Selecting an appropriate website color palette is important since it increases readability, makes the navigation clearer and should include contrast that spurs emotions.  More importantly, color theory studies have shown that effectively leveraging the attention that is drawn by unique color can dramatically affect your conversion rates. Before implementing this concept into your website you must start with an effective overall color scheme that ties into the emotions of your customers.

Why Color Matters

Color theory can be a difficult concept for most people to grasp, especially those who are not employed in creative fields. Your website color choices matter because the use of the right colors has a strong effect on emotion as well as the potential to encourage a preferred behavior. Colors are typically strongly associated with certain psychological emotions such as yellow being cheerful, blue is calming, purple being regal, etc. Here is a list of some of the common colors and what type of psychological emotion they invoke in people.

These responses and associated meanings for colors are deeply embedded in our memory and can send unintended messages if not thought through. For example, it is no coincidence that Campbells soup has used the same color label for years. I am willing to bet the mention of the Campbells conjured images in your head of the logo and specific color red. Your goal should be to have a similar level of brand recall with your clients.

Basic Color Theory Strategies

Select a simple and complimentary palette of colors and stick to them. Color should be used sparingly to attract the eye and inspire action, and to support the content and theme of the site. Do not use more than two or three colors on a single page or the colors begin to be distracting. Use the same background color on each page. Here are a few examples of poor color choices.

  • White text on a black background
  • Colored text on any dark background
  • Bright colors overlapping or butting up to other bright colors
  • Text over a background that is similar in tone
  • Avoid making larger parts of web site with very bright colors

Text Colors

Be exceptionally careful when setting text and background colors as readability must be preserved at all costs. Color combination is also very important aspect. Some color combinations are very unimpressive such as yellow text on a blue background. If the text is light colored then the background has to be dark and vice a versa. White and black always make a good combination, and red and blue are useful for highlighting. Try to avoid using the combination of black as a back ground with warm color text, as it might be great clarity wise but has a tendency to make visitors nauseous.

Making Color Convert

The key to making all of these color theories work is to determine what your visitors want, not necessarily what you want to sell them, and helping them to find and act on it. In other words, figure out what they are looking for and make it easy to find using a bold and contrasting color.

This is a fine distinction that bears clarification because if used in the wrong way the theory will backfire. If your use of the color appears to be an advertisement it will quickly be ignored. So it is critical that your use of contrasting color be considered from the customer’s perspective. We have all had the experience of wasting time searching for something on a web page that should be obvious and easily located. By making it easy for your customer to find what they are looking for you are supporting their ability to move through the site efficiently and reducing their potential for frustration.

A recent study indicates that trouble in searching for information related to products and delivery frustrates consumers, resulting in them clicking away from the website. Your goal should be for your website to provide essential information for your client so that they click through the site, find the information they are looking for, then contact you. Using subtle but effective color theory applications to assist your clients in completing this process will result in a more satisfied client and a higher potential for a conversion.


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