Tips and Tools for better Readability on your Website


Formatting & Writing Styles

Whitespace is the key to accomplishing a simple, elegant and useful product in web design. It has been proven to improve readability and sales for commerce.

In design, “white space” is negative space. It’s not blank space because it has a purpose. It is balancing the rest of the design by throwing what is on the page (or the screen) into relief. The white space helps focus your visual attention.

If you read a newspaper story, you’ll see that it covers the most important questions right at the beginning of the piece. The leading few sentences (often called “the lead”), answer questions like: Who, What, When, Where, Why, and more…

The first 2-3 sentences tell you what the story is about.

As you read further, you’re filled in on the secondary details. And, then come quotes, stats and other supporting details.

The approach of offering the most important information before filling in on the secondary details is called frontloading. It’s also called the inverted pyramid approach to writing content.

When venture capitalist, Tom Tunguz moved on from Google to Redpoint, he felt that his messages weren’t as convincing as they used to be at Google. Surprisingly, he solved his problem by changing his style of communication.

He switched to the inverted pyramid style of communicating.

A simple section structure could be:




You can go on repeating the same structure throughout your post, to create a desired pattern.

But: If all of your sentences and paragraphs start reading the same, your post will lack rhythm. This is something that you can improve by using images, lists, block quotes and other such elements. And, most importantly: by varying your sentences.

“Youify” your content.

This style of blogging gets read, because every time you say “you” or “your,” you pull your reader into the discussion. Also, by using you’s and I’s, you can keep the content of your web site from looking like a set of essays.


Your blog posts aren’t academic papers. You can go easy with the style and you should. By making your posts conversational, you can draw your readers in and engage them better.


The Hemingway app

Try to write short sentences. Short sentences add clarity to content and make it look snappy. They’re easy on the eyes as well..

To remove all the overly long sentences in your post, edit it using the Hemingway app. The Hemingway editor helps you rewrite all of the long sentences in your post and boost its readability.

When you’re ready with your shiny new post, go to the Hemingway app and paste your content into it. Next, look for all the sentences that the app highlights in red. All of these sentences are long and can be rewritten for clarity.

Internal cliffhangers or “bucket brigades,” as made famous by Brian Dean, are a great way to grab the attention of your target audience. When readers encounter them, they tend to hang in some more because these elements call for immediate attention. image You can boost the average session time of your user to more than 4 minutes, by simply breaking up your posts using bucket brigades.

When you first start using bucket brigades in your posts, you might feel a bit funny, as they look unconventional. But, they work like magic.

Readability Tools

Flesch Reading

The Flesch Reading Ease formula will output a number from 0 to 100 - a higher score indicates easier reading. An average document has a Flesch Reading Ease score between 6 - 70.

As a rule of thumb, scores of 90-100 can be understood by an average 5th grader. 8th and 9th grade students can understand documents with a score of 60-70; and college graduates can understand documents with a score of 0-30.


The Gunning’s Fog Index

The Gunning Fog Index Readability Formula, or simply called FOG Index, is attributed to American textbook publisher, Robert Gunning, who was a graduate from Ohio State University.

Gunning observed that most high school graduates were unable to read. Much of this reading problem was a writing problem. His opinion was that newspapers and business documents were full of “fog” and unnecessary complexity.


The Readability Test Tool

The Readability Test Tool provides a quick and easy way to test the readability of your work. It is the most flexible readability software for assessing readability formulas.

You can test all, or part of a web page, or simply type in your text. Link directly from your page - it will compute the results for the referring page.


Ugly Formatting:

Four score and seven years ago, our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live.

Good Formatting:

Four score and seven years ago, our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in liberty.

It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us …

  • That from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave.
  • That we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain
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    Three key barriers

    According to Nielsen Norman Group, the three key barriers to writing effective web copy are:

    Legibility: Clarity of visual design and typography.

    Readability: Complexity of words and sentence structure.

    Comprehension: Ease of understanding the text and drawing valid conclusions.

    So strictly speaking, readability only concerns itself with the ‘complexity of words and sentence structure‘. This is a little different from the way readability is understood by most users.

    Test your website readability