Jared Lees is a musician working in the Akron / Cleveland Ohio scene. He came to me to get a website that would help him promote himself. We talked over his needs and I created a site that showcased his talents and made it easy for him to update his content.
I had done one site for Jared that he used for year or so, but I knew I could do better and wanted to really make him shine. I contacted him when I had some time between projects and asked if he wanted it updated. I let him know about some functionality I could add and recreated his site with a newer, more modern base theme. The new site was a lot cleaner and provided a lot more options for the end user – and that helps Jared’s music shine.
- Portfolio Site
- WordPress Base
- Built in music player
- Content slider/adjustable main page content
- Built in calendar with map functions
- Information integrated from bandcamp
You Need To See It To Believe It
Jared’s site is one of those sites that needs to be seen in action to really understand how it all works together. Please check out the video below for a brief overview of how well his site works for him. This video does have music. The music comes from Jared’s site and is created through the online player.
Figuring Out What Makes Jared Shine
And Putting It Front And Center
Jared wasn’t sure what he needed to do with his site, so we talked a lot about what could be done. In the end, he left a lot of the content generation up to me. I dug into the resources Jared already used (like bandcamp) and did research on base themes that would allow him to shine. I found one that would let me integrate a music player into the site. This let Jared’s work sit on every page, ready to capture new fans.
Keeping Everything Relevant On The Front Page
Jared’s site would be speaking to many audiences – current fans, new potential fans, and people looking to book Jared. I created a front page that allowed me to incorporate many different snippets of content. A calendar of upcoming shows makes it easy for fans looking to see Jared live to find his appearances. A small youtube widget shows off his latest promotional video while a facebook app lets people like him on facebook while simultaneously showing his current fanbase there. Rounding the homepage out is a news feed that shows his latest updates.
Showcasing The Music
All The Albums
Since the thing people were here for was the music, we wanted to make sure the Albums got great billing. I pulled information and graphics from Jared’s bandcamp site and reqorked it to fit well into the site in multiple places. Albums display at the bottom of every page in a carousel as well as being available to listen to within the music player.
A separate albums page showcases every album Jared has. Each album’s entry has the information from his bandcamp as well as linked music files that can be played from that page. That makes his site do some heavy lifting in fan generation. His music can be sampled so long as they stay on his page, even if it is in the background. It makes his site a gathering place for the community he is building.
The Calendar Features
The calendar of shows was another feature I felt it wise to include. The calendar feature is done through a custom post type within WordPress that allows Jared to add a new entry from the dashboard. Navigate to calendar, type in the information, and it adds it into every location the calendar is displayed. If Jared puts in an address, it will even allow for a google map to lead a fan to the right site. A reminder feature will also queue up an email and send it out when a show is getting close.
Using The Right Tools
The second step of this project was doing a large discovery phase to find a base theme to build off of. Much of the functionality (the player, calendar, albums) and styling were built into the theme I chose, but that was what the client needed. Reinventing the wheel is fine if you have the time to do it better, but knowing when to use something off the shelf is sometimes the right decision. I did a lot of research into musician websites and found things that worked. Then I found themes aimed at musicians with a lot of the necessary functionality built in. It enabled me to focus on the work of migrating and showcasing Jared’s content and personality without spending all of my budgeted hours in creating the tools from scratch.