The Website DIROSKI seems to be down - So Link Removed
Gemma Diroski Lou left a comment on my blog post Facebook Versus Your Website #BandPromotion and of course, as per usual, I visited her website. What caught my eye and got me thinking, was the advertisment and title of Gemma’s first music industry report, “Aren’t Splash Pages Just Stupid Barriers To Real Content?” With a subtitle of, “So why do major artists make you and their fans go through them?” Yeah, I’m looking forward to reading that (due out 30th August ‘12 [it’s running late]) because it’s been one of my pet subjects since 2004.
And I thought, “what’s needed here is an off-the-cuff preemptive blog post” - a sort of pre-post, as opposed to a follow up post. I’m Not trying to be confrontational. Anyway, I often have a go at newbie bands who’ve got a new website and their opening page is a splash page, so I thought I’d better state my case - BTW, splash pages aren’t as fashionable as they used to be, thank God.
A Splash Page is nothing more than an introductory opening page that precedes the website’s main home page, a little like a magazine cover. They usually contain Very Little Content, just a massive attention grabbing image of the band or Flash thingamabob that acts as a link to the band’s home page ‘CLICK HERE TO ENTER SITE’; or worse, the link points to one of the band’s social media profiles like SoundCloud or Facebook …turns out the band hasn’t got a website, just a bloody splash page!
If a band wants to maximise their website’s promotional effectiveness, they should not have a splash page. Having a splash page is one of the most extravagant promotional luxuries for normal independent artists, it’s pure vanity and is a colossal mistake - there, I’ve said it! However, there is more to this than meets the eye.
The clue is in the subtitle “So why do major artists make you and their fans go through them?” Major Artists. The reason some major artists direct visitors through their splash pages is because they are acting as Sales Pages (squeeze page, landing page). These pages will often include three elements, image of band with Enter Site Here, their latest video and a link to ticket sales or album sales. And they work because of the extremely high volumes of targeted traffic.
I’ve an inkling Gemma’s report is going to look positively at splash pages and recommend that artists use them as a sales page or even a pre-sales page; however, splash pages don’t really work for independent artists because they don’t have the same widespread exposure or high volumes of traffic visiting their websites as the major artists. Independent artists should concentrate on search engines, networking (including web links) and real world methods (i.e. visitors type the URL directly into the address bar) for their visitors - yeah I know that might sound boring and a little defeatist. This means Search Engine Optimization (SEO) becomes very important as does usability.
One of the main issues with splash pages is their lack of content that’s required for SEO (see: What’s on your index page? An article from 2004 & needs updating, but the message is there), search engines will list the splash page because it’s the default index.html page, meaning the homepage (where all the content is) isn’t necessarily listed; also, web crawlers have a tendency to hang on splash pages (caused by Script & Flash) and consequently may never fully index the rest of the website! It is textual content that makes search engines understand your website, without it they may misunderstand your website and might list it incorrectly.
I know what you’re thinking, ‘I’ll add some content!’ Well, a splash page with real content isn’t really a splash page anymore!
A splash page makes the visitor click through to find the content that they are looking for, that’s Unfriendly Usability. People don’t like interruptions and being messed around! The faster you can get your messages across, the more likely you are to be successful. So, excessively large images and Flash which can cause download speed and user device problems are big no-nos - usability is always important to website design and productiveness.
Looking positively at splash pages; they do play an essential role in warning us about controlled content on adult, alcohol, gambling and gaming related websites - they’re not all bad.
An independent artist’s website exists to promote the artist to a wider audience, to enable the artist to have full control over their business, and to introduce an air of Stability (a key word. Might also be called professionalism) in an otherwise turbulent and fast moving world wide web. I think an artist’s or band’s opening page should be a simplified version of their press pack, that contains everything a new visitor or fan is looking for!
If you MUST have a Splash Page make sure it includes: 1. An exciting free gift. 2. Your latest video. 3. Album details. 4. An attractive ‘Download/Buy Now’ button (album cover). 5. A mailing list sign-up form. 6. Details for your next gig. 7. Images of fans. 8. Your contact details. 9. Links to the rest of your website. 10. Your photograph and a written description of who and where you are.
Oh, and BTW, I hate it when I follow a link from an artist’s Facebook page to their website only to find a massive image of the artist and a daft link back to their Facebook page - Bounce Rate or Yo-yo effect?
Written by Ian Robson
Unsigned Band Promotion help musicians and artists to get their websites noticed by fans, search engines and the music industry in half the time they could do it on their own. Find UBP on Google+ and Twitter. Ian has been working on website promotion techniques since 1994.