How to Increase Website Engagement and Conversions with Careful Colour Selection

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Choosing the colours you use in your website design may not seem like a big decision, but this is actually a really important part of your website. The influence of colour on website visitors is well-documented, and knowing how this influence operates allows you to make decisions on design that will please your website visitors and can subtly encourage them to delve further into your website and/or make a purchase.

Women, Men, and Colour

Know your audience. Women and men have different colour preferences, so if your website is targeting one or the other, you should take those preferences into account. The colours that women prefer are purples, blues, and greens. Women generally dislike orange, gray, and brown, so leave those colours out of your website if your business targets women as its market. Men prefer blues, greens, and black, but dislike brown, orange, and purple. If your website is being marketed to both sexes, it’s best to stick with blues and greens.

The Meanings of Colours

Particular colours may have more significance to some people than others, but there is some consensus on how most people respond to certain colours. For example, blue gives a perception of trust and serenity, while yellow creates a sense of heightened emotions or warning. Green is a symbol of nature and has been shown to improve creativity, and orange is a fun colour that creates a sense of urgency.

Most people perceive purple as being royal or high-quality, while black typically represents luxury. Red is probably the colour with the most common interpretation, of passion. Of course, the use of white space can also create its own perception, depending on the contents of the rest of the page.

Using Those Meanings

Now that you know the feelings associated with particular colours, you can use those perceptions to your advantage in the design of your website. You can use blue in your website to convince the website visitor to trust you. Blue is used in such websites as Facebook and PayPal, both of which rely on the trust of their users for their success. Yellow, since it’s used for warnings or alerts, can be a good colour choice for a call to action. It will demand attention from the visitor.

Green is a good choice if your business is related to the environment or outdoor products, since green is associated with nature. It can also be another good choice for a call to action, particularly if your call to action is positive in nature. Orange can be a fun colour that creates an impulsive feeling, and it’s often used by businesses associated with sports and children’s products.

Red is the colour most often associated with passion and can be used in conjunction with black, which represents luxury and value. Businesses that market to a high-end audience often use black in their websites to give that perception of expensive luxury.

Bright primary colours are good choices for your calls to action. They grab the website visitor’s attention and are a good way to reinforce your suggestion to do something. Lighter colours are more suited for other parts of your website, such as the text or background.

Colours to Avoid

Not all colours are created equal, and there are some colours that should generally be avoided when designing a website. Neutrals, such as gray and brown, are too dull for websites. Gray gives a perception of loneliness and sadness, neither of which is conducive to encouraging people to buy your product or service.

Brown symbolizes boredom, which is definitely not a reaction you want from your website visitors. Light pink is another colour that should usually be avoided, as it is too gender-specific, and is associated with weakness. While black can be used successfully in website design, too much black in your design will give the impression of death or fear.

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Making Colours Work Together

When you’re designing your website, keep in mind any branding requirements that you may have to include as far as colour choices, and select your colours based on those requirements. If you have no such requirements, you’ll have more freedom to select colours that work well together.

Web design experts agree that using complementary colours is a good way to attract attention from website visitors and make them want to continue viewing your site. The colour of your text should contrast with the background colour, to make for easy reading. Make sure you choose different colours for your text and links, including different colours for links that have been clicked and links that have not yet been clicked.

Don’t make the background too light, and make sure your colour selections are easy on the eyes. Browsing your website should be a pleasurable experience for visitors, and they shouldn’t have to strain to see your content. While you can use slightly more muted colours for your larger call to action buttons, if you have smaller CTA buttons, use brighter colours that stand out from the background.

However, there is such a thing as too much colour. Don’t use too many colours, as too many colours will just end up competing for the attention of the website visitor. Stick with just a few colours that complement each other.

Test The Colours!

Testing should be part of every aspect of your website as you design it. Know your targeted audience and listen to what they say about your colour choices for your website. Don’t just assume that because a colour palette looks good to you, your website visitors will love it. Select some internet users for testing your website and listen to the feedback you get, before deciding on final colour choices.

Bottom Line

When you’re designing your business website, you may not think that your colour choices will be such a big deal. However, colours can subtly influence your website visitors in ways that you may not have considered. Take these colour perceptions and integrate them into your website design.

John Stone is an SEO Consultant from Sydney, Australia. Through years of experience, he became a devout believer in the notion that form should always follow function and that developing the ability to think outside of the box is a prerequisite of being a successful entrepreneur. You can find him on Twitter