Welcome back to this little slice of Wadawurrung land, and another update video.
This week I finally forced myself to get my website redesign properly underway. I had done some preparatory work on it back before Christmas, but I’d been procrastinating about it ever since, so it was good to finally bite the bullet and get some work done on it.
I think part of the reason I procrastinate over it is that it’s a struggle to get a really clear picture of how to achieve for my clients the experience that I want them to have when they’re visiting the website. And I guess what I want is for them to sort of see what we’re about, listen to what we have to offer, and then if they like what they hear, to feel good about booking us in. And I’m always conscious of the fact that it’s a big risk for anyone to say, yes, I’m going to hand over this deposit and commit to paying a fair bit of money to this group of people who I’ve only seen online and are going to come along to my event which I’ve spent years of my life planning, and they’re going to get their instruments out and start playing, and that could either make the whole event come to life or completely destroy it, depending on how good or bad they are at their jobs.
So, I feel as if I need to do the best I can to give them confidence, and to show them the kind of job we do, and while I can’t invite them along to see us play at other people’s weddings or corporate functions, I can put a video up on my website which I’ve recorded on gigs, and let them into a bit of the experience of what it’s like to have us come along and play.
I do my best to record the sound properly, so you can hear a lot more detail in the music than you’d probably be able to hear if you were standing at the bar having a drink, but otherwise it’s the best representation that I can offer to help people make that decision.
So when people arrive at the website, they’ll generally arrive at the home page. And the last time I designed the website, I think I felt as if the home page should be an introduction. That was kind of like a 2000s Geocities kind of thing to think. So here you can see I’ve got a very old picture of me playing the bass, and several paragraphs which people are supposed to read, and then under that I’ve got a stream of videos from recent gigs, which at the time this snapshot was taken I hadn’t updated that in like several years. So in the right column here there are a couple of links which are supposed to guide people to listen and watch, and take them to the contact form to enquire about prices and so on, but at a glance, and a glance is probably all most people are going to give it, it just looks like a kind of a generic brochure, and doesn’t provide people with a quick easy obvious way to start experiencing the music.
If they do manage to find their way into this bands menu and choose one of the groups, again they’re presented with an old picture and a swath of text first, with this crappy looking callout directing them to the contact page, and then they can scroll down to watch a bunch of video embeds recorded on gigs.
In the new website, as well as doing basic things like making it mobile friendly and so on, I wanted to simplify things a lot, and provide a much quicker, simpler path for people to engage with the music, and to get a sense of what I might be like to deal with as the bandleader.
I didn’t want to autoplay any video, I think can be a bit annoying, but I’ve started by going in with a very minimalistic front page. I’ve got the new logo which I’ve designed to look like a sort of a vintage album cover, and then just a few simple tiles directing people to the three main music options that I have available at the moment. I’ve gone with these sort of descriptive titles for the groups, which I hope will be enough to set people on the right track depending on what they’re looking for, but I’ll probably also add a tile that says something like, y’know, “Take me through the options”, or something or other, so for people who don’t know what they want yet. And then I’ll also add more tiles, obviously, as I add more options.
At the moment, these tiles just link to the same material that I had before, so my next job is to go through those individual pages and update them. And my idea is that at the top of each of these pages there’ll be a single video embed, with a kind of trailer video for each group, if you like, where people can click play and hear lots of examples of the music, and hear me talk them through what kinds of occasions that group is really suitable for. So they’ll get the music, and they’ll get a bit of an introduction to me and a sense of what the Mood Merchants is all about, without having to plough through paragraphs of text first. And then for people who don’t want to watch a video, I’ll have a text version underneath.
And then and for people who want to watch more, I’ll have a link through to a YouTube playlist, probably, of that group playing in different venues and different configurations, and they can browse through or leave playing in the background, whatever they want to do. Every one of those videos will have a link back to the website in the description, so hopefully that will prevent people from kind of heading off to YouTube and not being able to find their way back if they decide they want to book us in. I could embed the playlist, but I feel as if getting people browsing around the YouTube channel might not be a bad thing, and I’d like to keep these pages looking pretty clean, if I can.
So I’ve got a lot of work to do putting together all this video content, both the introduction videos that I’m talking about and the playlists full of examples for each group. I’ve got a certain amount of stuff that I’ve already recorded on gigs back through the years in the archive, but I really need to record more. Obviously doing that requires booking in more gigs, so it’s a long process, hopefully kind of self-replicating after a bit.
I’ll be adding a fair bit of stuff in the coming weeks, so if you’re a subscriber, you might notice some of those extra videos popping up in your feed in between these updates as I sort of populate all that material.
That’s all for this update, thanks for watching, if you’ve got any thoughts about the new website or anything else, then let me know in the comments, and I’ll catch you again next week.