Web Marketing: How to Choose Colors - dummies

By John Arnold, Michael Becker, Marty Dickinson, Ian Lurie, Elizabeth Marsten

Though it may seem trivial, color is an important marketing decision. Visitors to your website will react to color more than you might realize. That reaction can mean the difference between a visitor buying a product online with confidence versus a person being blinded by ghastly color combinations and hitting the Back button in less than three seconds.

Talk to your designer about the potential uses of color. If you don’t have a web designer chosen yet, make color options a point of discussion before hiring that helper. We all make decisions daily based on the colors we see, so color should be an important component of your website’s design.

Here is a summary of how most people interpret and react to colors:

  • Blue (the most popular) suggests honesty, trustworthiness, calming, and loyalty.

  • Black displays authority, sophistication, power, elegance, and technical prowess.

  • White symbolizes purity, peace, and youth: neutral and clean.

  • Red excites with passion, energy, and excitement.

  • Pink suggests innocence, softness, and sweetness.

  • Green invites feelings of nature, growth, and regeneration.

  • Dark green however, implies wealth and conservatism.

  • Yellow is optimistic and cheery, yet can come across as too dominating if overused.

  • Purple is associated with wealth, sophistication, and mystical, spiritual tones.

  • Brown is genuine, although it often emotes sadness.

  • Orange conveys happiness, freedom, creativity, playfulness, and confidence.

  • Gold as you would expect, suggests expensive taste as well as prestige.

  • Silver also emotes prestige but is cold and more scientific.

  • Gray has a more corporate, somber, and practical appeal.

A good example of a website that uses colors in an interesting way is Secure Financial Group. The website features a trustworthy black-and-gold outline mixture, with gold and silver coins featured, of course. But, a subtle palette of grays is used for the navigation bar, which gives a calming effect to the visitor and yet a sort of scientific feeling that’s appealing to people who want to invest.

Clearly, this is a website trying to differentiate itself in the precious metals investing industry from the gold buyers that you see advertising on every city street corner.

If you have an existing website, study the colors. Do the colors work together to convey a meaning that is consistent with your business? If you do not yet have a website or are working on a redesign, this is a great opportunity for you to make a list of two or three colors to include in your design, plus a few that you want to stay away from.