Speak naturally.. 5 easy tips to ace your readability scores

So here’s the thing.. writing for print, for websites, for blogs, for email, for business and for pleasure all have rules. The rules can bend but on the digital side, this does have consequences. The consequences are felt in how your customer perceives you and your SEO scores. Luckily, there are some easy ways to minimise the risks. The tips below will help you create copy that scores well for SEO and will have your customers feeling like you understand them.

Your tone of voice

Every successful brand has an established tone of voice. From the saucy Frank Body to the irreverent Go-To skincare to the corporate yet still conversational tones of Commonwealth Bank. Each company has established a clear voice to communicate with their customers. They each speak with their customers in a natural way.

Drop the jargon

This goes hand in hand with your tone of voice. Your knowledge on a topic is crucial in establishing trust. Your ability to decode your ‘industry speak’ into everyday language is what your customers respond to. Write as if you are talking face to face with a customer and be approachable. Jargon is intimidating and does more harm to your business in the long term.

Get to the point

Now it’s time to put pen to paper, or rather fingers to the keyboard. There’s a lot of research on website readability and the stats are clear:

  • Your visitors only read about a quarter of the words on your website, scanning information for what they find relevant.
  • Reading on a screen is tiring for your eyes, it takes much longer than reading on paper.
  • More people access websites on mobile phones than on a desktop screen. Don’t make them scroll for minutes to find the relevant information or you could lose them.

You want to share all your knowledge on a topic, and let’s face it, it’s easy to ramble when you know a lot about your subject – but less is definitely more in this area. People are time-poor and want their information fast.

Add white space

The masters of white space are Apple. In every customer touchpoint from product packaging to store design to website to advertising, there is space. This creates an immediate sense of ease, readability, and status. You can create space in your copy by following these steps:

  • Short paragraphs create space and help customers easily scan to the relevant words.
  • Keep your line length between 50-60 characters – short and snappy sentences are the winners.
  • Headings and subheadings are your friends – use them often.
  • Lists and bullet points are fantastic for ensuring your main points stand out.
  • Use relevant images between paragraphs to break up larger text blocks.


The best tools for readability

Yoast – we use Yoast on our website and all our clients websites for optimising SEO. This gives you a real time readability tracker to check as you’re writing your posts.

Hemingway – We use this every time.. copy and paste your text in and get instant feedback. According to the creators – Hemingway makes your writing bold and clear. It’s like a spellchecker, but for style. It makes sure that your reader will focus on your message, not your prose.

Jacqueline Alexander

Jacqui has a wealth of experience in the creation of stunning but highly effective publications, branding and websites.

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