ThirdSide Inc.

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Would You Read This?

in Blog, Writing
reading glasses on a laptop

It’s no secret that the internet is filled to overflowing with things to read. Yes, there are cat videos, and memes, and of course lots of shopping. But there are also millions and millions of words floating around out there, just begging for someone to read them. Are people reading yours?

Writing this feels just a bit like an existential crisis of sorts; if I write a blog post about being found, but nobody reads it, did I really write it? Have you asked yourself similar questions about your blog? Have you wondered what you can do to attract more attention?

Start with the most important question: would you read it?

We’ve all been there. We’ll head to Google or Bing, looking for some piece of information or other, only to find ourselves slogging through a post that puts you to sleep before you ever get to what you were looking for. (No? Just me? Okay.) I can’t count the number of times I’ve landed on some article or other, gotten through the first paragraph, and left the rest unfinished.

Or maybe you stumble onto what becomes your new favorite blog, filled with engaging posts that you truly enjoy reading. Not only is the content what you wanted, but there’s something about the pacing or the vibe that just makes you want to keep reading more. You’re in the middle of reading the fifteenth post before you stop and wonder why your blog doesn’t feel like this.

What’s the difference?

While some aspects of good blogging can be chalked up to a kind of intangible je ne sais quoi, there is in fact something measurable that you can use to measure how friendly your blog is. It’s called the Flesch-Kincaid Readability Test. The United States Navy developed this test in 1975, originally for the purpose of assessing the reading difficulty of technical manuals. Factors that determine ease of reading include things like:

  • number of words in a sentence
  • number of sentences in a paragraph
  • presence of transition words, like “and”, “because”, and “therefore”
  • number of sentences using passive voice rather than active voice
  • even the number of syllables in a word

The goal isn’t to have your blog read like a child’s book, by any means. But the more people who can easily read your content, the more likely it is that they will. Think of it as a kind of ruler for measuring that “joy of reading” factor in your favorite blog. Keep in mind, though, that a perfect score is pretty elusive. (Even the Harry Potter books only scored in the mid-70s.) Of course, if you’re writing highly-specialized content that simply isn’t meant to be understood by everyone, your score will reflect that. Your intention will reflect your results.

How does your writing measure up? Try it here.

Meet the Author

Lisa is one of the co-founders of ThirdSide. She is also a published author with a passion for the written word. Telling other people’s stories well is her main goal.

Her idea of relaxing is trying to make sense out of the mysteries of The X Files and LOST. Maybe someday.

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