Are Ecommerce Blogs Too Hard To Read?
Found this fun tool* the other day where you can check your blog (or any other web page)'s reading level. Get Elastic happens to be a College/Undergrad level.
*Link removed, tool no longer exists.
Readability algorithms work by analyzing word and sentence length to assess difficulty. While I'd say this is for entertainment purposes only, if your audience is consumers it is important to take a look at your blog and website content and make sure it's accessible to the general public.
The average adult reads at an 8th or 9th grade level, and 20% read below the 5th grade level. Would you want to create a usability problem for 20% of your customers? Not only that, but many English-as-a-second-language (or third, or fourth) may not comprehend above the Elementary level.
How could your conversion rates increase simply by using simpler language and shorter sentences on product pages, shipping information pages and email marketing? Jakob Nielsen has a good article on making your site more accessible to lower literacy visitors.
Because blogs are intended to pre-sell product and/or engage in 2-way conversation with customers and retailers, it's important to write for readability. I ran the readability test on the top 50 online retailer blogs based on subscribers and here's what I found:
|Blog Name||Reading Level|
|The Avenue (United Retail Group, Inc.)||Elementary School|
|Backcountry Blog||Elementary School|
|Auntie’s Beads Inc.||Elementary School|
|Ask.com (IAC/Interactive Corp.)||Elementary School|
|Just Ask Leslie (Ice.com)||Elementary School|
|Sparkle Like the Stars (Ice.com)||Elementary School|
|MooseJaw Daily Madness||Elementary School|
|Organize.com Inc.||Elementary School|
|Mr. Paper’s Blog (Paper.com)||Elementary School|
|ToolBarn.com Inc.||Elementary School|
|Urban Outfitters||Elementary School|
|Apple Students Blog||Junior High|
|Crutchfield Corp.||Junior High|
|Dell Inc.||Junior High|
|Figleaves.com Inc.||Junior High|
|Musicnotes Inc.||Junior High|
|National Hockey League||Junior High|
|Powell’s Books||Junior High|
|Replacements Ltd. (Ebay Blog)||Junior High|
|Sierra Trading Post Inc.||Junior High|
|Life at WalMart||Junior High|
|Zazzle Tech Blog||Junior High|
|Amazon Book Blog||High School|
|Bidz.com Inc.||High School|
|Communications.com (Perfume.com)||High School|
|Design Within Reach||High School|
|DrJays (DJ Networks)||High School|
|Ecampus.com (A Book Co.)||High School|
|Mountain Equipment Co-Op||High School|
|RealPlayer Music Store (RealNetworks Inc.)||High School|
|Rugs Direct (Winchester Carpet & Rugs)||High School|
|Alibris Book Blog||College - Undergrad|
|Nike Inc.||College - Undergrad|
|Online Stores Inc.||College - Undergrad|
|Palm.com||College - Undergrad|
|K & L Wines||Genius|
|Sephora USA Inc.||Genius|