A new website is like a new house – a blank, plain vanilla slate, just waiting for your personality to give it character and vitality.
How you decorate will reflect what you are all about.
Your website colors are a first impression, it is how other people will perceive your site.
You want to choose colors that appeal to your readers, jive with your topic, and perhaps most importantly – are colors that please you.
You Want Your Readers To Stay
When people come to your house, or in this case your website, they will make judgements about you.
Since you want them to stay, the colors that you choose to decorate with are very important. This is what they see before they even read a single, written word.
Pleasing To The Eye
Have you ever come across a website that was so garish, that you just couldn’t hang around?
The information could have been the exact solution to your problem, but the colors were so put offish that you moved on and found the answer elsewhere.
You don’t want to drive your visitors away on color alone.
Appeal To Your Target Audience
Who you write for is also important.
Who is your target audience? Women, men, kids?
You need to select website colors that are appealing to your demographic.
The message that your colors send to these targeted people is:
Hey, this site is perfect for you. We have information that you will love.
The colors that you choose for your website will also be a reflection of your brand.
As your site grows in popularity, the colors will tell your visitors that they are in the right place.
Sometimes people don’t remember names, but colors have a funny way of sinking into the subconscious.
Repeat visitors to your website will see the colors and get a sense of familiarity.
Think about some popular brands and their trademark colors:
- UPS – brown
- McDonalds – red and yellow
- Coca Cola – red and white
- Tiffany’s – robin’s egg blue
This fun article at Business Insider gives even more examples about how businesses and their trademark colors have fused together. I mean, really – could you imaging something like Target changing their color from red to green?
You might think that you are small potatoes compared to the big guns but no matter how big or small your audience is, they show up to read your website. You need to make them feel at home.
Communicate the Topic
Another dimension to choosing the right website colors is your topic.
I will be completely stereotypical here for the sake of simplicity.
Your target audience is men.
You have two websites: one about business, one about sports.
The colors that you use for your sports website will be very different from those you choose for your business website – even though the audience for both is men. (again I’m keeping this simple).
This is because there is a sort of psychology to colors. Certain colors trigger certain feelings in people.
This article at Entrepreneur.com offers an excellent analysis of how people react when they see particular colors. This is a brief summary:
- Blue – trust, dependability
- Red – passion, energy, danger
- Green – health, wealth
- Yellow – optimism, creativity
- Purple – sophistacation, royalty
- Orange – vitality, cheerfulness
- Brown – stability
- Black – power, sophistication
- White – purity, simplicity
Building on my example, ESPN.com, a sports website, currently is sporting a lot of black and red on their website (see the screenshot below), which communicates power and energy.
CNBC.com, a business website – is wearing blue and black in the screenshot below. This sends us a message of trust and power. Notice the blocks of red in the lower right hand corner? These are telling us that the markets are down (read: warning or danger).
Do You Love Your Colors?
This has been important to me over the years, though it’s not really scientific.
If I don’t like my site, it paralyzes my writing.
Sort of like – if you hate the way your office looks you won’t like going to work.
My website is my home online, so I have to like it. It’s kind of a personal requirement.
(Here are some tools that can help you create a color scheme that works for your website.)
Tell Us Your Story
I want to hear if your website colors made a difference in your business.
Did you ever make a change to your color scheme that had a direct effect on your website traffic or conversions?
Tip: Create a color cheatsheet to easily apply uniform branding to all your social media profiles.