5 tips for Website design for performers:
Designing and building a website is something everyone who performs will need to do at some point. It is one of those jobs that you prefer to put off. It can be painful and frustrating. Once you have a good website in place, the benefits far outweigh the short term pain. Here are our top 5 tips for designing an effective website for comedy, acting, poetry or music performance.
- Keep it simple: If you have spent any time looking at artist websites, you will know that there are a lot of confusing sites out there. Garish colour schemes, cluttered content, broken plugins, and ugly fonts are common sins. If you are looking to update your website, simplicity is vital. You want your booking agent or venue to be able to access your key information quickly. Don’t layer the site up with complex plugins, or pages of menus. Deliver your unique selling points speedily and efficiently.
- Mobile optimise your site: It seems almost ridiculous to have to say this, but the number of websites out there which do not work on mobiles and tablets is incredible. A quick search of performance art websites found 40% of the twenty sites we found were not mobile optimised. Most of your visitors are likely to be on a mobile phone or tablet. If they cannot read your site, they are likely to move on.
- Include a blog or podcast: Give your fans a reason to subscribe, or come back to your site regularly. Whether you blog or podcast is entirely up to you. You could even do both. Many artists have developed a whole new fan base through regular podcasting or blogging activity. Curate the content well, and you could find that your blog or podcast propels you into a new league! One of our favourite podcasts here at Joined Up Think is Stuart Goldsmith’s ComCom podcast. This podcast focusses on Stuart’s peers. That might seem counter-intuitive for a comedian? Stuart’s USP is that he discusses each comedian’s writing process. Genius! Which comedian or fan would not be interested in the writing process of a comedy legend?
- Keep your website up to date: Tour dates, contact numbers, headshots, video content and any other tools of your trade, need to be up to date. Usually, when a booker decides to book you, especially in the case of a last-minute gig, they want to get it done quickly and efficiently. We were booking artists for a big corporate do a few years ago, when one of our acts was taken ill. With just three hours to spare, we found the perfect replacement. Unfortunately, they didn’t have their mobile number anywhere on their website, AND their email bounced. We had a budget of £600 for an hour performance — what a wasted opportunity.
- Check your competition: Ok, this is not strictly a tip for your website. You can learn a lot about your industry by looking at the websites of your most successful peers. Concentrate on those websites of those who have broken through in the last ten years. Some very established and talented artists have awful websites, but their reputation and status transcend the requirement for one. What are your key competitors offering which you are not? Visit their site with the perspective of a booker, and then again as a fan. What, if anything, is missing? Can you improve on their website and give your visitors a better experience?
Website Design For Poet Alexander Rhodes
The Alexander Rhodes project is an excellent example of website design for performers. The brief was simple. The artist required a sleek, uncluttered web presence. The website needed to be easy to navigate on all devices. As performers tend to do a lot of travelling, the ability to update the site while touring, with a simple interface was also crucial. This website, although very simple in its presentation, is a bespoke site.
The background image on the website can be changed easily, which gives the site a fresh feel. The addition of a subscription tab helps the artist build their database of fans.
An essential feature for any artist or performer is the ability to update content or publish blogs easily. We have added a WordPress blog for ease of use, as the client is familiar with WordPress. If you are going to run a blog or podcast on your site, regular updates are essential. Alexander Rhodes uses his blog to publish new poetry, reviews of other poets shows, and opinion pieces. One of the projects we are working on with the Alexander Rhodes project is to develop a tone of voice. The blog is not used to its full potential at this point. Watch this space.
Keeping your website up to date
The back office editor is simple but effective. The artist has their logins for the back office, which allows them to add and remove gigs in seconds. The simple form populates the gig page with all the information fans will require, including auto-generation of links for ticketing and event pages. The artist can even enter gigs in any order, and the site will automatically place them in the correct chronological tour schedule on the page.
Other features include:
- Editor page for videos and audio
- Subscribers export facility (Excel)
- A categorised poetry collection feature, (Currently unused) allows multiple collections of poetry to be updated and curated with ease. Each appears under its specific title. This feature is a future-proofing feature for the artist who is planning on self-publishing in the coming years.
The Alexander Rhodes site shown is an entry-level website. We offer expansions on this package to include SEO and increased functionality. You can visit the site here: