Your Group Website

Social Networking

With the popularity of Facebook, Twitter, and like sites, a number of groups have stopped paying attention to their group website in favor handling business through these more standardized formats. There is some merit to paying greater attention to a social networking platform that people are already on, rather than trying to direct traffic to a separate website. This practice allows a group to push content to users rather than waiting for them to come to it, and it narrows the number of sites a group has to manage and update.

With all of that said, groups still do have a lot to gain by paying attention to their own websites. Think about it: are you 100 percent happy with every aspect of Facebook? Maybe you don't like the way photos are presented, or the privacy settings, or the way event pages are laid out. Whatever you don't love about Facebook, consider rectifying the problem on your own site. Sure, your group may not have a Mark Zuckerberg-caliber programmer available to design your site. But there are enough site designers, and enough do-it-yourself services and designers who services are reasonably affordable that you can create a respectable, custom website.

On the topic of customizing your site, consider how your site's design reflects the functionality you want to get out of it. In perusing a cappella group websites, I've seen a number of sites plugged into blog sites; such that everything from member profiles to the group's repertoire is presented as a separate blog post. Most blog designs are intended for regular updating and a volume of content; they are not set up for fixed pages that will remain static for months at a time. A blog is great feature of a group's site, but is not great for most group's overarching site design. Don't settle for what's easy in this category--remember that your site is a reflection of what your group is all about, and mold it around what your group values most.

No a cappella group website is complete with the inclusion of media. The essence of your group is performance, so if there aren't at least audio clips (if not full songs available for download or embedded YouTube clips) you're probably not giving your visitors what they're most interested in seeing on your site.

You should also look for ways to make your site more personal and help connect fans with the group members. More groups than not have member profile pages on their sites--include photos, and let the information shared, again, reflect the identity of your group--funny, laid back, professional, or other.

Speaking of connecting with fans, no group site should ever leave out contact information. Through various stages in The A Cappella Blog, I have spent hours perusing group websites to try to set up interviews with directors or to contact someone about taking a survey. More important than ACB efforts are those people trying to contact you to book you for a show, to buy your CD, or to ask how they can join your group. For my part, I usually stop looking if I can't find an email address or contact box in five minutes--I imagine others have even shorter attention spans. When so many groups do make it easy to get in touch, don't make yourself inaccessible.

Lastly, an a cappella group's website should not exist in isolation. You should maintain a group website in addition to, and as a complement to your Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other pages, and be sure to link every which way to form a network through which fans of different interests and persuasions can follow you. Your website can represent the hub for all of us where users start and end in their search to know your group better.