Playing with color: The power of persuasive clicking

Guest post contributed by Sheila Frye

When you’re the owner of a mall, you want people to come in, window-shop, find things they like, and eventually, want to purchase those things. The ultimate goal is to make sure every person leaves with a shopping bag in tow.

The same principle applies when you build a website. For example, if you want to make your own fashion site, the industry itself relies on being visually appealing, so impressing visitors is crucial. With that in mind, here are some concepts to understand about how and why people click on (or out of) your site.

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People don’t stay.

When people search for something on Google, they hope to find what they’re looking for once they click your link. They don’t care about anything else your website offers at this stage. They have a definite goal in mind, and if they can’t achieve it within the first few minutes, they’ll leave.

People have short attention spans, especially in the digital age — they want to absorb information quickly. If they don’t find what they’re looking for right away, they just leave and move onto the next search result. So before they bounce, make sure the information they want is clearly visible. If your site has something great to offer, but you put it way down at the bottom, there’s a very low chance anyone will ever see it.

People hate ads.

When there are banners flashing with colorful images at the top of their screens, in the middle, or at the bottom, there are people who will be distracted or annoyed and leave your site. Avoid this and keep their attention by minimizing the images and maximizing the text. Use more text-based banners and ads that don’t distract the user from the main body of your page.

People love color.

It’s been proven over and over again that color can affect people’s moods. If they see a certain color, their brains will signal them to feel or act in certain ways. Use these colors to your advantage — but don’t abuse them. Match the colors to your brand, products and services. After all, it’s unattractive to have a hodgepodge of colors sprinkled all over a website. It’s better to find out what emotion you want people to feel when they visit your website, then go from there.

Warm colors such as red, pink and orange signify passion, urgency, romance and even hunger. These are exciting colors. Cool colors such as blue, green and purple signify productivity, stress relief and power. Black is interesting, because it can promote feelings of power and luxury, but it also can signal sadness depending on the context. Black has “heavy” connotations. There are also instances when purple (especially lavender) is connected to calm feelings, which is why it’s often used in aromatherapy products.

People can be lazy.

If you have a comprehensive database of information about a particular topic, but no one wants to exert the effort to read it, then it’s useless. We have selective attention spans and expect information to be presented efficiently.

Even if they do read it, they might not notice that you have more pages they might enjoy — because they’re tucked away in the navigation bar. Unfortunately, when people are selectively paying attention, they won’t bother to look up there. They’ll look for the closest link that sounds like what they’re looking for. To address this, make sure that every link and call-to-action stand out whether the page is viewed on a PC, tablet or phone. But don’t make your prompts look like advertisements. Make them look like something they need to read, so they keep clicking.

People want to give back.

There’s an unspoken rule that when someone gives you a gift, you should give one back. In stores, we see this with free samples. Online, we see game demos, book samples and trial periods. The hope is that if you give your users a sneak peek, they’ll give in return by buying the product. And even if they don’t buy in immediately, if you keep nurturing them, they will eventually. This is the concept behind the subscription newsletters that fill your inbox. If you give your visitors discounts or secrets via email, they’re more likely to return the favor — either by purchasing or reaching out to you.

Remember that it’s vital to check in with your audience and take note of their behavior. Keep the ideas that work and experiment with what doesn’t. Woo your future customers, and eventually, they will come to you.

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About Sheila Frye

Sheila Frye writes about web design, marketing, and a bit of social media. She is an eCommerce consultant who helps small businesses achieve their goals by successfully targeting their customers.

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