Just as people judge books by their covers, they judge sites by their header images. It’s the first thing visitors see, and they will have an immediate gut reaction that’s either favorable or unfavorable.
Your header is your chance to promote your style and genre.
With my current header I try to convey fantasy, mystery, and perhaps hope. (Butterflies symbolize hope, faith, and change.)
But what if I add a few red lines?
A little sinister. Horror?
Font and image both play a role. What if I used this font?
You may think romance.
What if I went with something like these? What genres come to mind?
(I threw these headers together quickly, so no critiquing. )
- Include an image or logo.
- Include the site/author name.
- The width should be equivalent to the width of your content, and neither should make the horizontal scroll bar show up. Consider all screen resolutions.
- The height can vary but visitors expect to see actual content before needing to scroll down. If you use top bar navigation, consider that as part of the header’s height.
- Take your site’s background into consideration. To look professional it needs to integrate or merge seamlessly.
- Always center the header.
- Don’t overcomplicate the design (it’s the equivalent to purple prose).
- Templates for blogs and sites are a great starting point, but the header still needs customization to shout out your brand. Choose a template that has a color scheme and design elements that fit your genre, then customize the header.
- Look for images and clipart that are free for public use (all my example themes use these).
- Manipulate and create your header in GIMP or Photoshop.
- Use animation with caution. Not only does it extend your site’s loading time, most people hate it.
Alternative Header Designs:
- Use your book covers.
- Use your author photo, but even then make the background fit your genre.
- How to Make a Header for Your WordPress Site with Free Graphics Tools (it applies to headers for any website or blog)
Design Challenged? Try …
Tell me what you love to see in headers–and what you hate.
headers by me, sample headers used images from openclipart.org and clipart.com