Category Archives: Design Tips & Tricks

How To Choose The Best Background For Your Author Website | Web Design Relief

How To Choose The Best Background For Your Author Website | Web Design Relief

When planning the design of your author website, the background should be at the forefront of your mind. At Web Design Relief, we know it’s easy to focus on the text and the elements that will pop and grab your audience’s attention. But keep in mind: Your website’s background takes up most of the page—on every page—and should complement the atmosphere, tone, and overall experience for your readers. Here are tips from our designers to help you choose the best background for your author website.

Guide To Choosing A Background For Your Author Website

Use Texture And Patterns

There is no reason why your background has to be limited to a solid, flat color, so experiment with different textures! Floral- and nature-themed backgrounds work well, as do industrial and geometric textures. Keep your genre in mind and be sure your background suits your writing.

But be careful: It can be easy to lose your content in a too-busy background. If you opt for a background with a lot going on, like a colorful pattern or picture, make certain that your text and images have drop shadows so that they still stand out, or use overlays and filters to soften the background where you have a lot of text. Make it easy for people to read your content!

Incorporate Color

Color is one of the best ways to evoke the atmosphere you want your author website to convey. While black and white are the most popular choices for background colors, there are many other colors that will match your mood and still allow for legible text. If you write romances, you might want to consider using pastel, rosy tones. Meanwhile, a thriller or mystery writer might find that a background of deep jewel tones captures the right mood.

Ideally, you want visitors to stay on your author website for a long time, learning about you and your writing. But if your background features glaring neon colors that aren’t easy on the eyes, your readers will be bouncing off your website in a hurry. Some colors to avoid are intense blues, yellows, and purples—which can be particularly difficult to view for any length of time.

Be Consistent

While having the same background on every page is standard web design, certain pages or sections of your website may call for a different shade or texture. But be sure to use shades in the same family of colors or similar textures to match the overall look of the rest of your website.

You may find yourself falling in love with many different backgrounds, but every page shouldn’t look like it belongs to a different website. Having multiple pages or sections without a cohesive style will appear amateurish and overly busy—and make it harder for your visitors to focus on your message. A consistent look carried throughout your website will reinforce your author brand’s effectiveness.

Offer Contrast

Whether your background colors are muted or bold, it’s important that your text is legible. Choose contrasting colors to make certain your words will stand out against the background. A good rule of thumb: White text works against dark backgrounds, and black text works against light backgrounds almost every time.

Stay Away From Animation Or Video

Animated backgrounds or backgrounds with embedded videos no longer have a place in modern web design. Not only are they too busy, but these elements will also slow down the loading speed of your website—which is a huge design mistake. Also, animated backgrounds won’t work on tablets and phones. With most people now accessing the Internet using these devices, your website must be mobile-friendly.

Consider A High-Quality Image

While solid colors, trendy textures, and eye-catching patterns are typically used for backgrounds, images are another great option. A good photo can add depth and emotion to the overall experience of your author website. You might use a landscape based on the setting in your writing, or from where you live now or your childhood. You can purchase beautiful stock imagery or use your own high-quality image!

Designer Pro Tip: Because your background takes up the entire page, the image you use as your background must be big enough to fit the space. An image that is less than 300 DPI (dots per inch) or smaller than 1,200 pixels in length will appear blurry and out of proportion—which will make your website look unprofessional.

Test Your Background

Before you debut your new background, it’s important to confirm that it works with all the elements of your author website. Once you add content, your background may unexpectedly shift, become chopped up, or lose its quality—so be sure to self-test your website before pressing the update or publish button.

Don’t assume a background that looks good on your own desktop or laptop computer will look good on every computer. There are countless different computer screen resolutions. Try changing your screen’s resolution or borrowing someone else’s computer to see how your website’s background will look on other screens. And testing a background on mobile phones and tablets is crucial, since these are often used by your audience.

The right background on your author website will reinforce your author brand, complement your genre, and make the best impression on your audience. If you’re not sure about making the correct choice on your own, hire a designer like the pros at Web Design Relief!

 

Question: What type of background do you prefer on a website? Why?

The Psychology Of Using Color In Website Design | Web Design Relief

The Psychology Of Using Color In Website Design | Web Design Relief

As a writer, the written content of your author website will get a lot of your attention. You’ll want to be sure it’s intriguing and typo-free. But the tech experts at Web Design Relief know there’s an important website design element that some writers overlook: The colors you use will have a big impact on how visitors perceive your website. Color engages the brain in multiple ways and can affect the entire mood of your author website. Knowing the right colors to use will help you effectively tempt visitors to explore your site, interact with your information, and maybe even buy a book! Here’s how to successfully use the psychology of color in your website design.

The Psychology Of Using Color In Your Author Website Design

Use A Color Wheel

Knowing how to use a color wheel is a necessary step in the web design process. For example, when you understand contrasting colors (like purple and yellow) or complementary colors (like red and orange), you can use that information to plan your color palette. Contrasting colors will draw your visitor’s eye to your key points, while complementary colors can influence the overall cohesion of your design.

Know Your Audience

Colors mean different things to different people. A prime example is the color yellow. For adults, yellow is an unappealing color associated with warning labels and caution signs—yet it’s a favorite among children. Purple is often more appealing to women and less appealing to men, and vice versa with gray. Colors also fade in and out of popularity, so take a look at current trends in home décor and fashion when choosing your website’s color scheme.

Break It Down By Genre

Certain genres are associated with specific colors. Bright colors are more likely to catch the attention of a younger audience and work well on children’s books’ websites. On the opposite end of the spectrum, dark colors like black, navy, maroon, and indigo can be used to establish an ominous, foreboding mood—perfect for horror, mystery, or thriller writers. If romance is your genre, consider using soft, floral colors like lilac and rose pink. Check out more examples of smart color use here:

8 Poets With The Most Inspiring, Beautiful Author Website Designs

5 Fun Web Design Ideas Just For Children’s Book Writers

Eek! Scary-Good Author Website Decorating Ideas

Count On True Blue

Still not sure what color you want to feature on your author website? Blue is a consistently popular color choice for websites because it appeals to all genders and ages and is associated with a calm mood and a strong sense of trust. Take a look at some of the most popular sites on the web like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, LinkedIn, and Amazon (the book-selling machine!)—you’ll notice the color schemes are overwhelmingly blue.

Avoid Fifty Shades Of Gray And Other Monochromatic Blunders

Once you’ve decided on the prominent color for your author website, it’s important to include some visual variety. A well-designed monochromatic website can be striking, but don’t overuse one single color to the point that it loses its intended effect. Instead, choose a palette that features both contrasting and complementary colors. Check out some attractive color palettes here.

See In Black And White

Did you know that black and white technically aren’t colors? They’re shades! These shades are design staples because they work with all colors in the spectrum—and should be important elements in your website’s design. White space makes it easier for visitors to focus and read your content, while a smart use of black will make your author website look more formal and professional.

How To Apply Color Theory To Your Design Elements

Headers and Footers: The best place to showcase your personal branding is in your header and footer. This is where you should feature your name and branded images or logos—which means they are the most effective places to feature your colors of choice. Remember to highlight your personal branding with colors that align with the genre of your writing.

Backgrounds: Your background is the design element your audience will see the most, since it’s on every page! A white background offers the best legibility for your text, but you can use color if it’s muted enough that your content still stands out.

Buttons and Links: Your buttons and hyperlinks are your calls-to-action—and this is where you definitely want to catch your visitor’s eye. Avoid complementary colors and instead focus on contrasting colors to make sure your buttons and links grab attention and stand out.

While color is an important element of website design, remember there can be too much of a good thing. Avoid making your website a busy, crowded rainbow where visitors won’t know what to focus on or be able to mentally connect to the proper genre.

If you’d rather leave your author website color selection to the design experts, Web Design Relief can help! Sign up for a free consultation today!

 

Question: What is your favorite color palette for a website?

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

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,… Continue Reading

How The Right Content On Your Author Homepage Makes Visitors Stick Around | Web Design Relief

One of the most important features of an author website is the homepage: It’s your business card, welcome mat, and first impression all rolled up in one! But with so many possibilities for content, it can be quite overwhelming to determine what does—or doesn’t—belong on your author homepage. Make the wrong choice, and visitors will… Continue Reading

5 Mistakes Writers Make On Their Author Websites (And The Easy Fixes) | Web Design Relief

Did you know that every website needs regular care and housekeeping? So unless you have a fairy godmother or can sing well enough to inspire woodland creatures to assist you with your chores, you should keep a virtual broom and wrench handy. Even the most meticulous author website design may experience issues that arise over… Continue Reading


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