When I first built williamsteffey.com in 1999, my goal was to create an immersive multimedia adventure. There were no clues about what the navigation glyphs meant. You had to click on them to find out where they led.
Even still, the names of the subpages were also a bit fancy. All of my writing was under the header of ‘Script’ and all my music was under the header of ‘Sound’. The subtitle of my website up until recently had been “The Esperanto Pages” not because any of the material was in the Esperanto language, but because I felt my work at the time was speaking to the human condition. Maybe I thought that my art touched on some universal language of its own.
I think many people landed on the site looking for Esperanto learning materials. In November of 2016, I launched my new website, ditched the glyphs, but kept the name “Esperanto Pages” and the oblique site sections.
Since I’m trying to reach a larger audience, I feel that I should keep my site simpler. So people know what they’re getting at first glance. It’s not the old days of the web anymore, and attention spans are very small. People coming to a site with music and writing aren’t necessarily going to want to play Myst. Last week I ditched the Esperanto title and replaced it with “Words and Music”. The ‘script’ section is now called ‘words’, and the ‘sound’ section is now called simply ‘music’.
I don’t feel like I have to be all esoteric as I did before. I feel my songs and stories are pretty whacked out to begin with, so it’s much better to have that balance- have the presentation of the songs and stories more straightforward. People landing on the page are going to understand right away that I make music.
This reminds me of something I’m horrible at that I really need to get straight. I rarely have a good answer for people when they ask what kind of music I make. It’s totally cliche (not the music, I hope, but how nobody likes to be pigeonholed).
So I was out a few months ago with some people, and there was another musician in the crowd. Somebody asked him what kind of music he made and he waffled for a few minutes and ultimately conveyed zero information about what his music sounded like. (And I saw how ridiculous I look most of the time when I try to dodge that question myself). Am I really that unique? Precious? Get over it, man!
Most people want to know ‘who’ I sound like. I could name my influences, but the main guy is known universally for his anomaly one-hit-wonder, and not his other six albums. (hint: SCIENCE!) If I mention him, people are going to walk away with a totally wrong idea about what I do. But I guess they’d at least remember something about me that might inspire them to look me up when they get home.
I dunno. I’ll be thinking about this more and will come up with something good. If you’re familiar with my music, feel free to leave your ideas in the comments. I’d love some input!