It’s comedy week on the Bandzoogle Blog! To celebrate our partnership with the Just for Laughs Comedy Conference, we’re featuring some blog posts aimed at helping comedians maximize their online presence. If you're a comedian attending Just for Laughs this week in Montreal, come visit our booth for a free website review, anytime between Wednesday, July 25 to Saturday, July 28, 10AM-6PM at the Hyatt Regency Hotel lobby.
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 comedy and who you are as a comedian. Having a great photo along with your name is a classic example of an effective header image. But it could also be an illustration, artwork from your last comedy CD or DVD, etc.
Here’s a nice example from Bandzoogle member Joel Salom:
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, 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 you’re all about. Here’s a screenshot from the homepage of Bandzoogle member Sara Benincasa:
For this bio, keep it short. A longer version can be saved for your “About Us” or “Bio” page.
3. Video / Audio
First time visitors should be able to sample your comedy in one, easy, obvious click. So the next element you should have on your homepage is an embedded video that people can watch right away. If you don’t have a good video, you can have an audio player to stream a sample of one of your routines.
Here’s an example from Bandzoogle member Push the Fish:
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, or buy tickets for your upcoming shows.
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. For an emerging comedian, collecting email addresses to build up your mailing list would be a good goal to have. For a more established comedian with a solid fan base, directing people to purchase a new album or merch through your online store might be the way to go.
Here’s an example of a call-to-action from the Homepage of Bandzoogle member Mike Finoia:
5. Latest News/Blog
With this next feature, it can come down to personal preference. Some comedians 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 Bandzoogle member Mr. Percival’s Homepage, where the social media icons are right below his 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.