I recently began volunteering at a local hospital alongside a music therapist. It’s been a while since I’ve been in a corporate environment, and my first week was a very eye opening experience – not only because I get to meet patients and see music in a different light, but I get a strong reminder of corporate policies. When you’re self employed, you tend to forget that exists!
Hospitals are great at protocols and procedures. Literally EVERYTHING has a protocol that everyone who works at the hospital is expected to practice. They call this “best practice.”
Best practices in the corporate world are methods or systems that are accepted to be most effective because they have been tested over and over again and proven to work.
While this may change occasionally, currently, there are a number of concepts and features that are considered best practice on websites which have been successful for more than ten years.
You may have noticed that the layout of a lot of the websites I’ve built is very similar. Colors and fonts may be different, but the general gist of most sites is the same! This is because I have closely studied best practice on websites for a very long time, and I’m following those practices when building sites for my clients.
In this article, we are going to discuss a few necessary features that are a part in all of the BEST music lesson websites.
Hospitals have signs at every corner. They have signs on every door, and on a lot of the equipment. You’re constantly reminded of where you are and what the expectations are of you to enter that area.
If you think about it, your website should be doing the same thing! Visitors should know:
- What page they are on
- How to get to the page they want to
- Where to ask for help if they are stuck
Clear Call to Action (CTA) on EVERY Page
Like patients at a hospital, your visitors may be very overwhelmed at all of the different music school websites they’ve been browsing. Make the experience easy for them by telling them WHAT ACTION you want them to take in order to enroll in lessons.
In web design world, this is called a “call to action” or abbreviated as a “CTA.”
Common CTAs include:
- a button that takes you to a form
- a webform being embedded on a page to send an email or register
- “call us at 555-555-5555”
It’s really important when making a CTA button to make it simple and easy to understand what action the button takes. Don’t try to reinvent the wheel by making the button text too long. Short and sweet wins!
On the internet, just as when someone walks in the front door of your business in real life, first impressions are EVERYTHING. Often, the first thing a person will notice when they come to a website are the photos.
The photos on your music lesson website should:
- accurately reflect your brand
- appeal to your desired clientele
- not be grainy or pixelated
- not be so large that they cause the page to load slowly
Avoid Distracting Design Elements that Automatically Move or Make Sound
In 2010 or so, slideshows were all the rage. Since then, it’s been proven that things that move on a website actually distract your audience from participating in the call to action you are asking for.
And nothing makes me close a web browser faster than if there is a sound that I can’t figure out where it’s coming from!
It’s generally best to avoid flashing objects, things that move, and anything that autoplays sound or video.
This doesn’t mean don’t use them at all, but use them sparingly, and avoid them on the top (above the fold) part of your homepage when possible.
These are just a few of the best practices for website design that you can employ on your music lesson website to help user experience! A web designer can help you with even more things. Please feel free to reach out if you need help!