You don't need to use Google Fonts - Do your visitors actually care?

You do not need to use Google fonts. This blog uses a plain old Arial font. It looks great. I doubt that you looked at any part of this website and said what this site needs is a cooler looking font. Reading the content with Arial font didn't make your experience worse.
I see it a lot. Entire fonts loaded up in a browser just to make the website logo fancier looking. This is completely unnecessary. If you want to take care into your website content and make it look prettier. Then you can do things like playing with the CSS line-height:

There's also the letter-spacing CSS rule which you can use to lower the distance between each letter, squishing them together and making it look unique and better for a logo, for example. We use this here on the Website Cheetah logo up top. Making it look a bit tighter like it's an image.

If you really want your text to "pop" focus on using bold, italics, different font sizes, using paragraphs, and split the text up with uniquely styled information blocks. For example our quote box looks like this:

Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry's standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book.

When you use Google fonts, you are giving more data to Google for free. They offer these fonts for a reason, not altruism about making the web prettier. They want the juicy analytics. More web traffic for them to track and analyze. If the visitor goes around your site, and clicks 8 pages. That's a strong indicator that this user is very interested in your particular service or product. Each page visit they're using the font and sending Google a signal of just how interested they are. Then Google would be smart to start showing them your competitors advertisements in order to get paid from the advertisement clicks.

Using Google fonts makes your visitors experience worse. The browser has to load up another resource, and these resources are not tiny. It's an entire font for Pete's sake. 

There's also the annoying text glitch that happens a lot, text flickers as you're trying to read an article and the font has finally been downloaded. The site changes from something normal like Arial, to Google's font. This is annoying. Anything that messes with the view is annoying to users. And it could be happening to every user the first time they visit your website. It doesn't matter if they have downloaded the Google font on another site months ago. With modern browsers, it has to be re-downloaded for every site they visit. WHAT A WASTE. Users already have default fonts downloaded on their devices, USE THOSE. 

Let me tell you the truth. Your users do not care what font your website is using. This is something designers procrastinate over and it's something that I've procrastinated with myself in the past. And you absolutely should not waste resources and let your website performance suffer, just to make it look "pretty". It's completely unnecessary. 

Finally. If you absolutely MUST use Google fonts... use this tool to export the font files and then host them on your own server. This will improve performance because the browser doesn't need to visit a different third-party website to download resources. 

This isn't an attack on Google, merely good advice on keeping your best interests in mind, and keeping your website performance high for your visitors.

by Justin Chaschowy
Cheetah chief. Lives in Africa and makes you money by improving your site. To serve your customers better, and lower hosting costs (usually to $0). He enjoys boxing, Linux OS, and finding good films to watch with his wife.