Free Fonts: Jazz Up Your Docs And Website With Freebies From Google

Happy Monkey Google Fonts
Happy Monkey, available at Google Fonts

Free fonts are everywhere on the Web, but some are dodgy in use. Google to the rescue. Did you know that Google offers free fonts?

I became aware of them when I was reading this post, Make Text More Readable with Solarized and Cousine:

Google Fonts offers the Cousine typeface, designed by Steve Matteson, for free. Cousine is similar to Nitti Light… To install Cousine, if you haven’t used Google Fonts before, click the “Open Cousine in Google Fonts” link at the top of left of the specimen page, and refer to the numbered steps in the second screenshot for download instructions. Once you expand the Zip archive, double-click the font(s) to open them in Font Book, and then click the Install Font button.

I decided to download Cousine, so that I could see how the process works. It’s easy. Just choose follow the directions in the quote above.

While Cousine is a readable font, I prefer to use Georgia. I primarily use Textmate and Ulysses 3 when I write for the Web. Here’s Georgia in Ulysses 3; it’s easy on the eyes.

Georgia in Ulysses 3
Georgia in Ulysses 3

Cute decorative font: Happy Monkey

I found a decorative font I love at Google Fonts – Happy Monkey, by Brenda Gallo. It’s only available in Regular, without variants, but it will be fine for using with Photoshop.

If you want to use Google Fonts on the Web, here’s Google’s Getting Started Guide. Google offers a warning, in case something goes wrong with your font choice:

Note: When specifying a web font in a CSS style, always list at least one fallback web-safe font in order to avoid unexpected behaviors. In particular, add a CSS generic font name like serif or sans-serif to the end of the list, so the browser can fall back to its default fonts if need be.

Time Management for Web Writers: Use Plain Text With Markdown

I’m a huge, HUGE fan of Markdown. Here’s why: it’s just plain text, so you can convert it instantly to HTML, PDF, or RTF (for Word, etc.) It saves an enormous amount of time.

If you’re not au fait with Markdown, and you do lots of writing, I heartily recommend this Markdown book.

Here’s what the plain text version of a document looks like, with Markdown syntax.

Plain text

Plain text with Markdown: easy to write and read, anywhere

Since it’s just plain text, you can write it anywhere – on your computer, your phone, tablet…

Here’s what the same text looks like in Markdown preview. (This is what it will look like as HTML etc.)

Markdown preview
Markdown previewed in Marked

The time Markdown saves you was brought home to me yesterday. A client wanted to see what his Web content would look like, so I had to send him some material. The files were all in plain text with Markdown syntax. Converting to HTML and uploading them took a minute. It took another minute to convert them to RFT, and compile that into a single document so that he had everything together, and could print it out.

From go to whoa, the whole process took less than five minutes – and that included adding another paragraph or two – I can never resist editing as I go. If I open a document, I have to add/ delete or in some way tinker with it.

Before I started using Markdown consistently, sending the client the material would have taken a lot longer. I’d need to open the Word files, convert them to plain text, then add HTML… thinking about it makes my head hurt.

Markdown is a miracle for anyone who does lots of writing. If you haven’t yet discovered Markdown, you’re in for a treat.

Read Jon Mitchell’s excellent article on why you should use Markdown to convince yourself to give Markdown a try.

Angela Booth Offers Free “Web Writing” Program on Freelance Writing Blog

Web Writing in 2013 and Beyond

In December, Angela Booth is publishing a new series on the Fab Freelance Writing Blog: “Web Writing in 2013 and Beyond”. The series covers opportunities for writers in 2013, and is free.

Angela Booth’s upcoming series on the Fab Freelance Writing Blog “Web Writing in 2013 and Beyond” helps writers to develop strategies for a healthy writing income in 2013. The series is free, and will be running on the blog right throughout December.

Angela said: “Writers need to be aware of new Web writing opportunities, particularly the opportunities in mobile content.”

Mobile devices are becoming popular for online shopping. This means that companies are developing websites and Web content for these devices. Content is needed: both informational content, and content created for entertainment, since smartphones and tablets are entertainment devices too.

This new Web writing series will cover:

* Opportunities in ebooks. Companies are looking for engaging content, both for their websites, and for mobile. Writing serial content for mobile devices is a new opportunity for writers; it’s the perfect engagement tool.

* Digital magazines. Magazines are now apps. They need rich content, and savvy writers to create that content. The series will include coverage on digital magazine opportunities.

* New opportunities in copywriting, and in social media marketing.

* Blogging’s new opportunities. Angela said: “Blogging has little in common with writing for print media. Some writers are struggling to make the transition to blogging; this new series will help them.”

* Marketing strategies for writers — building a platform. Many writers struggle to market their services and books.

Writers can get the complete series by joining Fab Freelance Writing Ezine, the blog’s companion ezine. Or, they can subscribe to the blog.

About Angela Booth

Angela Booth is an internationally published author, a top copywriter, and writing teacher. She offers many guides, courses and classes to help writers to enhance their skills.

She also provides inspiration and motivation for writers on her writing blogs. Angela has been writing successfully since the late 1970s, and was online in the 1980s, long before the birth of the Web. Her business books have been widely published.

The Art of Web Writing: What’s the Page About?

Web writing’s harder than you’d think.

When writing a page, I start with the meta tags, and research — and thinking.

As this excellent post, 4 Pro Tips To Write Titles & Meta Descriptions That Make Your Site *Pop* In The Search Results | Search Engine People | Toronto, suggests:

“Don’t just stop at the broader fat head terms you are looking to pull in gobs of traffic with. What are the secondary terms people are going to be landing on this particular page for? What subtle exact match keyword variations get more traffic? Look out for the nuances of a site’s industry and always pay close attention to the details.”

Writing for print is much less exacting than writing for the Web. Once someone’s picked up a newspaper or magazine, they read the article, or they don’t. They’re as much a captive audience as you’ll get.

The Web’s different, because your audience has to find the content first.

That means thinking about the audience, and the terms they’re likely to use. Although researching keywords and demographics helps, thinking is essential.

Your page description is an ad for the content

Your webpage’s description shows up in the search engines; it’s the second thing your audience sees. Writing that description is copywriting; it’s persuasion.

When I’m working with my Web writing students, most think that meta data is boring. However, looked at the right way, it’s the most fascinating part of creating a webpage.

Web writing can be an art. Before you writing, think what the page is about. Create the meta data.

If you’re tempted to skip this, consider how long your content will be online. Web content lives for much longer than print.