How to Create a Killer Website For Your Studio (And Land New Clients)
Making a living as a freelance audio engineer can be tough. One of the hardest parts is creating a consistent stream of work. We recently published a piece on how to find more clients by focusing on a specific niche. But in order for those clients to actually find you, you’re going to need a website.
In part two of our three-part series on how to make money as a freelance audio engineer, we’re breaking down everything you need to know about how to create a killer website that can help you land new clients.
Does my studio need a website?
Yes, your studio needs a website. They’re one of the best resources for capturing leads, or potential customers. Social media is a great tool for advertising, but a website opens up a whole new world of possibilities. Your website lets you track visitors, collect email addresses, and even sell your products or services.
Content Management Systems (CMS) like Wix, Squarespace, and WordPress make it easy to quickly put together a professional-looking website. Most CMS’s offer monthly hosting plans, which provide you with a limited about of bandwidth and storage. Think of it as renting a storefront on the internet.
Some CMS plans include a .com domain name and professional email address, like Name@YourBusiness.com. If your plan doesn’t include these features, you can purchase a domain name at domain.com for $9.99/year. You can purchase a professional email account with Google G Suite for as low as $5/month. And you can create a business phone number for free using Google Voice.
Once you’ve selected a CMS plan and procured a domain name, an email address and a phone number, you’re ready to start building your website. Start by selecting a pre-made template and filling in the missing information. Remember, the two most important elements that every website should have are a strong portfolio that demonstrates your best work, and a contact page so clients can ask questions, request a quote, and book your services.
How to get your website on Google
After your website is published, your next goal is getting your website to show up in Google search results. Thankfully, listing your site on Google is free and easy. Google uses robots to “crawl” the internet and discover new sites. Those sites are then “indexed” and made available as search results.
But waiting for Google to crawl and index your website organically could take ages. In order to expedite the process, you can create a Google Search Console account and verify ownership of your website.
Once your site is indexed, it will start showing up in Google search results. Unfortunately, most searchers don’t make it past the first few results. Which means its incredibly important that you get your site to show up on the first page when people search for your niche (genre/service/location). Ideally, you want to become the number one search result for as many relevant search queries as possible to maximize the chance of potential customers discovering your website.
How to improve your Google ranking with SEO
Search Engine Optimizers dedicate their entire careers to improving the Google rankings of websites. The top slots of the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) are extremely valuable and highly competitive. However, there are a few simple techniques you can use to help your studio’s website land on the front page of Google.
The more efficiently Google answers search queries, the more money they make through advertising. So, Google rewards websites that effectively answer search queries by moving them farther up the SERPs. Which means your number-one priority should be providing high-quality content that answers the search queries of your potential customers.
Think about what your potential customers might Google when looking to hire an audio engineer. Like “hip hop recording studio Chicago”. Or “best punk rock mixing engineer”. Or “analog studio Nashville”. Create a short description about your studio that features that phrase, and place it prominently on your homepage. Just remember—Google doesn’t recognize graphics, so make sure you actually have the words written out, instead of displayed as an image.
Next, create short descriptions of your services that detail how your potential customers will benefit from hiring you. If you offer recording services, write a little blurb about what makes your studio different than any other studio in town. If you’re a producer, write about what makes your beats so unique. If you offer editing services, write about your error-free two-day turn around guarantee with options for same-day delivery.
You may be tempted to fill your page with keywords to try to trick Google into thinking your website is more valuable than it really is. Don’t do that. Google has already thought of that. It doesn’t work, and your website will actually get flagged as spam.
How to improve your Google ranking with links
There are roughly 654 million websites on the internet, so Google tends to rely on other well-known websites to vouch for new-comers.
When a trusted website links to your page, Google sees that as an endorsement, which can help improve your Google ranking. The more popular or important a website is, the more valuable the “backlink” to your site becomes.
Again, you may be tempted to try to cheat the system by buying links from link building services, but Google’s algorithms can distinguish natural links from unnatural links. Natural links to your site develop organically when other sites find your content valuable and think it would be helpful for their visitors. Unnatural links to your site are placed there specifically to make your site look more popular to search engines. Google only considers natural links when ranking a website.
Another way to improve your Google ranking with links is to build your site with a logical link structure. Every page should be reachable from at least one static text link—typically your home page. This ensures that each page is easily accessible and improves the user experience.
Other ways to improve your Google ranking
It’s going to take time to climb your way to the top of the SERPs. Some websites don’t even show up on the first page when you Google the studio’s name at first. One way to prevent this problem is to register with Google My Business.
Google My Business is a free and easy-to-use tool that helps you manage how your business information appears across Google, including Search and Maps. When you Google a business that’s registered with Google My Business, you’ll see a small window on the right side that displays photos, contact info, reviews and more. This can be an excellent way to drive traffic to your website and provide value to potential customers while waiting for your SEO tactics to kick in.
Finally, one of the most important elements of your website is how it looks on mobile. Most websites are visited on mobile devices these days. While your site might look great on a desktop, it may not translate well to mobile. Most sites feature a mobile optimization feature. Make sure your content is optimized and loads quickly on all devices.
These are just a few of the ways you can improve your Google ranking to attract new clients. Stay tuned for part three of our series on how to make money as a freelance audio engineer to learn how to use your new website to find more paying clients and increase your revenue.
Brad Pack is an award-winning audio engineer and writer based in Chicago, IL. He currently owns and operates Punchy Kick, a professional mixing and mastering studio that specializes in pop-punk, emo, punk, grunge, and alternative music.
He has been helping artists connect with fans through emotionally resonant mixes, cohesive masters, and insightful guidance for over ten years. Check out his website PunchyKick.com or say hi on Instagram @PunchyKick