Your website content serves one major purpose – to connect with customers. You want to keep your current customers enthusiastic and encourage prospects to buy your product or service.
The best online connection starts with copy that’s easy to understand. That means writing copy that is clear and concise. A concise message written in the rhythms and syntax of natural speech will make the best connection with readers.
When you pay attention to making your text pleasant to read, readers keep reading. You’ll improve site traffic to your page or article because search engines favor clear language.
What Is Readability?
This is the definition offered by branding and marketing agency The Belford Group:
Readability is the practice of making your writing understandable and easy to digest for your target audience. To engage your customers and future customers, focus on creating content that addresses their needs and concerns. Use words they understand. Readability increases your power to connect with your audience immediately by helping them understand your content. They won’t scroll down or read your persuasive closing statement if they have trouble reading. It’s that simple.
Get Your Visitors to Read Your Content
Well-written text improves user experience (UX). Your visitor won’t sit and read unintelligible text. They will leave and go to a competitor who speaks their language. If your content is boring, hard to read, or stuffed with keywords, they are gone. So, make the effort to write clear, concise copy.
When the copy is clear, site visitors will learn about your product or service, understand why it meets their needs, and connect with your business. That connection is the reason you have pages and articles.
Formatting improves readability. Be conscious of how your text looks on the page. The simpler your text is, the more you build a connection with the reader.
- Write short sentences. Don’t make your reader work to get to the end of a sentence. Minimize subordinate clauses.
- Use words your reader understands. Simple, everyday speech speeds up reading.
- Keep paragraphs short with a maximum of five sentences.
- Use headers and sub-headers to break up the text. Help readers skim through your content to get a general overview to see if this is what they want to know. (This also shows search engines the topics covered in each section of your text.)
- Use fonts that are easy to read. Fancy script or all caps reduce readability. Make sure the background is neutral. Purple text on a red background may fit your theme, but it is very difficult to read. Save it for graphics and your logo.
Remember: Readers relate to clear messages. They retain the information and use it to make decisions.
Avoid creating barriers to reader engagement and understanding.
- Small type size may get more words on the page but it makes the text very hard to read.
- Avoid industry jargon and acronyms. If you do use an acronym, tell the reader what it means.
- This isn’t an intelligence test. Save big unwieldy or obscure words for your Scrabble game.
- Skip overwriting. Break up long rambling paragraphs with lots of information into short paragraphs addressing each topic.
Readability Improves Search Results
Readability improves search results. The artificial intelligence (AI) used by search engines reads your text for topics and the relationship between those topics. Keywords are diminishing in importance while phrased-based content is the rule of thumb for SEO.
Search engines prefer clear language and short paragraphs. Simple words, short sentences, paragraphs that address on topic improve your search results.
The same headers and subheadings that improve readability for site visitors are search indicators for the topics included on the page or in an article.
User experience (UX) is a must for search engine optimization (SEO). When search engines see readers leaving your page it’s a sign that you aren’t making a connection. Your competitor may show up with the answer in search results because they’ve written short, topic-centered, to-the-point text.
Visitors who read your content and don’t leave improve your bounce rate. Search engines keep track of how much readers continue reading. Web pages that have a low bounce rate are more likely to appear as the preferred search result.
Search engines are good at predicting what a potential reader wants to read. By understanding the relationship between your paragraphs and the topics in your content, search engines will understand who you are trying to reach.
Readability also improves your voice search results. With the number of people using voice devices increasing, voice search results are increasingly important and are predicted to be over 30% of all queries by 2020. That’s next year. Voice search provides only one answer and the device reads back the information. This means you need short, informative paragraphs addressing a specific topic or answering a specific query.
Readability Is Your Path to Customer Connection
Readability improves your search results. Search results get readers to your content. Once there, readers connect with text that speaks directly to them.
Provide information and answer questions in easily understood syntax. Use vocabulary readers know. Create short paragraphs that focus on one topic at a time. They’ll keep reading.
ProWritingAid checks for readability in your work so you can identify which sentences need help and which are okay. Its 20 different writing reports all let you drill down for diction, complex words, abstract words and more to improve your text.