Readability is now an important factor in web content. If your blog posts are easy to read, a site visitor is likely to stay longer. And if he stays longer, you reduce your bounce rate and increase your average session time, both of which are important for Google to rank your pages.
But how can you do this? Below are 11 straightforward ways to make your blog posts more readable:
- Keep paragraphs short
- Use bullets and numbers
- Choose the right typography
- Use a light background
- Add photos in the right places
- Write with spoken words
- Remove unnecessary plug-ins and widgets
- Use headings
- Use short sentences
- Make it Grade 6
- Use pull quotes
Let us take a look at each one.
Keep Paragraphs Short
Long paragraphs create a large text block, and readers do not like this. While long paragraphs may work in novels, it just won’t make the cut in blog writing.
Keep your paragraphs short to make it easier for your site visitors to skim and read. Long ones overwhelm your site visitors, and they are likely to leave.
At most, each paragraph should have no more than four sentences. In many cases, even one word or one sentence is enough to make a point.
Use Bullets and Numbers
Use bullets and numbers because they make the ideas organized in one block. You use bullets because they convey a straightforward message.
Bullets break down lengthy sentences. It makes a complicated and drawn-out thought easier to read and understand. An example of this is a list of benefits from using a particular product or a few reasons why you need to do something.
Numbers, however, are best used when providing a list. You use numbers if you want a reader to follow a list that has a sequence. It is best used in a situation where you are providing steps.
Choose the Right Typography
While there are many great-looking fonts out there, these fonts were never designed for reading. Instead, they were designed for book titles or art.
As far as reading is concerned, you need to stick to the classic choices, such as Arial, Times New Roman, Verdana, and Tahoma.
These fonts were designed for reading, and all publication houses use them in print. Lousy typography is too challenging to read, and readers are going to leave your page.
Typography also includes the right size. The average is between 10 and 12. Too small a font and it becomes too tiring to read and navigate, and too big a font makes the site overwhelming.
Use a Light Background
If you have ever seen a website with a black background and white text, then you get the idea. Some websites use non-scrollable image backgrounds. These things work if you are in the artistic space, but not on blogging.
People come to your blog to learn and see what you have to offer. A blog is made of written words, and people want to read those words. Dark backgrounds that interfere with readability reduces a site visitor’s session time.
Use a light background or none at all. Backgrounds typically make your website blog incoherent. The ads and photos may not blend in. And if that happens, the site looks awkward and unprofessional.
Add Photos in the Right Places
While this is debatable, adding photos in some blog posts, make sense. The images must be uniform in design, and must only be added if it is critical in the message you want to say.
If you are writing about the best memes, then the photos are required. If you are writing about a step by step guide on how to replace the battery of a wristwatch, then photos showing the steps are much appreciated.
In some cases, you do not need photos at all. For example, you might be writing about the 11 things that you should not do in a relationship, then words have more value than pictures.
Write with Spoken Words
As a blogger, you are not writing for academics. Forget about what you learned in school. In blogging, you are a person talking to another person. It is ok to use the word “ok.” You can use the first-person writing style and use “I,” “we,” and “ours.”
Grammar, of course, is non-negotiable. The same is true with other basic requirements of writing, punctuation, and spacing.
The thing is, you have to write a blog as if a friend is talking to you. Avoid ambiguous words at all costs.
Remove Unnecessary Plug-ins and Widgets
An amateur blogger wants to put everything on a website—from email subscription boxes to social buttons to tickers.
All of these, when combined, make a blog post too tricky to read. To make your readers stay, you have to believe that less is more.
Remove all your widgets and all plug-ins that cause distraction. They do not help retain your site visitors. Also, these plug-ins and widgets slow down your website. Your page will load longer, and if they do, your visitors have no patience to wait for it.
They will leave your website if the page loads for more than three seconds.
Headings are the sub-headlines of your content. Headings tell the reader what to expect from that section, and they also tell Google what your entire content is about.
Readers today do not read from start to finish. They skim your content, and they only read what they think is important.
If your blog post has no header, it’ll be too darn difficult for a reader to look at what for he needs. Headers navigate the reader to the appropriate section, and it’ll make him stay.
Use Short Sentences
Short sentences are easier to read. Long ones are confusing. Keep your sentences short of conveying a message, then move on to the next.
If you write a short sentence, you will also create shorter paragraphs. Short sentences are easier to understand. Short sentences are also gripping, as the brain processes them faster.
As a result, short sentences are easier to remember. They are straight to the point, and they force you to write clearly and concisely.
Make It Grade 6
In the blogging industry, you need to write in a way that a sixth-grader would understand. As mentioned earlier, stay away from big words and academics.
What you want to do is for a person to understand what you want to say. And you can do this if you write in a way that a child understands. It is more comfortable in the eyes, and your readers would appreciate that you took the effort to make things simple for them.
There are free online tools out there that will rate your blog post. Just paste the post in the tool, and you will receive a score. The tool will also show you what sentences you need to change.
Use Pull Quotes
Pull quotes are highlighted quotations. They are usually found in the middle of a magazine page to stress an important message.
Use a pull quote as a substitute for a photo or if you have a critical sentence in the blog that would capture a reader’s attention. This improves readability, as the same visitor knows immediately from your pull quote what your blog is about.
There go our 11 really simple ways to make your blog posts more readable. Google is consistently updating its algorithm, and it gets smarter and smarter. Forget about what you have learned in SEO. While SEO is essential, nothing drives traffic better, and nothing can make you rank better than readability.
Readable content and valuable content make site visitors stay, and their needs are fulfilled. And if your blog posts meet both quality and readability, you have better chances in ranking in your domain than just focusing on SEO.