Reading content on a screen is a completely different experience than reading a book, novel, or magazine in paperback. In fact, the online readers like to scan a piece of content that is a bird’s eye view of the overall article or blog-post.
Your readers may leave the page if the content is irrelevant, outdated, or difficult to read. Write a fresh piece of content and post it when it is needed the most, whereas for enhancing readability, I have compiled this entire tutorial. This lists 10 different ways to make your writings readable. Give it a read and add some of your personal tips in making your content easy to read.
1. Create an Outline and Stick to it
Writing an outline may seem to be a tough job if you have recently started blogging. However, it is significant in laying down the foundation of your post. It is like deciding on your content structure and concepts so that your thoughts do not deviate from the actual topic. As a result, you stay within the context regardless of sharing and discussing multiple examples in support of your arguments.
2. Get to Know Your Target Audience
This may seem to be a cliché tip, but it is a significant one. You cannot write in flow if you do not know the people for whom you intend to write. By knowing their common interests and behavior, you can write examples and share real-life stories to make them easily feel and understand rather than skipping through paragraphs.
3. Pursue Writing Simple Paragraphs
Understand the concept of coherence and practice it in writing readable content. It is about simplifying your idea with a clear and supportive argument. Do not beat about the bushes when you want to deliver something valuable and worth reading.
Try to achieve a logical connection between sentences one after another in a paragraph. If you write one paragraph about one aspect, try to discuss a similar concept in the succeeding one. The paragraphs that fail to achieve coherence are hard to read and understand for the readers.
4. Start with Short and Crisp Sentences
Short sentences make the readers scan the entire concept in a go. These have a simple structure and easy vocabulary that compel the readers to keep on reading until the end. A visitor may continue reading the text until he or she enjoys reading it. Readers lose interest as soon as they come across complex structures of sentences.
One of the secret benefits behind short sentences is the avoidance of grammatical mistakes. A sentence that has more than 20 words is considered a long sentence, which is known as a hard to read one. Keep the word limit to 20 in a sentence. In a paragraph, a long sentence is usually allowed. Whereas, elongating every sentence may put your readers in trouble.
5. Connect Thoughts with Transitional Phrases
For the sake of readability, there must be a connection between thoughts of different sentences so that a reader keeps on reading with the flow. This can be achieved with transitional words such as because, besides that, therefore, additionally, etc.
There are numerous ways you can incorporate transition words in your write-ups. You can utilize such words and phrases for comparing, contradicting, or adding more ideas to a paragraph. It is like bridging the gap between the concepts of a sentence with its preceding one.
Make best use of transitions for indicating time such as meanwhile, for a day, for few seconds, previously, formerly, soon, immediately, etc. in the same way, you can denote space and surroundings by words like on the top, at the bottom, in the center, opposite, behind, nearby, etc.
6. Limit the Use of High-Flown Vocabulary
The lesser you use advanced vocabulary, the more people start understanding your creative product. The crux of readability lies in the use of words that are spoken or written in a routine so that a nonprofessional can easily understand it. Try to use simple vocabulary. Words with four or higher number of syllables are hard to read.
The rule of using the language of a common person does not apply to all kinds of writings. Within the web content writing, you may need to write tutorials, expert reviews, and user guides that may require you to write in a technical language. There, you have the freedom as the target audience is expected to know the terminology and jargons. However, while writing for a common user, you have to stick to a plain language.
7. Be Creative in Using a Mix of Words
If a piece of writing demands repetition of a few words, try to be creative in using a mixed vocabulary rather than repeating the same word over and again. The readers enjoy a write-up that has a variety of easy and simple synonyms or words similar in meaning.
Writers or bloggers has a set of vocabulary. They are often habitual to use the same vocabulary in every article or blog they create. If you stop reading novels, stories, or even the newspaper, you will fail in word choice or selection of relevant phrases.
In addition, to start a habit of reading, you can instantly seek help from free online tools to explore a glossary of words. Some of the worth mentioning tools I use includes Merriam-Webster thesaurus and one look reverse dictionary
8. Try to Write and Format Content in F-Shape
The F-shaped pattern is quite popular in producing and laying out content for screen readers as they are supposed to scan the text in a go rather giving the page a full read. This makes the first few sentences and paragraphs of an article or blog high vulnerable to catching user attention.
If the starting lines worth a read, the users tend to scroll down and continue going through the whole text. This may require you to use heading tags and bullet points for highlighting some of the significant ideas and concepts,
This may get a little bit tricky, as working on such a strategy to increase user engagement may need design assistance as well.
9. Limit the Use of Passive Voice
Writing in a passive tone is not bad at all. There are times when you need them the most. However, for attaining high readability in content, you may need to avoid it or limit its use. There is nothing harm in using it as it depends on your style of writing.
The core reason behind the use of active voice is that it looks natural. Therefore, it would be better if you create blogs in an active tone, but this is not a final rule to ignore the practical and natural occurrence of passive voice. Additionally, there is a difficulty in differentiating the passive voice from the past participle. Therefore, in pursuit of removing the passive voice from your writings, you may remove the sense-making past participles, which may not have equal and satisfying alternatives.
10. Write for School Goers to Make Your Writings Readable
You might have tried the readability score testing tools that are available basketful like Hemmingway Editor, Readability Formulas, or Readable IO. Try any of them and you will get the score with respect to school grades. A readability grade of 7 means a student of the seventh class can easily read and understand the text. The moment you start afresh, you may create content for a grade 12 or above student, which can be improved by the techniques I had mentioned above in this article. Pursue securing for grade 9 or below to make sure young school goers get to know what you want to say in a post.
– Final Thoughts
Making your writings readable is the core of any digital or content marketing strategy as the entire promotions and outreach effort goes in vain is the end user does not understand what you want to convey. This is not a backbreaking job if you get the basics of writing in a plain language. Do take care of it writing from the beginning of your career or blog; else, your blog may also fail the way I did.
Start with a clear and concise outline, move on to writing the way you talk. There is no need to use technical or literary terms. You may skip them for thesis, technical reviews, and research. However, the web content writing does not demand that. Set yourself free in discussing topics in a real-life scenario and the readers will start to connect with your true self.