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Color is one of the elements of website design that businesses often take for granted. Oftentimes, CEOs and marketers assume that having simple brand guidelines are enough to get through an entire website design. This is a mistake, and it can have a big impact on the success of your website visits, conversions, and, ultimately, sales.

If you think about it, color plays a vital role in everyday life; so of course it also plays a vital role in the design of a website. Color has many psychological implications, and there have been many studies done about how it impacts the way a person feels about a brand. Color has been analyzed and analyzed and overanalyzed – its affects categorized by emotions, gender, actions, context, message and more. Just check out this article to see how amazing color is: Color Psychology

Something so valuable needs to be a big part of your website design discussion. Color isn’t one of those things that you can put as low priority, since you not only need to use the right color; you need to use the right amount and you need to use it in the most effective context.

When designing a website, you need to think of color as a form of communication, not just a visual effect. Here are a few of the general areas where you’ll be using color to convey a message to your audience:

Background Color

Most brands opt for a clean, white background for their website, but on rare occasions a brand’s identity might call for a more daring approach. The white background allows the other colored content to pop more, and keeps the website from looking too busy overall. Since there are so many other opportunities to use color, the background often stays a blank slate.

Header Color

The header of the website is at the top of the page, and typically includes quick links to things like pricing, demo requests, contact information and other resources. Sometimes it acts as the main navigation, but often it is a separate element. This area can be used to reinforce your branding, either through the background color or the text color.

Footer Color

The website footer is on the bottom of the page, and usually has quick links to more company information, blogs, support, tools, and social media pages. More often than not, this area uses a background color that matches the branding identity of the business. This tactic helps the area stand out against the (often) white background, and the product and educational content that lives in the body of the website.

Button Colors

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Every marketer has agonized over the correct color to use for call-to-action buttons. There is always a debate over whether to use the industry recommended colors versus the branding colors. Why hasn’t this issue ever reached an industry-accepted answer? There just isn’t a correct answer; each brand and website will be different. The key for this color decision is, and always will be, A/B testing. A/B split testing doesn’t just matter here either. If you’re not testing all your colors, you may be missing out on clicks and leads. For more on A/B split testing read: Why A/B Testing Helps Increase Website Traffic and Conversions.

Websites – and the colors used in their designs – are an ongoing project, and no element should be left static.