Readability is defined as how readable a piece of writing is. Is it legible? Does it have a clear focus? Is it grammatically sound? It is a term associated with online content writing and dictates how well a piece of content may be received by the target audience. It is easy to see that readability is important. If a piece does not translate from the page to the mind, the impact will be lost and the purpose moot. This is where content writers find solace in readability tools, but how useful are they really? This guide aims to find the answers.
The Role of the Content Writer
Content writers write informational pieces for a range of companies and websites. They are the article creatives that bring media strategies to life through the medium of online words. Typically in a freelance position, content creators can work across multi-media platforms, work to manage social media profiles, or enable a better SEO and marketing strategy for a company with the purpose of reaching a wider demographic or hitting sales targets. Content plays a pivotal role for businesses, with so many B2C and B2B sales beginning with a search query, which leads to a relevant article or informational page. So what is written, how it is written, and where it is placed, really counts.
What Is a Readability Checker?
A readability checker is like an extreme version of a grammar checker. It can compare a range of factors from SEO keyword hits to whether or not the commas are in the correct place. Whatever level of intervention you opt for, a readability checker can help your work process in positive ways for multiple reasons.
The Benefits of Tools for Content
Below are a collection of the major benefits worth noting about these systems. They are all relevant to a content writer and should be considered when deciding whether or not these tools are useful overall.
One of the biggest pitfalls of a content strategy is a complex article that never quite gets to the point. Long sentence structures, big paragraphs, and untidy phrasing all deflect from the reader’s attention and make a piece of writing incapable of resonating with the original purpose. When it comes to content that hits, short and sharp is the order of the day. Use bullet points, short paragraphs, and professional language without condescending to the reader to keep people engaged and wanting more. Readability checkers will give you tips on how to make this happen.
Highlights Spelling and Grammar Mistakes
There is no point in putting an article out there that has terrible grammar and is littered with spelling mistakes. Avoid this by using any traditional grammar checker, including readability ones. They will flag anything major and remind you to use the right punctuation where it needs to be instead of leaving readers guessing at your intentions.
Can Factor in SEO
SEO has been a major player in terms of getting businesses on the map in recent years. It also has a role to play for content because these keywords and search terms are what drive people to the post in the first place. If the purpose is to be seen and gain traction, SEO is your best friend. Some readability checkers can be configured to factor in SEO scores, and when you hit the green, you will be aligning the piece with the best ranking ones out there currently.
Makes Writing Accessible
Accessibility is everything. People want to read through a piece, skim through the key headings and find what they need immediately. If they can’t do that, they will click away. There are far too many competitive articles in circulation to allow for boring, disengaging content to yield productivity in the eyes of the consumer. Give them what they want and make content accessible. Have clear headings that both break up and guide the piece where it needs to go and always factor in an introductory paragraph complemented by a conclusion at the end.
Naturally, there are also disadvantages to balancing the scale. The advantages are hard to argue with, but the downsides are worth considering too if only for argument’s sake.
Content written with such tools may seem too generic to create the right impact on readers. You want to avoid pieces that sound like every other informational article on the web. Content has to remain bespoke, personal, and impactful, or else it will drown in the sea of how-tos and top tips that are already established. The whole point is to engage the audience and bring in sales or similar, right? So, to do that, you have to engage the audience! This will be impossible if the content is the same thing they’ve read on ten other blogs or websites. Standing out from the crowd really counts here, and readability checkers may make this somewhat impossible.
Detracts From the Purpose
When keywords are forcibly entered into a piece, it may detract from the core focus. If a marketing strategy wants content as a component, there has to be a reason. What do you want that content to do? Is it to establish credibility? Or is it for generic traffic driving purposes? Whatever the reasoning, it has to have a point. Readability checkers are great for many reasons, but if a writer is too focussed on getting a green score they may not actually write anything of value to the greater scheme.
There are clear benefits to using a readability checker, but it should not be the sole focus of meaningful content. A content strategy has to be personal and find a way to connect with readers. To do this it has to be clear, concise, and sensical. In this context, readability checkers are perfect as they provide a proofreading system of sorts that brings a piece up to a higher standard. Yet there is a risk that it makes the content feel repetitive and therefore redundant, so they must be used with caution and understanding.