A buddy of mine, who is also one of my digital gurus, busted me on something the other day.
In this post earlier this week about Pandora, I asked the question:
Why does your website content look and feel so little like how your radio station sounds?
He pointed out that the station doesn’t have to look like the station sounds. So, I wanted to clarify that. Because it’s an important point.
It’s not a graphics exercise. No matter your format, it’s better to be clean and usable. Spending too much time coming up with a unique color scheme and font style and background graphics or … worse … flash animation is a waste of time.
If the visual presentation of your website makes it tougher to immediately see and understand what’s at your website … go back to the drawing board. There are lots of websites out there with a “cool” look … that people visit once, are impressed by, and never come back to again. You want a website where your fans can immediately see and find what they want.
You want a website where people can dig into what they love about your brand over and over again. Furthermore, you want them to be able to do it in the same way that they enjoy you on the radio. Click … here it comes. No waiting, no tough searching, free, and easy.
I started one online business with a site that had a cute, really short flash animation every time you logged on. Literally took 2 seconds to run. It was supposed to set the tone, graphically, for people using the site.
Even though it was only two seconds long, I’ll never, ever, ever make that mistake again. I got sick and tired of it every time I went to my own site. I know it was cutting down the perceived usability of my site. Things that you think are visually “cool” about your website are probably hampering your efforts to build return visits. Unless you think clean, open sites are just the coolest.
However, you do want the content you have at your site to mirror what your fans love about your brand. If your website is like 99% of all radio websites, things have gotten away from you. It takes regular work and constant focus to make sure that people see stuff on your website that they love about your brand.
So don’t spend the time or energy putting an avant garde or trendy look to your website. Keep it clean, and work instead on great brand-building content. Then, tell people about it in your social media!