Q&A: Should I have music on my website?
This comes up more often than I’d like; there is no shortage of vacation rentals in the area that try to convey an aura of calmness and escapism using music on their website. Unfortunately, the result is they are turning away business.
I received this inquiry via my personal website from a local in Los Cabos, that had just inherited a website – with music:
“…. we have recently taken over a business that had a website packaged with the sale. Now, the website in our opinion, is ok as is, but we had a question about the music that is being used throughout the site. Is this something we should look at removing? My wife quite enjoys it, but I’m not so sure if it’s appropriate for our site?”
(source omitted for privacy reasons)
No music. Ever.
I can only think of a couple exceptions: a website for a music band/group/artist, or when the music is controlled so it doesn’t start automatically when you hit the site, but is fully controlled by the visitor. But even then it isn’t a great idea.
Why no music? Me and my wife both agreed we love it!
If this wasn’t obvious already, your potential customers are not you or your wife! You have to think a little about the behaviors of people that search the internet. How many people would you estimate are sitting in their office cubicle in the USA or Canada, pounding out the 9 to 5 every day, sneaking a little search on the internet about a dream vacation getaway?
Do we want to blast them with music as soon as they hit your site? Make them scramble for their volume control to avoid detection, knocking over their coffee in the process? I’m going to assume after putting someone through that ordeal, they have already left your site or have left them a little pissed off – either way, not the ideal experience for your 1st time visitor.
OK, so I probably exaggerated a bit, but you get the point. Having music that starts automatically when someone visits your site is perceived as negative for some people.
You went through all the work of optimizing your site for search engines, choosing keywords, getting a great site designed – through it all, somehow, this poor tired office worker found your site – then you blow it right away with a computer-based noise assault.
What a waste! Business on the internet is a numbers game: the more visitors, the more business. Don’t deter them, let them come!
If you absolutely must use music on your website, don’t let it start automatically: give the visitor the option to turn it on (and off). And make sure the music doesn’t auto-start again, if the visitor has already turned off the music, and visits another page in your site. Your web programmer can do this for you using cookies, which will remember whether music was turned on or off, site-wide.
Why take a chance and turn away potential business?