Can Your Audience Read Your Blogs?
By Sarah Malcolm, COO of The Content Funnel
With a title like that, you may be wondering the angle of this blog. Simple: not all written content is as easy to read as others. Researched search engine optimization, and you should come across the concept of “readability” as a part of SEO. “Readability” measures how well your general audience understands your writing. A complex concept with industry jargon, like a high-level SEO guide, wouldn’t be as easy to read as a blog listing the top retail centers.
Educational professionals have different ways and indexes to measure a text’s ‘readability,’ but essentially it has to do with the vocabulary, sentence structure, and text features like headings.
Most blogs aren’t intended to be technical documents. Blogs should quickly relate the most important ideas about a topic. However, if you write long sentences and with specific terminology, chances are the readability is low. This risks turning away general audience readers.
Readability measurement tools show a score that corresponds to a grade level. The average person reads on a 6-7 grade level, but industry-specific content could score much higher. This is acceptable as long as the written content is intended for readers educated about your particular topic.
How can you improve readability?
#1. Work with blogging best practices.
We’ve detailed blogging best practices before. By optimizing your blogs for mobile devices, you’ll additionally help the content’s readability. Lists and headers segment information. These text features highlight the key concepts and make blogs easy to skim.
#2. Stay focused on the customer
Commercial real estate clients work with educated people experienced in reading technical information. A higher vocabulary level isn’t necessarily a strike against your writing. Going too simple could drive away readers. The readability level will depend on your blog’s purpose. Explaining a technical concept would naturally require sophisticated verbiage. To make the document accessible to readers, clearly define the industry-specific terms or write out abbreviations for their first use.
#3. Simplify sentence structure.
Mix up your sentence structures. Think of a clean, Hemingway-like structure. Cut unnecessary words like adverbs. Shorter sentences naturally read faster, but for interest keep the structure varied. The ideal sentence structure keeps ideas running smoothly. Break large text segments into bullet points or numbered lists.
How can you assess your blog’s readability?
A few different free and paid tools exist to measure readability. Some of these include a Readability calculator, Gunning Fog Index calculator, and STORYToolz. Your blog may even have an SEO tool that includes a readability measure, such as Yoast. Some grammar checkers will highlight words with a simpler word for replacement. This reduces potential readability challenges.
Readability isn’t something you might think about as a turn-off for readers. It’s a concept you want to be aware of when writing your quality blogs, ebooks, and white papers. Writing for real estate is a talent, for sure. You can consult with an expert real estate writer to fine-tune your blogging strategy and make your written content more accessible to its readers.