Yes, it is your website. And thanks to WordPress you can literally use any combination of colors that you want. You can change text, headlines, accent, and button colors in most cases with a just click or two.
But, that doesn't mean you should use any colors you want. Or as many as you want.
How your website looks, the way it make people feel, and more importantly what it makes people do is impacted by its appearance and colors. Colors also solidify your website's credibility and legitimacy.
Why Create a Website Color Palette?
Look at my site. Do you notice anything? My entire website revolves around only three colors. And I use a lot of grayscale photos. Even with my featured images, I try to stay within the same color scheme — and theme.
Why do I do that? It lends to a clean, professional and credible presentation. And a cohesive branding message.
When you add colors willy-nilly without any concern as to if they will match or clash with other site elements, you can end up looking home-brewed fast. This is where establishing a color palette (aff) from the start and then sticking to that works to provide a polished presentation.
Colors Have Meaning
A perfect example is a traffic light. Red for Stop, Green for Go, Yellow for Caution. You see those colors and you know how to react. They have a universal meaning.
This is why when you choose the colors for your website, you want to be aware of the possible perception of each color, even if subconsciously, and how they may make visitors feel. The colors you chose to use will determine what visitors think of your presentation.
What can colors imply when it comes to your website? Here are a handful of examples for each color.
BLACK: Formality, Elegance, Fear, Sophistication, Wealth
BLUES: Calm, Knowledge, Security, Stability, Trust.
BROWN: Comfort, Home, Endurance, Simplicity, Outdoors
GREENS: Generosity, Environment, Nature, Renewal, Youth
GRAYS: Calm, Conservative, Intelligence, Reliability, Security
RED: Aggression, Danger, Heat, Passion, Power
ORANGE: Demanding, Energy, Enthusiasm, Warmth, Vibrant
PURPLES: Ceremony, Honor, Nobility, Mysterious, Wisdom
YELLOW: Friendship, Happiness, Hope, Imagination, Optimism
WHITES/BEIGE/IVORY: Clinical, Goodness, Precision, Purity, Simplicity
If you do business internationally, colors may have different meanings in other cultures. For example, red in Japan reflects happiness, here in the USA it is perceived as an aggressive power color. White in the West indicates marriage, while in Eastern Cultures, death.
Creating Your Color Palette
Back in the day, there were what were called “web-safe colors”. These 216 colors were what you wanted to stick with as they were the only ones to be displayed consistently across all 8-bit platforms. 25 years later, that's no longer the case and you can pretty much use any colors you want.
The key is that they look good together and help to support your business's image and perception. Some folks are better at determining what colors look good together than others. If you are the latter, here's what we do.
If you have a logo, start there. On the web, colors are called out by six digit hex codes preceded by the hash/number sign. For example, white is #ffffff and black is #000000.
Your graphic software should have a color picker tool. The icon looks like an eyedrop. You can use that to get specific color codes from any graphic including your logo. Then use those colors and lighter or darker variations thereof to create your palette.
You want to have a palette of 3-5 colors that you stick with and use for everything. Whether that be links, headline, buttons, mouseovers and other accents.
Don't Forget About Featured Images
One thing many website owners overlook is how images and colors can impact the overall appearance of their website. First and foremost, regardless of color, stay away from clip art.
Photo quality is very important. Quality photos — quality representation for your business, image, and products. What I do is choose feature images that are in line with my overall palette and my primary “blue” color.
The image color scheme has to look good — not stark, not a contrast and does not clash. I don't want any one featured image to appear to be out of place or stand out as “which one is not like the others.”
Websites to Help Create Your Palette
And, I have to put this out there. If you are not the creative type and don't understand what colors look good together — use the tools below — don't wing it.
Here are a few websites you can bookmark to create then nail down your own website palette.
- Canva (aff), Canva, Canva! I can't say enough about this service that I use every day. From images to presentations (aff) to even having a color palette creator that lets you create a palette with the HTML color codes from an image — like your logo.
- ColorHunt: Offers 4-color palettes for you to choose from, tweak and expand upon.
- HTML Color Codes: This feature-rich resource lets you chose and determine your color schemes via color picker or color charts and even color names.
Color Choices Reflect on Your Web Presence
Colors can make all the difference in the world as to the success of your online presence. To be taken seriously, to be trusted, and to build relationships with your site visitors. Choose your colors wisely.
At your service,