Yeah, I know… back in May I wrote a post where it looked like I was picking on Neil Patel. The opposite is true; I said I realized I could never write the kind of posts he does and that I was good with that, while still admiring a lot of what he puts together.
This leads to his latest post, titled 10 Tools that will Improve the Quality of Your Blog Content. Some of them are specific to titles while others are specific to content. There was only one that really captured my interest, that being something called the Readability Test Tool.
In essence, its purpose is to tell you what school grade level your content happens to be at. The idea behind it is to allow you to determine what age level you want your content showing up at so you can gear it towards the proper audience. It’ll test the simplicity or complexity of your articles and match it against a number of readability indices (algorithms lol) and give you the grade and earliest age level of the audience that should be able to understand what you’ve written.
You know I had to test some of my content… okay, I tested a lot of my content since I have 5 blogs. What I came out to was enlightening and pretty spot on for most of it, and pleasantly shocking for the rest.
For instance, most of the articles on this blog came out saying I was writing at a 7th grade level, which means my posts should be easily understood by 12 to 13 year olds; occasionally 13 to 14 year olds. I actually like that a lot because I hate the idea of writing down to people if I’m not forced to do it (for instance, in health care, if you accept Medicare patients anything you write for them has to be written at an 8-year old level). I also didn’t want to be consistently writing a lot of articles people didn’t understand either.
It turns out my business blog has the same ranking, and I’ll admit that I worried about those posts since the general topic is leadership. The topics on my finance blog some in between 8th and 9th grade, which makes sense as financial issues can be tougher to understand. And on my medical billing site, the health issues come in around 7th grade whereas the medical billing articles come in around 10th grade; more proof that medical billing ain’t easy! 🙂
It’s not all about what the content is, but also how it’s written. For instance, our buddy Donna Merrill writes some long and intriguing posts, but because almost every paragraph is only one line, like her latest article titled Overcome Blogger Overwhelm and Achieve Amazing Results, her articles show up at a level that should be able to be understood by 6th graders.
Yet, I was surprised by some other rankings of people I know, some lower than I expected and others higher than expected. For instance, my friend Holly Jahangiri’s latest titled Both Sides, All Sides, Your Side, My Side is a tough expose on different points of view concerning social issues, yet it came in at a 7th grade level. Lisa Sicard’s latest post about tweetstorms (which I thought was something else entirely) came in around 6th grade level. And an article by Susan Velez running us through the process of changing our WordPress blog usernames from Admin to something more secure came in at a 5th grade level. Go figure! lol
The general goal is to have all the bars you see when you check your score to be green if that’s the audience you’re shooting for, which most of us are. As you see in that first picture above, all those bars end up being green. What you didn’t see is that before I cropped it the next bar was yellow; not bad but the more non-green you get the higher you grade level is.
This isn’t only a blogging tool though. I ran a test on my business websites and noticed that one of them is at an 11th grade level, while the other one is at a 9th grade level. This tells me I probably need to work on both of them to make them more understandable because when I created both pages I was working on proper SEO instead of readability (which works on one front but fails on another).
Go ahead, test some of your content to see where you come out on the readability scale. While you’re at it, check out Neil’s post to see if any of those other things he shares can help you out.