How do I make my site professional?
I was wondering if you can help me.
I am starting to receive some followers on my blog, but a few of my friends have said that the site takes a while to load and registration is not easy. I am worried this may be turning away potential users.
Also, is there any way I can make my site look more professional? Also if I do change my site to look more professional, is there a way of backing up my work first, just in case things go wrong?
Any assistance will really help as I’m an amateur and learning as I go and I really do want to make my site look a lot more professional than it does already. The site is http://www.motherhooddiaries.com
Thanks so much!!
I want to keep the theme as it is in keeping with the theme of my blog, but I want to remove all the unprofessional bits. Is there any way I can do that?
Well, to be frank, it’s way too cluttered. I really hate background images and always discourage their usage simply for the amount of clutter and confusion they cause.
For example, when I click “You must be logged in to post a comment.” I’m taken here:
Though cluttered, the login form is obvious, but what about unregistered users? There is a registration link there, but can you find it? It’s in black text underneath the form, but the background image makes it impossible to find if you don’t already know where to look. Just ditch the background image and go back to the plain login form. Never sacrifice functionality for design.
Along the same lines is the contrast issue caused by the fence background on the main blog. The text in the sidebar on the far right blends too much with the fence, which makes the other “Register” link hard to find.
With all that said, I strongly recommend that you do the following:
1. Get rid of the custom login style. Just use the default.
2. Find a theme that’s less “busy,” preferably one with either no background image or a very simple background pattern.
Ok great James. Thank you so much for your help and thank you chinmoy. Hopefully, it will make everything look better.
You can use the background image, but maybe make it semi transparent so its more of a watermark, another big tip would be to use one colour for text and then stagger the hardness or darkness , depending on the importance of the text, i.e. Headings BLACK , subheadings DARK GREY , content text LIGHTER GREY , so the eye is drawn to the important parts first.
From DARK to LIGHT would be LOGO , ONLINE SHOP , NAV ITEMS, HEADINGS , SUBHEADING , TEXT. If you had a 50% sale you would put this in red or a really attention grabbing colour.
Obviously you can use a colour and have shades of it. Keep text columns the same width , so the readers eye can easily glance down , without having to make the eye look left and right which doesnt make easy reading. Basically lighten it up a bit , maybe remove the wood texture from the background and just have the fence pannel shapes. Remember , the eye needs to be guided around, try it , look around your page , nothing focuses you in, then look at a magazine ad and see how they use colour or tone to emphasise words of most importance.
Another thing for a proffesional look and feel is get some nice sharp vector art for it. check out my WIP http://www.rbcreations.co.uk/bartletts/wordpress/ its designed to be very clear, and to the point, the single colour artwork looks good but is very clear at the same time, no confusion as to where your going.
Its gives some visual weight without confusing the user as photograph or other gradient based images can if used too much. I think of a website as an information interface not a block buster movie. What do you want when you look at the internet, answer: information or an image of a particular type e.g. Darth Vader Poster , or TV guide but never do you want to see a load of unecessary background stuff and even cleaver animations arnt tollerated by most users if it means waiting or its gets anoying. I’ve spent years learning flash and 3d stuff , but who wants it, mainly TV and Film companies. What I am saying is, go to BBC or Adobe sites and look at those, theres no unecessary stuff on theres , why , because they know what there doing and have massive design budgets.
The main advice I would give anyone starting out
DESIGN YOUR CONTENT FIRST , KNOW WHATS GOING INTO THE SITE,
THEN MAKE IT FUNCTION CORRECTLY, LINKS , FORM ETC.
THEN LOOK AT STYLE AND THINK WHY IS IT NO GOOD, WHAT DO I NEED TO DO TO MAKE IT BETTER.
THEN ONLY IMPLEMENT DESIGN THAT MAKES A PROBLEM YOU LOOKED AT GO AWAY, and then stop and go onto the next element in the page or site and carry on.
E.G.PROBLEM 1 “The title doesnt stand out clearly enough without styling on it”
SOLUTION 1 “Enlarge the text size and bold it”.
LOOK AGAIN AT IT,, “now stands out but looks the same as the logo text”
solution “italise the text or give it a background colour”
LOOK AGAIN AT IT . now looks fine , leave it.
you could spend weeks trying different things out and end up with a 3d flash movie of the titd all thele , but you solved the problem 5 mins into the design.
What I suppose I’m saying is “you only have to build an easy to navigate , clear and easy to read website, NOT Avatar or Star wars. KEEP IT SIMPLE.
I hope this rant was usefull to you..
PS, SORRY ABOUT THE TERRIBLE USE OF CAPITAL LETTER HOW IRONIC !!!
Wow that’s fantastic advice! Thank you so much rich soon. I am definitely, definitely going to give it a shot. I really like your page too. Very clear and precise! 🙂
Thanks , nice to know your appreciated. Also if your intent on keeping the pins , pin up a kiddy school picture under one of them. 1 more good tip , less colours in a image the less filesize, thats why I use silloetts for icons etc. Make the outline sharpe and unmistakable and you can remove all the colour except one. It keeps the graphics down to bites rather than K. Obviously photographs are different , in that case use only one or two “per page” very high quality images or should I say, optimise them so they stay at the origional quality , dont cut back on quility , cut back on quantity. You can easily create another page and a link, rather than making you audiance wait.
However, this is a theme that I uploaded and I’m not entirey sure how you change the pictures on their own 🙁 I might just have to go with a different theme altogether or start learning how to use Photoshop CS4 🙂
Sorry for being really annoying again, but how do I remove the background from the registration page? I tried to look up the settings in the plugin section of wordpress, but it comes up with the HTML code and I’m not clever enough to use those yet 🙁 Plus, I’m pretty sure I didn’t have that option in the beginning.
The plugins I use related to the registration page are:
BM Custom Login
My Brand Login
Thank you, thank you!!
I have changed the theme and have now lost the register link on my page! 🙁
Do some basic xhtml and css tutorials, learn how the structure works on a basic level and you’ll be able to do these sort of things easily. There may be a way in wordpress to do it, but I have only had it a week, I’m normally a xhtml css photoshop illustrator flash cinema 4d “tiny bit of php” kind of gezzer. Now very impressed with wordpress though , there needed to be a bridge between programmers and designers, wordpress provides the programming capabilities needed for most everyday applications that can be customised and used without having to use a programmer, doesnt help the backend guys become designers though, well actually with themes it does doesnt it. Very cleaver WordPress.
I agree. If it wasn’t for WordPress, I would have had no chance in creating my website!
I’ll get started on some tutorials so I stop bothering you 🙂
No your not bothering me, its just the best way to get into it, come back and ask anytime. Just create a paragraph of text , create an xhtml strict webpage to put it in and make it bold using an external stylesheet. If you manage that, and fully understand it, i’ll give you lesson two or test two, you can train yourself i’ll help you if you go wrong. come and ask when you do and good luck. It has to be strict xhtml not just html or a dreamweaver page. coded by hand. GO FOR IT GEEZZER !!!
That’s really helpful of you. I am keen to learn the proper code so I can, like you, end up designing anything I want. It’s never too late, eh? 🙂
Also, I’ve changed my theme on the website to something which is a bit easier on the eye I think… I’m still trying to sort out the registration page, but I’ll get there in the end… 😀
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