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Light or Dark Blog Backgrounds? [POLL RESULTS]

Posted By Darren Rowse 19th of May 2009 Reader Questions 0 Comments

Our last poll asked readers whether they preferred light or dark backgrounds in blog design. The results were:


The majority like ‘Light’ backgrounds but a fair chunk of readers think it depends upon the blog design.

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
  1. I have red blog. Because I like to short sell stock and the more the market in red the more money I make.

  2. I agree with the majority. When you dwell in a corporate cube farm, for example, you can usually get away with reading light-colored blogs. People passing by your cube simply assume it’s work-stuff. But if a screen is black or blazing red, the casual observer will know you’re slacking off.

    First-step solution – read only light-colored blogs.

    Second-step solution – Quit while you can and get a life before it’s over!



  3. I think for a blog that is mainly text light background is more appropriate. Also, whenever I see a site with dark background, I automaticly think, the information provided is unreliable. I don’t know why I feel that way, but it puts me off.

  4. Recently, I changed the background of posts of my wife’s blog about movie reviews (in Spanish – http://www.cinevistablog.com) from black to white. And the results have been really good. Before, when I finished the reading, I could see a permanent spot on my eyes and it was really difficult to read. But now, with a white background it doesn’t happen anymore, and even the number of comments from readers have increased.

  5. I used to have a dark background with white text until someone pointed out to me that my text wasn’t visible in Google Reader because it uses a white background.

  6. I went with a dark background to try to set myself apart. I’d say that was a poor choice. Between that and a really awful template I think my blog has underperformed. That said, I’m having the blog re-designed professionally and while I’m still in the process of getting it done I’d have to say that the difference is night and day – lighter backgrounds beat the hell out of darker or colored backgrounds any day of the week.

  7. I refuse to read anything if it is pale text on a dark background because it hurts my eyes in them same way myddnetwork mentioned with the text being burned into your eyes.

    Aside from that, I do find it gives the impression of a casual / unprofessional site if it has a dark background, especially when text colours other that white are used.

  8. Hey Darren as I have missed that poll I am giving my answer here, I always like to have lighter backgrounds. So far my blog themes were lighter and I think they will be lighter because the I have a bad dark background experience..

  9. I have had 4 different templates running on my website. Light, medium and two dark versions.

    In my experience on this particular site the dark versions out perform the lighter ones about 3 to 1 in Adword clickthroughs.

    I think it greatly depends on your blogs topic though. With mine being on the “The Secret” dark is more mysterious, so dark fits the topic better. IMHO

    Overall, for reading I prefer lighter versions.

  10. I prefer lighter backgrounds for research but It depends on the subject matter. Really dark backgrounds put me off especially if the text is grey. Overall lighter backgrounds give out a clearer call to action and the graphics stand our better for me. I do like to see contrasting colours too and a bit of individuality.

  11. I find it easier and less stressing to read dark text on a light background, but like the current theme being used here on ProBlogger, that does not exclude the site from having a dark background.

    I tend to find the “dark background, light text area and dark text” combintation to be a good fit my my learning style and attention span as the light text area allows to blog owner to direct my eye to the content that they deem is most important.

  12. When I’m not on dPS, I spend a bit of time writing my own stuff down – Mainly music photography type ramblings, photo gear, this and that. I’ve gone with a darker background – it suits me, my ramblings and a lot of my readers. (You know, the rock crowd that wear dark sunglasses everywhere! haha)

    Does it work?!… http://blogger.gtvone.com …or, does it not?


  13. GameDaddy says: 05/19/2009 at 8:41 am

    White is good for all professional web pages and dark equally good for all recreational web pages, i.e. entertainment, the arts, leisure, travel, the holidays, hobbies.

  14. Hi Darren,

    Isn’t it interesting how people respond to the preference of a sites back ground in different ways.

    I wonder if anyone has tested to see what would convert better for sales, this would be an interesting poll.

    I know for myself it can be very easy to get caught up in testing different colors and font sizes on your site, and it can be real time waster.

    I recently have been playing with my sites back ground color and decided to go with a lighter color back ground.

    and going through the top 20 or so blogs on the technorati top 100 I noticed that the majority if not all (with he current site being an exception) all had a lighter color background.

    So there is obviously something about lighter color backgrounds that people intuitively prefer.
    thanks for the poll.

  15. Who cares what people say they prefer? All that matters is what people BUY.

  16. I guessed that light colored website backgrounds would do better in the poll. I have always used a light background on my site and would never consider anything else. It just looks better on the eyes. Although, I am not opposed to coloring the sides a little to make the site look like a newspaper or magazine.

  17. If you find your eyes hurting, there are a few really useful bookmarklets that will “flip” white on black pages into the opposite so it doesn’t hurt your eyes. Here’s a good one: http://www.arguingwithmyself.com/archives/69-bookmarklet-black-and-white

  18. I think the colors need to work together to make a nice blog. Majority of the time I like lighter backgrounds, but again the colors need to go with each other. Greg Ellison

  19. I guess people are used to light backgrounds, perhaps for the reasons people said above about it being more work friendly and seeming more reliable.

    But I like darker backgrounds, and not just because I’m a horror writer. Is it true that reading white text on a dark background is easier on your eyes, making you absorb less light, and hence allowing you to read for longer without eye strain?

  20. I just cannot read blogs or web pages with dark backgrounds – after a few moments my eyes begin to hurt.

    I know that many others feel the same way. All of you with dark backgrounds are missing out on significant readership.

  21. Dark backgrounds do work well with photo or video blogs.

    But for reading, definitely dark text on a light background.

    I could never imagine reading a book for example, with white text on black pages. I doubt a book like that would ever sell…or they would be doing it.

  22. My pages are in black and they are easy to read. The background is #080808 and the text color is #cccccc

    A lot of famous people who have web sites use black as the background also. I use the off-black color. It is easy to read.

  23. It depends on whether you are talking about the text background or the background image. I prefer to read dark text on a light background and see a design or photo in the background of the actual page.

    Just My $.02

  24. I prefer light pages. I find dark pages hard on the eyes.

  25. Darren, I think what you mean here is that a plurality liked light backgrounds. That’s definitely a plurality I am part of.

  26. force of light wins

  27. I think that a white background is the best because it’s easier on the eyes.

  28. white background is better in my opinion,too dark backgrounds can not be suited to blogs and content is not shown clearly to reader also.

  29. However, what people say they like and what they actually like can still differ for a large portion.
    Besides it’s not about what your visitors like, it’s about what converts best for your goals (more visitors, more mail/rss subscribers, more sales, twitter followers, etc.)

    So keep in mind it’s is always important to do A/B tests

  30. Interesting results.

    I started with a black background and my daughter used to say it was difficult to read and I later saw several articles saying how we find it easier to read dark text on a light background.

    My new blogs are similar to this one -having a light area for information and then with a darker tone surrounding the area of information. This is more aesthetically pleasing to the eye IMHO.

    Pat Bloomfield

  31. I like dark backgrounds for blog where there is nothing much to read. . . . I am having a music blog http://www.TheMuzicWorld.com which is having dark background. I tried with other lighter colores too. But there was not much difference. So i applied the dark background again. . . For my personal blog , i am always changing and experimenting with the template and colors

  32. I have always been a fan of lighter backgrounds for the text, although the background color of my blog is dark.

  33. I don’t think background can make any differences in the blog’s success outcome. It all depends on the content that can hook the visitors. But I’ve the feeling of lighter backgrounds works to an extent mainly for text oriented blogs vice versa for media blogs (pics/video clips and less text).

  34. One of those questions for wich the answer seems 100% obvious for one micro second, until you remember that people never agree on something 100%. :)

  35. Most of the people will prefer light colors for backgrounds. However my mind is always looking for a dark background for all of my blogs. Of course I would optimize well the back grounds. Thanks for your Poll. So Now we can had a conclusion that most of the people like white background.

  36. In my opinion, the current color of ProBlogger is already nice. And yeah, I’m the one who vote ‘Depends on The Blog’.

    You have light color for the content and dark for the footer. One factor why I love to read article here because you have light color for the posts. Comfortable to read. I hope you will stay with this design. Thank you =)

  37. I’d go for White background.. it’s clean and at the same time it goes smoothly with other colors.

  38. I go for white but sometimes I prefer black. Since I use blogspot blogs I use white because it is adsense friendly. Easy to blend ads.

  39. My blog couldn’t be MORE light… Hurah!!! :)

    Interesting results, thanks :)


  40. I used to have a combination of light and dark backgrounds. Light for the content and dark for the sidebar but I found it too harsh on the eyes and decided to switch to fully light.

  41. The results are not surprising. Light backgrounds are easier to read and soothing to the eyes.

  42. I prefer the dark backgrounds for their drama and compelling graphics, but the text HAS to be legible. So many of the blog designs now have the text in less than optimum colors (both light and dark). I don’t have the ability to create my own template, so am often looking through the freebies for something more like what I wish I could design. Type color against the background is usually the reason I give the template a “fail”.

  43. Not a fan of bright white backgrounds. They give me a headache which is why I enjoy darker colored or completely black (like mine) blogs/websites. Light backgrounds are not soothing to me at all (Lighter the color, the more glare bouncing off the screen), I always have to adjust the monitor settings to tone the brightness down. Computer anti-glare glasses and all. To each his own. Not convinced it matters that much.

  44. This poll is good for blogger who want to change the template. Anyway, thank you!

  45. Dark backgrounds say to me “Its a porn site!” or something equally dubious!

    Light backgrounds just seem to be more trustworthy.

  46. guess it depends on the site too. but in most cases, lighter backgrounds does have a charm.

    @gerry: lol. dark backgrounds are usually associated with “hacker’s” website. although “porn site” could be anotehr thing too. haha

  47. Depends of what industry I’m working in. But, I’m fond of white background. It looks clean.

  48. As I’m just about to prepare my new blog, this poll will probably influence me for my template. Thanks for the info Darren!

  49. I am using a darkish gotic-like theme and I don’t found it too heavy weighted for the eyes.

  50. I always wondered about this myself, and after many iterations, I’ve decided on keeping my background white. Of course, it depends on the feel of the site and what audience you’re hitting, but I find that lighter backgrounds exude professionalism and tempt the reader to look at more of the page.

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