5 tips for simplifying your website’s navigation

Sticks Downey NavigationPeople get stressed when faced with too many options, and my guess is you don’t want to stress out your website visitors. I know I don’t.

Crowded or confusing navigation creates a bad user experience and discourages return visits. If you have more than six primary navigational links on your page, try cutting it back.

Also, use easily recognizable menu items. Being clever can confuse your not-so-clever visitors. Thus, “Store” is better than “Joe’s eShop” and “Contact” is better than “Holla at me.”

Quick tips for making a simpler nav for your website:

1. The fewer clicks it takes for a site visitor to get to where they are trying to go, the better. Continue Reading . . .

Scientists discover what makes something go viral online

What makes content go viral?In this story, we meet Neetzan Zimmerman, an editor for Gawker who has the enviable job of posting content that’s on the verge of going viral. His posts generate roughly 30 million pageviews a month.

To what does he attribute his success? Simply put, “he understands the emotions that might compel a human being to click on something online.”

Oh and here I was, thinking it was all about adorable CAT videos! Instead, it’s  about stirring up emotion (which cats can do, I suppose).

The story goes on to say that:

Articles, posts, or videos that evoke positive emotions have greater viral potential than something that evokes negative feelings, but both do a better job recruiting clicks than neutral content. The finer details tell a similar story: triggering high-arousal emotions, such as anger or humor, is a surer path to click gold than triggering low-arousal ones, such as contentment or sadness.

Maybe that sounds like common sense — and it probably is — but as a content creator, it’s worth hearing again. Continue Reading . . .

Craft better calls to action by defining your website goals

Crafting a Better Call to Action for Your WebsiteToday, the web is a whole lot bigger than it used to be, but it’s also a lot easier to create and manage a website. You don’t need to know how to write or read code or use complicated programs. Creating a website is quite easy. The real challenge is standing out amongst the millions of websites that are competing for attention on the Web.

In order to boost traffic, sales, and return visits, it’s important to highlight the goals you have for your website.

What is the most important thing any given visitor on your website can do? Sign up to your email list? Buy a product? Download a file? Leave a comment?

When you ask your website visitors to do something on your website, it’s called a “call to action.” Calls to action are found everywhere on the web: “Sign up here!” “Join my mailing list,” “Fill out this survey,” “Buy the eBook.” Commands like these are a simple and effective way of letting your website visitors know what to do when they land on your website. Continue Reading . . .

HostBaby’s new music pages are here!

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With HostBaby’s new music pages, you can easily import your CD Baby albums and tracks into your HostBaby audio page, where we’ll link up your artwork, format everything to match your theme, and even make a “buy” button that links to your CD Baby album page. Want to link to another store? You can do that, too. Want to upload tracks that aren’t on CD Baby? No problem.

It’s easy to set up, easy to use, and comes with every HostBaby site! Log in today, try it for yourself, then tell your fans to check out your new page and share it!

Found any unique ways to draw attention to your new music page? Let us know in the comments!

25 Free Website Backgrounds

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It’s amazing how simply changing the background image on your website can make it come alive. That’s why we’ve compiled 25 free website backgrounds created by our in-house designers at HostBaby. These backgrounds can be easily added to any HostBaby Site Builder site with just a few clicks. If you have a self hosted site, you are welcome to use these as well. We’re gonna just let these backgrounds go like a suitcase full of money on the interstate. Grab as many as you can!

Check out the samples below and click the download links to get the real deal! (Note: Depending on your computer set up, you may have to right-click on the link (Cntrl-click on Mac) and select “save as” to save the image)

 

Background images 1-10 are available in two sizes. The dimensions of the larger images are 1920×1234. The smaller ones are 1400×900.

Continue Reading . . .

10 free things to add to your website

There’s just about a ba-zillion website widgets and apps floating about the interweb. Some are super useful and some are not. But who wants to weed through a ba-zillion of anything to find the good ones? Nobody, that’s who! Not even me. That’s why I looked at just a fraction of a ba-zillion and chose just 10 of the most useful and free website add-ons I could find.

Note: Installing web aps on your site should be easy–even for the website-challenged. Basically just copy the code they give you and insert it in your website. If you use an HTML editor (most websites, including HostBaby’s Site Builder, do) you should have an HTML button that you can click before you paste in the code. That’s it. Copy code, click “html,” paste, save, done!

1.Google Analytics

One of the greatest analytic web tools available is totally free. Monitor traffic, social engagement, search rankings, and more. If you’re a HostBaby client it’s super easy to set up. All you have to do is enter your Google Analytics ID on your settings page. See our tutorial.

Create your Google Analytics account here: http://www.google.com/analytics/

2. Google Webmaster Tools

Monitor how your website is represented in search engines and get timely notifications if there are issues with your website. Google Webmaster tools is a powerful ally. Also, check out Bing Webmaster tools.

Google Webmaster tools: https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/

Continue Reading . . .

What if my domain name is taken?

my domain name is takenWhat if your coveted .com domain name is taken? Should you settle for a .net, .org, or one of the new domain extensions like .best, .buzz, or .cool? What if your domain name is being held ransom by a domain-reseller who wants thousands of dollars for it or won’t even return your emails?

Is it worth changing your artist name or business name if you can’t find an available .com domain?

Well, the answer to all these questions is: it depends.

And before you make your decision, there are a number of things you’ll want to consider.

One of the first things to consider is whether the domain name you want is actually a good domain name. The last thing you want to do is to waste time and money on a domain name that doesn’t do a thing for you.

 

Qualities of a great domain name

Great domain names share certain common characteristics. You’ll want to make sure your new domain name qualifies for most if not all of the following:

  • It’s short
  • It’s easy to remember
  • It’s easy to spell
  • It’s easy to read (Make sure your domain name doesn’t spell something unexpected when the words are back to back)
  • It uses your artist/business name
  • It doesn’t use numbers or hyphens (the exception being that your artist/business name contains numbers or hyphens. For example: blink182.com, century21.com‎, etc.)

(Bonus: You get brownie points if your domain also communicates something about who you are or what your site is about–while remaining short and memorable of course)

 

Continue Reading . . .

What music genres are searched for the most on Google?

music genresData from Google can tell us a lot about what’s popular in the world. After all, when people are curious about something, generally they will “Google it”. In fact, Google has created a website called “Google Trends” that lets you track the popularity of search terms over time. It even lets you compare musical genres. Is the music you play in popular decline? Or are you riding the tides of increased popularity? Below is the Google trends report for “rock music” versus “pop music.”

 

 

 

Continue Reading . . .

12 tips for a better band website

aidan-millsOften you don’t need to completely redesign your website to make it resonate more with fans and visitors. Sometimes it just takes stepping into the shoes of your fans and making a few tweaks here and there. Here are 12 tips that will help make your current band website–even better.

1. Get rid of distractions

Kill autoplay on videos and music. This is bound to annoy visitors. Let your visitors decide if they want to click “play.” Flashy animations and pop-ups can have a similar effect. Ditch them.

2. Tell people what to do

What do you want people to do when they land on your site? Preview tracks on your new album? Sign up to an email list? Read your blog? Make sure to let your visitors know what is important to you, and they

might just do it.

3. Make sure your site is mobile optimized
Mobile and tablet usage is skyrocketing. Many of your website visitors will be arriving on your site on a device other than a laptop or desktop computer, so be sure to preview your website on various devices. If it’s not mobile friendly, now’s the time to make the switch. (Hostbaby offers a number of mobile friendly responsive templates. hint. hint.)

Continue Reading . . .

Win Free Hosting For Life (Act now before October 16th, 2014)

unnamed(1)People can tell when a band is trying to pass off a social profile as a real musician website. When it comes to connecting with fans, bookers, labels, and promoters, there’s no substitute for a hosted site where YOU’RE in control.

Don’t believe us? Think your social networks are just as pro as a real hosted website? Try HostBaby today, see the difference, and you might never have to pay for hosting again!

Try HostBaby for free. Win free web hosting for life.

Here’s all you need to do to participate:
1. Sign up for HostBaby’s 30-day free trial here
2. Use HostBaby’s easy drag-and-drop website builder to create your new site
3. Before October 16th, 2014, tweet a link to your new HostBaby site and be sure to include this hashtag: #MyHostBaby

Prizes:
We’ll collect all entries and select winners at random. Winners will be announced October 17th on the HostBaby blog.
1st prize: Free web hosting FOR LIFE for one lucky musician or band
2nd prize: (3 winners): Free web hosting for a year

Create your site today to enter for a chance to win!