Colour is a tricky concept. Finding the colour palette that works for your business goals and your target audience is easier said than done. You have to use colours in the right way at just the right time. Beyond the obvious colour aversions, such as not using black for a kids’ toys website or not using brown for a women’s beauty product website, it can be hard to know where to start.
The following describes the best colours for converting your website visitors.
Marketing to men versus women
Are your products and services designed for women, men, or both? Men and women have distinct preferences when it comes to colour. Women love blue, purple, and green and tend to avoid orange, brown, and gray. Men love blue, green, and black and tend to avoid brown, orange, and purple. In one survey pertaining to colour and gender, 35 percent of women listed blue as their favorite colour, followed by purple at 23 percent and green at 14 percent. Nearly one third of the women listed orange as their least favorite colour, while another third who listed brown, and gray came in at 17 percent.
When to use specific colours
As blue is such a universally loved colour, you can use it for virtually every aspect of your website except for topics related to food. Blue conveys a strong sense of trust, which is one reason that many banks and other financial institutions (i.e. PayPal, credit unions) use blue. It’s also associated with communication, intelligence, and logic. For many people, blue conveys a sense of calm and serenity, bringing about peace and order.
Most people strongly associate green with the outdoors, making it an ideal choice for products and services relating to nature, the outdoors, and the environment. Green promotes health, balance, restoration, and refreshment. If you sell organic or eco-friendly products, green is a great option. Not surprisingly, green also has a strong association with wealth and money. Additionally, green works well to draw attention to key website elements, such as “add to cart” and “submit” buttons.
Yellow is often used to communicate warnings, such as yield signs, traffic lights, and wet floor signs. As such, it is funny that yellow is also associated with happiness, youthfulness, optimism, and fun. In many instances, yellow suggests playfulness. As it isn’t most people’s favorite colour, it’s best practice to use yellow in small doses.
Red is a physical colour that promotes urgency and increases heart rate. For many people, red stands for energy, strength, courage, defiance, and excitement. Red can also be used to convey warmth.
Similarly, as orange is not a highly preferred colour for most people and is quite loud and warm, it should be used in moderation. The right touch of orange is an effective way to convey fun, which is why it’s a popular colour choice for children’s products and sports teams. Orange can also suggest urgency, making it a good option for getting messages noticed more easily, such as “limited time offer” or “winter storm warning.”
Black is seen as a powerful, sophisticated colour that stands the test of time through varying fashion trends. As such, it can add an element of luxury and value to a website. If you want people to view your products or services as glamorous and exclusive, black is a great choice.
For calls to action or CTAs, vivid shades of red, green, orange, and yellow convert more users than black, dark gray, and purple. Finally, don’t forget about white. There is no denying that white plays a powerful role in website design. Most modern website layouts use ample white space to keep pages clean and free of distractions.
The next time you design a website page, think about the associations that you want your site visitors to have when they go to the page. After you’ve made a list of associations, determine which colours will best reflect these notions. For example, if you want to elicit trust, but also create a notion of a sense of urgency, using blue with a touch of orange may work well.
Finding the right colours for converting your website visitors is an ongoing process. Don’t get discouraged if the first combination that you try doesn’t work well. You may need to experiment with multiple palettes before you find one that resonates with your target audience. Try making up several pages that are identical, except for the colours, and solicit input on each page.