This website has been through several phases during my career. The beginning was one my producer paid a coder from Fiverr to do (it was terrible). Then I took things into my own hands and build a Wix site. I liked how easy it was, but it lacked several key personalization features I needed. Then I moved to a wordpress.com site, but that was also limited in what I could do. I also went through several hosting sites (GoDaddy was by far the worst). Finally, I made the switch to my current website and I’m very happy with it. It’s a one-stop-shop for clients, fans, and people who just want to read about the music industry.
If you’re a musician, it’s so important to have your own website. Social media is very important, but without a place to tie it all in, your fans won’t have a central location to find you. Even if you hate blogging, you should still have a basic website that includes your music and upcoming events.
One bonus feature I have on my site is a VIP access area. I had to go through a lot of different changes on this also, and I finally have a simple solution that I love. I decided to show you mine today in case you want to make your own!
How to Make a Secret Page for Fans
So before we get started, let me just say that if you use the link I provide, I’ll get a small percentage of the sale. It doesn’t cost you extra, it’s just because you bought it through here. However, I totally believe in this plugin and I put in many hours to show you how it works, so throw me a few cents and I’ll send you a photo of the McDonald’s iced tea I bought with it!
Why Would a Musician Want a Secret Page?
There are two types of fans: The kind that casually like you and want to check back in every once in a while, and the kind that are overjoyed when you release new content. Obviously, you want as many of the latter as possible and you want to convert as many of the former into the latter as you can. A secret page is something you allow only your most dedicated fans to see. This way, it shows them you appreciate their support and may also entice casual fans to become bigger fans. If they want to remain a casual fan, that’s totally fine, they don’t have to see the page because it’s secret!
How Do You Make a Secret Page?
So, this is for wordpress.org users only. If you’re on something else, I’m sorry. You’ll want to look into your site builder and see if they have something for you. If you don’t have a site yet, I highly recommend wordpress.org because it allows you to fully customize everything and has almost unlimited building potential. Yes, it has its downsides, but so does every other platform.
To make a secret page, you’ll simply go into your dashboard and go to Pages > Add New. On the right of the screen, you’ll see an area that says “Publish.” There you’ll see Status, Visibility, Revisions, etc. Click “Edit” next to Visibility and go to “Password Protected”. Enter a password that you’ll want fans to have (NOT, I repeat, NOT a password you use for any of your own social media or private accounts!) then click Ok. You’ll want to save your password in case your fans lose it, but you can always access it through that page yourself.
What Do You Put on a Secret Page?
This is where my plugin comes in. The Grid is what I used to turn my VIP access area into a library of cool stuff. Here’s a screenshot of my Grid:
You’ll see I have exclusive song downloads, worksheets, private articles and other things I don’t post on my public page. The Grid allows me to do all of this easily and looks super professional.
How Do You Use The Grid?
First, you’ll want to download it here. It isn’t free, but $26 is not bad. I bought a different, more expensive grid design before this and returned it because it was clunky and difficult to use. I’ve also tried free ones but this one I truly believe is the best and a definite time saver. Well worth the money in my opinion! It’s also a tax write-off if you’re a freelance musician.
So, here’s my step-by-step method to set up your Grid:
- Install the Plugin and Activate it
- Go to your sidebar and scroll to The Grid > The Grid
- Click “Create a New Grid”
- Name Your Grid (I chose “VIP access” but make it something that sounds cool to you. Maybe “Backstage” or something?) I don’t mess with anything else on the first tab
- Next to the “General” tab, you will find the “Source” tab. Click it.
- You will see all of the different places your Grid can pull from, including Instagram, YouTube, Twitter and more. I chose “Post Type” because that’s how you provide exclusive content that is unavailable elsewhere.
- Under “Item Number”, choose how many items you want to load automatically before it says “load more.” I chose 6 because I don’t want to overwhelm people with content.
- Under “Post Types,” you can select what you’d like but I chose “Media Library” because all of my items will come from there (the Media Library in question is the one on your website where you upload photos, etc). This is where you will click “Add images” and choose from your Media Library, so make sure you upload them there first! I’ll show you how to connect them to download material later.
- Under “Post Status,” you can choose what types you’d like to post. You can choose things like “Private” or even “Trash,” but I have mine on “Publish.” I ignore everything else on the Source tab.
- Click the “Grid” tab to select things like your Type, Item Ratio (mine is at 3:5 to look like tall rectangles) and Responsive Setting to differentiate the grid layout by device (the Grid will appear larger on larger screens, etc).
- The “Skins” and “Animations” tabs will allow you to further customize your grid and make it unique to you!
Alright, so now you’ve got your Grid set up. The next step is to add photos and link those photos to your exclusive content!
Linking Photos to Downloads
You might be thinking, “why do I need a photo at all if I just want to provide an exclusive song?” The Grid is visual, so you’ll need something to put up to show people to click on it. Imagine it as your own personal Pinterest. Yes, you have great content, but you’ll need an eye-catching image to tell people it’s there!
Before moving on to the next step, you’ll want to upload any private songs, videos, or whatever else to your Media Library. You’ll need the links for the next steps.
After you’ve completed the above steps and you’ve got your images chosen and uploaded, here’s where you do:
- At the top right of your Grid page, click “Preview”
- This is a good opportunity to review how your Grid looks, but the final view will be different. I’ll cover that later. If you don’t like your skin, your animation or the spacing between the photos, you can go back to the previous steps and adjust them!
- Choose the photo you want to link to the download and click the green wheel at the top.
- Under “Custom Link,” you’ll want to paste the link from the media in your library. For example, if you uploaded a song, you’ll copy the link from the upload and paste it there.
- Choose “Blank” or “Self” – For my downloads, I have “Self” selected, but for my private YouTube videos, I have “Blank” in order to send them to a new page.
- You can select a different skin if you want it to differ from the others, and you can select a ratio (keeping it at 1:1 will default to the ratio you currently have).
- You can also choose colors, but I leave all of this blank. I have Dark as the color scheme and Light as an overlay, in case you’re curious.
- Click “Save Changes.”
Posting a private YouTube link is slightly different. I’ve made a video to walk you through it. It will show you some of the previous steps as well:
You’re at the home stretch! Remember when you made the password protected page? We now need to put your Grid on it. To do that, you’ll go back to your Grid homepage. Under the “General” tab, you’ll copy the shortcode.
Go to Pages > All Pages and find your password-protected page. Paste the shortcode there and you’re all set! You can view the page and enter the password to see how it all looks. If you need to make any tweaks to the layout, you can go back to our first steps and play around with ratios, skins or whatever you want.
And there you go! You now have a top-secret library for fans to check out exclusive content.
I know this is a lot of information to take in, so please let me know if you have any questions along the way! Since this is a private page, you have time to work on it at your leisure.
So again, here is my totally-sponsored-and-unashamed link to download The Grid.
Here is my VIP section if you want to join and poke around for ideas!
Do you have a secret page for your fans? What do you keep in it?