Pimp Your Site: Hello Bar vs. Wibiya Web Toolbar
While social networks are critical for music marketing, all musicians should have a home site under their control in order to offer a rich reservoir of news, content and such features as merch shops. However, it's sometimes a challenge to decide how best to alert users to the latest news or encourage their deeper engagement with one's content as they land, check out the most obvious material and move on. Two free tools with which I've started experimenting, the Hello Bar and the Wibiya Web Toolbar, offer different solutions for such problems.
I recently installed both toolbars on the homepage of my current project, All World Dance, to see how they operated. Now that I've gotten used to them, I've decided to add them to the rest of my site and see how they do. Since both toolbars offer basic stats, I'll be able to get a sense of whether or not they're a good fit for this particular site, an approach that should always be taken when deciding what works as opposed to relying solely on personal aesthetics or choosing a solution because everyone else is using it.
The Hello Bar, which is still in beta, is a product of Digital Telepathy who also created the SlideDeck. It's a simple toolbar that resides at the top of the page. The free version includes an unobtrusive Hello Bar logo and a single message with a single link. It may well be the ideal solution for emphasizing one's latest release or encouraging new friends or subscribers. For example, DIYthemes has had great success with the Hello Bar and they share their insights on what they did.
The Wibiya Web Toolbar, which was recently acquired by Conduit, a company that has made browser toolbars for folks like Rihanna and 50 Cent, is a more complex offering that sits at the bottom of the browser window. It allows you to include all sorts of apps for your content, like a CoolIris wall for your YouTube uploads, and sharing buttons for social networks. You can check out the app options for an interesting range of possibilities.
I'm less convinced by the Wibiya Web Toolbar since it requires you to stop and check it out and I personally find them annoying on other sites. But, again, I'll let the stats do the talking since following one's personal preferences is a great way to reduce your ability to reach a full range of diverse fans.
Both products have premium versions. The Hello Bar offers additional features, such as A/B testing and updates via feeds, that would be quite useful. Wibiya's premium offering is a bit more complex, like their toolbar, but both offer options designed for multiple websites and might benefit from a cheaper version for single website users. That said, I think both tools are well worth considering for the needs of musicians' websites and the free versions should be adequate for evaluation.