When launching a website of your own, you must look into many factors. For your website to look professional yet affable, the name and logo of your domain, the colors, the overall design, ease of accessibility, high-clarity images all work together to attract more visitors to your website and keep them coming back for more.
Devil is in the details, and in this case, the smallest details can make or break how well your website will be received. It is reported that it takes about 50 milliseconds or 0.05 seconds for visitors to form a solid opinion of your website. And, as is obvious, most of that opinion will be formed by the overall design of your website.
There are many statistics that make the point for an optimal website design that is vibrant and easy to navigate. If you are a sales-based website, 75% of visitors that flock to your website will judge it based on its design. The first impressions of your website will be 94% design-related.
Now that we’ve established that design is crucial, another crucial part of that design is the typography. The fonts you use greatly impact how viewers perceive your website. It is reported that people spend an average of 5.59 seconds browsing a website’s written content, so to optimize that time, you need to optimize your font of choice.
Not all fonts are created equal. Just because a font appears good and legible to you, doesn’t automatically make it the best choice for your website.
HTML Web Safe Fonts
When choosing a font for your website, make sure it is “web-safe“. This means that its one of those fonts that are universal and found in almost all devices. Every device, be it a laptop, personal computer or mobile has its own pre-installed font selection. Web-safe fonts (such as Arial, Cambria, Times New Roman and many more) are found in almost all the devices and operating systems.
If your font is web safe, your website will load faster and be more reactive to the users. It could also happen that if you choose any font on a whim without making sure it is web-safe first, it could appear different in different devices and not the font that you intended. And depending on the device your website is being viewed in, it might look ugly and unappealing.
This feature gives web designers and content creators another valuable option. If the users of your website don’t have the original font you intended to use, there are two font options that you can specify to use as a backup. This gives you immense control over what font people can view your website and content in.
Web safe fonts will greatly benefit the SEO(search engine optimization) of your website. It will improve the content readability and accessibility of your website.
Before we list the best fonts for websites, here is a quick briefer on the font families. There are five main font families and all the font types are categorized into these five based on their design and similarities:
Serif (e.g., Times New Roman, Garamond )
Serif means finishing stroke or tapered ends of letters in certain fonts. These are the most formal, professional fonts that are used widely by websites of many kinds such as online e-commerce sites, etc. These fonts are proportionately spaced and lend a professional look to your content.
Sans-Serif (e.g., Helvetica, Arial, and Geneva)
Sans serif translates to without serifs. Serifs, as mentioned before is the tapered end of a letter. Sans serif fonts end with little to no tapering or flaring. Apart from this, they are quite similar to the serif fonts. They can be considered a more minimalist version of those fonts.
Cursive (e.g. Caflisch Script, Adobe Poetica Zapf-Chancery)
This is the most elegant family of fonts that are mainly used in calligraphy. The letters are intertwined with each other with connecting strokes. These are beautiful, regal fonts that generally suit calligraphy and other such artistic typography.
Fantasy (e.g., Critter, Cottonwood, FB Reactor)
These fonts have letters that are decorative yet represent the characters. These fonts are used in books and movie posters to highlight the titles and headings.
Monospace (e.g., Courier, Prestige, Everson Mono )
The letters in these fonts are at the same distance when seen horizontally. These fonts are popularly used in computing and typewriters
The Nine Best Fonts to use for your Websites
Times New Roman
One of the most widely used fonts in websites, Times New Roman is a variation of the older Times font. This font belongs to the serif family. The Times Roman font appears formal and professional. It is best suited for use by many websites that cater to professional needs such as newspaper sites, e-commerce sites, newer websites and such.
The versatility of a font is in how well it translates in italics and bold and in lower case. You can choose to keep your content in one single font or choose different fonts for your headings and body content.
Calibri font belongs to the sans serif font family. It is the default font in Microsoft Word. It is one of the six fonts ( Constantia, Corbel, Calibri, Cambria, Candara and Consolas) that Microsoft uses in its ClearType Font Collection that works to improve ” the appearance of text on certain types of computer display screens by sacrificing color fidelity for additional intensity variation”
Arial font was once the default font on a number of Microsoft Office applications such as PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook, and WordPad and is now the default font in Google Docs, which is the Google version of the Microsoft Office. It is a member of the sans serif font family. Arial font was created to be similar to Helvetica. It lends a professional, formal look to any content it is written in. Arial has two famous versions- Arial Black and Arial Narrow.
Helvetica is one of the oldest in-use fonts. It was developed in the ’50s as a “neutral typeface that had great clarity, no intrinsic meaning in its form, and could be used on a wide variety of signage”. Content creators prefer it for its straight-forward design with no strokes or tapering and neutral tone it lends to the content. Many brands such as Kawasaki, Motorola, BMW, American Airlines, Jeep, Knoll, Lufthansa, Verizon, etc use this font on their websites. What’s more, it is the font that adorns every train and sign used by the New York City Metropolitan Transit Authority.
Courier is the most famous font from the monospace font family. It is the default font in all the operating systems of desktop computers and laptops. It has also become a standard font to be used in screenplays for films and videos. Courier New is a variant of the old Courier typeface that is preinstalled in all Windows operating systems.
This is the font that Ikea uses for its website and its printed catalog. Verdana belongs to the sans-serif family of fonts. What makes Verdana an excellent choice for websites is that it can be used for low-resolution screens and can be viewed comfortably in small cases.
This beautiful font was developed by an English sculptor and stonemason as a crisp and clean typeface that is reminiscent of craving letters and words into stones and monuments. Perpetua is a member of the serif family of fonts. It is used by Penguin Classics and the University of Pennsylvania in their publications.
Geneva font was specially designed for Apple devices. It belongs to the sans-serif font family. It is similar to many fonts from in the sans serif family that is minimalist yet utilitarian in design.
This is yet another old school font that has been in usage in Paris since the 16th Century. It is a member of the serif font family. It is used in many printed and online publications for its timeless design and easy readability.