Tuesday, April 26, 2005

How Readable Is Your Blog?

Use this site to calculate the readability of your blog (hat tip: Chris of Mixing Memory).

Readability Results for Science And Politics (I am assuming the front page):

Total sentences 2,614

Total words 31,144

Average words per Sentence 11.91

Words with 1 Syllable 20,468

Words with 2 Syllables 5,803

Words with 3 Syllables 3,055

Words with 4 or more Syllables 1,818

Percentage of word with three or more syllables 15.65%

Average Syllables per Word 1.56

Gunning Fog Index 11.02

Flesch Reading Ease 62.97

Flesch-Kincaid Grade 7.44

Readability Results for Circadiana:

Total sentences 1,690

Total words 21,447

Average words per Sentence 12.69

Words with 1 Syllable 13,698

Words with 2 Syllables 4,040

Words with 3 Syllables 2,445

Words with 4 or more Syllables 1,264

Percentage of word with three or more syllables 17.29%

Average Syllables per Word 1.59

Gunning Fog Index 11.99

Flesch Reading Ease 59.17

Flesch-Kincaid Grade 8.16

Yes, it's harder than your usual blog, but the front page contains five long posts on Phase-Response Curves and a bunch of other sciency stuff. I am happy that the Gunning Fox is not 20! Does this mean I can describe complex things in simple language? I hope so.

Typical Fog Index Scores:

6 TV guides, The Bible, Mark Twain

8 Reader's Digest

8 - 10 Most popular novels

10 Time, Newsweek

11 Wall Street Journal

14 The Times, The Gua rdian

15 - 20 Academic papers

Over 20 Only government sites can get away with this, because you can't ignore them.

Over 30 The government is covering something up

So, should I write for Wall Street Journal? Are they hiring Lefty ranters these days?

Some other blogs I like:

Legal Fiction:

Gunning Fog Index 12.15
Flesch Reading Ease 57.81
Flesch-Kincaid Grade 8.60

Total Information Awareness:

Gunning Fog Index 13.90
Flesch Reading Ease 51.51
Flesch-Kincaid Grade 10.21

Pharyngula (but I am assuming it misses the tough stuff "below the fold"):

Gunning Fog Index 9.52
Flesch Reading Ease 6 5.31
Flesch-Kincaid Grade 6.18

Mixing Memory:

Gunning Fog Index 12.72
Flesch Reading Ease 57.38
Flesch-Kincaid Grade 8.95

But, if you write a blog, what do you want? More readable or less reada ble? What kind of audience you think you are writing for? Should you try for a Fox Index of 6 (i.e., a sixth-grader can understand it)? No, blog-readers tend to be far more educated than that. How can you explain something complex at level 6 without d ist or ting the topic? You cannot. One should expect science, philosophy and other academic blogs to be around 10-12 (high school level), current-events and techno blogs somewhat lower, and personal journals readable still. That is how it should be.

Go here for discussion of results and some more blogs' numbers. Use the above link to read more about the methodology and to calculate the readability of your own blog..

posted by Bora Zivkovic @ 12:59 AM | permalink | (2 comments) | Post a Comment | permalink