What level of readers should you target for a website?

Writing for a website is not simply a matter of coming up with error-free content. An essential thing that you need to consider when writing is whether you can connect with your readers at the right level. Failing to consider the readers’ level could force them to spend no more than ten seconds on your content. And you don’t want this to happen. That is why you must know how to engage with your readers and connect with them at their level. 

Connecting with Readers

Establishing a connection with your readers entails communicating and delivering your message in a way that they understand it with little to no struggle. Even if your readers are academics or at least capable of understanding complex information, they should not be treated that way. Successfully marketing your content requires considering a different kind of literacy. Thus, you should know the readability score of your content.

Readability

One of the best ways to make your content reader-friendly is determining its readability. In simple terms, readability refers to the quality of being easy to read and is described in terms of reading grade. It depends on many factors, such as your choice of fonts, spacing, word choice, and the length of your sentences.

A lower reading grade tells you that your content can be understood by grade-schoolers, while a higher reading grade indicates that your readers must reach a certain intellectual level to comprehend your writing. It is crucial to know your contents’ reading grade to know which reading groups will appreciate your content. In principle, a highly readable website is more likely to turn visitors into avid readers than a website with poor readability.

Luckily, various free online resources can help you measure the readability of your content, such as WebpageFX, Readable.io, and ReadabilityFormulas

Here is a startling fact: at least half of American adults cannot comprehend a book written at an 8th-grade level. So what does this mean? If you want your website to be read by at least 80 percent of Americans, write your content with a reading grade of 8. 

Level of Reading

Knowing your contents’ readability is the first step to successful content marketing. Once you know your readability score, it is time to determine which level of readers you need to target.

Reading levels are broadly classified into four broad categories, namely elementary, inspectional, analytical, and syntopical. 

  • Elementary Level. This level is what most of us learned in elementary school. Readers at this level know the basic principles of reading and have possessed basic reading skills.
  • Inspectional Level. At this level, the readers are capable of skimming the material intelligently and decide whether the article is worthy of reading or not. Essentially, the readers look into the content at its surface and ask what it is about,
  • Analytical Level. Analytical reading goes beyond reading solely for acquiring new information or entertaining one’s self. At this level, the readers spend more time than inspectional reading to examine your content and understand it better. 
  • Syntopical Level. Syntopical reading is the last level where readers compare and contrast your content to other materials they have read. It is a more active kind of reading and requires more effort from you readers. 

You must understand that these levels are cumulative, meaning one cannot advance to a higher level without going through the previous levels.

If the target audience of your website is adults, you need to know their typical website reading level. According to the National Center for Education Statistics study, 29 percent of American adults read at the basic level, and 44 percent read at the inspectional level. 

Tips for Writing Your Contents

Here are some tips that will make your website more readable.

  • Match your content to your audience’s profile. Get to know your audience by finding out crucial information about them, such as their level of education, profession, and interests. Knowing these things will help you write contents that match your readers’ interest. 
  • Write using your audience’s vocabulary. To deliver your message more effectively, use the kind of words that your readers commonly use. You can obtain this information by examining the posts and comments of your readers. 

Conclusion

Readability is an essential factor for your website to keep visitors reading, and it is measured in terms of reading grade. A lower reading grade means a majority of your visitors can understand your content. In America, 50 percent of adults struggle to understand content above 8th-grade level. Thus, writing at this level can help your website retain more visitors. To make your website more readable, match your content to your audience and write using their vocabulary.