Tuesday, October 23, 2012

lOOk at YoUr wEbSitE

Hello, lovely people of the blogosphere! This week will be a designer's look at what you're doing on different platforms and will be called lOOk at YoUr xXx. Follow along and learn! Today I'd like to talk to you all about your website. If you don't own yourname.com, you should. There are a lot of easy and free website building platforms out there, just Google it.

If you have a website, let's look at things that you're currently doing you might want to change. Grab that pencil and paper and let's get going! If you don't, read through anyway and take notes on what to do and what not to do when you design one.

Examine the following:
  1. How long does it take your page to load?
  2. Do you have obnoxious music blaring?
  3. Would someone who didn't know what your site was about be able to tell in just a few seconds?
  4. Is your page interactive or nicely colored?
  5. Is your page easy to read?
  6. Can anyone navigate easily?
  7. Contact information easy to find?
  8. What is your ultimate goal?
  9. More than two fonts?
  10. Do you know what page of your site you're on at a glance?
  11. Can you get to another page without back-browsing?
  12. Does your visitor have to scroll at all? 
Now answer these with your observations:
  1. Can you remove clutter or downsize items so they load faster?
  2. Is that Beethoven's 9th really necessary?
  3. If no tagline, where can you put one to tell a visitor why they're on your page?
  4. What interactivity can you add or colors can you change?
  5. Do you really need a blue, purple, or red font on a black background?
  6. Are visitors hitting a splash page or your main site when they click (do they have to click again to get to the actual site)?
  7. Can you add dynamic links to make navigation easier? Where?
  8. If someone wanted to contact you, how would they? Can you make it easier?
  9. Ultimate goal is a sale or a return visit?
  10. What two fonts are your favorite (one serif and one sans serif, please)?
  11. Think about highlighting the page the person is on in the menu.
  12. Can you resize elements to eliminate the scroll?
Try these tips to fix those common errors:
  1. Resize your images to 72dpi. All of them. Use thumbnails when you can.
  2. Delete the music track. A lot of people listen to music as they browse and will shut your page down quickly if it interferes with their mojo.
  3. Change the title and add a tagline. If you're an author, tell folks this is your official author site and who you are or why they should poke around/buy your books.
  4. Change your fonts so they are either all the same or there are only TWO. More than one in the same family looks like a mistake. So, choose either a serif and a sans serif, a script and a serif, or a script and a sans serif. But be consistent!
  5. Watch your colors. Try for no more than three plus black (headline color, text color, link color, visited link color). Be consistent. If links are in blue, make them all appear in blue.
  6. Highlight the page title in the menu when a person is on that page of your site. If they're on the contact page, it should be showing up a different color than the other page links.
  7. You'll have page links that either take you to a splash page for additional content or directly to the first page of the additional content. Add some dynamic links here so folks can navigate easily. I'll go into the difference of static and dynamic elements and how to use them in a post next week.
  8. Is your ultimate goal a book purchase? Make it easy for folks to get from point A to point B and buy your book. A follow? Give them an easy way to follow with only a click or two. 
  9. Everything should show up without scrolling. Resize everything you can and leave nothing hanging off the edges of sidebars or content areas.
  10. One bonus tip: Use the X and Y axis numbers so things line up. You'll be surprised how much better it makes your site look. 
Overall, your site should be clean, not need ten minutes to load your content, state clearly who you are, not blare music at your visitor, and be easy to navigate without the use of the back button. KISS (Keep it Simple, Stupid) your visitor every time and they'll be happy as larks and want to return often.

Find more tips like these in my book The Indie Author's Guide to: Building a Great Book and take your future to new heights. It's just $2.99 on Amazon. Don't want to buy one? Enter my great giveaway to win one! Three are available.

Question of the day: Did you find any of these common errors on your site? Did you take steps to change your content in some way?

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!

Jo

2 comments:

  1. There are a few blogs I visit that take so long to load that I either do other tasks while the windows load - or give up all together. ;)

    Good tips.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know what you mean. :) Thanks for the compliment and for stopping by!

      Delete

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