When you work in an area with dozens of real estate professionals, your website has to stand out. It’s often the first encounter a buyer or seller will have with you. Design, layout, and functionality are all crucial, but even a small detail like the font you choose can make a big difference in how your website is perceived.
Universally Supported Fonts
Every web browser is pre-loaded with a list of supported fonts. The list varies from computer to computer based on the operating system and browser version. When a specified web font is not supported by your device, your device will “fall back” to using a font that is supported. Sometimes, this results in an undesirable font that clashes with with the website’s design choices. Web safe fonts are those that nearly all computer systems have pre-installed, which should be supported and displayed the same for all visitors regardless of their device. There are five universal fonts to consider:
- Serif: The most common serif font is Times New Roman. Serif fonts are characterized by the flared or tapering ends of each letter, known as the finishing stroke.
- Sans-Serif: This font is familiar to many people if you’ve used Arial, Trebuchet, or Verdana. Each letter has no finishing stroke or flare at the end or on the edges. They are much plainer.
- Cursive: The other name often used is a script font. Cursive is the easiest font to identify as the letters are joined or closely joined and look more like handwriting.
- Fantasy: It’s unlikely that you’ll use a fantasy font for your real estate website. Each letter looks like some kind of character and less like a letter.
- Monospace: The monospace font family looks most like what a typewriter creates. Each letter or number has the same fixed width, making it look a little blocky and technical.
While these are serviceable fonts that get used a lot, they’re kind of bland and boring. Making your website stand out, or match your branding, requires something more.
When you specify a font on your website, you should always designate an entire font family as a fallback mechanism. This ensures that if your chosen font isn’t supported by a particular device, fallback fonts of your choosing will load in the order you specify (the last font in your font family should always be a “web safe” font). This makes sure that your website is readable, no matter what happens. Here is an example of paragraph with a font family specified inline:
<p style=”font-family: “Times New Roman”, Times, serif;”>
This is my paragraph text
As you can see, the chosen font is “Times New Roman”, but in the event that a device does not support this font, “Times” is specified as the first fallback font in the font family, and if that is not supported either, “Serif” will be used as the last resort since it is universally supported.
Google Fonts allows you to use unique web fonts that are not natively supported by most devices because google hosts the files that tell your device how to display the font. Follow the simple Google Font instructions, and you can have a custom-looking fonts on your website in no time. With more than 800 font choices and growing, Google Fonts is probably the only font solution you will need. It’s easy to get lost in all the fonts available on the site, especially since you can test them directly in your browser to see how your company name looks in that font. Narrowing down your favorites by font families can help you decide what works best for your website.
Font Styling and Effects
It’s not just important to choose a good font that’s readable and works with your brand. The styling and effects of the font you choose help you go from generic and forgettable to branded and remembered. Think of Coca-Cola. Even when you only see the first ‘C,’ the styling of the name is so iconic, you know exactly what you’re looking at. While your real estate company might not get to Coca-Cola levels, making your brand easily recognizable with the right font styling and effects is important.
The easiest way to style your font is to choose between all caps, small caps, or normal. Decide whether you want it to be bold or italicized or both. Bigger or smaller font sizes are also ways to style your preferred font. You may also want to use a font-shadow style. This gives your font the appearance of a shadow to the left or right of it. All of these options take your basic font and make them something unique to your business.
It’s easy to fall down the rabbit hole of font families and all the choices you have. Be prepared to spend time picking between multiple fonts that you absolutely love, and update your real estate website with a font that makes a statement about you and your brand.