How Important is Readability to Your Website?
Have you ever received a document, perhaps of a legal or financial matter, and found yourself struggling to understand exactly what it is saying? If so, then chances are, you either asked someone to give you a simpler explanation, set it aside to be dealt with later, or worse, signed it without truly knowing what you agreed to. This is because readability is a ‘must have’ element in communication.
Your website content should be easy to read and understand by visitors. Wikipedia defines ‘readability’ as “the ease at which a reader can understand written text”. So, does readability matter? In short, yes.
According to Google, readability is one of the factors in their ranking algorithm. Consequently, it’s not just helpful for your audience to keep things simple, it coud actually help your website ranking as well. To make this achievable, one tool used by man writers is the Flesch Reading Ease test.
The Flesch Reading Ease formula considers a number of factors and then gives your content a score. Ideally, your website content needs to have a score of 60 and above which means that the content is written in plain English and can be understood by 13 to 15 year old student; a score of 90 to 100 means that a site is very easy to read, and easily understood by an 11 year old.
The following tips will help in improving the readability of your website and help you score well on the Flesch Reading Ease test.
Tips to Improve Website Readability
- Less is more – People don’t want to wade through long paragraphs of information. Keep your article concise and interesting.
- Short paragraphs – Keep paragraphs to no more than 6 sentences. Shorter paragraphs are easier to read and don’t overwhelm the reader.
- Use headings – Make it easy for people to skim the information. In addition, by using your keywords in header tags <H1> to <H3> you will also help boost your search engine results. It is also important to minimize how many words follow each subheading. Ideally, there should be no more than 300 words under a subheading.
- Mix it up – Vary the length of the sentences so that the content flows, rather than feeling stilted. Also, use synonyms where possible, and be careful not to begin multiple sentences with the same word.
- Transition words – These include “for example”, “however”, “consequently” or “as such” that help combine thoughts and create a logical flow between sentences.
- Voice – Keep passive sentences to a minimum as they make writing appear weak and less focused. For example, “a meal was cooked by Sharon” is passive, while “Sharon cooked a meal” is active and more to the point.
- Get it checked – Before posting your website content to your site, try using a tool like the Hemmingway Editor app, as this will identify areas that may need corrected. Another option is to install a tool such as the free Yoast SEO plugin, which will check your content for web readability and identify areas that need improvement in regards to SEO/SERP ranking.
Readability is a key component in a well-designed website. If you are concerned about your website’s content, or have other website related questions, be sure to talk to one of the developers at Page Progressive today.