I’m learning web design (and you should too)

11 04 2009

So I’ve spent the past 3 weeks learning the basics of XHTML and am now onto tackling CSS (note: if you don’t know what they are, you should). I treat it as a language. Just like any other language, syntax, location, and spelling matters. However, the worst case scenario in speaking French with a native speaker is that they may not understand what you’re saying. but at least have a gist of what you mean, whereas in HTML, if one word is wrong or a symbol is omitted, your whole site may be effected.

My roommate Arthur has been the motivation for me learning. He makes a killing designing websites for bands and record labels; in fact, he’s so busy that he needs he needs help. I was fascinated as I used to watch him at work because web design is both an art and science. SOOOOO I took it upon myself to learn design to help him aside from the fact that it’s a great skill to learn. You not only don’t have to pay someone to set up your site, but you also can get paid by someone else to do it for them. Win win situation is you ask me.

Why do I bring it up on music blog? Good question. Bands benefit immensely from having great sites. Concert footage. Audio streaming. Podcasts. Twitter feeds. Chatboards. Contests. All that and more is a direct connection with your fans. Fans care as much about your tourdates as they do about what’s in your fridge. You want to create a sustainable community of fans. Sustainable in the sense that the site won’t sizzle in popularity and cool down just as quick as you published it. Keeping it fresh and updated keeps the fans coming back.

Check the analytics to see where people are going on your site. What pages are getting the most traffic? How long are they staying there? All this data will tell you a lot about your fans’ web browsing habits, so don’t take it lightly.

Also, the layout of your homepage is crucial. After seeing Arthur from planning to creating his sites, I know how much effort goes into the color of a background, for example, even to the most minute shade of yellow. In addition, you have to assume that most people won’t scroll down, so what is at the top of homepage is (debatably) THE MOST IMPORTANT part of your site. It’s like choosing the first song for your new album; first impressions do have an impact. It determines whether they want to keep listening to another song or, in this case, click on another page on your site.

Basically, as I’m learning about how to create websites, I’ve noticed the little things that make a site unique, eye-catching, and interactive. So do yourself a favor, pick up a copy of Building a Website for Dummies or check out the World Wide Web Consortium for an online-based tutorial.  It’s a pain in the ass, but the result is most definitely worth the hassle.

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