This short series of articles will look at some of the most common mistakes musicians make with their websites. I will start with probably the worst offender, what I like to call the “ghost town” website.
Have you ever seen those sites that haven’t been updated in about four years? Full of last years gig listings, outdated pictures, maybe even a copyright date that says “2010”? Nothing will drive people away faster than a site that looks like a ghost town.
When you first build yourself a website you are all keen and think to yourself that you’ll update it regularly but then life kicks in and the updates go out the window. Also, a lot of musicians are what you might call “non-technical” and may have a fear of making changes to a website.
How to fix it.
- You need to be adding fresh content to your site regularly. It doesn’t have to be every day, sometimes monthly updates will do. As long as your readers have something fresh and valuable to consume each time they come back, they will keep coming back. If it’s newsworthy, post it to your site.
- Use what is known as a “content management system” which is a fancy term for some software that makes updating your site really easy. When something is easy to do, you tend to do it more regularly. If you’re using static HTML files or one of those new “build your website in an afternoon” tools, you are making life hard for yourself.
- Automate whatever you can. On sites that we build we use lot’s of automation to make the site update itself. When you add a gig to your gig list, the software will figure out by its date whether it should be on your front page. Once the gig date has passed it will automatically move it from upcoming gigs to past gigs. This way you never have stale info on your site. We even automate the copyright notice show it always shows the current year!
What to do next.
Do an honest audit of your website and make a list of all the out of date elements. Next up, set yourself a target schedule of how often you’d like to update it and add it to your calendar. Even better than that, move your site into a content management system like WordPress, which is what our platform uses. This will make it far simpler to add new content and automate your updates.
Remember, your visitors don’t know you and don’t trust you and they are looking for any validation of that mistrust that they can find. Having an old, outdated site is just enough of a reason to send people running away.
If you’re not sure on exactly how to fix your site then just leave a comment below and I’ll make some specific suggestions for you. Same if you’ve found a way to beat this problem that I haven’t listed. Leave a comment below and let us know what you’ve done.
Stay tuned for the next article in this series.