Archive | October, 2012

Selling and Promoting Your Music with WordPress

If you are a musician in the new millennium the ways in which you market and sell your music is much different than it was in the 80’s and 90’s. Of course you can thank the internet for this. Napster seemed to pioneer and pave the way for music downloads.  Then  MySpace.com  cornered the market and paved the way for social media giving unsigned musicians and their fans an easy way to connect.

There are now many ways in which musicians can connect and communicate with their fans and find new fans.  Social Media has made viral marketing virtually free online and it is possible to reach a whole lot of people at once. However, unsigned artists are still having trouble competing with the big names on i-Tunes, Amazon, Rhapsody, and other sources that allow single downloads.

Here are a few factors to look at:

1)    Branding- a bio on Reverb Nation  is not enough anymore. Having a website with your logo, bio, songs, photos, and press will help you get worldwide recognition. This in addition to connecting through all of the social media sites will definitely help you reach a much larger audience.

2)    Price- most pay sources charge 20-30% or more for their cut of your profit. What if you could pay just 2 to 3%? You could market and sell all of your songs, chat with fans, and more all in one place!

Technology has made this possible and Andrew Behla of Behla Design has taken it one step further.

Read the interview with Andrew :

Q) Why should musicians have a wordpress site and how will they benefit from it?

A) Musicians need to have their presence in many media properties now. Facebook, Twitter, Bands in Town, Pinterest and their own site can all help drive traffic and interest for their music. At the center of all of these properties is the artists own site that can sell their music, give schedule updates and help promote their music, acting as a portal to their personalized pages on social media sites.

Q) What makes your product unique compared to others that are offering similar services?

A) I worked closely with a music manager who has over 20 years of experience in the music industry, managing bands, tours, promotions and music sales. We took a thorough inventory of the music industry to decide what is the best solution for his artist. We decided on a combination of using wordpress with the woo unsigned theme. This integrates with bandcamp as the music player to sell the music digitally and also Nimbit to fulfill the CD sales. You can see the site for Makana to see this integration using the Woo Unsigned theme.

Another method is to use Amazon for CD sales and to also be an affiliate for Amazon so that the musician can receive a percentage of any sales through their site.

I’ve developed and design several sites for professional musicians with unique solutions based on the project’s individual needs. Andy Summers is the guitarist for The Police, and many other projects including solo work. Behla Design was responsible for a complete redesign and development for his site. I have integrated custom post types for his album geared towards Amazon affiliate sales, as well as a custom video player.

Makana is an internationally touring Hawaiian slack key guitarist. I worked closely with his manager to develop a strategy for online music sales and designed and developed his site. I’ve integrated Bandcamp, Nimbit and the Unsigned Woo theme for direct to fan music sales. The goal is to sell direct to the fans, letting the artist keep more of the profit. With this solution the artist can keep 85% of the sale, vs. 60% from iTunes or Amazon. http://www.makanamusic.com/

For the EDM artist, Downlink, I’ve integrated Soundcloud, Bands in Town and social media in a PSD (Photoshop) to child theme conversion using Woo Canvas. This site is in development, but should be live soon. You can preview the site here.

All of the above sites are html5 compliant and responsive and I want to discuss the importance of that as well.

Q)  How is it possible to sell songs without going through paypal, etc. and for a lesser fee?

A) There are many solutions for online music sales. Bandcamp, Topspin, Nimbit and ReverbNation are all sites geared towards selling music directly to fans. The benefits of these sites is that they take a lower percentage of the sale and allow the artist to keep more of the profit when compared to the more traditional distribution methods such as iTunes or Amazon. I think there is a trend more and more to support an artist directly and to buy music from that artist. The other benefit is that an artist can quickly and easily offer premium or exclusive content from their site. This could be in the form of outtakes, video, or previously unreleased content.

Q) Will your services also help promote the songs?

A) We don’t help promote the songs, but can help in creating the site and solution using wordpress. We can also setup all of the accounts that are needed for an effective strategy to sell music online, as well as promote upcoming concerts, social media, fan interaction and news updates.

Q) Do you believe this technology is changing or will change the way artists do business online?

A) I do think that it’s getting easier and easier for a musician to take a DIY to music and host their own content. With the introduction of the Woo Unsigned theme, there are even themes that are using custom post types in side of WordPress to help publish and manage their content. This means that the content can be more easily organized based on type of content it is. For example, there are post types for albums, videos, band members, and upcoming shows.

Q) Are you a musician? Can you give us a little taste of your music?

A) My first passion in life is music. I play the trumpet, guitar, drums and percussion. I am a singer/songwriter as well as a sound engineer and producer. I have produced 3 albums for artists, have managed a recording studio and currently have my own studio. I’m more excited than ever to share the solutions that I’ve developed for my clients with the wordpress community.

The team at Behla Design, Graphic Design & Web Development, is dedicated to creating visual experiences that effectively tell our clients’ stories while engaging, exciting, and enticing their customers. Our firm consists of top web design, web development, WordPress, search engine optimization (SEO), and copywriting professionals and our founder, Andrew Behla, who has worked in the graphic, print and web design industry for over twenty years. Contact us today to find out how we can help your next project.

 

business solutions, ecommerce

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Online Chat Solutions for WordPress

With so many people using the internet for entertainment, research, and communication it is not a surprise that chat has become a popular method of keeping in touch with current and prospective fans as well as friends, co-workers, employees, and so on. Online chat is a convenient communication tool and there are many companies on the market now offering apps and plugins. Which one is right for you? That depends on your needs.  At Behla Design we took the time to research and compare a few different platforms that we believe will satisfy your needs whether you are an individual, a startup company, or a large corporation.

1)    Zopim has a lot of options and packages range from free to $99 a month. The free package is for one user and 2 chats at a time. Zopim is ideal for small businesses or for anyone on a budget that has a need for chat. Setup is easy for just about anyone and for WordPress developers Zopin has a WP plugin. The packages come with a chat bar, IM integration, and an intuitive dashboard. Low cost, high quality.

2)    Olark offers a 14 day free trial on all packages. Prices start at $15.00 a month. This one is actually used by zippykid, a WordPress hosting site. The premium feature provides the ability to chat via a smartphone.  Other features are chat statistics and visitor details.

3)     Snapengage lets industrial level companies integrate chat into their CRM and help desk and is used by many support companies. Snapengage also offers ‘proactive invitations’. This is ideal for after business hours or when support staff cannot be available for chat when a visitor arrives. This chat system is automated and will interact with visitors in place of staff. Snapengage is used by wpengine, another popular and reputable Wordpess hosting site.

4)    Meebo provides a chat bar to share check-in and other web content on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. There is a bookmarklet that can easily be installed to get started. This is not the same as the others. The Meebo application is super efficient for multi-protocol IM and it is compatible with the iphone, ipad, and ipod touch. Recently, Google acquired Meebo, so we’re not sure what will be the future of this handy solution.

The above are just a few of the many applications Behla Design found available for online chat. When comparing we looked at price, efficiency, and simplicity. We wanted to give you a comparison so that you can see that there are different types of applications and platforms for different needs. We lean towards Zopim because it has an easy-to-install WordPress plugin and the premium packages are affordable. We highly recommend that you visit each of these websites then let us know if you have any questions or if you would like Behla Design to help you choose and install online chat that is suitable for your needs.

The team at Behla Design, Graphic Design & Web Development, is dedicated to creating visual experiences that effectively tell our clients’ stories while engaging, exciting, and enticing their customers. Our firm consists of top web design, web development, WordPress, search engine optimization (SEO), and copywriting professionals and our founder, Andrew Behla, who has worked in the graphic, print and web design industry for over twenty years. Contact us today to find out how we can help your next project.

business solutions, how to

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WordPress eCommerce Solutions

wordpress ecommerce solutions

WordPress has become a very popular platform for building blogs and custom websites even  e-commerce and there are a lot of e-commerce plugins to choose from.  Mashable came up with a top 10 list. Some will agree and some will disagree, but we will all probably agree that there are many to choose from and they all serve a specific purpose depending on the needs of the business.

Of course one of the most popular if not the most popular is free WP e-Commerce. This plugin offers a lot of choices as far as themes and features goes. It was designed to support the most widely used payment sources, paypal and Google Checkout. One of the really cool features is product sharing through social media. This plugin is ‘THE’ wordpress plugin. We’ve found that this plugin can be fraught with bugginess and bad coding practices. Above all a site any plugin should function consistently and be easy to use.

Shopp plugin is a power and highly customizable ecommerce solution that has a more consistent and stable code base over all. It is more development intensive which means it requires more effort and time to configure and style. It has a strong user base with a good selection of extensions and payment processing options. Shopp was used by Behla Design for the  Golden Earth site to create an experience that is clean and elegant.

Another one that the designers at Behla Design are currently enamored with but that is not featured in the top ten is WooCommerce. Not only does WooCommerce.com  offer compatible WordPress themes, but WooCommerce also provides an e-commerce plugin that supports the following and these are just a few:

PayPal Pro
Google Checkout
2Checkout.com
Inspire Commerce
Authorize.net
Stripe

With only a year under it’s belt Woo Commerce has exploded on the WordPress ecommerce scene. There are over 160 extensions that have been developed and many more in the works. When you combine this with  stylish and elegant themes that are ready to go, you can quickly see the potential that Woo Commerce has to make it a business grade solution. Woo Themes recently put their solution to the test by converting their entire site to run on the plugin with over 300,000 users and high volume traffic. No small feat!

Behla Design has also used the Unsigned Woo Theme for several music sites. The theme is very user friendly, has a lot of cool features. The home page is fully customizable, there is an events module for scheduling shows, and a discography module for featuring albums. Having a theme like this is great for selling songs, cds, etc. with the payment gateway. It is all compatible and makes for a flawless site and seamless transactions.

Behla Design can help you choose a theme and payment plugin for your wordpress site and provide a custom design that is just right for your business.

Andrew Behla founded Behla Design, Graphic Design & Web Development in 2000.

Andrew and his team go out of their way to provide continual support to clients during all phases of their projects.  The team at Behla Design consists of top Los Angeles web designweb development, search engine optimization (SEO), and copywriting professionals. Contact us for a consultation.

ecommerce

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