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What is the color of your website?

article by: Andrew LaPointe

In how many different ways does your website communicate to your visitors? The answer is two. The first avenue is the copy (your writing), while the second is the choice of colors you use. This report is the first is a two-part series on understanding how your site communicates to your visitors. In part one, we will learn about how colors affect and influence the mood of your readers. Part two will explain how to use words and phrases to propel your visitors to take attention. So what color is your website?

During site creation, it is very easy to fall into the trap of "if I can, I will" thinking. This method of thinking is very dangerous. The premise is if I can create a site with 256 differently colored words, backgrounds and graphics, I will. Your site may look great, but what will you accomplish? The disadvantage to creating a single site with dozens of different colors is color compatibility between different operating systems, monitors and browsers. If the browser of your visitor cannot show an exact color from your website, it will choose the closest or mix the nearest two colors. This is called dithering. The result can be something you did not want or expect.

The best way to avoid dithering is to optimize your site colors. The best way to optimize your colors is to use the colors in a 216-color palette.

You can also find additional information on dithering by searching by the following words: dithering, avoid dithering and halftones.

By designing a site with this in mind, your site will appear as it should to all of your visitors.

Now that you have learned about dithering, let's learn how colors evoke a broad array of emotions, and influence our decision-making process every day. By using these nonverbal clues to your advantage, you can influence how your visitors feel about your site.

Colors and How to Use Them

The three primary colors are yellow, red and blue. The secondary colors are orange, green and purple. The secondary colors are the results of mixing two primary colors together. Yellow and red will create orange. Yellow and blue will make green. Blue and red will create purple. Of course, mixing secondary colors with primary colors will further increase color variations.

Here are some of the emotions and moods commonly associated with the more popular colors. Remember, these examples are broad emotional definitions for each color.

Red: Red is designed for the daring, persuasive and passionate. It also represents “danger”, “stop” or heat. Red can be a very powerful motivator when used with proper corresponding words. Words and phrases to highlight with red include: Act Now, & Stop”, “Order today”, “Red hot”, “Don’t miss out” or “Don’t miss this opportunity”.

Blue: This favorite color for many individuals promotes trustworthiness, success, seriousness and calmness. Use blue in the beginning or end of your sales pages. This should help to encourage the trustworthiness of your site. Here are some words and phases to use with blue: “Our history”, “Our mission statement”, “Slow down”, “Quiet”, “Calm” and “Teamplayer”.

Green: Money, security and conservative emotions are evoked by the use of green. Here are some examples to highlight with green: “Order from us”, “Secure”, “We don’t gamble with your money”, “Education” and “Your future”.

Yellow: Yellow is thought to be playful and associated with movement. In most cases, use yellow in logos and banners and not highlighting text. Yellow can be difficult to read on white and certain other backgrounds. A few good words to highlight with yellow are: “Hurry up”, “Get it now”, “Go” and “Fast”.

Black: Hopelessness and high tech can describe black. Black is lifeless, however, it is the backbone of internet pages. You can use black with any word or phase.

Purple: Purple represents royalty and justice. Purple should be used sparingly in website design, because it also promotes ambiguity and uncertainty. Some words purple could highlight include: “Law”, “Fairness”, “Hierarchy”, “Family” and “Honor”.

Neon colors: Neon colors should be used for sites with teenage audiences.

Medium/neutral tones: These colors should be used on sites with an older target audience.

Colors speak their own language and evoke emotions instantly. Use colors sparingly, yet intelligently, in the creation of your website. Once you understand how to intertwine colors into your site, your sales should increase.

Andrew LaPointe is President of the website www.youronlinebusiness.com and the author of the internet book: Your Online Business.com - A Step-by-Step Guide to Building an Online Fortune.