that extra click to a website is all it takes to lose them forever. Make it easy for your visitors/fans and give them the option of going directly to your music store/social profile(s) without having to visit your main website first.
Invite similar artists
The more content you have on your feeder site, the better; not to mention having more links pointing to your feeder site. My point is, try to team up with a few other similar artists, because this will help all involved. To paint you a little picture, say you are in a punk band. Try inviting two or three other punk bands (in your same sub-genre — if you’re a pop-punk band do not invite hardcore punk bands) to participate. Once they agree, make sure each band adds a link to the feeder site from their own website and does some of their own promotion. Voila! You already have fresh, targeted traffic coming in and fresh, targeted traffic going out to each band’s website.
As far as your feeder site is concerned, your number one focus should be on traffic. This means that when designing your website you should lay it out in a way that focuses on the bands/websites that are sending return traffic in. Truly interested parties will take the time to look deeper into your site, while others will either close the site and move-on or hopefully click-thru to another participating band site.
Promote, promote, promote
You have your new feeder site live and you have partnered with similar artists (with return links); what’s left is promotion. Since it’s your site you will probably have to be the one to get the ball rolling, but be sure that it is clear to partnering bands that it is partly their duty to promote the site as well. After all, it will be beneficial to them too. A feeder site will work beautifully, but only as long as all involved parties cooperate and put in the same effort as you.
The last thing I want to do is create even more daily tasks for you, but it is essential that you update your feeder site (or all sites for that matter) somewhat regularly. This brings fresh eyes/ears to your site, keeps regular visitors/fans happy and it doesn’t seem like you built the site and deserted it. No one likes to come to a seemingly old site that’s never updated. The good news is, perhaps partnering bands can(/should) help; maybe one new blog post a month from different participating artists, or decide on a certain day when new music is available on the site.