Is Your Website the Font of Boredom?

As an author, you hone your voice until it’s as smooth as Austen, gruff as Hemingway, or wry as Mencken. And you should! Your voice is the essential character of your authorship. It’s what differentiates you from all the wannabes who aspire to be you.

So why would you drop your precious words onto your website in boring old Arial or Times New Roman?

Netcraft.com estimates that 920,102,079 exist in the world. (Click here to see the number updated monthly.) I’m not sure how many of those nearly one billion sites use Arial and Times New Roman, but I’m willing to bet it’s most of them.

Readers Judge Your Book by Its Fonts

Every day, readers judge your book by its cover. More specifically, they judge it by, among other things, its typography.

And they judge your website the same way.

An unimaginative author might argue that it’s unfair, that the reader should delve deeper into the book before making a decision. I would urge you to seize the opportunity to display your personality—your voice—through your fonts. Check this one out, D. B. Moon’s website for his Prohibition-era gangster novel, He’s Either Dead or in St. Paul. Moon considered many fonts, but after he found “Uncle Typewriter,” he would settle for nothing less than a font that screamed “distressed typewritten pages.” Glance only briefly at his site, and you know his book is rough and hard-boiled, don’t you?

That’s the point!

Fixing Your Fonts Is Easy

(Okay: it’s easy if you’re comfortable editing your style sheet.)

Browse a site like fontsquirrel.com or www.google.com/fonts, each of which hosts a gaggle of open-source fonts. If you’re unfamiliar with the term “open source,” it means “free.” I like free.

Google is slightly easier to use because it hosts the font on its own servers. With Font Squirrel, you’ll need to download the font and then upload it to your own server.

Either way, once that’s done, log into WordPress. From the menu on the left, choose “Appearance” and click on “Edit CSS.” Near the top, paste in the code that Google Fonts or FontSquirrel provides. It should look something like this:

@import url(http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=My+New+Font);

Your font is ready to use. Reference it with “font-family” in your styles. For example, to switch all headlines in “Heading 1” style to the new font, add this to your CSS file:

h1 { font-family: 'My New Font', serif; }

Then lean back and admire your new headers. It’s sure to sell a few more books!

Photo by Gtk3