You’ve built your website and you’re getting traffic, but people don’t stick around or convert. What’s going on?
Your website content may not be doing its job. That job is helping visitors engage with your site, find what they need, and convert.
What is website readability and why does it matter?
Readability refers to how easy it is for a reader to understand written text.
So, website readability is how easy website visitors can read and understand the text and information on your website. Layout and intuitive navigation can also impact your readability.
It’s important for website visitors to be able to quickly orient to your website, find the information they need, understand the information, and act on the information.
Confuse them with wordy writing, big chunks of texts, or weird layouts, and they’ll leave. Don’t lose your customers to a competitor. Make your website easy to read.
Improve your website readability, and website visitors are likely to stay a while, visit again, and do business with you.
Simply put, website readability is critical to the success of your website.
Take the Website Readability Test
Not sure how to make your site as readable as it should be? This quick website readability test will check what you already know about readability, and identify where your content may need some help to get the job done.
Q1: What makes a website readable?
(a) Clear, easy to understand sentences.
(b) Text that’s formatted for quick scanning.
(c) Pages that display important information without clutter.
(d) All the above.
The correct answer is D. A readable web page avoids flowery language and long sentences. It presents text in short chunks that are easy to read on small screens. And it puts the information visitors want front and center.
Q2: Why does website readability matter for websites?
(a) Visitors spend more time on readable sites.
(b) Better readability can increase conversions.
(c) Your site could be nominated for a Readability Award.
The correct answers are A and B. People spend more time on sites that are easy to use. They’re more likely to buy from sites that are easy to read. Sadly, there’s no official Readability Award. The real reward is more engagement and conversions.
Q3: What is white space and why does it matter?
(a) It’s the mental state visitors achieve when your site is supremely readable.
(b) It’s the blank margin areas around your text and images.
(c) It’s the place where site visitors go when they bounce.
The correct answer is B. White space keeps websites from looking cluttered. It can also focus attention on your products or text.
Q4: How many of the words on your website do visitors read?
(a) None, they just look at the images.
(b) 350 to 500, depending on the topic.
(c) About 20%.
The correct answer is C. Most visitors scan sites quickly to pick out the information they’re looking for. Easy-to-scan sites are more readable, even though visitors aren’t reading very much.
Q5: What do eye movement patterns have to do with your website?
(a) People roll their eyes when they can’t find what they’re looking for.
(b) People scan readable pages in a Z pattern.
(c) People scan unreadable pages in an F pattern.
The correct answers are B and C (and maybe A, too). You can use this knowledge to design pages that are easier to read.
Q6: What information belongs on your website?
(a) Not much; you want to intrigue visitors with your mysterious brand.
(b) Everything about the business, from the founder’s life story to the names of your employees’ pets.
(c) Just product and service information; that’s what customers care about.
(d) Product and service information plus a short “about” section, testimonials or reviews, and contact details.
The correct answer is D. Get too quirky or too wordy and people will leave. They want product and service information. And they want to know why they should do business with you and what other people say about your business.
Q7: How many words should be on each page of your website?
(a) No more than 350 per page.
(b) At least 350 per page.
(c) As many as it takes to present the information your visitors want.
The correct answer is C. You’ll find lots of tips online about word counts for better SEO on blog posts. But when it comes to site copy—the words on your non-blog pages—it’s best to stick to the main points.
Q8: What’s “the fold” and why does it matter?
(a) A phone with a folding screen that will revolutionize the way people search the web.
(b) The horizontal crease in a newspaper.
(c) The point on a web page where you must scroll up or down to see more.
The correct answers are B and C. Old-fashioned newspapers put their headlines “above the fold” to catch readers’ eyes at newsstands. Readable web pages put their most important information above the virtual fold, so visitors get hooked and stay to read more.
Q9: What are calls to action and where do they belong?
(a) They’re newsletter sign-up reminders that go on your blog posts.
(b) They’re “buy now” buttons that go on your product pages.
(c) They’re “try it now” buttons that belong on your homepage.
(d) All the above and more.
The correct answer is D. Calls to action invite your audience to do something that moves them closer to doing business with you. Effective calls to action are highly readable. They use simple, direct language and clear images. And they’re in the easiest places for visitors to see when they scan your site.
Q10: What are your next website readability steps?
The correct answer is download this FREE ebook!
Download the FREE website readability ebook
HostGator’s Guide to Website Readability shows you how to make your website more readable, engage visitors better, and turn more visitors into customers.
At the end of the ebook, you’ll get our free HostGator Website Readability Upgrade Checklist. You can use it to quickly improve each page on your website.
What you’ll learn:
- How to identify content clutter
- How to clean up your copy & use space strategically
- How to evaluate the amount of content on your website
- How to write what your customers want to know
- Page layout strategies that help visitors read content quickly
- Common ways to improve website readability
- How to build content pages that move visitors to action!
Ready to make your site content work better? Download the FREE ebook – HostGator’s Guide to Website Readability now.
Blair Williamson is the content marketing manager for HostGator where she comes up with great ideas for blog content, webinars, and emails to help you rock your business.