While every tap of the keyboard can inform, persuade or entertain your customers – ultimately that content is there to sell. That’s why content appears throughout your website and blogs.
But what if your content is too difficult to understand, or isn’t formatted in a user-friendly way?
A lack of content readability is something that can happen on any website. Even as trends change, previous content may no longer be readable to your audience.
Here is why content readability is important and how to make sure yours is on point.
What Is Content Readability?
Content readability measures how easy it is for someone to understand your content.
If your content is readable it should communicate easily with the intended audience.
Readability considers aspects such as the language level along with the visual presentation of your content.
Content that is readable will remove as many barriers as possible for that content to be understood.
Why Is Content Readability Important?
Think about the last time you read a piece of content and you found it confusing or simply too intensive to read through. Did you stay until the end, share the content or make a purchase?
The answer is probably no.
As a business, you want your content to be readable to make the journey through the sales funnel as smooth as possible. Poorly written content can create unnecessary hurdles which can actually cost your business more money. This is especially compared with writing that content professionally with readability in mind to begin with.
Content readability reduces the chance that users will switch off. By keeping people on the page and engaged, the objectives for your content can best be reached.
Things That Can Reduce Content Readability
In truth, there are endless things that can reduce content readability. Most of these relate to not factoring in your audience in some form.
Language complexity – Writing for mobile or computer screens is not the same as writing for print. When reading through content on digital devices, users prefer simplistic phrases and shorter sentences.
Using vague language – On the other end of the scale, it’s also possible not to use the right language to properly explain something. By not giving tangible examples that even someone new to your business can understand (similar to an elevator pitch) the message can get lost.
Lack of formatting – Nobody likes to read through a huge bulk of text! Headings, bullet points, line spacing and visual elements can all make content more readable.
Poor web design – Even the most readable content becomes unreadable with the wrong design elements on a page, especially a landing page.
Lack of accessibility – Let’s not forget that 20% of the world’s population is considered disabled. Some users may use tech such as screen readers to read your content. Messy page formatting or complex text can reduce the readability for such users.
How AI & Tech Has Influenced Content Readability
Reading on a screen is different to reading a book or a newspaper. As of 2022, 60% of all web traffic came from mobile phones rather than desktop computers.
Picture yourself trying to read through content on your phone. Having to scroll through excessive paragraphs causes a thumb ache just as it does a headache.
If you’ve had a play with ChatGPT or any other AI tool, you might notice the one thing that always happens. That is, any answers are given in short sentences.
In recent years, there’s been a shift in how digital content is written. To make it easier to digest, short sentences and simple explanations are preferred.
How to check content readability
Many content readability checkers now exist such as Hemingway App.
Paste your text in and you’ll instantly see how readable your content is. Of course, readability checkers aren’t an exact science, and as a writer or editor, you always have the final say. That said, seeing if a simpler alternative may exist for your content is always helpful.
Another useful exercise is to manually read through old content on your website. Ask yourself whether the content is easy to read and whether it’s even still relevant.
As noted above, sentence lengths and paragraphs are getting shorter in digital content. So sometimes older content may be bulkier. It can be an easy fix to go in and edit content to make it more readable where necessary. Plus there can be SEO benefits of updating an existing page.
How to improve content readability
Always remember that less is more.
So where possible, consider improving content readability through:
– Bullet points
– Images or video segments
– Logical content structure
– Plain language
– Remove bulk from paragraphs
– Shorter sentences
– Simple text
– Website responsiveness
Also watch out for user feedback. If you get any comments about the content being too difficult to read or even problems with the web page itself these issues will also need fixing.
Don’t Forget – Content Readability Will Also Differ Depending On The Audience
Every audience demographic is different. So when writing a piece of content, it’s key that the use of language fits who that content is aimed at. So while short sentences improve readability, simple words and phrases aren’t always a perfect fit for your target audience.
Before writing a word of content, always have a clear idea of its target audience. This includes aspects such as the typical gender, age and education level to build a picture of who you’re talking to.
Finally, also remember that content needs to be read as if it’s written in the mother tongue of the audience. For example, did you know there are 15 variants of the English language alone?
A common instance is the difference between British English and American English. Using words such as ‘gas pedal’ instead of ‘accelerator’ and ‘cilantro’ instead of ‘coriander’ would soon reduce the content readability for British audiences. So always apply the same consideration in terms of who the audience the content is for.
Imaginaire – Content Marketing For Businesses UK
Do you need help making your content more readable for your audiences?
Imaginaire is based in Nottingham and we help businesses across the UK and beyond succeed with their digital marketing.
As part of our wide service offering, we can create a content strategy to help your business best connect with its customers through the written word. Plus, we can also ensure your digital content is SEO friendly too.
To chat with us further about content marketing or any of our other services please drop us a message, or give us a call on 0115 697 1367.