Readability can be a tricky task to get right. When your writing is too formal, it can bore people half to death. Too basic, and you risk sounding overly simplistic. You need to strike a fine balance between easy to read copy, and enough detail and information to clearly convey your message. Having a helping hand (or tool), can help you rest easy, knowing you’re writing for your audience precisely. We write content every day. Be it emails, blogs or web pages, and we’ve acquired a few nifty tools to get our readability spot on. This blog has already been through them all! Read on for our three favourites, all completely free.
An online app which brands itself as “like a spellchecker, but for style”. The Hemingway Editor will help you make your message clear, by identifying all the disorganised and excessive prose in your copy. Wordy, long sentences are highlighted for being too complicated. As well as adverbs, uses of the passive voice and phrases with simpler alternatives. All factors contribute to reading ease, so by making the small adjustments recommended, you can see your readability score improve.
For those of you in-the-know about your readability measures, the Hemingway Editor uses the Automated Readability Index. This gives you a score from 1-14, corresponding to the American Grades, and referring to the minimum grade needed to understand your text. So, like Hemingway himself once noted, make your writing bold and clear. And this helpful app can help you achieve just that.
With a whole host of tools to make your text top-notch, the free online version of this tool gives you a set amount of time to use the tool. Made for occasional use, you can identify the difficult sentences, long words, and detrimental writing features.
If you know which formula is best, then go crazy, because this tool gives you them all! With 10 readability formulas to choose from, you can be sure your readability is just right. With tone and sentiment considered, text quality is easily assessed. Plus, a whole range of statistics is provided! Unique word count, averages, timings, text composition, it’s all there! If analysis is your comfort blanket, then this is the tool for you!
Yes, believe it or not, this one has been hiding under your nose all along. Microsoft Word (and Outlook) have the ability to assess your document’s readability. Looking at the Flesch-Kincaid formulas, Word takes into account the average sentence length, and average syllables per word to offer a document score. As a general marker, this is a great place to start. Microsoft Word offers a score so you can look to improve (if necessary).
Taking readability seriously offers the potential to increase your audience engagement. Simply reading through your copy may not be enough to spot the hard to read areas, especially when you’ve already spent hours looking through it.