WordsIf you spend time in the blogosphere, you’ll find many talented writers.

Some bloggers are great word smiths. Some write posts which read like a book you can’t put down. Whereas others write so concise no word is wasted.

Sadly, sometimes words are wasted.

Wasted because some of our readers don’t understand them.

Today’s Lesson

When we blog, we try to envision a target audience and write our posts accordingly. However, we may be forgetting an important factor – what “level” are we writing at?

By “level” I mean grade (reading) level.

For example, the grade/reading level of the content on a scientific or technological blog will most likely be higher than the grade level for this blog.

Since I write about blogging and know anyone can have a blog, my audience could be bloggers ranging in age from ten to 90 (or older). Plus, I also have readers who are foreigners and English is not their first language. Knowing this, I feel it’s important (for me) to keep my wording as simple as possible.

A great way to determine if we’re writing for the age group or reading level we’re targeting is to test our content.

On the site, Readability Formulas, it’s easy. Just copy and paste 150-600 words (from your blog) and hit “check text readability”. Within seconds you will have the scores from eight different sources.

Here are my overall test results from a portion of a previous post:

Readability Consensus
Based on 8 readability formulas, we have scored your text:
Grade Level: 8
Reading Level: standard / average.
Reader’s Age: 12-14 yrs. old (Seventh and Eighth graders)

I’m happy with the results and feel most anyone who lands on my blog will understand what I’m sharing.

How about you?

Today’s Assignment:

Do you consider the age or reading ability of your potential visitors when you publish?

Take a moment and test your content. How did you do?

Care to share?

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  1. You are absolutely right about targeting specific audiences while writing a post. I tend to do that all the time and have been fairly successful so far.
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    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Box Office India,

      It’s good to hear you’re considering your audience and having success with writing accordingly. Great job!

  2. Mine was 11th grade :) Actually I feel my language is less complicated and even 5th graders will understand it. Perhaps the tool is finding some technical keywords in between and mistaking my content for something sophisticated lol.
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    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Ajith,

      I agree. I’ll bet some of the technical words you use is raising your reading level. That said, I’d say you’re writing for your audience. :)

  3. Lou | Rat 7No Gravatar says:

    Mine was also 11th grade. It’s a difficult balance really, you want to be understood by everyone but you don’t want to dumb your language down. Most people actually like to be stretched a bit mentally, despite what the media and tv would sometimes appear to want us to believe.
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    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Lou,

      Exactly. We shouldn’t necessarily “dumb down”, especially if we’re writing for an adult audience.

  4. RachaelNo Gravatar says:

    I, like you were ranked for 8th grade, i’m not sure if that’s a good or a bad thing?!
    Check out Rachael’s awesome post.Sunset at Stony CreekMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Rachael,

      It really depends on whom you’re writing for, so I don’t see 8th grade as a bad thing.

  5. HilaryNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara .. I write as I speak; but I will add explanations if I think fit – like you writing for an overseas element, however I’m happy to explain things in my comment answers.

    I spread my paragraphs out and keep them short and usually illustrate my post – so people can get an idea without necessarily reading through.

    Cheers – I’ll be interested in everyone’s responses .. have a good weekend .. Hilary

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Hilary,

      Writing like we speak sure makes it easier to blog, doesn’t it?

      I like your idea of adding explanations in the even a reader is confused on any of your terminology. Not only do they get to learn more, but it shows you’re thinking of your audience.

  6. JoyNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara,
    I ranked 10th grade level. Like you, my intent through my site is to write so that everyone who visits may understand what I am conveying.
    However, I write with a different style when I write for other sites, so I submitted a piece to see how readable it was–it ranked difficult to read–college graduate and above. Very interesting to see it from such a perspective…my writing style is that different!

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Joy,

      Wow! That’s interesting – how your writing level changed for the different types of sites you’re writing for.

      It does show you have versatility. 8)

  7. suzenNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barb! Haven’t checked mine yet, but I will. You know, years ago I had a funky little word processor that came with this program called Perfect Writer System. It came with a built-in grade level (I think called Kincades Grade Level) and also this neat thing called Gunnings Fog Index – it made suggestions as to the clarity of your sentences. Too cool. I thought once I moved on to the land of “real” computers I’d get the computer version. Ha! I tracked the company down – in England – and their “new” program doesn’t have what my little old dinko system had.

    I wrote for a newspaper for years – the Kincade Grade Level check was a MUST – I was told to keep it at 8th grade level, which is primarily easy reading.

    I don’t mind when people write gloriously rich words (even if they DO send me to the dictionary on ocassion) in fact, I prefer to keep learning and collecting words and phrases. It’s the only thing I DO collect, besides books – treasures all!!! :)

    I try to write just like I speak – love it or leave it – that’s just me!
    Hugs
    SuZen
    Check out suzen’s awesome post.What do your CRAVINGS mean?My Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi SuZen,

      I like how your Perfect Writer System worked. That sure would make things easier for anyone who’s trying to keep their writing level consistent.

      Collecting words and phrases is a great idea. Not only do you get to learn more, but I’ll bet you even find yourself incorporating some of them in your speech.

  8. Barbara, this is fascinating! I spent time when I was getting my M.A. in Education with Specialization in Reading using readability formulas to test children’s reading levels. Thank you for providing the opportunity for us to test a reading sample from our blogs with eight of the formulas. I tested my April 14, 1962 blog post and found it to be, on average, a grade 6 level. We should keep in mind that while the words may be on that level, the content level would be higher.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      You’re welcome Barbara,

      You’ve raised a good point. Even though the reading level of our blog posts may be low, that doesn’t mean our content lacks value. Very true!

  9. TracyNo Gravatar says:

    Very insightful, Barabara–thanks. I tested four of my posts–the readability was 10,10,9,8. I would not have quessed that these would rate so high! My audience is mid-lifer’s and older adults, but maybe I should adjust the language. Thanks again.
    Check out Tracy’s awesome post.Enter the World of Online Dating – Part One: Indentifying and Selecting a SiteMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      You’re welcome Tracy,

      That’s one good thing about this “tool”. Like you said, you feel you may need to adjust your reading level, so all you’d have to do is make some tweaks to your writing and test it again.

  10. Kelvin KaoNo Gravatar says:

    Haha, this is fun. I did it twice.

    Grade Level: 9
    Reading Level: standard / average.
    Reader’s Age: 13-15 yrs. old (Eighth and Ninth graders)

    Grade Level: 6
    Reading Level: easy to read.
    Reader’s Age: 10-11 yrs. olds (Fifth and Sixth graders)

    So I guess it varies. Either way, my language is simple enough. I guess it makes sense. I am more about getting the point across than writing beautifully crafted prose.
    Check out Kelvin Kao’s awesome post.I am on TV!My Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Kelvin,

      It is fun, isn’t it? It’s a great little tool which tells us if we need to step it up or turn it (our wording) down, or if we’re in the range we hope to be.

  11. Asma KhanNo Gravatar says:

    Hey Barbara
    We should use that words that sounds beautiful and have simple meaning so one(of any age) can understand what we want to say.
    Check out Asma Khan’s awesome post.snow socksMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Asma,

      Yes. We do want our posts to be understood by as many of our readers as possible.

  12. Barbara,

    What a fun website to use! My score is 11th grade, which I suppose is not surprising given my topics of finance, strategy, corporate treasury and the like. I have tried to include more explanations on things in my blog as I talk about them based on comments I have gotten from friends and family, but either I am not doing that well or it doesn’t help my score.
    Check out david k waltz’s awesome post.Taxes and Dividend StrategyMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi David,

      I can see how you’d score for 11th grade based on your niche, and I don’t think that’s a bad thing. If you tune it down too far, it could look like you’re dumbing down and make your writings sound too elementary.

  13. azegbeoboNo Gravatar says:

    Thanks for sharing. i normally felt since marketing principles has make us to understand that when writing sales letters the copywriter should use simple words for that reason i have not been giving attentions to the age of audience when i am choosing type of word to use in writing my blog post. Now that you have shared this i will check it.
    Check out azegbeobo’s awesome post.How to Create Blog That Earn Money on BlogspotMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Azegbeobo,

      Good point. Not only in blog posts, but in sales letters, we need to consider our audience.

  14. praneetNo Gravatar says:

    Barbara

    Thanks for the great post you have provide a very good information
    I am working on few blogs but mostly my audience are young so I am mostly targeting them
    Check out praneet’s awesome post.CNN to buy Social technology blog MashableMy Profile

  15. FriarNo Gravatar says:

    When I write, I don’t try to write a Master’s thesis. My sentences might not be grammatically perfect. I might begin a sentence with “and” or “but”, for example.

    But I choose to do this deliberately, to make my writing sound the way I talk. It seems more natural when I do this.

    As a result, I scored a “Grade 6″.

    Dunno if this is a good thing or not. But at least I know I’m catching the younger audiences.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Friar,

      That’s true. Blog posts shouldn’t sound like a Master’s thesis, but instead be understood by a variety of readers.

      On some of my posts I also scored 6th grade, but I don’t see that as a bad thing. In some ways it could mean we write for a broader audience. :)

  16. BeccaNo Gravatar says:

    As a reader, i prefer a post that can easy to understand like 11th grade. This means that your site is for everyone young,old,successful business one and ordinary people. Because when you blog you are reaching for all kinds of people not only for educated people.
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    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Becca,

      Yes. Ease of reading is important. Although we don’t want to dumb down too far, if we can appeal to a wide range of readers, we’re more apt to see return visits.

  17. WayneNo Gravatar says:

    Here’s my score;
    Grade Level: 9
    Reading Level: fairly difficult to read.
    Reader’s Age: 13-15 yrs. old (Eighth and Ninth graders)

    I think I need to work out something to make it more readable. But when I”m writing,I don’t care on misspelling, grammar or anything that goes wrong,I let my ideas flow. I’ll mind them after creating the full article. Thanks for sharing this tool. It’s interesting.
    Check out Wayne’s awesome post.Newborn initially thought to be stillborn, found breathing in morgueMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      You’re welcome Wayne,

      I’m guessing the more complex the words we use, the higher the grade we’re given. If you feel you’re writing for the right audience, I say, “keep doing what you’re doing”.

  18. Alternatively, if you’re on WordPress, get the Yoast SEO plugin and have your post analyzed for readability WHILE WRITING IT. I can’t recommend this plugin enough.
    Check out Cheap cigarettes online’s awesome post.Best place to buy cigarettes onlineMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Cheap Cigarettes,

      Thank you for the recommendation on Yoast’s plugin. I haven’t seen that one yet, but will definitely check it out.

  19. MelissaNo Gravatar says:

    To make your writing more useful to your readers, you can check the readability level of your writing with a simple Microsoft Word tool.
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    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Melissa,

      I didn’t know Microsoft had a word tool. Do you know what the name of it is?

  20. Jenny LNo Gravatar says:

    Very interesting test indeed Barbara. My blog scored 13-15 year old or 8th-9th graders.

    I shall keep checking this tool with a couple of new articles to know where I really belong.
    Check out Jenny L’s awesome post.How to Block a Phone Number?My Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Jenny,

      It’s a neat tool, isn’t it? I’m happy to hear it’s something you’ll be using in the future.

  21. This was a fun test, Barbara. Thank you :)

    I don’t generally consider the age of my readers, assuming that my writing is able to be understood by most who use English as their primary language. I try to be clear with what I’m writing when I write business posts. When I write posts of a more personal nature I still make the effort to tidy up the syntax, etc.

    My tests showed interesting results though. I tested two different types of posts. My recent grammar post scored a Grade 9 level and was noted as “difficult to read,” and a personal musing post scored a Grade 7 level and was noted as “fairly easy to read.”

    Maybe it’s just that grammar posts are a challenge for anyone to read — LOL — unless they are looking for a specific topic to answer a question.
    Check out Davina Haisell’s awesome post.Using Correct Punctuation with DialogueMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      You’re welcome Davina,

      That’s interesting how your grammar posts scored so high when you’re actually explaining the topic quit simply. I didn’t check real close, but did it say anywhere on that site how we can raise or lower our scores? (Or maybe there’s another site which does that)

  22. I think it’s important to write that best suites the readers of your blog. With our SMSF Education website (a finance website), we use financial terms and legislation quite often, which means that people who aren’t familiar with finance could have a hard time.

    However, the majority of blogs should write in a way that everyone can understand. Only for specific niches (such as legal, finance, etc.) you should write differently.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi SMSF Education,

      That’s true. When it comes to legal or financial types of sites, the writing level is usually higher since the readers usually have a higher education (and maybe higher expectations, too). That said, an extremely high writing level can hurt the visitor counts.

  23. This is crucial advice. During my time in the journalism field, it was absolutely critical that your content had the proper level of readability. It took a long time to write in such a fashion; I was constantly guilty of writing at too complex a level and therefore turning off readers. It is a huge lesson to grasp, this idea of keeping your writing at a highly approachable level. It is encouraging to see this kind of thing available for people online. Thanks for sharing it. Though, it does bring back nightmares of being yelled at to have to re-re-re-re-write my articles because they were WAY too verbose and complex.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      You’re welcome Robert,

      Thank you for sharing your story of how critical wording is in journalism. I can imagine they were very conscientious of how stuff sounded/was written. Plus, you’d also need to cover your bases and not say anything out of turn.

  24. It’s important to focus in on the level of reader that you are trying to attract. If you are running a blog that is widely read and for a varied age range, then keep it simple! but if you’re running a science journal, don’t dumb it down as to lose interest! Things like this just continue to legitimize a person’s chance for blog success. These tools are giving writers the tools they need to succeed beyond throwing content online and hoping for the best.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Scott,

      You’re right. We don’t want to dumb down our words and lose readership, but we also don’t want to appear that we’re trying to impress, either. It’s a fine line. All the more reason to know exactly whom we’re trying to attract with our blogs.

  25. qdbNo Gravatar says:

    Hello Barbara,

    I think that keeping it simple and clear is the most important aspect of blogging correctly and hopefully any age group will be able to handle it.

  26. KazzsandraNo Gravatar says:

    Blog readability is very important because as we blog, we have to make sure every person can read it.. Anyway, thanks for your tips here..
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    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      You’re welcome Kazzsandra,

      Blog readability is very important. If our visitors don’t understand nor comprehend what we’re trying to convey, chances are they won’t return.

  27. Not Only age of your readers but some times Factors such as design, font size, color combinations etc also acts as big factor in Readability.
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    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Mahendra,

      I’m happy your brought that up. Our design, font size and color combinations are other factors we need to consider. I don’t know about you, but I’ve landed on some blogs where the print is nearly ineligible or the color combinations are too hard on my eyes.

  28. NMRNo Gravatar says:

    I do not really target the age of my readers. What i do is look at the way the people speak in the segment of the website i build (of course some of it is age related)

    I find it very important to write how people think. Afterall they are the ones who read it and have to keep reading.
    Check out NMR’s awesome post.SEOpressor reviewMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi NMR,

      That’s a great way of looking at it. If we can converse to our readers in the same manner they’re speaking to us, we’re sure to have a successful website/blog.

  29. Chris NewaldNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara,

    What a neat tool. It takes me back to my high school days. I forgot about the Flesch Reading score (which we used to call the flesh eating score). This also reminds me of all those times I was reprimanded by English teachers for not following one rule or another. On one occasion I remember complaining to a teacher that some author she liked did what I had done. I was told that once I become a well known author I’ll be able to write as I please. Until then I am to write for her…

    Well, I’m not a renowned writer by any stretch and I believe it’s important to reach as many people as possible, but I also think it’s essential to blog in your own style without over analyzing how your text will be perceived. Great post as always!
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    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Chris,

      Your English teacher left a lasting impression on you, didn’t she? I wonder if she reads your blog. :)

      Yes. Writing in our own style is important, and it’s what makes us unique. Like you, I don’t think we should over analyze our content, but it’s nice knowing there’s a tool out there if we choose to (grade it).

  30. Oh, I’m a bit afraid to do this, so excuse me if I’m not sharing my results :)

    Here goes nothing…
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  31. Another great post Barbara. Readability is one key factor for a blog or any website to attract visitor’s. Most of the time casually written blog with a sense of humor attracts more readers than corporate-like written blogs.

    Thanks for introducing such a neat tool. :-)
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    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Fren Dee Bee,

      Good point. Humor in blog posts can be a huge draw. Not only will our readers have a good laugh or smile, but they’re bound to come back for more.

  32. Readability is so important that i cannot stress it enough. If someone has difficulties reading your text, he will skip it and probably will never come back. Thank you for sharing this.
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  33. SambrenaNo Gravatar says:

    Agree with you absolutely! it’s important to write for targeting specific audiences. Also, it will be good if the appearance of your blog is designed for these specific audiences.
    Check out Sambrena’s awesome post.Kvisoft Launches Flip Book Maker 3.5 for Publishing to Mobile Devices and MACMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Sambrena,

      Good point. Not only do we need to know our audience, but we should design our blog with them in mind, as well.

  34. Gail RogersNo Gravatar says:

    True. Some writers try it so hard to put incomprehensible words that most readers just say “Oh! OK” about it. Glad that yours is not like that. Congrats on the result^^
    Check out Gail Rogers’s awesome post.MSDSonline Teams up with ASSE and Jennifer Silk for GHS Webinar on April 19My Profile

  35. Lovely ChuNo Gravatar says:

    Age and reading ability of the audience are so important to consider in writing. And that includes the capability of the visitor to understand English. You shared an awesome post here that I learned so much from it. This is an enlightenment that sometimes we forgot the leveling of our audience.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Lovely Chu,

      True. With us having visitors from around the world, we should consider those whose first language isn’t English, as well.

  36. JackoNo Gravatar says:

    Blogging with out a blog. Is that like swimming without water?

    clever name.

    I think readability should reflect the individual. Everyone is different, some people talk very lout and fast. Some people talk very slowly and very low tones. Its up to you just get your message across.
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    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      LOL and thank you, Jacko,

      Definitely. Whenever we write, our words should reflect our personality and readability is just one aspect to consider.

  37. I think it’s really important to consider your audience and the material that you are writing about. I always try to make my articles sound very professional, because of the subject matter that they deal with. The majority of the people that visit my site are English readers and speakers, and so they should be able to understand the language that I use.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Paul,

      That’s true. Our readers do need to be able to understand what we’re trying to express and with you having a legal site, I’m guessing it’s even more crucial. Although you probably speak in legalese with peers, on your website the readability is aimed at clients (or potential ones).

  38. VijayNo Gravatar says:

    Actually No.. My blog posts are basically some how to tricks which can be used by the people of any age group. But sometimes, when i write about some programming thing, that time i do expect them to be some professionals..
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    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Vijay,

      You’re right. Some of our posts may have a higher grade level than another. It just depends on the topic and who we hope to target.

  39. Richards JohnsonNo Gravatar says:

    I definitely agree with your points here. My question is, how do you know you have reached your target audience? I’m just new to blogging and wanted to learn more. Thank you for this interesting post.

    -Richards
    Check out Richards Johnson’s awesome post.how to seduce a womanMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      You’re welcome Richards,

      The only way I know if we’ve reached our target audience is by checking our stats for how people found us (keywords) and by the comments we receive.

  40. Hi Barbara,

    Thanks for sharing information. I am learning all aspects of blogging and want to write which can help the readers and give information. Please give me some tips. You are right, words are wasted. When it is not understandable by the the readers. The words should be simple.

    Thanks
    Rena
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    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      You’re welcome Rena,

      As for blogging tips, I’d say, look at your posts through your readers eyes. If you’ve answered the questions you’d have if you were the reader, than you’ve succeeded. Also, be authentic.

  41. ShelonNo Gravatar says:

    Thank you for sharing the Readability Formulas. I did check my blog and here’s my result:

    Readability Consensus
    Based on 8 readability formulas, we have scored your text:
    Grade Level: 7
    Reading Level: fairly easy to read.
    Reader’s Age: 11-13 yrs. old (Sixth and Seventh graders)

    I always practice brevity and clarity in constructing the sentences for my posts and I’m happy with the Readability Formula results. I’m still learning the ropes when in comes to good blogging and I hope I’m starting it right. Thanks Barbara :)
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    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      You’re welcome Shelon,

      From the results of your test, it sounds like you’re on the right path. Happy blogging! I hope to see you here again, soon. :)

  42. StephenNo Gravatar says:

    You really have a point here. In fact, that is my mantra in writing; I write so that people can understand what I want to share, not to impress people with my great writing prowess.
    Check out Stephen’s awesome post.what are smokeless cigarettesMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Stephen,

      Like you, I feel it’s important our words are easily understood by our readers considering how we never know who’s reading and what their level of comprehension is.

  43. Thanks, this was an interesting exercise! Mine came out as 12th grade, which surprised me a little because I’ve always thought I wrote fairly simply. I’m not too worried because I blog mostly about literary fiction, so people who read literary fiction should be able to follow my blog. But it’s good to keep in mind. Thanks!
    Check out Andrew Blackman’s awesome post.Where are the Women?My Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      You’re welcome Andrew,

      I agree. If you’re writing about literary fiction, chances are your readers have a higher level of comprehension. Great job!

  44. Publishing is fairly new to me so I appreciate the lesson. I try to keep it simple in my own blog.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Concrete Polishing Guy,

      In most cases, keeping it simple is best so you’re right on track.

  45. JacobNo Gravatar says:

    I think that you are right that it depends on the readers that you target, but in essence, we all have our writing style, and that will eventually attract the type of people that can relate to that style, which in turn will give you a nice loyal following… agree?
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    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Jacob,

      Yes. Our writing style is another aspect of blogging which may keep people coming back. Plus, it will show authenticity, which I feel is very important.

  46. Jim AntoineNo Gravatar says:

    Thank you!
    I have not ever thought of this aspect..
    I really hope my readers are up to my level of writing.
    I am not a Shakespearian writer nor a Forrest Gump type of writer.
    :-)
    I used to track demographics data but not this.
    Thank you again!
    Check out Jim Antoine’s awesome post.5 ways to set goals for yourself and your businessMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      You’re welcome Jim,

      I’m happy to hear I was able to introduce you to a new writing tool. If you track demographics, this should be a perfect fit. :)

  47. Michael BelkNo Gravatar says:

    Thanks Barbara, I think I have work. My text scored difficult to read but it was at least 9th grade level. this is an excellent test.
    Check out Michael Belk’s awesome post.If companies keep trying to probe applicants, will social media become obsolete- Facebook’s response.My Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      You’re welcome Michael,

      Yes. This is a great tool. Not only can we see if we’re writing for our target audience, but by testing our content (prior to publishing), we’ll know if we need to make any adjustments.

  48. i agree with your points.. its really a great tips for all.. we should keep our blog as readable.. for that we should post the good post and useful informative post. so people will get interest and they wil start to visit our blog daily..
    this is the best way we can increase our score..

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Alana,

      Definitely. We want our content to have value. All the more reason to keep those readers coming back. :)

  49. Nice topic and nice discussion. Blogging is particularly very useful nowadays. I like your views and opinion.Keep it up!

  50. MichelleNo Gravatar says:

    Thanks for the post Barbara. It’s such an eye-opener. We all consider the age or reading ability of our visitors. But I think the catch is that they forget to target the content towards these visitors.
    Check out Michelle’s awesome post.Introducing Facebook’s New Organ Donor FeatureMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      You’re welcome Michelle,

      Absolutely! Our content needs to fit the readability of our visitors no matter what their age.

  51. ChetanNo Gravatar says:

    true…blog readibilty is an imp parameter to write blog posts. Otherwise people tend to ignore your article and move on…
    Check out Chetan’s awesome post.What is Yoga?My Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Chetan,

      You’re right. People will move on if our content is beyond their reading ability. Better to be safe than sorry.

  52. raulnayakNo Gravatar says:

    Hey, thanks for a wonderful post. I had a question.I run a recipe website-cum blog where I write a new recipe everyday. SO in this case,considering your post, do I need to re-consider the age of the reader too? You post has really got me thinking.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      You’re welcome Raulnayak,

      For a recipe site, I don’t think it’s necessary to consider the age of the reader, however I’d suggest if you use abbreviations for measurements, that they are spelled out.

  53. KoundeenyaNo Gravatar says:

    I use Yoast SEO plugin and it has Flesch reading scale in it. I usually get more than 75 and I’m happy with that. because readability is an essential factor for a blog
    Check out Koundeenya’s awesome post.Why Should You Start Using Google Plus?My Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Koundeenya,

      Thank you for recommending the Yoast plugin. I haven’t tried that one yet, but from what you’re saying, it’s a time saver.

  54. AupairNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara,

    Just wanted to say thanks for the tip. Never thought about doing that, but will definitely be using readability formulas in the future :)

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      You’re welcome Aupair,

      I’m happy to hear this will be helpful for you in the future. Happy blogging!

  55. I think you write for your audience. Your style should be as natural as possible. That being said you must know your audience. Good post!

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Thomas,

      I agree. Writing as naturally as possible will help to attract the right audience, plus will show our readers who we are.

  56. amnonNo Gravatar says:

    Great post, Barbara–thanks. I tested six posts in my site the readability was 5 10 and one 9.This is great, just to remember
    I’m not known English until the age of 12.
    I think the main idea is to remember who is our target audience.
    and content is very important.
    Content is the king.

    Thanks,
    Amnon.
    Check out amnon’s awesome post.How to stay young by eating healthyMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      You’re welcome Amnon,

      I agree. Content is king and it’s what our readers will keep coming back for.

      Congratulations on learning the English language. From what I’ve heard, it’s one of the hardest ones to learn, so you’ve done awesome. :)

  57. I think that it will always depend on the topic or issue you’re writing about but for me, I try to publish something that will attract or pique the interest of everybody, regardless of age.
    Check out Debbs Hosting’s awesome post.Templatic Tips of the Day – April 2012My Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Debbs,

      Definitely. Our topic plays a huge part on how our posts should “read”, but like you said, it’s also important to appeal to all ages.

  58. John ErnestNo Gravatar says:

    The target audience is your most important factor when attracting traffic. But the age of the readers is not really a factor. People will be flocking to a certain niche because they are interested and they will research if they want to understand what they are reading.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi John,

      Knowing our target audience is important, however I think “age readability” is important, too. The way I see it is, if our content is so complex the reader has to research the topics further, they might leave us and frequent sites which explain the topic more simply.

      That said, there are some blogs which only share a portion of the information on specific topics, and in those cases, I can see how visitors will want to expand on their knowledge by visiting other sites.

  59. Earn DaysNo Gravatar says:

    This article made me rethink how I have been writing. I came to the conclusion that the most important factor is to to use as many paragraphs as possible. Unless you do this the readers will just skip over it.
    Check out Earn Days’s awesome post.Be your own boss: the new business mantraMy Profile

  60. DavidNo Gravatar says:

    Its amazing how small things can affect the way you write and can make such a huge difference. This application is very helpful. When I started writing my grade was way to high. I didn’t think it would be so high but I guess I was wrong. Then I really worked on it to bring the grade down so that my reader could read it without any trouble. I want my post to be very simple and easy to understand.

  61. This is a very simple blog and very readable. For me I prefer blogs or website content that are easy to comprehend because what’s the purpose of reading it when you don’t understand it. It’s a waste of time, actually. Thanks for sharing, I totally agree with you.