Do you run a contra dance? How's your website? You have three main
groups of people looking at it: people new to contra, your regular
dancers, and dancers from out of town. Ideally you have a site that
answers their questions quickly and easily, but in putting together trycontra.com
I came across many sites
where key information was very hard to find. So here's a checklist
for dance websites:
Have a website
- Your dance should have one. This makes it easy for people to
pass links to the site, see it in searches, and provides an
official source for the information below.
Have a clean domain name
- It's much easier for people to remember "bostoncontra.com" than
"people.example.edu/~abc/dance," and it also looks more
like a real dance website.
Have the date, time, and location of your next dance
- While people visiting your site don't all have the same goals, a
lot of them want to go to your dance. Put this on the first page
people will see.
Include the full street address
- While your regular dancers know what you mean when you say the
next dance is at the "Park Ave Congregational Church" or even
"PACC," new dancers and people from out of town don't. Also say
"50 Paul Revere Rd, Arlington, MA". Don't just say "50 Paul
Revere Rd" and figure that the town is obvious: maybe someone
came in from a search and don't know whether the dance is in
their town or not. A link to an external mapping site can be
helpful here too.
Include the year in dates
- Dances come and go, but sometimes when a dance goes its website
stays behind. By including the year when you post dates it's
clear to people that your dance is current, and if someday your
series does fold it will be clear to people from the out-of-date
Post an email address
- No matter how good your website, some people will have
questions. Maybe they want to know what age range is ok at your
dance, or they're a band putting together a tour and wondering
how your booking process works. Let them ask you!
Say how much it costs
- To someone new to dancing the words "live music" can imply
this is a $30/night sort of deal. Let them know they can afford
to come, and that if they like it they'll be able to come
Post a general schedule pattern if you have one
- If your dance is every Monday except in July and August, or
every first and third Sunday, say that. If you had to choose
between the recurring pattern and specific dates I would say go
for the dates, but you don't have to choose.
A picture is nice
- There are lots more details about your space and community than
you can explain well in text, but a picture from one of your
dances can help fill in that background.
If it's not on the front page it doesn't count
- What matters isn't that information is on your site somewhere,
but that someone looking for it is likely to actually find it.
You make this way more likely by putting the information on the
first page they see.
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