Bandzoogle is the all-in-one website builder platform dedicated to musicians and bands. Since 2003 they’ve been helping music artists to build an online presence with music websites that give artists the ability to showcase their music, build a community of fans and generate income through direct to fan sales.
In this review I will be taking a good hard look at the tools Bandzoogle offers to their client base and delving into the details to determine whether Bandzoogle is a hit or a miss in the world of music artist websites.
I’ve split this review into sections so that it is easier to navigate, below you can see the topics on which I’ve rated the Bandzoogle platform. Please note, this is a real review! Yes I know, amazing isn't it? But this review is an honest review based on my 10years plus of experience building websites for music artists and music industry professionals. This is not a review written purely to generate affiliate link clicks, I am not a Bandzoogle affiliate.
It’s quick and easy to sign up for a free trial with Bandzoogle, after which you’re directed to the Template selection page. One gripe I had with the template selection page is that there is no option to actually view the template fullsize as a live website. You’re only able to see the website as a preview inside a box with a scrolling interaction that is not very intuitive at all to use, the mobile preview didn’t scroll at all for me either. These previews are just screenshots of the template so you’re not able to test any of the interactive elements of the template whilst choosing... So far not so good!
After you’ve selected your template your next job is to add your content to your website and make any design changes that you desire via the Bandzoogle WYSIWYG editor. The editor is very easy to use and I can imagine most target users having no problems with it, but the customization options are pretty limited. Whilst there is the option to add custom HTML and CSS, that feature is only really relevant for users with web design experience and I imagine the vast majority of music artist users do not have that experience ( if they did you’d have to assume they wouldn’t have any need for a tool like Bandzoogle ).
For example, the padding settings on Sections only allow you to choose between Small, Medium, Large and Extra Large, which is the same story for much of the experience on Bandzoogle’s platform, the features and controls are very rudimentary at best and really do not give you the flexibility or control needed to create a truly unique website.
For a music artist specific website builder platform, Bandzoogle pulls its weight in the features department for sure, they have a lot of features. For example, your website can feature a built in events calendar, fan mailing lists, a commission free ecommerce store and they even have a new subscriptions feature in Beta which allows you to charge fans a monthly membership fee to get access to perks and benefits that you assign.
All of these features are great for musicians and certainly valuable, however once again I cannot help but feel that the execution and attention to detail on all of these features is really lacking. It really does seem that they roll out as many features as possible simply to bulk out their product offering, without really developing those features in the depth that they could be.
For example, the fan mailing list tools sounds awesome when you read about it on their homepage, but in reality it really is nothing more than a basic text editor that feels like a mailing list tool from 1993. Considering that Bandzoogle have been around since 2003, you’d really expect a lot more from a mailing list tool in 2020, even the free tier on Mailchimp is lightyears ahead of what Bandzoogle offer.
In terms of the other features such as the press kit, the events calendar, the ecommerce store etc, you can expect a similar story. The features are there but they really do lack any detail or depth, they only offer a very rudimentary and surface level features and lack the power, control and flexibility of even the free third-party equivalents on the market today.
Features aside, let’s talk about design. As a music artist the aesthetics of your website are extremely important if you want to stand out and represent your brand in a unique way. Whilst Bandzoogle does have a decent selection of templates, the designs of the templates on offer are not terribly impressive. There are a few nicely designed ones but many of them seem very similar to each other, as if they’ve recycled many of the templates with small tweaks to bulk out their selection, and some of them are downright outdated and ugly.
You can customize the template of your choice, but the customization settings only allow very simple changes to your template unless you want to start writing custom HTML and CSS. Overall, whilst the designs are not bad and they certainly are responsive, there is a great deal of room for improvement in the design department on Bandzoogle and this may be a real sticking point for image conscious music artists and bands.
Bandzoogle comes with all of the integrations that you’d expect out of the box, social media networks such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and music services such as Bandcamp, Bandsintown and Soundcloud. However it is surprising that there is no native integration with Spotify, nor do they have a way to add a TikTok icon link in your navbar, which is extremely behind the times considering that TikTok is arguably the biggest social network for musicians right now.
For the price tag, you really can’t argue that Bandzoogle is not value for money, it is extremely affordable and for many up and coming musicians this is no doubt a huge selling point. However, the old adage that you get what you pay for is as true here as anywhere. Whilst there is a relatively low fee of just $19.95 a month for the Pro plan, that does add up to almost $240 a year for a website that has a lot of very rudimentary features and pretty basic design capabilities.
Let’s get this straight, there is absolutely no point in paying any money for a music artist website if it’s going to be slow and perform badly. With that in mind, here are the results of a performance audit I created on my Bandzoogle test site using Google Lighthouse performance auditing tool.
As you can see, the on page SEO is pretty good and they are implementing best practices but the loading time of the website is very poor with a First Contentful Paint of over 5 seconds, this is a big factor to consider for music artists because research shows that over 50% of website visitors bounce if a page takes more than 2 seconds to load!
Overall Bandzoogle is very good valuable for money for the extremely low price tag. It is packed full of features and it being specifically geared towards musicians and bands means that the features on offer are of real value to most music artists looking to use a website to build their brand online. However, despite their wide feature offering, pretty much all of them come up short in quality and detail. Bandzoogle is a great tool for artists that are just starting out and don't have a lot of cash to throw down on a decent website, but if you're a more professional outfit looking for a better design and more powerful features then you'd definitely be best served looking elsewhere.