How to Choose Fonts For Your Website – 4 Common Mistakes To Avoid

Before I got into the business of creating websites for solopreneurs I had no idea that fonts were such a big deal. Having the right font can make your website look polished and put together, and the font you choose also gives your text a particular personality. Who knew?

Unless you’re a self proclaimed “font snob” (something else I hadn’t heard of) chances are you are choosing your fonts willy nilly depending on what appeals to you at the time.

So here are some common mistakes that solopreneurs make when choosing fonts for their websites, and what you can do to avoid them.

1. Too Many Fonts.

Sometimes when you’re trying to emphasize different pieces of your content it can be tempting to use a special font to draw attention. The problem is that the more fonts you have on a page the “messier” it looks.

So when you’re deciding on fonts to use just pick two. Typically a “sans serif” font for regular text and a “serif” font for the headings is best, though you don’t have to stick to that rule.

And for those of you that are really new to this whole font thing like I was, sans serif means there’s not little doohicky on the ends of the letters and they are more block-like (like the font you’re reading now). Serif’s have the little doohicky so they look a little fancier which makes them great for headlines, for an example look at Georgia – it’s my personal favorite.

And yes, doohicky is a technical term.

2. Unreadable Fonts.

Fancy isn’t always better, what may look beautifully whimsical to you might be difficult for your visitor to read. Make sure the fonts you’re using for your content is clear and easy to read. As in, no hand written or scripty/flowy fonts.

Save these for a logo or graphical element that is created by a designer that can make sure they’re done right and are readable.

3. Fonts That Aren’t “Web Safe”.

Something that not a lot of solopreneurs realize is that there is a limited selection of fonts you can use on your website and have them display the same across all browsers and devices.

The reason is that your computer can only display the fonts that it has installed locally, so if you have a Mac and your visitor has a PC the fonts that are locally available are different so your website may display differently.

There are two ways to ensure your fonts display the same way for everyone:

A. Use ” Web Safe Fonts ” which are fonts that are universal to all devices.

B. Install the font to your website host server – this one is a bit more tricky so you’ll want to talk to your website developer.

Google Fonts offers a wide range of free fonts you can use on your website (though just to note they can slow down your site so I recommend only using them for your headings and use a web safe font for your regular text).

The other option is to purchase a web version of a font. So if you have a favorite font you use in your word processing software do a quick search online to see if it’s available as a web font. Many times they are available for a flat fee or a monthly subscription.

4. Color on Color.

So this isn’t really a “font” issue but I feel it falls into the same category as it does relate to the text on your site. Be careful about putting colored text onto a colored background, it can spell disaster for many if you aren’t well versed in color theory and what colors pop against each other.

Typically color on color is not easy to read especially when you factor in that sometimes colors display differently on different monitors.

If you follow these simple rules when choosing fonts for your website it will definitely give you a more polished and put together look, as well as still allow you to infuse a personality in a very subtle way.

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