Does links color affect conversion ratio? Well it does; it’s part of the game.

For years and years there has been that debate between usability consultants and designers regarding standards and it’s affect on usability.

While it has been proven that following standards will enhance the user experience on your site, we still see this debate going on.

In this article I will talk about one of the standards, the links.
If you checked the top visited websites worldwide you will see that these websites are using the blue color for their links and the purple for visited links.

Why would they do so? Is it because it looks pretty? Is it because they don’t have creative designers to come up with different combination of colors? Well, the answer is No; it’s simply because blue underlined text is recognized worldwide around the globe as links, and purple as visited links.

For years; users acted this way, they do it on daily basis. The do it while searching online with Yahoo, Google, or Live; the results popup blue underlined and they click. When they go to check their Facebook account they click on blue links, when checking their photos on Flickr they click blue links, and when they see their videos on YouTube they click on blue links as well.

Now, what has this to do with conversions?

If you chose this standard for your links it will be easier for your users to recognize the links and therefore they will start their journey through your website. This will reflect on your bounce rate which will also affect your conversion (especially if one of your targets is page views and time spent on site).

Let’s take simple example that will prove this point, you have a website, and the articles on your website has some inline links colored green, orange or gray. Will the user (high or low experienced user) in this case recognize the links? Well, simply No; they will recognize emphasize on that word, but they will not have this 100% confidence that this word is a link.

How many times you’ve clicked on this kind of links and been disappointed from the result; when founding them not clickable. As we all know; frustration will increase bouncing which will reduce conversions.

You don’t want to reduce your conversions or your visitors get frustrated, do you? Our aim is always to increase the conversion and keep our users happy; we invest thousands and thousands to improve their experience with our products; spend thousands of hours and dollars to understand their behavior, so why when it comes to standards we stop and say “it doesn’t look good, or it doesn’t fit within our design”.

Conclusion

I believe that using blue colors for links on your website doesn’t mean your creative design should be neglected, what I mean here that you as a designer should follow standards that have an affect on the business targets and the user experience on the website.

Blue link colors may not look cool but it will end up recognized, and that’s what matter.

PS: Blue for link color and purple for visited is not one of the World Wide Web standards but it’s been recognized by the user as the link color.
Netscape back in the 90s was the first who used this color for links and the rest of the browsers followed this behavior which resulted to become the standard from the user perspective.