Digital Marketing Blog

What Fonts Should I Use On My Website

  • By Brad Poirier
  • 25 Oct, 2016

Tips on choosing fonts for your website

how many fonts should i use on my website
Your love for comic sans is killing your website. Or the fact that you’re probably using way too many fonts. For a webpage’s sake, using a wide range of fonts (or again use of comic sans or the like) can actually hurt your website’s ranking and more importantly the user experience. Even if you have that font installed on your computer, another user might not have that on his computer, mobile device, screen reader etc. So it’s important to choose the right font. But how do you go about choosing fonts for visitors that you cannot predict what their installed fonts are? Well you can actually predict, sort of.

For starts, there are several fonts that are installed on just about every computer, like Arial, Times New Roman and Comic Sans. Please don’t use Comic Sans, we’re not in third grade anymore (Unless of course you are designing a website for a third-grade class, then go ahead). When a visitor does not have the font installed on their system and they visit your website, their device will download the font so to speak. It won’t be installed on their computer, but the web browser will install it for use. No big deal right? Everyone has a super fast connection these days. Well yes and no. Having one font can actually yield about 5-6 different font files.

Let’s take the most popular font on the web being used, Open Sans. There’s actually 10 versions of that font including: Light, Light Italic, Regular, Regular Italic, Semi-Bold, Semi-Bold Italic, Bold, Bold-Italic, Extra-Bold, Extra-Bold-Italic.

So if you were to use: Regular, Regular Italic, and then also want to have a sentence in bold and italic, and another in just bold, you would have five versions of that one font right there. That still isn’t too bad considering Open Sans is a very light-weight font to begin with, file-size I mean. Here’s the problem, a lot of people use a lot more than one font.

Wether you are a business owner building your website DIY style, or you’re just a BAD web designer, using too many fonts slows your website speed down, which negatively impacts your google search ranking, and again, more importantly the user experience. It’s actually very distracting to have too many fonts used on any page. If you’re using Open Sans lets say for big headings, then Raleway for sub-headings, and then Oswald for paragraphs, you might have anywhere from 15-25 different fonts installed for your website. That’s a heavy load, especially when on mobile. Mobile devices will have a tough time downloading those fonts with a slow network connection. This might cause your visitor to bounce, since statistically 61% of people will abandon a mobile site if it takes more than 3 seconds to load. THREE seconds.

So to answer the original question, what fonts should I use on my website? We can’t exactly give you a specific list of fonts to use, but here’s some general guidelines that will help you.

#1 - Check out Google fonts - popular choices

Google recently changed up their font directory and launched fonts.google.com . Head over there and check out their “popular” fonts. Google’s API is the most frequently used font directory, so using ANY of the 800+ fonts in that directory will give you a good shot at having a compatible font, plus they’re FREE.

#2 - Use the same font as your logo

If you had someone design the logo for you, they might have use a font (verses hand lettering the logo). If they did use a font, ask the designer what font they used and it might be available on Google. If it was a licensed font, you can actually obtain a web-license for most fonts. They might range anywhere from $50-100 and up, but it’s a one-time cost and it GREATLY adds to your branding. There’s nothing like maintaining a consistent brand identity than using a common set of typefaces. (By the way, contact us if you DO need a logo designed )

#3 - Use two fonts, three maximum

I recommend sticking with two fonts, and setting your website to use only the weights you want to use. It doesn’t make sense to download 10 different weights if you’re only going to use Regular and Regular-Italic. Sticking with two fonts will give you the flexibility to have other weights installed and it also is easier for your website visitors to read through. If you want to add a third, I’d recommend having one bold font for your main headings, a secondary font for all of your sub-headings, and a third font for your paragraphs.
BONUS TIP: Changing the color and weight of the same font family can really change it up. So for instance, use one color and bold for your main headings, and then a different color and regular weight for your sub-headings. This keeps it to ONE font, but they still have their own unique appearance.

#4 - Use a combination of serif and sans-serif fonts

Explaining the difference between serif and sans-serif is an article in itself. Basically, a serif font has the extra “flairs” to them, whereas the sans-serif fonts are very straight. Sans-serif fonts are much easier to read at smaller font sizes, where serif fonts are difficult to read when too small and also placed on distracting backgrounds.
I recommend using a bold-style serif font for your headings and a sans-serif font for your paragraphs.

BONUS - Use an icon font

This really isn’t a font for words, but using an icon font can help bring visual context to your copy. Our favorite is @fontawesome. It’s free and offers a large community of users for support. With font awesome you can add hundreds of icons that operate as a “font”, which means you can change the size of the icon, color, behavior, anything you can do with CSS really. (What’s CSS?) We use font-awesome throughout our own website here (and so doesn’t whitehouse.gov), can you catch where we are using font-awesome?
Need help choosing the right font? Or some guidance in creating your brand identity? Get in touch with us for a no-risk consultation on how we can help market your company.

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Breeze Digital Media News & Resources

By Brad Poirier 18 Oct, 2017

Deadlines. Employees. Networking. Accounting. Advertising. HR. – The Party Planning Committee.

As a small business owner, you likely wear many hats.

“Wait, now I have to wear a marketing hat also?”

Well the short answer is no, you don’t have to. It really depends on how competitive you want to be in your industry.

Your big competitors invest lots of time and money into marketing their business, but that doesn’t mean you have to. Outsourcing your digital marketing to a digital marketing agency can both improve your lead quality and improve your overall ROI.

Let me explain.

By Brad Poirier 15 Aug, 2017
We are a visual society, so you should be using at least one of these options on your website.

Just like website design ranges from no use of images to the overuse of them, same is true with icons today. More than ever, some webpages are being cluttered with icons, that often add no context to the page or just add nothing to the user experience.

When is it good to use an icon on your website? Here's a few criteria I follow plus some resources for putting icons on your website.
By Brad Poirier 13 Jul, 2017
What’s more important to you: A shiny trophy for being number one on Google or a boat load of new clients coming your way.

Yes, we have said before that the number one position on Google gets 33% of the traffic for that keyword, but what do you see coming up as number one now-a-days?

Local Directories come up first. Do a quick Google search for anything local business related, for instance "restaurants near me". I did this search, and not one result on the first page was from a local business website. ALL of the first 10 results were local review sites such as Yelp, TripAdvisor and OpenTable.

Now to be fair, there were three local results that appeared first, in what we call the Google Snack Pack. Before the website results, Google displays three locations from Google Maps, which is also very important. For websites though, it was all local directories.
By Brad Poirier 18 May, 2017
There's pros and cons to this type of Facebook post. The pro, well, you're making an attempt to create business. The cons? How do you set an expiration date on that? Even if you indicate one in the post, there could be that customer that just says "oh, I didn't see that". Further, how do you keep track of it? Are you going to write down on a sheet of paper every time someone comes in and says "Hey, I saw this post on Facebook". Also, not everyone wants to mention that. People want to present coupons and get a deal, they don't want to announce that they're getting a deal.

There is a much better way to accomplish what you are trying to do. You may have seen it, used it, tried it, but here's how to get the most out of the post type called "Offer". Watch the video below to see an example or read below.
By Brad Poirier 10 May, 2017

Chances are the website you’re using for your business is using Wordpress. Why? Because right now,  Wordpress powers 26% of the web   ...worldwide. That’s an overwhelming market share. In the past, my experience using Wordpress has been for some personal blogs, never as a commercial website. For the past few years working as a web designer, I have been using a version of  Zurb’s Foundation Framework   to develop websites. I’ve stayed away from Wordpress for many reasons, which I’ll explain below.

I figured though: If Wordpress powers 26% of the web, it can’t be all that bad though right? Wrong. Sure, Wordpress has it’s advantages, namely in the blogging area. It still is the go-to platform of choice for blogging. Here’s the thing though: Wordpress was never meant to be a website builder. It just evolved that way. What started off as an independent project grew into the global name it is today. The entire platform though, is supported mainly by community members. Try calling a Wordpress support number. Nope. Doesn’t exist.

To really put Wordpress to the test though, I had to actually go through and build a full site, not just a blog page. Well certainly, I wasn’t going to waste my time at work building a client’s website on Wordpress. I decided to build one for myself. I have a photography hobby, and so I chose to build a photography portfolio. 15 hours later, I have an OK performing website with 3 pages setup plus some gallery pages. I am a professional designer and it took me 15 hours to get it somewhat polished.

I logged my experience every step of the way, and so here’s all of my pain points and some of the positives that came out of this experience. Overall I can tell you, though, it’s about as horrible as I expected it to be. I am more certain now than ever, that I never want to develop websites using Wordpress. I can see why large Wordpress sites are expensive to develop. Development costs are almost entirely billed by time. The longer it takes your web developer to get from blank to finished, the more it will cost you. (FYI, my development time and costs are substantially lower than industry averages)

By Brad Poirier 07 Mar, 2017
Did you know that the average consumer checks your website at least two times from two different devices before they journey into your location? Over 60% of searches start  from a smartphone device , but there is still a great amount of desktop and tablet traffic coming in. Why is that? Some of that desktop traffic is the original, organic traffic yes. However, a lot of it is a returning customer. Perhaps you're a kitchen remodeler , someone searches for "kitchen remodeling" and they find your website from their smartphone. They're not ready to buy yet though. So they bookmark or they email their significant other the web address. When they get home, they venture to their desktop or start using their tablet to continue the research.

Most (amateur) web designers only pay attention to the desktop view. Sad face: many web designers still build websites that are desktop only, they're not building responsive websites that are mobile-optimized. The worst part is they're often designing this on a 20" or larger monitor. Of course it's easy to design a great site when you have 20" of a digital canvas to work with. The real Picasso comes out when you can take that same great experience and display that on a 4" screen, AND to optimize it for as slow as a 3G connection. There's a big difference between your site being mobile-friendly and mobile-optimized. Mobile-friendly usually just means making sure the content is formatted to scroll up and down and no content stretches beyond the width of the smartphone screen. Mobile-optimized is taking the same content from your desktop and optimizing it for a mobile experience. This is important now more than ever, as Google has started to ONLY SEO Index your mobile site and not your desktop site.

So that's the why I design websites using four screens. You might interested in knowing what are the screens I design with, and how I use each one of them to turn your website from blah to Yahhh! I only build websites that are responsive. I check how the content looks and how the content interacts along the way. Below are the screens that I use to check this with and more importantly, the order in which I do this.

Screen #1 - Smartphone
You might be shocked to think that the first screen I check my work on is a mobile device. If you were a bakery and 60% of your revenue came from donuts, would you start your morning by prepping the cookies and pastries? You start with your money maker! Well, since over 60% of all Google searches start from a mobile device, why would you start with the device that people aren't using as much? I'll tell you why, it's because you're working with an amateur designer. Or perhaps you're working with a legacy designer who won't budge. When I design in a mobile-first environment, I can truly focus on that experience and maximizing it's potential. We focus on getting the most important information right away. For most businesses this means placing a "TAP-TO-CALL" style button at the top of the page. Nothing is more frustrating than having to remember the number in your head and quickly double-tap-your-home-button to get to the phone dialer and attempt to get every number in there correctly. If location visits are important we also make sure there are easy-to-find buttons for loading your bulit-in GPS navigation.

What do you think the next screen is going to be?

Screen #2 - Tablet
Did you guess that correctly? It's only natural to work my way up the screen size. Now that I've mastered the experience for mobile, I can open up canvas a little here and work on the tablet view. Tablets today range from about 7"-10" and yes there are those two outliers that are around 13" , but they're still a tablet, at least according to the internet browser being used. A growing trend for the tablet view is using what we call the "hamburger" menu. That's the 3-line menu button you might see in the upper right or left hand corner of the screen. We layout the navigation in both the hamburger format and the traditional horizontal navigation. It all depends on the business and the goal of your website. That's why we custom design all of our sites starting with a 1-on-1 consultation . Since a tablet is still inherently a mobile device where the user interacts using only a touchscreen, we still are focusing on easy, tappable buttons. Consumers are used to tapping on items with their tablets, we make it super easy for that to happen. Gone are the days of only making links available from within the text. Consumers need clear call-to-action buttons to guide them along their buying journey.

Screens #3 & #4 - Laptop & Large Monitor
Technically I'm designing and coding everything on my large monitor, but the testing is being done on multiple screens. However, when I start to design for the desktop, I'm using my laptop which dual outputs to a 21" cinema display. This allows me to have the freedom of design but to see how it will interact on a 13" monitor (which is about the average monitor size for a small laptop). The most important content is "above the fold". So if it's not designed right, some of the content that looks good on 21" would normally get cut off on a smaller screen. We make sure that doesn't happen. The desktop design is where it does get a lot more fun, and more roomy. It's like trying to pack a bunch of moving boxes into a cargo van when you've been using your 1988 Corolla earlier that day. Ahh, you can breathe a little. However, use this space carefully. Remember, with great space comes great responsibility. I've seen many web designers who came from a graphic design background. It is honestly a natural progression, but it's an entirely different approach. Use a white space or negative space is critical here. So if you're used to working with that graphic designer who loves using tons of colors and turning text into metal like beveled art and everything else that came with cheap Photoshop work from 10 years ago, they're in the wrong arena. You have about 5 seconds to capture someone's attention before they'll decide to leave the website. Now, a lot of that comes from excellent copywriting and headline writing , but bad design choices will confuse the consumer and cause them to leave and go to the next result in line.

So there you have it. The method to my madness. Some people look at website design and say why not , I look at website design and say why ? Rule of thumb: Just because you can do something, doesn't mean you should. I'm on the web all day long. I can easily spot a badly performing website, in terms of conversion. Today, you're website is all about conversion . Your business can't afford to run a wiki-pedia website. It needs to be a lean, mean, lead-generating machine. This applies to all business websites.

What are some examples of good and bad website design that you have seen?
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