Reading on-screen could be difficult and tiring, especially for longer posts (2000+ words).
This article will show you 16 simple, practical tips to improve the readability of your blog posts.
What you write is as important as how you write it. When your blog posts are easy to read, you will create a better user experience, attract more visitors, and increase your conversion rate.
Are you ready to make your writing easier to read? Let’s do it.
What Is Readability?
Readability is a measure of how easy and pleasant to read a written text.
Some SEO tools use the Flesch-Kincaid reading test (a scale from 1-100) to rate the readability of a passage.
The higher the score, the easier the text.
For example, if you get a score of 90-100, an 11-year-old student can understand your article.
Generally speaking, a score of 60-70 or higher could be a good readability score for content writing.
Why Is Readability Important for Your Blog Posts?
For Your Readers
50% of Americans read below a Grade 8 reading level (source).
What does this data mean to you?
If you have great content with a low readability score, half of them might not be interested in your post and probably leave your site straight away.
On top of that, readers are spoilt by overloaded information online. It is expected they jump around from page to page, site to site, without reading every word or sentence.
So, to win your audience, format your content and make it an easy read.
For On-Page SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
When you have readable and superb web copy, more readers will naturally stick around.
More page views and lower bounce rates could tell search engines like Google that your site content is valuable and useful to your visitors.
Then Google can show more of your content (rank higher) to a broader audience.
How to Improve Readability
1. Try to Use Simple Words
“Plain language does not mean baby talk or dumbing down the language. It means clear and effective communication.” – Joseph Kimble
Simplicity is the key to readability.
You are not here to impress your visitors with fancy or advanced vocabulary; you are here to help and provide answers to your audience’s queries.
Simple words are words with less than 3 syllables, such as fun (1 syllable), im/prove (2 syllables), and ar/ti/cle (3 syllables).
2. Shorten Your Sentences to Improve Content Readability
When it comes to readability, less is more.
If you want to increase your readability score on WordPress blog posts, write short sentences.
Short sentences (no more than 20 words) are easy to process and pleasant to view, especially on smaller screens such as mobile devices.
In contrast, longer sentences need more brainwork and cognitive awareness.
On top of that, it is easier to make more grammar mistakes with longer sentences.
You can omit unnecessary words and choose the words that convey actual meaning.
Hemingway is a great tool to check your readability score. You can edit your text based on the highlighted colors and suggestions.
3. Write Small Paragraphs to Facilitate the Reading Process
You want your paragraphs clear, concise, and engaging. Short paragraphs could do the job.
Tip: No more than 4-5 sentences in one paragraph (no more than 120 words) would make your blog posts easier to follow. Sometimes, 1 or 2 sentences are perfectly fine to be a paragraph.
In general, One paragraph talks about one idea. You should always put the most crucial idea (topic sentence) at the beginning.
If people read the first sentence, they should get the idea of the whole paragraph.
This approach is straightforward. And if your idea is what readers are looking for, they will start to read the whole paragraph.
Then the following sentences will be your supporting ideas (such as examples and facts) that revolve around the topic sentence.
4. Add Subheadings
To improve your blog formatting for readability, you can use an H1 heading tag and lots of subheadings (H2 to H6) to group your ideas.
Subheadings could serve as an outline of your post.
Plus, if you have a clickable table of content, the subheadings could help readers go straight to their desired content.
I usually write down all the subheadings and highlight them before writing.
It gives me a clear idea of what I want to include in my posts, where I should mention keywords, and how many words I would write in each subheading.
The H1 tag in WordPress is for your blog titles; you can use H2 to H6 tags in your body paragraphs.
H2 is the most important subheading, followed by H3, H4, H5, and H6.
For example, here are some parts of the subheadings of this post.
16 Killer Tips To Improve Your Blog Posts Readability (H1)
What Is Readability? (H2)
Why Is Readability Important For Your Blog Posts? (H2)
For Your Readers (H3)
For On-Page SEO (Search Engine Optimization) (H3)
5. Use Transition Words
Transitions words explain the relationship between other words, phrases, and sentences.
It is easy for your readers to follow your ideas and improve readability using them.
Here are some common types of transition words:
- Comparison and Contrast: similarly, compared to, instead of, by contrast
- Cause and Effect: since, because, so, therefore
- Time Sequence: first, then, after that, next
- Summary: all in all, in a nutshell, in conclusion
- Example: for example, for instance
Using the correct transition words makes you convey your ideas clearly and effectively.
6. Use More Active Voice
The more active voice you use, the higher your blog posts readability score on WordPress.
The active voice is usually shorter, clearer, and more direct than the passive voice (longer, wordy, and indirect).
Active: We often use the active voice to increase readability.
Passive: The active voice is often used to increase readability by us (by us could be omitted).
When to Use Passive Voice
We usually use the passive voice in the following situations in blogging.
- You don’t know the agent (the person or thing responsible for the action) or don’t want to mention who performs the action.
- The agent is not important in a sentence.
- You want to emphasize the importance of the person or thing that experiences an action.
7. Consider Quotes
Relevant quotes are powerful external sources supporting your texts and making your writing more convincing.
Readers love quotes; in fact, some may slow down their reading speed when there is a quote.
Here is one quote on readability.
“Making the simple complicated is commonplace; making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that’s creativity.” – Charles Mingus
8. Use Bullet Points and Numbers
These are perfect for reading because it is
- easy to read.
- quick to check.
- better to group ideas.
9. Select a Simple Font and Consistent Colors
Try to use a simple font (size: at least 14 px or 16 px) across your site because fancy fonts are difficult to read.
Using more than one font on your site will slow down your site speed, creating a poor user experience and hurting your ranking.
As for colors, you can use colors from your logo and site icon, so your post would look consistent and professional.
10. Leave Whitespace
Whitespace is essential in blog formatting for readability.
Leave enough whitespace so you can emphasize the blog post (the most crucial part) and make your text easier to read (good for the eyes).
Depending on the design of your site, you can modify the line space, paragraph space, and side space both on desktop and mobile devices.
11. Spice Your Texts Up with Variations
To make your content more appealing and engaging, you can use surveys and polls, relevant images, videos, and infographics.
Variations could make longer posts more pleasant to read.
12. Make Your Texts Bold
Use bold texts to make your posts easy to skim (look for general information) and scan (look for specific details).
For example, you can bold all your subheadings to show your readers and search engines that these texts are essential in your article.
Don’t overdo it because if everything is important, then nothing is important.
13. Improve Your User Experience by Being Conversational
Unlike academic essays, you want your words to be subjective, emotional, and friendly.
Using personal pronouns like “You” and “I” could increase the readability of your content because it sounds like you are having a personal conversation with your readers.
14.Be Careful with Consecutive Sentences
Don’t start the same word in more than one sentence in a row, as it leads to repetition.
Instead of using IT as a Subject in this example, you can simply change the sentence structures.
15. Check Keywords
Keywords, an essential factor in on-site SEO, help your content stay on track and increase readership.
This is not directly associated with your readability score, but it helps your readers and Google better understand your content. If readers see the same or similar keywords they type into search engines, it is a solid signal to tell them they could find answers to the questions in your post.
You could add keywords to
- title tag (primary keyword, secondary and third keywords)
- subheadings (related keywords/synonyms in H2 or H3 headings)
- introduction (normally in the first 100 words) and conclusion
- body paragraphs (evenly distribute them)
- image alt text (be specific to tell Google what your image is about)
- slug (part of your URL)
- meta description (strategically use keywords and variations)
Avoid keyword stuffing (writing the exact keyphrases too many times) in your post, as it does more harm than good. On top of that, repetition sounds boring and annoying.
You can use a wide range of variations (such as synonyms) to make your writing more natural and readable.
For instance, if you use the word “audience”, you can also write readers, visitors, or target groups.
16. Check Your Grammar, Spelling, and More
Poor grammar could make your text disturbing and challenging to understand, which leads to poor user experience and indirectly decreases readership.
Don’t forget to proofread and edit your post before publishing.
You can read it aloud backward a couple of times to spot grammatical errors without thinking of the content.
Tools like Grammarly could help you check all your grammar mistakes and other writing-related errors (such as formality, readability, and style).
Download myFREE checklist for writing a perfect blog post.
Conclusion – How To Improve Readability Score On WordPress
A great blog post is not just about what you write; how you write matters a lot.
Well-written web copy with beautiful formatting would bring you more regular visitors, higher rankings, and better conversion rates.
Now it is your turn to make tweaks to your blog posts with better readability so that you can boost your readership.
I hope these tips for readability will help you improve your blog posts.
More Blogging Tips:
What tips in the post do you think are most beneficial to you? What other tips do you use to make your writing more readable? Let me know in the comments.