Consistency

At the TAXI ROAD RALLY in L.A. a couple of weeks ago, Ariel Hyatt (author of MUSIC SUCCESS IN 9 WEEKS) said she believed strongly that musicians should maintain a consistent image across web pages, blogs, and online stores, because statistics show greater likelihood of getting new fans and selling records when you do so.

I disagree. I like diversity, and I think my fans do too. What they want is not so much SAMENESS, as EASE OF NAVIGATION and not a lot of clutter. Nothing is worse than a “PIMPED” MySpace Page so cluttered with extraneous FLAIR that you can’t find anything and it takes hours to load.

I use WORDPRESS as the foundation of my music web sites and blog/newsletter because it is so streamlined and easy to navigate, as well as administrate (is that a word?).

For example, compare my two music sites…

www.cactusjoeonline.com

www.guppyeffect.com

Notice that even though the THEMES are different between the pages, the basic structure and layout are similar. This way, a visitor to one site is not confused when they link to the other site. They can navigate with basically the same functionality, even though the “look” of the pages is different.

I want the sites to look different, because each one has a unique personality. Even though CACTUS JOE (Hey, that’s me!) is the front man of GUPPY EFFECT, the music and presentation of these two acts are different. SO I do not want them to look identical. But I do want the user to float around easily in either musical universe.

Similarly, this “business” site you are now on needs to convey more of a professional front, whereas the band sites are more PLAYFUL. Also, when it comes to ONLINE STORES, I want them to function in the way that gets fans as quickly as possible to the thing they want to buy. I’m a MUSICIAN, not a salesman or digital retailer, so I leave the retail functionality (shopping carts and what have you) to the EXPERTS and don’t even try to match the overall design between my web sites and my online stores.

(NOTE: Musicians, I highly recommend and endorse www.bigcartel.com as an online retail front. It basically puts a PRETTY FACE on PayPal, and PayPal doesn’t rear its ugly head until checkout.)

So I am going to only partially agree with Ariel Hyatt in that users want consistency between sites, but it is consistency of FUNCTION, not FORM.

Please comment, dear readers.

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About Cactus Joe

Cactus Joe is a songwriter, producer, performing musician, and free agent in Madison, WI. http://www.cactusjoeproductions.com

Posted on November 19, 2009, in Essentials. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Hey Joe, love the blogs, always great stuff. To be honest, I disagree with you are missing the point that Hyatt is saying. Based on the passage I read, I think she means that one single image appearing over and over on blogs, pages, etc. will boost your fan base. It’s image recognition. If you are posting a different logo or image for your band on every page or site you have, no one will recognize you! I don’t think she is talking about clutter at all, she is referring to getting your image/logo to new fans, and to have them recognize it, not over look it. Besides, she is talking about “new” fans, not existing ones. Besides, they are fans for your music, not how fancy your websites and blogs are.

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    • Thanks as always Jake. Yes, a brand logo is important and should be recognizable and consistent throughout. I get that point from Ariel, and to me that is common sense (though, far too many bands still don’t do it…I don’t know if it is laziness or what). For most bands who just do the band thing and nothing else, that suffices. But for self employed pro musicians who have to do multiple things besides just have a band, there often can’t be just one “brand” but several. Then you can’t just have one brand covering everything, so a uniform functionality becomes more important, in my view. And I am the first to admit, it’s subjective.

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