By Chris Miller
Chris Miller Digital
SHAKER HEIGHTS — Maybe you have corporate people who have some control over the content and appearance of your website. Maybe you’re the lone person at your station that really cares about the website. If you’re in either one of these groups, you are not alone … not by a longshot!
I often hear digital issues spoken of in grandiose terms, so let me pass on a few practical website tips you can do at the station level, no matter what your corporate interactive people are doing. They’re often brilliant experts on the web, but they’re not experts on radio. They’re also certainly not experts on how the two fit together.
What’s the difference between your site and Google, YouTube and Facebook? Those sites have a clear reason for being, and clean, well-organized content. Get your page looking more Facebookish or YouTubeEsque, and you’ll go a long way towards building your website numbers. Here are some nuts-and-bolts actions to get more people back more often and clicking on more stuff.
Create as much “white space” as you can. If your website looks like a coupon mailer fell open on my desk, do what you can to just separate your content pieces with some more blank space. That space actually helps your fans just make sense of what you have at your site.
Agree on colors and fonts. All your text should be in the same font. Yes, all of it. Limit the colors you use, too, to help people make sense of what you’ve posted online.
Your most important content is what’s both on your air and on your site. This includes your evergreen features like “what song played when,” and information on changing features and promotions. That’s the stuff that you want people to find as soon as they log on.
Your listeners already have an expectation of your website. They think they’ll find deep, focused information about what you said on the air. That’s because they understand that your broadcast, your stream, your website, your social media, and your emails or texts are all part of one brand.
Grocery stores don’t win by carrying more and more exotic items; they win by making it easy to find and buy the basics. Make it ridiculously easy to find your stream, your event guide, your blogs that revisit what your content-driven shows talked about, and your list of songs you played or news stories you broadcast (depending on your format). If you have a graphic position that rotates large pictures, one or two of those slides should always be about something that people love about your station.
I don’t want you to upgrade your graphics just so you look nice. I want you to do so because it boosts your web hits.
That’s why I already urged you to limit your fonts and colors. Your competition, most other business sites, isn’t lucky enough to have a transmitter attached. They have to focus on how they look and how they’ll get used. With lots of random colors and fonts all mushed up together, you don’t look fun and interesting; you look confusing and unusable.
In addition, think about how your content is organized. Website visitors don’t come just to hang out and see what we got; they usually come with a purpose in mind. Can your average listener easily find what she or he is looking for?
If, about something on the air, you say, “visit our website for more information,” there bloody well better be more meaningful information there.
If you create an entry form for a contest, make it as short as possible, and try it out before you make it public.
Web visitors are often looking for basic contact info. Make it easy to find an email or phone number they can use, and put your social media links close to the top of the page.
On all your digital platforms, if someone talks to you, talk back. Don’t let questions or comments from your fans go unanswered. If you open up a channel of communication, communicate.
Pretty simple, basic stuff, huh? That’s how you start creating a difference.
Chris Miller, owner of Chris Miller Digital, is a leading radio consultant specializing in research-based strategic planning and smart use of digital media. He can be phoned at 216-236-3955 or e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.