Unpopular Opinion: Your website isn’t about you

Your website is about your patrons.

The days of websites that are essentially a digital version of a season brochure are over.

Let’s shift our thinking in how we present ourselves and our programs online.

  1. Identify your desired outcomes. Here’s the one part that is about you. What do you want people to do when they visit your site? You want them to buy tickets or register for classes or make a donation or something else of the like. Have these outcomes in mind when you are doing anything website-related.
  2. Make your site easy for people to use. What do people want to do when they arrive at your site? Odds are, they want to find out more information about performances/exhibitions/classes/events (depending on what type of arts org you are). Making it easy for people to do that using an uncluttered design with prominent calls-to-action.
  3. Use words people will understand. Website efficacy is about more than just good design; it also includes the words we are using to describe things. I once worked with an organization that used the word “presents” in their main navigation which, when clicked, went to their performances. “Presents” was a word they used internally for performances, as in “[Name of Organization] Presents [Name of Show]” but the average person isn’t going to know that. A much better choice would be “performances” or “shows” or even cut right to the chase and use “tickets”.
  4. Focus on what is important to the customer. Put yourself in the shoes of your patrons and provide information and services they are looking for. Your website should serve the needs of your patrons, not solely those of your organization.