5 tips to improve the readability of your writing

Posted by Wendy Wood on 26th January , 2021 in Copywriting, Editing & Proofreading
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A clear message is an effective message.

So, if I’m trying to drum up business, you can darn well bet I’m going to make my website, advertisements, and blogs as clear and readable as possible! I want people to find my information both easy to read and interesting to read – so interesting that they purchase my product or services.

Improving the readability of your business’s written communications takes work and attention to detail. A professional proofreader is trained to tackle the big issues like spelling mistakes, grammar errors, and missing punctuation. But we’ll also look for anything that could hinder readability.

Here are several things a proofreader will address:

Jargon

It’s important to know your audience and know their level of understanding of your product or services. Will your audience know what “bulk material handling” is? Will they know what you mean when you use the term “safeguarding”? A proofreader will help ensure any words or processes your readers will be unfamiliar with are thoroughly explained.

Break up your paragraphs

Have you ever read a page-long paragraph? I’ve seen many in my career and have lost interest in every single one— not because of the length of the paragraph but rather because there were too many ideas introduced.

Most writing guides suggest a paragraph should contain three to five sentences; however, I would suggest a paragraph contains as many sentences as it takes to communicate one idea. A proofreader will shorten paragraphs to contain a single thought that readers can more easily read and digest.

 

READ MORE: [RESEARCH] What does successful writing look like?

 

Vary your sentences

The English poet William Cowper said, “Variety’s the very spice of life, that gives it all its flavour”. Variety is the spice in writing, too. A blend of long and short sentences in a paragraph makes your writing more interesting.

Throw one too many commas or clauses in and your readers may lose sight of the subject. Have too many short, choppy sentences and readers will tire easily. A proofreader can help you obtain just the right balance.

Avoid getting lost in translation

I once edited an article originally written in another language. The company had used Google Translate to convert the article to English. There was definitely something lost in translation!

Many phrases common in one language do not translate well to another language. Hiring a bilingual writer or proofreader will ensure readability.

 

READ MORE: Do I need an editor or a proofreader?

 

Write to a 12-year-old

Businesses want to sound “smart” about their products, and I get it. But limiting your writing to a specific reading level will make it readable for a broader range of customers.

Experts suggest writing to a level a 12-year-old (an eighth grader) can understand.

A proofreader can help you keep your text to this level by replacing complex words with simpler ones, shortening sentences, and clearing up any difficult concepts.

Proofreading and readability

The more readable your communications are, the more interesting they’ll be, and the more business you’ll see. Hiring a professional proofreader can improve the readability of all your communications.

If you’re looking for a proofreader to ensure your business communications are word perfect, get in touch.

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