Saturday, October 3, 2009

Three Ways to Improve your Website by Karen Cioffi

“Continual improvement is an unending journey.” – Lloyd Dobens

I’m sharing the lessons I learned from a toddler at Educationtipster: Kathy Stemke, Author/Educator today. I hope you’ll stop by if you have a few extra minutes.

Now I am very happy to welcome back Karen Cioffi . She has some helpful tips for improving websites. In case you missed the last post which tells all about Karen and her book, Day’s End Lullaby, you can catch up here.

Here is Karen’s post:

If you are like most people, your primary purpose for having a website is to promote your book, work, service or product. You want a site that will motivate visitors to purchase what you have to offer. Listening to marketing teleclasses and reading marketing articles, I’ve learned there are a number of factors that help create an effective website. Three key factors are color, imagery and font.

Colors are a key component in having an engaging site. Action colors are yellow, red and orange. Blue evokes trust and green is soothing. Depending on what you are selling or what image you are trying to present, you should use colors accordingly.

Colors should also be web safe. Colors are like fonts, not all computers will read it the way it appears on your computer. If you want to make sure your ‘soft green’ background looks the same on every computer you need to use web safe colors. There are a number of sites that offer a fixed color palette that you can use. If you’d rather not Google for it, here’s one: Web Safe Color Palette to view these colors.

Imagery is another tool that can be used to create a desired affect. For example, I have a children’s bedtime picture book. I could use a picture of me holding my grandson while reading the book to him. Include pictures that create the image you want to convey. My first website that I created for promoting my children’s book had a home page that immediately let the visitor know the site was for children. It was full of crayon colors such as red, yellow, green, and orange. It also had images that immediately let the reader know what the site was about. Putting the extra effort into using the right imagery will help sell your work, service, or product.

Another facet of using imagery to promote you and/or your product is 3D imagery – this is an important aspect of creating a desired affect. In the myriad of research and studies that are done, it’s been determined that a 3D image is more effective for selling. The flat imagery is just that, flat. To see if there was any validity to this determination, I did my own test. I have been promoting my book with a flat image, but after learning about this new information I stood my book up, opened it slightly and took a picture. I angled the shot so the book appeared slightly open. Well, this new data is correct; the 3D image is much more appealing than the flat image. It shows depth and shadows – this gives the affect of looking at an actual book rather than a flat stamp. So, when able, use 3D imagery.

The third topic I’ll touch on to help improve your website is fonts. Fonts need to be web safe as I mentioned above. It would be a waste of time if you create an enticing website only to find the font you’ve used isn’t readable on some of your visitors’ computers. A few web safe fonts are: Arial, Times New Roman, Calibri, Century Gothic, and Cambria. There are other fonts you can use, just type in ‘web safe fonts’ in your search box and click GO – it’s that easy.

It seems each year your reader’s attention span shortens. You have about a second to engage a reader, maybe less; your imagery, including colors and font style, needs to be on the mark.

Thanks for this helpful information, Karen. Please feel free to leaves comments or questions for Karen in the comment section.

Karen’s book, Day’s End Lullaby, is available for sale at Amazon, BookSurge, Alibris and Abebooks. It is also available through additional wholesale and retail channels worldwide such as Books in Print, Global Books in Print and Baker and Taylor. Her's a direct Link to Amazon:

You can learn more about Karen at Day’s End Lullaby, Karen and Robyn - Writing for Children, DKV Writing, VBT-Writers on the Move. You can also follow Karen on Twitter.


Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Thanks for the tips, Karen. I've allowed my blog to be very basic, but my website is livelier and I'm always looking for tips on improving it. Thanks!

Mystery Writing is Murder

Nancy Famolari said...

Thanks for the tips, Karen. I'm usually pretty basic, but I may try some of them.

Unknown said...

Thanks, Karen. I'm going to revamp my blog some. Great tips and a great children's book.

Karen Cioffi said...

Thanks for stopping by All. I just realized I have to change the jpg of my book cover to 3D. :)

Thanks for hosting me this tour, Jane.


Marvelous Marv said...

Nicely done post, Jane, and Karen - those are excellent tips! I'm putting together a main author's blog right now that will host my wordpress blog so this info is very helpful. Thanks. :)

The Old Silly

Harry Gilleland said...

Great tips, Karen. I probably ought to try some of these...



Margaret Fieland said...

Karen, thanks for the really interesting post about websites, colors, and fonts. I know from accessing the web from a number of different systems with different browsers and operating systems that sometimes things that work in one venue really, really don't in another.

Carolyn Howard-Johnson said...

I love, love, love Web site tips. There is just so much to learn. Thank you, Karen! And Jane, for a great presentation.

Carolyn Howard-Johnson
Award-winning author of The Frugal Editor
The Frugal Book Promoter

Nancy J. Parra said...

Hi Jane-thanks for hosting. Hi Karen, great tips. I also check my website in various web browsers because they can read differently.


Karen Cioffi said...

Thanks, All, for visiting.

And, thank you again, Jane, for hosting me!

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

Thanks so much Karen - it's been a pleasure to host you. Also thanks to all of you who stopped by and took the time to comment. You are appreciated more than you'll ever know.

Jane's Ride - Novelist Jane Kennedy Sutton's journey through the ups and downs of the writing, publishing and marketing world