10 things I hate about your band's site - Part II

Part 2 in my article series focusing on bad things on the websites of bands. In Part I I discussed overusing Flash and claiming a good domain. This time I'll focus on navigation and sound.

3. Bad Navigation

All sites need good navigation. Sure, you are an artist so you want to be creative. Well, be creative with the design of your band's site, not with the navigation.

When people visit your site, they should be able to find what they're looking for almost instantly. Whether they want to download your music, read your biography or see where your next gig is, they should be able to find the right page without clicking more than once.

A good example of bad navigation can be found at the Boy Sets Fire homepage. The first time I visited their site, I had no idea where to find a list of their upcoming gigs. Apparently I have to understand that I have to click on 'The Street' to see their gigs. Because they have 11 menu items, I still can't find what I'm looking for immediately, even though I have visited their website a few times now.

The first rule of good navigation: no fancy names for menu items. Call a link to your biography 'Bio', or 'About the band', don't call it 'Culture' or 'Memorization' (both actual encountered items).

The second rule is to keep the number of navigation items below 10. The more navigation items you have, the harder it gets to find what your looking for. If you really have that much content items on your webpage, you always can add subnavigation, but you're probably better of if you restructure your content.

Adding navigation items to parts of your site that aren't ready, or navigation items that aren't clickable yet is also not a very good idea. I'll go deeper into this in a following post.

4. Bad Sound

Getting your music heard is one of the main reasons to have a band website. Sadly, there's a whole lot of things that can go wrong with sound on webpages.

Crappy recordings

While it should be your goal to have some downloadable songs on your website as soon as possible, you shouldn't just throw the first crappy recording you made in your basement online.

I'm not saying you should spend loads of cash just to record a song for your site, but if you can hear mistakes, you can bet your visitors will hear it too. You can always add a song recorded during a practice session to your site, but try to use recordings without mistakes.

If your band has recorded some demos and you've made progress, make sure to listen to your old songs to see if you still think they represent your band. If you think you won't make a good impression with your older songs: remove them from your site.


I don't want an mp3 of half a song, I want complete songs.

You gain more by releasing 1 or 2 complete songs from a demo, then from releasing fragments of each of the tracks. The only reason I can think of why you'd limit yourself to fragments is that your afraid it might hurt your demo or cd sales.

Well, think again: by realizing songs instead of fragments, you make sure people keep listening to your songs. They might even share them with p2p software like limewire.

Which brings my to the following mistake:

Badly or untagged music & bad filenames

With media programs like WinAmp, Windows Media Player or iTunes it's easy to add info to a track about the artist, track, album and even add some comments. Yet I lost count of the number of songs titled 'track 1' by 'artist' I've downloaded.

Always make sure to fill in as much of the info as possible. Don't forget to add the url of your band in the comments field. Also give the mp3 a good filename: including both the artist and the track.

This way, if someone downloads your song, and finds the file on his harddisk days or weeks later, he still knows which song it is.

Turn it down please

And finally a personal pet peeve. I know MySpace does it, but personally I hate it when I visit a site, and music starts playing automatically. I'm usually listening to music when I'm browsing, and hearing two songs at the same time, doesn't sound good. If you do want music playing immediately: please use an easy to find stop button.

Part III is up.

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4 comments on “10 things I hate about your band's site - Part II”


March 29th, 2006 | 10:33

Yes, well, you're somewhat right ofcourse, I did all those things you said with The CUrtains, besides the crappy recordings (ah well, not that crappy)..


April 1st, 2006 | 18:02

I kinda like hearing 2 or 3 songs at the same time. I used to play a tape, record and CD at the same time when I worked at cafe SWAF. But since you don't: turn your music off now! and visit www.myspace.com/sackowoes
3 new songs which are soon to be released on 7" white vinyl.


April 2nd, 2006 | 12:59

Cool, I downloaded the new songs immediately!


February 28th, 2008 | 9:13

Cool tips. What about the cool band site list?

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