“Why aren’t people reading my blog?” This is a phrase that I often hear from other bloggers.
Seeing other publishers get tons of engagement on a single article, while your equally good content gets only a few dozen reads, can be quite discouraging. Especially with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, when people are supposedly reading more while staying at home.
The same situation happened to me a while ago. I was struggling with engaging readers despite a great deal of effort. Even my best articles at the time were read by ten readers per week.
It was very discouraging, but I managed to get the readership up. You see, every new blogger struggles with getting more traffic. Most of them eventually give up, never advancing their career beyond the earliest stage.
I’m not going to let you be a part of that group.
If you’re struggling with getting more readers, there is a great chance your content has poor readability. It can even hurt the performance of value-packed content and further discourage you from blogging altogether.
In this article, let me explain how to improve blog readability with easy-to-implement tips. At the end of the article, you’ll find three readability tools to help with building a successful blog today.
What is Blog Readability?
Blog readability is how simple it is to read and understand your content. Also called content readability, it’s about both formatting content and explaining things as simple as possible.
A blog with poor readability may have great content. However, if it’s presented in a hard-to-understand way, people might struggle with reading and leave.
Having high readability is critically important for bloggers because they have only 15 seconds to capture the attention of the audience.
The most common readability issues are:
● Lengthy sentences
● Grammar mistakes
● Complex content structure
● Use of academic or hard-to-understand language.
Poor content readability may be a result of many things. For example, it can mean that you:
● Didn’t research your audience well enough.
● Write content that doesn’t quite fit its purpose.
● Don’t have enough knowledge of blog content formatting.
Most bloggers, especially those at the beginning of their careers, commit these mistakes. Here’s how to avoid them.
How to Improve Blog Readability
Here’s what successful bloggers do to keep readability high.
1. Ensure that Your Reader Can Benefit from Content
Blogging isn’t just about writing. If you begin writing content without understanding who you’re writing for, you won’t generate a lot of engagement. Often, you end up with giving too broad, irrelevant, or overly difficult tips in your content. hat’s the “jack of all trades master of none” kind of thing. To avoid this mistake, make these practices a part of your content research & writing routine:
● Topic knowledge. Consider your reader’s knowledge of the topic
● Simple language. Make sure that readers are familiar with the vocabulary you’re using
● Relevance and usefulness. Only give tips and recommendations the readers have resources for/can realistically implement.
2. Don’t Write Long Paragraphs
Imagine you’re looking for tips on how to make cappuccino at home. You need clear and easy step-by-step instructions.
You open an article and see a page filled with huge blocks of text. Don’t you just hate when this happens? Needless to say, you’ll leave that article and try looking for something else.
The lesson here is: don’t make long paragraphs because people don’t like them. They make the text harder to read and understand.
Instead, go for no more than three sentences in a paragraph.
3. Format Content with Bullet Points and Bold Text
These formatting options make the text easier to read and understand.
First, bullet points help to differentiate the most important info so people could find it fast. In this article, I’ve already used them a few times to do just that, by the way.
“One thing about bullet points is that you must keep them concise,” says Jenna Marie, a content specialist at Topessaywriting. “Long sentences behind them ruin the whole concept of bullet points, which is to make text more accessible.”
Second, bolding helps with drawing attention to important points.
For example, a reader can skip reading the entire paragraph and read the text in bold instead. She or he can get the essence from that part and decide whether it’s relevant to them or not.
Pro tip: make the first sentences in bullet points bold like in the example below.
4. Make Content More Helpful with Relevant Images
Most of us are visual readers, so we need visuals to understand content better. If your articles don’t have images, readability suffers.
To avoid losing readers, try looking for ways to include visuals.
Don’t do it just for the sake of it, though. Every visual should be relevant and helpful for the reader.
For example, showing cappuccino making tools in “How to make cappuccino” like here is relevant.
5. Break Texts with Headings and Subheadings
As mentioned, people spend about 15 seconds on a web page. During this time, they quickly scan the content to see if they found what they were looking for.
If they don’t see a lot of headings and subheadings, understanding the content would be much more difficult. They’ll leave quicker than you can say “blog readability.”
On the other hand, a nicely formatted text like below gives them what they need: an opportunity to scan the content quickly.
Make sure to use a heading or subheading every 250-300 words. This technique ensures easy scanning and makes it easy to understand the content.
Besides, such formatting helps Google to crawl your pages. So it’s a win-win!
Bonus: 3 Tools to Improve Your Blog Readability Today
At this point, you’ve read the essentials of content formatting for readability. But you shouldn’t stop right there. There are still many things to work on. To find them, use these free online readability checkers:
● Hemingway Editor. This tool generates a readability score after checking for long and complicated sentences, unnecessary use of a complex language, passive voice use, and other things
● Gunning Fox Index. Generates the Gunning Fox index, which is the average number of words per sentence and the number of long words per word
● Readability Test Tool. Check the readability of a text or entire web page and get scores for a bunch of indicators (Gunning Fog Score, Flesch Kincaid Reading Ease, and others)
Blog Readability: Final Thoughts
Every blogger must think about making content readable before writing.
High blog readability makes content easy to comprehend, which is good news for your readers and you (because Google loves it, too). So, if you’re looking to increase readership on your blog, I strongly recommend using the tips you’ve read.
Ultimately, you’ll develop a new content style that generates more views, reads, and comments. That’s when your blogger career will reach an exciting new era.
May that era come soon!
ABOUT DANIELA mcvicker
Daniela McVicker (@danielamcvick) is a professional writer and blogger with rich experience addressing UX design, content planning, and digital marketing. She works as the content editor for Top Writers Review where Daniela helps individuals and organizations enhance their web content writing, design, and planning skills. Daniela is always looking for new ways to improve the connection between companies and clients.