Blog Readability

Over at the Science of Blogging there is an interesting post about the readability of blogs. Google can rate the readability of blogs and sort them into three categories: basic, intermediate and advanced. The most widely read blogs tend to have a low readability score that makes them accessible to the most people. It is also thought that posts with a lower readability are more likely to be completely read. Advanced posts may get a “hit” as being read but readers tend to give up on them before the end.

So anyway I thought I would see how the two blogs I am actively keeping up rate. The rating scale is 1.0 for basic, 2.0 for intermediate and 3.0 for all advanced.


6% basic, 90% intermediate, and 3% advanced. Hardly seems worth the calculations but just for comparison.

(6×1) + (90 x 2) + (3 x 3) / 100 = 1.95


3% basic, 59% intermediate, and 37% advanced.

(3 x1) + (59 x 2) + (37 x3) / 100 = 2.32

Both of my blogs seem to be more or less intermediate. I’m not surprised that Contagions came out a little on the high side. I probably should try to lower it some but its hard to do that without knowing what Google is assessing.

Google lets you filter posts so that you can pull up posts in just one category. So just for grins I pulled up the “advanced” posts from Heavenfield, a total of four posts. Three of the advanced posts are bibliographies on my pages and the fourth is on dysentery in A-S England.

Just comparing to a few sites I like:

Medieval sites:

Science blogs:

Interesting, the medieval blogs all seem to come out very close, 1.95 to 2.1. I think intermediate is the right level to aim for, slightly lower than 2.0 would be ideal. I really think the average history buff and science enthusiast are at least intermediate readers. The blogs rated about 1.5-1.7  for both medieval and science do correspond to those I think are probably the most widely popular and widely read. All food for thought…


3 thoughts on “Blog Readability

  1. A friend of mine does web design has helped some people get blogs going. He looked at mine and his first comment was, “Your posts are too long.” I tried to tell him that when you’re talking about stuff that happened a thousand or more years ago and want to talk about the evidence, it’s hard to post anything useful in a hundred words.

  2. Yes, a hundred words is a little short. But academic blogs do tend to be too long. We are too used to writing essays. Its not so much the topics. I think its more breaking the argument into smaller pieces. I admit that I often give up on some of the longer posts unless its specifically on something right in my niche, especially book reviews. I also have to go back to some posts twice (or more) to read it all, so I’m only going to do that if it really catches my interest. If you try reading blogs on a mobile device like a smart phone or iPad you will see the problem. In no time after I got my iPhone, the majority of my blogs were being read on the phone whenever I had a few minutes.

  3. Thanks for that Michelle. I’ve just set up my own blog here, so I’ll be looking at those things you pointed out.

    My first blog – “dux erat bellorum” – was probably too long, which is why I decided to include a PDF version also, so folk can read it in their own time.


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