What is the best advice for an Artist who needs to create a solid online presence?
Your online strategy should be a “hub and spokes” structure.
Your website is your hub. You do need to be active and engage with your fans on Social Networks - Facebook, Twitter, YouTube etc. (the spokes)
But you should, use those “spokes” to direct traffic back to your own website, where you control the fan's experience & your content; build up your fan base (names, email addresses, etc.) so you can create mailing lists for Mail Shots (new releases) & Newsletters (news, gigs) and you can sell your music and merchandise directly from your web site ( where you get the best deal - 100% of the price you set for your products).
Plus, many bookers, promoters, journalists and bloggers won’t take you seriously if your main web address or first search result is an undecipherable Tumblr or a Facebook fan page.
Blogs v Websites
Blogs and websites are different. Your website should have a blog, but your website should NOT be a blog (i.e. one page that scrolls down for miles)
You can build a full band website with WordPress, but it is not easy, and is beyond at least 80% of musicians. It requires adding 3rd party plug-ins and widgets to get the features you need. In addition, the cost of web hosting, media hosting, domain name registration and adding eCommerce (store) is much higher than an Arkade site.
To calculate the total cost of creating an Artist website
1. How much of your time do you need to spend, researching, learning, building, etc. (and what is the opportunity cost vs. rehearsing, writing, etc.).
2. What is the cost to hire a designer, or developer ?
3. What is the cost to buy a theme ?
4. What is the cost to buy a domain ?
5. What is the cost to pay for hosting ?
6. What is the cost to host your media (music, videos)?
7. What is the cost of embeddable players ?
8. What is the cost for a mailing list service ?
9. What is the cost to sell downloads & stream from your website ?
10. What is the cost in time and effort dealing with support from all those different services?
11. Can you operate your website yourself, at no expense ?
You can build a decent Artist website using mostly free tools, but you need to look at the Total Cost and you will spend more time and money than you'd imagine.