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August 19, 2012

Major Artists Make A Big Splash With A Webpage

Filed under: SEO, website promotion, Band Promotion — ian @ 10:27 am

Diroski - Building Success In The Music Industry by Connecting, Building Relationships, Reaching Out To The Media & Not Relying On Facebook or Myspace

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
IanUnsigned 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 and Twitter. Ian has been working on website promotion techniques since 1994.

3 Comments »

  1. Hey Ian, yep, you just done summed up the whole report! lol. And thanks for highlighting it also. Oh the pressure ;) Seeing as it’s one of your pet subjects, I’m going to have to start digging into your archives. No joke lol!

    I hear what you say about those splash pages that lead straight to other websites. I found quite a few of those too.

    I didn’t know what the answer would be before I started the research, but I checked out the Billboard 200, and just went through each artists’ website one-by-one, and was pretty surprised to see the trend, seeing splash pages are a no-no right. It’s true what you say about it working for major artists. It’s because there’s something that has to happen in our minds as music lovers before we get to the splash pages for, well, these pages to work.

    For example, just the other day, I was reading about a guy called A-Trak. Totally new at first glance, and unbeknownst to me, I was well acquainted with one of his songs, “Barbara Streisand.” So I was reading an interview about his opinions on EDM as I’m trying to understand why the world has gone dance-music mad, though I love it, it’s interesting how it has just caught on now. And then I learnt he was on The Huffington Post, which is a pretty big deal, right? He was lending his opinions on DJs who just push buttons rather than do true turntabalism (if that’s even a word), and it was so articulate and such an educative experience, especially as coming from a dance DJ, so unexpected too. I was taken aback. Low-and-behold, I decided to check out his website, and what did I find?

    lol - splash page. Again. djatrak.com - I was like, jeeze. But it works, because of that intermediate step.

    And it reminded me of how I it took me a while to warm up to Lady Gaga’s stuff, because I kept hearing her name prop up, and didn’t associate that song “Let’s Dance” with the name. No idea why not, but it just didn’t reach me. And then I saw the Poker Face video. I was like….”oh….no….I’m getting old for sure.” I just didn’t get into it. It was only when I saw a mag at work featuring an interview of her that I actually learnt how well educated, and well spoken she was, at least in written form. I didn’t hear her speak on video at that point, so it was just purely how she formulated words on paper that grabbed my attention. Not the music. Not the poker face video. Not her name either. Can’t admit that I’m a fan, but certainly I do admire some of her work, and it started with an interview. Checked out her website. Her homepage? lol - ladygaga.com/bornthiswayball - The splash has changed quite a few times, but she always has one.

    There’s definitely this intermediate step that happens. Folks can’t just land on a splash page without any intermediate step that gets folks to know a person a bit more, or the artist, or the band a bit more. Without that step, then splash pages may not work. I want to talk about that a bit more in the report and how some artists have that step, and what folks can do to create that. I find it all bizarrely interesting.

    Thanks again for the head-ups.

    Comment by Gemma D Lou — August 19, 2012 @ 11:47 pm

  2. Thank You Gemma for that brilliant comment :)

    I think I’ll stick with what I think about splash pages, “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.”

    For “widespread exposure” one might also say fame. There are loads of definitions as to when a band (I’ll use ‘band’ but it could be independent artist, musician etc.) passes into becoming famous, but let’s say fame is when the mainstream media (TV & Newspapers etc.) start taking notice. At that point people will start investigating, trying to find out more about the band, and the volume of website traffic will increase exponentially. That is when a band can have a well designed splash page like, let’s say, Katy Perry’s.

    For me, that “intermediate step” you’re talking of is an awareness of the band brought on by the mainstream media and background noise, another name for that is promotion ;) It’s that promotional effort, that gets in the way of having a splash page for almost all DIY independent artists - it’s a sort of Catch-22 situation!

    Really looking forward to reading the report, now that you’ve whetted my appetite - I hope it changes my view :)

    Comment by ian — August 20, 2012 @ 11:29 pm

  3. Of course it all starts with the band’s name, when x number of people become aware of it. After all, only someone who knows the band’s name will search for it; that is why one of UnsignedBandPromotion’s most common requests is, "Help us get our name out there!"

    Comment by ian — August 21, 2012 @ 8:11 am

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