Readability: The Key to Publishing Successful Blog Posts
Karl Kangur

There are many different hacks you can employ to ensure the success of your content marketing strategy.

For example, according to Backlinko's analysis from 2019, investing time and effort into publishing long-form content will help you win, on average, 77.2% more backlinks than you'd get short articles.

Or, you could try to drive blog success by focusing on post type. A study from 2021 discovered that select blog post types, like list posts, how-to articles, and ultimate guides, have a higher likelihood of reaching evergreen status. (In fact, list posts are 15x more likely to stay fresh and relevant than presentations.)

Then there are strategies such as optimizing for search intent, implementing SEO hacks to improve search engine rankings, and distributing blog posts through channels that drive engagement.

But if you look past all of these tactics for publishing successful blog posts, you'll see that there's one element you need if you want to use content marketing to grow your business: readability.

A high readability score won't just increase content accessibility and ensure that your audience understands the content you publish. It will also lead to higher engagement on various distribution channels. Moreover, a good readability score (60 or higher) will positively impact conversion rates. And it will keep your audience interacting with your content, maximizing your chances of turning web visitors into viable leads.

Are you ready to supercharge the success of your company blog by focusing on readability? If that's the case, the following are the hacks that will help you win big with minimal effort.

Keep The Blog Colors Simple

One of the easiest ways to improve blog post readability is to pay attention to your site's color palette.

Generally, poor color choice and low contrast lead to a significant decrease in readability. Fortunately, however, this is an easy mistake to fix.

To achieve a good contrast ratio between text and background, your best bet is to go with black and dark gray letters on a white backdrop. As you can see, this is precisely what FE International's blog posts do to achieve a high readability score. Their post on affiliate website valuation is a terrific example of taking advantage of simplified colors and design aesthetics.

Or, if you want something a bit more creative, pay attention to your color choices. Kashmir green, midnight blue, and burnt umber all work great with light themes.

Alternatively, if your blog has a dark (or black) background, you can check this guide from UX Matters for text color recommendations.

Finally, you can also employ a contrast checking tool to see how your current blog color palette performs in terms of readability.

Watch Your Page Width

According to the Baymard Institute, the optimal line length for body text, when aiming for a high readability score, is between 50 and 75 characters.

Anything longer than that, and readers will have difficulty understanding the content. And shorter text widths will interfere with web visitors' reading rhythm, which will lead to stress and potentially skipping important content.

So, if you want to reap the benefits of a high readability score on your blog posts, make sure you don't try and cram too much into a single line.

A good rule of thumb is to stick to text boxes that are 700 pixels wide. Luckily, this is super-easy to do with a well-designed blog WordPress theme.

Allow Readers to Skip Redundant Content

When trying to optimize your blog posts for readability, make sure they're easy to navigate.

Don't sacrifice user-friendliness and force web visitors to scroll through multiple sections of text before they get to the part they want to read. Instead, use anchor links and tables of content. This will benefit both you and your website visitors in several ways:

It will prevent fatigue and high bounce rates, as it allows users to get to the part of the text relevant to their interests.

Act as a form of expectation management by informing readers what they can expect to learn from the article.

Make blog posts suitable for a larger audience. By covering the basics, it will attract customers in the awareness stage of the sales funnel. And details at the end of the article will make it easy for people in the lower stages of the funnel to find information relevant to their needs.

For an excellent example of a branded blog making the most of this readability-boosting strategy, check out Sleep Junkie. This brand's Best Adjustable Beds of 2022 guide includes a handy and logical table of contents. The page element allows readers to jump to the product review they're most interested in.

Furthermore, note how the section also acts as a conversion-driving element. It invites readers in the lower stages of the sales funnel to "check prices" and guides them towards making a purchase.

Keep Your Writing Simple

Ok, so you've implemented the design-oriented hacks for boosting blog post readability. Now, it's time to approach your articles from a language-oriented standpoint.

And it turns out that from this point of view, the absolute best way to increase readability is to simplify your writing style.

When trying to impress customers, it's easy to make the mistake of trying to prove your expertise by using niche language, long sentences, and going into detail about complex processes. But the truth is (unless you're targeting fellow industry experts), this type of language will only alienate your audience.

So, instead of giving into complexity, do your best to keep your writing simple:

-Keep sentences short. Ideally, you should only cover a single idea with one sentence.
-Avoid long, complex words and niche-specific jargon. If you can communicate an idea with a 2-syllable word, use it instead of opting for a 4-syllable one.
-Don't try to be too clever or cure. Do your best to communicate ideas directly and concisely. And don't force your readers to search for deeper meaning in your blog posts.
-Avoid using the passive voice. It's old-fashioned, often requires complicated sentence structures, and it hurts readability.

To check whether your language ticks all the boxes, use online tools like Yoast or Hemingway. These will highlight any text sections that might pose a problem to your readers. Plus, they will give you handy suggestions on making posts more user-friendly.

Use Subheaders Liberally and Logically

For the past two decades, scientists have studied how people read online. And during this long period, they've consistently been getting the same result: web visitors don't read online content. They skim and scan according to a few widespread reading patterns (such as the F-pattern, layer cake pattern, Z-pattern, lawnmower pattern, etc.).

With this in mind, one of the best ways to boost the readability of your blog posts is to make them skimmable. And to do this, the one thing you have to do is use subheaders.

Essentially, subheaders provide visual anchor points. Because of this, they're an excellent way to draw readers' attention to key concepts and ideas in your articles.

For an example of a blog post that successfully does this, check out the guide to setting up a camp kitchen from REI.

You'll notice that the page is optimized for the F-reading pattern by using left-aligned text. Moreover, it utilizes three different subheading types. And, it liberally employs bullets and numbering to make the tips easy to read.

Break Up Long Sections of Text

In addition to employing subheadings in your text, you can further boost readability by breaking up long text sections or text chunking.

This strategy relies on breaking long paragraphs into more manageable pieces, which speeds up reading, aids comprehension, and boosts recall.

To successfully apply this tactic to your blog posts, try to shorten your paragraphs. The easiest way to do this is by centering each one around a single idea.

Furthermore, use quotes, images, bullet points, and other media types, as these will help you communicate concepts in a user-oriented way.

For an excellent instance of an article that uses text chunking, check out the macro calculator page from Transparent Labs. This post includes several images, videos, and even an interactive tool to help readers go through the text at a more natural and learning-oriented pace.

Pay Attention to Your Font

Finally, as you work towards boosting the readability of your blog posts, don't forget that the font you use also plays a crucial role in making texts easy to consume.

The best practice is to stick to one of the following choices:

-Lucida Sans (PC)/Lucida Grande (Mac)

Generally, do your best to avoid narrow and decorative fonts. And, of course, prioritize a simple and accessible blog post design, like the one utilized by Wrike.

Final Toughts

By paying attention to the readability score of your blog posts, you won't just actively contribute to your audience's understanding and enjoying your articles.

More importantly, you'll increase their chances of engaging with and sharing your content, staying around on your website and forming a positive perception of your brand.

When you put all of these benefits together, it's easy to conclude that spending time increasing your blog posts' readability score is worth the effort. If nothing else, it will make your content accessible, which is a super-helpful boost when trying to reach a large audience that includes international readers.