Why do you need to worry about how easy your content is to read? Put simply, making your content easy to read increases the number of people who read all of it. It also means more people can get the key messages from your content even when they just skim read it. Since only about 20% of the text on an average page is read, it’s important to make your content easy to read.
Another reason to improve the readability of your content is that search engines take readability into account when ranking pages in the search results. They display pages that are easy to understand and quickly provide answers to questions your customers may have. Here are 6 ways to improve the readability of your content.
1. Know Your Audience
Who do you want to read the content? If your audience don’t have a developed understanding of the content topic, then you need to ensure the language used is not confusing.
If the content is targeting experts in your industry, then you’ll need to go into detail and demonstrate your own knowledge. However, if you were writing content that you hoped would be read by those with minimal knowledge on your topic, keeping the language simple is best.
Consider how you expect the content to be read – if you are looking to attract attention with a lightweight article then the style needs to be more attention grabbing and accessible. A detailed technical document that will be read with care and concentration only by those highly motivated to absorb the content can be more complex.
2. Avoid Using Jargon
Jargon terms used by a specific profession or group are difficult for others to understand. Only use jargon if your content is solely intended for those that understand the terms. You don’t want to confuse your readers or continuously define jargon for them. Try to simplify what you write so that everyone understands it.
3. Use Short Words and Sentences
To make your content easy to read, use short words. If it is possible to use a two-syllable word instead of a four-syllable word, this is preferred. Shorter words are less challenging for the brain to process, making a piece that uses them easier to read. Using short sentences is also likely to improve readability. Long and convoluted sentences are challenging to read and understand, so keep sentences as short as possible and cut straight to the point.
4. Use a Readability Tool
Readable.com is an online tool that analyses a passage of text and produces several statistics relating to its readability. Sentences that are difficult to read are highlighted and suggestions are offered to improve it. Readable.com includes a Flesch-Kincaid reading ease score out of 100, with 100 being the easiest to read and 0 being the most challenging.
5. Proof-read Your Content
It is essential to proof-read your content to ensure there are no spelling errors and grammatical issues. Word has a simple proofing tool that highlights all spelling errors and grammar issues. You can also enable the readability measure in Word’s proofing, which then provides you with a Flesch-Kincaid score out of 100. However, do not solely rely on readability tools and spellcheckers as they can’t help you with the flow of your piece or whether you have made a good argument.
There is no substitute for good proof-reading to ensure you are making sense!
6. Break Up Your Text
Make sure that you don’t present readers with a wall of impenetrable text! Ensure that you break your piece up into manageable sections with headings and sub-headings. This helps people easily find the areas that are of most interest to them. They can also get a sense of your argument and the content itself from the headers you use.
Writing an engaging article that’s also easy to read is no simple task, hence why many businesses outsource their content writing. Our in-house copywriters specialise in crafting content that your customers will truly enjoy reading. No matter whether you need authoritative thought leadership pieces, lively blogs, informative case studies or compelling website copy, we can help.
To find out how you can get more from your content, please get in touch today.