Everything Writers Who Have Websites Need To Know About Cookies | Web Design Relief

We all have our favorite type of cookie: chocolate chip, snickerdoodle, thin mint—just to name a few! But when it comes to computers, many of us have absolutely no idea what a “cookie” is or what it does. Just what are Internet cookies? Are they dangerous? Should I have cookies on my author website? Are they tracking my personal information? Do they come in tasty flavors? So many questions! Fortunately, Web Design Relief is here to explain everything you need to know about these digital cookies.

FAQs About Internet Cookies And Author Websites

What is the definition of an Internet cookie?

An Internet cookie—also known as an HTTP cookie, web cookie, or browser cookie—is a small packet of data that is transferred to and from computers. When you visit a website, a cookie is sent from the website to your computer via your web browser. The cookie consists of various information that helps the website keep track of your visits and activity. Each request you make via your browser is separate, so cookies help websites keep track. For the most part, this is harmless and even beneficial: Without cookies, retail websites could not keep track of the items you left in your shopping cart, and music-streaming sites would be unable to recommend songs or to play your favorite playlists.

What data is contained in a cookie?

Most cookies only contain data about your browser and the last time you visited a website. For websites that require you to log in, the cookie will contain that login information so the site can remember who you are and your preferences. This is how websites know who you are when you return to them. Without cookies, you would be met with a more generic welcome screen, instead of being greeted with your name, your personalized layout, your most recently viewed items, etc.

Are Internet cookies dangerous?

No. Cookies cannot transfer viruses or malware, because the data doesn’t change when it travels between computers. However, a virus can be disguised as a cookie! Fortunately, most browsers and anti-virus software will block these. This is why it is highly recommended that you keep your anti-virus software active and updated so it can protect you when you’re accessing the Internet!

Are cookies really spies?

Internet cookies only contain information that you’ve given the site already. This information is not shared between the websites you visit. And while cookies can track which ads you have viewed, they don’t directly create those ads.

Some people might want to get rid of cookies, but be forewarned: Cookies help some websites work properly.

Should I use cookies on my author website?

If you want your audience to have a personalized experience on your website, or if visitors make purchases on your website, then you should utilize cookies. When your website uses cookies, your visitors won’t have to repeatedly enter their user data when they visit your site, and their shopping carts won’t empty every time they browse to another item! If your site is purely informational and does not offer visitors any purchasing or personalization options, then you do not need to use cookies.

If you don’t have an author website but are thinking it’s time you got one, schedule a free consultation with Web Design Relief today!

In the meantime, don’t worry about Internet cookies. Sit back, grab a glass of milk, and enjoy a few cookies—the yummy kind!

 

Question: What are your experiences with Internet cookies?

New Year; New You: How To Revamp Your Author Persona And Grow Your Fan Base | Web Design Relief

It’s the start of a new year! What better time to give your brand identity a facelift? The experts at Web Design Relief know that a fresh approach to your online author persona can help you achieve your goals as a writer, increase the size of your fan base, and find the right voice for your author website and social networks.

5 Ways To Revitalize Your Author Website And Online Presence

Make A List: Check out your favorite authors and how they portray their personas online; then create a list of the qualities you want to exemplify through your online activity. You’ll be able to use it as a reference every time you make a website update or put up a new post. This will help you maintain consistency and develop your author brand.

Watch Your Words: Because almost all of our online communication is through text on websites and social media, your words and phrasing are incredibly important. Whether you are trying to appear friendlier, more approachable, or dark and mysterious—adjust your word choice to uniformly reflect this and stay on brand. Your blog updates and social media posts should all sound like they were made by the same person. Here’s what Neil Gaiman has to say about writing in your own voice.

Change Your Imagery: The images you use to engage with your fans online are also key elements of your author persona. Consider Instagram: Successful Instagram accounts tend to focus on a theme. Your theme should relate to your books or the genre in which you write. Make sure your images embrace your overall author brand, are high quality, and are tasteful!

Engage, Engage, Engage: Any author who’s been reaping the benefits of online success is one who actively engages with fans, friends, and followers. Be sure to answer questions, respond to messages, and acknowledge comments so that your visitors and supporters feel heard. Keep all of your responses kind, courteous, and as interesting as possible. Remember to interact in the same way you’d want your favorite author to respond to you! An active social presence will keep fans and followers returning to your accounts.

And if you end up with a few trolls to deal with (it’s an unfortunate reality of the Internet today), here’s how to keep your cool and protect your online reputation.

Keep It Real: It’s vital to keep your online persona sociable and interesting, but that doesn’t mean you should over-embellish. Your fans will be able to tell if you are being inauthentic. Also, if you put on a performance or establish yourself as an incredible character, your marketing attempts might actually backfire and turn off your target audience. Instead, be the best version of yourself. By being genuine and thoughtful in what you share and write, you’ll create a realistic persona that can enhance your author brand.

Once you decide to revamp your online persona, be careful that you don’t overwhelm your followers with too many changes all at once. Gradually incorporate any new elements and strategies to your online usage, and success will follow.

 

Question: What is the most important element to update on an author website?

12 Author Website Design Trends That Will Be Outdated In 2020 | Web Design Relief

Each year, website design trends shift, and what was once popular becomes stale and outdated. It’s important to keep your author website’s style and technology current with the latest trends to give your content more validity and make it easier for visitors to navigate the information. But with so many options and new developments, how do you know what to keep and what to toss? The experts at Web Design Relief pay close attention to what’s hot and what’s not. To ensure your author website is on trend, consider updating any outmoded design elements.

Say Goodbye To These Author Website Design Trends

Clip Art: Those illustrated symbols, images, and pictures preloaded on your computer may be your go-to favorites (they’re just a few quick clicks away), but clip art can make your author website look old-school—and not in a cool ’70s-retro way. There are better ways to incorporate images and art on your website. You can use your smartphone to take high-quality photos, purchase stock photos, or hire a freelance artist to create custom artwork. Check out this article about banishing clip art.

Multiple Font Combinations: Yes, Google now offers countless fonts to choose from, and it can be difficult to select just one or two. However, using multiple fonts—especially a mix of serif, sans serif, and decorative fonts—can look unnecessarily busy and amateurish. Instead, we recommend sticking to one font or font family to make sure your website meets professional standards and current design aesthetics.

Infinite Scrolling: While having all of your content on one multi-leveled page was once very popular, scrolling…and scrolling…and scrolling is now falling out of favor. Many web designers realize it’s not as efficient and organized as using separate pages—plus having one large page can increase loading time, causing impatient visitors to bounce.

Autoplay: Have you ever been busy working or web browsing (or been web browsing when you should be working)—and suddenly unwanted audio blares from your computer, smartphone, or tablet? Autoplay videos and audio are annoying (and potentially embarrassing) to visitors who simply want to view your website’s content without unexpectedly hearing your voice echoing through the library or your favorite song suddenly serenading the entire office. If they want to view your videos or listen to your podcasts, they will! In addition, having autoplay content can cause unwanted data usage for mobile websites.

Separate Locations: Many website owners initially kept their main website content separate from their mobile sites and blogs. This multisite approach is becoming less popular than having a more convenient all-in-one website that allows visitors to easily find all of your content and establishes a strong brand identity.

Too Many Widgets: Widgets can be extremely helpful, but using an overabundance of these applications will make your website harder to navigate and can interfere with its functionality. It is possible to have too many widgets. Instead, use as few applications as possible per page, whether social media widgets, mailing list, chat bot, etc.

Splash Pages: A splash page is a logo, image, or message that launches your website prior to your interior pages. While these pages were once considered a great way to establish a brand identity, they are often slow to load and keep website visitors from getting to the content they came for. To keep your audience interested and engaged, speed and efficiency are key!

Not Having A Pleasing Color Palette: Two color trends are quickly making their exit: One is cramming as many colors as possible onto a website; the other is using monochromatic black and white. The first is much too distracting, while the second can be too boring! Instead, thoughtful use of complementary shades with pops of color can make your website look professional and appealing. Check out some color combination ideas here.

Animations: While animations can draw attention to certain spots on your website, they are losing their place on modern websites. Animations aren’t mobile-friendly, and nowadays most people view web content using mobile devices. Nothing looks as tacky and dated as an unresponsive graphic.

Default Themes: Default or standard website themes may look nice, but they aren’t an effective marketing strategy. They do not show the uniqueness of who you are as a writer or what you create, which can hurt your brand identity. A custom website is a marketing gold mine!

No Contact Form: Having your e-mail address on your author website is a big no-no—it’s a dangerous security risk that opens your e-mail and your website to spam. Communicating via contact forms is the better alternative. Always keep your website and your web visitors safe.

Customized Cursors And Scroll Bars: Does having a cursor of a book or a scroll bar shaped like a pencil seem like a good idea for your author website? It would be, if it were still 1995! Custom-designed cursors and scroll bars are now considered awkward and unwieldy, and they can divert the attention of your web visitors from what you actually want them to be noticing.

Keeping up with the latest trends will help you maintain a fresh, professional-looking author website—one that your readers and fans will visit again and again. If your website features some outdated elements, now’s the time to update and give your website an overhaul. Or, schedule a free consultation and let the experts at Web Design Relief create a new, great-looking author website for you!

 

Question: What website trend are you ready to say goodbye to?

The Best Social Media Platforms For Building A Writer Fan Base | Web Design Relief

With the advent of the Internet, it’s become easier for a writer to build a fan base. Information about your work is just a click away for every prospective reader! But with this accessibility comes a tidal wave of options. How do you know which social media platform is best for building your writer fan… Continue Reading

Pen Names And The Internet: 5 Writer Problems—Solved!| Web Design Relief

Many prolific authors use pseudonyms (pen names) in order to write in multiple genres without muddying brands. And some writers with long or difficult-to-pronounce names may opt for shorter, easier-to-remember monikers. Pen names can also be used to build walls between day jobs and writing ventures, or to provide a fresh start if a writer’s… Continue Reading

Free Author Website Worksheet: Every Question Writers Need To Ask | Web Design Relief

Creating an author website involves making a lot of important decisions. From choosing a web host, to selecting the home page design, to determining which font you want to use, there are a lot of questions writers need to ask! Feeling overwhelmed? Don’t be. The experts at Web Design Relief know exactly what you need… Continue Reading


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