Understanding Fonts in WordPress


Being that WordPress is a content management system initially designed to focus on blogs, it is understood that WordPress websites will be text heavy. Deploying WordPress usually means a user will be offering text-based content such as blog posts and articles. This suggests that the website owner needs to understand fonts and how these work.

The first thing you need to know is that how fonts are displayed to visitors is entirely dependent on the fonts they have installed on their devices. For example, you may choose the popular Verdana font as the primary font on your WordPress site. Users with Verdana on their devices will see the text the same way you see it on your machine. Users who do not have Verdana will see text that looks similar, but not identical. This is because their devices have to use a font in the same font family in place of the missing Verdana font.

Choosing Fonts for Your Site

WordPress themes come with fonts already established. Some theme designers allow users to choose from among several font selections while others do not allow for any such modification. Themes can always be modified from within the main stylesheet, which we will address in just a minute.

If you have the opportunity to choose the fonts you use on your site, you need to keep the following in mind:

  • Legibility – Some fonts are more legible on computer screens than others. For example, Verdana is one of the most legible fonts while Times Roman tends to be one of the least legible. Legibility is directly tied to font size and the proportional size between letters in that font.
  • Page Length – Understanding that modern web users are more likely to use mobile devices, website owners need to consider page length. The larger the font, the longer the page will be. Yet fonts cannot be too small either. A font that is too small might be too difficult to read on a mobile device.
  • Colours and Graphics – Surprisingly, studies have shown that legibility can be influenced by graphics, colours, and other elements of a web page. Sometimes it takes a bit of experimentation to find the right font that is well complemented by those other page elements.

Modifying Fonts in the Main Stylesheet

In cases where a template designer does not give users an option to change fonts within the WordPress administration GUI, fonts can still be changed by modifying the style.css file using the editor in the ‘Appearance’ section of the WordPress Dashboard.

If you were to open that file, you would see different fonts listed for different sections of the site theme – all can be modified. It is always a good idea to create a child theme to which you will make modifications rather than attempting to modify your main theme. That way you can always go back to the main theme if you mess up the child theme and don’t know how to fix it.

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