6 Rules To Make A Band Website That Rocks - hypebot

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Don

Too many annoying adverts on this page to even finish reading it.

A.

Great article, but could you please give a few examples of websites you'd consider inspiring?

best,
a.

Daniel "Danny Dee" Aguayo

@Don - I agree, I wish there were no flash adverts

@A.- here is a really good one by Jason Kadlec

http://www.joshrouse.com/store

Bandzoogle

Thanks for sharing those Daniel. I can see that they are mostly powered by Topspin. They are all clear and easy to navigate.

I would say that some are more successful than others from a fan perspective. From my experience, the most effective sites balance the community aspect and the "conversion" aspect (selling, joining the fan list). Some of these sites could benefit from greater fan/artist interaction, rather than a heavy focus on sales/conversion of the visitor.

Of your list, my favourite is Logan Lynn's site. It has great frequently updated content, which he writes himself. That kind of personal touch is expected by fans, but is surprisingly rare for accomplished artists. Many larger artists leave the website for managers or labels to update, and they lose the fan connection that way.

tricky

I like this site. Very clean and to the point.

http://www.parallels.fm/

The blog sites sometimes start to feel like a run-on sentence.

JP

re: Point #1.

Umm... No Flash = no content.

Last I knew Flash is the virtual standard tech for audio and video on the web. I know Flash bashing is fashionable right now, but ultimately it's the carpenter that builds the house, not the tools...

Bandzoogle

JP: Flash music and video players are fine (and pretty much a requirement right now); what I meant was flash intros and animation which don't add anything useful for the fan experience.

Endy Daniyanto | Blue Summer

I agree. Most of the time, I just want to get to the audio goddammit!

JP

I know you have a web design service/product to sell, but just saying "Flash = bad" doesn't really provide the reader with any real info.

There are just as many bad blog format sites which make content hard to find & or slow to load. Lumping them all under "Flash" is convenient but misguided.

"Flash music and video players are fine "

But again... these are tools and can be abused. For ex., How many blog sites punch the browser in the gut because the front page is a mile long and stuffed full of YouTube and Vimeo embeds? It's getting to the point where wordpress-style sites are taking longer to load than the old Flash intro sites!

Bandzoogle

JP, see points 2 and 3 regarding making content hard to find. I agree, I've seen plain HTML sites just as hard to navigate if they don't follow those points. Having a page a mile long will cause the page to load slowly, and isn't a great first impression.

In terms of flash, many artists came to me as a designer wanting something fully animated. The stats prove that fans much prefer static sites, and they are far easier to keep updated. I still see a ton of all-flash sites that I wouldn't want to come back to.

JP

I understand what you're saying. I just disagree with the blanket statement that "Flash is bad." I would say maybe we can agree that many designers don't know how to deliver proper UI via Flash and get carried away with gimmickry. But this too will happen with jQuery, canvas, etc. in the coming years.

I think you can still use Flash and stay in line with your other points. You can dynamically import YouTube video, Flickr feeds, and twitter updates just as you can with a static site. It's not as easy as posting simple embed code, but it's possible.

How about the cons of a static page:
-No multi-tasking - often times listeners can't stream audio while surfing without creating a pop-up (if available).
-Content gets caught "below the fold".
-Inconsistent layout among browsers and platforms.

Don't forget, without Flash, users can't listen to content on Facebook, mySpace, Soundcloud, etc., etc. If someone doesn't have Flash, they obviously are not that interested in content in the first place.

Bandzoogle

To clarify my point, I'd change it to "100% flash sites are bad". Like you pointed out, flash is necessary to stream music and video now. But all-flash almost guarantees a site that is less user-friendly.

Flash doesn't scale to fit screens, so on netbooks, you'll have content off the page. Also, flash doesn't render on iPhones or iPads, so you have to maintain a whole other non-flash site. With sensible design, a static site will always render better across browsers compared to all flash.

I think that the best compromise is a hybrid of flash and HTML/CSS. So a dynamic element like the page header is in flash to add some visual interest, but it doesn't force the user to deal with flash based navigation and content.

Greg Brent

Good post. All great comments. Keep it simple, clean, easy to maneuver, and connect/build the relationship with your fans.

Flash can be nice to have if used effectively. However, from a fan perspective I want to go to the site, quickly click to what I'm interested in without having to wait for a graphic to come across, then either click to another page on the site or move on.

Some famous artists, whose music I love, have web pages that I hate to go to because of all the flash, moving graphics, etc.

Also, please connect with your fans. Putting a site up and a place to engage in a community is great but if you don't use it your fans will start to disappear from your site. You don't have to connect every single minute or day but you need to 2-3 times per week. Relationships are key and fans love it !!!

Matt

So along the lines of pages with flash, does this site have too much flash on the home page

http://www.beatzforsale.com

A little flash is not bad if its used for the right purposes, correct...

Brian John Mitchell

I have to say step six can be a bit of a double edged sword. When people see there's a community/forum that's incredibly inactive, people aren't that into it & you are has-beens or never-wuzes.

One big thing is to check in different browsers with different window widths. Sometimes things can get funky.

StockArmy

Good article, now if only you had made it sooner ;) KISS has been and will continue to be the weapon of choice when making the web interface, IMHO... the no flash rule is a good one (it might be slightly oversimplified, but still a valid point), it clutters the space, enlarges the webpage, overcomplicates navigation and disturbs visual balance, this has to be simple fact, not the discussion. The interesting part of flash isn't websites, I have no real need to have animated buttons, "but I really really want to"... Believe me when I say tat I have tried alot of different solutions, both homemade anomated flash buttons, simple interact by click GIF/flash, video buttons and augmented sites.

The result is almost always slower navigation/loading, less trafic, and like stated recuring traffic drops a good bit. If you make flash sites, it might be a good idea to make it as a secondary page, so its an option, and not the only way to view your site.

Rule 1-3 is tied together, simplicity, relevance and easy update's are the cornerstone of the front page i think, the personality should be a no-brainer, but looking at myface and spacebook it appears it isn't.

As to #6 it is a doozie, communities take alot of time, and slow communities slowly kill themselfes by lack of activity

Jason Kadlec

Danny D - thanks for the props!

Russell

This is a very good article with good points. I have to agree with just say no to flash sites. The things that infuriate me about them are that the user has to usually navigate through the the site EVERY SINGLE TIME they visit to get to a subpage, and the wait time between pages due to animations. But enough about flash. There is one website all about web design stuff called http://www.webpagesthatsuck.com. It gives examples and pointers on what NOT to do when designing a website. It's very informative and funny. I'd recommend looking and the worst pages of the year. They're pretty bad.

TLFR

We might add, 'give something away' to the list of rules...
I remember discovering Metric through a free song download. Timmy Curren did this too with his first record.

And yes, Flash=Evil.
43 Folders had a good post about band website designhttp://www.43folders.com/2004/12/06/five-mistakes-band-label-sites-make

- Too Late for Rose
http://www.toolateforroses.com/

PS - yep, we have a free EP on our site to download. Go grab it! ;)

Chris

Great article. I'd love to hear comments and/or opinions on my band's site at http://afterthefloodworship.com.

-Chris

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