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Thursday, April 12, 2007

Building Websites, part 2

Using color and photos
I love color. My color choices are not nearly as adventurous as my personality but I’d like to think it punctuates my promotional collateral effectively, be they on business cards, blogs or websites.

Color is a very personal choice. My favorite color is red. It describes me well, but since I am using my website as a broad base of operations I needed a color palette that implies tradition and sincerity. I wanted my visitors to take me, and my genres seriously, so I chose a deep blue and white as my color scheme.

On my website, the blue banner has a drop shadow, a subtle reminder that there is depth and weight. And depth provides the psychological effect of significance.

The layout is traditional, the heavy border reinforcing a left to right read. The fonts are lightweight and refined. I used one fancy font for the banner on each page and that’s as extravagant as I wanted to get.

Font/background color: As jazzy as you think that neon lime background looks you’ll find that’s not the general consensus. Same goes for that shocking pink text. Don’t paralyze your visitors with tawdry color.

Photos: Photos require load time. If you absolutely must use them on the page itself, consider posting only the thumbnail (small photo) with the option of viewing the bigger image if the visitor so chooses.

Color correct your photos if you can. Most are not in web-friendly colors. It’s not that they won’t show up, but if you’re a perfectionist like me, you want the color to be true to the original.

Personal pictures: In my opinion, it’s never a good idea to post pictures of your kids. There are a lot of creepy people out there. And it’s far too easy to get personal information from public sources. Don’t risk your children's safety.

Use a little decorum in how you portray yourself too. If the website is about your writing, no one needs to see you red-faced drunk or skinny dipping in the Ponchatrain River. Keep it professional.

Uniformity: Nothing says professionalism like a uniform image. Keep your colors and layout consistent between pages. You want to present an author package.

Proof your pages: This is a pet peeve of mine. Never post anything unless you've proofed it for spelling and grammar errors. Your website is about your writing. Show them your best.

Tomorrow: Websites: What goes in the pot?