After almost six years of broadcasting on our platform, having used a number of website builders and freelancers, we decided a couple of years ago to give it a try ourselves, it wasn't that we were unhappy with the people we used, it just seemed that every six months or so the website would look really outdated such was the speed at the way technology was moving.
The core team at Blues and Roots Radio were always very quick to recognize that change was needed, but, the expense of changing a website every six months was considerable, necessary ... but ...ouch !
We set about finding platforms that could be a possibility with our limited knowledge at the time. We had a few failures , to be fair at the time, they were not bad attempts, but became quickly outdated. We quickly became adept at building using different platforms and our knowledge of search engine optimization was growing.
Hardly experts, but the websites were looking better and better each time we built a new one.
How We Saw Our Own Website
In the first few months of building a website in the early days we were good at slapping each other on the back for a job well done, sitting back and admiring our work, then realizing in a short time that we still had a lot to learn, this was an important learning curve for us, to be able to look at our website as if we were a first time visitor, taking notes of what we observed of what worked and what did not. The ability to do this was in part down to some workshops that a very good friend organized to help move our business forward, one of the topics was a new website format, after the session we had a light bulb moment and worked hard for about six months developing what we envisaged our website to look like, we are still using some of the ideas that we picked up on these sessions almost a year and a half later.
Why Am I Mentioning All Of This ?
During the course of my day to day job of programming, editing, reviewing and the list goes on, I have had the chance to visit literally thousands of websites, from artist websites, PR companies, music companies, radio stations, media platforms, technology providers, and the list can go on and on.
Sometimes I have been blown away by the creativity of the website builder and have been impressed with the various platforms that have been used. I have taken the time to get to know what works and what doesn't for various individuals, companies and industries.
I have also, on many occasions, been extremely disappointed at some of the sites I have visited. That is the point of this article, it really is important for anyone who has a website to make sure that the money they have spent on it, and the monthly plans they have work as effectively as possible, the website is the gateway for literally the world to find you, your business, products and whatever messages you want to put inside.
A website redesign can give you the opportunity to re-address how you communicate with all your visitors. Fresh and unique website content is a very important factor in encouraging people to revisit your site more often. The content of a website should be considered to be the most important thing, as it helps in determining how effective a website is.
When people visit your site, they see it as a reflection of your brand. If your site looks professional and is loaded with useful and relevant information readers will see you as a professional in your field. Likewise, if the site looks poorly designed and structured and/or out-of-date they’ll make the same assumptions about your services / products / company.
The website should highlight your product and/or service and the layout should look harmonious and consistent. I have visited sites whilst researching for my radio show, writing reviews and found content that was months out of date, current product ( Albums ) were not available on the platform, links broken and it goes on.
Who Does He Think He Is ?
From a music point of view, a website is the first port of call for anyone booking for festivals, clubs, bars and for judges on award panels who want to find out more about the album they have been given to form an opinion on. It's not all about the music contained within, I know people who will not listen to a CD if they don't like the artwork, that's perfectly true, so think of your website as an album cover, it should be inviting, interesting the visitor enough to have them open it, and once you have them inside, you need to have up to date information. People form opinions all the time, it's human nature, help yourself to enable the visitor to form a favourable opinion, you only get one chance to make the first impression.
I know musicians do not have time to rehearse, write new material, perform, keep up with social media and bookings, most even have to try and attend college, keep down full time or part time jobs, the last thing they have time for is website design, and unfortunately sometimes that does show.
Has your content got dates on it – blog posts, events and similar? It makes sense to remove or update out of date content. As websites mature and grow, it often becomes apparent that certain parts just aren’t working well anymore and are becoming outdated. Responsive Web Design is a collection of techniques that allow a website to flex and adapt to the size of screen it’s being viewed on. Someone opening your site on a small smartphone could be shown on the same site as the person opening it on their laptop etc.
Day by day, the number of devices, platforms, and browsers that need to work with your site grows. Responsive web design represents a fundamental shift in how we’ll build websites for the decade to come, if you haven’t updated your website in a while the chances are that you may be driving mobile users and potential customers away.
I am a music lover, I have played all my life, I am passionate about independent artists, I have been very fortunate to have been guided in my life in music by some extremely gifted mentors who have thought nothing of imparting their knowledge to me, I have learned and am still learning, so it is this passion that I am channelling in the hope that it helps someone to make a sale, have a show booked at a festival, bar or pub, receive the grant they applied for or even win the award that they paid for their album to be submitted to.
A professional website goes a long way to take businesses, brands and workflow online and enables users to manage a fully integrated and dynamic digital presence. ... and ... It helps to make the business money !
There are many affordable options out there, trust me, we have tried a lot of them, we have learned that the old adage, ' You have to spenculate to accumulate ', is very true, do some research and spend your hard earned money wisely, there are talented and creative people out there that would be delighted to help you update and redesign, they take pride in their art form, just as musicians do theirs, it could make the difference.
I have put my knowledge that's been acquired to good use, I now redesign websites as part of our business, I built the platform you are on, and have helped artists, corporate companies and single clients to relaunch websites, it's a lot of fun, and it gives great satisfaction to hand over the finished product and see it take flight into the universe of the world wide web.
Co Founder - Blues & Roots Radio / FEA Media
Legislature Of Ontario Business Excellence Award ' Rising Star 2014 '
Legislature Of Ontario Business Excellence Award ' Home Based Business 2017 '
Head Of Programming / Editor / Radio Host / Reviewer / Blogger / Website Designer
Occasionally I sleep :)