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What’s the best font to use for your blog or website?

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The best way to have a great looking blog is to choose the right font.

What’s the best font to use for your blog or website? You may want to have fancy looking fonts and change fonts every other line but the experienced blogger knows, that when it comes to fonts and the web, it is always best to keep it simple.

Not every computer has every font!

When you choose the font you want you need to remember that not every computer has every font installed on it. In particular, most people don’t have the fancy fonts installed on their machines. So if you choose one of these fonts for your blog it will not display how you want it to on a machine that doesn’t have that font installed. In fact, it will display the default font instead, which will not give the look you were hoping for and may well drive people away from your blog.

So when writing blog your blog posts and designing your blog themes, keep in mind the availability of fonts when choosing the best font to use for your blog.

So how do we know which fonts most people have?

These fonts are commonly known as ‘web safe fonts’ and you’ll probably find the best font to use for your blog amongst them.

Here is a chart of the 10 most used/installed fonts on the web as of February 25th 2012 [courtesy of Codestyle]

Font name Installed (%)
Lucida Sans 100.0%
Tahoma 99.95%
Arial 99.85%
Verdana 99.85%
Microsoft Sans Serif 99.80%
Courier New 99.75%
Times New Roman 99.70%
Trebuchet MS 99.70%
Comic Sans MS 99.46%
Georgia 99.12%

 

There’s not a lot of difference between any of the percentages for these fonts so you are fairly safe to use any of the both in the knowledge that they will be installed on the machine your reader is using.

How easy is it to read the font?

Once we have taken a look at the above chart and seen if our chosen font is one that is widely available we next have to consider how easy that font will be to read. In other words, how will it display on a monitor.

These are the four different types (or families) of Web Safe Fonts:

  1. serif
  2. sans serif
  3. fantasy or cursive
  4. monospace

Serif

Serif fonts are those fonts that have little hooks (or ‘Serifs’) on the end of letters. Some monitors don’t display these little hooks very well and they can become blurred or undistinguishable, particularly if the monitor has a low resolution.

However, these prints are perfect for print so it is safe to use them in any online documents that are intended for downloading and printing.

Some examples of ‘serif’ fonts:

Bookman Old Style font-family: ‘Bookman Old Style’, serif;
Garamond font-family: Garamond, serif;
Georgia font-family: Georgia, serif;
Palatino Linotype, Book Antiqua font-family: ‘Palatino Linotype’, ‘Book Antiqua’, Palatino, serif;
Times New Roman, Times font-family: ‘Times New Roman’, Times, serif;

Sans Serif

Sans Serif fonts do not have the little hooks or serifs on the end of the letters. These will display clearer, crisper and bolder on most monitor resolutions. This makes them easier to read and thus, the perfect choice for your blog.

Some examples of ‘sans serif’ fonts:

Arial, Helvetica font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;
Arial Black, Gadget font-family: ‘Arial Black’, Gadget, sans-serif;
Impact, Charcoal font-family: Impact, Charcoal, sans-serif;
MS Sans Serif, Geneva font-family: ‘MS Sans Serif’, Geneva, sans-serif;
MS Serif, New York font-family: ‘MS Serif’, ‘New York’, sans-serif;
Trebuchet MS, Helvetica font-family: ‘Trebuchet MS’, Helvetica, sans-serif;
Verdana, Geneva font-family: Verdana, Geneva, sans-serif;
Lucida Sans Unicode, Lucida Grande font-family: ‘Lucida Sans Unicode’, ‘Lucida Grande’, sans-serif;
Tahoma, Geneva font-family: Tahoma, Geneva, sans-serif;

Fantasy or Cursive

These fonts are not widely available on computers and because they are ‘fancy’ and ‘cursive’ they can be very hard to read in large chunks. If you wish to use these you should restrict them to headings or use them in images.

There is of course one exception, Comic Sans MS. This comes in at No. 9 on the list of most widely used and installed fonts and is easy to read and very popular.

Some example of fantasy or cursive fonts:

Papyrus font-family:Papyrus
Tempus Sans ITC font-family: Tempus Sans ITC
Lucida Handwriting font-family: lucidia handwriting, Lucidia sans
Monotype Corsiva font-family: Monotype Corsiva
French Script MT font-family: French Script MT
Goudy Stout font-family: Goudy Stout
Script MT Bold font-family: Script MT Bold
Comic Sans MS font-family: ‘Comic Sans MS’, cursive;

Monospace

Most web masters and developers use mono-space for code samples or instructions.

It is as the name suggests, a font that has it’s letters evenly spaced. Monospace letters have the same width for each character, so they always take up the same amount of space, like a typewriter.

It is sometimes referred to as typewriter text. It’s not the most exciting font to use on your blog.

Some examples of monospace fonts:

Courier font-family: Courier, monospace;
Courier New, Courier font-family: ‘Courier New’, Courier, monospace;
Lucida Console, Monaco font-family: ‘Lucida Console’, Monaco, monospace;

What size font should I choose?

This is definitely up for discussion. Many people believe that 16 pixels should be the ideal font size. Personally I think a font size of 14 pixels is perfectly big enough. If you are writing a blog specifically for a target audience that may have issues with reading a smaller print then, knock yourself out, and use 16 pixels or bigger, otherwise I think you are safe with 14 pixels. But just be aware that different fonts look different sizes sometimes with the same font size.

So what’s the best font to use for your blog?

It’s an important decision and you should weigh up your personal choice with the following rules to help you choose the best font to use for your blog:

  1. Sans serif for online, Serif for print (or downloadable documents intended for printing)
  2. Keep fancy fonts to a minimum and limit to headings and accents.
  3. Don’t use more than 2-3 fonts on any one page.
  4. Don’t change fonts in the middle of a sentence without a very good reason.

Here are a few rules to follow when deciding the best font to use for your blog

  1. Don’t use more than 3-4 fonts on any one page.
  2. Don’t change the font in mid sentence unless you have a very good reason.
  3. Sans serif for online, serif for print.
  4. Monospace for typewriter and code
  5. Script and Fantasy for accents only.

Do you have a favorite font or preferred font size? – If so, please leave a comment below. I’d love to know what you think.

To your success,

Build a Blog

Want to learn how to become an expert with your blog – even changing your own fonts and tweaking your themes. Click the image below to get started.

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Lorraine has been designing websites for over 20 years.
She is dedicated to helping entrepreneurs market themselves online via blogging. Her site provides tips & tutorials on blogging and full services for blog set up and customization.
Lorraine lives in Port Perry, ON with her husband, two teenage boys and two Newfoundland dogs.

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