Help me choose my new website design!

I’ve been working with my lovely friend Stephanie from Toastie Studio to refresh the design of my website. I want to make the site look cleaner and simpler while still being bright and fun.

Stephanie has mocked up a couple of designs, and I would love to know what you think. The stock images will be different — I just haven’t had a chance to look for better ones yet. Also, the Toastie Studio watermark will not be on the final site.

I’d love to know which design grabs you more. Which header do you like best: the one with a simple pink-and-blue bar above a big image, or the one with the image integrated into the header? Do you prefer the three featured books in a row or the pyramid with more text?

We can move things around and incorporate different features in the final design. For example, if header 1 is really popular but the book feature area of design 2 is also popular, we can put them together.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts!

Design 1

Web design 1

Design 2

Web design 2

20 thoughts on “Help me choose my new website design!

  1. My fav by far is #1. It’s still friendly and approachable but has more personality and feels less cluttered than the 2nd option.

  2. I think your name stands out more on Design 2. I read yesterday that it’s important for authors to have their names prominently displayed on the header.

    As for the books, I like either, slight preference for #1, but not against the pyramid of #2.

  3. I prefer #2 by a wide margin. I’ve found that I will not stay on websites that seem to overwhelm with stuff – pictures, graphics, and words – so I like the white space and uncluttered appearance of #2. I also prefer the more understated but still elegant look of the pyramid.

  4. I definitely prefer #2. I’m not a fan of a big romance type picture right at the top of a website like in #1. Honestly, I sometimes look at websites at work, and anything that has lots of graphics like that right at the top will make me not want to visit that website.

    Also, I think the guy with the flowers behind his back in #2 is adorable and does a good job of capturing the type of heroes and stories that you write. I prefer the layout under the header in #2 also.

  5. The contrast of colours in the Design 1 header is striking and I love the white-on-pink look, but it’s boxy, rigid, and monotonous. Tight. Almost too generic. I like quick access to relevant info (to me, as a reader), but I don’t think presenting them all at once above the fold is the way to go.

    I’m digging the irregular geometric balance in Design 2, giving the layout some texture, and the way the content is laid out with visual hierarchy, where your latest release gets an instant spotlight. You can do delightful things like shapes to the images without “breaking character” so to speak. There’s breathing room for all the elements, too, so it doesn’t look cluttered and gives your visitors time to absorb info. Overall, Design 2 just flows better. (The blue-green Subscribe button looks a bit out of place here, though. And I’m personally and professionally super averse to center aligning paragraph texts. All right, I hate it. Hate it.)

    Tl;dr: Design 2.

    1. Kanoko said it better than I could!

      Just to add a couple more things: the header for Option 2 has a more sweetly romantic feel that is more in line with the spirit of your novels. (Yes, they’re sexy too, but it’s the underlying sweetness that really makes them sing.)

      Are newsletter acquisition and your social channels a key part of your marketing strategy? The teal line on the first design feels like more of a “separator, please ignore” than an “important content here” section. The second design makes all of those elements more prominent.

      The one place where Design 1 is stronger than Design 2 is that the nav buttons are more prominent in the pink header than in the white header. But I don’t think moving them down into the pink bar on Design 2 would be likely to improve the visibility; it will just compete with the newsletter and social buttons and distract from all of those elements. The nav is still more obvious in Design 2 than newsletter signup is in Design 1. And in the end it’s more important to highlight the newsletter box in particular than the nav buttons; users will scan for a nav button but won’t notice a newsletter signup unless it slaps them in the face. Considering how much traffic lift comes from a newsletter (I don’t know about your site but I’m thinking in the broader sense) it seems important to ensure that users see that as soon as possible.

  6. You guys have been SO helpful! Thank you for taking the time to give me feedback. It’s been such a hard decision, especially since everyone I talk to seems very split, but I’ve asked my designer to make some updates and I really like what she’s done. I should be able to show it to you soon!

    Thank you again!

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