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September 9, 2005

What font should I use for my web site or eBook?

Category: eBook Marketing & Publishing, Webmasters/Web Design — Answers 2000 @ 3:37 am

This post was sparked by a discussion on our forum. Of course, everybody’s opinion is going to differ, but here’s my 2 cents…

If you are publishing and expect people to read on their computer (web pages or most EXE format eBooks), I personally would never use Times Roman. The reason is that many traditional fonts looking either jagged (older Windows systems) or fuzzy (new Windows system) at smallish sizes on screen - well at least to my eyes. Read this article to understand why.

Another consideration for on screen publishing, is if you use exotic fonts, that you have on your system, users may not have them on their system and the page can end up displaying totally different on their systems.

Verdana is probably the best choice for on-screen, as it’s clear even at small point sizes in this use (it was designed specifically for on-screen use), and is available on pretty much all Windows PCs. Unfortunately it does tend to be wide (meaning it’s not always suitable for packing into a menu or small space) and doesn’t look so great at larger point sizes. This is one reason why a lot of web pages use Arial.

If you are printing the eBook out, or expect people to print out, then choice of font is much more flexible, because prints are usually much higher resolution. I actually kind of like Times Roman in this format.

A general rule of typography is not to mix too many fonts.

Traditional wisdom is to use a Serif typeface for small text, and a Sans Serif typeface for headlines etc. You do see many print publications (even broadsheet newspapers!) breaking this “rule”, and even more professional online publications breaking it, but it’s still a good rule of thumb if you’re totally lost about what design to follow.

Disagree? Comments? Head on over to our forum and tell me what you think.


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What is a Blog and why how does it help you promote your web site?

Category: Internet Marketing, Webmasters/Web Design — Answers 2000 @ 12:18 am

This is a pretty basic question, but one that a lot of folks don’t know the answer to… it’s quite possible to even be a very successful webmaster or even an SEO expert and not have the faintest idea what this blogging craze is all about.

In this piece I’m going to concentrate on the commercial aspects of why blogs are important - rather than the fact they allow non-technical people to publish news/information web sites (which is another important aspect of blogs)

First the basics: A blog is kind of like having your own news web site, where you can post stories using blogging software (rather than creating HTML pages manually).

Most blogs allow you to have visitors participate in discussions/comments after each story, although this can be usually turned off if you prefer. We’ve turned off comments on this blog.

So why are blogs important for promoting your site or online business?

The key things are:

  1. Blogs have an RSS news feed. This allows people with newsreader software/services to pick up (”subscribe”) and other sites to pick up and potentially even republish (”syndicate”), your latest stories.
  2. Blogs have a “ping” mechanism. This notifies various services that you have posted a new story and allows them to quickly (often immediately) spider it and add it to their indexes. This is in contrast to the traditional SEO marketing method where you have to wait (often weeks if not months) for a search engine spider to periodically visit your site, and hope that it spots changes and indexes them.

Compare our main company site - www.ans2000.com versus our company blog - blog.ans2000.com.

There are three important differences to note:

  1. The pages at www.ans2000.com are built by hand using HTML. Whereas the pages at blog.ans2000.com are built using the blogging software. Notice the calendar, archive functions, the organization of stories into categories in the blog? All that stuff is maintained totally automatically by the blogging software whenever we post a new story. We don’t even have to do 1 second’s worth of work to get these features.
  2. Notice the RSS buttons (”chicklets”) on the blog. They allow people with newsreader software/services to subscribe and be notified of updates to our blog.
  3. If you click the top “XML” button on the blog, you can even see what is in the RSS feed (which is what news readers and syndicators use). It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to the average person looking at in a web browser, but news readers and syndicators can understand all that code and those funny XML tags, and make use of them as noted above.
  4. You can’t see it, but when we post a new story via the blogging software and hit “Publish”, the blogging software automatically notifies (”pings”) a whole of bunch of services that our blog has been updated, telling them that the new story should be indexed as soon as possible.


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