If you want people to read it, make it easy to read.

Most people seem to think “readability” is a foo-foo add-on, or catering to imbeciles. We’re too serious to worry about readability, see. Or, this ain’t school, we aren’t chained by your archaic “rules of grammar” that were made by old white men before there was even an internet.

As a freelance copywriter, I’m always looking for work. When I see “marketing” in the job titles the headhunter apps send me, I look at the sites of the companies that are doing the hiring, if they’re in the technical or industrial sectors, and I check their text for verbal readability using the Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease Index. I also inspect their visual readability: the typographic presentation of their text.

I’m not sure why readability is held in such low regard by technical and industrial companies, but it’s clear to see when you look at their sites.

For some, their website is a protective barrier, a moat to keep the looky-loos out. Glassdoor told me BEGA North America is looking for a Digital Marketing Specialist who has “a working knowledge of BEGAs identity, products, and market goals.”

You have to probe deep into BEGA’s site to find out anything about the company and what it does. The landing page has only 21 words. None of them tell you what BEGA does, nor a hint of a whisper about their identity, products, and market goals.

The entire BEGA landing page.

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you click on the PRODUCTS menubar item, you are taken to a page with no text except for  one-or-two-word captions. BEGA. Limburg Collection. BEGA home & garden collection. BOOM collection. BEGA New Products. LIMBURG catalog 5. LIMBURG New Products.

If you press in further you can find lists and specifications of products, yes. This company is telling us that they’re doing fine, they don’t need no stinking text. Their 210-page catalog uses the same text for every product.

If people know they need a 1/2″ I.P.S. pole coupler, and they know the product number, they can find it on the BEGA site without being bothered by much interfering text. And when they get to the page, all it says is that it’s a pole coupler that can be easily installed to poles. As if our target audience didn’t already know that!

 

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