What Makes an Effective Website?
Chances are, whatever your answer, typography probably didn’t feature.
Its importance in marketing has been proven, yet many marketers are unaware of the importance of typography and its ability to affect your conversions.
Your website visitors will immediately judge the likelihood of it providing a solution to their problem based on how the page looks. It happens subconsciously, takes just seconds and we all do it.
Typography is what makes the first impression to your visitor. Improve your typography, and improve your conversions.
What is Typography?
Typography is the arrangement of text on a page. At its most basic, it is a combination of font, size, spacing and colour.
Understanding typography is crucial in helping your reader understand the information you are trying to convey.
Why is Typography so Important?
Your copy is what convinces your readers to buy.
The harder your text is to read, the less of it will get read. If your visitors can’t (or wont) read your copy because of how it looks, they will leave. If they stay, they are more likely to remember the effort it took to read your copy rather than the message you were trying to convey.
Either way doesn’t look good for your conversions.
Every visitor leaving your site because of bad typography is a potential sale down the sink.
Does Font and Font Size Matter?
Studies have shown that font choice influences how people perceive presented information.
Participants presented with the same copy in six different typefaces (Baskerville, Helvetica, Georgia, Trebuchet, Comic Sans, and Computer Modern) were more likely to perceive it as more believable when presented in Baskerville than when in Comic Sans and Helvetica.
In other words, your choice of typeface can affect the credibility of your copy.
Does your font choice reflect the message you are trying to convey? Is it appropriate for your audience and niche?
Participants in another study named small font sizes and low-contrast their number one complaint when reading online. When line spacing was set to 1.5, better reading speeds and comprehension was experienced.
Bear in mind your reader’s age. Only half the light gets through to the retina at age 40 as it did at age 20. If you are marketing towards an older audience, could the size of your copy be losing you sales?
It’s also been found that larger font sizes have the ability to elicit stronger emotional connections. And people buy based on feelings.
A study looking at whether type choice, layout and line spacing could have an impact on a reader’s emotional state found viewers reading a poorly designed page were negatively impacted and would even physically frown.
When you consider that the muscles associated with frowning have been linked to the amygdala – the brain area responsible for processing emotions, the importance of a well-designed page layout should be clear.
So, improving your typography makes your copy easier to read. Easy to read copy makes your visitors experience more enjoyable. And an enjoyable visitor experience may well increase your conversions.
Dos and Don’ts to Improve Your Typography
- Do use a typeface which complements your text, not overpowers it. You want people to remember your message, not the typeface you used.
- Don’t get carried away with fancy fonts that have a detrimental effect on people’s ability to read quickly. They may look pretty, but pretty doesn’t always equal sales.
- Do pair typefaces carefully. They should either correspond with or contrast each other whilst still complimenting each other.
- Don’t shout at your audience with upper case. Ninety percent of text read online is in lower case.
- Do use Serif and Sans Serif fonts wisely. Serif fonts (like Times New Roman) can be difficult to read on-screen. Sans Serif fonts (like Arial) are easier to read.
- Don’t use centred text for long blocks of copy. Left aligned text is easier to read because we read from left to right and can instinctively find the start of each line.
- Do match your typeface to your niche and audience.
- Don’t use pale colours on a light background or dark colours on a dark background.
- Do vary and balance line length. Too short and reading is made difficult by the need to constantly shift the eyes. Too long and it can be difficult to find the next line.
- Don’t confuse and frustrate your reader with cramped and crowded words. Optimise your letter and line spacing.
Still Need Convincing?
Go back to the beginning of this article and compare it with the following. I know which one makes me want to stop reading.
A typographically well formatted copy ensures your visitors focus remains on your content and not on the effort required to read it.
This infographic neatly sums everything up everything in this article:
Don’t underestimate the importance of typography in complementing and enhancing your copy. Good typography can trigger the emotion, mood and even action required to convert your visitors.
If in doubt, test it out! You’ve got nothing but sales to lose.
For more detailed information on the importance of typography and the studies I’ve referred to, check out the following articles that inspired this post.