Many authors are new to the world of web site creation when they embark on creating their author site. Luckily, there are many options available to help authors create a web site and present it to customers. Still, some basic knowledge of web design and web content development can take your web site from mediocre to great.
There are a multitude of fonts available to users. However, not all fonts work well for readability and design on the web.
When it comes to serif or sans-serif fonts, it's usually a good rule of thumb to use sans-serif in the body text of your web copy. Since computer monitors have lower resolution than print, serif fonts may blur together, creating issues with readability. However, it is safe to use serif fonts in headers where your font size will be larger.
It can be tempting to play around with all the fun fonts that are offered. But, although they may seem boring, simple fonts like Verdana, Arial, and Geneva will make your web site seem cleaner and look "correct" in more browsers. Be sure to limit your site to two (at the most three) font families to make it look professional.
Make sure your font size is big enough to be easily read online, but not overwhelming. 12-point font is an excellent choice for body copy. Multiplying by 1.5 to 2 for headers is a good rule of thumb.
Writing for the web is much different than writing for a literary audience. Readers spend a lot less time reading information in depth on the web. They want to be able to scan for the information they're looking for. The writing should be concise and easy to skim, with keywords that help readers recognize the content that is relevant to them.
Bulleted lists, headers, and subheads improve readability greatly. Use boldface for information that you want to stand out, since visitors won't be reading your web copy as closely as they would a print piece. Limit your paragraphs to three to five sentences. Long paragraphs appear daunting and most likely will turn your audience off before they begin reading.
Your copy should not be stagnant. Be sure to give your readers a reason to continue coming back to your site by adding fresh content periodically, but leaving the basic important information constant.
Make your call to action (usually to buy your book) clear with next steps highlighted.
When choosing the background and font color of your site, readability should be in the forefront of your mind. Some color combinations may be too difficult for readers to view for too long. For example, bright yellow text against a dark blue background may be difficult for your readers to look at for a length of time.
Of course, the most readable choice is black on white, but various options are available. Be sure the copy contrasts with the background to avoid eye fatigue. For examples of good color combinations, visit kuler.adobe.com.
Choose colors that communicate your book's "brand" and make your message visually pleasing.
The right balance between images and text is important to the overall look of your page. Graphics are important, but only if they're relevant to your message. Just because you love a photo doesn't mean it has to go on your web site. Graphics are content just like copy, so be sure they are relevant to your readers and the goal of your site.
As cute and exciting as you may think they are, do not use moving or blinking images. If you feel you must, use them sparingly. Too much movement and flashing becomes distracting and even annoying to your readers, taking away from the overall message of the page.
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