How To Improve The Readability of your Website: 10 Top Tips

Creating a website is EASY

If you want a quick and easy way how, then click here, join the free starter programme at Wealthy Affiliate and they will train you how to set up 2 websites of your own choosing, quickly and easily. You can have your sites up hosted on the SIteRubix platform and they can be up and running in a couple of hours.

That’s the EASY bit!

What is more of a challenge, is making sure that your website and blogs are promoted, read and enjoyed by your audience. Now Wealthy Affiliate will also tell you how to do this, but here my 10 top tips on how to improve the readability of the articles on your website, which any budding blogger or online entrepreneur can use to make sure that their content is readable.

Tip 1: Use headlines and a clear structure

Make sure your article is clearly structured so that your readers can quickly and easily find out what it is about and where to find the information they need. Like a newspaper uses headlines to grab attention, your article should use headlines and subheadings to direct the eye. Make sure too that your writing has a clear structure and logical argument which carries the reader through in a logical way.

Tip 2: Use small paragraphs and concise sentences

This is a simple tip but an important one. Often, when reading newspapers or novels, we are used to complex sentences, passages of descriptive prose or stories that carry the reader off at a tangent in order to elaborate or contrast a point. This is great when you have the time to sit and enjoy a novel, but when writing website content, most people have a few minutes only and tend to skim-read the information therein.

Therefore you need to write in short, punchy and concise sentences to get your point across. People are used to writing short texts, tweets and truncated words in SMS messages and emails for example, which communicate ideas and emotions quickly. We are also very used to watching videos and tutorials in order to find out information quickly.

Your website content will be much more accessible if it meets the needs of today’s audiences in this regard. Short paragraphs that consist of 2 or 3 sentences are best. As a writer, you have enough words to get your point across, and your readers are not overwhelmed with blocks of impenetrable text!

I presume you are not writing an updated version of “Great Expectations”. Nothing wrong with that if you are, but if you are writing it to be read on your website, make sure your sentences and paragraphs are short and punchy. More people are reading things on a mobile nowadays so small blocks of text are a must.

Tip 3: Don’t be afraid of white space

Another simple tip here. Make sure you have enough white space in your article between headlines, paragraphs and main-body text. It just makes things clearer for the reader. Black or very dark blue or grey text on a white background consistently wins the readability stakes so think carefully before being lulled into a false sense of security by different themes.

Tip 4: Choose clear fonts, appropriate font sizes and colours

Black text on a white background is clear to most people. Red and bold text stands out and highlighting in yellow draws people’s attention. These are conventions that we are all used to, and we all recognise and which work well. When designing your site to be readable, do not feel you need to ‘reinvent the colour wheel’.

If you are using a theme with a background image, or a background that is not white, be sure that your text stands out from the background. The trouble with images is that there are usually light or dark patches in the image which can affect the readability of your text. Yes, of course, you can choose some of the latest themes and funky designs depending on your niche area, but remember that although yellow on orange might be ‘new and exciting’, it’s also not easy to read.

Stick to ‘light text on dark backgrounds’, or ‘dark text on light backgrounds’.’

The best online fonts are those known as ‘sans-serif’ which takes out a lot of the curly details and flourishes which look great on a poster, but can be confusing when reading online, especially as so many more people are now accessing content on their mobiles and tablets. These devices have small screens so they do not need superfluous twirls and swirls.

Tip 5: Use images to illustrate your points

They say that “a picture can paint a thousand words” and they say that because it’s true. An image can:

  • illustrate your point
  • clarify or explain your point
  • enhance the visual appeal of your post
  • break up long blocks of text
  • evoke emotion, and
  • go beyond words to help speakers of other languages understand what you mean.

There is no reason not to use images in your posts but make sure of 2 things:

  1. You have the rights to use the image – you cannot simply download and copy images if you do not have the rights to do so. There are a number of good ‘free-to-use’ sites that you can use. Click here for my recent article on this.
  2. Make sure the images are optimised for web use. If you use a high definition image taken with your camera, that’s great and you should not have a problem with the rights for this image. However, the file size could be extremely large especially if you are working in a high resolution, and this could take a long time to load and slow down your website.

There is a compromise here between having an image that is good enough and clear enough, and one that downloads quickly.

Tip 6: Use bullet points to give clear instructions or in ‘how to’ posts

If you are giving people instructions, it is a great idea to use bullet points, which can:

  • be numbered or not-numbered
  • help clarify the order of steps
  • split-up information into digestible chunks
  • give visual clues as to the number of steps and the progress the user has made.

Get the point?

Tip 7: Avoid jargon

Avoid unnecessary jargon unless it is relevant to your site. It will be annoying if people need to leave your site to continually look-up the meanings of specific words. If your writing is particularly technical or needs to use niche-specific words, then give the meanings of technical or unusual words in brackets (like this), so that your readers understand what you mean and will stay on your site.

Alternatively, you could add a glossary or ‘list of common definitions’ at the start of your post so people understand what you mean. It’s tempting to use lots of jargon and acronyms when you know a subject really well, but remember your user and always keep their level of expertise in mind when writing.

Tip 8: Remember your audience: talk to them

This tip really follows on from no. 7 and is related to knowing your audience and talking directly to them. You target audience may change from post to post, so avoid the trap of writing generically for ‘everyone interested in golf’ for example. Think more carefully for each post and write to your specific audience’s level of expertise. .

For example, is your reader for an article a novice or semi-professional? How old are they and what approach is the best one for reaching them.? It’s not rocket science – just good communication practice.

Tip 9: Use a spell- and/or grammar-checker

This is a ‘no-brainer’ for anyone who is serious about making their posts readable. No one wants to wade through spelling and grammar mistakes trying to decipher what the author meant. They will just move on to another site.

Most word-processing software will come with a spell-checker as standard or there are add-ons and plug-ins you can get to ensure your work is properly spelled, accurate and grammatically correct.

Obviously there are some discrepancies when it comes to spelling, for example, there are some established English spellings such as ‘colour’ which in the US are known as ‘color’. Knowing your main target audience is key again here.

Tips 10: Check over your work before your publish it

This is important to do even if you rely on a spell-checker or grammar-checker because if you have used a correctly spelled word out of context, the spell checker will miss it. The best way to avoid this is to:

  • Ask someone else to proof-read your work
  • Use the ‘read aloud’ option (if you have it in your software) and then sit and listen as your post is read out. This can really help to identify errors as you can not only focus on reading, but on hearing it too as you follow along.

So there you have it, my top tips for helping your content readable. Happty blogging!

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