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6 Ways To Improve The Readability Of Your Content

Improving the readability of your content

Why do you need to assess the readability of your content?

Effectively, highly readable, concise, simple content is able to increases the proportion of readers whom fully engage with it. As a result, you’re improving your site’s web traffic whilst also enhancing the educational capability of the content itself.

Typically, people only read about 20% of the text on an average page, it’s essential to make your content easy to read.

Furthermore, enhancing the readability of your content directly improves your Search Engine Optimisation, with search engines factoring readability into account when judging the ranking of a search. Pages displayed first are those judged to most directly suit a user’s search or question; the more readable the content on your site is found to be, the more likely it is to satisfy the algorithm.

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 doesn’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 to impress them.

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.

  1. 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. Simplifying the language used enhances the size of audience that it will appeal to; there is a balance however! Overly simplified language can appear basic, or lacking in confidence, particularly when discussing a technical or specialised subject.

Striking a deft balance of producing knowledgeable, worthwhile content that is also simple to the general reader is not always easy, but honing the craft over time is an essential step to improving your content’s readability. A survey amongst business owners noted that nearly 90% of subjects believed that people used jargon to ‘cover up the fact that they have no idea what they are talking about!’ – a warning sign…

  1. Emphasise the use of 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. In terms of both readability and SEO capability, the general understanding is that 15-20 words is ‘the golden zone’ in marketing content. Shorter content can be deemed worthless by Google, whereas overly long structure can lose a reader’s interest.

  1. 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.

Do bear in mind that more complex topics allow for a more complex means of writing, and as such, using readability tools should be tailored differently for each piece that you produce – settling on a default score that you aim for would be a unwise, as it will likely prove overly complex or overly simplified for the varying topics focused on.

  1. Proof-read Your Content

It is essential to proof-read your content to ensure there are no spelling errors and grammatical issues. But, 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.

Always consider the opinion of another person before signing off content; it’s easy to miss mistakes when you’re proof reading your own work. Scanning your own work is particularly susceptible to having errors ignored, so a second set of eyes is essential!

  1. 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. It translates to all writing, not just that of a marketing nature, but there is a general belief that shorter, snappier paragraph forms are more suitable for holding a reader’s attention than those of a longer disposition – when considering the increasing power of short-form video content, it isn’t a surprise that readers are looking for brief, quick reads.

Summary

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 improve the readability of your content and ensure it adds real value to your business.

To find out how you can get more from your content, please get in touch today.