Readability: Writing Accessible Content

Do potential customers understand your business offer?

The first port of call for many prospects is your company website and they are looking for solutions. Your website content plays a vital role in giving prospects insight and answers. This is important, because it enables them to make informed choices.

In this article, I will explain why accessibility is important. I will also help you to assess whether your website content is accessible.

Website Accessibility

We will begin with the word ‘accessibility’. It is widely associated with being able to get into, and move around, physical premises. So, what has this got to do with website content?

To answer that question, here is the dictionary definition of accessibility:

“The quality of being able to be reached and entered, easy to obtain or use and easily understood and appreciated”

In summary, accessibility is about empowering others to get what they need.

A website is more accessible when the content is easy to read and understand. In contrast, complex words, industry terms and acronyms, compromise readability. Rather than enlightening the reader, this  confuses and frustrates them. As a result, they will look elsewhere.

What are the Three Barriers to Readability?

Three reasons why website visitors may struggle to understand your written content are:

  1. Legibility – physically seeing the words on the page

Legibility can be compromised if:

  • The text on the page is too small
  • The contrast between the colour of the text and the background is not strong
  • Text is presented on top of an image
  1. Readability – reducing the complexity of words and sentence structure

Readability can be challenging if:

  • The text includes industry jargon
  • A dictionary is required to understand the meaning of words
  • Sentences are long
  1. Comprehension – understanding what is being said

Comprehension is difficult if:

  • There are no clear answers to common questions
  • Data and features are not supported by applications, case studies or customer reviews
  • Readability is poor

Improving Readability

Are you ready to take action? If so, the following 5 steps will help to improve website content readability:

  • Firstly, explain all technical terms, abbreviations or acronyms
  • Secondly, divide written content into sections with subheadings. (Breaking up the text allows readers to skim to sections of relevance to them)
  • Then, split long sentences
  • Next, replace complex words familiar words
  • Finally, use bullet points to summarise key points

Tools including Readable are another option for checking your company website.

Turning Prospects into Customers

Being ranked on the top page of Google is an aspiration for most business owners. To this end, it is recommended that webpage content exceeds 400 words. This can look like an essay, so how can readability be improved? The answer is in the presentation.

These tips will help you to get the presentation right:

Introduce your Offer

Use the Main Heading and Introduction to summarise your offer. Your prospects need to immediately see something relevant to their search.

Use Subheadings and Visual Content

Divide the bulk of the text into sections. Then use white space, images and infographics to aid presentation.

Drop Down Sections are Effective

A short paragraph is sufficient for some readers, but others want more. Use drop-down buttons, such as ‘Read More’ to expand the content and address both needs.

Include Internal Links

Include links to other relevant pages on your website for further information. This could include Frequently Asked Questions, case studies or shipping information.

Share your Customer Testimonials

Do you have a customer testimonial for the specific product or service on each page? If so, share it, as this adds value to the visitor and content to the page.

Interesting and well-presented content will encourage visitors to read more. As a result, they gain a better understanding of your offer and your company becomes more approachable. This increases the likelihood of prospects becoming customers.

I can assist with web page copy, simply email to discuss your requirements. I will prepare written content that delivers your message and appeals to customers.



A Celebration of Storytelling

As a content writer, I use words to share marketing messages and to help businesses tell their story. This storytelling enables them to differentiate their brand, products and services from the competition. I also enjoy reading for pleasure and sharing stories, which is why I am a fan of World Book Day.

World Book Day

World Book Day is an annual event promoting the benefits of reading and writing. It is a day to celebrate words and the power of language.

For young children, stories can help them spot patterns, learn sounds and rhythms and see familiar things. As reading develops, books open up new worlds and characters. Sharing stories from a young age encourages children to see reading as a pleasure, not a chore.

Books allow readers to safely explore new situations and worlds, see things from a fresh perspective and fire up their imagination. The great thing about reading is that you stay in control of the pace and the images that are created. No two readers will absorb and respond to a book in quite the same way.

Through lockdown, books have provided me with a means to escape the four walls of the home. I have read several travel adventures and stories set in foreign lands. It offers transportation to other cultures, even when you have to stay home. What books have you favoured?

Share a Story

World Book Day encourages us to share a story. This could be giving someone a book that you have read and enjoyed or reading a story to someone. Alternatively, you could listen together to a story being read online or an audiobook. No matter what your age, sharing a story can bring delight.

I believe that early interaction with books offers a great start in life. I read stories to my daughter from birth. We were regular visitors to the Aylesbury library and enjoyed the ‘Bounce and Rhyme’ sessions. She is now in secondary school, still loves reading and has embarked on writing an adventure story.

Community Storytelling

A few years ago, I was working on a community project. The need for more story groups for babies, tots and parents was identified. With a shelf of books at home, I decided to volunteer. ‘Storytime and Song’ was set up as a weekly session held at the Healthy Living Centre in Aylesbury.

When lockdown hit last year, we wanted to find a way to keep sharing stories. I started posting a weekly story on Facebook, which was shared with some of the parents and the in-house nursery staff. It has proved popular with other contacts too. This small local group has expanded to friends in Lancashire, Suffolk, Holland, Luxembourg and Portugal!

Lockdown has encouraged many stories to be shared online. If you have younger children, or even older relatives that might enjoy listening, check out Story Corner and Coles Books Facebook Page.

I am hopeful that it will soon be safe for the group to meet again.

Donate and Borrow Books

A great thing about books is that they offer affordable entertainment. When libraries reopen, you can become a member for free and borrow titles that appeal. Charity shops and second-hand bookshops are also great places to find the work of great authors at affordable prices. Then swap with friends and family.

My daughter and I also set up a street library during the first lockdown. Many books were donated and borrowed and people of all ages thanked us.

If you have novels going spare, you could donate them to a community library or charity shop when they reopen. If you have textbooks and resources that support study, Build on Books is a great charity that donates resources to schools in Africa.

Share a Story Today

If you have children in primary school, you may feel relief in not having to make or buy a costume this year. Dressing up outfits can be a challenge, but the real purpose of the day is a celebration of stories, reading and writing. Why not take the time to share a story today?


Seasonal Messages for 2020

With just a month until Christmas Eve, your company may be considering an appropriate seasonal message. In 2020, the usual ‘Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year’ doesn’t feel right. With many people unable to enjoy the usual festivities, the challenge is finding meaningful words.

Whether we are considering sending cards, email greetings or festive blog writing, is it possible to hit the right tone? Would it be better to skip the sentiments this year?

Let’s Look at the Big Brands for Inspiration

Every year, marketing teams pull out all of the stops to create Christmas Adverts for the big brands. Considerable market research and creative thinking go into producing a message that resonates with the public. What can we learn from them?

John Lewis & Waitrose; Acts of Kindness

The John Lewis and Waitrose Ad is one of the most eagerly anticipated, yet this year they nearly opted against the idea. The company were persuaded that it was the right thing to do by the two charities that set to benefit. As the chosen charities, Fare-Share and Home-Start will gain publicity and funds from the campaign.

With both companies aiming to be a ‘force for good’, the theme for 2020 is random acts of kindness. This meaningful approach focuses on being generous in spirit, rather than giving in a materialistic sense.

This ad could inspire a festive gesture for employees. An office party might be out of the question, but an act of kindness could be a wonderful way to reward members of your team. This could take the form of an extra day of leave or a development opportunity that supports a personal goal.

This could be an accompanying greeting:

‘What would we do without you? We appreciate your motivation and determination to always do an exceptional job. You have helped us survive the most challenging of years, thank you.’

Google; Support for Small Businesses

The Google Ad recognises the role that small businesses have played in helping their community through the challenges of 2020. Their seasonal advert encourages people to support local, independent companies by writing a Google review. It is simple to do, costs nothing and is a gift that adds value.

This approach could inform your message to suppliers, freelancers and partner organisations. Take the time to write them a testimonial, LinkedIn recommendation or Google review.

‘As a small token of thanks for the support you have given us, we have written a Google review/LinkedIn recommendation/testimonial. May it help you generate new business in 2021.’

Tesco; Treat Yourself

Tesco has brought light-hearted humour to their Christmas message. The ‘no naughty list’ advert forgives the sins of stockpiling toilet roll, less than perfect home-schooling and dodgy home haircuts. It encourages us to treat ourselves because, at the end of a year like this, we all need a treat.

The treat yourself message might fit the bill for your loyal customers. Without them, your business would struggle. Could you show gratitude for their patronage by offering them a gift or a substantial discount?

‘To show our gratitude for your loyal custom, we believe you deserve a treat. Your next … will be on us/We’ll include a free … with your next order/Use this code for a 50% discount on your next booking.’

Amazon; Making Dreams Come True

The Amazon Ad shows how creative thinking helps a talented ballerina to fulfil her ambition of performing to an audience. It draws on the fact that we’ve all had to adapt and do things a little differently this year, but can still help each other to achieve our dreams.

If you are aware of the ambition of a colleague, supplier, freelancer, customer or associate, who, in your network, has the contacts, resources or knowledge to assist? Can you make connections and referrals that could help someone to take the next step towards their dream? Imagine receiving this message and the impact it could make:

‘I’d like to help you get 2021 off to a great start. Here are the details of … I believe they could offer exactly what you need to transform your vision into a reality. I’ve let them know to expect your call. Season’s Greetings.’

Your Seasonal Message

Attempting to craft a message of the right tone can result in lots of staring at a blank screen. If inspiration has yet to strike, I hope that these suggestions will inspire original words this Christmas.