Today’s feature is a guest post by Clara Charron. Clara is a music industry writer from Ottawa, Canada. Her blog, Pop of Colour, focuses on discussing business and marketing with independent artists in colourful and relevant ways.
Pop of Colour was officially launched in December 2016, while Clara was studying Music Industry Arts at Algonquin College. Its growing reader base is extremely engaged in her work; as Clara started as a singer-songwriter herself, she understands how to connect ideas and teachings through creative storytelling.
Without further ado here’s 10 Mistakes musicians make when designing theirs.
You’ve taken the leap. It’s finally time to build an artist website. You’re ready to show industry pros, the media and fans that you’re serious about your music career. However, no matter which hosting platform you use or how tech-savvy you are, if you are going to design your own website, here are ten visual and functional mistakes artists such as yourself should avoid as best you can.
#1 The automatic music player
Big faux-pas. If someone is already listening to music or has a YouTube tab open, your songs should not automatically play as soon as the website loads. It’s distracting, annoying, and will make people click off faster than the BPM of your masterpiece.
#2 Eye-straining colour choices
If you take a look at the design of my blog, www.popofcolourmusic.com, you’ll notice that the background isn’t stark white, but rather a very pale grey, and the text is mostly dark grey, rather than black. I chose this because I didn’t want to hurt the eyes of my readers, especially since so much of my material is text based.
Even if you are only focusing on images and music, you want people to be enticed to stay on your website for as long as possible. That’s not going to happen if you have white text on a canary yellow background. Personally, I would go for a very light pastel, and highlight it with deeper accent shades. On that topic, try not to have too many colours going on in the background and the text – photos should be the ones to catch attention.
#3 Unreadable fonts
The latest stats are saying that 75% of the world wide web is consumed on a mobile device. This means that not only does your website need to be mobile-responsive, but the text needs to be legible from a small screen.
This means that that cute cursive font that even looks a little small on a desktop isn’t a good idea. Try grabbing your friends with different phone models and asking them to go to your website. What does it look like on their screens? Keep things as simple and clear as possible where you can. Oh, and repeat after me: I will not power my professional website with comic sans ms.
#4 Past gigs posted in chronological order
I have a musician friend who is brilliant on his instruments, but only recently started to learn about the online world. Anyways, he used to show his extremely impressive gig resumé on his artist website in chronological order. No! This means that the first thing people saw at the top of the page is his first gig ever, when he was like, 15 years old. Only when scrolling down to the bottom did you find listings for the current year. Having the first of the “past performances” be in a chronological list gives the impression that you haven’t played in a long time (or you’ve disappeared of the face of the Earth). Instead, artists should turn their content upside down to showcase the most recent impressive feats first, like a CV for any other “normal” job.
#5 Blurry photos
You need to have a page of professional photos. I you don’t set one up, whenever media wants to give you coverage, they’re going to search you up on Google Images instead. It makes the job of the press on a tight schedule easier when they don’t have to email you asking for photos and wait for a response when they’re going to publish/print the next day.
They can’t be just any pictures though. That cute Instagram selfie is a no-no. Why? Because it’s meant to be viewed as a small square on a smartphone app, not blown up to the proportions of a desktop. There’s nothing wrong with low-key photos of you, just make sure the ones on your website won’t be blurry.
#6 No social links
Your artist website is the official tree for your social media presence to branch out from. If fans want to find out more about you, make it easy for them by linking or embedding your Facebook page, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, etc… into the main site.
#7 Flashy gimmicks that hinder loading time
You probably already know that people have short attention spans, especially online. A study actually shows that if a webpage takes more than 7 seconds to load, the average internet user will give up and close the tab. For this reason, make sure your loading time is as fast as it can be, even if you have to do without fancy animations.
#8 Ornate names for pages
While there’s nothing wrong with showcasing your personality, try to avoid making navigation unclear on your website. Titling your pages “Discover” or “Be Inspired” doesn’t help industry people know where to read your bio or listen to your material. Keep it simple.
#9 Only song previews
Having the full song on your website won’t discourage freeloaders from buying it. Streaming did that. Instead, you get to control your music all from one place, and it lets industry people checking you out to listen to the intricacies of the bridge, or the plot twists in the final chorus’ lyrics, something you can’t do with one minute previews. They’ll love you even more for it.
#10 Nothing to sign up for or buy
It all depends on who you’re building your website for. If you’re also making it fan-friendly, you need to give them a purpose for being there. The main two things are a newsletter sign up, and an online store. Without them, your website only appeals to the curious and the industry folk. Pay back your web hosting fee; offer something.
All in all, you’re doing good by building your website yourself. Avoid these ten faux-pas, and you’ll be on the road to internet success!