Everything You Need To Know About Readability
Readability expresses the level of intelligibility of a text by the reader.
In this age where information is easily accessible, people prefer easily scannable texts. So, it is important to ensure that your text is clear and concise so that the reader can easily comprehend the information they need.
There are many factors that affect the readability of a text. You can improve its readability with the right techniques.
In this blog post, we will examine what readability is, a few tips, and basic tools you can use to make your texts easy to read.
What is content readability?
The readability of content refers to how easy (or difficult) it is for a reader to understand the text you have written. This is determined by various factors such as sentence structure, word choice, and complexity of ideas.
Why is readability important?
We are in an era of content abundance. It is challenging in itself to make readers find your title interesting and click on it on Google.
Let’s say you managed to do that, then what?
If the reader encounters a poorly structured, redundant, and hard-to-read text even if they find your title interesting and click on it, they will not spend their time on it. It will cause your readers to leave your page. (Your bounce rate will increase.)
On the other hand, an easy-to-read text makes delivering the message and directing the reader to the desired action easier.
Every sentence of your text should encourage the reader to continue reading and be suitable for your target audience.
You must have heard of Google's Helpful Content Update. Yes, the readability score does not affect the ranking. However, instead of content filled with keywords and not providing any benefit to the reader, easy-to-read and reader-focused content will satisfy Google -and of course your readers.
How can you ensure that your content is easily understandable for your readers? Let's take a look together.
Tips for readability in your texts
1. Create a clear structure with headings
Use the heading hierarchy to create a clear structure. This way, the reader scans through the entire text just by reviewing the headings and grasping what it is about.
Subheadings help readers evaluate whether the information they are looking for is in this text.
Also, using keywords in titles is important for SEO performance. With a well-thought-out headline structure, you improve SEO performance and also provide a compass for your readers to find what they are looking for.
2. Keep sentences and paragraphs short
Long sentences can be difficult to follow and cause readers to lose interest. Short, direct, and clear sentences encourage reading.
Likewise, large text blocks are often overwhelming. Divide your paragraphs using subheadings and bullet points to make your content easier to scan.
For example, as PUN Content, we pay attention to the paragraph length being a maximum of 4 and the sentence length being a maximum of 2 lines. Thus, we increase white space which can be expressed as breathing space.
3. Determine your jargon based on your target audience
Technical terms and industry jargon can be confusing for readers who are not familiar with them. Use an easy-to-understand, simple language. You can make your content more understandable by explaining terms that your readers do not understand.
At this point, it is important to know your target audience well. If you're writing on a technical topic for people who really know these terms, too simple an explanation can be boring. Choosing a language that appeals to your target audience is more beneficial.
4. Use active sentence structure
Active sentence structure is more attractive than passive sentence structure. For example, "I wrote the book" is a better choice than "The book was written by me."
5. Use listing and bullet points
Especially if you are listing things, writing them one after another in a long sentence makes reading difficult. Lists and bullet points make your content easier to read.
Readers mostly pay attention to the bullet points when scanning the page. You can highlight important parts of your content by using bullet points. Also, this way you present your content in a more organized way.
6. Design your page properly
Details such as the font you choose, visual usage, paragraph width, and white spaces affect the readability of the text. Therefore, when writing your content, pay attention to both the words and the page that the text will be shared.
To make it easier to read, you can choose to use graphics, charts or visuals that summarize the subject in accordance with your content.
Do you need support to produce content that appeals to your target audience and provides benefits? Contact us today and let us create content that adds value to your business.
How to check the readability of the content?
There are many tools that can help you check the readability of your content. Before mentioning these tools, we want to mention how you can check them yourself.
The best readability test will be the final reading you will do as a reader. Here are a few methods you can try:
Read the text out loud
Reading the completed text out loud allows you to notice the places that make reading difficult.
When reading out loud, pay attention to the following:
Where did you pause?
Is there a section that makes the flow difficult and distracts you?
Which sentences do you need to read repeatedly?
When reading out loud, you will quickly notice which words work and which ones don't. The places where you pause or need to reread in order to understand are likely to be complex sentences. In this way, you determine the parts that need to be changed.
Take a break before editing
When you work on a text for a long time, you start to slip up on mistakes. Unfortunately, even very obvious mistakes get ignored due to this reason.
The easiest way to do this is to get help from another set of eyes. Someone who reads the text for the first time will quickly see the points that make reading difficult. However, you can still manage to do that even if you don't have a colleague with you.
If possible, leave it aside for a while after completing the content. When you start editing later, you can easily notice errors.
Tools for checking readability
If you want to pass your content through a tool after checking it yourself, there are many options available. However, it is important to trust your own instincts and what you think while reading, rather than relying on these tools' evaluations.
Some tools that will help you convey your message and be rewarded for your content marketing efforts are:
Grammarly is a popular tool that checks your text for grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors. It can also identify complex sentences and suggest simpler alternatives. In this way, it makes the text easier to read.
Hemingway App highlights long, complex sentences and suggests shorter, simpler alternatives. Additionally, it helps you avoid passive voice.
Readable is a useful tool that analyzes your content and provides a readability score based on various measurements such as the Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease score and the Gunning Fog Index. It also provides suggestions to improve the readability of your content.
If you use WordPress, you can use the Yoast SEO plugin to optimize your content. It not only checks your content for readability but also provides suggestions to improve its SEO.
You can get help from a professional team to create reader-oriented and easy-to-read content that conveys the message you want. As PUN Content, we produce easy-to-understand content specific to each of our customers' target audiences.
Contact us and let’s talk about what we can do together.