Do you ever give thought to your typography? Do you even know what that means? I'll admit that this is a word I have never really thought about.
However - An email from Yoast yesterday emphasized the importance of typography in our on-line offerings, so I thought I'd better see what it was all about.
As I began to read, I first thought it was the same thing as readability, and in some ways it is.
The Yoast plug-in on my Wordpress blog alerts me (no, nags me) if a paragraph is too long or if I have too many paragraphs/words between headers.
As it turns out, typography is something more. It has to do with font size and style, color, and white space.
And it is important. The quality of your words won't matter at all if no one reads them.
So get with the typography. For starters...
The author recommended using a 14-point font. I kind of agree, but… it all depends upon the font style. Some are naturally larger than others. I use a handwriting font to say “Thank You” at the top of pages included with my prospecting letter sets. The font is small, so it would show up as tiny in 14-point.
I think the best idea is to use your own eyes. Look to see how easy it is to read the words.
He also recommended using black type on a white background. If you really want to use something else, then use a “contrast tester” program to see if your choice will be easy to read.
I once had a client who insisted on using gray type on a black background – and I couldn’t talk him out of it. It was horrible to try to read. I think gray on white is pretty difficult as well. And as for yellow on white… I wouldn’t even try.
The font style is important too. Tests have shown that sans-serif is easier to read on a computer screen than serif, while the opposite is true in print materials. Fonts that are anything but plain, ordinary print might look nice, and they might serve as a good contrast for a header, but used extensively they can be difficult to read.
Again, instead of trying to memorize advice, use your eyes. Use your friends’ eyes. Use your family members’ eyes.
White space is a benefit, not an expense.
Once upon a time, marketers tried to cram every possible word into ad space, because the space was sold by the inch. They used small fonts and left no lines between paragraphs. It was hard to read, but perhaps not quite as critical in those days because everyone was doing the same thing.
Some people still try to do that with letters, postcards, flyers, and brochures. It’s a terrible mistake.
White space allows your message – and your reader - to breathe. It’s especially important when writing for the web, because it also allows our eyes to keep track of where we are on a page.
White space is vital in Internet marketing because (face it) many people prefer to skim rather than read every word. Breaks give their eyes a place to land, and hopefully pause, as they jump down the page.
One more thing… links
The article from Yoast stressed the importance of making your links easy to see. When I read that I thought “Doesn’t everyone?” After all, we include links in the hope that people will click on them. But then within a few hours I came across an article where the links weren’t evident. I only saw them by accident.
I guess the answer to “Doesn’t everyone?” is “No.”
Yoast said to make the links a different color and underline them. Then make them change colors when scrolled over.
Yes. Good idea.
Jumping businessman courtesy of Sira Anamwong @freedigitalphotos.net
Online marketing key courtesy of Stuart Miles @freedigitalphotos.net