Any writer who has put their heart and soul into an essay, research paper, or blog post will agree that they all have the same goal: They want to appeal to their audience and grab their attention, subtly pushing them to keep reading so that they uncover the significance of their words and nod their heads in agreement – or furiously disagree.
Either way, writers want their work to make people feel strong emotions that prompt thoughtful discussions about the topic.
A surefire way to interact with your audience and get them to read on is to improve the readability of your text. Below, we’ve put together some tried-and-true tips to improve the readability of your work so you can use the full power of the written word to your advantage and successfully engage with your readers.
Readability refers to how easily readers can understand a text. Regardless of the target audience, you should always try to convey the purpose of your work in a clear, easy-to-read, logical manner. A concise, well-written document goes a long way toward achieving this goal. Let’s dive into some techniques you can use to improve the readability of your text.
1. Keep it short and sweet
● Opt for short sentences containing just one idea or thought.
● Break up lengthy, complex sentences into brief, easy-to-read ones.
● This is beneficial for those who want to get the gist of the topic without overanalyzing it.
2. Stick to simple vocabulary
● Use easy words with shorter syllables.
● This appeals to various readers, not just those with an extensive vocabulary.
● It also makes the subject matter seem more approachable and understandable, despite its complex nature.
3. Remember your target audience
● Write for your specific audience.
● Consider their knowledge of the subject and their English skill level.
● Regardless of the length of the document or the difficulty of the topic, the text should be easy to follow, and your readers should learn something from it.
4. Limit the use of technical jargon
● By minimizing the use of specialized terms, you extend your work to a larger audience.
● If you must use them, define them clearly so readers without any prior subject knowledge can understand the context they’re used in.
5. Reduce unnecessary use of adjectives and adverbs
● These words are sentence fillers and make it more difficult for your readers to understand the context of your text.
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● Use them sparingly or only when they add to the value of the sentence or paragraph.
6. Opt for a clear, logical structure
● While the content of your document is crucial, how you choose to present the information is essential to its overall success.
● Use short paragraphs with adequate spacing, each expanding on only one specific idea.
● This is helpful for those reading on phones or tablets.
● It’s also beneficial for those who prefer skimming or skim reading.
● Include tables, bulleted lists, numbered lists, and sections.
● Add section headers, as this helps readers skip to the parts they want to read.
● Use standard, user-friendly fonts that are accessible to readers of different ages.
● Alternatively, have a colleague or friend read it over.
● Look for grammatical, punctuation, and spelling errors, as these detract from the overall readability.
If you’re working on a document, it can’t hurt to take some of these tips to heart to keep your audience interested. And while you’re at it, send us a free sample so we can help you achieve a polished, engaging text that will make your readers swoon!