Music Ed Magic Web Site Awards Logo Building a high school band web site can often become a labor of love that offers very little in return. Many high school band web sites are created with grand intentions but eventually whither on the vine out of neglect. Don't let your high school band web site become one of those. Follow these simple tips to make sure that whatever web site you create for your high school band that it is one that is truly representative of the high caliber of your organization.

 

Part 1

Building a high school band web site can often become a labor of love that offers very little in return. Many high school band web sites are created with grand intentions but eventually whither on the vine out of neglect. Don't let your high school band web site become one of those. Follow these simple tips to make sure that whatever web site you create for your high school band that it is one that is truly representative of the high caliber of your organization.

 

1. Know your audience

A high school band web site will not likely draw much traffic other than from your own students and their relatives. Most of these people are looking for specific information about your high school band when they visit your web site. Information such as your phone number, faculty email addresses, a calendar of events, and any forms or documents that are relevant to the activities your group is involved with. Of these things the most important is a copy of your calendar for the entire school year. Make it attractive, and if possible, include an Adobe PDF version of the printed schedule that you give to your students at the beginning of the school year. In addition to these items photographs of current and past events are always popular as well as copies of any printed band newsletters, band handbooks, or other communication materials that you send home with your students.


2. Keep it simple

There was a time when fancy Flash graphics and animated splash pages on high school band web sites were in style. Today, they are often just speed bumps that people might enjoy initially but on any return visit become a waste of time. Along the same vein, you should take the time to make sure that your high school band web site does not become a bandwidth hog. While broadband Internet access is becoming much more common, a great many people still use dial-up access with 56k modems. When you write your web site at school you are likely updating and viewing it over broadband. What may load and display in one second on your school machine may take a home user as much as a full minute or more to download.

The most common cause of high bandwidth usage on high school band web sites that I have seen is the use of unoptimized photographs. Photographs must be sized appropriately and optimized for the web. Never take a photo straight off of a digital camera and throw it up on the web site without first running it through Photoshop or another image editing program to reduce its file size. Simply changing the size attributes in the web page does not change the size of the actual picture. When editing photos for a web site you can dramatically cut down the file size by changing the photo to a resolution of 72dpi. 72dpi is the highest resolution that a computer monitor can display. Anything over this amount is simply wasted space.

In general, try to keep your page size under 30k. This 30k limit should include all of your text plus the combined size of all of your images.

{pagebreak}

Part 2

3.  NEVER put up audio or video that you do not have the appropriate license for.

In this post-Napster era of lawsuit happy record labels you can just never tell what might land you in hot legal water. Legally you can use a video of your performance in class as a teaching tool but that right does not extend to publishing it for everyone in the world to see. By posting such video without a license you are opening your school (and you) up to potential litigation. Just imagine the headline- "Local Band Director Sued For Music Piracy!"

 

4. Consider buying a domain name for your band

My first high school band web site had an address that literally took twenty seconds to type into the web browser. In most schools you are going to have an address that is linked off of your school site. In those cases you could wind up with something long and difficult to remember such as http://bobcat.w-dubuque.k12.ia.us/sites/bandjoomla/index.php. If you buy your own domain name you can shorten that whole thing down to a simple http://www.wdhsband.org. By typing in the short domain you can have the user redirected to the long URL address but they will never know the difference. Again, this comes down to public image. Having your own band domain name presents a more prestigious site.  Domains are cheap and easy, costing as little as $9 per year through such registrars as GoDaddy.com.   You should speak with your local technology director to see if he or she has any suggestions on how to set this up.

5.  Consider moving away from traditional HTML

One of the things that prevents band directors and web masters from updating their high school band web site is the time it takes to create the pages and keep them looking fresh. Today there are many new software programs that can be installed in the same directory as your web site that will organize, publish, and remove content based on rules that you tell it to follow. The web site you are looking at is running on one of these free, open source, Content Management Systems called Joomla. Articles are written using a web based interface that is very similar to Microsoft Word, and this content is put up or taken down on specific dates. With these systems you could write an article months in advance and have the site automatically post that article when the time comes. CMS's are a great way to streamline your site to the point that it almost runs itself. Http://www.wdhsband.org is an example of a high school band web site using a content management system.

 

6.  Don't do anything if you are not totally devoted to continuing it long term.

The biggest problem with high school band web sites is that they often become stale. If you or your web master are not dedicated to regularly updating the site with new photos, new articles, or other recent and useful information then even your students and their families will not bother to look at it more than once. The reality is that a high school band web site is basically there for publicity and convenience. The convenience aspect is for your students and their parents. The publicity aspect  is the image that your site sets forth about your band. If you have a great band program then your web image needs to reflect that same aura of prestige. Stale, out-dated web sites do not present a positive image.  Building a good high school band web site is a labor of love with few rewards but it is a labor that most schools should consider doing.

 

 

Note:  The articles on this site may contain referral links to sites such as Amazon and other online retailers.  The small amount of income received from these links has helped keep MusicEdMagic.com up and running for over ten years now.  Thank you for your support!  

Login Form