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Choose the Best Background for Your Website

It’s Reinvention Month at Jimdo, and we’re going over the step-by-step process to makeover your website. Last week we talked about structure and design, and earlier this week we covered selecting a font. But If there’s one aspect of websites that's too often neglected, it’s the background. Fortunately, it’s an easy thing to fix, and there are many more options than there used to be.

 

Tips for an Outstanding Website Background
Jimdo’s new templates are specially-made to help you take full advantage of striking, full-width images and videos. In this post, I’ll go over how to choose the best image, video, or color background for your website, and show some examples of other Jimdo sites for inspiration.

 

Choosing the best background image


No matter if you already have a personal website, planning to write a travel blog or want to create a website for a nonprofit organisation - the right image can have an immediate impact on your audience. It can set the right mood, and immediately communicate what your site is about or what you do. It’s also a chance to show off some of your assets—your location, your product, or even you! A large background image will be the first impression your users have of your site, so choose it wisely. If you can’t decide on just one image, you also have the option of running a slideshow of up to 25 images.

 

An example of a background image. A large, beautiful background image can set the tone for your website: happy, serious, playful, serene, etc. They are easy to implement in many Jimdo templates. This example comes from www.cuic-creation.com.

 

Sizing

It’s also important to choose an image with the right technical specs. I recommend using background images that are oriented horizontally instead of vertically so that they fit most modern computer screens, which are in the widescreen format. The size of your image is just as important. Most computer screens support a minimum resolution of 1024 x 768 pixels, which means that your background photo should be that size—at the very least. Best is to aim for 2000 pixels wide. Uploading an image that is only 500px wide will result in a blurry or pixelated background, and nobody wants that.

 

Most photo-editing programs will be able to show you the pixel size of your image. You can also see the size right on your computer. If you’re on a PC, right click on the image file, choose “Properties” and then the “Summary” tab. On a Mac, right click on the image file, choose “Get Info,” and then click on “More Info.” That will show you the dimensions in pixels.

 

Finding images online

If you don’t have any photos of your own that would work, there are great resources online for free, high-quality stock photographs that you can use legally without royalties. Our favorites are Pixabay, Fotolia, and UnSplash.

 

Using an image in a background. The kitesurfing site isurfnl.com uses a large photograph in their background to set the scene.

 

 

Video backgrounds for your website


As internet connections get faster, video backgrounds are becoming more and more popular around the web. A good video can work seamlessly with your site and add a subtle “wow” factor.

 

This is a feature you want to use with care, though, since some videos could be distracting or annoying. The effect works best with videos that are ambient and calm. For example, Airbnb’s new website uses videos of people having quiet moments at home, drinking coffee, waking up, etc. This helps evoke the right emotions for their users. Compare this to the video background on the Google Hangouts website. The quick cuts and the fast pace have a much different effect that could make it hard for viewers to actually focus on your content.

 

Finding the right video to use as a background can be tricky, but a template like San Francisco works great with some subtle motion in the background. Finding the right video to use as a background can be tricky, but a template like San Francisco works great with some subtle motion in the background.

To use a video on a Jimdo website, you’ll need to choose a clip from either YouTube or Vimeo. The video can be of any length, but if it is on the shorter side, Jimdo will automatically loop the video from the beginning so that it never ends. That said, try to choose a video that is not too long, and that perhaps one that has a seamless loop in the beginning and at the end. Sites like Pond5 offer stock royalty-free video clips covering a wide range of subjects.

 

Background colors


In the early days of the [slow] internet, most websites had a single color as their background to improve page loading times. As the internet became faster, the use of the photo background became more prevalent.

 

However, current trends in web design are bringing the concept of a single color back. The difference this time is that we’re no longer using the bright reds and blues of yesteryear. By using more subtle colors, even plain white, websites look cleaner and more elegant, and more attention is given to the content rather than to the design.

 

Example of a color background. Notice how mdcreation.com balances a bright background color with minimalist black, white, and grey text for a clean, modern look.

 

Keep in mind...


In closing, remember these quick and easy tips to find the best background for your website:
  • Choose images that are of high resolution (2000 pixels wide is best).

  • Make sure those images are in landscape mode, and not in portrait mode.

  • Only tile images that are meant to be tiled. Patterns are great for this, but not so much photos of your cat.

  • If you’re going for a video background, choose one that is subtle and without too much action going on lest you make your visitors motion sick.

  • For simple background colors, you can’t go wrong with white.

 

Stick to these tips, and your website will stand out from the rest.

 


William Molina

William Molina

Customer Support Geek

 

Helping people with their technology needs comes easy to William. He came to Jimdo from EPA.net where he helped local businesses and organizations get online. When he's not answering tech support questions at Jimdo or at home, you might find him playing video games from the comfort of his couch.