Miley Cyrus launched a redesign of her website on Wednesday (www.MileyCyrus.com), and I’d be willing to bet that “optimized” and “efficient” are among the last words you’d choose to describe it. After all, it’s a cluster of pictures and clip art images that look more fitting of a ‘90s-era GeoCities page than the 2013 homepage of one of the nation’s biggest pop stars.
But hear me out. Miley Cyrus’s new website design is spot-on. It’s a perfect representation of her (or of her personal brand, I should say), and it does exactly what it’s supposed to do: promote album sales, provide tour information (tickets aren’t available yet, so sales in that category are irrelevant at this point), highlight her social media profiles, and get people to keep talking about her.
So yes, unconventional as it may be, Miley’s website is actually great—and it can even teach us a few things about the importance of designing your website to appeal to your target audience.
1. It gives the people what they want.
After her provocative VMA performance, you would have to actively be avoiding any and all things Miley Cyrus to be unaware of what I’ll refer to as the Miley brand. She created a distinct persona for herself—and, love it or love-to-hate-it, the media can’t get enough of it. So at this point, putting up a run-of-the-mill website would have been doing a disservice to her brand and to her fans. It would have launched with little fanfare and attracted minimal attention.
The takeaway here is to make sure that you are promoting your services or products in a way that is in line with your brand. Miley Cyrus fans expect something outrageous, and what works for other musicians or brands wouldn’t work for her. You can implement all of the best practices you want, but if the message doesn’t represent your brand or resonate with your target audience, your efforts are less likely to be effective.
2. It has a clear conversion path.
In bold letters above a flashing, neon “Bangerz” sign are the words “BUY! BUY! BUY!” which may be the most straightforward and obvious call to action there can be. Clicking on both the words and the picture take you directly to an iTunes page to buy her album.
It’s anything but subtle, but considering the Miley brand, it doesn’t need to be. The direct approach wouldn’t work for everyone, but it’s important to make your CTA stand out regardless.
3. It’s engaging.
The surprise factor alone makes the website intriguing, and the fact that your cursor turns into a foam finger when you hover over certain images just makes you want to click on everything. It increases the average time that the user spends on the page and increases the chance that they’ll see the content that you want them to see. Videos pop open and play within the homepage to decrease the chances of losing visitors to the depths of YouTube, and the iTunes link automatically opens in a new tab. The site does a great job of attracting and maintaining the user’s interest.
4. It’s personal.
The link to her Twitter profile is a picture of her sitting in a director’s chair with “Twitter” written on the back. The top left corner has a picture of her holding a handwritten welcome sign. There are emojis, and there’s a surprise when you click on the dot of the “i” in Miley. Unlike most other artist websites, I would believe that Miley was actually involved in the creative design process for her website.
This personal touch gives the user a more intimate experience, and that is how you turn casual visitors into fans—people are more receptive to people and brands that they can identify with.
5. It has a cheeseburger cake.
I mean, come on. What’s not to like there?