A memorable, effective author website will act as your online hub and boost your writing career. But there are Web design elements that can sabotage even your best efforts and send potential fans bouncing off your website. Since visitors will decide in the first few seconds whether they’re going to stay on your site or click out, here are five Web design disasters you must avoid:
Author Website Elements That Send Visitors “Bouncing”
- Clashing colors
Whether you choose subtle, understated colors, or bright, vivid hues that match your personality, be sure to coordinate your website color scheme across all the pages of your website. Clashing, poorly matched colors will look amateurish and be uncomfortable to view for any length of time. And what happens when something hurts your eyes? You close them—just as quickly as your visitors will close their browser windows. Be sure to use only a few, complimentary colors, and don’t forget to pull shades from your backgrounds and images.
- A cluttered homepage
If you’ve ever walked into a crowded, noisy room, you know what your first reaction probably was—to turn around and walk right back out. Your homepage should have one clear focus and a strong call to action, making it easy for visitors to process what they’re seeing and easily navigate your site. Think about what you want your homepage to promote: You, as a writer? Or a particular book you’ve just published? Then save any additional content you have for the inside pages. A sleek and simple homepage with a singular focus will make a great first impression on visitors to your website.
- Outdated information
Fans who check out your website are looking for new, fresh content, and relevant information about your writing. If your homepage brags that your latest book is “coming soon in 2010”, or your blog hasn’t been updated in years, visitors will leave your stale website and search for better info elsewhere. Even if you’re short on time, there are quick, easy ways you can spruce up your author website to keep your content up-to-date!
- Background music
It’s jarring—and annoying—to have audio or video content play without warning. If you want to feature music or video on your author website, make sure it doesn’t activate until visitors click the “play” button!
- Broken images and links
Before launching your website, make sure all the links are working properly and your images appear as intended. Continue to check in even after your website has been live for a while—links can break when the other websites go down. Also, images and other design elements may become distorted or misaligned. Always review your website across multiple operating systems, browsers, and screen resolutions—even on your phone! Glaring design errors will convince potential fans to click over to another, better site.
Bounce-Proof Your Website For Better SEO
Having a sleek, professional author website with useful links and great content will encourage visitors to spend more time exploring your pages and to return often. And by effectively combining design, content, and links, you’ll also attract the attention of search engines and boost your site’s ranking.
QUESTION: Have you ever clicked off a website because of one of these issues?