(The original version of this article was first published on the Mp3 Backing Trax website circa 2006 – 2012)
Let’s assume you’ve set up a really fabulous website for your entertainment act and your stat/hit counter is showing a few visitors are now beginning to come to your website (ps don’t have a stat counter? Get a free one from http://www.statcounter.com/).
The immediate problem you will most probably see from your stats is that visitors don’t stay on your website for very long, which also means that your visitors are not getting to see all those pages of great information you painstakingly created and provided for them.
Don’t worry. This doesn’t mean your act or your website is uninteresting to vistors. It’s simply the nature of this beast we call “the Internet” and you just need to work a little smarter to capture your vistors attention and keep them on your website for longer. Here’s how to do it.
Web visitors are fickle
Shopkeepers on the High street have known for years that they only have a few seconds to attract customers in to their shop. That’s why they spend so much time and effort dressing up their shop windows. The display in a shop window needs to grab the attention of customers as they walk by and the shopkeeper knows he only has a few seconds to do this after which the potential customer has passed on by and will be on his or her way to the next shop.
The same is true of websites on the internet. The difference is that, unlike the shopkeeper, you don’t get a few seconds to capture your web visitors attention. You have less than 2 seconds to grab your visitors attention!
Web research shows that, on average, visitors stay on a webpage for less than 2 seconds and look at an average of 1.7 pages. Yes, that’s right, your visitors are unlikely to get past the first page of your website plus they’ll only look at it for a couple of seconds. Scary isn’t it!
Keeping your visitors longer
Your home page (index page) is the first page a visitor will normally see. So this needs to be exactly right or your visitors will simply click away somewhere else or if they’ve arrived at your web page from a search engine they’ll most probably just click the back button on their browser and choose the next search result on the list. Either way, you’ve lost the visitor.
Here’s how to help stop this happening.
Just like the shopkeeper dresses up his window to pull his customers in, you need to dress up your main home page of your website (your index page) to make your visitors stay on your site for longer. This means getting your message across to the visitor as quickly, concisely and as boldly as possible so that you grab his attention and make him want to stay and read more.
Most singers and entertainers understandably want to let the world know how good they are and what they can do, so most entertainers websites usually focus on their talents, hoping the visitor will be impressed. I’ve got some bad news for you – web visitors aren’t really interested in how good you are or how good you may think you are. What they really want to know is how being on your website or booking your act will be of benefit to them personally.
That means they’ll look at things like: why should they book you? Why should they buy your album? Why should they spend time looking at your web pages? In a nutshell, they are looking for WIIFM (what’s in it for me).
So now that you know how ruthless and selfish your visitors are, you need to create a webpage that panders to their needs and greeds.
For this, you’re going to have to leave your ego aside (not easy for us entertainers to do, I know) and focus on your web visitor.
Make your websites home page relate to the visitor, not you. Design your home page in a way that should scream “what’s in it for me” to your visitor. This is how you’re going to grab your visitors attention and encourage them to stay longer and delve deeper in to your website (and hopefully book you or buy your album).
Above the fold
Make sure the main message you are trying to communicate to your web visitor appears “above the fold” on your index page. By that I mean right in front of your vistors eyes, not half way down the page. Remember, you have less than 2 seconds to impress your visitor and convince him to stay on your website so don’t make him scroll down the page to get your main message – if you do, 90% of your visitors won’t get to see your message.
One Page Websites
Entertainers rarely think about creating a one page website, yet one page websites have been proven to work better than multi-page websites in some circumstances. And it makes sense when you think about it. With a one-page website you can get your message across at the top of the page (which gets your message to the visitor in under 2 seconds), and then you can put all the other information about your act below on the same page which solves the problem of visitors only looking at one page of a website before clicking away.
Entertainers generally love to hear themselves sing, love to show off their act, and love the attention they get. If they didn’t they wouldn’t be entertainers. That’s why most entertainers websites are big websites which contain a variety of pages with things like a photo gallery, videos, biography, news, merchandising, album or single sales, a gig diary etc.
Just remember that the majority of your visitors will never stay long enough to see any of these pages!
By all means create a big flashy website – family, friends and your die-hard fans will love it and spend time reading all your stuff. But 99% of your visitors won’t.
If your website is going to succeed in encouraging agents, venues and bookers to book you and fans to buy your albums, you need to take heed of everything I’ve said above.
Go take a look at your home page now and see how you can improve on it (pay particular attention to the information that’s showing “above the fold” on your home page).