In my previous article, Optimize Your Country Music Website: Part 2 – What to Include, I pointed out that a country music artist’s website is their online calling card. I listed the minimum information that should be on your country music website. In part three of this series, I want to discuss things that should be avoided when you create your site. Things to avoid include:
- A splash page – Unless there is a REALLY good reason for it, avoid using a splash page. They usually serve no useful purpose and only make your visitor have to click another time to get into your site (people on the Net don’t like to click more than they have to to get the information they want). If you’ve just released a new CD, you could possibly use that as a splash page, but it would be better to place it prominently on your home page.
- Slow loading animations – Any controls or animations that take a long time to load should be avoided. There are still a lot of people on dial up connections and if a page takes too long to load, they’ll go elsewhere. Even with a cable modem I’ve been on a few sites that have driven me nuts with how long it took to load a page.
- Unintelligible navigation – Make your navigation easy to use and understand. First off, I need to know it’s navigation. Cute animations that only reveal that they’re navigation when a mouse pointer passes over them may look clever, but it can really cause confusion. Also make sure you have the same navigation options (in the same order and in the same place) on all of your pages.
- Don’t trap me in your site – I use my Back button on my browser a lot. Sometimes I get trapped in a site because there is an instant redirect from the landing page to the actual home page. When this happens, I have to click the Back button two times quickly to get out. People who don’t know about this just get stuck in your site and I can promise you, it just ticks them off!
- Make sure it works on all the major browsers – ou need to test your site on Internet Explorer, FireFox, and Opera at the least. More and more people are using FireFox and Opera, as well as other browsers, so you may be alienating visitors by having features that don’t work in all browsers. Again, it’s happened to me more than once.
- Have a way to turn off the music on your site – Because you’re a musician, you want people to hear your music. However, if you have a player that starts as soon as someone lands on your page, make sure they can turn it off – you don’t know where they are and having music blaring from their computer may not be a good thing!
If visitors to your site find useful information and are not turned off by your site, they’ll be more likely to revisit your site in the future. Avoid the items listed above, and incorporate the ideas in parts one and two of this series, and you’ll be well on your way to a really great website and people will want to visit your site over and over again.