Imagine a new friend sends you to her website to check out her work. You head to the music tab and you’re greeted by a drop-down menu of all her collaborations, her arrangements for orchestra, her songs placed in TV commercials — or at least the songs she thinks should be placed in TV commercials. You click over to the bio and see miles of press quotes touting this artist as everything from a hard-working maniac to the next Enya to a genius to rival Kanye. You move to the media tab to try to find the latest album or music video and you’re greeted with messages of “Hey, did you know I also act in avant-garde theatre?” and “Hey, did you know I also play the bassoon?”
You’re probably very impressed by your friend at this point, thinking, wow, this person is really busy.
But do you know what she’s about? Do you leave singularly impressed by her latest work? Do you even know what to say to her when she asks what you thought?
Your dominating thought is not, when can I hear that again? but where does she find the time?
A website is an extension of its owner — not just the things the owner does, but also how they see themselves.
I see a website like this and I’m impressed by the person’s time management skills, yes, but I also can’t help but feel a little sorry for them. Between the lines of code are hidden messages telling me about its owner’s insecurity. Notice how talented I am! the website cries. Please be impressed with all the things I do! But in the end, this kind of site doesn’t let the art leave a lasting impression. It creates the very thing its owner fears most— being forgotten.
If your website is starting to look like an encyclopedia or a tabloid screaming with competing headlines, take a step back. Is it easy to find your latest project? Do you give your new video the kind of spotlight it deserves? Maybe you can consider making your choreography work a separate site.
This may seem a little counter-intuitive, but an understated website displays a sexy kind of confidence. If you resist the urge to make your site the hall of fame of your accomplishments and instead craft it to focus on a singular mission, you give the visitor room to enjoy your art without constantly feeling like you’re asking for her approval.
Put away the site mockup, sit back with a cup of tea, and try to listen to your newest work as if for the first time. Are you proud of it? Do you think others will enjoy it?
If so, then you don’t need to accompany it with a list of the awards you’ve received. The art is enough. You are enough.
A focused website can say all that for you. Give your art room to speak for itself.