Why Background Music Makes Your Website Suck

Picture this: I’m merrily working away on my laptop at the library, filling some time in between meetings, when suddenly, without any warning, my computer speakers start blaring some cheesy eighties pop. Instinctively I check to see if I’ve triggered my iTunes, but wait… I don’t have any Cindy Lauper in my music library. So where the heck is the music coming from? As the librarian shakes her head in disapproval, I scramble to punch the mute button on my Mac and regain my composure. After a few seconds of embarrassment, I realize the source of my musical time warp – it was coming from the last website I’d been viewing.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love music. It’s the soundtrack of our lives after all. But I absolutely, positively can’t stand background music on websites. I don’t care if it’s Sinatra or the Beastie Boys, it makes my ears bleed. But why you say, music adds an extra sensory experience to my website and makes it more appealing to my online visitors. Well, I hate to burst your bubble, but that hot jam that’s playing in the background is actually driving customers away from your website, and bothering librarians the world over. Don’t believe me? Here are four fantastic reasons why you should never, ever have background music playing on your website.

#1 – It Scares the Bejezus Out of People

No one expects music to start streaming when they visit a website, unless of course it’s a band’s website or a MySpace profile. So when your site starts to pump out the tunes, it can be a little disarming. The natural reaction to to make it stop. In my case, I hit the mute button, but just as many people will close the window on your website… never to return again. Scaring potential clients away is definitely a marketing no-no, so why add an element to your website that raises your bounce rate?

#2 – It’s Annoying

I tend to play my own music when I’m working, (unless of course, I’m at the library). So if ever I surf over to a website that has it’s own music, it results in a horrible mishmash of noise. And let’s be honest, if you’ve decided to play music on your website, chances are it’s terrible. It doesn’t matter whether it’s mind-numbing elevator music, futuristic techno, or pop from the 80′s, it’s bad, it’s tacky, and it’s unprofessional.

#3 – It Messes With Your Website’s Functionality

Having music playing on your website decreases the site’s performance, especially on slower machines. And let’s not forget about the annoying little glitch that happens every time you click and surf to a different page on the site. Oh yes, the music stops, and then starts again – EVERY TIME YOU CLICK! It’s enough to drive a person absolutely bat crazy.

#4 – There’s a Reason Why Your Competitors Don’t Have Music

You know what that reason is? It’s because having music on your website is a bad idea. Putting music on your site doesn’t make it revolutionary or cutting edge. It makes it dated and immature. Website designers thought background music was cool in the mid-nineties, and even then it was only for about 20 seconds.

When you visit a website with background music do you instantly surf away? It’s ok, you’re not alone. Put offenders to shame by sharing their link in the comments below…