Jun
06

Does Your Blog Text Size and Font Matter?

By

Make money on the webHave you noticed how much easier it is to read some blogs than others?

As I have been blog hopping and commenting to get traffic
to my blog I have noticed a huge difference in not only the way bloggers write their posts but the fonts and size of text they use.

Some bloggers write long paragraphs which I find very hard to read, some write in shorter paragraphs and others write each sentence on a new line with plenty of white space between the lines.

I don’t know about you but I have decided that the latter is the style I like best and find easiest to read.

I decided to do a bit of research on the matter to find out if there is a best text size, font type and line spacing for blog posts.

What I discovered surprised me.

Let’s look at fonts first:

I first found that the question had been asked on the Warrior Forum. Sylvia Dickens, an award-winning journalist with 20+ year’s experience posted this response:

“The best online font is a non-serif – in other words, without any curly ends, like Times Roman and some others. Times Roman is mostly used in print media and is difficult to read online. Common fonts that work well on screen are Verdana, Tahoma and of course Arial”.

But Alex Poole a freelance user experience consultant says:

“There’s little, as far as research, to validate the commonly held idea that sans-serif fonts are better for readability online. I think at one time, early on, it was difficult to read serif fonts due to the display qualities of devices available and that nowadays that’s not so. There are plenty of studies that show no difference between the legibility of serif and sans serif typefaces”.

So where does that leave us?

I think that Derek Halpern sums it up nicely:

“A font’s main purpose is to be read, and that’s it! People shouldn’t need to TRY to read your text, it should just happen. So, what’s the perfect font?
Quite simply, a font that’s EXTREMELY easy to read”.

At the end of the day it all seems to boil down to your own idea of what is easy to read.

I have just changed my font on this blog from Arial to Verdana. What do you think?

Do you have a preferrence for a particular font?

Now let’s look at text size

Sylvia says:

“I tend to go with size 6 for headlines (H1) or 18-24 point depending on the page size and what looks best. I use 14-18 point for subheads (H2) and 14 point for (H3) subheads. Some pages will accommodate 28 point H1 headlines or bigger, again depending on the page size and whatever columns you have taking up space. My suggestion: choose a sufficient headline size to make your heading stand out without overwhelming the reader.As far as content, I like 10-12 point. Some people find that 10 point is too small for their browsers and prefer something bigger, and 12 seems to fit the bill.”

Derek Halpern disagrees and says:

“There are too many people who use a size 12 font for their content, and that’s a HUGE mistake. Small fonts hurt conversion rates AND usability…I’ve been telling people that size 14 is the NEW size 12.But if you want to go bigger, I’d say size 16 is the NEW size 12.”

Then I discovered that Pamela Wilson, an award-winning graphic designer and marketing consultant says

“Anyone who tells you “use 16 point fonts” or “14 is the new 12” isn’t taking x height into account. And without x height, you’re only telling half the story.”

What the heck is x height? That’s the first I’ve heard of that!

Well, I’m not going to try to explain it here because I haven’t got an image I can use and I don’t want to steal one, but if you really want to know you can read Pamela’s post about it.

Talking about stealing images I just read a blog post about an internet marketer who is being hounded for royalties for using an image that was copyrighted although it came in a PLR pack he bought in good faith. You can’t be too careful when it comes to using images.

What about line spacing?

I could not find out so much about this but Chris Lema a product developer and blogger says:

“It’s not just about font size – though it’s important. But white space is just as important. Your content is like a fine wine – it needs room to breathe. So pick not only a large font, but great line-spacing too. Here, on chrislema.com, I use 18pt font, with line-spacing that’s 27pts.”

Virginia DeBolt, Web Teacher, says:

“The perfect line-height will depend on your choice of font-family. Some fonts are “taller” than others. Tahoma looks good at 1.5, but Times Roman might not. Generally, you don’t want the lines to be too close together or too far apart. You want enough space between the lines to create maximum readability, or the appearance of ease of reading. You want an open and inviting look rather than a  “dense” look, which discourages reading”

You will notice that they talk about line spacing in different measurements which makes it all confusing. I have found references to Points (pt) Pixels (px) and Ems (em).

Here’s a chart that converts points to pixels and ems if it interests you.

So what’s the perfect Text, Font and Line spacing for your blog?

Simples! Golden Ratio Typography Calculator will work it all out for you.

Simply enter your current font size in this great little tool and find out.

Changing your content text, font and line spacing in WordPress

It’s all done with the Stylesheet css file.

To find it go to your WP Dashboard and click “Appearance” then click “Theme Editor” next select “Stylesheet” It may be called “style.css”, or any other file with the “.css” extension.

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In the Stylesheet look for: “font-size:”, “font-family:” and “font-weight:” in your style.css under content. Change the values to what you want. Make sure you are only changing the value for the content and not the sidebars or menus or you could change the entire look of your blog.

It could look something like this:

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I have a child theme and there is a special place for making alterations like this. Mine looks like this:

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If you are not sure it’s an easy enough job to outsource. Someone on fiverr would do it for you.

Some bloggers have found that it has made a difference to how long their visitors stay on their blog.

So you see it may not always be down to great content. You could have the best content but if it’s difficult to read then your reader is not going to hang around to read more.

I’ve changed my line spacing as well as the font. I think it makes it easier to read. What do you think?

Are you happy with your font, text size and line spacing or do you want to make some changes?

Have your say by leaving me a comment.

 

 

Categories : Blogging

Comments

  1. Dita says:

    Hi Sandy,

    Excellent post on text size and fonts. It never ceases to amaze me to see posts where the size is so small it is really hard to read. I definitely agree with Derek Halpern that the size should be 14.

    Also, I noticed that some themes do not use the pure black color for the ink but rather they use gray-black. It just is not clearly visible.

    For my text on my blog I use 14px for the size, Verdana for the font and #000000 for the color.

    I am still experimenting with the font style.

    Thanks for the great “Editor” info. That was very useful.

    Take care,

    Dita

    • Sandy says:

      Hi Dita,

      I don’t like grey on white either. I don’t know why people ever thought to use it in the first place. I didn’t get into color in the post but I hate white text on black. I just cannot read it and leave straight away if I come across a blog like that.

      It is a matter of experimenting until you find a style that you like. I would like a wider content column. I am not sure mine is wide enough to take the line space I have changed it to.
      I will have to do a bit more research on that I think.

      Sandy

  2. Glenn Shepherd says:

    Hi Sandy,

    Such an interesting post. I think that layout is one of those things that’s always going to be open to a lot of debate because the blogger’s personal preferences are always going to be a factor to some degree, as well as the individual preferences of the visitors.

    We should always try to keep our aim in mind – that we want the most people possible to be able to read and enjoy what we write, the aim is not to make things look pretty. I think that your quote from Derek Halpern hits the nail firmly on the head.

    Having said that, there are always going to be people who don’t like our layout or style. For example, I personally hate the approach of putting spaces between practically each sentence and I hate even more having a large gap between each line. This is because it goes against the grain for me from a literary standpoint but also because I read very quickly and can scan at speed. However when the text is all spread out then I can’t do this as easily, so it takes me longer to read and when the lines are spaced too far it makes my eyes ache.

    I realise, though, that I am in the minority, so I have to discipline myself to keep my visitors in mind because, obviously, my content is written for them. So writing in a style that appeals to the most number of people needs to always be considered rather than our own preferences.

    On the other hand, I don’t think that it pays to be too analytical over such things. I think that, at the end of the day, so long as our content can be easily and pleasurably read by the majority of people, then we have achieved our goal.

    One thing I like about your layout in this post (you probably do it in your other posts too, I don’t recall – sorry!) is how you put the quotes in boxes. I think this is a good way to break things up and also draws attention to what’s in the box.

    Also, thanks to your post, I now know what “sans-serif” actually means!

    Thanks for a great post, Sandy!

    Regards,
    Glenn 🙂

    • Sandy says:

      Hi Glenn,

      I have noticed that you tend to write in large blocks that I find difficult and offputting to read and I have already commented on that on your blog but I can understand where you are coming from.

      I do wonder now if my line spacing is too wide so I think I am going to reduce it a little. I think I need to have a wider content column for the current linespacing.
      But, you’re right. We can get too analytical about these things if we are not careful.

      Funny you should mention the quote boxes. I actually don’t like them but that is just the way my theme works. When I click on the Quote in the editor window that is what I get.
      I would prefer to just have large quote marks like I have seen on some other blogs. I could probably get someone to change it for me.

      Enjoy your weekend

      Sandy

  3. Cararta says:

    Hi Sandy,

    I seldom try to change things by editing as suggested above.

    Have an old computer and sometimes it gets afflicted with double clicking and

    you can do some heavy damage quickly!

    Think the last time I wanted to change a font size, I ended up adding tiny mice (?) or is it pretty ….plugin and selected their change font size widget to get added to my “Kitchen Sink” display in my wp-admin WYSG editor…..

    I’m with you in noticing that some blogs are much easier to read…and it is
    almost easy to spot sites that are those three day wonders with their long
    posts filled with unending text!

    On some sites I can’t use that plugin…it conflicts with other plugins and I get a mess…

    Guess I’ll have to start saving to upgrade my computer or just leave the fonts alone…..

    Lisa Allen did suggest that I increase font size on my Sugar Control Diet site, but I’ve put it off….until I either learn what you so nicely laid out above or get someone to do it for me!

    However, I did run across another plugin that might work and is available on WordPress dot org called the WP Google Fonts…will have to check it out, think I read that you can change fonts inside of posts and pages in the Wp-admin editor…might be worth a try!

    Maybe check it out, and then tell me how to make a child theme so I can save what changes I make.

    I read and read on making a child, but just refuse to put my toe into those Icy Waters! Mostly I use 2011 or 2012 and a few bought themes, but still Hesitate!

    I know I could back up everything and give it a go, but how do you tell if it works?

    • Sandy says:

      Hi Carata,

      For some reason your comment ended up in my spam so I have just rescued it!

      I always used to be scared of trying to alter anything in case I messed everything up but have learned to do a backup first just in case. For anything major I tend to outsource it but once I found out in the forum for my Theme how easy it was to change the font, text size and linespacing I didn’t have any qualms. My main theme came with a child theme so I can make alterations without touching the original theme.

      Plugins can be a bit like that. I did read about using them to change fonts but it was easy to change mine without.

      Sounds like you are due for a new computer. My IT guy says they are out of date in 4 years now. In fact it seems to me that they are out of date as soon as you buy them these days!

      I enjoyed reading your comment.

      Sandy

  4. Adrienne says:

    Hey Sandy,

    Do you mind if I’m just honest with you here? That just gave me a headache. Not the topic itself but all the different people piping in their views and what’s right and what’s wrong. Oh for goodness sakes.

    I think as long as it’s pleasing to the eyes and big enough for people to read it doesn’t matter what the font is. I’ve been to some blogs though and I’m not sure what they were thinking but although their font was really neat looking I couldn’t read it very easily so I left.

    I use Trebuchet MS at 16 pt and if people don’t like it then they don’t have to read it. Obviously it’s not too darn bad because I get a heck of a lot of comments. No one has ever complained about the font or the size so I must be doing something right there. I’m sure not using one of the fonts that’s suggested.

    I totally get what these people are saying, we definitely want it to be easy to read but unless you’ve just got some fancy smancy font that it hard to read then I think that’s fine.

    You really did a lot of work on this post Sandy so bravo to you.

    Enjoy your weekend.

    ~Adrienne

    • Sandy says:

      Hi Adrienne,

      Thanks for stopping by again with your insightful comment.

      I did wonder what font and size you used. Trebuchet was not one that was mentioned in my post but it is 8th on the list of the 10 most used/installed fonts on the web. Your blog is very easy to read and I like the fact that it is so uncluttered. You seem to have a wider content column than a lot of blogs which helps I think.

      As you say it probably doesn’t matter much at the end of the day what font is used so long as it’s easy to read.

      You have a good weekend now too.

      Sandy

  5. Steve Denness says:

    Hi Sandy,

    Thanks for an informative lesson on Text and Fonts, I have to say that I wasn’t the best at this sort of thing at school. However since I have started my blog, and started the QSC it has become more of an interest.

    I don’t really find it difficult to read any blog post, however I suppose you have to take in the consideration of our readers. I have taken notes and will be experimenting on my blog very soon.

    Thanks I have learned something that’s going to improve my own blog.

    Good luck with your venture.

    Steve

    • Sandy says:

      Hi Steve,

      Glad that you have learned something. Since I started blog hopping a few years ago when I was doing a coaching course I did start to notice quite a lot of difference in the fonts and text sizes that different bloggers used as well as the colors they used which I haven’t touched on. For exaample I find it very difficult to read white text on a black background. I leave straight away rather than struggle.

      I knew what I wanted my text to look like but wasn’t sure how to get it. I’ve learned something too by doing the research for the post!

      Thanks for your good wishes Steve, good luck with your blog too.

      Have a great weekend.

      Sandy

  6. Paul Henderson says:

    Hi Sandy

    it’s a subject I’m well aware of, – mainly because as others have pointed out, when you read great big chunks of closely knitted text, it can be wearying to say the least.

    I always have used Tahoma size 16 for as long as I can remember. And I like to keep it all broken up into small easily manageable chunks with things to break up the flow. Might just be chapter headings or a piccie or something.

    Some good points raised that I certainly think some people would do well to address 🙂

  7. Sandhya says:

    I recently went through my blog and updated the fonts, keeping a larger, bolder font for the title sections and then left the content of the page as a simple Arial with a size of 16 and I love the way it feels when I read over my posts now.

    • Sandy says:

      It’s a good feeling Sandhya when you finally get your blog to look the way you want it to look isn’t it? Some people think it’s a lot of fuss over nothing but we are all different.

      I’ve just been over to your blog and it is looking good. Useful list of Social Media Management tools. I haven’t come across some of those.

      Good luck with your business.

      Sandy

  8. Ron says:

    I have found over the past 12 + years with an online business that simple is best. You don’t need bells and whistles and new fangled gadgets to sell a product or yourself. As for font size and spacing etc. Everyone has their preference but it is best if whatever you choose you check it on different medias and in different browsers. They WILL show up differently. So experiment and when you find one that you can easily read anywhere stick with it! As for PLR content, make sure you are getting yours from someone who has the authority to sell it!! Want to know if they are legit? Check the url on videos, pictures and links, does it match the URL you are on? Email before you buy, see what kind if any response you get from the seller. Ask a simple question about the product you are thinking about purchasing and go from there. Best of luck!

  9. Neamat Tawadrous says:

    Hi Sandy,

    Great post on font and text size and line spacing.

    I totally agree with Adrienne! As long as it is readable and relaxing to the eye, that’s all what matters.

    You are right about line spacing. I tend to write in large blocks and I need to remember to spread it out more. Thanks for the reminder.

    Thanks Sandy for a great share! You really did an amazing job in explaining this subject.

    Be Blessed,

    Neamat

  10. Hicham says:

    Hi Sandy,
    Thanks for this awesome post.
    I think that the default blue color used by google adsense or the title colors on your blog + the font used on the blog gives the best results, i have made too many changes and found that this was the best tweak.

  11. Amy Hagerup says:

    Sandy, This is awesome! I knew that white space was important but I didn’t extrapolate it to font and font size. I will work on this now for sure. I know that I don’t like reading blogs where the print is small and crammed in. Thanks, Amy

  12. Liz says:

    Hi Sandy,

    I read a lot online, as most of us do, and text size is a big deal for me. If it’s too small and there’s not enough white space for my eyes to spread out and see things clearly I’ll end up leaving.

    It’s not hard for folks to change their font sizes and your little tutorial on how to do that shows you just how easy it is.

    Also I’ve gone around and around on my favorite font and I keep coming back to Arial. I guess that means I like it the best. I use to want to be really creative with my font but honestly, the easier it is for people to read the better it is.

    Thanks Sandy,
    Liz 🙂

  13. Gautam says:

    Yes i think A blog text Size and Font matters and even The Colors matters Too.Those peoples who use big texts and curly fonts are only trying to fool Google. that they can’t.Btw These tips can help them get better Results.

  14. Martin says:

    Thanks for touching this issue. I have a really hard time reading blogs that use a small font size. It is one of my pet peeves! I’ve added a command to my post template to make sure the font on each post is big…

    • Sandy says:

      Hi Martin,

      One of mine too! It pays to have a font size that is easy to read for the majority of reders one way or another.

      Sandy

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