What Is Flesch Reading Ease?

If you are working in content marketing field, you probably have heard about the Flesch reading ease. But if you are new to this field, you might wonder what reading ease means. Or more importantly, you might want to learn more about how to create a more readable and easier content.

When you are writing any piece of content, there are few things you need to consider. You need to set the tone of your text. And you need to structure your text according to your main reader audience. So, does the reader audience matter? Yes, certainly.

As we grow older, we learn new words and new grammar structures. So, the vocabulary of a 15-year-old will not be the same as the vocabulary of a 50-year-old. Naturally, their expecations from the content they encounter will be different. While a 15-year-old individual will want simpler content with a more fluent language, a 50-year-old individual might want to read a text with rich vocabulary.

So, why are we talking about these individuals?

Because these individuals will be your reader audience. And you need to understand their needs to create well-structured content. Also, the reading ease measurement highly depends on your vocabulary and tone in your blog article.

Okay. Let’s see what is content readability and how can you obtain desirable Flesch reading ease scores for your online content.

Content Readability

We all want our content and copies to be readable. Also, we want them to reach as much as people they can. But this is not possible when you use too much unknown words for a foreign reader. Today, the world is globalising. Almost all websites get visitors from all around the world. So, these websites are creating content in lingua franca of today – that is English.

Well, English is the second language for most of us. People from different countries learn the English language as a foreign language. And in some case, reading English language content can be challenging. Especially, if there are lots of unknown words. Here, the important thing comes into play: content readability.

If you are addressing an international audience, you need to make sure that your content is easy to read. Moreover, this requires using the common vocabulary for different users. For this purpose, Flesch reading ease scale can help you. So, what is this scale? And how can it help you to create more readable content?

What Is Flesch Reading Ease?

Actually, it is also known as the Flesch-Kincaid readability test. But we commonly know it as Flesch reading ease thanks to SEO. In fact, the reading ease test is one of the tests of the Flesch-Kincaid test. The other one is called Flesch–Kincaid Grade Level. Still, we mostly use reading ease to determine the level of a text.

This test was first used in 1978. And the main purpose was to identify the difficulty of technical manuals. But the usage purpose changed over time. Today, we use this test to identify the difficulty of all texts. So, how do you calculate Flesch reading score? And how do you classify the text difficulty according to this score?

The reading ease test has the following formula:

Flesch reading ease formula

As we can see from the formula, you need to know the total words, total sentences and total syllables to calculate the reading difficulty of a text. Well, how do we classify our results? Let’s see the following table.

ScoreSchool LevelNote
100.00 – 90.005th gradeVery ease
90.0 – 80.06th gradeEasy
80.0 – 70.0 7th gradeFairly easy
70.0 – 60.0 8th grade & 9th gradePlain
60.0 – 50.010th – 12th gradeFairly difficult
50.0 – 30.0CollegeDifficult
30.0 – 10.0College graduateVery difficult
10.0 – 0.0ProfessionalProfessional
Flesch reading ease scores (Adapted from Wikipedia)

According to this table, you often need to aim for the scores between 100.0 and 60.0. Any score between this range is acceptable for the general reader audience. But if you are trying to sound like an expert, 60.0 to 30.0 band could be ideal. Any text between 30.0 and 0.0 is often very challenging and difficult. So, try to avoid this range even if you are aiming for something professional.

How Can You Improve Your Text Readability?

Now, let’s imagine this. You wrote a text for your website or blog. And you measure its readability. As it turns out, your text is fairly difficult to read. So, this means your text does not address the majority of the readers. What can you do about it? Is there a way to improve your text’s readability? Well, there is. Actually, there are two methods.

First, you can try to use simpler vocabulary. Instead of more difficult words, choose simpler ones. You can use a dictionary to find synonyms. When you use easier words, your text will become more readable.

Second, you can make shorter sentences. Longer sentences are harder to understand. You can divide your long sentences into short ones. Also, you can use lots of transition words. Transition words will help you to create shorter sentences and link them.

These two things will help you to make your texts more readable.

How Can Readability Help to Your Marketing Practices?

When your blog posts are informative and easy-to-read, people will want to read them more. This way your brand can create a user-friendly approach. Also, you can address to a wider audience. A simpler and clearer text means more people will understand the texts without spending too much time.

Here, your goal is to make readers feel comfortable – not to make them feel challenged. Remember. Your visitors come from different backgrounds and age groups. You need to address them all. So, try to create fairly easy text. These texts and blog posts will help your marketing efforts. Especially, if you are targeting for an international audience.

Digital marketing is all about reaching your target audience. For that, you need to create both strong and readable content. Just focus on your audience. And give them the content they would want to read. If you avoid hard words, you will easily achieve a good and readable content.

Don’t forget to check your Flesch reading score from different SEO tools!

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