If you are creating any type of written content, you should consider making sure that readability is on par with your target audience. Additionally, you should know what exactly a readability score is and how you can use it to your advantage. Luckily, there are several various tools and methods you can use to help improve your readability score and make your content accessible to more people.
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What is a Readability Score?
Before you can learn about how a readability score can help you, it is important that you first understand what a readability score is.
A readability score helps measure what reading level a person needs to be able to understand your content. Your score is determined based on how many consumers will be able to read and comprehend your content.
A good readability score typically means that a large number of consumers are able to read it. The idea behind a readability score is that it helps turn reading comprehension into an equation. How many words does your sentence have? How many words are in each paragraph and how many syllables are in each word? Are the words you are using complex? How many sentences are there in total? These factors all play a part in determining what the readability score you receive will be. It is important to know how the score is calculated so you know what aspects you need to improve your score if needed.
Why is a Readability Score so Important?
You should focus on readability scores for several reasons. Most importantly, you want to make sure that consumers are able to understand and fully engage with your content. You also want to make sure that all of your ideas when you are writing are as organized and clear to understand as possible.
You can have great ideas, but if consumers are unable to understand the point you are making, there are several small things you can do to improve your writing. Additionally, you want to be sure that the level of reading comprehension in your writing is on par with your target audience’s reading comprehension. After all, if your target audience is struggling to read your content, you are likely missing out on an opportunity to grow your business. Making sure that your target audience can best consume your content is crucial because it leads to the consumer becoming more invested in the content. The more invested in the content they are, the more likely they are to develop brand loyalty.
What is a Grammarly Readability Score?
There are several different readability scores that are often used and it is important to know how each of them calculates their score. After all, you need to be able to read the score to be able to understand how you can improve your score in the future. The Grammarly readability score is important to understand because it is one of the most commonly used readability scores.
The Grammarly readability score grades on a scale of 0 to 100. 100 is the best possible score, meaning that many people can understand your content. If you write on more complicated topics, your score will likely be closer to 0. This does not mean the content is necessarily bad, it just means that a significant number of consumers struggle to read it. If you are looking to reach a target audience that is highly educated, a lower Grammarly readability score isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Flesch Kincaid Readability Test
Another one of the most popular readability scores is the Flesch Kincaid readability test. The Flesch Kincaid test tells consumers what reading level their content is at. The Flesch Kincaid readability test focuses on two metrics to determine the reading level. These two metrics are the average sentence length used and the average syllables per word to determine how easy it is to read.
The formula for the Flesch Kincaid readability test is (1.015 * Average Sentence Length) – (84.6 * Average Syllables Per Word). There is no fixed number that you should aim for. However, there are certain ranges that can give you a good idea of what your score means. If your score is anywhere from 0-50, the reading comprehension is high and can only be read by those with a university reading level. 50-80 means that most high schoolers can comprehend your content. Anywhere from 80-100 means that even consumers at a middle school reading level can comprehend your content.
WordPress Readability Score
Another popular score that you should be familiar with is the WordPress readability score. The WordPress readability score focuses on the number of sentences per paragraph, the number of words used per paragraph, and the total number of syllables used. Another area that the WordPress readability score takes into consideration is how easily a consumer can skim your content. For this reason, double line spacing is typically associated with content that is easier to read. Using double spacing in your content will likely result in you getting a higher score.
Like the Flesch Kincaid readability test, the WordPress readability score grades on a scale from 0-100. Also just like the Flesch Kincaid test, 0 means it is very difficult to read and 100 means everyone is able to read it. Additionally, the WordPress readability score takes into account the number of fonts used on your website. Typically if you have used more than 2 fonts, WordPress will give you a lower score.
Tips to Improve Your Readability Score
Now that you know how to read different types of readability scores, you might be wondering what you can do to actually improve your readability score. Unless you are attempting to reach only a highly educated audience you want your writing to be read by as many people as possible. These are our top 3 tips for improving your readability score.
1 – Keep Your Sentences Short
One of the best ways to improve your readability score is to keep your sentences short. Although it can be tempting when you are writing to fall into a pattern of one long thought, consumers have an easier time reading short sentences. Additionally, removing extra fluff from your sentence may get your point across better. This also ensures that consumers will be more likely to read your content. If your sentences are too long, consumers might get intimated and decide it is not worth the trouble to read your content.
2 – Read Your Writing Aloud
Another great tip to keep in mind is to read your writing out loud. Even when editing multiple times, you can miss simple mistakes. Reading your writing aloud can help catch those small mistakes that otherwise might have been left in your final product.
Additionally, you want to make sure that your writing sounds very conversational. If your writing does not sound like it could be a part of a conversation the typical consumer would have, it is likely too technical. There are certain situations where having a technical tone would be beneficial, but for marketing purposes, it is best to write in a conversational tone. The best way to achieve this is to write as you would when talking to your friends. You still want to remain professional but using things like expressions can help consumers more easily understand your writing.
3 – Write Like You are Talking to a Kid
If you are looking to improve your readability score, you should consider writing your content the way you would talk to a kid. You should not be demeaning, but you should not assume your audience has any prior knowledge of the topic you are writing about. If you make that assumption, you risk isolating a significant amount of consumers.
Still, not every concept needs explaining so it is important that you are able to identify which concepts might require further explanation. A great way to test this is to pretend you were to explain this concept to a 4th grader. Would a 4th grader be able to understand all the concepts in your writing without further explanation? If not, you might want to consider taking the time to explain those concepts for a better readability score.
Make Sure You Check Your Score
Hopefully, now you have a better idea of why readability scores are so important when writing content. Regardless of which scoring system you use, you should always have your content scored. You could be missing out on an important opportunity to make your content more accessible to a much larger audience.
FAQs about Why is Readability Score Important?:
- What is a Readability Score?
- How do you use a Grammarly Readability score?
- How do you use a Flesch Kincaid Readability test?
- What is the purpose of a readability score?
- How does the WordPress Readability score work?