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11 Reasons Why Your Website Design Failed | Web Design Relief

11 Reasons Why Your Website Design Failed | Web Design Relief

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 If the link is broken or leads to a dead page, your author website will seem outdated and obsolete.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?

A Guide To The Best Navigation Menu Bars For Your Website | Web Design Relief

A Guide To The Best Navigation Menu Bars For Your Website | Web Design Relief

The menu bar on your author website controls how visitors navigate your site and access your important interior content: your biography, publications, contact form, and more. So while the menu bar may not be the most exciting element in your author website design, it shouldn’t be overlooked. A poorly designed navigation bar may seem cluttered, unclear, and dysfunctional to your visitors—definitely not the first impression you want to make! The experts at Web Design Relief have created a guide to the best navigation menu bar options to help you choose the style that’s right for your author website!

The Best Navigation Menu Bar Choices For Your Website

 

Standard Menu Bar: Horizontal menu bars are the standard in website design. Usually featured at the top of a web page, they can also be placed in the footer or beneath a customized header. The standard menu bar looks professional, is straightforward and easy to use, and works best when offering navigation to three to eight web pages within your website.

 

Sidebar Menu Bar: The vertical menu bar is another popular choice in web design. It is typically placed on the right-hand or left-hand side of the page in a separate column. By having your menu bar off to the side but still visible and functional, you can bump up the focus on your other content—like your book cover, buttons, and personal images.

Hover-Activated Menu Bar: A modern twist on the traditional horizontal menu bar, this type of navigation only appears when users hover their mouse near the top or side of their screen. It’s ideal if you have content or images you don’t want obscured by a menu bar. The downside is that hover-activated menus are not immediately visible and may potentially add a layer of difficulty to navigating your website.

 

Hamburger Menu Bar: Three little lines have revolutionized the way we use menu bars! Most web-users recognize the three lines, reminiscent of a stacked hamburger, as an indication to click. The Hamburger Menu keeps all of your navigation tucked away until it is clicked; then it opens into an optimized menu bar. This navigation option is very mobile-friendly and the standard for most mobile and tablet-based websites and apps. 

Mega Menu Bar: Submenus—menu items that drop down and expand once clicked—are a staple of Mega Menus. This menu bar style is best for large-scale websites that require expansive navigation to dozens of pages and is a great way to avoid clutter. A Mega Menu isn’t usually necessary for a typical author website, but could be a good choice if you have a lot of published works or projects to feature.

 

Multimedia Menu Bar: Swapping or pairing text with icons and images is a fun approach to a menu bar. You could use a mailbox icon for your contact navigation, a book icon to connect to your publications page, and so much more.

 

Choose The Navigation Menu Bar That Works For You

Different menu bar options will work for different writers and genres—and still fall within professional web design standards. You might even consider using different menu bars for your home page and interior pages. But don’t go overboard—consistency is key in a professional and effective author website design!

If you want help choosing the best navigation bar menu and other design elements for your author website, the pros at Web Design Relief are ready to help. Schedule a free consultation today!

 

Question: Which type of navigation menu bar do you prefer to use?

Videoconferencing For Writers: The Top Software And Apps | Web Design Relief

Videoconferencing For Writers: The Top Software And Apps | Web Design Relief

In today’s new normal, writers are scrambling for alternative ways to interact with colleagues and readers. No longer able to meet in person with critique partners, schedule bookstore appearances to promote a new launch, or participate in conferences or workshops, writers have turned to videoconferencing software and apps in an effort to stay connected. But with so many options out there, which videoconferencing platform is best for writers? The tech experts at Web Design Relief have the scoop on the pros and cons of the latest videoconferencing software and apps.

So put on your nicest shirt (no one will see your sweatpants and fuzzy slippers) and let’s get started!

The Best Videoconferencing Software And Apps For Writers

ZOOM

ZOOM has become the most popular videoconferencing choice during the quarantine, in part because it works across lots of devices and operating systems. One author can call into ZOOM on an iPhone, another can join through a PC, and a third on an iPad, along with ninety-seven additional participants, effortlessly.

Because ZOOM allows a large group of people to participate in a single videoconference, it’s a great option for critique group gatherings or impromptu networking events—as long as the event doesn’t last longer than forty minutes, which is the limit for the free option. Paid options are available for as low as $14.99 a month and include unlimited minutes and many more features.

FreeConferenceCall.com

This high-quality videoconference software stands out for several reasons. Paying a fee for use is voluntary, and the suggested amounts are less than the cost of a cup of coffee. The income from these small contributions supports this company’s dedication to keeping high-quality videoconferencing software free or low cost for small businesses that can’t yet afford pricey options.

FreeConferenceCall.com features include:

  • Videoconferencing with up to 1,000 participants
  • Screen-sharing images from your computer—your book cover design, perhaps—to everyone else in the video chat
  • Recording and playback, which is handy if you’re opting to record an informal Q&A in place of a cancelled in-bookstore event

Because this videoconference option has no session limits, it’s great for workshop presentations for your local writer’s chapter, lengthy critique group meetings, or an open-ended editorial meeting with your publishing team.

Skype

Skype has been Microsoft’s videoconference software for nearly twenty years. Previously, using Skype required downloading their software. However, with the onset of the pandemic, Skype has introduced a new option: Skype Meet.

Skype Meet hosts can start a free meeting on a Skype web interface for up to fifty people, with no sign-ups or downloads required. In contrast to some other options, the familiarity of the interface may be a boon to authors who feel challenged by newer interfaces.

Google Hangouts

Google Hangouts is one of the few successes that originated from the now-defunct Google+ social media platform. The software is simple. If you have a Gmail account or use Google as your preferred search engine, access is easy. Best of all, video calls with Google Hangouts are free in the US and Canada.

Google Hangouts only allows ten participants, so this option may be best for casual chats with your author buddies, or directed calls with your developmental editor, book formatter, or cover designer.

Group FaceTime

Authors who use iPhones, iPads, or other Mac devices updated to iOS 12 or higher have the option of using the FaceTime app for casual video conferencing. You can connect up to thirty-two people on one call. It’s a great way to network with writing colleagues who are across town or across the globe.

Facebook Messenger Rooms

Facebook recently rolled out its latest messenger chat upgrade called Messenger Rooms. These dedicated video chat rooms can host up to fifty people and are free to use. While you can create the room right from your Facebook account, attendees do not have to have Facebook accounts in order to join the video chat. You can also lock your Messenger Room for more security.

Video Conferencing And The Future Of Publishing

Considering the advantages of remote connection, videoconferencing software and apps will continue to reshape the publishing industry and open up new and innovative ways for you to collaborate on projects, market books, and connect with your readers.

And when you’re ready for your videoconference, try out one of these virtual backgrounds for videoconferencing featuring well-known bookstores!

 

Question: How have you used videoconferencing software or apps to keep in touch with your writing colleagues?

 

8 Poets With The Most Inspiring, Beautiful Author Website Designs | Web Design Relief

Move over, tech-savvy novelists and short story writers—poets are also making their presence known online and on social media! More and more poets now have social media platforms with lots of fans and followers, as well as professionally designed author websites where they can share content and connect via newsletters. And just as poetry can… Continue Reading

The Top 20 Must-Have Free Apps And Software That Writers Can’t Live Without | Web Design Relief

Most writers know that creating a great, memorable short story, book, or poem takes a considerable amount of determination, energy, and craft. Keeping track of ideas, edits, and revisions—while avoiding the temptation of social media and cat videos—can make it hard to focus on completing your work. Fortunately, there are lots of free apps and… Continue Reading

Writer: Using The “Wrong” Social Network Can Hurt Your Readership Growth | Web Design Relief

Social media is one of the best ways to build your author brand. While your author website provides a hub for information about you and your writing projects, using a good social network also lets you effectively engage your audience in real time. You can promote new projects, receive feedback, and build your fan base.… Continue Reading


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