How to Improve the Readability of Your WordPress Blog?
You have poured your heart and soul into your writing, it is your passion and you want to share it with the world. Or maybe you are trying to run a successful online business and want to draw in as much traffic as you can. Whatever the reasons, if you want people to not only find your blog but read it, it must have readability. It really doesn’t matter how much work you put into your blog, you need readers to enjoy it and process it properly. This task is something that has hounded bloggers for many years now, and it is essential to make your blog as reader-friendly as possible.
There have been countless hours poured into researching the best ways to draw in a reader and keep them on the page. Readability is going to be just about the most important part of your entire blog, if people can’t understand it or appreciate it, they won’t tend to stick around that long. It is up to you to educate yourself and understand exactly what readability is and why it is so important to your blog. With some of the strategies below you should be well on your way to garnering better blog traffic.
Readability: What Does it Mean?
Before you start to change your writing style or start giving new projects to your writers, it is important to understand what you are trying to achieve. Readability is all about making your writing easier to not only read but understand and comprehend. When it comes to writing for the internet this becomes slightly more complicated, as everyone is going to have different levels of reading ability and cognitive functions.
There is not going to be any perfect solution here, and you cannot expect to reach 100 percent of the traffic you get. Writing for more readability means you are going to try to reach as broad of an audience as possible without losing the meaning behind the words. This can be everything from the wording, to sentence structure, to font size and color. Everything matters when it comes to making your WordPress blog readable.
Make Sentences Short and Sweet
When it comes to quickly understand something you are reading, it is easier to do it in short bursts. The brain can process information much easier when it is short and concise. You don’t want your reader trying to figure out exactly what a sentence says, it is much easier on them if it gets right to the point, without the fluff. When you have sentences that are far too long it makes the average brain work too hard to comprehend them, and this is exactly what you don’t want on your blog.
It is important to be as clear as you can and use as few words as possible to make your point. For example, below are two sentences that basically say the exact same thing:
‘The large ball is red.’
‘The oversized rubber ball is mostly red in color.’
When you look at both of these sentences you can understand they are saying the same thing, but one does it much more concisely than the other. The second sentence gives information about the ball that just isn’t relevant, like it being oversized, or that red is referring to the color. While that is great information to have when looking into specifics, it does nothing to initially draw the reader in. Stating that ‘the large ball is red’ gives the reader exactly the information they need, without any extras to challenge the brain.
Keep Paragraphs From Becoming ‘Walls of Text’
We have all run into this particular issue when perusing online literature; you click on an article and are immediately greeted with a block of text that is difficult to read. This is what happens when you don’t pay attention to the physical length of your paragraphs. Seeing a large block of text is an immediate red flag to many people, and they will quickly be turned away regardless of the information being presented.
There is a general rule of the thumb when it comes to writing paragraphs, and that is to keep them at five sentences or less. Since you are looking to keep everything as short and sweet as possible, this is a very good rule to follow when preparing a blog. Make sure to keep each paragraph dedicated to one good idea. If you cannot explain your idea in five sentences or less, make another paragraph to finish it.
While not every single blog is going to be able to follow exactly this format, it is essential to limit lengthy paragraphs for the sake of your readers. Some ideas really cannot be explained in a few sentences, so it is important to understand this before you start writing and plan your blog structure accordingly. Instead of having one paragraph for an idea, you may want to dedicate an entire section to it.
Be Aware of Over Complicated Wording
Every writer is going to want to try to use their entire vocabulary to put out a great blog article, it is what they do. Keep in mind that this is not always a prudent thing to do, as every person visiting your blog is going to have a different level of reading ability and comprehension. While certain words may make your blog sound more intelligent or professional, not everyone is going to benefit from this style of writing.
Before you start adding long and complicated wording to your blog, it may be a good idea to stop and think. Below are two sentences that say virtually the same thing in two very different ways:
‘Writing for SEO can be complicated and difficult without training.’
‘Preparing a blog with proper search engine optimization is irrevocably difficult for the average writer, and it requires comprehensive technical training to properly construct a blog post.’
Now, both of those sentences get to the point that SEO is hard to write for if you are not trained properly. But, both of those sentences are going to look different for the average consumer and reader. The second sentence may sound a lot more fancy and knowledgeable, but it really is just saying the exact same thing as the first one in more words. Choose your wording carefully, it can be the difference between the average person reading your blog or not.
Use Formatting to Break Up and Space Your Blog
Formatting is essential in keeping the reader on your page. If you make your blog easier to read and follow you are going to have more traffic actually staying to read what you have to say. This can be done in many different ways, such as keeping paragraphs shorter in the above point. Yet there are a number of different formatting options you can use to make your blog more inviting.
The most important part of formatting a blog for readability is to make sure it is broken up into small sections. This is usually accomplished by using headers to maximum effect. A header is a larger bold subtitle that tells the reader what is going to be coming up below. They provide a break in the page by spacing things out properly, and they will also give your reader an idea of what is coming next for information.
Another great way to keep things fresh and clean is to use bulleted or numbered lists to offer your information. A bullet list is exactly what it sounds like, a list of singular words or ideas that go vertical in point form. This not only organizes ideas concisely, but it is also much easier on the eyes when it comes to reading and comprehension. Never underestimate the power of a bullet list for slowing things down and breaking it up so the reader doesn’t feel things are too monotonous.
There are a number of ways to utilize formatting to the reader’s advantage:
● Use Headers
● Break up paragraphs
● Use bullets and numbered lists
● Use the right font size
● Use the right font color
● Use the right background-color
While there are many other formatting tools when it comes to writing a blog, these particular areas are very important to keep your reader engaged. Just the wrong font size and color can completely throw someone off and keep them from wanting to read anything else on your website.
Use the Right Transition Phrases
This area is a must if you have to have longer sentences and paragraphs in your writing. While it may not be applicable to every single blog, the right transition phrases are going to string together longer wording to make it more comprehensible. Some transition words and phrases that are most common are:
● On the other hand
● In spite of
There are many, many more transitional words and phrases to choose from, but that list gives you a good idea of what to look for. These words and phrases connect your ideas within a sentence or paragraph and give your reader a better understanding of where you are trying to go with your information.
Take Advantage of WordPress Tools
There are various tests that have been developed to specifically grade how easy something is to read. Countless hours of research have been put into these tests, and they can be a huge advantage when optimizing your blog content. The greatest thing is a lot of these can be accessed via plugins on WordPress itself. More importantly, there is a wide array of third-party plugins that can help improve your writing. We created one too!
The most commonly used tool for this has to be Yoast, and it is used for a lot more than readability. They have decided to implement the Flesch Reading Ease version of the test, and you will get a score that lands anywhere between 0 and 100. It will highlight different passages in different colors to indicate exactly what makes it unreadable.
While these tools don’t do all the work for you, they do a wonderful job of pointing out weak areas that you need to restructure. In an area as large and evolving as the blog world, it is seriously important to use all the tools at your disposal to get ahead of the competition.
Readability Keeps Traffic Flowing
The main goal of any blog, regardless of the reason for existing, is to drive in as much traffic as possible and give it a reason to stay. The right content is always going to be your biggest tool in maintaining your customer base and readers. There is just too much else available to take away their attention that you must always be on top of having the best possible content.
Following these strategies is just a small part of maintaining a successful WordPress blog, as there is a lot more to it than readable content. Yet, if you focus your energy on keeping your blog easy to read for everyone, it is going to be a difference-maker when it comes to keeping people on your website. With the goal being traffic that stays active on your site, it just makes sense to give them the content that will keep them coming back for more.