Dark or Light? Which WordPress Color Scheme Should You Choose?

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When setting up a website on WordPress, it’s crucial to think of several factors that will attest to how well the website will perform. While the usability and functionality of the website are key to ensuring those finding your site find the information or services they need and can navigate properly, the design of the website also plays a key role. WordPress luckily has packages of color schemes that can help ensure the branding of a website stays on message with the theme of the site and ensures the audience of the site navigate it with ease. In fact, certain industries and niches favor certain color schemes and designs and this can have an impact on bounce rate and the likelihood of repeat views on your website.

Light Background Design

Website users tend to prefer lighter backgrounds according to a poll from ProBlogger. 47% state that they always prefer white, while 36% claim that it depends on the website. 7% have no preference – which means that 93% of website users care about the website background design. Lighter backgrounds mean that the text can be dark, which is the standard and established norm – and also better for the eyes and comprehension. Shopskin chooses a light background design to reflect their natural cleansing skin care products, which a common theme in the beauty industry as can be seen through UK retailer Boots. However, Superdrug chooses a darker design, which could indicate their contrast with their key competitors. Many retail or e-commerce sites choose a light background design so that the products can pop on the screen and aren’t lost in the darkness, which will most likely match their own tone. This can be seen on Amazon, eBay, and even most Etsy shops.

Dark Background Design

There are many examples of darker backgrounds, but the best ones tend to have a clear purpose. For instance, Notio Web Design utilizes a dark color scheme to showcase their sleekly designed websites. This function actually works well as most of the example sites designed utilize a light color scheme, so the darkness allows them to be seen fully. Online casino provider Betway has opted for a polished dark design to exemplify the sleek experience of their casino offerings and to mimic the atmosphere. Similarly, the Vue cinema chain also utilizes a dark background design scheme in order to reflect the sensation and atmosphere of being in the cinema with the lights down. This helps recreate the feeling of attending one of their cinemas and gives an extended experience. The dark design is best chosen for a website that offers more of an experience, one that requires the lights to be dimmed. Compared to the light backgrounds that show all on offer, the dark background helps invite a potential audience in in a more esoteric way to create a greater atmosphere. Websites with a darker background design scheme will need to ensure that the color used for the font of the text is adequate for readability. If the page doesn’t contain as much text, then the visuals can be more striking, popping into the background. But if there is a lot of text, it is better to choose a lighter background.

SOURCE: Pixabay

White Space

Light backgrounds are often used due to the need to have white space on a site in order to be more pleasing to the eye of the audience. Website comprehension is increased by 20% while increasing white space is argued by Kissmetrics to be a method to keep the bounce rate below 2%. However, white space doesn’t just refer to the color – darker backgrounds can indeed also benefit from greater white space. Cultured Code is an example of using a non-white color, instead of sticking to a light blue that helps the eyes rest, but isn’t blinding white. Danish company SuperReal utilizes both dark and light white space designs to contrast nicely, while Beanstalk matches its brand with a green-white space that showcases the brand elements. Apple utilizes traditional white space, which also mirrors their industrial designs of sleek and polished tones of chrome and white. The white space and website background design should work collaboratively to express the key values and themes of the website, product or service.

Your website experience should be an extension of your time browsing online and should be as equally well-managed as the area you choose to surf the web in. While choosing a background color design will predominately be down to the industry or sector the website falls into, and therefore match trends as to what may be expected, there are no hard and fast rules. Subverting expectations could stand a business out as a maverick while fitting in with peers could tell an audience that you understand their needs within the sector. Ultimately, the branding and designs from the site should play a part in determining which background design color scheme is chosen. WordPress offers a variety of different schemes that match each business’s tone and the message they are trying to show potential clients.

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Vashishtha Kapoor

Myself Vashishtha Kapoor and I am a freelance technical writer & digital marketer for hire. I help clients grow their web visibility by writing in-detail content about digital marketing and WordPress. Connect with me on LinkedIn and discuss how to grow your business.