Of course, there is no point in being a content writer and writing a blog if nobody is going to read it, and simply improving readability can attract more readers, especially those who return to read your next post.
Always keep your audience in mind when striving to improve readability. What does that mean?
The writing style of your content should be catered to who would be reading it. For example, your vocabulary and presentation be more specialized and challenging if it’s aimed at a group of professors or engineers. If your subject is aimed at school kids, clearly you should keep the text and the tone simpler. It may seem obvious, but you don’t want to write above or below your reader’s level — you want it just right.
That said, here are 5 layout and composition points you should always consider when putting together your posts for the best readability:
Once your paragraphs go beyond 7 or 8 sentences there is a danger of them becoming too long and potentially losing the interest of the reader. Try to keep them concise and to the point. To ensure your reader instantly grasps the main point you are making always put your most important sentence at the beginning of the paragraph.
You can also improve readability of your blog by limiting your sentences to about 20 words. Many readers have some difficulty with longer sentences, and they may lose interest even before they finish reading it.
A good general rule is to only have one long sentence in each paragraph, although if you are writing in a language other than English, a whole new set of rules may well apply. And if you write shorter sentences, it’s more difficult to make grammatical or punctuation errors.
Don’t Use Too Many Difficult Words
Because most of us find it harder to read from a screen than a printed page, try not to use too many long and difficult words, which can slow down the reader. A word can be considered long if it contains at least 4 syllables. In many cases, you can probably find a word containing fewer syllables that has the same meaning.
Of course, there are exceptions to every rule. If for example, your blog post was all about illustrations, you would have no choice but to use that 4 syllable word several times. If you have no choice but to use long words, then make sure that you keep your sentences and paragraphs short.
Transition Words to Improve Readability
Providing direction and guidance to your readers is important if you want your blog to be a success. You can do that by using transition words or signal words. As the name suggests, a transition word is a transition between two sentences – think of it like a small bridge connecting two thoughts. The use of these words can help readers better understand your content and the relation between one sentence and the next.
Some common transition words include ‘additionally’, ‘besides that’, and ‘most importantly’. The use of the words ‘while’, ‘either’ and ‘however’ can help to contrast and compare what you are saying in two consecutive sentences. If a reader sees the words ‘therefore’ or ‘consequently’ they will rightly assume you are trying to state a conclusion or sum it all up. And using ‘first’, ‘second’ or ‘third’ clearly means that you are summarizing.
Mix It Up
As pointed out previously, most of us find it more challenging to read from a screen than a printed page. Varying the text and generally mixing things up a little can improve readability and keep your reader interested. By that we mean try to replace a commonly used word with another that has the same meaning. A common example might be using ‘moreover’ and ‘also’ instead of the words ‘too’ and ‘and’.
Varying your sentence length is recommended too. Although you don’t want many sentences that are just too long, it’s acceptable to incorporate a mix of long and short sentences, along with the occasional long word, such as ‘occasional’.
As a content writer, it can sometimes be a challenge to write text for your blog that is concise and readable, as well as interesting or useful. You also want your text to be SEO friendly too. Remember to begin by writing to your audience level. Think short paragraphs, a mix of long and short sentences with the emphasis on less than 20 words, avoiding a lot of long words. Additionally, those often underused transition words can go a long way in having your reader easily understand your points and have an enjoyable experience.
The tips above will help you to become a more compelling content writer. By improving the readability of what you write you will bring readers back time and again. Best of luck!