9 Mistakes You Don't Want To Make On Your Band's Website 

I've seen a lot of crap websites in my time. If you don't want yours to be one of them, you'll want to avoid some of these elements, unless you really have a good reason to break the rules.

TheRealMusician Recommends:

If you want to take marketing your music to another level, then I can't recommend enough John Oszajca's music marketing manifesto. My favorite aspect of his complete program was his stance on email marketing, where he really leverages the that "1000 true fans" philosophy.

His website is a bit hokey (Flaming guitars? Seriously?), but his program really shows independant artists how to get a leg-up on signed artists.

Dark Backgrounds

Anywhere that there is text on your website needs to be a lighter background with dark text. It’s easier to read. There’s always exceptions to the rule, but if you're a beginner, you should probably stick to what works (and experiment from there).

UXMovement has a great article on why dark backgrounds are difficult to read.

For example, on this site you can see that there is a dark grey background on the edges (to the left and right), but in the content column it has a white background. The text is generally quite easy to read.

This is probably the loosest rule on this list. I’ve seen dark background sites that work (ultimate-guitar comes to mind), so I’ll leave this one up to your own discretion.

Bottom line: it’s harder to do a dark background and make it readable.

Grammatical Errors

Unless errors on your site are purposeful (which is a legitimate strategy if it makes sense to your fans - see CHVRCHES) they’ll make you seem like a total doorknob.

The best way to avoid spelling errors or awkward sentences is to read your content out loud before you give it your final stamp of approval. It’s even better if you can read it out loud to another person; the pressure of having to say it out loud to another person will cause your mind to see anything that’s out of place.

Don’t be a doorknob ya dingus.

Flash Or Shockwave

When was this article written? 2008? Because that’s when you should have stopped putting these ridiculous flash loading screens and animations on your website.

The bottom line here is that flash is crap technology, and a lot of devices don’t render it properly (I’m looking at you, Apple). Adobe Flash Professional can render stuff in HTML5 anyways, so there's no point to it. Get it off of your site.

Too Busy

Are there way too many things cluttering up your website? It’s a good web design principle to avoid filling your website with too many different directions, as it can make your fans have no idea what to do on the site (and leave).

Try the website clutter test to see if your website is too cluttered. It takes a while to load once you’ve put your website URL in, but just let it load and it will figure it out eventually.

At the very least, looking at the clutter ratings on popular websites (at the bottom) and viewing those websites should give you a really good idea of what to avoid.

Hard To Navigate

Visitors should be able to see some sort of consistent navigation menu on every page of your site.

Either choose a horizontal navigation (at the top), or a vertical navigation (on the left). TheRealMusician has both, although I may eventually drop the left hand navigation.

Anything more complex than that will likely alienate your visitors. Most people expect to find a navigation menu in one of these two spots, so give it to them. This image from The Guardian really accurately shows you where people's eyes are naturally drawn when they go to a website.

As usual, if you want your website to be some sort of artsy masterpiece (which is great if you have the resources) then feel free to ignore these rules and do what you like. You might even end up with a classic like the space jam website.

"Intro" Pages

Don't ever have a page that says “enter site”. It's a silly concept - I’m already in the site!

Why on God’s green earth would you need an intro page for your website? Unless you’re stickdeath.com, I’m certain that your intro page will not be interesting enough to warrant what an inane distraction and barrier it is to your website.

Intro pages should have died 10 years ago - don’t bring them back.

Music That Plays Automatically

This is just a generally bad website practice, and in fact the only place I think it even COULD ever be acceptable (it’s not though) would be on a band website.

Still, think hard about whether or not you want to annoy your fans with an auto-play song. Maybe they were just opening your website to listen to it later, but now their ears are forcefully choked with your unwanted music (at least not wanted yet).

Don’t try and force fans to do things they didn’t intend, it’s not nice.

Comic Sans

Comic Sans is a font, and it’s typically a joke in many internet communities. If someone uses comic-sans, it typically means that there is some sort of satire of sarcasm being used. 

With that in mind, don’t ever use it on your website unless you’re making a web design joke (why are you making web design jokes on a band website?). By the way, if I was the first person to tell you about comic-sans, then your completely unqualified to make a comic-sans joke.

Northern Uproar’s website is the perfect example of comic sans being used too liberally (be careful though, you’ll need internet explorer 3.0 or higher to view that website!)

This amazingly awful font is also used in the popular doge meme.

And here it is without comic sans.

No comic sans please. What, were you born as my aunt in 1960?

Link Exchanges

I don’t think this is going to be particularly relevant to most bands, but a few of you might be savvy enough to start looking into SEO (search engine optimization). If that's you, you've probably learned that links are important to your site.

I'll skip all the malarky explanations and information. The bottom line for links (when it comes to Google) is this:

Only try to get links that will drive fans to your website. Don’t try to get links for the sole purpose of getting link juice and better search engine rankings - you’ll be sorry! Google penalizes anyone who tries to manipulate links just for higher rankings.

If you need additional information on how to do SEO for your band, I’d recommend you read the musician’s definitive guide to SEO.

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About The Writer

My name is Andrew Muller. I love creative art, music, television shows, movies, video games, and a good story.

If you had to find me somewhere, you would probably find me down at O'neils home cooking eating an organic sweet-potato bun breakfast sandwich with ham.

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