Need some great tips for designing a website? As an author promotion matters. Actually, it’s a big piece of the business. Even if you have the greatest book in the world, if you don’t know how to promote it, it won’t sell. That said, one of the most important tools an author, or for that matter any business owner has, is their webpage.
When I made my first attempt at designing my official author page I was just out of high school. I had no idea what I was doing and nowhere near enough money to hire someone to do it for me. The only option I had at my disposal was a self-taught crash course in web design. Admittedly, the first attempt wasn’t exactly golden. As far as I’m concerned, it looked exactly like what it was - a first attempt made by an uninformed teenager. Since that time I have studied many pages that fall into the same genre as mine and from these I have learned a great deal.
Recently I began the process of giving my page a total facelift. Let me just say had I known then what I know now it would have saved me an astronomical amount of time and effort. In hopes I might be able to offer the help I wish I would have had here are a few tips for designing a website to get you going.
1. Choose Your Web Editor Wisely
This is one of the most important tips for designing a website. When I took my first shot at web design I used Weebly.com. As inexpensive as it was at the time, this was a really good editor. As with most things, however, you get what you pay for and this was free. I have since started working with Wix.com and let me just say, for the $7.50 a month it costs to connect a URL this editor is extremely user-friendly! It has made designing a professional page 100 times easier. Everyone has their preferred option. Keep in mind when you are picking yours from the sea of choices that it is user-friendly or much like me at the get go, you will find yourself twice as lost.
2. Be Careful with Colors
As I said, when I first got started I didn’t have anyone around to help me along. Many of the articles I read were similarly resolute on one point - a webpage should always be unique. You never want your page to fade into the masses around it. This was a good point, but unique and loud are two different things. Sometimes coloring inside the lines a little isn’t all that bad. In my case, I tried to separate my page from all its competitors in the only way I could think of - by creating an unusual color combination that was both striking and fun. It was, unfortunately also, you guessed it, loud.
A lime green background purple header, artistic lines. Looking back, it makes me cringe to think of it. Sometimes you have to stop and ask yourself, how much is too much? Bright colors aren’t a bad thing as long as you have the proportions right and they flow with the bigger color scheme of the page.
3. Make Sure Your Background Stays in the Back
Another learn-from-experience mistake. The lime green background with the artistic lines that seemed so appealing actually took over the page. It detracted from the forefront and distracted a person’s attention from the places I really wanted it to be - on the buy it now button and the pictures of the book covers. Text and pictures should always overtake the background design or color. This doesn’t mean it has to be flat or boring, just make certain it accents the focal points of the page rather than disguising them.
Also, watch out that the text or pictures aren't too close in color or shade to the background. That doesn’t always mean yellow against lighter yellow. If you have a background pic that is light in some spots and dark in others this can disrupt the shade of the text, causing it to stand out in some places and fade out in others. When this happens try repositioning your components. Usually, there is more than one way to arrange things to have a viewer-friendly design.
4. Pictures Are Always a plus
One of the best ways to connect with your viewers is through pictures. Whether these are pictures of you, your product, or your surroundings. This makes the site more personal and more relatable. When you reach a customer on a personal level they are far more likely to show interest in what you are selling. It’s like the old saying goes, “a picture is worth a thousand words.”
5. It’s All in the Name
What’s all that worth if no one sees it? When choosing a name for your page, look for something that is relative to your business as well as catchy. There are those times where being witty isn’t necessarily the answer. If this is the case keep it straight across the board. For instance, in my case, this turned out to be the best route. My page adriennedavenportbooks.com isn’t exactly a hook but it tells a person what they’re in for and they can be certain where they are going.