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If you’ve been following along with our series, you’re well on your way toward a grown up website that no longer suffers from rookie-itis. If you missed any of our tips, go back to the beginning and start there to learn ways to sharpen your web marketing by creating a site that mirrors your real-life professionalism.
Otherwise, keep reading to learn more about how your choice of backgrounds for your site pages can affect a visitor’s experience.
Mistake #7: Dizzy Backgrounds
Today we’ve got another mistake to help you avoid, and it’s one simple concept that comes in many eye-rolling variations: the page background.
The Background Image Background Image Background Image Background Image
It might be polka dots. Smiley faces. Books. Ballerina bears. It’s the background image, and it repeats like a stuck keyboard across every page. It’s behind your navigation, behind your logo, behind every heading and paragraph.
Why is it there? We can only guess that someone really liked that image. Or was too lazy/cheap to design the site and thought that sticking purple balloons ad infinitum across the screen would do the trick. We don’t care why it’s there: get rid of it.
No matter what industry you’re in – landscaping, party planning, accounting or computer repair – there is no reason for this type of repeating background image. It’s distracting, it’s confusing, and it makes it nearly impossible to read the content on your page.
Here’s what background images are not: Cute. Clever. Interesting. Professional. A repeating rainbow is not a design, even if it’s a really, really pretty rainbow.
If you don’t want to redesign your site or can’t afford to right now, do your business and your customers a favor and get rid of the repeating background image.
Flawed Background Color Choices
Just like background images compete with text for attention, so does the color of your background, especially when it’s combined with a colored font. This mistake comes in many permutations. There’s the red text on black background variety. There’s pink text on green background. There’s white text on black background.
It seems as though any crazy combination will do as long as it’s not – heaven forbid – black text on a white background. How boring would that be?
Boring or not, a good old white (or some subtle variation of white) background with a black (or close-to-black) text can’t be beat for a readable page that doesn’t make your eyeballs bleed from the strain of trying to decipher it.
Making poor color choices is not only annoying but it can actually prevent your customers from reading your site altogether. Consider colorblind visitors. What does your blue-on-candy-apple-red page look like to them? Probably not much. Even the best sighted amongst us doesn’t want to squint painfully at the glowing screen of a monitor as halos of color fill our brains.
Reading on a monitor can be difficult enough. Don’t make it harder by trying to be “interesting” in your choice of background and font colors.
You can fix this easily by making sure that wherever there is text that you actually want your visitors to read, it is a black text on a white background. Some will argue that even black on white is harsh and that you should tone down the black to just shy of gray. That’s fine, too.
Just make sure it’s simple and clean, and your customers will thank you.
This is a bit of a mashup of the previous two bad ideas. Combine some kind of repeating pattern with some kind of color scheme and you’ve got yourself a texture that might make really great wallpaper in a hotel room but not such a great background for your web page.
A texture is just a repeating background that’s more subtle, but it still makes it difficult for your visitors to read what’s on the page. With so many creative ways to design a web site, don’t cop out and choose a textured or patterned background just because you think it looks cool. It’s more important that customers can read and focus on the content of your site.
If the goal of your website is to turn visitors into customers then this lesson is simple. Get rid of any colors, backgrounds or patterns that make it difficult for people to read. The easier your site is on the eyes, the more likely your visitors will stay and check out more.
What’s the worst page background you’ve ever seen?
Read More In The “Rookie Mistakes” Series
- Rookie Mistake 1: Annoy Customers With Your Contact Form
- Rookie Mistake 2: Use Bad Photography
- Rookie Mistake 3: Bad Links
- Rookie Mistake 4: Dead Links Pointing To Your Site
- Rookie Mistake 5: Forgetting You’re Not A Rock Star
- Rookie Mistake 6: Too Much (Useless) Information
- Rookie Mistake 7: Dizzy Background
- Rookie Mistake 8: Misusing Technology
- Rookie Mistake 9: Mangling Your META Data
- Rookie Mistake 10: No Call To Action