Choosing the Right Typefaces for Your Online Business

by Gabriel Shaoolian

Every company wants to achieve success when it comes to its website. High conversions, repeat visitors and minimized bounced rates all contribute to the growth of a business. To get there, you must have several key features on your website. You need to have clear and concise messaging, calls to action that lead to conversions, sharable content, and a “stickiness factor” that will help keep users coming back for more.

While you may think your choice of typefaces is seemingly minor in the grand scheme of things, the reality is that it it’s actually a major factor when it comes to the effectiveness of your website and achieving your objectives. Messaging needs to be easy to read and digest in order for it to really be absorbed by the user and ultimately lead to an action. If the delivery of your messaging lacks visual clarity, your value won’t come across and users will likely leave your page after a few seconds. There are several things to consider as we take a look at how the typographic choices can make or break your website.

Fonts Can Convey Ideas

You have the capability to transform your entire brand personality depending on how your messaging is displayed. The style you choose serves as a representation of your entire company, as it tells users about your brand identity before they even read a single word or phrase. Whether it is respectable, elegant, sophisticated, or simple, your brand identity can be directly conveyed to an audience through the font that you select. Text that seems too playful can convey the wrong message or seem distracting to the reader. Take the time to think about your brand message and what you want users to know with just a simple glance at your website. If that isn’t clear from the way your messages are displayed, you may be using the wrong typeface.

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One company that best exemplifies this concept is Apple. Design and typography are in the core DNA of the brand. They completely transformed an otherwise dry and complex industry into something simple yet luxurious, just from the look and feel of their product and website design font decisions. When you read copy on their website there is an instantaneous emotional reaction that makes you more invested in the brand and more likely to want to purchase their products.

Readers Want Easily Digestible Content

When it comes to content—especially blog content, you could have the most valuable material in the world, but if the spacing between words is too close together or the font choice is too small you’ll lose users before it is read. There should never be more than 13 words on a line—simply because nobody wants to read that much. Starting text at one end of the page and having it continue all the way to the other creates the illusion that there is too much content that will take users too long to read. Newspapers break text into columns and only put a few words in each line – you should try and replicate this to a certain degree with your text-heavy pages.

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Type can easily give you a competitive advantage—or disadvantage. With millions of other searches out there, your content needs to be visually appealing and easily digestible. If you have the best content on the internet but it isn’t presented as such, users will visit the next search result that is covering the same topic, even if it’s not providing as much value as yours. It’s a waste of time, effort, and money to create excellent content only for it not to be read because it gives the user the notion that it’s difficult to comprehend. More than just increasing your website’s bounce rate, you’re also losing potential business. You should be optimizing content for the most pleasurable reading experience you can provide. Users will be far more likely to stay on your page if they enjoy what they are reading and it feels effortless to do so.

In his new book, Type Teams, Tony Seddon identifies the best way to combine typefaces based on the messages each pairing conveys. Read an excerpt.

Content Sharing Impacts SEO

One of the key components of a good SEO ranking is shared content. The better your SEO is, the more accessible your website will be through search engines, which is imperative to keep a business successful. The bottom line is that if your content is clear, informative and easy to digest, your audience will share it. If your content looks like you don’t care about usability, they won’t bother reading it or sharing it, and it won’t help your SEO ranking or brand growth. To increase readership and increase interaction, consider clean and simple text that suggests that your material provides excellent value in the simplest form possible.

Important Concepts Should Draw Focus

Words or short phrases that appear in a larger font size (featuring header tags, or size 21 points and higher) will be the first items that a reader will look at on your page. These ideas should be your core messages or takeaway ideas, giving the reader a basic understanding of what your company does even if they only read the few items that are emphasized. As you get to your central messaging it is critical that you use size 14-16 point font for body text. Anything smaller and the eye will dismiss it and flag it as unimportant.

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You should be selective and only have a few choice words in big sizes to demonstrate that these are what your company wants to point out—not every word. Overuse of large or bold text removes value from words that would otherwise stand out to audiences. Think about a user skimming the page, and which words would you want them to focus on if they didn’t read everything else. Whatever those words may be, they should stand out so that the eye naturally focuses on them, and without hesitation can provide the user with insights on what they need to know.

Choose Typefaces and Sizes for Mobile Devices

Websites need to be responsive. Roughly 50% of users are accessing websites via mobile devices, so it is important that sites be optimized for mobile use. The design you may use for a desktop site will not be ideal for that same person when they take a look on their smart phone. You may need to consider changing the spacing between letters, adjusting the size, or switching around the way you have columns set up. Users are viewing on smaller screens, so your website should seamlessly cate to their needs.

Message Delivery Impacts Message Success

Competition is tough for any business today; there may be many other businesses providing similar services or products as yours. You have to do what you can to focus on the needs of your audience and showcase the best of what your company has to offer. Your website should be designed to take users through an enjoyable experience where they will learn the value of your brand and want to learn more. The best way to ensure their engagement is to think critically about how you display your content. In the end, if users aren’t staying on your site because it appears complicated to read, it won’t matter what you have to offer because they already have lost interest. Content is king, but only if it gets read.

Gabriel Shaoolian is a digital trends expert and CEO and founder of Blue Fountain Media, a digital agency in NYC focused on growing brands online through effective websites and online marketing. From start-ups to Fortune 1000s, Blue Fountain Media helps generate more leads and increased brand recognition. 


T0402Struggle no more with finding the best typeface combinations for your creative projects, and instead utilize the 150 examples provided in Type Teams by Tony Seddon. The typeface combinations provided are organized into 25 contrasting categories, ranging from Scholarly and Classical to Edgy and Vibrant. With this prime typography guide ideal for font spotters, designers, and users, discover the perfect typeface combination for any project!

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