Q. Can I use a special font on my website? Something fancy or funky to make my website different from all the rest?
A. This is one of those questions where the answer, technically, is yes; but just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. You can designate any font you want for the text on your website. However, if the computer or other device being used to view your website is unfamiliar with that font, it will display a default font instead. One of the reasons most websites use one of the standard fonts, like Times New Roman or Arial, instead of special fonts is because most computers understand those standard fonts and display them properly. These fonts are considered web-safe.
Also, keep in mind you want your visitors to be able to read your content easily. If your font is too crazy, some people may get frustrated and give up, moving on to a site that’s easier to visually process. Simple, plain fonts work best for big chunks of text, like paragraphs. Many visitors to websites don’t actually read every word on the page. Instead, they scan, looking for keywords that grab their attention. If they are having a hard time interpreting a fancy font, they will likely skim right past it, potentially missing out on something important you have to say.
If you absolutely have fallen in love with a special font that isn’t considered web-safe, I do have some suggestions. One is to use a “fallback” system: specify your preferred font, but also include an acceptable web-safe alternative. This way you still have some control over what font the reader will see.
Alternatively, if you are using the special font for a header, or to highlight a small bit of text, you could create an image of the text, but that opens up a whole new can of worms that will be dealt with in a later post. (email me if you need more info and can’t wait)
So, to sum up, while you have a wide variety of fonts available to use on your website, the lesson I hope you have learned is: choose wisely.
This post is part of a regular feature series called Tuesday Tips. Every Tuesday, I will answer some of the questions I receive from clients and readers about WordPress, social media and all other things internet-related. If you have a question you would like me to answer, submit it here.