How to Make Your Website Theme Rock

themesOne of our missions with Writer’s Residence is to provide writers with a website that looks good by default, so you can spend less time “designing” and more time writing. As such, we offer 16 pre-designed website themes (including a few recent additions from the fantastic designers at Wired Canvas), all of which are designed specifically with writers in mind.

But we also give writers the option to create a custom theme, with their own header and color scheme. To that end, I wanted to offer some advice for writers who want to use a custom theme to help them make it look as good as possible. Of course, these rules not only apply to Writer’s Residence, but to anyone who’s got a website that they’ve designed themselves.

Choosing a header image

This is the image that appears at the top of your page. In Writer’s Residence, you can use any size image you’d like (we resize it automatically to make it look good on the page) but a good rule of them is to use a header image that’s a long, wide rectangle. A header that’s too tall will push everything below it off the screen, but all that stuff below the header is important, and you want people to see it when they first access the page.

Good header:

headergood-1

Bad header:

headerbad-3

How to pick your website’s colour scheme

Writer's Residence Custom ThemeIf you’ve ever gone to a website that’s difficult to read because of the text and background colous, then you know how important colors are to a website. Why should anyone – particularly those all-important editors, clients and customers – stick around if they can’t read it?

In Writer’s Residence, you can customize your theme’s header, text, link, background and text background colours. A good general rule is that dark text on a light background is best. But you can also do even better by picking a colors that work well together and which suit your style and personality.

Here are a few of my favourite tools for picking color schemes:

  • Kuler – a community driven web app that lets your browse color palettes created by others. You can also create your own by using the color wheel, harmony rules, and color sliders.
  • Color Scheme Designer – a nice, simple interface that helps you create beautiful color schemes in seconds.
  • Pictaculous – upload an image and this app creates a color scheme based on that image. This could be particularly handy for those of you using custom header images.
  • COLOURlovers – this one’s a bit of fun and another community driven site where people create and share colors, palettes and patterns.

Color Scheme Designer

In the coming weeks we’ll put together some of our favourite website color schemes and palettes for you to use on your own website. In the meantime, has anyone else got some great tools or ideas to share for creating a rockin’ website theme? We’d love to hear about them in the comments!

One Response to “How to Make Your Website Theme Rock”

  1. Writer’s Residence Blog » Blog Archive » 5 Must-Haves For Your Online Writing Portfolio Says:

    […] themes that makes it difficult to create an ugly website. Writer’s Residence comes with 16 beautiful pre-designed themes that let you personalise your website with the click of a button. You can also create a custom […]