Thursday 27 July 2017

Readability: Importance of Writing Simple

Readability is the term used to describe how easy your piece is to read

Readability is one of the most ignored aspects when writing articles. In content marketing, readability is the level of ease in understanding the written text. Content marketers and writers often use words that are far too advanced in an effort to emphasise their knowledge on a particular subject matter. These words do more harm than good.

Readability is Keeping it Simple

The point of writing an article is to get a message across to the readers and has to be written in a manner that can be easily understood by the masses. When readers struggle to make sense of your message, they become easily distracted and often bail on the article.

The key is to write at a grade eight or nine level. This doesn’t mean you have to talk down to your audience and there is no need to avoid complex subjects or ideas when writing. The writer should convey their message through a simple, easy to understand style, regardless of the subject matter.

Always remember, when using the internet, readers have shorter attention spans. The clearer and more concise the message, the more efficiently your message will be understood.

Simple is More Attractive

 Writing simple may sound simple, but on the contrary; it involves more effort than simply writing what’s on your mind. For instance, we marketers would easily drop words like ROI, bottom line, conversion and engagement in an article thinking nothing of it. Unintentionally, we are excluding a large group of audience who may not be familiar with marketing acronyms or jargon.

Your content should be able to speak to your readers and should not confuse them and write in a simple language will make your content more appealing and accessible to a wider audience.

Simple is Smarter

Writers often believe using complicated language will make them sound intelligent. Research says otherwise. A study on applied cognitive psychology suggests that an author who uses simplified text is perceived more intelligent.

“If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” – Albert Einstein

Your content is not a place for you to show off your extensive vocabulary. Avoid difficult and complex words. Instead, make your words as short and concise as possible.

Simple is Popular

Readability has an impact on search engine rankings. By increasing your content’s readability, your readers are more likely to read through to the end of your article or stay on your page.

When ranking articles, search engines subject articles to readability tests to calculate its readability score. The score of your article will likely affect your search engine rankings (SEO). The more readable your article is, the higher that page will rank.

A readability score tells you what level of education a reader should have to be able to understand your text. The most popular tool is the Flesch-Kincaid readability test. This test simply calculates the number of words in the sentence and the number of syllables per word. Based on the results, the body of text is assigned a grade reading level.

To check the readability score of an article you are writing, copy and paste your article into the Website: Readable.io.  It will generate a score for you. Remember, for online articles, your goal is to write at a grade eight or nine level.

Writing a great article is as much about simplicity as it is about sparking interest among your readers. By writing simple, your content will be read, understood and shared by more people.

“Out of intense complexities, intense simplicities emerge. Broadly speaking, the short words are the best, and the old words are best of all.” – Winston Churchill

About the author

Michael Chenier has worked in the advertising, website development, online marketing and the magazine publishing industry for the past 20 years. He currently owns ARORE COMMUNICATIONS