try running a split test and see if it makes a difference.
Do some research on the meaning and perception of colors. This search [google.com] on Google will give you some interesting pages.
Well they say blue invokes trust. If want people to leave your site (click on a banner) Maybe a bright banner on a gray background will draw them in.
I think that most people have no design sense and as long as the site is clean and easy to read, has what they came for, they will stay.
Blue -> Trust
Grey -> Solidity, Stability
Yellow -> Cheap, Weakness
Red -> Action, Passion, Strong Emotion
Light Green & Blue -> Calm
White -> Purity
Black -> Elegance, Style, Strength, Death
There is more but I can't remember them all. I do know that on average MALE visitors prefer solid dark colours like Blue, Black, Green... while FEMALES prefer pastel colours and lighter shades of the above.
Play with the colours until you figure out what works for you.
Interesting, I have a fairly colorful site, particularly compared to others with the same theme, but I drool whenever I see one created in attractive shades of gray. Saying that, I think it should have at least one accent color. Graphics and image ads will take away some of the "dullness" that you may feel it has now. The use of white would be important too. Make sure the content is easy to view with the eyes.
depends what you want people to do. Is your goal to have them leave your site and click on an ad?
On this site my goal is 1) let them enjoy the quality material and hope they'll use it as a further reference for themselves (or others) 2) buy a related product, eg a book about the topic they are reading
Can anyone recommend some websites/software that would give more in-depth guide to colours on websites. I would like more help on what colours go with other colours etc