The Importance of Legibility & Font Style to the Success of Your Website

The Importance of Legibility & Font Style to the Success of Your Website

This may not sound like the most exciting topic for discussion, but if you take some time to think of the minutiae of your website, and plan accordingly, I can guarantee you that the website as a whole will become so much more successful than it otherwise would have been. Font styling is one such factor that can impact the engagement and conversion of your website in a positive, and negative way.


This is a largely overlooked concept in website design and one that most people foolishly ignore entirely, choosing instead to opt for a ‘default’ font style, size and spacing throughout their website. This defaults most often to one that comes with their ‘theme’ or that their web company puts in place without really thinking it through.


Chances are, you’ve never considered the way the font on your website appears in any great degree of detail, apart from to choose from the usual styles like Georgia, Helvetica and Arial. Does this sound about right?


That in itself is no crime, all of these fonts are “standardised” across platforms and are very legible, by default. However, their aesthetic appearance & attraction to read can be vastly altered in the negative by making a few mistakes in confirguration which most people never even consider.


Take Our Website as An Example…


Perfect Ratio for Fonts on WebsitesFor instance, have you noticed that the written content you’re reading right now, and throughout this website is inherently easy to read? It doesn’t cause you to strain your eyes, the words don’t feel cluttered or packed together, nor do they feel clumsily large.


There is also a nice feeling of space when you’re reading the blog articles and pages within the website.


That, my friends, is not an accident. We work tirelessly, often in minute detail, to gauge, amend and adapt the fonts on our website, and those of our clients, to ensure maximum legibility for website visitors and also to get across the desired message of each individual website.


Believe it or not, there is a knack to this and it’s most often related to the relevant spacing between lines, based directly on the font style, size and width of page being used.

That’s right, there are at least 3 factors important to guaranteeing maximum legibility and removing eye-strain from your visitors’ list of complaints when visiting your website.


Use this excellent tool to figure out the “Golden Ratio”



There are often hundreds of fonts that you can choose for your website (in part thanks to services like ‘Google Fonts’). However, often the basic, old, antique “Web Standard” fonts are the best in terms of legibility. Fonts like arial, helvetica and georgia are ‘standard’ for a reason; they are very easy to read; granted however, they are a tad ‘boring’.


If you want to mix it up a bit, I’d suggest Helvetica Neue for the body font. At the moment, if you like the font on our site, we’re using “Open Sans” for the body, with “Oswald” for the titles.


In a typeface setting, both the fonts we are currently using, as well as the ‘standard’ ones, are inherently easy to read, being simple at their core – they’re not flowery, ornate or ultra-modern. Of course, in certain circumstances these fonts can feel a tad bland and perhaps don’t represent who you are as a company, which I fully understand – in that instance, just ensure whatever you use is easy to read.


Probably not as dynamic, true, but almost guaranteed, websites containing fancy fonts would be more legible without the fancy font. If you’d like some examples, I was surprised to see recently that ‘funky’ brands such as Innocent Drinks and Starbucks use some of the most boring typefaces around. And it doesn’t do them a bit of harm.



Size is a difficult factor to gauge at the best of times and fonts are no exception. Is ‘big and bold’ better? Or is small and understated the way to go? Personally, I believe in a mixed approach. I believe titles should be large, but not overbearing on normal pages, whereas body text should be fairly small, and I find a general threshold sits around size 14-16px.


Anything less than this, regardless of line spacing or font style, to me at least, appears cluttered and difficult – I feel, even with excellent eyesight that I am straining to read – this is not good, you must make things easy on your visitors.


By contrast, anything much larger simply appears clumsy, unless being used for a title or call to action – if in doubt, stick with the 14px-16px size I mentioned above and for most standard fonts like Helvetica and Arial, the size will be about right.



If you have the other two factors set (style and size), the make or break factor then becomes line spacing. A tightly packed paragraph (especially a longer paragraph) will immediately put people off reading it altogether and that can be disastrous for you as a business – when people become uninterested in learning more about you and your company, you are in real trouble.


On the other hand, if you make it easy for them, psychology this can have a positive impact. I’m not going to get into the detailed psychology of the concept, but the basic theory to take away from this is that people, being inherently lazy, want you to make things as easy as possible for them.


This goes for when they go to purchase something from you, or when they speak with you… make things easy for someone to say ‘yes’ and you’re already onto a winner.



Page width plays it’s part as well in creating the ideal balance for legibility and engagement in relation to font. Using the calculator linked to below, you will subsequently  be required to gauge your website page width and may have to tweak font size & spacing between different layouts of page throughout your website (for instance full-width at approx 980-1000px vs blog width at around 600-700px).


Bear this in mind when getting your web team to configure your website!



The truth is we don’t just guess this, it’s based on researched metrics which show that there is a balance to be struck between size, style and space, in proportion to page width, which is more likely to attract, engage and keep visitors on your site.


At the end of the day, you want visitors to come back to your site time and time again so making it easy for them to do this is essential – and therefore the legibility of your site is actually more important than potentially any other factor such as aesthetic design, logical structure and so on.


If you need a sure-fire way to make your website more attractive, a strong font ratio is the way to do it, and you can figure it all out easily by using the calculator right here.


Simply enter your desired font, desired size and the width of page (approx will do) and it will spit out the perfect ratio for legibility and design. If you know how to edit the code of your website you can do this yourself; otherwise, just take it to your web design team and they will be able to fix it up for you very quickly.


We have found this tool to be an excellent gauge for “perfect” font-design-size-spacing balance and I would urge you to give it a shot now and then compare what you feel is “perfect” for legibility to what currently sits on your site.


You might just be surprised how far from perfect your website really is.




Why You Can’t Ignore Psychology in Online Marketing

Why You Can’t Ignore Psychology in Online Marketing

What brought you to this post? Chances are it has something to do with your psychology. You were looking for a solution, you wanted to learn more, you were engaged by the post excerpt on Facebook or Twitter or Google and you felt prompted to click in to the post. Or something along those lines. Either way, there was a reason, and you acted on it.


Psychology rules pretty much everything we do and it’s incredibly important to be aware of this (and to plan accordingly) when you’re designing & developing a website for your business. The potency of strategizing for your target market’s psychology cannot be underestimated. Yes, it’s like rigging the game a little, but as a marketer, that’s exactly what you need to do, and it’s what every successful marketing company the world over has built their success upon – using psychology against people, for their own gain.


Maybe I’m biased, as I have a degree and a life-long interest in Psychology, but I also believe that helps me better advise clients in many matters related to online marketing –


  • What engages people
  • Why your website isn’t working
  • Why sales & conversions are low
  • What steps you need to take to ensure user attraction & conversion
  • How to improve brand loyalty


…and so on.

The truth is that I completely appreciate where people are coming from when they visit a website. They want solutions in the clearest of places, they want simple, structured choices that don’t hurt their brain. In a way you could say that they want ‘frictionless’ options… those that just seem intuitive, natural and ‘easy’. Don’t we all want this?


To clarify what I mean by this it’s probably more pertinent to use the negative; have you been on one of those websites where all you want is to find the information you’re looking for, and yet no matter how you search for it, no matter what links you click, you never get there? Frustrating isn’t it?


That’s pretty much the polar opposite of the environment you want to create for your visitors and potential customers. And it’s also one of the biggest mistakes that businesses (and web companies) make on a daily basis. So many people ignore this vital factor when designing their website and the structures within it. It’s not a good plan if you want long-term success with your website, that’s for sure.


Keep it Simple

I used to get really angry when people used to say to me “Just keep it simple”… I was young and headstrong and thought, “NO! I want to show the world what I can do at all turns!”. Truthfully, this was largely at times when I was in bands and wanted to let rip on my drum kit to impress everybody in the room (and maybe the odd girl), but it did pervade into other areas of life where you just desire to be respected… it’s harder when you’re young; you’re constantly out to impress someone and prove your worth… but the truth is that getting fancy rarely serves the greater good and often times will actually limit your audience and your long-term success.


Even our first websites suffered badly from a mish-mash of textures, gradients and a conflicting, stylistic lack of consistency. It meant we had to revise the websites every few months because we grew tired of what we had previously worked at. Slowly we managed to design websites that lasted longer and we grew tired of less quickly. Our website now is by far our simplest design, clean/white with only touches of colour. Still, I think anyone would agree it’s our most focused and best design.


What are Your Objectives?

If I had one piece of advice for anyone considering a new website it would be to plan it a bit first. Don’t necessarily go straight to a web consultancy but instead have a look around at your competitors’ sites and also general sites online, taking notes on what areas of each inspire you or turn you off. What frustrates you and engages you. The ‘like’ and ‘don’t like’ exercise is something we ask all of our clients to do anyway.


Then go to work on creating a ‘mind-map’ of what your website needs to have, without focusing too much on the visual – think of what pieces of information are important for you to “Put out there” and what pieces of information are important for your clients/visitors to find quickly and easily. Your web consultancy (hopefully ours) will then be able to advise on how best to achieve these objectives and how best to balance the different factors within the setting of an attractive, Search Engine Optimised website.


This is how to quickly and efficiently create a solid, long-term success within a website. Just plan. And above all, consider what information it’s important to display. I know sometimes the urge is to blast people with portfolio items, testimonials, blog posts, social media links and more… and sometimes this is a good thing too. However, depending on your industry and your client type (and hence, their psychology) it may be the single greatest mistake you ever make.


Here’s a quick bullet-list of items you should be considering before you approach a web company so you know better, exactly what you need & want to get across to your visitors.


  1. Design – Clean, Gritty, flowery, colours, minimalist, content-driven, visually stirring etc.
  2. Structure of Pages – What pages are important to be at the ‘top-tier’ level of your menu system? About? Testimonials? Your services list?
  3. Key Areas of Importance for you to display (e.g. prices? Upcoming events? testimonials? New products?)
  4. Key Areas of Importance for your clients to find (Same as above).


Once you have this information formulated, come to us (or your web company) and discuss how to make that a reality.


If you have any queries, as always please hit the comment button below and we’ll do our best to help out.


Best Wishes!

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