Everyone likes an amazing website. Something simple, but eye-catchy. Something user friendly, but still high-tech. Being online isn’t really an option anymore, it’s a must. That is why my focus this past week has been websites. I’m Kayla the Intern, and today’s post is all about what you need to do to make your website is not only effective, but awesome!
When I received this assignment I was told to just jump from one website to the next and only stop if I liked it. If I stayed, I was instructed to write down why. If I left, I noted why, so now I have a pretty inclusive list of what makes the winners beat out the losers online.
The winning websites had a couple things in common: videos, color schemes and fun extras.
First off, videos
They don’t need to be big productions. In fact, one of my favorites was on Mr. James Patterson’s site. Http://www.jamespatterson.com/index.php
He has great elements to his website. His picture is there in plain sight, full of personality, but not overbearing. The video starts right off the bat and it’s just him, talking about his book with some background sound. Genius! He has his books on the side with information and plus there are prizes involved! His website has a main color that again, isn’t overbearing and it makes all the other white on his page work. Another great feature? The tabs to move around his website are all at the top. (Ex. Books, Community, About James, etc.) They are always at the top, easy to spot and easy to use. This is important because no matter how cool you think it is to have your tabs on the side or bottom, or anywhere else (one had them on a tree like structure) it’s never as good as the classic bar-across-the-top. The more obvious to use it is, the more likely people will stay.
Which leads into my next example of what NOT to do: http://www.hevanet.com/sharan/levendeur/index.html
Sure it has the books, the background isn’t entirely plain white, but there are no movies, no pictures of the author, no easy tabs (in case you couldn’t find them either, they are at the tippy top) and the layout is no fun at all.
Up next: Color Schemes
Color is essential. I’ve done a little background searching on what colors signify and from my blog you will see I chose to do it in green. I did that because green is perfect for a “green intern” like myself! However, depending on your style of writing and your preference of how you want to be seen, be careful about what colors you use. It’s worth your while to check out what colors go together and which ones don’t, so I am including a fun site to help you.
Love at First Sight
While bouncing along in my website search, I found a site I just fell in love with. It is for a photography book and the colors she chose were perfect in my opinion. Http://www.tracyraver.com/index2.php
The tabs are easy to spot and use, the slideshows are instant and the music fits what she does.
But for you bloggers, here is one for you!
Wendy Paul has a beautiful header, good borders and colored text on a white background all of which matches. She has videos, recipes and all the important things on the same side one right after the other. Definite A+.
I’ll Pass, Thank You
With every up there is a down, so let’s give you the example of what NOT to do: http://www.unknowncountry.com/
Keep in mind that not everything done was wrong, just that over all it’s boring. There’s nothing eye catching and while it seems simple enough to use, I didn’t want to because it looked unprofessional and not worth my time. Harsh? Probably, but remember how cool those other websites were?
And then for the bloggers:
Colors and pictures are essential, but making them too bold hurts the viewers eyes. That’s why I quickly left this one, even when I was really attracted to the title. It was way too dark and dramatic.
Last but certainly not least: Fun extras!!
Who doesn’t love getting something for nothing? Or at least relatively little work? I can’t think of anybody who wouldn’t jump at the chance of a free book, water bottle or discount coupon for simply filling out a rating system or opinion poll!
With Andy Andrews’ site, I was all about the discounts. There are packages, discounts and news all from the author.
Awkward Can Be Good?
Check out the “Awkward Family Photos” book. While the content is a little on the strange and humiliating side, this site made me laugh and got me interested in the book! They have contests, prizes and at the same time are advertising movies.
The losers on this topic were pretty easy to spot, they had no contests of polls or extras of any sort. So if you want to win, just add a fun extra. Simple as that!
1. Videos are fun and a must.
2. Study up on colors and make them non only eye pleasing, but eye catching.
3. Make your site fun! Add in a contest, special deal or opinion poll.
4. Have fun with this! Creating is your life and passion so start helping others want to explore what you've worked so hard to make.
I hope that you not only learned something that will help you, but that now you are now opening a new window to start putting knowledge into action!