Designing (or redesigning) a Website


Recently a writer friend said her website was blah and asked if my daughter could help her, so this coming Saturday my daughter and I will make a “house” call to see what exactly is needed to give the writer’s website some sparkle. Meanwhile, I thought I’d check what others say a website needs in order to be effective.

This article has excellent advice:

https://www.spritzweb.com/resources/good-website-characteristics.html

Basically a good website must look good (appearance), have useful information (content), should work (be functional/not broken), be easy to navigate (useable), and be easy for others to find (search engine optimization).

Another good site to check is:

http://www.commonplaces.com/blog/10-website-trends-for-2016

Some of the points here are: The site needs to be one that looks good on a smart phone, iPad, computer, or whatever is being used. That means keep it simple but striking. Fewer pages. Easy to navigate. Make the content valuable. Use bold colors.

There was a time when music and videos were the rage, but not all devices could load these (and if you were at work, you might not want music suddenly playing). Now function seems to be more important than gimmicks. On the other hand, the more personal a website, the better.

All agree that your home page is the most important page. This is the viewer’s first impression of you and your work. If you’re unpublished, this may be the first glimpse an agent or editor has of you. If you’re published, it may be a newspaper reporter looking at the page. (The more info a reporter can take from your website the better. It makes the reporter’s job easier and allows you some control over what’s printed.) Make sure, in any case, that there’s information on how to contact you.

Check out the following blog.

https://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/34006/15-examples-of-brilliant-homepage-design.aspx

These are for businesses, but the ideas can be applied to books/writers.

Look at the websites of other authors. Which ones catch your eye? Which ones are easy to navigate? If a site isn’t easy to navigate, why isn’t it? Try looking at the same website on a different device (phone or iPad). Does it have the same impact?

Also, which websites feel the most personal? Friendly? Is there a reason why? Is it color? Design? Ease of navigation? Is it the wording on the home page? The author’s bio? Do you feel you’d like to read one of the books being advertised? If so, would it be easy for you to buy it? (Are there buttons that will take you to Amazon or Barnes & Noble?) If you wanted to contact the author, is there a way to do so?

If you already have a website, ask someone else to visit your website and tell you how easy (or difficult) it is to navigate.

Hmm. I think it’s time for me to take a closer look at my website.

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8 Responses to Designing (or redesigning) a Website

  1. Great info, Maris!
    Good luck and God’s blessings
    PamT

  2. Melissa Keir says:

    Great advice. Another piece is to keep it updated. Make sure your latest book is featured on there or there’s a way to see your series’ order. Nothing ground breaking but if you don’t show your new book, no one will know about it!

  3. Great post, Maris. I’m taking everything you said to heart.

  4. HiDee Ekstrom says:

    Great advice Maris! Thanks for the suggestions!