Website Design & Focus

I was prompted to write about website design when I read this post from the blog “Butts In Seats” titled There Isn’t A Template for That. This article is a great reminder that it is a difficult task to make an arts website both functional and simple.

I agree with the author that there’s no easy “drag and drop” website builder service that you can use to make a great arts website. That’s because the things we need sites to do are rather complex, not the least of which is integrating online ticketing pages built by third-party companies, such as ours.

The thing I’d like to highlight, however, is not about how challenging it is to make changes to your site but why to make them at all. What is the overall strategy you are using to guide your decision-making? It’s easy enough to come up with a list of things you would like on your organization’s website, but the more important question is “will those features enable us to achieve the goals that are most important for the organization?”  

With the limited time and resources we all have, my recommendation is that you start by analyzing the pages your patrons are spending the most time on now, by looking at your Google Analytics or a similar program. Focus on making sure that these pages are working properly.

From experience, I can tell you that your calendar and ticketing pages are probably some of the most visited pages on your site. Focus on those, and compromise on pages that nobody ever sees. I know it’s painful to look at pages on your site that you know could be better. But don’t look at your site like you would a book — people are not looking in a linear way. They are typically viewing only a few pages. So start by devoting time and attention to those first.

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