6 Concepts to Writing Readable Content for Online Businesses in 2019

If you have heard lawyers speak, you might have noticed complex terminologies sneak through their speech. It is called legalese. That is how they write and speak while on duty. We all know how it strains to listen or read this complex language.

In the past, writing in every industry had its own unique jargon and the business world was no exception. Writers would do their work to impress rather than pass information to the target audience. They would write using multi-syllable wording and formal language. But things have changed.

The business world is now infiltrated with various personalities that have not necessarily gone to business schools. Therefore, the application of the business jargon becomes unnecessary and will not achieve its intent. Writing for these audiences means you embrace a readable, clear and brave approach if you want them to understand your message.

What is Readability?

Readability is the measure of how simple it is easy to read written content. There are various factors put in play to establish how readable documents are including their structure, layout, relevance, word choice, the length of sentences, and many more.

If you enjoy the free Grammarly grammar check as I do, you might have noticed the performance button running on your top right. It contains the report generated from the document you submit for the grammar check. Within, you will see readability as the second item.

Under the readability report, there are word length and sentence length as some of the metrics used to determine the readability of your piece. The higher the readability score, the more the passage is difficult to read.

So what should you look out for to attain a readability score that most audiences will appreciate? 

Aim for 8th (age 13 -14) Grade Writing Level

You don't have to worry that you are insulting the intelligence of your readers. People always complain when an aspect is hard to understand, but never do the same when it is too easy to follow.

Remember your audiences might be a mixture of native English speakers, to those that it is their second or third language. This readability score will be fairly easy for everyone to read and understand. People want information they can easily process and recall and so, using 8th-grade level is showing that you value their time and not that they are dumb.

Say Your Point Right Away

The rule of thumb is stating your point in the first sentence of your writing. If it is a long document, repeating your intent throughout will help deliver the message home. Science backs up this concept.

Say, "We have no vacancies and are not taking in tenants"

Don't say, "Unfortunately, the vacancies you are looking for already have occupants. For this reason, we are not taking in tenants"

Use Active Voice

Using active voice will use fewer words to pass a point across, unlike passive voice that will be wordy.

Say, "The supervisor brought in enough stuff for today"

Don't say, "The Stuff in the office were brought in by the supervisor and it will be enough for today.

Be Brief! (Fewer Words, Shorter Sentences, Shorter Paragraphs)

People already have too much on their plate; be brief! Say whatever you want to say in a few words in short sentences.

After writing, edit your sentences to eliminate unnecessary words or dropping conjunctions to create more sentences. Sometimes it is about replacing phrases with a single word or fewer words.

I cannot underscore enough the need for shorter paragraphs. A huge number of web content readers access it through mobile devices requiring your content to be in small sections.

Know How and When to Use Numbers

Generally, when using numbers less than 10, spell them out. You should also spell them out when starting your sentence. When the numbers are 10 or over, use digits. Do not spell out numbers and repeat them in parentheses as digits to avoid redundancy.

Use Proper Punctuation

How you punctuate your writing matters when it comes to understanding online documents. You should particularly be keen on this matter if your sentences are long. Apply commas, dashes, brackets, semicolons or other punctuation marks in the sentences to increase the readability of your document.

Bottom Line

When writing for any kind of online business, the tips we mentioned above will help you deliver your message. The secret here is embracing accuracy, clarity, and simplicity. To make it simple, just write as you speak.