Is your website too colorful?

09-14 Draft #3 - MAIN IMAGE

The phrase “less is more” is often tossed about in many different scenarios, but did you know it’s also a vital mantra for your website? When choosing the colors for your website, remember that this could make or break its effectiveness and ability to engage your customer.

Exercise 1: Look through your website. How many colors have you used in your present setup? Be sure to include in your count the number of shades of colors, not just the main colors.

The power of colors

One of the most powerful tools in a website’s arsenal is color. Colors demand our attention, elicit an emotional response, and can be the determining factor in how you engage your visitors.

The right, attractive color (or color combination) can actually influence someone’s decision to purchase your product or service.

On the flip side, the wrong color (or color combination) can elicit a negative response, causing them to immediately retract from engaging or interacting with your website, product, or service.

How can you make maximum use of your website’s colors?

Examples of bad use of colors

  1. Apply minimal color schemes. Too much color is capable of turning a potential customer away. Some people have even gone as far as saying that too much color leaves them feeling dizzy!
  2. Remember your brand! Sometimes your brand colors may be the only thing that sets you apart from other similar brands. Colors are a unique identifier. As you pick out colors to use on your website, make sure that each of them represents your brand.
  3. Pair up complementary colors. For example, a bright color could be coupled with a more subtle shade to blend in well. However, if you combine two competing colors, it creates chaos. The best way to explain it is when someone is placed in a room full of people yelling instructions, they won’t be able to gather much from what is being said.
  4. Remember who your target audience is: Think about how your brand colors engage them emotionally and only add colors that will enhance that engagement.

When you map out your color palette well, you will invoke feelings of trust, meaning, and recognition; factors that can earn you a lifetime customer. Our web tip: Website Tips, Color, Design & Usability takes a deeper dive into the use of color and will help you understand the important elements of a website.

How much color is too much?

A good approach is making sure that you can count all the colors on one hand. If you use more, you are swimming in the waters of color overwhelm. Within your main colors, you can use shades of that color to build out your palette and have everything look cohesive.

The best way to select your colors is to organize them into these three groups:

  • Central: Central colors are usually those that are used almost throughout the website. These colors should be your company’s brand colors. They should not be more than two.
  • Accent: The accent color is usually one that grabs immediate attention, so it should be used sparingly. This is usually just one color, and is applied especially on sections that need to stand out, like action buttons, headlines, or icons.
  • Neutral: as the name suggests, the neutral color(s) will remain barely noticeable in the background or in large sections of the site that do not require attention. It’s the supporting player that quietly helps to evoke your website’s emotional mood – to be calm and dreamy, or sleek and modern, or natural and earthy, or stylish and sophisticated, etc. This could be one, or two colors at most.

As you create, remember the role that each of your intended colors will play, and what your audience will respond to. Here are a couple of great articles that dive deeper into explaining color selection: Building Your Color Palette and 12 Essential Tips to Picking a Website Color Scheme by Neil Patel.

Exercise 2:

  • Consider a few of your favorite websites. Can you recognize the different colors used and their individual purposes?
  • Now go through your website once again. Can you identify a few areas where you could either tone down or add more color to enhance your website’s overall performance?


Your Online Partner… for Success

Would you like to have someone with experience help you to review the results of your two exercises? Reach out – and schedule a free 30-minute session with Christy.