As a blogger, your main customers are your readers and the customer is the king. If you really want to make your blog readers feel like kings you have to:
– offer them quality blog posts (content)
– present and organize them well (style)
– articulate your thoughts in a simple to understand way (language)
While the first part (content) is the prime ingredient to your blogging success, it would help if you have great content but bad presentation and poor language. The written language and the visual styling together define the readability of your blog or website and that’s our topic of interest for today.
Blog styling and themes
Well, I am not a styling expert and hence would stay away from making a lot of suggestions on this point. However, from my software experience around visual components development, UX (user experience) evaluation etc, I feel that the following parameters define the readability of websites.
- font size
- colour contrast
- emphasizing, underlining & highlighting
- illustration support (charts, diagrams…)
The above four are probably the key things to be kept in mind while designing (e.g. blog themes) and organizing content. In addition, there are accessibility standards for visually challenged people etc.
[What if you come across a blog with excellent content that is hard to read? You can either use the feed or use a website readability enhancer]
Language and readability aspects
Your blog’s content readability depends a great deal on the selection of words, formation of sentences and then paragraphs. Smaller sentences without too many repetitive words and relatively smaller paragraphs are pleasant to reader.
There are a number of algorithms and measures to check the readability of a blog or website content. The Gunning-Fog index is one of the methods which is calculated as follows:
Fog Index = (average number of words per sentence + average number of difficult words per sentence) * 0.4
Lower the Fog Index, better readable your blog is. For example Income tax rules, law books, government publications etc will have a very high Fog index where as comics and novels will have a lower Fog index.
Similarly there are other algorithms such as Flesch reading ease algorithm, Coleman-Liau method etc. You can read more about them under the Wikipedia readability topic.
How to test the readability of your blog?
There are a number of online tools available that could help you to analyze the readability of your blog. You can find one such readability tester here.
I got a reasonably good Fog Index (8.99) for this blog – probably because my language is not all that sophisticated. Check your blog’s readability today and share your results here as comments.
Readability is, definitely, what highlights your content and thoughts. Things like blog themes and styling can be outsourced but not always your own language. Hence readability becomes all the more important for a blog and the blogger!