This is the second in a short series of articles looking at some of the most common mistakes that I’ve seen bands and musicians make with their websites. Last time we dealt with the “Ghost Town website” where nothing ever happened. This time we’re looking at the polar opposite of that, the “Las Vegas Casino” website.
If your site is all bells, whistles, flashing lights and revolving animations you have a problem. You spend all this time and effort getting a website up only to make your poor readers wait 10 minutes while an auto-loading video animation of your latest song loads up! Did you know you could be losing up to half your visitors right there? Most people simply won’t wait. They use the internet because they want information NOW, not in ten minutes when the video finishes loading. Even if your visitor DOES like your animation, they’ll grow bored and frustrated with it after the 3rd or 4th visit. You need to do everything you can to make it easy for your visitors and that means… don’t make them wait!
Sites that are heavily tied to graphic elements can also be very hard to update. Most times musicians and bands with one of these sites, especially one made with Flash, are at the mercy of their designer to update their sites which means it doesn’t get done very often. That’s not good enough any more. Your visitors want to be kept up to date if you want them coming back.
Last but possibly most important of all, search engines have a great deal of trouble understanding what a website is about if there is no text to read. Your “pretty” site could be costing you big time in poor search engine results. The trouble is that too many people go to a Designer or Graphic Artist first when they want a site built. This is a bit like going to a spray painter when you want a car built. Pretty silly. Once your site is functional, then worry about the paint job.
What do you need
- You need to have an easy to use, text heavy, fast loading site. A quality site that search engines will find and instantly know what it’s about.
- It needs to be on a rock solid, fast hosting platform. Site loading speed is a huge factor for search engine optimisation these days.
- It needs to be functional and stylish enough to impress your visitors.
Do’s and don’ts
- Don’t auto-load large files like video & audio. Put them on a page of their own & let the user decide if they want to wait for them to load up & play.
- Don’t use huge images. There many tools to optimise your image size & compression. Check here for a nice list of some free ones. https://enviragallery.com/9-best-free-image-optimization-tools-for-image-compression/
- Keep your fonts down to two or three only. Any more than that and it can affect page load speed and to be honest, it will probably look ugly too.
- Keep all of your text as text & don’t embed it in images.
- Stick to a colour palette & don’t just use random colours. There are some great tools like http://paletton.com/ and https://coolors.co/ for colour palettes as well as tools that will extract colours from images like http://palettegenerator.com/
Once you’ve gone over your site and simplified it, optimised your images and added lot’s of text, there are a couple of final tests you can give it to really make sure everything is fine. Head over to https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/ & https://tools.pingdom.com/ and test your site. Both these tools do a similar job with slightly different methods. They will show you exactly where your site is slow and will need to be improved.
If you’ve got any tips of your own on efficient styling or page loading, I’d love to hear them in the comments below.