Saturday, January 26, 2013

Christian Authors: "How Inviting is Your Website’s Coloration?"

When people visit your website, what do they see? Are the colors pleasing and engaging, or is there visual conflict that triggers their mind to disengage? This is my story of how I corrected that problem.

In my opinion, Christian self-publishers should create and change their own webpages. Based on my experience, webpages need continual care. If we farm out this responsibility, the quality will likely suffer greatly. A professional may do a superb job creating our websites, but most self-publishers are not in a position where we can call on them for modifications on a regular basis. This means that we or a family member should manage our own websites; managing our websites means managing our color schemes.

I confess: I am color challenged. Yes I dress myself and I know my basic colors. That said, my wife is continually suggesting to me that something blue is really green or vice versa. She can tell me what mauve and teal are, and she can distinguish between daffodil and canary yellow. I can't.

If you looked at any of my websites prior to this week, I'm sure you would have agreed. I knew that complimentary colors were important but I had no idea how to get there. In addition, my Adobe Photoshop skills are very weak.

I currently have fifty-eight (58) webpages broken into five families: my three books (Joshua's Spiritual Warfare, A Garden of Love, and A Topical Treasury of Proverbs), my business (Prayer Gardeners), and the Gethsemane Prayer Garden. In addition there is my blog ( that you are currently reading. Each of these had different color themes and frankly they were uninviting. Two were light tan, two were pink but the wrong pink, and another was a pale army green. The background to this blog was from a beautiful photograph of Japanese anemone, but the color was altered to an unappealing purple. In short, I'm color challenged – I can't imagine what people thought when they arrived at my website.

Taking this color problem by the horns, I hoped Photoshop had the answers and it did. My goal was to find two color ranges that complimented each other. I opened this photo in Photoshop because it appears on the webpages for my A Garden of Love book:

After some experimentation, I found that the Eyedropper Tool and Color Picker in Photoshop's Tools panel (left side) provided the solution. I used the Eyedropper to click on a medium pink color from that photo. I was interested in a range of colors, so I right clicked on the eyedropper, changing it to a 5 pixel x 5 pixel range. By clicking the Eyedropper, the square called Foreground Color (at the bottom of the same Tools panel) was changed to that same medium pink. I then clicked on that square whereby the Color Picker window was displayed showing that the color is #FCBDD0. That color became the basic pink that now appears throughout all my websites.

My next challenge was to find a complimentary color to that basic pink. I used the Color Picker window to determine that. With #FCBDD0 as my base color, I found I could change one of these to keep in the same family of colors: hue, saturation or brightness. In that way, I found a baby blue that was an excellent match: #BDF5FC. That is the blue color that appears as the background on many of my webpages.

Lastly, I needed other pinks that were in the same range as the first one that was selected. I again used the Color Picker, moved the slider as needed and gave each a try by pasting it into the CSS file associated with the HTML.

Now when you visit my websites, there are essentially two color themes: for those that are related to the Prayer Gardeners business including the Gethsemane Prayer Garden, there is a pink background with complimentary baby blue accents. I use the name Bible Discernments as the publishing division of Prayer Gardeners; the theme for those, including this blog, are baby blue in the text area with the same pink accents.

Time will tell if it makes a difference; it should.
(NOTE: I use Windows; if using a Mac, the instructions may be slightly different).

For other articles about self-publishing in this series, see:
Index of Self-Publishing Articles by Thomas B. Clarke