Monday, September 19, 2011

FAMP: Darkness Overwhelms

In the past we've talked about color on blogs and how it draws attention, but we haven't really talked about dark blogs. I know, some of you LOVE your dark blogs. And, actually, I'm sort of attracted to them myself. But from a marketing perspective, they don't speak to the majority.  In fact, the majority of readers are turned off by dark blogs.  Especially if the blog has white writing on a dark background.  Again, I admit, looks cool, but hard to read.

You don't have to take my word for it though. A blog poll taken by Darren Rowse of ProBlogger showed the following results:


Safest choice is light, as you can see.

BUT you do notice the 36% that says it depends, right? This is true. If you can justify your dark background, I'll buy it. If you make it more than just "I like to be cool so I have darkness around me" then I'll support you with all my marketing background even.

And it's not just my marketing opinion. Have I mentioned one of my longest marketing client relationships is with an eye doctor? I used to work in the office full time, actually, and have become quite skilled on what bugs the eyes. Black backgrounds are a no-no. They contribute to Computer Vision Syndrome (yes, it's a real thing) and automatically the majority of people feel uncomfortable staring at them for long.

So if your blog is dark, I just challenge you to think about why it's dark. If you can't think of a reason besides, "I like it" then I'd reconsider.  The same goes for really busy patterned backgrounds, btw. You want plain white or light colored background for optimal reading comfort.

What's your opinion on dark colored blogs? Is this poll accurate? Do you care about backgrounds when you blog hop?

18 comments:

Susanna Leonard Hill said...

I definitely prefer light colored blogs. I find the dark ones very hard to read and am likely to click away without reading.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

My blog used to be chocolate brown (the design was called chocolate beach). The writing wasn't white (I can't remember what it was), but it did bug me. I'm much happier with a light colored blog, and prefer reading blogs that aren't black or dark. Once in awhile is okay. But several at once is too much.

Coleen Patrick said...

I agree Laura, a lot of the dark ones I can't even read. Great info :)

Michelle Fayard said...

I love how dark backgrounds look--but only if I'm looking for a few seconds. As beautiful as they are, it's true that they and busy backgrounds make it challenging to read the text, and that's really the what we hope people will do when they visit our site. :)

Michelle Fayard said...

P.S. Speaking of things that are difficult to read, I'm glad your blog doesn't require typing in those funky characters in order to post a comment. I'm always having to enter them two or three times before I get it right. :)

Joanna said...

I have just changed from dark to light on my blog and am convinced it's an easier read. Have also just changed my twitter background from black to yellow.

Stacy S. Jensen said...

I prefer lighters ones. The dark ones tend to be difficult to read for me. I have seen a few dark, fantasy type blogs where it works. Sets a mood for the story, but otherwise they don't work for me.

Caitlin said...

You know I don't think I've ever given much thought to whether or not the background of blog is light or dark. However, there have been times when I've had to click away from a blog because of the design. Guess I need to pay more attention to what works and what doesn't!

Claire said...

I totally agree with light coloured backgrounds. I find them not only much easier to read, but I feel calmer, my eyes relax and I am more likely to stay on the page longer. Thanks for stopping by my blog and so pleased to find your site. Lots of interesting posts. As Arnie would say: I'll be back ...

Chemist Ken said...

My first blog (on chemistry) had yellow letters on a black background. It looked cool, at least to me, but I could see how it might get tiring. Lesson learned. I went back to the default light background when I started my blog on writing.

MC Rogerson said...

Very interesting. I find blogs with dark backgrounds very appealing, but they can also be difficult to view.

Margo Berendsen said...

Hi I'm in campaigner group 4 (YA/MG) with you and a bit ashamed I'm still getting out to visit everyone (but now you have a new follower). I agree about the dark blogs - also, loved Misha's advice about blogging is much less about platform building than it's about building relationships - and leaving meaningful comments. Is this a meaningful comment? Not sure - but I'll be back to visit to get you know you better and hopefully leave better comments!

Anita Grace Howard said...

great post! I wonder if the same thing holds true for dark websites. Some of my faves are dark, but I wonder if that's just a personal thing with me. Hmm. Thanks for the food for thought! Oh, and for following me. :) Nice to meet you, Laura.

Freya Morris said...

What a great post Laura. Don't know why I've just found it! I had learnt this from design and also from accessability training I had at work. Although, do you think my blog could be lighter? Mine is kind of inbetween....

Also...those with partial/poor sight cannot read white on black. I also like to keep a 12 point font size because of this and write in word and paste it over. Seems to work. : )

Joanne said...

I prefer the middle ground, not too dark, not too light. I find they're most appealing.

I clicked over from Stina's, enjoyed browsing here ...

GigglesandGuns said...

Linked here from Stina's.

I admit it. I tend to skip writings on a dark background. I'm sure I miss excellent posts but my eyes just don't adjust especially if it's a long post.

Shannon said...

Hopped over here from Stina's blog. This is a good post - food for thought. Thanks!

Laura Barnes said...

Sorry I haven't responded to you all. My daughter had her tonsils out this week (talk about darkness!) and I have been away from the computer. Thanks for all your input on dark blogs. I'm glad to know my advice isn't all looney!

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