How to Choose the Best Color Combinations for Your Website Design


Is having the best possible color combination for your website design really that important? The answer is a resounding “Yes!” Some research indicates that almost 50% of your home page visitors will not return to a site that is visually unappealing, regardless of the excellence of the product or service being offered. It would seem that as important as new technology is, keeping your website attractive, relevant and trendy is definitely worth the effort.

The following are some questions to consider for optimizing your site with the best color combinations:

1. Who is your target audience? Gender, culture and age are important here. It seems that, while men prefer blue and orange combinations, women tend to enjoy red and yellow designs more. Overall, however, blue remains the most mutually popular website color for both sexes. Do you hope to garner worldwide interest? If so, you need to be aware that colors carry different meanings in different parts of the world. For example, purple may indicate passion, romance and mystery in Western culture, but in parts of the Middle East, it is suggestive of prostitution. In fact, it may not be the best choice for most products or services offered specifically to Christian, Jewish or Islamic populations. Similarly, white is pure and clean in the West but reflects unhappiness and bad fortune in India, China and Japan. Lastly, today’s young people are much more attracted to vibrant website color designs than are their older counterparts, who tend to prefer more subdued sites.

2. What message do you wish to communicate? Your color combination choice will emotionally impact your site visitors although they may never be consciously aware of that fact. For example, blue speaks of safety, security, experience, calmness and reason. Many financial institutions choose blue as their dominant color for this very reason. and also want visitors to trust the deals they are offering. On the other hand, Pinterest and Yelp both use bold red to stir up passion and action, and Groupon uses green because it’s all about great money opportunities.

3. Are you working to brand your project more strongly? The right color combination and palette can go a long way toward achieving this goal. Ideally, stick to no more than 3-5 colors for a clear, consistent design. Borrowing from interior decorator guidelines, aim for about 60% of the dominant color, 30% of the secondary choice and 10% for an accent pop. If you need to add more for sidebars, columns, captions and tables, use tints and shades of the dominant or secondary colors. Once again, you might want to consider colors that are typically associated with certain products or services. Reds, oranges and yellows are popular with restaurants and food interests. Think Chick-Fil-A and McDonald’s. Luxury items are often displayed against black, and information sites that are heavy on content, often choose blue, red and yellow combinations.

If the prospect of choosing the most suitable website color combination seems a bit daunting, don’t panic. There are numerous computer programs and apps that can simplify the process. The time invested in designing or updating your site color palette can be well worth it in attracting and keeping consumers, and after all, isn’t that the bottom line for Internet sales and service?




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