An Easy Way to Kill Sales on Your Site

by Ryan M. Healy on February 14, 2013

A reader laments:

What is it with this horrible trend to put website text in gray? Marketers have known for years that black text on white background is best. So they come out with gray, and now I can hardly read anything on the web without squinting or having to literally cut and paste it into a Word doc. I must make it my mission in life to bring black text on white background to the internet! -Janet Beatrice

I feel Janet’s pain.

I’ve bumped into a few websites that used similar shades of gray for the text and the background, rendering the copy virtually unreadable.

Maybe some designer, uneducated in the art of making money, thinks it looks good.

I don’t know whether it looks good or not.

But I do know that text that doesn’t get read doesn’t have the chance to make money.

And if I can’t easily read the copy, I will abandon the site unless it’s something intensely interesting that I can’t find elsewhere. I doubt I’m an anomaly — at least in this regard.

Dark gray (almost black) text on a light gray background can sometimes work if the contrast is sufficient. But gray on gray is always risky.

When in doubt, stick with black (text) and white (background).

After all, black and white never go out of style.

-Ryan M. Healy

About Ryan M. Healy

is a direct response copywriter. Since 2002, he has worked with scores of clients, including Agora Financial, Lombardi Publishing, and Contrarian Profits. He writes a popular blog about copywriting, advertising, and business growth, has been featured in publications like Feed Front magazine, and has been published on sites like,, and

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{ 1 comment }

Brad February 19, 2013 at 9:46 pm

Amen to that – I’m sure all these hours in front of the computer screen haven’t been kind to my eyesight, but c’mon people – white text on black background… or gray on gray… is killing me.

Not sure how anyone, even designers, could let that fly.

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