Website Color Selection Tips

Color is one of the most important aspects of your website. It affects how visitors interact with your site, it reinforces your brand, and it sets the mood or tone of your business. Here’s how to go about selecting colors for your website. 

Your small business website’s color scheme may make a bigger impact than you think. The colors in your logo, the color of your site background, and the color of the type on the pages all have an impact on site visitors. Some color combinations can be hard to read; others may seem too bright or too subtle for the type of product or service you’re selling. A website’s color scheme can consciously or subconsciously affect a visitor’s perception of your trustworthiness, desirability of your products, and even whether they click on a Subscribe button or Buy Now button.

What’s the right color scheme?

You need to choose the color for several places on your website. Typically, those are the background of the web page, your logo, a menu bar, buttons, headlines, links, and body text.

There’s no one right or wrong color scheme for all sites. A rock band, for instance, is likely to use different colors and use them in a different way than a parenting site or a car dealership.

To choose the right scheme for your site, consider what kind of message you want the site to send to visitors. If your site is about the calming benefits of aromatherapy, you will probably want to lean toward soothing and pastel colors. If your industry is landscaping, greens may work well for you. If you are selling ATVs, bold bright colors are appropriate.

Your website is the online presence for your brand. Thus, if you already have a well-established brand and have a logo for the brand, you will want to plan your website color pallet around the colors of your logo. One option is to make the dominant color in your logo the dominant color on the website, using it in places that stand out, such as your navigation menu at the top of the page and the footer at the bottom of web pages.

If you don’t have a logo yet, or if you’ve decided to update your logo, then you’ll want to spend some time deciding what colors are most representative of your brand. Over the years, various colors have come to be associated with certain qualities, like warmth, happiness, or trust. These color associations can vary from culture to culture or country to country. For instance, green is often associated with money in the United States, but not in countries where the currency is a different color. So, do a little research before choosing a scheme.

RELATED: Website Basics: Understanding the Web Development Process

How to Do Color Research

There are a couple of ways to do color research. One is to search the Internet for sites in your industry and see what color combinations they use. Do not duplicate a competitor’s colors, though. You want your site to be unique and memorable. Look at sites in other industries, too, and note color combinations that appeal to you. Are they bright and bold? Do most tend to use more delicate pastel colors? Are they monochromatic (shades of a single color)? Or are they multicolored?

Choosing a Color Palette for Your Site

Once you have some idea of what color schemes are appealing, you will want to decide what color will be your main or dominant color and what color or colors you will use for accent colors. The accent colors will be used to draw attention to certain places on your web pages, such as featured content or buttons that direct visitors to subscribe to a newsletter or buy your products. These websites have tools that will help you find dominant and accent colors that work together:

  • Adobe Color Wheel
  • Paletton
  • Colorbook.io
  • Coolors.co 

When you find a color palette you like, copy the Hex codes (the numbers that identify the various color shades) to give to your designer or use in a graphics program if you’re creating your site yourself.

Website Background Color

If you are building your own site, stay away from gimmicky or artsy backgrounds for your website. If you sell wood paneling, you may think it’s a great idea to make the background of your web pages look like wood paneling, but unless you’re an experienced graphic designer, don’t do it. Using a background design is likely to make it hard to read the text on your pages and could also make your site look old fashioned and out of date.

What should you use? Usually white is the best background choice for a website, however black (with white text) works well for certain types of sites. White type on black is more difficult to read than black or dark gray type on a white background, however.

When choosing the background and text colors, be sure to consider website accessibility issues. There needs to be enough contrast between the text and the background color for people who have problems distinguishing colors to read the page.

Finalizing Your Website Color Scheme

Before you commit to a website color scheme, ask several people for feedback on the colors. It is not unusual for colors to look somewhat different on different computers and digital devices. Additionally, colors invoke different reactions from different people. Ask business associates and friends and ask them to be honest about their thoughts on your choice of colors. If one person isn’t thrilled with a color scheme it may not be a major issue, but if several of the people you consult don’t think it’s right, you may want to try alternate colors.

Taking the time to choose your website’s color scheme in this way will help you find a color palette that will appeal to you and your customers for years to come.

 

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