Follow these easy tips to start writing irresistible web content. Your clear, concise and easy-to-read content will attract visitors to your website and keep them there longer. Most of us with a website can write. But as we all know, writing well is another matter. It can be hard to put your ideas into writing clearly. This post gives you some quick and easy tactics to dramatically improve the quality of your web content for human readers.
Writing irresistible web content for human readers
If you use the Yoast SEO plugin you’ll know that it uses a simple traffic light system to assess both readability and SEO. One of the criteria it uses for readability is the Flesch Reading Ease formula. It was developed in 1948 by author and writing consultant Rudolph Flesch, and is still widely regarded as the most accurate formula today. It is often used as a readability guide for online texts. Find out more about using the Yoast SEO plugin in our earlier article.
Essentially, the Flesch formula uses sentence and word length to create a scale of increasing difficulty. Texts scoring 100 are very easy to read, while texts scoring 30 or below are more demanding and reckoned to be at university graduate level. A reasonable score for online texts is 60-70. The longer your sentences are, and the more syllables your words have, the higher the Flesch score will be. So to increase the readability of your writing, you can:
- Break up long sentences. One sentence = one idea.
- Replace longer words with shorter words. Use a thesaurus to find synonyms you might not otherwise think of.
However, the automated Yoast application of the Flesch formula regards strings of random letters as a word, and considers each vowel in a word to be one syllable. So, use your own common sense as it’s not a perfect application.
Plain English guidelines
Instead of relying solely on this formula for readability, you can combine it with the guidelines recommended by the Plain English movement. This began in 1979 to campaign against gobbledygook and jargon in public information, and offers some very sensible pointers on creating clear, concise texts in general. The first two tie in with the Flesch score:
- Use short sentences, no more than 20 words.
- No jargon. Replace any jargon, industry-specific terminology or obscure words with shorter, plain words.
- Use bullet points wherever you can (this also optimises the text for search engines!)
- Use active verbs rather than passive verbs. An example of a passive verb is: “The file can be opened by clicking on the icon.” This is rather wordy, so turn it round to make a shorter more direct instruction: “Open the file by clicking on the icon.”
- Avoid nominalisation. This is when you change a verb or other word into a noun. For example, you might write “Product development is ongoing”, instead of the easier “We are developing new products”. ‘Development’ is the noun coming from the verb ‘develop’.
Here’s a little ‘Writing irresistible web content’ quiz for you!
Test yourself 1: How many passives can you find in this article?
Test yourself 2: Turn these verbs into nouns:
Write your answer in the comments below this post and let’s see what you come up with.
WPQuicklaunch makes editing and creating website content easy, so follow these points and use the Quicklaunch platform to start writing irresistible web content right away.