Colour Me Happy: How To Choose A Great Colour Scheme For Your Website

When designing a website, a lot of thought goes into things such as the layout and usability, as well as other key design features. But what about the colour scheme your website uses?

Choosing the right colours for your website can have a positive influence, particularly on conversion rates. However, finding those perfect colours is something that requires a lot of patience and experimentation; fortunately there are a few helpful pointers to follow when deciding how to use colour on your website. But first, why is colour so important?

Colour – why does it matter?

Colour has a powerful psychological effect on the brain. Though the ways in which we react to colour are subject to a number of different things (personal preferences, cultural associations), studies have shown that colour has a great impact on us.

Why does it matter for your website? Well, research has shown that 92.6% of people cited the visual dimension (of which colour is a factor) as the main influencing factor affecting their purchase decision. Another study revealed that it only takes 90 seconds for people to make a subconscious judgement on a product, with up to 90% of that assessment coming from colour alone.

So, from your website's perspective, choosing the right colours will help to give a great impression of your company, in the same way that using a terrible colour combination will give a bad impression. Here are some things to keep in mind when looking for that perfect colour palette:

  • Avoid clashing colours – Certain combinations, such as bright green and red, look bad and will drive users away. Always think about how a colour will work with other colours on the website.
  • However, contrast is important – The background should be a plain colour and have plenty of contrast with the text. Trying to read black text on a dark blue background will give your browsers a headache!
  • Remember your links too – Links should always be a different colour from other text in order to make them stand out. Some of the web's biggest websites (BBC, Google, eBay) use blue for their links, which makes it a popular option as it encourages familiarity. Use a different colour again for clicked links to improve navigation.
  • Less is more – This is certainly true when it comes to colour. Use colour sparingly to catch the attention of your browsers. Colour can have a great impact on conversions, yes, but not if your website looks like an explosion in a paint factory. Less is always more!
  • Keep your company branding in mind – Your website should be consistent with your existing company branding, such as promotional materials and your logo. Use the same colours on your website to ensure familiarity.
  • White space is important – as it helps to draw attention to the key bits of your website. White space also helps call to action buttons stand out from everything else around it.
  • Speaking of call-to-action – You should always use bright, rich colours for call to action buttons. On any website, there is one particular step you want your visitors to take – whether that's to buy something, sign up to a newsletter or to pick up their phone. Your colour scheme should help to guide your visitor towards carrying out this action.

Choosing a great colour scheme will not only mean your website looks good, but will also ensure that your site's layout is clear and easy to navigate. Getting the balance right between colours which are eye-catching yet allow the browser to use the site intuitively is tricky, but with a bit of perseverance you will reap the benefits that colour can bring.

What are your tips for using colour on a website?

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