If you are an entertainer and are thinking about getting a website, ask yourself - 'Why do I want, or need, a website?'
In general, the answer will be to provide an additional avenue of communication to your current, and hopefully future, fans. Bear this in mind when designing the site.
Here are a few guidelines, put together for entertainers who have, or are thinking of having, a website. They are a combination of a few key point that work well for entertainers and this Researcher's personal experience working within the web-programming industry.
The content must be up to date. Many entertainer's sites fail because the gig guide lists the 'next' performance as over two years ago. This just proves the site to be unreliable and suggest the artist's career has stalled. Would you go back to a site like that?
You must have a gig guide on the site, including:
- The venue
- The date
- The time the show starts and the time you're likely to be on
- The cost of the gig
- The booking details, if applicable
Also, provide the address of the venue, particularly if it is not well known. Accurate directions of how to get to the venue using public transport would also be good.
Fans like to see photos on the site, especially of recent gigs. It is advisable to use small thumbnail images on one or two pages, with links to larger photos. This will decrease the download time.
Feedback pages are recommended, as are pages to allow fans to subscribe to (or unsubscribe from) email lists. At the very least, provide an email address, but remember to check your email inbox regularly. Many venues and promoters use email to communicate with entertainers.
Have a few MP3s on your site (if applicable - you will not need them if you're a mime artist!), especially of recent gigs. Keep the file size small by making them mono and low resolution. If you don't have enough space on your site for MP3s, store them somewhere else, such as MP3.com.
Create a simple press release, with a couple of photos, an MP3 and a biography. Zip this and have it available on the site. Keep the navigation simple. Remember that less is more.
Avoid fancy technologies like flash because:
- It takes too long to download.
- You may have to install additional software onto your browser (increasing download time).
- Ultimately it complicates things without adding significant benefit.
You don't need server scripting such as asp or cgi. If you know how to use them and your server allows it, they are great and can provide some really nice database access, but you can do some really good stuff through basic forms and email-based feedback.
Use as few pictures as possible. The more pictures, the slower the website. Use cascading style sheets (CSS). This makes it very easy in the future to change the look and feel of the site (fonts, colours and background logos etc).
Promoting the Website
Search Engines and Directories
Remember to put your website and email address on all business cards, posters and fliers.
Even if you are marketing yourself well and have ensured that fans know the address of your web site, it's not a bad idea to submit your site to a search engine. It is important to have your site listed on some of the entertainment directories, such as:
If you wish to know more, read the entry on website promotion for beginners.
It's useful to see how many people are visiting your site, so you can assess how effective your site promotion is, so include a web counter. Hide it though - if you are only getting a few hits on the site, the fans do not need to know.
Finally, here are a few examples of sites that work: