Q. Does “simple” writing talk down to people?
Not at all. Easier reading is good for everyone — and good for business. In one study, a website doubled its ability to meet its goals after being rewritten to meet guidelines for lower-literacy readers. As research shows:
- Text that’s more usable for lower-literacy readers is also more usable and satisfying for higher-literacy readers
- 83% more people finish reading something if the writing is simplified from grade 12 to grade 5
Plus, adult literacy levels in the US are lower than you might think:
- The average is grade 7
- More than 20% read below grade 6
- Nearly 50% struggle to read at grade 5
To confirm that my writing is easy to read, I often apply the Flesch-Kincaid grade-level readability formula. It’s used extensively in the field of education.
Sources: The Principles of Readability, The National Adult Literacy Survey
Q. Why does your experience writing for mobile matter?
Globally, about half of all web traffic is mobile. And writing for mobile is more challenging.
Little screens can slow comprehension, reading speed, and tasks like navigation, according to Nielsen Norman Group. To make matters worse, people on mobile devices are often on the go, distracted. Consequently, mobile requires even more attention to:
- Simple language
- Simple sentence structure
- Active voice
- Short sentences and paragraphs
- Overall brevity
Q. Does all that grammar stuff really matter?
Yes! Misspellings, poor grammar, and other mistakes can hurt your credibility and your sales. You can rest easy knowing that I copyedited full-time for a decade before turning to copywriting.
Consider that in one analysis of online sales, a single misspelling cut sales in half.
A study by Redfin and Grammarly compared real estate listings overall to listings written in full sentences without spelling or grammatical errors. The well-written listings sold three days faster and were more likely to sell above their list price. “Basement with wreck room” is not a great selling point.
Q. As a former copy editor, are you a rule-bound stick-in-the-mud?
Nah. As any good copy editor knows, it’s all about the reader. When a rule doesn’t serve your reader (or, sometimes, your design), you break it. And when you understand the rules, as I do, you can break them without breaking the writing.
Q. Do you do branding?
If you have no in-depth brand study to guide the writing, we can do “branding lite.” This brief foundation-building process explores and defines:
- Exactly what you offer (features and benefits)
- Your audience (demographic and psychographic)
- The specific messages, vocabulary, and tone that will get their attention