6 things artists should never put on their websites

dont put on websiteYour website is often the place where fans will initially encounter you and your music, so it’s very important to make a good first impression. If you are a frequent visitor to this blog, you probably know we offer a lot of advice about what you should put on your website: professional artist photos, social media buttons, a band bio, etc., but we don’t always talk about what artists should NOT put on their site. So, here are our top 6 things you should not put on your website:

1. Everything

We’re all eager to upload and share things with our fans, but it’s also important to know when to say “when.” I’ve seen artist websites that are so jam-packed with content they make me go cross-eyed. Just because you have a lot of content in digital form doesn’t mean it all needs to live on your website. If you have 20 photos from your last show, upload the best 5. If you have 150 show posters, feature your top 10 on your blog and make the rest available in an archive or upon request. As a website owner, you are a curator. That means featuring your best content and organizing it in an easy-to-digest way.

2. More than 8 navigation items

You’re an artist, not a department store. Keep your main navigation under 8 items. If you can manage it, I think 5 nav items is probably perfect for an artist site: About, Music, News/Blog, Calendar, Store. Keep the most important information front and center, and let your fans click deeper into your website if they need to.

3. Grainy press photos you took with your smartphone

Professional band photos are a must if you want to be taken seriously by industry professionals. While you may have some truly excellent iPhone photos of your band, I highly recommend getting a photographer with some nice equipment to take some pro photos for your press kit.  The more creative, the better. Bloggers and journalists will be more likely to write about your music if you have high-quality photos to entice their readers.

4. Too many fancy fonts

Fancy fonts are great for titles and headers, but in general they are hard to read. If you want your fans to stick around and read what you’ve written, use highly readable fonts like Helvetica or Ariel. And don’t put dark text on a dark background or light text on a light background. (Oh, and avoid Comic Sans and Papyrus at all costs.)

5. Flash animation

Adobe’s Flash animation does not work on Apple devices and it’s a dying web technology. Don’t use it.

6. Auto-play audio and video

Videos and music that begin playing immediately annoy the heck out of people, and sometimes it can be downright startling. Let your fans click on what they want to see and hear; they will appreciate it.

Do you have any suggestions for things artists should never put on their website? Let us know in the comments below.