Want To Boost Site Conversion? Increase Your Font Size

By | In Conversion Optimisation, Internet Marketing, Landing Pages, Lead Generation | 54 Comments

Sometimes the simplest website changes can produce the most rapid Return On Effort. One of the easiest ways to make your site convert better is to make it easier for users to read.

In fact, a whole category of website conversion heuristics is based around making your content easier for website visitors to digest.

Here are seven ways you can increase your website conversion right now:

  1. Increase font size. For example, change 10 or 11px body text fonts to 13px.  Some people find these larger fonts “childlike”, but our tests have conclusively shown that larger fonts can increase conversion significantly (especially where the original font size was very small to start with).  Graphic designers often specify smaller, “cute” fonts, but you should remember that text content is primarily a means to convey your selling message, NOT a design element.
  2. Avoid large line widths. The human eye just isn’t designed evolved that well for reading text on a screen.  One of the things that tends to slow people down when reading is moving they eyes from line to line.  And the longer the line width, the more difficult it is for the eye and the brain to hook up with the next line.   That’s why shorter line widths of 600px or less generally help conversion.  Test 600px vs 900px and you’ll see what I mean.
  3. Increase colour contrast. Another thing graphic designers seem to love are font colour choices based on design sensibilities rather than communication and legibility.  Light grey text on a mid-grey background appears to be a designers’ favourite.  On the web, as in print, poor colour contrast = decreased legibility = decreased sales.  By increasing colour contrast (good ol’ black text on white background is my boring-but-effective favourite) you will boost sales.
  4. Shorten paragraphs. Long paragaphs make it harder for the eye to navigate text.   Anything much longer than 7 lines and you’ll start to put readers off.  Where your paragraphs are longer than this, break them into two or more pieces.  The occasional one line paragraph can also work well.
  5. Give “texture” to long copy. Many of these tips are centred around breaking the monotony of long, “blocky” tracts of text.  One way to do this is by adding “texture” — creating varying areas of white space around lines and paragraphs. For example, you should always leave a “ragged right” edge on paragraphs (i.e not fully justified).  The ragged edge helps the eye navigate.  Indenting the occasional paragraph with a <blockquote>, or placing content in a centred box achieves the same effect.
  6. Break the monotony. White space is one way to break the monotony of dense text content — another is to use headlines, sub headlines, colour, “callouts”, bullet lists, numbered lists and text effects (bold, italics, underlines, strikethroughs etc.).  These elements help to focus the user’s attention on key selling points and create variety that keeps the brain engaged.
  7. Add diagrams, graphs and images. I believe that copy is the main tool in your persuasive toolset on the web.  But other types of visual content can be a very useful way to augment your central sales argument.  Use images, graphs and diagrams appropriately when they make your point better than text.

This Is NOT A Long Copy vs Short Copy Debate

Please note that this has nothing to do with the long/short copy debate (if you could still call it a debate – the long copy folks won that a decade ago online, and a century ago in print).

This is about recognising that text content can be daunting when presented the wrong way.   By making your text content as legible and digestible as possible, you’ll get higher readership and more leads and sales.  And isn’t that what we all want?

54 Comments »

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  1. Great tips..besides the tip on keeping your paragraphs short, the rest are new to me and I will consider these options…thank you

    Comment by Multi Domain Hosting — January 27, 2009 #

  2. You are correct, I noticed that I don’t spend much time at sites with smaller monotonous fonts.

    I prefer reading smaller paragraphs, and usually I don’t really read them, I just fly over them with my eyes and try and understand.

    These days there is so much information and so little time, people usually don’t have the time to deal with long articles.
    Moreover, your eyes get tired from trying to read from a screen it isn’t like a book.

    Comment by actv-tec — January 27, 2009 #

  3. It took me a long time to force my design instinct aside and go for larger fonts. (Larger fonts can leave large white-space gaps when 3 words barely do not fit within the width so the last word is pushed to the next line). However, it really does work and, with a little tweaking, you can get that text to fit with the largest size possible.

    Comment by Russ Jones — January 28, 2009 #

  4. Sometimes the simplest things have the biggest impact. Brilliant tho.

    Comment by Shane — January 28, 2009 #

  5. What priceless tips! I have started to notice a lot more websites with bigger fonts. Makes it so much easier to read especially on big monitors!

    Comment by Tom - 2009 Trek Bikes — January 28, 2009 #

  6. Nice tips! Yes, you should treat your website just like a piece of promo. Making sure your doing the most effective thing with your text on your site, at least I think, is pretty important as most people’s sites are mainly text.

    So again thanks for the great tips!

    Comment by ladies fleece jacket — January 29, 2009 #

  7. Nice article helpful tips increasing font size or making bold text in content is definitely Boost your website conversion.

    Comment by Internet Marketing — January 29, 2009 #

  8. Nice Post Will….

    and I agree with you… that font color, font size and font size is very important in content optimization….

    Font of the website should be easy to read for everyone…. so we can reduce our bounce rate…

    Before 1 month Rand written one article on content optimization…. you can see that http://www.seomoz.org/blog/best-practices-for-content-optimization

    Comment by Internet Marketing — January 30, 2009 #

  9. Uhmm, never thought to increase the font size…I’ll give it a try! Thanx for this witty share.

    Comment by scarica emule gratis — January 30, 2009 #

  10. Increasing your font size is mandatory for a certain demography… kids… elder. It’s just make sense.

    Comment by Vinh Nguyen — January 31, 2009 #

  11. Increasing your font size can be dynamic too. Let your visitors choose a font size via java.
    I think it is more important to emphasize certain parts by increasing font size e.g. headlines!

    Comment by Robert — February 2, 2009 #

  12. Now bloggers are using so many advertisements in their blogs that length of post decreased automatically.

    Yeah I do believe that Image is vital because people love photos and this one also make them to understand your posts as well.

    Comment by Warren — February 6, 2009 #

  13. Thanks a lot for the info. It never occured to me that varying the text like your suggestions could result in better conversions. I guess on the other side of it, if you are monitizing with adsense you would want to reverse your suggestions to drive the traffic away(and click on an ad on the way out). Thanks again, Brian

    Comment by Nicotine Patch — February 6, 2009 #

  14. I have experienced this with all my websites, Last year I made a splash page to promote an affiliate program, when I changed font size from 11 to 16 my number of registration triplicated.
    This is a great blog!

    Comment by Jimmy — February 9, 2009 #

  15. I want to change my font size but honestly speaking I do not know how to do it in wordpress. Do you have any idea how can I change the font size in wordpress.

    If yes than please help me.

    Comment by Hidden — February 9, 2009 #

  16. Some very sensible tips. I also think that people in the web generation also like lists, and reading bullet points. In fact this article does this rather well… By leading each paragraph with a bullet list of bolded text it makes scan reading much quicker and easier. The key is to be succinct and to the point.

    Comment by Perfume — February 16, 2009 #

  17. I have always used 13x sizes in my websites and they work great. But I am actually wondering if a black background with white fonts would please my readers or not. The black background isnt as nice as the white one but it relaxes the eyes way more, and that might be a reason while people would actually read for a longer time.

    What do your think about this?

    Comment by Increase Traffic — February 16, 2009 #

  18. @Increase Traffic — I’m glad you raise this point. What you’re talking about is “reverse type” (white text on black background), which is known to be far less readable thank boring-but-effective black text on white background.

    Comment by Will — February 16, 2009 #

  19. i think you shouldn’t use lot of images because that makes it difficult to read and covers a lot of space. But funny, artistic or educational images can add interest to your articles.

    Comment by gempili — February 20, 2009 #

  20. Wow what an idea i never thought much on this.
    By using CSS/javascript we can add button to increase decrease text. Also the lighter the background the easier it is to read.

    Comment by sumit — February 25, 2009 #

  21. I have one blog on tech and I want to increase the size of fonts as well. I tried to use HTML coding for that as well. But seems to me that this is the case of some CSS stuff.

    Will search on net for that … but thanks to you … you have pointed out a valid point and today night I will do the modification.

    Comment by Kylie — March 12, 2009 #

  22. Hey Kylie

    For that it will be better if you will go to your CSS Stylesheet in the theme editor and increase the font size in there. It will show like Font Size – 12px or similar.

    Just do it in there and you won’t have to change it every time.

    Best of luck.

    Comment by Sage ACT! Training — March 16, 2009 #

  23. I have changed fonts and now my posts are looking more attractive and visitors can read them more easily as well. When I checked my Google analytics I saw that average time on my blog has increased, so that is one good sign.

    Comment by Roofing Contractors — March 28, 2009 #

  24. What a simple and effective method. I wouldn’t have thought of changing font size… simply because its the standard size… it’s what I’d expect.. but of course, now thinking about it… you don’t want to always give your traffic just what they expect?

    Comment by Business Leadership — April 5, 2009 #

  25. If the font size is not natural then it looks spammy… and ugly…

    Comment by Web Hosting Deals — April 12, 2009 #

  26. I came across an interesting site (activist.com.au) which uses white text on black background. How would this site be converting?

    Comment by Anup — May 1, 2009 #

  27. I would also mention the importance of a great header (using your keywords), a few words that sum up what the page is about.
    This is then read by search engines and based on the relevance of the rest of the text in the page and the URL, the page will be ranked.
    Not to mention the importance of a header from a users perspective.
    I often have numerous sub headers for the same reasons.

    Comment by Emma Haller — June 27, 2009 #

  28. I agree. As a web agency we are now using font replacement techniques such as sifr and cufon to replace standard headings with clean crisp fonts to make headlines really pop. This said, you should always give the option of the user changing the size of the font where possible. We try not to specify fonts as px but use ems instead.

    Comment by Web Design Agency — August 18, 2009 #

  29. As a new comer to the site, I thought I would check out the popular posts.

    I think the power of this approach is it’s simplicity, and it is not something I have thought of doing for myself before.

    I think I might run my own test on this and take a look at the results I get.

    Comment by Alex — September 10, 2009 #

  30. Hi Will,

    Font size is a factor for me when I read web pages and so it only makes sense that others don’t like reading small text either.

    Large line width is just as bad. Once in a while I see pages with lines so long that I have to scroll to see the whole line.

    Grey font color is very straining for the eye and it is a puzzle why designers even use it at all let alone as often as they do.

    Something that you didn’t mention is I think very important too. The color of the background.

    I find that dark colors there are making it hard to read the page as well and it must be a really great post for me to finish reading it if it is on that kind of a background.

    Even if the font on such background is of good contrasting color it still is hard to read text on dark background.

    Vance

    Comment by Vance Sova — October 10, 2009 #

  31. The tips is simple but really make sense.
    I will surely implemented on my site.
    Thanks for sharing great tips

    Comment by Download Site — October 13, 2009 #

  32. I have tried this in the past in does really work..

    Much more time on page and less bounce rates for me.

    Comment by Computer Repair Las Vegas — October 18, 2009 #

  33. Some good tips – thanks. We’ll definitely be trying out the font size one.

    Comment by Chris Moore — October 22, 2009 #

  34. This is a wonderful tip! I totally agree that the easiest ways to make your site convert better is to make it easier for users to read. So, it is very helpful if your font size is big enough.

    Comment by Chris Ducker — October 30, 2009 #

  35. One comment – Who would have thought!. Font size effecting conversion rates? Definitely something I’ve never even though of. Is there any data available by what percentage conversion has increased?

    Comment by New York Glass — November 4, 2009 #

  36. @New York Glass: I experienced an increase of appr. 40% with one of my E-Book sales blogs. I narrowed the post content area and “suddenly” sold more copies of my E-Book. So, for me it works just fine.

    Comment by Frederik — November 8, 2009 #

  37. What do you think about copy length? Most of the sales copy that I’ve seen are pretty long, do people actually read the whole thing?

    Comment by Find A Lawyer — November 11, 2009 #

  38. Short paragraphs and bigger font are something I’d have to recommend too. Some of the other suggestions I’d have to test myself before I can vouch for it.

    Comment by Microsoft Points — December 6, 2009 #

  39. There are two most critical features that need special attention in the process of website design and its display – the font size and the font color. It should be remembered that optimizing your website properly may bring visitors to it, but the user stays on and reads on only if he is appealed by the color used and if the font size is correct. If the color used is too flashy or too dull, the customer will be repelled within seconds of arriving on your page. Similarly, if the font size is too big or too small, he might not find it comfortable to read through the content. It won’t matter if the content is rich in keyword; the font size plays the key role in inviting the reader to read on. Let us look at a few negative consequences that your website may suffer from if proper font size and color has not been used.

    Comment by Surinder Sharma — January 20, 2010 #

  40. Great tips. I have been creating some landing pages for some of my affiliate projects and this sure did give me some pointers.

    Comment by earning money online — January 23, 2010 #

  41. Can always use more landing page tips. Thanks.

    Comment by Buy K2 — March 28, 2010 #

  42. Yes Paul, i do exactly the same method as you described in your comment, very nice feature to suggest readers exactly what you want to “sell” them.

    Comment by Ronald — June 21, 2010 #

  43. While testing and optimizing for better conversion, one thing you need to keep in mind is apply some new techniques. For example landing pages or adding trust seals that increase conversion rate like Merchant Safe will certainly help.

    Comment by July — June 24, 2010 #

  44. This makes perfect sense. When I am looking for something online, I usually do a google search, open up a few websites in tabs, and click through them ctrl+F-ing for what I’m looking for. If I don’t find it (because it was in a flash element or whatever) I close the tab and move on. More searchable text! less good for nothing pictures!

    Comment by Fox — June 26, 2010 #

  45. A quick class or two in grammar, spelling, and punctuation will make your writing more readable. There’s nothing worse than trying to read articles with misspelled words, misplaced punctuation, pronouns without an antecedent, or other misuses of the English language. Sure English is a living language so why not take it down a well-kept path rather than dragging it through the mud. The meaning you achieve will be more clear, easier to grasp, and without the frustration of wanting to find a red pencil.

    Comment by Dominic — June 29, 2010 #

  46. It took me a long time to force my design instinct aside and go for larger fonts. (Larger fonts can leave large white-space gaps when 3 words barely do not fit within the width so the last word is pushed to the next line). However, it really does work and, with a little tweaking, you can get that text to fit with the largest size possible.

    Comment by Gabriel — August 6, 2010 #

  47. Keep it simple and in harmony with other elements. If you make the font bigger than other elements it doesn’t work.

    Comment by Jimmy Web — September 1, 2010 #

  48. Too much fancy fonts will never work. AlSO don’t use too many colors. It is quite irritating.

    Comment by Orchid plants — October 6, 2010 #

  49. Great blog post, I had not seen much written previously about testing done on font size, definitely from a readability and usability point of view it helps, but great to see some testing on conversion rates. Thanks Will!

    Comment by Cheap Website — October 21, 2010 #

  50. Yes, it’s true. Most of our efforts are focused on bringing up sales or user friendly applications but simple things such as font size is a significant factor for user/visitor satisfaction.

    Comment by Percy — December 11, 2010 #

  51. i can atest that larger “scream at you font do drive more conversion” in marketing you fighting for attention and if a Big RED in caps BOOK IT NOW with exclamation works use.

    at first i was scared to be “pushy”, but after a test on two landing pages “one with simple text, and other with large CLICK ME text” i learned that text size and style plays a major role.

    I haven’t tried the 7 line paragraph rule. I’m going to now.

    thanks for the article.

    Comment by Clarence Middleton — December 16, 2010 #

  52. Even though you have mentioned the font size to have a big part, you forget to mention one, the type of font. We have seen that there are differences when we change the type of font. Different age group like different fonts. Even if the Comic Sans may look good to a child, it will be really unprofessional if you place it in your company website.

    Comment by Mikel — January 27, 2011 #

  53. Making the website changes right now. Such a simple change. My Billionaire website clients will appreciate it.

    Comment by BillionAgent — May 19, 2011 #

  54. Increasing the font size gave me positive results. I thought 11px was fine because I can see it clearly, but when I received lots of feedbacks i changed it to 13px, now my readers doesn’t complain about readability. Lesson learned – readers first.

    Comment by pcso — March 8, 2013 #

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