Choosing the Right Colors for Your Subscription Websites

Why do all the top websites seem to use the same four colors?

There is a really good reason—one that can affect your membership website success if you don’t follow their lead. If you take a close look at the most visited sites on the Internet, you’ll see an interesting phenomenon. Almost all use the same basic color scheme with slight variations.

You might think that this is just a coincidence, or that perhaps their designers all graduated from the same graphics arts school. But the truth is, these sites all use the same color scheme because they’ve found which colors work best on the Internet for attracting visitors and keeping people interested.

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You don’t think color is important? Think again. Having the wrong colors or color combination on your site, especially the homepage, can send visitors scurrying away faster than you can say “shocking pink.”

The Colors of Success

There are entire books and informative websites dedicated to color theory, with lots of advice from designers, psychologists, marketers and others on what colors to choose to create different moods. If you have the time, you might find some of this information interesting to read.

Fortunately, it doesn’t take much research to find out what the experts know about colors and—most important—which colors are most effective at keeping visitors on your site.

The major websites have spent thousands of dollars to hire experts to advise them on the most effective colors to use. These experts have done the research, run focus groups, tested different results, and settled on what works. Generally, the colors they recommend end up on clients’ websites.

Take a look for yourself by clicking on the links below. You’ll discover that most of the top websites use a color scheme with no more than four different colors and a lot of white space. Usually those four colors include two shades of blue, a shade of gray, and a shade of yellow.

White is the predominant background color, with a pale blue (#006699) coming in second.

Why do the colors on these sites so closely resemble each other? Because these are the colors that work!

So what are the best colors for your site?

As you view these different sites, notice how they use color to produce a sense of instant respectability and well being.

These should be your goals when choosing your own colors. If you can accomplish this, you will be ahead of the game.

Sites: Yahoo | Amazon | MSN | Walmart | PCMag| AOL | Microsoft | Lycos | Go | Netscape | WSJ | Realtor

Finding the Exact Colors Being Used

When you visit any site on the Web, you can usually find the exact colors being used by clicking “View” then “Source” from the browser tool bar. This brings up the HTML source code used to create the site.

In the view source window, use the Search button to find the keyword “bgcolor.” This will bring up all references to colors used on the site, often in hexadecimal codes. If you know a little HTML, figuring out which color goes where isn’t too difficult.


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