Artist Website Fix #3: Quick Wins and Easy Tweaks

And the winner is!

Hey everybody,

Head over to the following website and take a look around for a few minutes, if you would:

(Don’t forget to come back!)

Best website advice for musicians and performing artistsElise Kress and her group Skylark Celtic Band won the free website review I offered recently to subscribers of the Educate and Entertain blog.

Her entry was randomly selected from the dozens I received, and I’ve now had a chance to take a long look over the site.

Hopefully, this exercise will be valuable not just for Elise and her band but for every artist with similar goals.

Let’s make sure to discuss afterwards in the Comments section.

musician website best practicesMarketing Help for a Fellow Performer

As far as I know, Elise is not considering a complete redo of her site. Since we’re all strapped for time and resources, most of you probably aren’t either.

Performing artists need quick marketing wins.

For these reasons, I’m not going to rethink her website from the ground up.

artist website articleInstead, I’m going to concentrate this review on some high-impact “quick wins” that Elise (and you) can accomplish in a matter of minutes.

I’ll also offer some larger – though not major – changes that I’d recommend as time allows, and maybe a few nitpicky things too.

Elise’s Goals

advice on websites

Elise Kress

Here’s what Elise told me in her entry:

Objective of the siteGET MORE GIGS! Plus, provide press material for venues and performance info for fans

Biggest marketing struggle  – Getting more gigs. We play a lot of weddings and parties (bread and butter) but I’d love to have more performance gigs. We have a great one coming up (The Kennedy Center in DC) but how do I leverage that to get more? I’ve been performing with different bands for the last 30 years or more. Things have changed! I’d love to have your assessment.

Here We Go…

artist website article Things I Liked:

Big photo on homepage

This gives a great sense of who you are and what you do, and assures your visitor that you are professionals.

Email subscription box on every page

This is a best practice. Make it a goal to “capture” as many of your website visitors as you can, turning them into an audience you can stay in touch with. (Another tip for that later….).

best practices for music websitesEasy Tweaks for Some Quick Wins:

#1. Email Signups

Give your visitor a compelling reason to subscribe and you’ll double (or more) your signups. In short, tell them what they’ll get out of it.

marketing for performersSo, consider changing the text from “STAY IN TOUCH! BE ON OUR EMAIL LIST” (what do they get from this?) to something like “GET OUR BEST THREE SONGS DELIVERED FREE” or “THREE REASONS TO BOOK SKYLARK TODAY: GET THE INFO.”

#2. Homepage

Given the current layout of the homepage, I would add a single, authoritative quote to instantly establish credibility and give context to what the group does. (How about a few words from the Kennedy Center?).

Since the main objective is concert bookings, some words from a performance venue would be ideal.

adding a testimonial to your music websiteFind one short, punchy quote and make it a very obvious element on the homepage. You want your visitor’s eyes to go there within a few seconds of looking at your photo.

#3. News Page

These can be hard to keep updated. Since the latest “news” appears to be from 2014, it would be better to dump this page completely.

One less navigation choice is good for your visitor too, getting them to the important pages quicker.

#4. Calendar Page

It has no current dates on it.

how to improve your music website #5. More Quotes Needed

We don’t want our visitors to have to search for reassurance that we’re good. That reassurance is called social proof, and right now, I only see one “testimonial” quote on the site (and it doesn’t exactly stand out).

Gather some brief quotes or words of praise from the best venues you’ve played, and any other important folks, and sprinkle them around the site in obvious places where people will see them.

how to improve an artist websiteThe article on using social proof on artists’ websites is a resource to help you explore this further.

#6. Kennedy Center video

I was glad to see there was a video of the group’s “flagship” Kennedy Center performance on the site, but….the link doesn’t work!

video won't play#7. Decrease Spam

If spam has been an issue, 90+% of it can likely be eliminated by simply replacing the full email address listed on the site with something like “elise [at] skylarkcelticband [dot] com”

Some (Slightly) Bigger Things To Consider:

File these under the “a bit more involved, but really worth doing” category…

better websites for musiciansKennedy Center Video

That video (which I was able to find here) says more about the group’s professionalism and talent than anything else on the site. It speaks directly to the types of gigs you want more of.

For that reason, it should be front and center.

Find a way to make the video much more prominent on the A/V page, or even better, get the embed code from the Kennedy Center and put it on your homepage.

Why make people dig to find that? It’s your key to more and better bookings.

more bookings for musiciansMobile Friendliness

mobile website of musicianI was glad to see that the site is mobile friendly, but when I looked at it on my smartphone, the band photo was stripped out of the homepage.

What I was left with was the image displayed here – not exactly the most inviting or professional-looking entry point for the site.

Granted, most potential clients for performance gigs will be looking at you on a desktop computer, however, the trend is clearly towards more mobile use across all demographics. Best to look really good there too.

FB Pixel

I noticed that the site does not currently have a Facebook Pixel installed on it – I love these things, and you might too.

In short, the Facebook Pixel allows you to stay in touch with people who’ve visited your website but have NOT signed up for your email list (96-98% won’t).

By creating an audience of all Facebook users who’ve been on your site, the pixel gives you the ability to “retarget” them with Facebook ads for as little as a few bucks.

retargeting on facebook for musiciansYour website developer can install the pixel very quickly, and it costs you nothing until you choose to advertise on Facebook to those visitors.

See the article Facebook Ads: 6 Wins for Performing Artists

SEO – Search Engine Optimization

A full SEO evaluation of the website is beyond the scope of this article, but I did take a quick look at how the site appears in Google search results.

For “Skylark Celtic Band,” the website actually came up in the third spot rather than the first, and as you can see, the descriptive text (aka the “meta description”) needs some work as well.

seo for musicians websiteThe page’s title tags could be optimized too, in an effort to direct people searching for things like “celtic music cd’s” (320 searches per month!) to the “Store” page, “celtic concerts” to the calendar page, etc.

Making these SEO changes is easy stuff, but whether you can make them yourself depends on how your site is hosted and configured. Best to check with your web developer or host company if you’re not sure.

If Possible…

Is the “Performance Highlights” box on the homepage “dynamic,” i.e., can/does it disappear when there are no upcoming dates?

improvement to music websiteThat would be my suggestion, if it’s not already set up that way.

Nitpicky Stuff

Feel free to take or leave these small items:

I would decrease the font size of the navigation categories on the homepage (HOME, BIO, CALENDAR, etc.), leaving more room for that dynamic quote we talked about earlier

Does anyone visit the”Photos” page? (Check your analytics to find out.) Since the official promo photos are on another page, I’d get rid of the “Photos” page and move the best images to the other pages – again, reducing the number of navigation choices for the visitor.

And my inner proof reader couldn’t help but notice these two:

The Frankie Gavin quote below is broken up awkwardly, with his band name on the opposite side of a separate line. This gives me the impression that we’re reading a DeDanann Band Bio rather than Skylark’s.

marketing advice for performing artistsAnd more odd line breaks on the “Press Kit” page:

website advice for musicians, storytellersWrapping Up

So there you have it – some quick, simple victories for Skylark’s website along with a few slightly larger things to think about.

What would YOU have suggested for Elise’s website? What did I miss? What would you have changed? Where do I have it all wrong?

Let’s compare notes in the Comments section below.

About The Blog

The Largest Online Gathering of K-5 Classrooms for Connected Educator MonthSince leaving a white-collar marketing job in 1992, Dave Ruch has been educating and entertaining full-time in schools, historical societies and museums, folk music and concert venues, libraries, and online via distance learning programs.

Along the way, he’s learned a great deal about supporting a family of four as a musician.

The Educate and Entertain blog provides articles, tips, encouragements, and how-to’s for regional performers (in any region) interested in making a great full-time living in the arts.

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14 Responses to Artist Website Fix #3: Quick Wins and Easy Tweaks

  1. Rob Flax

    Great suggestions, as usual, Dave! Can you talk a little more abut FB Pixel? I use Squarespace and manage my own site. I thiiink I just installed it successfully, but what’s the next step? How do you leverage the data from this Pixel, and how often do you check it?

    • Dave Ruch

      Hi Rob, Look for “Ads Manager” along the left-hand column in FB, open it, then in the upper left-hand corner, click on the menu, then “Audiences.” The “Create audience” > “Custom Audience” > “Website Traffic” to set up your audiences.

  2. Tim Ereneta

    I had to dig to figure out that the band was geographically local to DC, VA, MD– and that’s only because of the Calendar page. The band’s location is not on the front page, the contact page, or the bio page, which was frustrating. (I used to build online directories of performing artists… lack of location on a website is a common mistake).
    Maybe Elise would love to be invited around the world or across the country, but if I’m booking a group I need to know right away how close they are to me (because of travel costs).
    If you are primarily a recording artist, and the website is a showcase for music, then geography may be as much a consideration, or if you regularly tour nationally, again, not an issue. But local bookers need to know where you are!

  3. Roland Vinyard

    I would keep the Photos page, especially if there are some there that are press-sized. We get performer here as you know and some of them have nothing I can use to promote them. I have to search elsewhere. For one group I even had to use a photos I’d taken of them!

    Perhaps the Photos could be a sub-page?

    • Dave Ruch

      Roland, yes I completely agree that downloadable photos for presenters are imperative, Maybe a “Press Kits” page, or “For Presenters” page. Mine is linked in the footer of my site.

  4. Brenda Jean

    That was excellent, Dave…thank you.

  5. Rochelle Christopher

    Dear Dave,

    I was thrilled to find your blog and website! I consider myself an edutainer and I only do libraries, retirement homes and senior centers. I help lifelong learners use history to connect thier past with their present days lives. I didn’t think there was ANYONE who did what I do. It’s actually comforting to find out that SOMEONE does! I’m looking forward to reading your blog.

    • Dave Ruch

      Hi Rochelle – thanks for checking in here. It’s great to hear about the kinds of work people are doing, What part of the world do you perform in?

  6. Lynne Corcoran

    Very informative Dave. Thank you for sharing your expertise.

  7. Steve Featherston

    “In process” of building my website now. Your points were helpful & I plan to refer to them this week as I, Lord willing get the thing up & running this week.

    After thinking on it some, I do believe I will NOT have a separate page for photos / videos & will instead, at your suggestion, add them on other pages.

    Lots of things to consider / tweak / figure out. Thanks much again.

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