Bards for Protection
These tips focus on how you can use your friends to protect you and make them beefier.
Bards lead from the rear, but lead nonetheless. Not a tank, like your fighter or Paladin, maybe, but the bard can certainly boost the group HP and help keep the whole party alive and fighting longer. Take the Inspiring Leader feat (given you’ve met the Charisma prerequisite) and buff the whole party’s hit points, including your own. Headed into that ominous room that you’re sure is a boss fight, or perhaps a particularly difficult horde of undead?
Take 10 minutes to offer encouragement (and HP) to the whole group before bashing baddies. Hold Person or Hold Monster work great to incapacitate a foe to keep them out of the fight a while. Help keep the party in control of the fight, and keep your enemies at bay by removing one from combat completely. If an enemy would otherwise approach and decimate one of your teammates, a well-timed hold could completely change the course of the battle.