From broken links to indecipherable text, many things can go wrong in your website’s design. And even the best design ideas will ultimately fail if visitors are met with mistakes, oversights, or poorly functioning elements. At Web Design Relief, our tech experts know that design slipups will appear unprofessional and send your readers quickly bouncing off to visit another website. Here are the most common reasons why your author website design might fail—and the fixes you need to know.
Why Your Author Website Design Failed And How To Fix It
Unclear Homepage: Your homepage is the first stop on a visitor’s journey through your author website. From visuals to text, it should be obvious to visitors who you are and what your website is about. A vague homepage design doesn’t establish a strong presence and won’t function effectively as your online information hub. Take a look at this example: Is this smiling chap an author? An accountant? A website designer (let’s hope not!)?
The fix: A clear brand and a strong call to action on your author website homepage will encourage visitors to stick around and explore your writing. Learn more here.
Illegible Text: You may be tempted to use unique, decorative fonts, but most ornate typefaces are not suited for the body text of a website. If your audience can’t read the paragraphs on your website, they’ll get frustrated and leave. Fonts with too many decorative elements or that appear handwritten do not translate well to the digital screen, as seen below. Fonts that are set in colors that do not contrast with a chosen background color can become unreadable to your audience as well. Stylish or not, text that can’t be read is useless!
The fix: You can use a fancier typeface for your header, but for body text, stick to basic, easy-to- read fonts like Times New Roman, Calibri, and Arial. And be sure the color of your text contrasts well against the background color.
Broken Links: When web users click a link, they expect to be taken to an external page. If the link is broken or leads to a dead page, your author website will seem outdated and obsolete. Visitors will assume your website has been abandoned and won’t bother to come back to see if there’s any new info.
The fix: Website URLs often change and update, so it’s crucial to test your links regularly to make sure they’re still functional.
Overlapping Content: Overlapping content is visually unappealing and looks amateurish—and that will reflect on the quality of your writing in the minds of your visitors. A crowded design doesn’t function well: It makes text harder to read, buttons harder to click, and images harder to see.
The fix: Every element on your website should have enough room to breathe. Often you can correct positioning errors and float problems with a quick fix to your website’s style sheet.
Lax Security Measures: If you don’t use secure forms, you leave your author website—and your website visitors—vulnerable to spam. This can hurt your online searchability and leave your personal information exposed to hackers. Websites loaded with spam comments look unsightly and poorly maintained, and visitors don’t stay on websites that seem potentially unsafe.
The fix: Make sure your website features CAPTCHA-usage, password encryption, an SSL domain, and other forms of cybersecurity.
No Navigation or Menu Bar: Being on a website without a navigation bar is like being on an unfamiliar road without a GPS. Web users will be confused about where to find the content they want to read. And if they can’t find the information about where to buy your book or the dates for your upcoming readings, you’re going to lose sales and attendees.
The fix: Use the right type of navigation bar to make it easy for visitors to access your website’s inner content and pages. And all the pages should be clearly labeled to avoid unnecessary confusion.
Overstuffed Navigation Bar: While it’s important to have a navigation menu bar, don’t overdo it. Your visitors won’t want to navigate through countless options or cluttered pages just to read your latest poem or author bio.
The fix: Consider consolidating pages if your menu bar stretches on too long.
Not Optimized For Mobile: It is clear when a website hasn’t been optimized for mobile devices the second you enter it. Text is too small or too large, and other elements can look wonky and not fit on the screen. With Internet usage almost entirely on-the-go, a lack of mobile optimization is a careless mistake.
The fix: Optimize your author website design for smartphones and tablets, and you’ll make it easier for visitors to move effortlessly through your content.
Blank or Mostly Empty Pages: Blank pages or pages with too little content can come across as poorly designed filler, which will negatively impact your website’s effectiveness. Your audience may feel they’re wasting time on pages that lack any real information or substance. They may even wonder if something’s broken!
The fix: If you have very little to say on a particular page, it doesn’t serve a purpose. Consider combining the information on another page, or adding more info to the existing page. Be sure your author website’s pages are doing the jobs they were meant to do: reinforce your brand, encourage sales, offer exclusive content, make major announcements, interact with your fans, and build your audience.
Slow Uploads: It’s the one thing that is almost universally hated by website visitors: Slow uploads! And if your readers have to wait ages for your page to load, they’ll bounce off rather than hang around—and they definitely won’t want to visit again. Websites that are too bulky to be responsive or are slow to load will also affect your site’s visibility and make it harder for you to gain followers.
The fix: Make sure your site’s CSS is optimized, and reduce large media files to improve your loading time.
Jumbled Style Elements: Your author website is your online business card, so you want your author brand to be clear and obvious. If you mix style elements from different genres, your audience won’t know what genre you write in, and may not be sure they are even in the right place.
The fix: Your author website design elements should be consistent with the genre you write in so that readers aren’t confused and lost. For example: If you write horror or mystery, any cats on your website should be eerie and dangerous-looking, not puffy, cute, and cuddly. Be sure the typeface and colors you use are also complementary to your website’s theme.
Your author website acts as your information hub and online identity, so you want to make sure it works smoothly and looks professional. If you’re ready to build a website that features great design and optimum functionality, the pros at Web Design Relief are ready to help!
Question: What author website fails have you seen?