How Combining Minimalism and Color Theory Can Give You More Readers and Subscribers

Color cube patchesAre you exhausting yourself in an effort to create extraordinary content to attract more readers? Are you spending endless hours in designing your key landing pages without any results?

What's one of the common problems a blogger face while trying to fetch more readers?

I asked the same question to one of the bloggers last week and his answer was...

"I write good content, I promote it aggressively on social media and I network with peers. But the results are very dejecting."
From his perspective, the problem was almost negligible results DESPITE doing everything right. It's not just him, but large numbers of bloggers face the same situation.

Sounds a familiar story?

The big question is - "Why one does not get the results despite writing good content and creating all necessary sections, forms and pages on the blog?"

Sometimes, we manage to divert decent volume of qualified traffic towards our blog with NO results!

In such cases, most of the times, the culprit is a poor design. Your premium theme with a custom design is not a guarantee of a high conversion rate. What matter's is, how intelligently you design your theme.

Professional and business blogging requires careful crafting of theme such that each page is designed with a goal in mind for maximum conversions. Apart from incorporating regular theme layout principles, you need two more ingredients to convert the inbound traffic. Let's see both these important elements that have the power to boost your on-page conversion funnels instantly.

Applying Minimalism - The Right Way!

Whenever we talk about minimalism that's directly related to the blog design, people often compare it with a stripped down theme with almost no color or additional content sections.

NO, minimalism is not about making a naked theme!

In this context, it's all about keeping the most important options for the visitors that are necessary for a conversion and removing all other elements. Human psychology clearly suggests that the more options and alternatives a person has the more double-minded and confused he is.

If you want more subscribers, first you should work on removing unnecessary content, plugins, images and forms from your blog. The more choices a visitor has, the more is the probability of a failed conversion.

Minimalism (in blogging context) is all about keeping the most essential elements on the web page that directly contributes in a conversion.

To understand it in a better way, we'll see a live example of minimalism. Below is the screenshot of the home page of Rockable Press. It's a perfect example of minimalistic design that not only includes the essential elements on the web page but also keeps it soothing for eyes.

Rockable Press Home page
The first thing you'll notice on this page is the absence of standard content sections normally present in a typical website. For example, almost every blog or a website includes a long primary navigation on the top.

In our example shown above, the designer has cleverly encapsulated the primary navigation menu within a drop-down list. This eliminates one of the distractions so that a visitor can focus on the real stuff.

The other two content sections above the fold are large 'Featured book' section and the 'Free eBook' section with a sign up form to build the email list. This is what I call - "Minimalism at its best!".

The whole purpose of showing this example is to give you an idea about what exactly minimalism means in this context. Stuffing endless colorful ads, social media streams, top commenters section, traffic stats section are some of the examples of wastage of the real estate available on your blog.

This extra 'STUFF' not only occupies the precious space but also acts as a major distraction bringing down the conversion rates. So here's the final summary how minimalism can ensure you actually get subscribers.
  • Make a list of existing visible elements on a single post page.
  • Assess the importance of each section in relation to the conversion.
  • Eliminate unnecessary sections that don't help in conversions in any way.
  • Carefully design each element without adding bells and whistles.
  • Align them cleverly such that they complement each other pushing for a conversion.
  • Test, test and TEST!
Now let's move on to the next important concept that can make your theme layout, a killer conversion machine. If you're a web developer, you must be already familiar with this concept.

Applying 'Color Theory' To Leverage Human Vision Sensitivity

Human brain and vision works in tandem and are very sensitive to colors and shapes. Intelligent web designers take advantage of this sensitivity and design key page elements in such a way that not only grabs the attention of the potential subscriber but also stimulates his nerves in a positive way.

Before we go ahead, you may ask - "What the heck is color theory and how is it going to help me get more subscribers?"

In simple words, color theory is a collection of several principles that explains how to use colors effectively in almost any process related to our day-to-day life. The three most common and important sections of color theory are:
  • Color wheel
  • Color harmony
  • Color context
By combining these 3 concepts you can come up with the right color schemes for the critical content sections on your blog. This will eventually lead to more conversions as the color-optimized sections will leave a positive impact on the visitors and will persuade them to interact with the elements (e.g. buttons, forms, downloads) included in the section.

Does it work?

Absolutely! Let me explain these 3 concepts with some illustrations so that you can grasp it clearly.

color wheelColor wheel: The first concept of color wheel is simply a visualization of how different colors originate from 3 primary colors viz., red, yellow and blue. Since web designers now have color pickers and color generators to assist in mixing and generating the desired color, we can safely skip its detailed explanation.

If you're using a premium WordPress theme that includes a design options panel or a drag 'n' drop editor, you can easily find a color picker to choose the right color for the page element you're designing at a given time.

But the big question is - "Which color to choose for a given page element?".

That's where next two color theory concepts can help you in coming up with the perfect combination of multiple color schemes for a group of key visual elements you're designing to grab subscribers.

Color harmony: So let's see what color harmony is all about and how it can help us arrange different colored page elements in a better way. This concept simply explains how one can closely arrange different elements close to one other in such a way that they appear soothing to eyes and stimulates viewer's nerves in a positive way.

In simple words, color harmony represents the arrangement of colored objects having the right color scheme such that they trigger comfort for the human eye. Color harmony exists in two forms viz., analogous and complementary. Let's understand each one of them through a graphic.

Euphoria flower
Analogous color scheme arranges different elements having color shades that are near to each other. Although the hue and saturation level of these colors is close to each other, the arrangement of elements makes the entire graphic appealing and harmonious.

How does this apply to a blog design?

A classic example can be a feature comparison table consisting of cells on a squeeze page. If you're using an analogous color scheme for this table, it will be more effective, legible and pleasing to the eyes. In other words, if you're grouping large number of common or closely related web page elements with each other and that too in a limited space, using an analogous color scheme is the best choice.

Now let's take a look at the complementary color scheme.

Complementary color scheme is just the opposite of the analogous one! This color scheme involves arrangement of two or more elements having completely different colors that are far apart from each other on the color wheel. The combination of these colors is such that it again creates a pleasing visual for the human eye.

Again, how does this apply to a blog design?

If you're designing buttons with text, custom banners and image sliders (carousals) for your blog theme, use of complementary color scheme is highly recommended.

To understand it better, let's take the example of a green button I'm using at the end of this blog post. If I use analogous color scheme for this button, I'll choose a different shade of yellow or green color for the button text. This will make the button text almost illegible and will create an awful experience for the visitor resulting in extremely low sign ups. Here is the illustration to visualize this fact.

Two green sign up buttons
Now that you've got a fair idea about the concept of color harmony and the associated color schemes, let's move on the the last section that'll compliment both the concepts discussed so far. In fact the combination of color harmony and color context helps in generating highly-converting color schemes for both sign up forms and custom squeeze pages.

Color context: This concept is all about how colors appear or behaves when combined with different other colors and within a specific shape. This concept is directly related to the background and foreground colors used in the web page elements and their contrast.

We may opt for the right color scheme (analogous or complementary) for a given web page element, but what about their behavior and contrast intensity once they're used with each other?

A wrong color combination can act as a repellent resulting in a huge spike in your blog's bounce rate. If you're combining two extremely dark complementary colors for your text and its background, you're doing a huge mistake. The content on such a web page will be illegible and a human eye cannot withstand such type of color combination.

Color contrast example in three color boxes
You can clearly see that the third example includes two complementary colors and both of them are dark. But the end result is poor legibility that will easily annoy an average visitor.

So, here's what we've learned from the color theory.
  • Generate colors with the help of color picker applications.
  • Choose the right color scheme for each of the web page element.
  • Pay attention to the behavior and contrast while combining two or more colors.
If you follow these three simple rules, the resulting blog theme will help you get more readers and subscribers in a fairly quick time. Of course, it should be supplemented with a minimalistic design that should be further topped with some great content and an aggressive marketing strategy.

Hope you'll use these simple concepts to design better landing pages and sign up forms for your blog.

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About Rajeev Edmonds

MintBlogger author - Rajeev EdmondsRajeev Edmonds has been blogging since 2006 about digital marketing, social media and of course about problogging. He specializes in WordPress installation and Thesis theme customization. He is the founder and editor of MintBlogger where he blogs about new media strategies.

Since April, 2012, he's making his living entirely from his blogging efforts. He holds a post graduate degree in computer applications and loves to dig in CSS/HTML code. Read more →

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