Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Wicked Wednesday - the little things of website design


As you might have heard, I'm redesigning my website. It's long overdue. Very long overdue.

A few weeks ago, I spent some time browsing other authors' websites. I wrote notes of what I liked, of what worked well and what didn't, and what would be best for me. I realized my tastes are minimalistic. I didn't want anything full of graphics, blinking lights, or a soundtrack.

I designed a new look. A chore I thought would be simple with the sort of layout I wanted, but it was the little things that made it into an hours long job.
 
Background image / header. Most authors have a personalized header. Some use a background image. I prefer the latter. But what to use? My first idea was to find an image or series of images that captured what I write. Bad idea. So much of my time wasted browsing images. I found the majority of authors use images from the covers of their books. Though I wanted a gorgeous new image, I thought that maybe people who visited my site would think the image was from one of my books and get confused. So I decided to go with one of my cover images.

The color palette. Many paranormal romance authors feature red and black on their sites. Urban fantasy authors use red and black too, or blues, grays, and black. Romance authors have a lot of reds and pinks. While I'm partial to blue, I want my site to stand out. The background image I chose led me to pick from a color palette I never expected. Dark and light browns and golds. Browns? I know, I know, but it looks rich and casts the right atmosphere.

Fonts. I'm still changing my mind about fonts. I'd just have everything in Courier or Times if I had my way. I'm not picky, but a lot of people are really enthusiastic about fonts. Font matters as much as the color palette in creating the right look. So, I've been trying out a ton of them. I like simple and easy to read fonts. I don't like the fancy scripts or very genre specific ones for me. I'll decide on something sooner or later, and it'll likely be in the Courier family.

I've handed my husband all my notes. He'll be programming the new design for me. I just hope he doesn't spend all his summer evenings playing Skyrim and forget about my site!
 
If you have a website or a blog, how much time and consideration did you put into the little things?

21 comments:

  1. Can't wait to see how it turns out. I'm not picky about fonts either. I don't even know what font I use.

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  2. good luck with the new design

    frankly, what you have now is elegant and quickly allows the viewer to find what they want

    But change is good too :)

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  3. Simple is a good idea. At least that's what appeals most to me.

    I fuss a lot over web stuff because it's a hobby of mine (also my job). I've gone from pink blossoms to beige parchment to the squirrel orange I have now. I had switched from the pink to beige, based on some advice from a friend who was also a platform consultant. But it blended too much, and that just wasn't me. Then again, my site is also my blog, and not terribly helpful (or elegant for that matter).

    I think brown and gold will be a nice color scheme. :)

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  4. I like the mock up of the layout you did. I must admit I love fonts. I use Crushed for my blog/website titles and Georgia for body text. I try to redo my website/blog at least once a year to keep it fresh. I'll often think of what I want to change in my off-time and then when I get to changing things, it can take an hour or two.

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  5. It's a big deal and I can't wait to see it. --Just please don't use Courier.

    I spend too much time on the little things. --Like the color of the bullets and icons no one will notice. But it adds a cohesiveness that I think deep down people take in. Or at least that's what I tell myself!

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  6. Ooh! Change is a good thing. My publisher made me redesign my site several years back, and I think it turned out for the best. I used to favor a black background, but went to purple to communicate a fantasy/romantic atmosphere. I'm a fan of a simpler layout too. For a while there it seemed like the trend was to get more and more complicated.

    Looking forward to seeing your new look!

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  7. Good luck redesigning your blog! I use webs.com for my website. I found a template that worked, and used that. I'm pretty happy with it.

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  8. Fun with fonts... :)

    Can't wait to see the new design.

    I use WP templates, so have no control over font... well, not with the one I picked. I'm really partial to blue. :D I always choose a template where I can change the header and toy with some other things. Since I'm constantly changing my website - pages, etc... it was smart for me to go w/ a template. Otherwise my brother would be working for me full time.

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  9. Ouch. You made me realize I'm overdue to update my blog and make some changes. Anxious to see how yours turns out.

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  10. The design for my website was quite straight forward, until I got to the fonts. I love and adore fonts - and changed it about 5 times. Checking out other people's is a great way of deciding what suits you.

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  11. Can't wait to see the finished site. I'm sure it will be great.

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  12. I started out w/a template that Blogger offered. Then I found a free template and used that, but the black and white grew hard on my eyes. The one I have now I bought for $15 dollars on a blog design website. I'm super happy w/it! Can't wait to see your finished product!

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  13. Thank you to everyone for stopping by and sharing your experiences. I figured a lot of writers would have a thing for fonts! *LOL* My husband is still working on the site. Xan looks handsome on it. :)

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  14. Hi Christine,

    Will be most interesting to see what the end result is with your blog design.

    I've kept mine deliberately simple, which goes in theme with me :) I'm a technophobe and freak about making much in the way of change on my site.

    Gary :)

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  15. I'd love to have a proper banner on my blog, but I just haven't made it happen yet. Some people are excellent at making graphics ... not me. I may be an artist, but not that sort of artist. :D

    I can't wait to see how your blog looks after its refurbishment!

    I always feel the need to redesign my blog at least once or twice a year, but it's generally not a drastic change except maybe every few years.

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  16. Mine is pink...shocking, right?

    I got so frustrated with mine, I turned it over to my son. He did his mother proud. I love it.

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  17. Can't wait to see it! That's awesome that your hubs can help.

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  18. The only things I used to really obsess over on my blog were the tags and having the exact right pic and caption. Look and feel I always tried to keep pretty simple.

    HI C!!!

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  19. Usually, it’s best if you incorporate your genre to the kind of design you want. For example, if you’re into paranormal or gothic, dark color palette is the perfect choice. However, it will always depend on your preference. You can try and experiment with several designs, until you find the one that will suit your taste. Good luck!

    Tina Greer @ Lane Local Marketing

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  20. Redesigning a website can be overwhelming. You have to look for the perfect design that is inviting, defines you and your product, and is easy to navigate through. So it’s really best to take your time in researching and planning it. It may be slow progress for a time, but at least you are sure that the result will be amazing. Speaking of which, how is it?

    Della Meyer @ Spark Local Marketing

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  21. Hi Christine! Thanks for sharing those details you’ve listed for your website. I think it suits the genre of your novels, and will definitely distinguish you from other paranormal romance writers. Moreover, you covered all the important considerations for designing a site, up to the smallest details. I’m looking forward to seeing your new website, if you've published it already. I wish you all the best!

    Nichole Duncan @ VTG

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