A museum must have a solid online presence to attract and engage visitors. A well-designed website can provide a wealth of information about exhibitions, events, and educational resources and offer an easy way for visitors to purchase tickets and souvenirs.
I worked at the J. Paul Getty (link to getty.edu) for several years before I started my own digital agency; while there, my role was to build websites (both internal and external websites), teach curators and museum employees how to update websites, and how to optimize sites using search engine optimization.
From my experience at the Getty and building websites for other well-known institutions, here are top eight key features that every museum website should have:
- A clear and easy-to-navigate layout: A website should be organized and designed to make it easy for visitors to find what they’re looking for. This may include the main navigation menu with links to different areas of the site, such as exhibitions, events, and educational resources.
- Information about exhibitions and events: Museums should provide detailed information about current and upcoming exhibitions and events on their websites, including dates, times, and ticketing information.
- Educational resources: Many museums offer educational resources for teachers and students, such as lesson plans and online exhibits. These resources should be prominently featured on the museum’s website.
- Visitor information: Museums should provide information about hours of operation, ticket prices, and directions to the museum on their websites. Within each section, it’s also important to provide frequently asked questions to help visitors find their way, curtailing calls to the Museum’s help desk. When I was at the Getty, we would take every question
- Online ticketing: Many museums allow visitors to purchase tickets online. A website should provide an easy-to-use online ticketing system for visitors.
- Online store: Museums may also want to consider including an online store on their website, where visitors can purchase souvenirs and other items related to the museum.
- Accessibility information: Museums should provide information on the accessibility of their facilities and exhibits for visitors with disabilities. This may include information on wheelchair access, audio description, and other accessibility features.
- Social media integration: Museums should consider integrating their social media accounts (such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram) into their websites, so visitors can easily follow and engage with the museum online. Short-form video marketing is a must for museums to stay relevant and keep younger audiences engaged.
By including these features on their websites, museums can provide visitors with a comprehensive and user-friendly online experience.
We would love to help you with your website design and strategy! Please feel free to set up a discovery call.