Readability matters these days. Search engines are constantly battling against keyword stuffing, so they’re now able to analyze the pages they’re crawling to improve (or lower) their search position.Tips to Improve Readability by Editing Your Blog Posts
Readability also matters too, well, readers. If it’s hard to read, it’ll be hard to share. You want readers to engage with your content, understand it, and hopefully pass it along.Tips to Improve Readability by Editing Your Blog Posts
Here are 14 Killer Tips to Improve Readability by Editing Your Blog Posts.
Fonts aren’t just for designers. A font can make or break the readability of your site. By simply changing the font you use on an article, you can drastically increase (or decrease) the engagement it gets.Tips to Improve Readability by Editing Your Blog Posts
This is not something you’ll want to do on a post-by-post basis, so you should only have to do it once on your site. Here are the 12 best fonts to use in your blog for readability.
Use Jargon Wisely
Know your audience. If it’s a highly technical audience, or a very niche one, jargon might be acceptable. However, if you’re reaching out to a broad-based portion of the population, you’ll want to limit jargon or provide the definition. If it goes over the audience’s head, they’ll leave.Tips to Improve Readability by Editing Your Blog Posts
Subheadings Are Easy to Scan
Break up a wall of text into sections. Use subheadings for each major point you’re trying to make in the article. They create a visual hierarchy for the post you’re writing. This isn’t a rule just for bloggers, it’s used by the translation bureau to ensure readability of their work. It works and is universally accepted as good policy.Tips to Improve Readability by Editing Your Blog Posts
Lists, Lists, Lists!
Lists are one of the easiest things to understand. If you’re just scanning down an article, you may catch a subheading and then the list underneath. This will help the overall readability of whatever point you’re making. Using lists has several benefits:
- They’re tidy looking.
- They’re simple.
- They’re easy to skim.
- Everyone understands them.
Lists can be a little more complex than that – but the theory is the same.
Bold, Italic, Underline, Strikeout
It’s not just the font you’re going to use – it’s how you use the font. Use all the of the typography tools at your disposal to highlight important parts. It will increase the time spent reading on your blog. Why? It increases readability.
Start with Your Conclusion
The first part of the paragraph is always the point you want to make. The rest of the paragraph is just the material to support that point. Newspapers do this very effectively. Open any newspaper and the most important info is at the top, while the rest is further down. Re-read this paragraph for another example.
Write at 5th Grade Level (Generally Speaking)
This is a general point. Your blog may be highly technical or aimed at a niche audience. If you’re going to the general population, though, 5th grade is where it’s at. 75% of Americans will understand what you write at a 5th-grade level. It drops off dramatically after that. Keep it simple.
Keep Sentence Length Short
If your sentences are hitting 20 words, that’s too long. Very few sentences should have that many words. You find very few sentences that long in this article because they’re too hard to skim. If your point takes more than 20 words, split it up into more sentences.
Use Transition Words
Because, However, Thus, Most Important – All transition words. There are hundreds of transition words. They let the reader know where you’re taking them. They “transition” the reader to the next point. This will help them read the content, and understand it. If you’re just spouting facts without transition words, they’re likely missing the point.
Books are allowed to have dramatic and drawn out paragraphs. Blogs are not. When reading a blog, you’re not giving it the same patience you are a novel. You have very little time to gain and keep someone’s attention. Keep paragraphs short and they’ll be easy to scan and read.
Use Links to Highlight Your Point
This article only uses links to highlight a point. For example, if you’re talking about pitfalls that can throw off your writing dynamics, link to more information about it. Just like I did there. If the reader wants more info, it’s there to grab – but you’re not cluttering the article with more outside info.
Caption Your Images
Images are fantastic. Use them as much as possible. Just make sure you add captions to them. Not just “Home” or “Trip to Peru” but in a way that explains how the image relates to the post. You want them to be a sentence or two in order to make it easy to scan and understand. If you’re talking about saving money while traveling, a caption could be “The market where we were able to negotiate half price groceries in central Paris.”
Surprise Your Audience
Vary the way you write your content to keep their attention. Don’t be afraid to throw in some stats, add an infographic and use a video to highlight your points. By mixing things up, you’ll keep it interesting and increase engagement. You can do this right off the top to increase content engagement by writing titles that grab attention and surprise your audience. You don’t need to go full-on click bait, just make it interesting.
These are sometimes called “pull out quotes” where a line or two from the article is repeated – before the place, it appears in the blog post – in big letters to gather interest. You’ll see magazine style articles use this method very effectively. Pull out a few gems, and use them almost as images to get the reader to understand the article and continue to read on.
When tackling readability, try to proofread your posts in a way that will give you a fresh perspective on them. If it’s something you’ve just written, take a break. Leave it until the next day if you can.Tips to Improve Readability by Editing Your Blog Posts
You want to approach the post like an actual reader and read it through. If your mind starts to wander, you start to stumble reading, or you’re bored – use the tips above to increase the readability. If you like reading it, chances are your readers will too.
About the Author: Janet Anthony is a blogger from Kansas City who has been writing professionally for five years now. She mostly writes about blogging, digital marketing, and SEO. Her motto is “What you do today can improve all your tomorrows”. Find Janet here: twitter