Every book on building websites and blogs has stressed the following point since ancient humans first described their hunts using stick figures scrabbled onto cave walls:
Content is king.
I guess that’s why the latest It Thing that makes the internet go is building innumerable barriers to content. A new day dawns. Welcome to the Lack of Information Age.
The paradigm shift away from content is now complete. Content is an old and busted philosophy. The new reality is stark and simple. It’s called Money Grub. Low class, I know, but somehow it always comes back to the almighty dollar.
One website I really enjoy recently sent out a bulk email containing the urgent news. Web traffic is surging while revenue (dependent on advertising) is plummeting into the toilet. As you might imagine, that’s not a very effective combination. This immensely successful website is now asking for donations and characterizes the situation as their very survival at stake.
Being one of the biggest and best websites on the web is no longer good enough to guarantee survival.
Meanwhile, the assault on our eyeballs, patience and intelligence is is full swing. How do they ignore the old adage “Content is King?” Let me count the ways.
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Teri from the Blips pointed out the other day, “everything’s so blurry” on the abyss blog and asked if I had changed something, because my blog was basically the only one she was having trouble with.
Yes, I did change something. I was experimenting with a little doodad called “Typekit fonts” that WordPress automatically makes available to those of us who host our blogs here.
I found it in “My Dashboard” and it made me curious so I checked it out.
You can think of Typekit as sort of a YouTube service for fonts. Even though there are thousands of fonts available these days, most of the internet, including WordPress blogs, only takes advantage of a very small handful of these. Typekit provides access to larger library of fonts and keeps it all legal, too.
Amazingly, even here in the year 2010 with flying cars and all the new web standards coming out, there still really isn’t an easy way to use the font that you want on your own web site. When you define a font in your web page, it is really nothing more than a friendly “request” to your visitor’s browser. The browser will probably display that font if it has one by the exact same name. If your visitor doesn’t have what you’re asking for, the browser will basically pick a font of its own. So there really isn’t a good way for you to control what font your visitors see on your web site. (Outside of that handful of basic fonts, that is.)
As WordPress bloggers we automatically get free access to a trial account on Typekit that allows us to test drive a maximum of two fonts from their trial library on a single site. About a week ago I tried this here in the abyss.
It was pretty easy. First you visit the “Typekit Fonts” command under the Appearance heading in your blog’s dashboard. From there you click a button to sign up for your free Typekit ID. Go get that, save it in your WordPress interface and then you’re almost done.
After that I went to the Typekit web site and selected a font to try out of the 100+ fonts they make available for free in their trial library. You pick one you want, go to the Kit Editor, punch in an HTML tag or two, then click the “publish” button. A few moments later your new snazzy font is visible on your web site. It’s pretty easy. WordPress has integrated Typekit for you so that’s basically all you need to know.
- Like Teri discovered, the fonts didn’t display nicely for everyone. That’s pretty much a deal killer at this stage in the game.
- I like the way my font looked, but there was a very tiny delay and then a little “flash” (for lack of a better word) before the font would become visible after each page load.
I have concluded my little experiment with Typekit for now. Hopefully the technology will continue to improve to the point when we’ll all have exactly the fonts we want on our web sites.