How Color Scheme Affects Your Blog and Readership

Categories Articles, Web Design

What I if I told you that the colors on your blog play a large role in how long readers will stay, and whether they will come back?  This is based on something called a Color Theory. defines this as, “The practice of using the meaning behind colors to bring about a sensory experience.”

It’s safe to say that you write to evoke an emotion, whether that is trust, excitement, seriousness, etc. However, it’s not necessarily your words that will achieve this for you. While it may seem a little odd to be worried about color scheme, when the focus should be on quality content and effective social media sharing, color can overrule all of those if done incorrectly. When it comes to creating a successful blog, you should be careful to consider all the important components. Color is one of them.

“Scientists have found that actual physiological changes take place in human beings when they are exposed to certain colors. Colors can stimulate, excite, depress, tranquilize, increase appetite and create a feeling of warmth or coolness.”

The Basics

While we all know the fundamental, blue is cool and red is warm, there is more to this story than that. The sensation a color creates within your reader can have a great affect on how they contextualize your blog. “Color increases brand recognition by up to 80%. That means color could have a significant effect on how well visitors to your blog remember and recognize your blog on future visits,” Susan Gunelius, author of the article Applying Color Marketing Research to Blog Design Strategy.
Not to mention that color holds your reader’s attention two seconds longer than black and white. What are the most popular colors? Red, along with blue, are the predominant colors found online, according to a study done by

  • Light blue will evoke a sense of calm, trust and security. Because this color is also used in a variety of popular logos, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, it is also associated with important aspects of your readers’ lives.
  • Red is aggressive, and will cause stimulation and excitement. This color is known to induce a reaction, both positive and negative.

What Does It Mean For You?

A whopping 52% of people didn’t return to a blog because of color and design. With a number that significant, it’s time you consider how this will affect you in the long run. First, you should consider your brand colors. You don’t want your blog to vary much from your known color scheme. The first recognition someone has with your brand is the color. Luckily for you, variations on the shade of color also have different affects.

  • While all shades of blue will have a positive effect on your blog, the color turquoise may elicit a better response. Studies have found that people associate it with tropical places. In a happy state of mind, your reader will be more likely to see your blog in a positive light.
  • Citrus colors such as yellow and orange are associated with fun and excitement. In fact, Gunelius also points out that yellow is the first color a person sees, before any other.
  • Pink is associated with femininity and youthfulness. This color has its place in many places across the blogosphere, yet with such a specific meaning it should be used carefully.
  • Although white does represent simplicity, it can also be seen as boring. If you are going for a clean look, I suggest having strong pops of bright red or orange, which elicit excitement. You could also add in bright greens, as this is also associated with simplicity.

How to Apply This to Your Blog

Whether you have a WordPress blog, or own a domain, you can control the color scheme. Because colors induce different reactions, you want to have your colors in the most optimal places. Your sidebar should have variations of color different from your main content or even your header and footer.

  • Content body: Red and yellow entice feelings of excitement. Yellow is a mental stimulator and creates positive emotion.
  • Sidebar: Often your sidebar is where you display popular posts and advertising. Because blue symbolizes authority, this would be a good color choice. You want your reader to trust that you have other great content for them.
  • Header/Footer: These are large pieces of space for you to make a statement with. They are also going to grab the most attention, especially the header. Take the colors that already exist in your current brand, and play those to their most positive hues. The brighter of almost any color will elicit a positive feeling, while the darker or colder hues, cause negative emotions.

While your number one priority is to get great content on your blog, you should also consider the part that color plays. In an over-populated blogosphere you have to do everything you can to stand out from the rest. If it’s as simple as changing your color scheme, you really have nothing to lose.

photo credit:

Jessica Sanders is an avid small business writer touching on topics from social media to telemarketing. She writes for an online resource that gives advice on topics including background checks for b2b lead generation resource, Resource Nation.

  • Wow! Your timing couldn’t be more perfect!
    I am currently working on a design for my blog, and I could’t seem to decide which color scheme I should choose.
    This post was enough to convince me to go in the right direction.


  • Jessica Sanders

    Awesome!!! I am so happy it was helpful! It’s a pretty interesting phenomenon, and to think it could have such an impact on your readers. It could be a really important decision, so I’m glad you were helped to make the right one :) Thanks for reading!

  • This was really interesting! I’m currently teaching a few lab sections about website design and public service campaigns – this is exactly the type of stuff we’re talking about right now. It will be really helpful for them!

    I actually found this blog for a class on social media theory & practice with Dr. Ward (@dr4ward) in Newhouse at Syracuse University, and started following. If you’re interested, you can follow our class discussion on twitter (#NewhouseSM6)!

    • Molly, that is fantastic. I’m so happy you were able to draw some important info to compliment your lab sections! It is so interesting to me how color has an affect on our decisions and thoughts and we don’t even know it. I’ve been thinking a lot about it since writing the article, and it fascinates me. Thanks so much for reading! I’ll be sure to check out your discussion!

  • Harrison

    “A whopping 52% of people didn’t return to a blog because of color and design.”

    Can you cite a source for this statistic, and what did *color* or *design* each account for (since the distinction was made in the statement)? Not to imply that it is not true, but I’m not taking that statement without a grain of salt either.

    • I totally understand, I rarely quote a stat without giving the reference. Here you can see the stat in the infographic. Toward the bottom, under “Overall Design.” While the whole graphic is about purchasing, I think website design correlates directly with blog design, which is where I made that connection. Thanks for reading, I hope that helps clarify for you!

  • This really makes sense as color can effect people in many ways by colors they wear or colors of paint in a room. So your blog is a like a room with colors….Great info!

    • Lisa, that’s a good way to think about it. I mean, you are inviting people there to entertain them in one way or another, so yeah it is like a room! Thanks so much for reading!

  • Intresting layout on your blog. Best wishes for you future blogging career.

    • Is interesting good or bad?? haha thanks for checking it out though! You looked at

  • I have a blog about stress that (gasp!) has a blue background! I chose it for its cool soothing color. The feedback that I have received is that most people like it and it certainly stands out, but there are definitely some people who would prefer it to be white… I guess you can’t please everyone.

  • Definitely wont be able to please every reader, but sounds like you’re on the right track. Perhaps incorporating more white into the color scheme might make it more reader friendly for everyone? Thanks for reading!!

  • I wonder what purple signifies then!

    • Purple is a tricky one, because it has a few meanings. Most prominently, though, it signifies spirituality and royalty. Thanks for reading! :)

  • I’m in the midst of redesigning my blog, and found this article helpful. I knew color was important, but didn’t know it affected readership that much!

  • This little script for Photoshop is fun for inspiration because it generates random associations for you to explore. It creates multi-color gradients, which allow you to explore a little more freely in the “inbetweens” where a lot of interesting color play happens:

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