Table of Contents Hide
- What is Readability?
- What is a Readability Score?
- Factors for Determining Readability
- How to Increase your Readability Score
- Benefits of Good Readability
- Tools to Improve your Readability Score
- You Can Read These Also
As a writer, one of the things you should pay close attention to is the readability of your text, and how to increase it if the value is low.
This is because the readability of your content is the sauce you need to present your content to your readers.
As a matter of fact, it is a key metric that boosts your SEO rankings, increase engagement and conversion rate. By ensuring that your content is readable, you increase the chances of your message being properly understood by your reader.
In this article, we’d discuss how to increase your readability score., as well as tools that can be of help.
What is Readability?
Readability is the major quality of your writing. It shows the ability of your readers to easily understand the context of your writing without stress.
Readability matters in all professions. In content marketing, it is very relevant, as it shows if your readers are engaged in your content.
If the readability of your text is high, people will be able to understand your sentences easily. In simple words, it would make more sense. This is why it is advisable to use readability tests and tools.
Although these tools are not 100% accurate, its still faster than having someone edit and test your work. More so, they help to cut unnecessary words.
What is a Readability Score?
A readability score is a number that tells you how easy-to-read your text is. As simple as this may sound, it can be complex too. This is because, people interprete readability at different levels.
What a Masters Student consider readable is different from what an eighth grader considers readable. Also, what is readable for you, may not be readable for others.
So, if you write what is only readable for you, there’d be a breach in communication between you and your reader.
Hence, when writing, aim for a high readability score, as there are lots of factors that are put into consideration.
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Factors for Determining Readability
For most readability tools, these factors go into determining readability
- Sentence length
- Use of headers
- Active and passive voice
- Too many short sentences give the content a staccato feeling of starting and stopping too often
- Small text, ambiguous words
- Lengthy and block paragraphs
- Vocabulary level
- Syllable count for each word
- Use of standard punctuation and mechanics
- Too many long sentences make the content feel heavy
- Paragraph length
- How common each word is
- The overall length of each word (on average)
In addition to these, there are design factors that affect readability for your user. When writing, you should reduce how much the reader must move/use his or eyes. Poor use of the page and overly long text can cause fatigue and make your site less successful.
How to Increase your Readability Score
Use these tips if you want to increase your readability score.
#1. Shorten your sentences
The first step to increasing your readability score is to shorten your sentences. Don’t try to put all the ideas into one sentence, it makes it ambiguous for your reader. Instead, shorten your long sentences, ensuring that each sentence passes an idea.
#2. Use few syllable words
When writing, it’s best to stick to one-and-two syllable words for easy comprehension. Avoid using longer words unless they are very familiar. In my experience as a writer, I’ve seen that using short syllable words greatly increases your readability score.
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#3. Shorten your paragraphs
I once read an article that had about 1000 words with just three paragraphs. I was shocked and frustrated while reading mostly because i just had to read the article.
It was difficult as tried to take breaks with my eyes but it just wasn’t working. I later resorted to using a pen to add breaks, to show where I stopped and should continue from. My experience was hell, and I don’t think you want your readers to feel like that too.
So when writing, pay as much attention to your paragraphs as you do to your sentences. In fact, if you have observed this article, you’d notice that all the paragraphs have at most 4 lines.
This helps you read this article better and understand the information I’m passing across. Keep it simple dear.
#4. Use short words
Why make it two, if one can work? If one word can pass the same information, then there’s no need to use more than one word.
For example, if “serene” can do the trick, then why do you need to use “very calm?” The goal is to make the words as short and as simple as possible.
#5. Write the language of your readers
The first step to writing is knowing who you are writing to. The importance of knowing your audience can never be overemphasized.
Know your audience and write for them. If you’re writing for a general audience then your choice of words should be easy to understand, such that anyone who wants to read your content should be able to do so.
#6. Be flexible
Writing in a formal tone, and using jargon can pursue your reader from your article because it’s exhausting.
To avoid this, write as if you were speaking to your readers. You would write naturally and not as a robot.
Also, try to keep it conversational than formal. If it doesn’t sound nice when you say it, then don’t write it.
#7. Good text design
The design of your text can improve its readability too. However most readability tools do not take note of this parameter.
Your text font makes a huge difference. Choose a headline font that contrasts with the body font, and makes it easy for your readers to know the difference.
Don’t forget colors too. Use colors that blend well with the font and general site background. Avoid animated GIFs and scrolling texts.
Keep it simple!
Benefits of Good Readability
The importance of readability cannot be overemphasized enough. Becasue readability is important for every profession. In marketing, it is one of the key metrics that help to convert readers to loyal customers.
Moreover, on average, readers read only about 20 percent of the text on a page. They just skim till they find what they need.
So, if you want to have better performance, you need to make all your texts readable. Other benefits include;
#1. Increased traffic
When people search for something, they use the most simple words they know. So, if your text is just full of ambiguous jargon, it will not appear in search results.
Keep in mind that your text is for human beings, not robots.
#2. Increased Conversions
If your sole aim of writing texts is to have more buyers, then you really need to give more attention to your readability.
Creating readable content makes your readers come back for more, and with time become loyal readers. This is because High-quality, readable content leads to conversions and more chance of business success.
#3. Better rankings
There are lots of reasons why your website is not ranking, and readability is one of them. Google and other major search engines pay close attention to how fast people leave your site if it appears on search results and is clicked.
Some of these reasons include bad design, boring content, unaccessible content, bad readability, amongst others.
Websites with readable contents tend to rank higher than websites with bad contents. So, have good, readable contents will make your website rank higher, and people would be able to find it.
#4. Increased engagements
If your users find your content easily readable, they’d be willing to engage with your posts and share their opinions.
So, resist the urge to write jargon and try to show everyone that you are smart with words. We know that already, just write something that we can all understand comfortably.
Tools to Improve your Readability Score
There are several tools that can be used to test the readability of your writing. Here are the best of them.
Grammarly is the most popular tool for writers, as it is very handy. It not only corrects your spelling mistakes but shows your readability score.
It has a grading scale of 0 to 100. So, anything from 60 and above is a good readability score to aim for.
#2. Yoast SEO Tool
If you use Yoast plugin then you must be familiar with its readability report. The readability report shows how readable your post is.
In addition, it is more complex and considers factors like transition words, paragraph length, sub-headings, sentence length, use of passive voice and the Flesch score.
WebFX is a free online readability tool that allows you get a comprehensive report of your readability score when you insert the URL.
#4. Hemingway Editor
Hemingway Editor is another popular online readability tool that can be used to improve the clarity of your writing.
Its readability tool breaks down your text in words, characters, phrases, readability score and shows the areas that need improvement in different colors.
#5. Microsoft Word
I’ve not used MS Word to check the readability of my texts, but I’ve heard positive reviews that it is a good tool too.
Here’s how to use Microsoft Word to check your readability score as described by WritingCoperative:
Open a Word document, go in File>Options>Proofing>When correcting spelling and grammar> Show readability statistics.
When your text is completed you can run a Spelling & Grammar Check and the readability statistics will display on your screen.
You will see a Flesch Reading Ease Score (anything above 60% is considered to be a good level) and a Flesch Kincaid grade level (between 7th and 9th-grade level is considered easy to read).
To become a good writer, you need to find out what your readability score is and use the several tools and tips listed in this article to improve it.
You’d be amazed at the results.