Last week I asked readers to share a link to their website over on the Connected Comedy Facebook page. I was thrilled with the response – more than 100 of you shared a link to your site. As I browsed through all the sites, I was a little less thrilled as I realized how many of you are missing huge opportunities with your sites.
I decided to go back and choose 50 of the sites that you shared with me to look at randomly and make some observations that I hope will help you get more out of your websites. So, here’s the four most common mistakes (or missed opportunities) that I saw.
1. Why Doesn’t Anybody Have An Email Mailing List?
For what it’s worth, I think the most important thing you can do to build your fanbase is to capture email addresses of your fans. So, I was blown away by the fact that just about none of you even attempt to collect email addresses on your websites.
Of the 50 sites I looked at, only 3 of them had any kind of mailing list or email signup form on the site. I know that a lot of people underestimate the importance of email, but I’m shocked that such a vast majority of you completely ignore the idea of building a list. In my opinion, the most important thing you can have on your site is a way to capture people’s emails and yet most of you don’t even attempt to do so.
And even the three people whose sites have some kind of email form typically have it buried and don’t offer any real incentive for people to join. Talk about a huge missed opportunity.
By the way, if you’d like to take some steps to correct this problem, here’s the tool I recommend you use to build and manage your email list.
2. Why Aren’t You Creating Content On Your Website?
The second biggest mistake I see on your websites is that most of you don’t bother to create any content on a regular basis on your website. Of the 50 sites I looked at, only 13 of them have posted content within the last month. And when I say “content,” I mean that in the broadest sense – a blog post, a funny picture, a video, anything.
The vast majority of your sites are incredibly static – you’re using them as glorified Yellow Pages ads that people will visit once (maybe) if they need some basic information about you, but will never come back to. I understand that for some of you that’s all you want out of your website, but the reality is that you’re missing a big opportunity.
Today’s technology allows you to essentially create your own newspaper, magazine, book, radio station, and TV channel all in one place and at virtually no cost on your own website, but you’re basically choosing not to take advantage of it. By not regularly creating content, you’re not giving people a reason to visit your website, or giving your fans an excuse to spread the word about you, or creating ways for new fans to discover you.
If you’re not creating content, you’re choosing not to implement the most powerful weapon you have to grow your fanbase and your career.
3. Why Are You Trying To Make Money On Your Website Before You’ve Got An Audience?
I noticed several of your sites are running Google ads and/or have a store selling various merchandise. I don’t have any problem with either of these things and I don’t begrudge you trying to monetize your work, but most of the sites that had these didn’t have any fresh content or mailing lists on them. And, while I can’t see their actual traffic, I guarantee you that they aren’t getting much traffic.
I don’t understand why you would put the time and effort into creating a store on your website, or annoying visitors with ads, instead of putting that time and resources into creating something that will attract new fans or please the ones you have. Ads and merchandise have their place, but you should only employ them after you’ve started to grow your audience first. Provide value to your fans before you start trying to monetize them.
Plus, when a new visitor goes to your website and gets accosted with Google ads, what are you really saying to them? That you’re out to entertain them or that you’re out to make a quick buck off them? Something to think about…
4. When Was The Last Time You Checked Out Your Own Site?
Of the 50 people who sent me links to their websites to check, two of those sites were broken and didn’t work. That means that a whopping 4% of you were sharing links to a website that wasn’t even functional, which leads me to wonder how often (if ever) you actually bother to check out your own website?
I know that it’s only two people, and maybe it was just a random occurrence, but that’s still kind of disturbing. On one of the sites, the hosting for the site had clearly expired and I guess the person whose site it is didn’t even realize that they no longer had a functional site?
Here’s a tip that I’m sure will be the easiest bit of advice I ever give you on this site – if you have a website, you should make sure that it actually works before you tell people about it.
If you checked out some of the sites people posted on my Facebook page, I’d love to hear your thoughts about what you saw in the comments below…
11 thoughts on “The 4 Most Common Mistakes I Found When Browsing 50 Comedian Websites”
Josh you made some great observations. I personally
have noticed the same things and kept all of that in
mind when designing my own site. It is still a work in
Progress as the opt in form is there but not hooked
Up yet but also I’m not marketing yet.
Also like you Josh I come from a marketing background
And was glad to see someone else spreading the word
And how to market yourself as an entertainer
Hey Justin, nice to see you’re going to be using WordPress. I personally think that’s the best website engine out there – as evidenced by my use of it for this site!
I do offline consulting for small businesses and like to use WordPress because of its simplicity and how quick I can build a site. Plus search engines love it.
Great advice, and not too hard to address with some of the resources out there. With hit rates topping the 10’s, I am hesitant to rush out and grab up a mailing list management tool. But starting out the list sooner, rather than later, is good advice that I am appreciative of and willing to act on. Thanks Josh.
I agree that a site should have updated content to keep people wanting to come back, and mine definitely is lacking in that area.
I used to have a WordPress site, and I would post on it often, probably at least once or twice a week. After a year or so, though, I don’t feel like I got anything more out of it than I have now with a “static” site. The decision to ditch the blog-style site and deliver a more information hosted site seemed like the right move, especially with all the posts I throw on Twitter and Facebook daily. I honestly see my site as a place to host my name and basic info as a comic with a real “dot com” address, and I see those other sites (where millions of people already gather) as my interactive areas.
I do have plans to update my site this year, though. Plans include a podcast player for the podcast I started (mixcloud.com/jokingoff), the twitter feed thing that lets whatever you put on twitter appear somewhere on your site, and a better calendar system.
Hey, I put my website link on your Facebook, so I’m guessing that you checked it out. Which makes me really glad because, according to your 4 mistakes, I’ve past the test on ALL. I am using WordPress with a blog on the homepage where I post new content almost everyday, I have an email sign up, no ads or stores, and I check my website every single day. Always enjoy your posts…especially this one because it makes me feel like at least I’m doing SOMETHING right.
I don’t use email lists. And I don’t plan to.
In general, I rarely subscribe to email newsletters, no matter how big of fan I am, and if I do wind up on a list somehow, it mostly annoys me (again, no matter how big of fan). And I imagine that I can’t be the only one that feels way. If I want to keep up with somebody or something, I’ll do so on Facebook or Twitter.
It basically boils down to that if I don’t like the way something is promoted to me, than I am not ever going to use those same strategies to promote to other people, no matter the benefits it might provide me.
I know what you mean, but that actually brings up a bunch of other issues.
The reason email lists annoy you is probably because too many people just send spammy, annoying emails once they get your address and they don’t actually provide any value. That’s not a problem with the medium, that’s a problem with the way it’s used. I definitely wouldn’t recommend spamming people through email, but being clear about what people will get if they sign up and then delivering that – and ideally what you’re sending has value to them.
Also, keep in mind that there’s no “rules” when it comes to this stuff. You could create multiple lists and literally let people sign up for exactly what they want to get – separate lists for show updates, new content, or whatever else you’re up to. It’s really about giving people more options to get connect with you in whatever way they choose.
Facebook and Twitter are great and I’m certainly not knocking them, but the problem is that it’s way too easy for people to miss your updates on those compared to emails. The reason I say email is most valuable is because that has the greatest likelihood of a person seeing whatever you want to tell them.
I love you articles Josh, but I have to disagree on the e-mails list vs. facebook/twitter part. You can send a newsletter through facebook quite easily, also I too have signed up for e-mail lists for artists I like, and despite original and interesting content (well written news letters), eventually I stopped reading them. I personally want my e-mail for business and close friends, the rest should just be on facebook like the rest of the world. I would rather have a nice simple, well designed splash page and provide links for my fans right there. That way I don’t have to worry about my site crashing or whatever, when people find my page they usually find me on facebook, then we are interacting etc, which seems to be (as you mentioned in another article) where a lot of the arts are heading these days. Thanks again for all the insight, it is tremendously helpful.
Hey Ian, thanks for the comment. I don’t really disagree with anything you said, but I’d point a couple additional things out.
Obviously, you can’t force somebody to join your email list and if they’d rather just follow you on Facebook or Twitter, that’s perfectly fine.
My point is that an email subscriber is more valuable FOR YOU because there’s a greater chance of them seeing what you want them to see than there is on Facebook and Twitter. Any connection you can have with a fan is worthwhile and you should give people the options to connect with you however they choose.
But when less than 5% of your Facebook fans will typically ever see your updates (yes, that’s the actual rate) and a decent email list can have an 80% open rate, getting an email subscriber is more valuable for you than a Facebook fan.
That said, any connection is a good connection.
To add to that, you will own your list. With Facebook and Twitter you have to count on them staying around. Just look at how less population MySpace has become since its reign as top dog.
With that said, you can have followers/subscribers/fans on all of the mediums because now when you update they have multiple chances of seeing your content or show updates. just my 2 cents