Is your content readable enough? Now what kind of question is that? Of course it is readable…This is what you would say if you weren’t aware of the term ‘content readability.’
But did you know there is something called readability score?
You will find it when you do a spell-check on Microsoft Word. If you don’t, this is what you need to do:
How to check Content Readability Score?
Click on the File tab, and choose Options
You will see ‘Proofing’ in the options window on the left hand side.
Go to the section, ‘When Checking Spelling and Grammar in Word’
Select the check box next to ‘Check Grammar with Spelling’
Also, select the check box next to ‘Show Readability Statistics.’
The next time you run a spell-check on Word, you should see the readability score of your document.
The Content Readability statistics
In the first part, under ‘Counts,’ you will see the number of paragraphs, sentences, words and characters you have used, in your document.
The second part should give you an idea about the average number of sentences per paragraph, words per sentence and characters per word.
The last part focuses on the number of passive sentences and the readability score of your content.
Flesch Reading Ease is the score of your content readability. It could range from 1 to 100, 1 being the lowest and 100, the highest. The higher the score, the easier your content is, to read. Any score above 70 is good.
The Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level tells you about the ideal reading level of your audience. A score of 9 denotes that your content can be understood by a ninth grader. A score between 7 and 8 should be ideal, unless you are writing highly academic or technical content.
The score and grade level are calculated based on average words per sentence (WPS) and average syllables per word (SPW).
How to improve Content Readability?
Short sentences, simple words and many paragraphs should be your goal, when it comes to achieving content readability.
Make use of active voice as much as possible. It is actually quite simple. All that you need to do is identify the subject of your sentence, and then make sure the subject is doing the action. As far as possible, the subject should not be acted upon by the verb.
“Sally threw the ball” is much easier to read than “The ball was thrown by Sally.”
You will have to divide your content into short paragraphs. The average number of sentences in one paragraph shouldn’t exceed 5. All of these should relate to one single point. Use sub headings as much as possible, so that your readers get the point immediately. Make sure you include adequate white space to highlight these headings.
The average number of words in a sentence should be as low as possible. Try and keep it less than 20. You could use a mix of short and long sentences to cut down the monotony.
The average length of your words also matters when it comes to content readability. Try not to use long words unnecessarily. You will have to keep in mind the reading level of your audience, while choosing words.
Short words would be ideal for children’s books. However, technical articles could contain lengthier words.
Remember: Long words would mean more syllables. This means a lower readability score and higher Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level.
So the mantra is short sentences with short words!
Content organized into ‘easy-to-read’ paragraphs can make it easier to read. Not only would such content perform well, it will also rank higher on the search engines.
Creating content is not about showing off your vocabulary or your writing skills. It is about getting your point across to the audience. You cannot expect this to happen, unless you make your content easily readable. No one would like to read content that is full of long, complex sentences with extensive vocabulary.
So, tell me one thing – Did you find anything about this content, difficult to read?
Were the sentences too lengthy?
Did I include long words that were difficult to understand?
Do send in your comments once you are done reading this post. I will try my best to incorporate your suggestions and improve my content readability.