Music on Websites

9 Reasons Investigator Websites Should Not Have Background Music

Question: What’s the quickest way to lose a potential client surfing your private investigator website?
Answer: Putting background music on your page.

The general thought is, everyone loves music. And while it is true that a lot of us enjoy music, music has its time and place. If your client is looking for a private investigator in the comfort of their home when music starts playing in the background, they might be in trouble with their partner. If they’re an attorney with a client in their office, and they’re pulling up your information for a recommendation, your music might startle them and serve up an embarrassing moment. The same can be said for insurance adjusters who are surfing the internet in their offices when suddenly the “Cops” song starts to blare in the background. Do you think any of these three people will call you after that? Probably not.

Investigator Websites & 007 – What’s The Hype?

I surf the internet on the regular basis looking for website ideas. In the last week, I found 9 private investigator websites that had music playing in the background. 4 of them had the exact same song – The intro to 007. I don’t know what the hype is between 007 and private investigators, if you do, please let me know in the comment section below.

From what I’ve been able to gather, a lot of private investigators feel that background music on their websites adds a bit of class, uniqueness, and fun to their pages. Some claim the music enhances the experience of the user- they couldn’t be more wrong. Music in the background of a website, regardless of the genre, is a bad idea. Here are 9 reasons as to why you should avoid putting background music on your investigator website.

1. Music is not part of design.

As I stated in the intro of the article, many people think that music really brings  private investigator website together. What you’re telling me is that your website is so badly designed that unless you have music playing in the background it’s not worth my time.

2. You destroy the “zone” for music listeners.

How many times do you browse the internet listening to a calm and relaxing song in the background? Now imagine if you you’re browsing the web for a service provider listening to Mozart. Suddenly, you come upon a website that adds heavy metal beats into your concerto at 5x the volume. I can guarantee you that hitting the back button is faster than finding the stop button on your page. Even if they find it, the button is all the way to the bottom, which means they scrolled through the entire page without reading a thing. The chances are that you will never see that visitor again.

3. You’re violating traffic habits… come on.

It’s 2013. Your browser can handle up to 25 different tabs at the same time on the same window. If you’re anything like me, I like to go to a search engine and click on all the results and open them in a new tab. I then browse through the tabs to find the one I need. If your website starts to play music in the background, the first thing I do is find which page it is and close it. Especially if I click on three different websites with sound: one plays a video, the other plays music, and another plays an intro sound. Now I have a 1st grade concerto playig in my office. Clicking the [X] is faster than opening my sound panel to mute the chaos.

4. Follow the leaders – They’ve done the research.

Take a look at successful websites, how many do you find that have music playing in the background? Does Facebook? Does Google? Does Amazon? What about RIAA (The Record Industry Association of America)? What about national PI companies? The answer is no. Because it doesn’t work. These giants have teams of marketers and developers that are constantly trying to research what works and what doesn’t work. When they find something that works for their advantage, the capitalize on it. These teams of researchers costs them millions of dollars – isn’t it awesome that you can benefit from their research without paying a dime? They already cut out the path, use that to your advantage.

5. Not everyone finds your taste in music enjoyable.

If you have music playing in the background, you’re going to have one of two things happen when a visitor lands in your site. They’ll love it, or they’ll hate it; that’s it. Your song will cost you 50% of your audience within the first 10 seconds of them visiting your page. Website visitors actively  look for reasons not to use you, don’t add musical taste as an extra reason to leave your page.

6. It destroys your page ranking in Google.

Google has been taking visit lengths into the equation of SEO for some time now. If your visitors are coming to your page and leaving in less than 10 seconds, Google keeps this measurement on their files. If they visit your competitor and they actually browse through their pages, Google ranks both companies and serves up the company that receives the most time.  How do they do it? They first categorize your pages. Both are about Investigation Services, both offer the same type of services, both are investigator websites, one get’s 10 seconds of traffic, the other get’s 2 minutes. That means that the 2 minute site is more important (at least in their eyes) and the 10 second page is trash.

7. Websites with music receive less shares.

I care about my friends, I especially care about my friends when they’re in quiet places. I don’t want to send out a link to a website that has music in the background. I don’t know where my friends are. I don’t know what they are doing. I don’t want to be called a jerk for sending them a page with loud music in the background when they’re in a library. I also don’t want to send them a link that will annoy their colleagues in a business meeting, or worse still, their boss.

8. Copyright violations, fines, and possible jail time.

If you’re using it for a commercial gain, someone is going to want a piece of the pie. If you didn’t record the music yourself, you better be sure to have a lot of money on the side when Sony sends in a lawsuit. You remember the RIAA from 2009 right? They didn’t go away, they’re still out there searching for copyright infringes. Are you sure you want to spend $10,000 on a lawsuit just to make your website “fun”? I wouldn’t.

9. The website is expensive to maintain.

Your website hosting provider charges you for bandwidth, this is the amount of data that is sent across the internet. Songs take up a lot of bandwidth. Unless you’re prepared to pay for the data, save those extra bills and use them where they matter the most – your company.

Overall, background music on any website is unprofessional and should not be practiced – ever. Ever. EVER. Take a look at your competition, do you wonder why they don’t have any music on their investigator website? The answer is because it’s no longer cool. If you have music on your page, understand that you will receive less clicks than your competitor. If you must have music, at least make it an option to play and don’t start it automatically when the page loads. Music in the background of your investigator website is the easiest way to turn a possible client into simple site visitor that will never come back. Never share. Never call. And never use your services.