Many of the issues we ended up dealing with in this revamp are the same kinds of things we'd be considering if we were starting a website from scratch. So if you're thinking of getting started with a site or you've been wondering if it's time to do some touch-up work, yourself, you may be interested in what we've been doing these last few weeks.
What Got Me Started
My website is quite old, going back to 1998. We've made many changes since then, of course. Recently, though, I'd been feeling that my site was very white. That's not ethnic commentary. My website was very white meaning that its pages seemed to spread across computer screens, which are now often quite wide, in an unattractive manner. But what to do about it?
Last month I happened to read some articles in More on personal branding. The two issues I was particularly interested in:
- Using color to help brand. Color has attributes it communicates when it comes to branding. Yellow is supposed to communicate creativity and intellect, as well as energy. I most definitely am not a pastel person. Any pastel. But I thought I might like some kind of gold in my website, maybe an autumn-type color. Yellowish.
- Finding ways to unify your brand message across your social media platforms so readers/viewers begin to recognize you, wherever you are. Color can be a unifying element.
What We Did And Why It Took So Long
All this had to be done to every single page in the site. In case you weren't aware, I have a very big website. It's deep, meaning it's multi-leveled. A link from the homepage leads to another page and there are links there that lead to still more.
While we were touching everything, anyway, we were careful to bring any outdated material up to 2015.
And, Then, Fonts
Things were looking better, but now I wasn't happy with the font. Fonts, it turns out, have attributes, just as colors do.
Serif fonts, for instance, are associated with artistic, intellectual, and warm attributes. Sans serif fonts are considered technical looking. Computer Guy loves sans serif fonts, which are very straight and have little embellishment. I, however, have always been a Times New Roman woman because it looks like the text in a book. TNR is a serif font. Serifs have little extra bits at the end of letters and, like TNR, look like what we'd expect to see in books and other publications.We decided to go with a serif font for the text, which would require more reading, and a crisp sans serif font for headings.
Sounds as if we're done with fonts, right? No! Why not? Because a certain number of fonts are preloaded onto every computer making that computer capable of rendering text accessed from the Internet onto its screen. There are fonts that are commonly used. If I were to choose an uncommon serif font for my website, one that many computers couldn't render, they would have to use a fallback font that may or may not look the way I planned it to. Thus, I needed to choose common fonts.
Some Things We Didn't Change
Believe it or not, I have some very specific views on websites. These views are related to communicating messages and making communication easier for people receiving my messages.
- My homepage, my users' first stop when they come to my website, includes real content. I want my users to get something immediately for having made the effort to come to www.gailgauthier.com. I don't want them to have to click again to "enter website." I don't want them to be faced with just a menu.
- I'm not into bells and whistles. Things that move and pop are slow to load. I value my users' time. As a user, myself, I sometimes leave sites while I'm waiting for gimmicks to load.
- I avoid distracting clutter. I want to make the reading experience on my pages comfortable.
- I try to keep content short. I believe the reading experience on the Internet is supposed to be different from other kinds of reading experiences. Is is supposed to be fast. That is not a bad thing. We can read long in other places. That's true of blog posts, too, by the way. If I can't keep a blog post short, I use sub-headings, the way I am today, so users can pick and choose what they want to focus upon.
This was a fun thing I hope we don't have to do again for a while. "A while" meaning "years."
Thanks for the reminder about color. I had watched The Great Courses's lectures on color (see http://www.thegreatcourses.com/courses/how-colors-affect-you-what-science-reveals.html) but hadn't made the connection to my web site.
Also thanks for your list of stuff you didn't change (landing page, no bells & whistles, no clutter, short).
I hadn't heard anything about color being used in this way until I saw that magazine article.
By the way - the look of your blog is also very good - books stacked on either side.
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