6 Essential Elements for Your Band’s Website Homepage

6 Essential Elements for Your Band’s Website Homepage

Your homepage is usually the first page visitors to your website will see, so it’s important to make sure that you have the right elements in place to grab their attention, make a strong first impression, and keep them on your site. A well-designed homepage can get you more sign-ups for your newsletter, more sales from your online store, and convert first-time visitors to becoming active and engaged fans. Here are 6 essential elements to have on your homepage that will help you do just that:

1. Great Header Image

Your header image is arguably the most important element of your homepage. It’s likely to be the first thing that people see on your website, so think about what image can best represent your music and who you are as an artist. Having a great photo of your band along with your band name is a classic example of an effective header image. Here’s a nice one from singer-songwriter Tyler Kealey:

From the picture and description, you know Tyler’s name, what he does, and you can probably already get a sense of his music just based on that image.

Your header image can also be artwork rather than a photo, but same rules apply: it should represent your music and who you are as an artist.

2. Short Bio

You should never take for granted that people visiting your site already know who you are or what you do. Yes, your current fans will be visiting your site, but so will lots of potential new fans, and journalists, bloggers, promoters, bookers, etc. Folks you want to impress. Having a short bio, or an “elevator pitch” right there on the homepage will let a potential new fan immediately know who you are and what your music is all about. Here’s a screenshot from the homepage of Ben Cooper:

For this bio, keep it short. A longer version can be saved for your “About Us” or “Bio” page. You can probably stick to the “Who You Are” elements of your bio, like:

  • What’s your band name?
  • Where are you from?
  • What do you sound like?
  • What are your influences?

Make it the blurb that you want bloggers and lazy writers to copy-paste in their articles about you. For more tips on creating your pitch, check out this blog post by Music PR superstar Ariel Hyatt: “Creating a Perfect Pitch - Laser Focus Your Message

3. Music / Video

First time visitors should be able to sample your music in one, easy, obvious click. So the next element you should have on your homepage is a song that people can listen to right away. This can also be an embedded video they can watch. Adding visuals to the experience means that you can grab their attention through both their ears and their eyes. Less chance that they’ll get distracted by their e-mails, Facebook or anything else, and you might get their full attention for the whole song. But for both audio and video, be sure that it is your best, freshest track, or a song that you think best represents your band.

In the bio example above, Ben Cooper had a live video showcasing his performance at a festival, but it could be having a site-wide music player available, or you can even call people’s attention to listen to your music, like Tyler Kealey did here:

4. Call-to-Action

Speaking of calling people’s attention to something, the next element to have on your homepage is a call-to-action. A call-to-action is designed to direct people’s attention to something specific that you want them to do while on your website. It could be to join your mailing list, buy your latest album, listen to your latest track, or donate to your fan-funding campaign.

But it’s best to limit yourself to one, maximum two calls-to-action. What your call-to-action is depends on what your goals are for your career, at this point in time. For an emerging band, collecting email addresses to build up your mailing list would be a good goal to have. For a more established artist with a solid fan base, directing people to purchase new music & merch through your online store might be the way to go. If you’re raising money to fund your next album, you can direct people to your fan-funding campaign.

Here’s a good example of a call-to-action from Laura Marie:

5. Latest News/Blog

With this next feature, it can come down to personal preference. Some artists have a full blog on their homepage, others have a news feed with all of their news from the past few months. Just remember that your website should have a blog, but it shouldn’t be a blog. Most people don’t scroll down on a web page (one study showed it was as high as 80% of people), and will only read what they can immediately see on their screens.

So put the top news items on your homepage (maybe 3-5 items), and direct people to your full blog from there to see more. Info about your new album, a new show announcement, or a press article/interview are all things to feature proudly on your homepage.

6. Social Media Links

People might only have a short time to check out your website, so it’s a good idea to give them a quick link to connect with you on social media sites. That way, if they only have a minute, they can go to your Facebook page and “Like” it, or follow you on Twitter, right from your homepage.

Don’t overdo it, you can simply list the social media networks that you are most active on. The goal isn’t to send people away to 10 different places other than your website, but to make it easy for them to keep up with your latest activity.Then you can draw them back to your website with the content you put out through those social media profiles that you are active on.

Here’s an example from Static Cycle’s homepage, where the social media icons are right below the header image:


Keep it Clean

One last thing to keep in mind is that an overly-cluttered homepage is not a good thing either. You’ll want to stick to these 6 elements for the most part, and use them to direct people to other sections of your site effectively. Otherwise, if people have too many options/links/images to look at, they might simply ignore it all and leave your site.

The most important elements, including your call-to-action need to be above the fold. The fold is the line after which visitors have to scroll to see the content. Keep in mind that the fold is different for different monitors and screen resolution.

If you do decide to make some of these changes to your homepage, you can use your Analytics to measure whether it worked. If you look at your current bounce rate before and after the changes, the bounce rate should decrease after these changes. You should also hopefully get more email sign-ups and sales from your online store too.

Your Website is Home for Your Music

Social media sites come and go (i.e. MySpace, Friendster, soon Google+?), or can completely change, like we’ve seen with the recent “Timeline” changes to Facebook Pages. Although social media sites are a great place to interact with and find new fans, you can’t rely on social media sites as a homebase for your music, and as a hub for your online strategy. You should focus on driving fans to your own website where they can always find your music, sign-up to your mailing list, or shop for music and merchandise directly from your own online store.

Posted by David Dufresne on 03/26/2012 | 4 comments

Comments

Mayan Fox
Posted by Mayan Fox on Mar 28 2012 12:54 AM
Good advice Dr David. I've read this before and we've attempted to follow through on the advice. Hopefully we've created a happy entrance for fans and net amblers alike. One thing that we've done that may not be quite playing by these rules however is that instead of a Bio brief we've put paraphrased quotes by industry people that have associated with us (radio, management, notable bands etc.). do you think this is appropriate or should we have a bio instead of (or as well as?)
David Dufresne
Posted by David Dufresne on Mar 28 2012 11:44 AM
Mayan Fox: That can work, but it works better when the quotes are descriptive of the band. For example. "You guys are FREAKIN' AWESOME!" tells me that someone somewhere thinks you're awesome, but nothing about your music if I don't know you already. "Awesome fresh and hooking melodies", "One of the most amazing live rock band from Queensland" would tell me more.
Mayan Fox
Posted by Mayan Fox on Mar 29 2012 3:08 AM
Thanks bro. That's true, and good advice. [quote="David"]Mayan Fox: That can work, but it works better when the quotes are descriptive of the band. For example. "You guys are FREAKIN' AWESOME!" tells me that someone somewhere thinks you're awesome, but nothing about your music if I don't know you already. "Awesome fresh and hooking melodies", "One of the most amazing live rock band from Queensland" would tell me more.[/quote]
Elizabeth Darrell
Posted by Elizabeth Darrell on Sep 10 2014 6:19 PM
Thanks bro! I'm gonna need this into for a band I'm making, called The Harmonized. Were still thinking but still. We've got some GREAT ideas and thisllchelp a TON! Thanks again.