Collegiate a cappella groups have the chance to undertake a variety of endeavors, projects and adventures. Give It the Old College Try highlights opportunities a group may have overlooked or not thought of up to this point.
In suggesting these ideas, we openly acknowledge that there are groups with greater experience and knowledge on the topic than we can share. We welcome readers to chime in in the comments section.
In this edition, we suggest groups try…creating/refining your website.
A group’s website is, in many ways, its primary connection to the outside world. For the uninitiated, it informs visitors that a group exists. Once folks are aware of this, it provides a window into the group’s soul—a deeper illustration of who the group is and what it’s about, offering everything from recordings, to member profiles, to show dates, to a list of your repertoire. While there’s no substitute for seeing a group perform live, checking out its website is often a key lead-in or follow up step for fans to familiarize themselves with a group.
It’s important that a site look professional. Unfair as it might seem, your presence on the web is a reflection on your organization on the whole. If a site is poorly organized, and full of broken links and typos, it can go a long way toward indicating that your group is not a serious one. Such practice can ostracize potential fans, or make another group second guess whether they’d like to invite you in as a guest group. On the flip side of things, a polished website invites visitors in, helps a group put its best face forward, and can lead to an expanded audience and more networking opportunities.
Perhaps the most important function of all for an a cappella group’s website is that it helps people be your fans. A strong website will include an up to date list of upcoming shows, making it easy for supporters to know when they can see you perform live. What’s more, the use of media—be it MP3 downloads, YouTube clips, or something else—can give people the opportunity to sample you work, as well as to share it with the uninitiated, so they can sell your group all the more. In addition, a website provides the opportunity for the public to get to know group members. While some folks may be wary of aca-stalkers, a profile shot and some fun facts can help to show your group’s personality, and make supporters all the more excited about seeing you perform again.
All in all, a group’s website is an awesome source of publicity, a chance to build connections, and a way to communicate with and broaden its fanbase. We recommend you give creating or refining your website the old college try.