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Monday 24th January 2022 at 13:16
We sometimes get asked by our web design clients to put background music on their website. Our immediate answer is "bad idea!" and we explain the reasons why. Just in case you're wondering here are the 5 main reasons you should NEVER put background music on your website.
Our advice on having background music on your website hasn't changed in all the years we've been building websites (we founded in 2004). All the stats and research show that if a visitor comes to your website and background music starts playing then it is...
a) An unwanted surprise / unexpected
c) Usually will cause them to leave the website
(what's called a "bounce")
Imagine that you last used your computer, phone or tablet to watch a video and your volume was left on quite a loud setting. If you visit somebody's website and music unexpectedly starts playing then I'm sure you can imagine how much of an unwelcome surprise that would be.
Also imagine your website is being viewed by someone in public (eg somebody on their phone in a cafe or pub); that background music is going to cause issues for your visitor.
Quite simply websites with background music cause the majority of visitors to leave.
Having music on your website requires extra bandwidth to stream the music and will slow down the loading of your website.
Whilst this slow down will be pretty marginal on super fast internet connections, it will still be seen as a slow down in the eyes of Google. How fast your website loads is a major ranking factor for Google and slow websites don't rank as well as fast websites so it is essential you do whatever is reasonably practical to make sure your website loads quickly.
Whilst the piece of music you may have chosen as background music for your website may be a piece you really like, and you may feel that it is quite nutural, not everybody may share your opinion.
If you want visitors to spend as much time as possible browsing through the items you have for sale on your website, make sure you don't have background music as this could cause them to leave.
If you want to play music on your website you'll usually need to pay for special a licence to use it.
Just because you might have bought a copy of a track, or own the CD, that does not legally give you the permission to put it on your website.
Even royalty free music may have limitations in terms of number of plays (eg 100 plays per month) which would obviously cause you issues when your 101st visitor lands on your website.
You want to ensure that visitors to your website are spending their time looking at the items you have for sale. For our antiques & art dealer clients that could be your latest stock you've just uploaded to your site for example.
Having background music on your website can act as a distraction. It's very different to background music playing in a physical shop or gallery, and research shows that it causes a distraction when used on a website.
When we say "music on your website" we are specifically referring to background music on the website itself, eg music that starts playing in the background when you visit the website.
There are of course times when it is appropriate to have music on your website. The obvious being if you're a musician and you have music people can click to choose to listen to (but only if they click and choose) to, or if it is in a video which a visitor can choose to play.
The other is in video.... for example we use background music in our client case study videos which is perfectly acceptable as it forms part of the ambience of the video, and it only plays when a visitor has clicked to play the video.
If you're curious as to what we mean, have a look at the following client case study videos we've made...
DS Decorative Periods
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Monday 24th January 2022 at 13:16