There, That’s It! Finding the Typefaces that Serve You Best

When I begin building a website with a client, there can be a lot of elements that fall into the category of “Gosh. I’ve never really had to think about that before.”

In addition to the obvious decisions like how many pages you want and whether you need a PayPal account or an email opt-in list, there are more fundamental elements like the right colors, the right photos, and the stickiest wicket of all, the right fonts.

The fonts you use in your site DO matter. Granted, no one is going to say, “Oh, I couldn’t possibly buy my jewelry from someone who uses sans-serif headings.” (And if they do, that’s probably a client you really don’t want.) But fonts can really differ in terms of their readability, their effectiveness, and the different impressions they can make on web readers. Don’t believe me? Here’s a test.

Put yourself in the shoes of a physician who is starting up a new housecall practice. The hurdles in his new business include establishing his credibility, instilling trust in potential new clients, and convincing people that a housecall physician is just as capable and professional as a hospital physician. Here are three typefaces that he’s considering using prominently in his website:


The first font says, “I’m professional, smart, and trustworthy.”

The second font says, “I spent too many years in a M*A*S*H unit and have the bedside manner of a drill instructor.

The third font says, “I’m going to show up at your house with a red ball on my nose.” (now if you WANT a doctor to make your kids laugh while they get their immunizations, that’s a good thing.)

Granted, this an extreme example.   More often than not, we just need to be sure our headings and our main text look harmonious together, and are easily readable even in long blocks of text (p.s. – the web isn’t the place for long blocks of text.)  And the most important of all?  You have to like how your site looks. It has to feel right to you. It has to feel like you.

Many people on the web have created visual cheatsheets that show you some great font pairings that work well with each other. As a visual person, this is really the only way I can imagine how certain things will look.

These four tools can help you visualize how different fonts can look  – have fun!

If you need your website, please take two minutes to read this note

As much as I prefer to write about the more “human” side of our businesses in my blog posts, this week I really need to go geek on you for just a second.  Please don’t stop reading. This is important.

In a recent newsletter we published a recommendation that you update your WordPress website so it would be safer from attack. While a few people responded to us about this, stats show the majority did not read it.

Everyone’s busy, and so believe me there’s no judgment here. But I would feel terrible if I didn’t impress on everyone just what a big deal this oft-procrastinated thing is, and what it may cost you if you don’t.

(Lest you think this is some kind of sales pitch, it isn’t. I have no vested interest in how you get this done; I just don’t want what’s happening out there to happen to you.)

There was a recent security “hole” discovered in WordPress that opened the door to what’s called a “defacement hack” — the hacking of websites to post spam, porn, ads, or just nasty messages, on your web pages.  If you’re up for a little geeky language, you can learn about this here, but it’s not essential. If you do read it, bear in mind that the numbers they quote of infected sites has grown. A lot.

Three separate clients reported issues over the past week, and it was a bit of mayhem.  Two were just mildly inconvenienced. One site vanished entirely.  The most recent information shows that millions of sites are being hacked.  To be clear: Your clients may visit your site and see . . .shall we say . . .not what you intended. If you do nothing else, please go out and be sure your website is still there, and that you can get into it.

Getting the hackers’ dirty work out of your site is not a simple affair. Their code can reach deep into your website’s guts where it’s very difficult to find and get rid of. Some of it regenerates itself as soon as you delete it. Some tactics change your login name so you can’t get in to manage your own site. Some brings your entire site down, forcing you to rebuild it from a backup copy or from scratch.

I can’t be any more honest than this: Unless you feel you’re in a position to spend a LOT of money and risk your site being down for days or weeks, please go out to it and make sure your version of WordPress is the latest (that would be version 4.7.2, which closes that door).

If your site has a backup system, whereby it backs itself up periodically to keep a safe copy somewhere, then please manually back it up yourself prior to updating.

We are here to help, and the safest way to do this is to buy a smidgen of our time to do it. We’ll back up the site safely, run malware scans to be sure it’s clean, update you to the new squeaky-clean versions of everything, and make sure your site security is good.  BUT I understand that many will want to update their site themselves, or get a techie person in their circle to do it, for cost or other reasons. That is absolutely fine.

However you do it, please do. You are all doing wonderful work in the world, and nobody has spare time to waste on this kind of thing.

Thanks for listening.

How can you help more people and do more good in the world?

I’ve always had a little trouble with the phrase, “passive income.”  It brings up a mental image of someone lying on a fainting couch, the back of her hand draped across her forehead like a white dove, while $50 bills slowly float down to cover her.

This, of course, is my childish imagination at work.  But it was that sort of mental image that kept me from embracing any sort of passive income for many years.  My work was my pride, and exchanging my time and expertise for income felt like “an honest day’s work.”  The personal, one-on-one nature of consulting/helping gave me an inner feeling of making a big difference in the world, one small business or nonprofit at a time.

That cast-iron self-assessment has been unraveling slowly.  It started fraying when a mentor asked me, “How many people do you typically get to help over the course of a year?”  Sitting down and counting was a rather sobering exercise. The answer? Not enough.

She pointed out that there were two ways I could make more of an impact: One would be to find a secret science lair willing to clone me as a full-fledged adult, and send versions of myself all over the world, like some sort of benevolent Orphan Black.  The other would be to create helpful programs and products that could reach the hands of many, many people, without the need to be there one-on-one (also available, of course).

Point taken.

What does passive income look like for small businesses like yours?  It means you create something that benefits many, without you physically having to be there with them. Let’s bring the people you most want to help into the room to help flesh this out.  (Learn about my ideal-audience avatar shown, “Jean,” in this blog post.)


If you’re a life coach, you might offer Jean an email series—an e-course—that gives her a structured program to help get through a challenge  (financial, emotional, career, transition).  These can be set up through email providers like Mailchimp fairly simply with their $10/month package.

If you’re a business consultant, you might bundle your knowledge from a specific area of expertise into a collection of materials you can sell as an e-book or an entire digital toolkit. This could be something you already know that Jean needs/want to learn, in order to advance her career, or build her small business quickly, or acquire needed skills that make her work & life easier and more efficient.

If you offer classes or workshops, Jean might not be able to attend in person or at a set time, but she might be able to benefit from a video, audio, webinar capture, or podcast series that’s not time-dependent.  Many people love to learn this way – the popularity of services like Udemy and will attest to this.

These are just examples, the low-hanging fruit—there are many, many variants on these.  But perhaps it’s enough to entice you to give this all some thought.

Look at what you want to offer the world, and brainstorm a bit about how to offer some of it without needing to be omnipresent.

And yes, all of this serves to create another income stream for you as well.  Which gives you additional resources to create more good in the world. And so forth. It’s a beautiful wheel that can keep going ’round and ’round.

If you’re having trouble visualizing how this might work for your unique situation (I know I did) you might like the free guide to passive income sources offered by my friend and client Laura Brandenburg on her website.  I refer back to it frequently and love her clarity and passion for this topic. Her site and especially her blog posts are spot-on.  She’s pretty amazing.

If you’d like to explore how this might come together for you, please drop me a line and let me know what you’re thinking.  Although I’m far from an expert like Laura, I can discuss the logistics and costs that might be involved in bringing your idea to life via your website and social media.

Have a great February, all.