Radio station websites have come a long way in the past few years, but chances are your station website still has a ways to go to keep up with emerging trends.
In this article, I share the most important content for a radio station website. Including:
- Standard elements expected when listeners visit a station website.
- Why Less Is More on the home page.
- How most station websites offer too much content, which causes lost engagement.
Must-Have Content For Radio Station Website
Let’s get outside the radio world for a moment. According to a recent study, these are the most standard elements people expect when they visit a website:
- Clearly identify the brand with a logo in the top left corner of each page.
- Contact information clearly displayed on each page, ideally in the top right corner of the page. Or at least a Contact Us link in the main navigation menu.
- Horizontal main menu navigation in the header at the top of each page.
- A search bar in the header. This is key to help users find exactly what they’re looking for.
- Social media follow icons in the footer.
That’s a good place to start, and it’s in each station’s best interest to follow these practices.
Now let’s get a little more detailed.
Create a Visual Hierarchy
It takes just 2.6 seconds for a person’s eyes to land on an area of a website that will stimulate their first impression. This happens automatically.
What does this mean in terms of usability? Make it easy for visitors to understand what is on the site.
Imagine landing on a website that has 20 images on the homepage. If you’re wondering what I’m talking about, visit a few radio websites. It won’t take long to find a prime example.
It’s overwhelming, and people won’t know what to do. They become confused and frustrated and move on.
Instead, create a visual hierarchy that shows users the most important pieces of the station website.
A hierarchy is simply focusing on what is truly important to the brand. Is it the morning show? Music mix? Information? The most visible, high-profile content should be those things most valuable to the brand.
Take Out Or Hide The Junk
A content audit of the station website will reveal a lot of junk that doesn’t need to be there. Or at least, it could be moved to submenus to clear the path for more important content.
Start by reimagining the station website as explained here. Most stations will discover that these are the most important elements (in no particular order):
- Listening to the station stream.
- Hear or see content on demand.
- Win contests or participate in promotions.
- Position the essence of the station brand.
- Sign up for the station newsletter or fan club.
- Interact with personalities.
That’s basically it. The rest is just not that desirable or important. For details on how to establish the look and feel of the site and a great example from Nash-FM in New York, go here.
Design For Importance
Next, redesign the site so the most valuable content stands out.
These are the factors to keep in mind when designing a visual hierarchy for website usability.
- Size. The most important content should be the biggest.
- Color. Make sure each piece fits the site’s color style guide.
- Contrast. Use complementary colors and fonts that “pop”.
- Position. Focus on the most important content, not the most recent.
- Alignment. Most templates take care of this but pay attention to how the elements are aligned if designing your own site.
- Simplify the navigation. Lead the audience deeper into the site. Avoid just tossing all the options on the main menu.
In fact, ease of navigation may be the most important aspect of usability, especially for a site that hosts a lot of content.
The homepage is important, but ultimately, users navigate to other landing pages. How will they get from point A to point B? How long does it take? Does it take too many clicks to find what they’re looking for?
These are all factors that need to be taken into consideration.
Apply the same thought process for each page of the site. Evaluate what is important and what is clutter. If it’s just too painful to delete content, simply move it back in the hierarchy and use submenus.
Then repeat the process when new content is added. Identify what is most important and adjust.
The station website needs consistency from page to page. Most themes make this easy, but don’t try to be too cute. Keep the site consistent.
Website usability can make or break the success of the station website. If visitors don’t have a good experience, they won’t come back.
Use this guide as a reference point. Once this is accomplished, you’ll benefit from happy website visitors that keep coming back.