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Is Typography Lowering Your Conversion Rates?

How do you create effective content that grabs a reader’s attention and drives them to convert?

It’s a topic we’ve covered before, and with good reason: content can be a powerful tool when used effectively and a significant waste of time when not. Previously, we’ve discussed everything from the optimal length of your content, to where it should exist on your page, to the importance of including visuals — but what about the appearance of your actual text?

Do your font size, character, and spacing affect how likely someone is to read your content and even convert?

A recent post written by Tommy Walker for the Conversion XL blog suggests that it does, explaining that “typography is body language”:

It’s what makes the first impression. Good typography enhances the character of the site and adds a tone of voice that subliminally reinforces what the words say to influence how those words are perceived.

Let’s take a look at a few interesting takeaways from the article, The Effect of Typography on User Experience & Conversions, and be sure to check out the full post for more interesting stats and explanations.

Stick to 16px font in your body copy.

Small font sizes and low-contrast are the number one complaint for web users as it relates to reading online (Nielson).

As screens are generally read from a greater distance than printed type, font size must be increased to compensate. Add onto this the fact that 42% of all Americans are now near-sighted, and it’s easy to see why too-small text on your website or landing pages could greatly hurt your conversion rates.

Set line spacing at 1.5.

All readers – but especially low-vision readers – experienced better reading speeds & comprehension when line-spacing was set to 1.5  (Psychographics of Reading).

Your average reader doesn’t have time to read your article word-for-word. In fact, studies suggest that you have 10 seconds or less to grab your readers attention and persuade them that you have something of value to offer. Increase the speed at which readers are able to consume your content and you increase the likelihood that they’ll see something that piques their interest and encourages them to stick around and read more.

Ask serif or sans-serif…or both?

In the Psychophysics of Reading studies, participants perceived themselves as having better performance using fonts with serif, even though they scored higher in reading speed & comprehension when reading sans-serif fonts.

Makes it pretty hard to decide which one to go with, doesn’t it? While many readers read sans-serif fonts faster and with better comprehension, they perceived that they read the serifed fonts faster — and perception can make all the difference. So what about an effective pairing of serif and sans-serif fonts for optimal readability (and added character)? Walker suggests a list of 20 different font pairings that are known to work well together for computer screens.

Choose a font that conveys your personality.

The reality of the situation is, asking about ‘the best typeface’ is going to be about as fruitful as asking ‘what color converts the best? It’s all subjective, depends on your target market, the story you’re telling & the emotions you’re trying to evoke.

While there may be some universal best practices when it comes to size and spacing of font, picking a font is ultimately going to come down to your brand’s personality. And as many businesses start to realize this, the variety of fonts across website continues to grow. Where Arial and Georgia used to dominate the landscape, the most common typeface now appears to be ‘other’:

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The bottom line? The next time you go to create content, take time to think about typography. Not only does effective typography affect whether or not your content gets read, it also affects how it’s perceived. Be sure to check out the original article for more great stats and pointers!