Using Color to Make Powerful Websites
What colors you use in your web designs can increase conversion rates and keep people coming back to your site again and again. Color has been used effectively in art and advertising design for years. In this article we are going to explore the effective use of color in website design looking particularly at how color can influence your conversion rates and increase sales.
Use color to attract and play to your audience. Color and design should always project and reinforce the tone and character of a product or organization. For example, pinks and pastels are perfect for a wedding photographer website while fun bright primary colors make sense when selling toys on a toddler website. Black and deep blues with bright red and orange highlights work well if you were selling auto parts. Color is always part of your design package and it should work with, rather than against the rest of your content including images, fonts and graphics.
Primary to good color use in web design is using the 216-browser safe colors that will play consistently across the major browsers. If you’re not going to stick to these colors at least test the colors on each browser to see how your color schemes will look to your viewers.
Using an organized color scheme is also critical to successful website design. A unified color scheme will brand your product and website and make it clear to your viewers that they are visiting another page within the website rather than being directed off site to another website. If you are including offsite linked ads within your pages its even more critical to adopt a unified color scheme in order to decrease viewer confusion and frustration. Adopting a unified color scheme should also extend to your PPC advertising and landing pages. Tim Ash CEO of SiteTuners.com and author of “Landing Page Optimization” views upstream disconnects as one of the most common mistakes made on landing page designs (B to B, 2.8.2010, Vol. 95, Issue 2: 11-12). Your viewers should never have any doubt they have followed the proper link when they are getting ready to finalize a sale. A unified color scheme is one of the best ways to do this. Even a moment’s confusion can translate into lost revenues.
Designate a specific color for all of your call to action points and use these same GIFs consistently throughout your website. Your call to action points should be placed prominently and they should use colors that contrast with the overall design of the website. Using the same GIFs over and over leads to higher conversion rates and as a bonus you will have faster upload. Whenever possible your call to action points should be surrounded by substantial dead space to further emphasize their importance. Using dead space can be tricky and heat maps can be used optimize your call to action points and test your designs before and after you make them public.
The Power of Color
Colors are extremely powerful unto themselves and certain colors have long performance track records. Red is at the top of the list of the most powerful colors in advertising. Red is one of the first colors a baby is able to see and it has the ability to increase breathing and pulse rates. Red is used for arousal and it is an active color. Furthermore, red has the ability to stimulate the appetite so it is a powerful color for promoting food products. Red is also a passionate color associated with love and hate making it a great social color to tap into people’s emotions. Orange is the neutral baby sister to red. Orange works great in combination with blue and also spurs appetite responses like red.
Green is the color of nature and in today’s world, green is a multi-billion dollar industry. (See Brian Dougherty, Green Graphic Design, 2008). Green is great for portraying freshness, vitality and renewal. Ironically, Green is also used to symbolize economic growth and financial power.
Blue is the color of intellectual calm and serenity. It is associated with power, masculinity and efficiency. Blue is a great color to use for promoting any form of drink product or heat relief product because of its association with water and coolness.
Yellow is an intense color and it can be very powerful when used properly. However,yellow is also the color for caution and it can cause fatigue and it is difficult to read on screen. Don’t discount the power of yellow for promoting food though because yellow is also the color of butter and many delicious treats! Toys, smiley faces and sunshine all use yellow as a happy color. On the opposite side of yellow is purple. The most regal of colors, purple is great for promotional advertising and selling clothing and fashion décor.
Pink is an extremely feminine color and along with all the other pastel colors, pink is a great color to emphasis anything soft and feminine. Men often find pink as irritating as women find it soothing so know your demographic before using pink.Black is almost the opposite of pink. Black is a very masculine and formal color and it is also the traditional color of text. Using white text instead of black has become fashionable but when doing this make sure your font, spacing and justification enhance readability.
Pay attention to how and when you use color in your website designs and it will increase your conversion rates. Colors are powerful tools and with so many beautiful backlit luminous screens out there using color online is an opportunity too big and beautiful to miss!