7 Tips for Building a More User-Friendly Music Website

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Your website should be a place where visitors can easily listen to your music, buy your album, and check up on news and concert dates. Your site usability will influence whether a website visit ends in an album sale or the loss of a potential fan. Is your musician website user-friendly?

1. Put the Important Stuff on Your Homepage

Decide what you want your fans to do first. Should they sign up to your email list? Listen to your music? Read your blog? Buy your album? Make sure that your highest priority actions are represented on your homepage. Also, make sure that your homepage is not cluttered with too many options.

2. Make it Easy to Buy Your Music and Merch

Give your fans purchase options. Not everybody wants to use PayPal. Not everybody wants to use iTunes. Give your visitors 2 or 3 common purchase options so they can buy your music the way they are most comfortable doing.

3. Make it Easy to Read

No fancy fonts. No tiny text. No dark colored text on a dark background or light text on a light background.

Be mindful of grammar and spelling.

Try to avoid large blocks of text. Readers tend to skim website content. Short paragraphs separated by a space will be easier for most readers.

4. Use Simple Navigation

You’re a musician not a department store. You don’t need 100 links in your navigation bar. Keep things simple and focus on your goals. Use simple wording that people understand. Use “Store” not “Tunes Shop” and “Contact” rather than “”Hollar at Us.”

5. Keep it Updated

A website with out-of-date content can be confusing. If the last time you updated your concert calendar was 2003, some people will assume you are no longer playing music. If your last blog post was over 2 years ago, people will be hesitant to enter their credit card info on your site–because who knows if there’s anyone on the other end to ship out the CD.

6. No Auto-play

Let your fans hit the play button. Music that automatically plays can be startling and annoying. Often people are already listening to music on their computer (there’s almost nothing worse than two songs playing at once). Give auto-play a rest and let your website visitors control the remote.

7. No Flash Animation

Flash animations are not supported by all computers and mobile devices and they can function poorly on slow internet connections. Animations can take a while to load and many folks would rather point their browser elsewhere then wait 20 seconds for a band website to load. Don’t risk losing sales just because you have a programmer buddy that knows how to make your logo spin around and catch fire. Keep it simple.

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20 thoughts on “7 Tips for Building a More User-Friendly Music Website

  1. All good points. I couldn’t agree more with numbers six and seven. I really hate going to a web site and suddenly have music blasting in my headphones, killing the song to which I was already listening. I usually ‘X’ out of it right away as well as when it takes forever for all the flash stuff to load. Less is more and simple says it best.

  2. Good article. I am a musician, and actually a web designer. I focus on these principles you mentioned on my clients websites, but you know how it goes, my own band website needs a tune up. Your article is a great reminder to me to get moving on it! Oh, my bands website is: http://www.clayband.com.

  3. Great article.. I especially hate websites that have autoplay on and 9 times out of 10 i close them very quickly without even looking at the website just cuz i get so annoyed by it..

  4. I’m actually not a douche bag. I’m an English teacher and publisher who believes that if you are telling someone to be mindful of his/her grammar, then you should also be mindful, yourself. I care about what people write and say, and it pangs me to see so much incorrect grammar slathered all over the Internet. People write blog posts and newsletters at the drop of a hat, but very few people bother to reread them before posting.

      1. I used to get really bothered by the exact stuff that you’re complaining about… But lately, I switched teams. Now, I’m really f*****g sick of all the Grammar Nazis chiming in with the same old self-righteous rant every single time somebody makes a damn typo or forgets a freakin’ period! The internet has been here for quite a while now and we get it: PEOPLE ARE DUMB! And yes, thanks to forums, blogs and message boards, we have indeed discovered that a majority of the adult population have completely forgotten about the concept of the contraction “you’re”, and have no clue as to when the hell they’re supposed to use an apostrophe. But why must you belittle those who can’t spell? You’re an ENGLISH TEACHER! Spelling and grammar is what YOU do! Congrats! You think Ken Griffey Jr. ever shows up at the local softball diamond and openly criticizes the “7th Inning Keggel’s” lead off batter’s swing? I doubt it.

        Point is… You’re not going to change anything by complaining… you just look like a snob. Get over yourself. Grammar isn’t life to everybody.

        1. Perhaps grammar isn’t life to everybody, but if anybody wants me to spend more than 3 seconds on their website they surely better not sound like ignoramuses. Grammar and spelling are the first clue.

        2. I do not ever mention grammar errors at random. If someone is making the statement, “Be mindful of grammar and spelling,” then he must be mindful of his own, lest he become hypocritical. At this point, my reaction is no longer random.

          This is not a journalistic blog discussing how someone feels today; it is a post meant to instruct others. When instructing others to do something, the author has to be careful to follow the same instruction. People do not listen to hypocritical instructions (bearing in mind that what seems trivial to one person may be very important to another). It is true that many people don’t notice (or many may find this particular situation unimportant), but there are plenty of people out there who do notice. If I see that someone can’t tell a “then” from a “than,” then I can very easily brush off whatever that person is saying, even if the point is valid. Is it snobbery? Perhaps. Most of my anger stems from the knowledge that many authors probably do know the difference between “then” and “than,” but they don’t take the time to check over their work.

          The real point, however, is not whether it’s snobbery, but the fact that I am still a targeted person (among many of the same mindset) who is reading the blog or website. I am a musician. I am on Discmakers’ mailing list. I choose products and companies very carefully, and — snobby or not — I won’t use companies that don’t take the time to make sure their websites or blog posts contain proper grammar and spelling. This post is not from some teenager ranting about unrequited love; it is from a fairly-reputable company trying to sell me something. Some people might not like my stance, but the fact remains that there are lots of people out there who are exactly like I. I am still someone the marketer (in this case, the author) wants to reach out and grab, no matter how much he likes or dislikes me. He, therefore, can’t afford to follow his own instructions poorly.

  5. #3) “Be mindful of grammar and spelling.”

    Okay:

    #4: There should be a comma after “devices.” It is a compound sentence (“implied You”) with a conjunction.

    #6: There should be a comma after “Often,” and, since “people”/”their” is plural, so, too, should be “computers.” A comma is also needed after “rest.” It is a compound sentence (another “implied You”) with a conjunction.

    #7: A comma should be inserted after “devices.” Another comma is needed after “load.” Both are instances of compound sentences with conjunctions. As “folks”/”their” is plural, so, too, should be “browsers.” “Then” should be “than.” A “programmer buddy” is a person, therefore labeled as a “who,” not a “that.”

    Never hurts to practice what you preach.
    Other than that, this is a good list.

  6. “…would rather point their browser elsewhere >then< wait 20 seconds for a band website to load." the proper word is 'than,' not 'then.' this article writer even reminds us to use proper grammar and spelling. The writer should follow his or her own advice!

  7. very useful. I’m already a hostbaby client and will check my website against these points. thanks.

  8. Great advice. I wrote an article that was widely read back in the late 1990’s about this subject. You touched on all the important points. But one thing not mentioned, but covered, was the reason for all these steps. People spend very little time at a website. At best you may have a visitor wait 10 seconds, but most likely about 6 seconds. The basic rules used in print media advertising still hold true for the internet as far as the time spent.

    Keep up the great articles.

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