Really bad. So bad I can’t post straight screenshots because that would just be snarky. It’s a small industry, our niche market is, and were I to post these If your site looks like this, redesign immediately examples, I am just being mean. So I took small screenshots and did my best to preserve the identity of these offending websites. (I ask out of respect for these unsuspecting folks who might be proud of these sites, if you know the urls of these sites, please do not post them… that’s just mean.)
But here are a few good ways to check your site’s Awful Factor for yourself: if your site looks like it could be a site for a preschooler birthday party clown (above), and you write grown-up, alpha-male / strong leading lady romance novels, it’s time to redesign.
If your name shows up in your masthead with a big gap, or if one of the letters in your name is so funky it’s hard to read and you are relying on the fact that you think your name is recognizable without being readable, it’s time to redesign (or at least fix it).
If your name changes color and flashes like a disco strobe light and you are not a porn star, redesign. (Also consider not mixing art deco images, rainbows, and curlicue little girl fonts.)
If your site features strong color on strong color on strong color and makes people wince and draw their heads back upon your home page load, redesign.
And if you think that photo of yourself sitting spread-eagled is appropriate, think again. And as for the photo your husband snapped of you without makeup? Please don’t put it on your bio page. You are a professional!
All of these things just came across my desk in the last hour. I feel traumatized.
And this isn’t even bringing up all the sites where the author had only a teeny book cover on the home page — or no book cover at all. I mean, really. How can you call yourself FICTION BEYOND THE ORDINARY if you don’t show a fiction book on your home page?
I realize that not everyone has a professional design team in their budget crosshairs, but surely people must realize that a bad website is a liability.