Legibility is one of the most important factors for keeping readers on your blog. Here are 10 tips for making your blog easier to read by using good and proper typography. This is the latest installment in my Beautiful Blog blog design series.
What’s typography, you might ask?
Typography usually refers to the way type is arranged or set for print. Since we’re talking blogs here, I’m obviously not referring to printing everything. However, you do want your blog to be read with the same ease and comfort as traditional books. Therefore, I’ve incorporated some basic typography rules here.
The following tips will help you with the simple task of making your blog easier to read.
1. The right font
In this article I’ll be referring to two types of fonts. One is a simple, traditional font – such as Times New Roman, or Arial. Of course there are many similar fonts – those are included. The second is a “fancy” font. This includes any script or handwritten fonts, fonts that include all capital letters, or any fonts that have “extra” embellishments other than the serifs (the little “lines” that cap the ends of the letters in fonts such as Times New Roman).
While a bold font is great to use in your titles and headings, for paragraphs and most of the reading flow, use a simple font. It does not actually have to be Times or Arial, but it should be something similar.
2. Dark text on a light background
Writing in light text on a dark background is much more difficult to read and hard on the eyes. Aim for traditional type – dark on light for your body text.
For titles and graphics, light on dark is okay, so long as the text is thick enough that it’s still easy to read.
3. Clean background
There are two issues to tackle here. One is backgrounds that have any sort of pattern. More common is those that have a transparency so that the background is visible behind it, and behind the text. The second issue is any sort of colored background.
For your body text, you want high contrast. Think a white background and black text. If you want you can make your background off white. Or your text almost black. But make sure the contrast remains strong. And by avoid any texture, pattern or image behind your body text at all costs.
4. Limit fonts
Having too many fonts can get confusing. Use one font as the title and one as the body text. The title can be a fancy font.
I actually consider my graphics that I create as a separate entity and use two fonts in those separately. This is because (aside from the instructions in a craft project) they are usually seen as standalone items when sharing on social media, and not looked at much as part of the flow of the blog post.
5. Limit color variations to headlines
While making each sentence, or paragraph, a different color may seem to break up text, it’s also hard on the eye. Limit extra “colors” to headlines and individual sentences you would like to highlight. <— Such as that one. (P.S. it also will help your blog look more sophisticated 😉 😉 )
6. Short paragraphs
This is one of the biggest mistakes I made in the beginning. Short paragraphs are so much easier to read. I like to write a lot and so many of my paragraphs were 5-10 sentences long. Try limiting it to 2-3 sentences as much as possible.
7. Use headings, subheadings
Headings (heading 1, heading 2) are not only good for SEO when you put your keywords in, but they do a great job when it comes to breaking up text and making things easier to read. Use them wisely.
8. Keep Pinterest images legible as well
These images that you create special for social media shares (and I WILL elaborate later in this series) are often what pull people in to begin with. If the text jumps out because it’s easy to read, it’s more likely people will stop in to visit your blog.
Text is extra important when it’s NOT a craft, or recipe, or anything visual. If it’s something like a parenting article, or anything informative, your text should pop.
While you still want to maintain legibility, since it’s only a few words to be read, the rules aren’t as strict. Ideally, I would have a solid patch when I’m photograping it (the wall behind it, or whatever background I’m using). If you don’t, here are some ways you can make the title stand out on an image:
- High contrast (if the image is very dark, white text will show well)
- Very bold title
- Add a “drop shadow” (be careful not to overdo this)
- Add an “outer glow” (again, be careful”
- Add an outline (and again, don’t overdo it)
- Add a “transparent panel” – or a transparent rectangle that shows the image through but makes it much lighter so text can show through. Please note that this is not an instant fix. It’s not the best way to do it – here’s a better fix:
- Add a solid shape and put your text inside.
9. Keep logo legible as well
There’s one blog I’ve come across a few times whose logo, while beautifully designed, is illegible. Since I haven’t bothered to glance much at the blog URL, I don’t know what to search for if I were to want to find it, because I don’t know the actual name…
You want people to have your blog name in the recesses of their brains. So, while it’s okay, and sometimes recommended, to use a “fancy” font, make sure it’s legible.
You can read more on how to design a logo for your blog here.
10. Read your own blog
And finally, read your own blog. This will help you “spot check” to ensure that it indeed is easy to read. P.S. It’s also the best way to catch typos….
In case you missed it, here are some more ways you can make your blog beautiful! More will be coming soon…
- How to build a beautiful blog
- Why you need a beautiful blog
- How to take better blog photos
- 6 Cool blog photo editing tools
- What is branding? And why you should brand your blog
- How to design a logo for your blog
- 15 Tips for making a good logo (even if you’re not a professional)