Your group's website may have been up and running for some time, or maybe you're looking at creating a new website. Either way it's always a good idea to step back and see whether it's still working well by running a health check. Here are a few pointers from our youth volunteers to think about.
1. First impressions - look how you want to be
Before a visitor reads anything on your website they’ll see images so it’s important for these to be the best that you can find – subject matter and quality wise. How does your group want to present itself and who do you want to attract?
Imagery can also give visitors to your website an idea of what sort of venues you perform in, where you rehearse, and what you do socially, which will impact on their decision to join you.
Try reflecting the demographic that you want to see in your group. So if you’re keen to encourage young people to join, try to get some pictures of them on your website even if to begin with they’re audience members or from collaborations and partnerships that you’ve formed.
2. Tell visitors how to join
Make sure that information about how to join the group is clear. Potential joiners will come to your website wanting specific information, for example:
- The day of the week and the start and end time of your rehearsals
- How much it costs to join
- What kind of music you sing or play
- Whether there is an audition
- Where you perform
Make sure you give this information to them in a clear way that doesn’t involve too many clicks or they’ll click away!
3. Show that you’re keen to welcome new people
Perhaps you have a scheme that offers free or discounted membership? That’s worth shouting about, so think about creating a new section of the website aimed at younger members or potential members for example – and if you have any younger members already in your group who’d be willing to help out, ask them to blog or post a keep a video diary about their experiences with the group, or perhaps ask them to contribute to your social media updates.
4. Be less wordy!
Think of your homepage as a digital pin board. Your group’s history may be fascinating but there’s no harm in capturing the character of your group using the most interesting facts for your homepage and saving the rest for a specific section. Make sure it’s clearly signposted – and if visitors want to know more they’ll click on it. Links should open in new tabs so that visitors stay on your website for longer.
Even the most bookish of visitors to your website won’t necessarily want to plough their way through hundreds of words to find the information they’re looking for.
5. Use video
If your website can host a video, or you can embed them from Youtube or Vimeo – do it! Video gives you a great chance to get your musical sound across as well as a preview of what you’re like as a group, especially if you’ve got a recording from a rehearsal or concert. Or perhaps you could get your MD to record a welcome message.
Using keywords can improve your website's performance with search engines. Select about six words or phrases for each page and use them within reason in your titles, sub-headings and copy. Updating your website regularly can also help with your website's performance. Make sure, too, that your website works well on devices other than your PC - the odds of people accessing your website on a phone or tablet are just as high.
7. Social media
Link your website to social media with easy-to-find icons. If your homepage is a pinboard, then social media is an animated scrapbook of all your group's activities. Media such as video, photo galleries and recordings, can show off the character of your group without telling (which involves more words). And when posted to a social media network, this can provide endorsement through the likes and shares of others, which potential joiners will respond to.
We have lots of guidance on where to start with social media, so please have a look at our full resource on how to get set up. Or if you’re already up and running, visit our social media content tips page.
For a more thorough review of your online activity, sign up for our free online health check.
We hope you find this Making Music resource useful. If you have any comments or suggestions about the guidance please contact us. Whilst every effort is made to ensure that the content of this guidance is accurate and up to date, Making Music do not warrant, nor accept any liability or responsibility for the completeness or accuracy of the content, or for any loss which may arise from reliance on the information contained in it.