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Should Your Website Have Audio?

Foguring Out if Audio's Right For Your Sites.
Paul Smithson - 15th January 2009
paul smithson Audio can be a highly effective sales tool and it’s well worth considering adding it to your site if you’ve not already done so, but be warned, it doesn’t work for every type of web site and the way you implement it can impact on your site in a negative way if you get it wrong.

The truth is that you won’t really know how your market will react to audio until you test it. For some topics it can work incredibly well and be a massive hit with visitors both in terms of retention and revenue generation. However, there are other niches where it’s completely frowned upon and can make people click their back button in a split second.

Not only do you need to test whether audio itself has a positive impact on your site, but you also need to test how the audio is used, particularly whether the audio starts playing automatically. Some visitors really despise audio that plays automatically whereas others love it. Often this will be dependent on the niche in which you are working. For example, the reaction to audio that starts running automatically is likely to be completely different for a site specializing in serious legal matters, populated by legal professionals, than for a site specializing in jokes and populated primarily by younger people.

During your initial testing phase you might try having audio on your site that users must start by clicking a ‘play’ button. If users respond well to that, you can try having it start automatically and see how well that is received by your visitors. 

If you’re going to use audio on your site, it needs to be the highest quality audio you can manage.

Make sure the sound isn’t too loud or too soft as audio that’s too loud will often cause visitors to leave your site immediately, particularly if they are in a work environment. Equally, audio that’s too quiet will just frustrate visitors are they’ll have to either turn up the volume to hear it or will have to put their ear closer to the speaker, neither of which is conducive to impressing your visitors. 

Of course, you can’t control the volume the user’s computer is set to, but you can control the volume at which you record the audio.  You’ve seen those television commercials that are much louder than the others, right?  You’re watching television, and suddenly a commercial comes on and screams at you. The audio is twice as loud as the TV program was. If you don’t want your visitors jumping out of their chair try to record at a volume that is appropriate for the vast majority of your visitors. Kids screaming and dogs barking in the background are complete a complete no-no, so do whatever you can to make sure any audio you record is done in a location or at a time that is appropriate.

Another thing to keep in mind is your own voice.  Although most people aren’t overly-critical about voices or accents, if you have a voice that is very harsh, or have an extreme accent, people may have trouble understanding you.  If you think your voice isn’t acceptable consider hiring voiceover talent to record your audio. You’ll find lots of voiceover artists offering their services on the Internet and a lot of them are very reasonably priced.

Above all else, your audio should have a bit of entertainment value.  If your audio is boring, and your tone is monotonous, your visitors aren’t going to listen for very long.  Visitors respond to dynamic personalities, interesting narrative, and enthusiasm. If you don’t check all those boxes seriously consider getting someone to do it who does check those boxes as few people want to listen to several minutes of a droning voice going on and on about product features.

Done right audio can give most sites a real boost and has been known to increase response rates by double digits, so it’s well worth thinking about. If you’re using a tool such as XSitePro it is an incredibly simple process to add audio to your pages, so you really have no excuse for not giving it a try sooner rather than later.

About Paul Smithson - Paul Smithson is the founder of Intellimon and the driving force behind the best-selling XSitePro web site development tool. Since graduating in Business Strategy and Direct Marketing from two of Europe’s leading business schools, Paul has set up five multi-million dollar companies, one of which is now owned by the BBC. His areas of expertise include business strategy, e-commerce, on-line and off-line marketing, software development, and maximizing the potential of on-line businesses.

For more information about this, and many other Internet Marketing-related topics, visit Paul Smithson's site, www.xsitepro.com.

Source: http://www.xsitepro.com/should-your-website-have-audio.html

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