White Paper Readability – 10 Tips to Improve it

14 Jun
2011
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A white paper is normally a 10 to 14 page long document. Your reader is a very busy person. They like reading these papers, but they want to finish reading them as quickly as they can. This is the reason why you need to make them easily readable.

 

Here are 10 steps you can take to make your paper more readable:-

 

1. Keep the writing simple: The first step you need to take is to keep the writing as simple as possible. If something sounds too complicated, then look up the meaning to it and find the simplest way to write it. Get rid of technical jargon and replace them with easy to understand simple words even a 7th grader will be able to understand.

 

2. Write in as many small paragraphs as possible: Try your best to write in as many paragraphs as possible. Keep the size of the paragraphs between 4 and 5 lines. Also try to vary the size of the paragraphs. Have one paragraph which is about 2 lines long and have another one which is 4 lines long.

 

This will excite the reader’s eyes, as they don’t have to go through a paper which looks the same throughout.

 

3. Use subheads: Sub headings and side heading improve your paper’s readability, as they make it easier to navigate through the document. Your reader can quickly look at the sub headings and see what your paper contains. It also helps them choose the topics they are interested in reading.

 

4. Increase the space between the paragraphs: Increasing the space between the paragraphs makes it more readable. Having double spaced paragraphs improves readability. It gives the paper a pleasant look and will make the reader want to read on.

 

5. Divide long paragraphs into points: Converting paragraphs into points makes the document more readable. It makes the document appear livelier and makes it easy to read.

 

6. Provide Summaries: If you take a look at really good papers. You will see summaries to some of the paragraphs on every page of the document. These summaries will let the reader know what to expect from that particular part in the fewest words possible. Your reader can take a quick look at the summaries and get a head start on the contents of that paragraph.

 

7. Adjust the length of the sentences: Make your document more readable by keeping the sentences as short as possible. Try your best to cut down the length of each sentence to less than 16 words. If there’s one long sentence, then cut it down to two or more short and easy to read sentences. This will improve the overall readability of the paper.

 

8. Use design and graphs: Get a designer to help you with the design of your paper. A designer can do wonders and make your paper stand out. Make them add colour, design and graphs which will bring the paper to life. Good graphs especially can speak a thousand words.

 

Good writing along with good design will make your paper a really powerful marketing tool.

 

9. Write in active voice: Active voice is easier to read than passive voice. This is one of the reasons why you need to convert passive voice to active voice wherever you can. Doing this will improve the readability of your white paper.

 

10. Check readability: After you finish writing your paper, the best thing to do is to check its readability. Like me and many other writers if you use Microsoft Word, then you can check the readability of your document in seconds.

 

If you click on the windows sign which can be found on the top left corner of the Microsoft word document, a menu will appear. Click on the “word options” button and then navigate to the “proofing” tab. Then just tick the “show readability statistics” box.

 

Now, every time you check the spelling and grammar of the written document it will come up with a summary that gives you the readability stats.

 

These stats give you the number of sentences per paragraph, length of every sentence and percentage of passive sentences. It also gives you the Flesch reading ease and Flesch-Kincaid grade level. These two factors will help you determine the readability of your document.

 

An easily readable document will have a Flesch reading ease of more than 60. The Flesch-Kincaid grade level should always be below 7.

 

If the reading ease doesn’t match these levels. Then the best thing to do is to decrease the size of sentences and increase the number of paragraphs. Converting complicated words to simple ones, will also improve readability.

 

If you follow these points you should be able to write an easy to read papers that will be completely read, which means they will definitely do its job of generating many leads and improving your profits.

 

Hope this article was helpful?

 

To learn how to write papers that work read our free paper “Understand and Writing White Papers”.

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