Posts Tagged ‘emotion’

How to Revive your Website – with a simple formula used by Gordon Ramsey!

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Gordon Ramsey

(c) Jean_Nelson www.depositphotos.com

Recently I have rediscovered the viewing pleasures of watching “Kitchen Nightmares” on TV. In each episode, celebrity chef and businessman, Gordon Ramsey, visits a struggling restaurant and spends a week there trying to turn their fortunes around. Always very clever in his methods and very VOCAL in his actions, Ramsey seems to have the magic “formula” that can take even the direst restaurant and turn it around in a number of days.

That formula can be easily adapted to any kind of industry, not just into hospitality. If you are willing to apply honesty and commitment to the process, the “Ramsey Formula” can also be used to revive an underperforming website and turn it into the customer conversion machine that it needs to be.

After watching (too) many episodes of “Kitchen Nightmares”, here’s the formula for reviving a website as I see it:

Get PASSIONATE about your Website

The commitment and passion that you (hopefully) feel for your actual business needs to be reflected on the pages of your website. After all, it is the online extension of your business.

Your website can be so much more to your customers than just an online brochure – but only if you COMMIT to making it so. The site’s appearance and its content should reflect the passion that got you into your business in the first place. It should also reflect your personality – you are a real person and need to come across as such. Customers will respond better.

Who are your CUSTOMERS and what do they WANT?

There’s no point examining your current website and its strengths and weakness unless you have a clear snapshot of who you target audience is. Anyone who has undertaken a Facebook Ad will have used the “wizard” for determining your target audience according to age, gender, location, etc.

Tailor-make all of the content so it is directed straight at your desired audience. If you can identify who they are, it makes the process easier to identify what they are looking for and give it to them.

Ramsey demonstrates this in one episode where he visits an old English pub and finds them cooking fancy al-la-carte meals. He quickly identifies this as one of the business’ problem and switches them back to what the pub-going public want – pub food!

Time to get BRUTAL

Chef Ramsey is good at this bit – he calls it “finding your bollocks”…

Stand back. Take a good look at your current online offering from the eyes of your target audience. Can they get exactly what they are looking for? Is it easy to access? Can they make a purchase quickly and simply? Is there fresh content that helps them do what they want to do? And most importantly, can they engage with the business through the site?

And remember, be honest. You might be in love with your site but is your customer?

Once you have identified the site’s “failings”, it might be time to trim the fat.

Whatever you have to do – embrace the change and make it work!

Is your site good at ANYTHING?

On “Kitchen Nightmares”, Chef Ramsey encourages restaurant owners to find a niche and use it as the drawcard to the business.
As the business owner, get in contact with your customers and use their feedback to identify the key item that your website does very well. This item (depending on what it is) could become the main drawcard of your website and draw potential customers into the site. Once they’re “hooked”, use your marketing skills to on-sell the other products and services that you offer.

Just remember to not offer so much that you can’t deliver (another lesson from Chef Ramsey).

I’m sure I’m not the only fan of the abrasive but clever Gordon Ramsay and his methods – so please leave a comment below on how you have used a “Ramsey” method in your own business. My comment area looks a little sad and neglected at the moment (one area I intend to work on), so I’d love to hear from you.

BE x DO = HAVE

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BE x DO = HAVEThe classic life algorithm “BE x DO = HAVE” has probably appeared in countless blog posts before. But who has sat down and worked out their Website strategy using this simple mathematical problem as a basis?

I have known of Brad Sugars, the founder of ActionCOACH, since he was a Senior leader at my high school in Brisbane and have watched his business coaching “empire” grow with interest. Whilst not a great fan of his business tactics and holding no affiliation to his brand,  I have found nuggets of very useful information and advice in his YouTube videos. On his own site, Brad used to have a link to a free video seminar from his “Business is Booming” tour. In the three hour long video, Brad took the audience through the various reasons why businesses should keep striving through the global financial crisis which was in full swing at the time.  I spent a couple of nights watching the video and taking notes so that I could apply them to my own work at Rusty Mango Design.

One of the points that Brad raised in the video is the paradigm “BE x DO = HAVE”. Using an example from the video, a simple use of the math could be “BE Awesome x DO Awesome = HAVE Awesome”. Pretty straight forward until you realise that most people live this particular algorithm backwards, thinking that they must HAVE something before they can BE something.

I got to thinking to thinking – if this can be so easily applied to ones life, can it be applied to the success of your Website? It may not be as simple as Brad Sugar’s application but read on…..

If you are a business supplying a product or a service, the end result of creating your Website must be to “HAVE more business”. That’s the final desired result. How do we get there?

The first part of the algorithm is not about the Website – it’s about your business. To effectively use a Website to generate business, you must have a product or service that would benefit from online sales. The local doctor probably doesn’t need a Website to sell his services. On the other hand, your local florist could make a lot more sales simply by getting online. You need to research your market and find out what your clients and potential clients want.

BE a worthy online business.

Once you have done the research on your clients, now comes the hard part. Do you have site that will satisfy their requirements? Sit down with your web designer and plan out a strategy – Who is your target market? How do they shop? What do they look for first in a site? What is their preferred method for purchasing? Will the aesthetics of the site appeal to them? How do we get them to keep coming back? This is where a good relationship with your web designer is very important. They need to understand where you are coming from and what you hope to achieve with your site.

DO create a site that works for you.

However working with your web designer is only half the task. Once the reigns of your site have been handed over to you, there is still a lot of work to do. Start by reading back through the Rusty Mango blog archive. There are literally dozens of tips that will help you to develop and continue to grow a site that works for you rather than sitting stagnant on the world wide web. If the site is not working for you, it’s not worth having – so turn it around!

Finally, keeping those two elements (BE and DO) in mind throughout the whole process, you can arrive at the desired final result.

BE a worthy online business x DO create a site that works for you = HAVE more business.

This may be a little different to the way that Brad Sugars describes it but the principle is exactly the same. It is a very simple algorithm however it makes common sense for any small business owner who wants a site that generates leads and sales.

Disaster! My site has disappeared from Google!

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My site has disappeared from GoogleIt’s every website owner’s worst nightmare – sitting down at the computer one day, typing your business name into Google and – BAM – the site’s not there in the search results! Frantically, you scan through page after page to no avail, it has completely disappeared. What has happened?

Although this sounds like a worst-case scenario, unfortunately it does happen (very) occasionally. And as 63% of site traffic is driven through the Google portal, it can have a devastating effect on the businesses involved. Especially if those businesses are reliant on web traffic for survival.

If this does happen to you, before you even consider anything else in this article, make sure you go to google.com and try the site: prefix with your site name (for example site:rustymangodesign.com.au). This will allow you to determine whether your site is still on the Google Search index or if it has been removed altogether.

Causes

There are a myriad of reasons that a site can disappear from Google, ranging from very simple errors and problems right through to black-banning by the search giant for dubious SEO practices. Some of these reasons include:

  • Lack of SEO love from the site owner. They’ve created a site and done nothing else with it. No promotion, no linking and very little or no new content.
  • Article Spinning. This practice involves using regurgitated content from other websites and Google absolutely hates this – it only loves fresh, new content. Article spinning often involves automatic generators that simply change small sections of text so that the content does not look directly plagiarised from its source.
  • Link building cheats. This generally involves third-party businesses that “guarantee” rankings by creating links through a large network of internet sites called “Link Wheels” or a “Link Pyramids.”
  • Keyword Stuffing. A website is filled with content and the same keywords are repeated throughout that content over and over again. It reads terribly, makes your content look cheap and Google doesn’t like it. It nearly always raises a red flag and Google loves to take action against those flags.

Solutions

Luckily, unless you’ve been really naughty, all it takes is some time and effort to fix this “little” problem. Sit down at your computer and start “cranking” out some decent original content that is not stuffed to the gills with keywords. Write a blog like this one (topics are easier to come by than you think), announce new store arrivals or simply upgrade your imagery – don’t forget to tag those images!

Look at the results that are coming in on the first page of Google Search for your desired keywords. Normally, Yellow Pages and Local Search directories are up there in the #1 and #2 positions. If you are listed with them, contact each and make sure that your website address is on their listings too.

Contact your suppliers and customers that have web pages and set up reciprocal links – I’ll link to you and you link to me. Make sure that you are in similar industries as Google looks favourable on this.

Finally, after all is said and done, your site could simply go missing due to a change in the complex algorithm that controls our search results. Google is a private company and wants to remain at the top of its game, making money for its shareholders. To do this, they keep “fine-tuning” the way that search results are ranked and ordered. Your site may simply not “stack” up against the new algorithm, yet. In this case, keep working on that fresh content and the remainder should take care of itself.

#BeSmart when using #Hashtags

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How to use a HashtagTwitter, the 140 word social media platform, has been with us since 2006 and one could excused for thinking that the #hashtag has been with us just as long. However the first tweets that featured a #hashtag actually appeared a year later when user Chris Messina decided to create a method of grouping like-minded tweets into the same clusters.

Nowadays, the #hashtag is an integral part of Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and even Facebook. It can be used as a powerful tool for online marketing and any business owner who wants to drive their social media marketing on to success need to master their usage.

Choosing the right #hashtag to engage with your target audience needs some thought and practice. They are very similar to the keywords that are used in conjunction with search engines to find a website, if the wrong words are chosen then the results won’t point towards your business and you risk losing potential clients.

Thankfully, it is not too hard to select #hashtags that will work for you. Here’s some simple items to consider when using #hashtags on your Social Media marketing:

  • Ensure that the #hashtag is relevant to the topic. Don’t be obtuse.
  • Take a look around the web and use #hashtags that are already in circulation. This doesn’t mean that you can’t create your own but commonly used tags have already got a “readership”.
  • When creating unique #hashtags, use words that will directly link back to your business. For example, if I were tagging marketing memes, I could start a “trend” with #rustysmarketingmemes. Watch that you don’t be too broad, as tags can be hijacked, leading to detrimental effects for your business.

The perfect mix for #hashtags in any single Social Media commentary is between one and two. Any more and research has shown there is a 17% drop in engagement. That said, #hashtags in your tweets, posts and pins increase the chances of your message being passed along to others.

At the end of the day, as with any Social Media, there is an inherent risk involved. Don’t share anything in your posts (along with those hashtags) that may have a negative effect on your business or personal life. Think before you post/tweet.

As already stated, the #hashtag is a powerful tool and can be made to work for your business. Smart companies like Black Milk Clothing have built themselves successfully through smart Social Media marketing and there is no reason other businesses can’t follow in their footsteps. Integrate a Social Media plan featuring the use of clever #hashtags with your regular business website and help your online traffic grow.

 

Five easy ways to decrease your site’s bounce rate

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Decrease your bounce rateYou have a website – and the statistics look good.

At first glance.

As you delve into the pile of numbers that are part and parcel of any website’s statistics, you may find that although people are coming to your site, they are not staying very long – at all.

If this is the case, your site has a bounce rate problem.

For the novice, the bounce rate is the number (usually a percentage) of your site visitors that leave your site immediately after arriving. Now, there could be any number of reasons for this however none of them are good for your business. The aim of any good website is to retain visitors and make them into loyal customers – they should want to stay on your site but when they do leave, you know that they will come back.

Below are five (fairly) quick fixes to help you get that bounce rate down.

Fix #1 – Reduce the amount of time it takes to load your site

If your site is heavily loaded with content, it can take some time to load on a visitor’s computer/mobile. Add to that all the bangs and whistles that make a site look “pretty” and you risk losing them before they even see the content! A general rule of thumb is that the majority of information on your webpage should be loaded within five seconds (this used to be ten in the “old” days”).

Fix #2 – Make your Navigation Menu user friendly

Websites with only a few pages have this one already sorted – their menus are generally uncluttered and users can find what they want fairly easily. But what if your site has dozens of pages to sift through? Website visitors can easily be put off by a menu system that has too many options.

The solution is quite simple – group your pages into common categories and create a base menu using these. Then, with the help of a pop-out menu, you can then add all the other pages underneath.

If your site does have a lot of pages, be sure to include a site map in your footer because some visitors may head  straight for this.

Fix #3 – Ensure that your Call to Action is highly visible

Your Call to Action (CTA) is all important to your website. If the site doesn’t have a clear CTA, why is it online in the first place? Your visitors need to be able to find this with no trouble at all – if anything, it should be one of the most predominant items on any page – as easy to find as your logo!

If a site visitor can’t find a way to interact with or purchase from you, they’ll go somewhere else and up goes your Bounce Rate!

Fix #4 – Check that your site is mobile responsive

If your site is over five years old, chances are that it may not be mobile responsive. This means that your website appears exactly the same on a mobile or tablet as it does on a full sized computer. In turn, this makes your content too hard to see without zooming in – something that mobile users hate to do when browsing the web.

Never fear, this doesn’t always mean that a whole site rebuild is required. There a number of options available in most cases – just contact your website developer for more information (or Rusty Mango Design).

Fix #5 – Tidy up that old, messy website

Whenever I start a new design for a client, I always take the time and cruise the internet looking at other websites in the same industry – just to see what is out there. Sometimes, I am astounded by the poor quality presented as professional websites. Some sites look like they have been there since the 90’s!

If your website does not convey your business brand as professional and “can do”, then it is unlikely to grab any potential customers, just on its appearance. Upgrade your site design and watch for the difference in response. If you look like you know what you doing, you are halfway to getting that client on-board.

 

Finally, according to statistics, you only have 50 milliseconds (that’s five hundredths of a second) to make a good impression with your website.  And as everyone knows, a good first impression can last a lifetime.

Take look at your site with fresh eyes (better yet – get someone else with fresh eyes) and have a look at the repairs suggested’here.

Does your bounce rate need a bit of a fixer-upper?

What essentials do you need on your Front Page?

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Front Page EssentialsThe Rusty Mango Design site has been in action in its current form for just over two years, so utilising the Christmas/New Year’s break, I have decided to give it a fresh new look. In doing so, I must remember that potential customers (prospects) will be coming to the home page in search of a few key items. If those items are not readily available (ie hidden or obscure), the bounce rate of people leaving the site will be fairly high.

To prevent this, I am integrating those key items into the planning of the new design right from the very beginning. I’ve sat down with a pencil and paper, (I know – how old fashioned of me!) and I have sketched out and written down those features which must be included. Let’s take a look at what should be seen on an effective home page.

Distinct Branding and Contact Information

This one is a no-brainer. Make sure that as soon as anyone hits your site, they can see immediately who you are and how they can contact you. Get your logo in the all familiar position at the top left of your page (that’s where you look for it, isn’t it?) and have a phone or clickable email up there too – possibly in the top right corner. Easy to see and act on.

Call to Action

In website marketing, a Call to Action (CTA) is a predominant item somewhere on a page that provokes the site visitor to gain an immediate response. Usually the CTA utilises action verbs such as “Call Us Now”, “Click here to find out more” or “visit our online-store”.

The CTA must be easily visible so that it attracts attention and get a response. On the new site for Rusty Mango Design, the CTA is in the main header for each page:

  • Get a CMS Website.
  • Build an online Store.
  • Boost your site traffic.

These are the three keys services that I offer and I want prospective customers to find which service they require immediately.

Essential Information

Grab that pencil and paper again and think about the information your clients need to know about you straight away?

  • Do you have a strict geographic area that you work within?
  • What are the services that you provide?
  • If you provide professional services, prospective clients may need some information on your experience and background.

Stick to the K.I.S.S. principle – keep it short and simple. If your site visitors wish to expand on the basic information that you have provided on the front page, include links to the pages with the expanded details.

Clear Navigation

Don’t overload your site visitors with a gazillion options in regards to navigation around your site. Keep any menus in their familiar positions (i.e. in the header or left side bar). When site designers get a little too inventive with the placement of components, confusion can often set in with site users.

Keep your menu options to a basic level – maybe utilising dropdown menus if you want to allow quick movement to content elsewhere on the site.

Conclusion

With those things in mind, I have created a “fresh” design and I will be launching the new look Rusty Mango site in the next week or so. Keep tuned for that!

In the meantime, take a long look at your site’s front page and ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is there enough information? Or is there too much?
  • Does it encourage further exploration into the site?
  • Can a prospect interact directly with me form this page or will they have to dig deeper to do so?

If you need any help with the above, get in touch with Rusty Mango Design. We can discuss those very questions and create a front page that will get you attention!

 

Five Reasons Emails are better than Phone Calls

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Emails are better than phone callsIn the initial phase of designing a website for a client, it is very important for me to make a connection via a quick phone call to that person. Even if it is just to confirm that there is a real person behind my email, this initial phone call is often the “closer” on the deal and we can start doing business.

Beyond this however, I am real advocate of email only business. I find that phone calls are often unnecessary, cause disruption to the work flow of business in general and eat away at time that could easily be used more efficiently.

Here are five reasons why email HAS to be the communication line of choice when working with any type of business.

#1 You can’t review a phone call before you have it

Phone calls are often spur of the moment. You can’t look over what you are going to say during a conversation – it just happens. And, as with spur of the moment events, things can be skipped, left out or forgotten completely. This will often to a second, time consuming phone call.

With emails, you can type your thoughts and views quickly, review them and edit before clicking the SEND button. If something is forgotten, it takes less than a few seconds to quickly shoot out a second email however this is less likely to be needed as you have already reviewed the content of the first! Time saved!

#2 It’s hard to set aside time for phone calls

Unless you have a secretary with an iron clad policy to follow (no phone calls between certain hours), you invariably are going to have phone calls dotted throughout your day. Just you are just getting “into the flow” of a new project or work assignment then, bang, in comes that phone call. It takes you away from that important work, breaks your concentration and, when the call is finished, you have to get back into the zone, if possible.

Most efficient email users set aside a portion of their day to use specifically for the purposes of email. They know that, for example, between the hours of 8.00am – 9.00am the emails will be looked at and the correspondence for the day will be taken of – free of interruption.

#3 Emails are easier to focus on the point (no unnecessary small talk)

Phone calls are always filled with some small talk (how’s the family, did you watch the game, great weather we’re having) just to keep the conversation at a friendly level. Whilst there is nothing wrong with this, this type of talk is generally reserved for lunchtimes and outside of work hours. It slows productivity and breaks the work flow of the day.

With an email, you can start with curt greeting and launch straight into what needs to be said. No small talk, just action.

#4 You can’t attach anything to a phone call

Have you noticed that very few businesses are utilising the fax machine these days? Some are still holding onto this archaic, out-dated piece of technology but most have realised if you want get that document, file, photo, image or form to its intended recipient, there is no substitute to the prompt delivery of an email attachment. Enough said.

#5 Phone calls can interruption to the work flow of a day

As already pointed out, the main factor against the use of a phone call in favour of an email is the sheer interruption that it can cause to a day. Some people can handle the constant flow of calls (read one of Donald Trump’s books to see how many he fields in a day – moderated by a team of assistants) but most business people need to focus on the work that needs to be done. Scheduled email times and less phone calls will allow them to do just that.

Of course, I will be the first to admit that if you are dealing anyone who is not “on top” of their email then a phone call must be the way to go. Personally, I subscribe to the GTD methods of organisation and this helps me to keep my inbox at zero. It only takes few minutes a day (which I set aside) to answer emails, reply and sort other items into actionable folders.

Are you an advocate of emails or do you prefer to connect and communicate through phone calls? Let me know using the comment section below and start a dialog on the benefits of both.

Social Media finally shows it’s heart!

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After the events of the past week here in Australia, I’ve decided to take a step away from web marketing for this week’s blog. In fact, there’s real no takeaway for small business at all. This post is however about the way that Social Media has allowed us to connect with and support each other in one of the saddest days in recent times.

Social media has been bashed by many critics for its detriments and the way it has been used to bully and harass but the tragic passing of young cricket player, Phillip Hughes,  last week has finally brought to the fore that Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and others can be used for so much more.

Very few people could have missed the news of the tragic accident at the Sydney Cricket Ground that has led to the death of one of Australia’s most promising young sportsmen. This single event has affected every day people from all walks of life and not just Australians, thousands from around the world have joined us in mourning one of our own. No-one can quite pinpoint why – was it because this young man died playing one of nation’s favourite games? Was it because he was so young and so promising? Or was it because of the nature of Phillip Hughes himself – so cheerful, uplifting and unassuming? Whilst we can’t understand why this event has driven so deeply into our hearts, we have shown that we stand united in comradery for Phillip, his family, friends and the man at the other end of the pitch, young bowler Sean Abbott.

This show of unity really began shortly after the passing of Phillip Hughes was announced through regular media. Tweets and posts started to appear with the hash tag #63notout. Images of Phillip in his baggy green cap (number 408) began to circulate through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Baggy Green #408But a real phenomenon really began when Sydney man Paul Taylor decided to put his cricket bat at the front door of his house, took a photo of it then sent it out on Facebook with the hash tag #putoutyourbats. Within minutes, this tag took hold and soon everyday Australians were heading out to their backyards, grabbing their trusty willows and putting them out the front to show a rare form of condolences for the passing of Phillip Hughes.

Soon, it wasn’t just just Australians taking part – the movement spread across the world. From Pakistan to England and beyond, individuals, sporting clubs and even businesses were putting their bats out. Even Google placed a simple cartoon cricket bat onto their main search page in Australia.

It was through this simple gesture, people were allowed to connect with what had happened and really take part in an amazing tribute to an amazing young man. I actually got a lump in my throat as I put the bat out the front of my house and uploaded the image of it to Facebook.  The family of Phillip Hughes, despite the terrible loss they have suffered, must be completely blown away by the outpouring of support for them and the young fast bowler, Sean Abbott must know that we have got his back and that no one blames him for what was a simple, unfortunate accident.

This whole outpouring of support not only allowed us to show support for the family and friends of Phillip Hughes but it also banded “us aussies” together in a way that has not been seen before. And none of it would have been possible without the power of Social Media – finally being used for something truly amazing.

 

Show your “true” colours to your customers

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Pyschology of ColourIt has long been recognised that certain colours can invoke certain emotions in people. Some colours automatically convey an instant importance such as the colour red which grabs attention or can warn you to stop performing a particular action (traffic signs, no smoking, and danger). Other colours can be associated with an emotion: orange conveys a feeling of warmth whilst blue can exude a feeling of tranquillity. These feelings and emotions have been ingrained into human psyche and we can feel them without even acknowledging that we do.

What most people may not be aware of is that colour can be and is used in brand marketing and design to incite the same type of reactions. Can you imagine an all-action brand like Red Bull using any other colours than red and yellow? Would you feel the same emotion if they used a combination of blue and grey? Not a chance.

Last week I stumbled upon the excellent infographic below created by the folks at The Logo Company. Brands that you and I see every day have been grouped into their primary colour bands and the effect is striking. This one diagram illustrates exactly how important the choice of colour is to the success and growth of a band.

colour_emotion_guideThe possibilities of how colour pyschology can be used in everyday marketing are endless. A couple of suggestions could be:

  • Paint your office
  • Using images in your materials that include plenty of the colour you are trying convey.
  • Vary your text to include colours.
  • Weave your colour throughout all your branding materials.

What about in your website design and content layout? Colour can be used to great effect to drive customers into making decisions whilst visiting and interacting with your site. Your Call to Action must be in colours that incite some form of reaction from the site visitor. Your branding needs to be created to envoke the same feelings as done so successfully by the brands in the infographic above. Your content presentation needs the same level of attention too – too often a site is “let down” by poorly implemented content layout.  

To avoid mismatching of colours and the wrong colours being used, make sure your designers have been fully and clearly briefed on:

  • your business’ mission statement.
  • why you do what do.
  • what your business wants to be known for.
  • who is your  target audience.

While you are in discussions with your designer, ensure that they are acutely aware of the appropriate colour choices for your brand and business.

To help break down the psychology of colours even further, here’s a quick guide to colours and the generally accepted feelings that they invoke.

colour_pyschology

As always, if you have any questions about this topic or you are desperately in need of a “colour stylist” for your brand and website, get in touch with us at Rusty Mango Design.

A little piece of colour trivia to round-out this week’s blog:

“Tim Berners-Lee, the main inventor of the web, is believed to be the man who first made hyperlinks blue. Mosaic, a very early web browser, displayed webpages with a (ugly) gray background and black text. The darkest color available at the time that was not the same as the black text was that blue color. Therefore, to make links stand apart from plain text, but still be readable, the color blue was selected.”

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