Is Your Blog Readable?

But of course, you may answer. This is the reason I built this blog, so people can read it. Well, it’s not always and entirely like this.

Writing in a readable way is somehow difficult. Don’t think at talent or gift right now, because it’s not about that. Although it might be possible to mimic the genius after a reasonnable amount of time, I don’t want to talk about that. I want to talk about a simple, yet pretty powerful way to read your blog with the mind of the others, in order to see if your posts are “readable” enough by your visitors.

I just stumbled (litteraly stumbled, by using StumbleUpon) upon this site. Before you click, I must say that this isn’t really a site, it’s just a page. It’s a page that analyze the readbility of any text you chose.

And how it does that? Well, that’s sooo complicated. It’s a linguistic and scientific stuff that is applied to your text, but, fortunately for us, the result is easy to understand. Briefly, in that page, you put your text into a textarea, click the “Analyze” button, and you’ll instantly get some results.

The two results that are interesting for us are: The Flesch Reading Ease Scale and the The Fog Scale. Basically, those indices give you an idea about how accessible and readable your text is, without the actual semantic values, that is, without the actual content information.

The Flesch Reading Ease Scale contains values that ranges between 0 and 100, bigger being easier to read. From the description:

A score in the range of 60-70 corresponds to 8th/9th grade English level. A score between 50 and 60 corresponds to a 10th/12th grade level. Below 30 is college graduate level.

The Fog Scale acts somehow identically, but with different values:

A fog score of 5 is readable, 10 is hard, 15 is difficult, and 20 is very difficult.

I just did a test with my last post text, and here are the results:

Flesch Reading Ease Scale: 85.85
Fog Scale: 6.55

Wow, it seems that I write in a way that almost anybody can read. If they agree with what I write, well, that’s another story, of course, but having my blog posts written in an accessible way, it’s one of the most important conditions for reaching to my audience.

I continued the experiment, and I chosed some texts from several of my favourite bloggers. Got them analysed. Here are the results:

John Chow: Top 10 Blogging Mistakes To Avoid:

Flesch Reading Ease Scale: 86.84
Fog Scale: 6.63

Darren Rowse: 10 Mistakes that Will KILL a Forum…. or Blog

Flesch Reading Ease Scale: 77.77
Fog Scale: 8.78

Frank Meeuwsen: 5 GTD systems I should be using someday…maybe.

Flesch Reading Ease Scale: 84.41
Fog Scale: 4.33

As you can see, the only post that was more “readable” than mine was Frank’s post. Surprinsgly enough, as he writes about rather complicated things, compared to the others. But that’s the whole point: to clearly write about complicated things. Surprinsigly – or not – Darren Rowse it’s the most difficult to read, but the value of the content doesn’t stoped him to get around 20.000 feed subscribers. As for John Chow, he writes in a simple way about simple things, which proves to be a rather profitable business.

It’s always interesting to see how your post qualifies for the readability scale. It will always help you remain on the simple, clear and easy to read side.

Remember, blogging is to write about you, but for your readers.

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