Simplifying Your Writing

One of the most important ways to improve your writing is to simplify it. Did you know that half of Americans can’t read a book above an 8th-grade level? Some of the most successful novels ever written were easily understood by middle schoolers! That doesn’t mean you should necessarily write to a younger audience, but you should write in a way that can be comprehended by the majority of people. You may be an expert in your field, but not everyone is.

As you’re writing a post, think about the mental state of your reader as they come upon your article. What are they doing, what mood are they in, what other things do they have going on at that time? A reader who stumbles upon your post will probably first scan over the page to see if your post has the information they want or the solution to their problem. When you simplify your writing, readers can quickly determine what information will be in your post. If the reader is in a hurry or doesn’t immediately see the answer to their question in your post, they may move on to another site. Use short sentences, avoid too many adverbs or adjectives, and use an active voice.

One excellent resource for simplifying your writing is the Hemingway App. Enter parts of your writing into the Hemingway editor and the software will show you where you can eliminate wordy sentences and passive phrases. It also tells you what grade level you are writing to.

Another great way to simplify your writing is to write like you speak. Engaging websites are usually conversational. You want a relationship with your reader and they want one with you. The best way to do that is to communicate like they are a friend! Don’t use technical, stiff writing. Again, this can depend on your audience. How do you think your audience would best receive this message? Does your audience have prior knowledge of this topic or are they just being introduced to it? Using conversational language in your writing will help solidify that relationship between you and your reader because they will feel like they’re listening to a friend.

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