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Improve the Readability of Your HubPages Hubs - Three Quick Tips

Updated on October 5, 2012

Good Readability Result

Your reader is awake and focused. Photo courtesy scataudo, sxc.hu.
Your reader is awake and focused. Photo courtesy scataudo, sxc.hu.

Poor Readability Result

Your reader fell asleep. Don't let this happen!  Photo courtesy len-k-a, sxc.hu
Your reader fell asleep. Don't let this happen! Photo courtesy len-k-a, sxc.hu

How often do you abandon reading a HubPages Hub that, at first glance, seems appealing? Perhaps the title interests you, or the images, but once you begin to read the text, you find your thoughts drifting away from the page. You start to think about what to have for dinner, or what the weather will be tomorrow, or whether you should get a haircut. Maybe you get hungry or sleepy. After a few moments, you realize that you’ve stopped reading. So, you backtrack to where you lost your focus, only to find yourself drifting off again. Perhaps you eventually make it through to the end, but when you are done, your head hurts and your eyes burn.

HubPages Hubs don't have to be this way. There are steps you can take to make sure the readability of your Hubs keeps readers engaged, focused, and awake.

What Is Readability and Why Is It Important?

The commonly accepted definition of readability is this: The total of all of the elements in a piece of writing that allow the reader to understand it, find it interesting, and read it at a good speed. These elements include the reader’s language skill, knowledge, interest, and motivation, as well as the content and structure of the piece of writing. Readability is a matter of successful interaction between the reader and your piece of writing.

The easier you make it for others to read your Hub, the longer they will remain on your page, and the more likely they will be to remember you and your words. Think about the implications. More readers will join your fan club (readers will come back for more), your credibility will be enhanced (readers will believe you), and ultimately your HubScore will rise.

"Eats, Shoots & Leaves"

This immensely readable and entertaining book shows in no uncertain terms why faulty punctuation (just a little comma misplacement, mind you) would lead one to believe that the panda eats before he shoots and leaves.

1 - Be Clear and Precise in Your Writing

Most Hub readers expect simple chunks of information they can absorb and retain without working too hard. They want to move quickly through your words, and they certainly don’t want to re-read a passage they can’t grasp the first time. A subset of these readers includes people who read in a second language. Although you write only in English here, you can be sure you have many readers whose first language is something other than English; these readers expect you to keep your writing clear and precise.

  • Write shorter sentences written in the active voice and the present tense
  • Use commonly understood words, not jargon
  • Ruthlessly eliminate unnecessary words
  • Make sure spelling, punctuation, and grammar are accurate, to the point of zero tolerance


Illustration courtesy darkside, hubpages.com
Illustration courtesy darkside, hubpages.com

2 - Understand and Use the Features Inherent in the Hub Design

Remember that readability is determined not only by the words you write, but by the structure in which those words appear. HubPages developers created an excellent basic structure for your content, a structure that contains both fixed and flexible elements.

The following fixed elements contribute to readability as well as to your ease in creating a Hub:

  • Line length—The correct relationship between number of characters and length of line fosters easy reading; if a line of text is too long, the eye has to work too hard to keep from dropping to the next line or rising to the previous. Although the length of a full-column Hub line is a little longer than recommended, it is still within acceptable limits, and that’s one less thing you have to worry about.
  • Font styles, colors, and sizes—Occasionally we hear some griping about the limited font elements available here; however, this brilliant limitation works to your reader’s benefit by allowing you to focus on optimizing your organization and logic.
  • Relationship between white space and text—Think about your reaction to looking at a large block of solid text which is uninterrupted by sub-headings, sidebars, or images. Do you feel daunted? The Hub capsules and YieldBuild areas assure adequate “white spaces”, serving to anchor the reader’s eye to the text rather than encourage the eye to roam.


When you understand the purpose of the fixed Hub elements, then you can use the flexible elements much more effectively. Here are capsule practices you can follow to improve your Hub’s readability:

  • Break up text into multiple text capsules—In this way you will create appealing and effective white space around your words. Don’t forget to add subtitles to the capsules, when appropriate.
  • Illustrate text with affiliate, photo, video, links, and rss capsules—Look for ways to use eBay, Amazon, and photo capsules to reinforce specific content in your main text. For example, if your title is “Five Cheap Family Resort Destinations,” then make sure you place the picture of a destination as close as possible to the words you write about it.
  • Be consistent with font options—Take a consistent approach to using limited font elements in text capsules. For example, avoid using a Level 4 heading style when your logic and flow call for a second level of organization, not a fourth. Using that Level 4 font, just because it's different or you happen to like it, will serve only to aggravate your reader.

A Word of Caution about Using Readability Tools

Although these tools can be helpful in assessing the readability of your Hubs, be cautious about taking the numbers too seriously.  Readability tools like these do not account for a particular reader's motivation, reading skill, or general knowledge.  In other words, the tools may measure some elements of your text, but they don't measure anything about a specific person who reads your text.  What these tools will do for you is help you simplify and clarify your writing.

3 - Measure Readability with a Readability Tool

Tools that measure readability are available online or embedded in proprietary applications. It’s generally agreed that readability tools are less than accurate. Nevertheless, using them can give you some insight into the ease or difficulty a reader may have with your text. A readability tool like Microsoft Word’s gives you this kind of information about your writing:

  • Average characters per word, words per sentence, and sentences per paragraph (the lower, the better)
  • Percent passive constructions (strive for as close to zero as possible)
  • Flesch Reading Ease Score (the higher the score, the easier the text is to understand)
  • Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level (U.S. school grade level—seventh grade level is considered to be the most appropriate for successful online reading experiences)

A Short List of Wonderfully Readable Hubs

Here’s a small sampling of some of the most readable Hubs I’ve had the pleasure to enjoy.

  • Fall Foliage in a Dead Zone creates a smooth flow of text, keeps the main text isolated into a comfortably narrow column to the left, and joins the photos to the appropriate text. (Not to mention, the title is stellar.) I never tripped up once, lost focus, or drifted off. Also, I love old graveyards.
  • How You Can Save Christmas: Operation Santa Claus uses a fluid connection of sub-heads to support not only the Hub’s title, but also the flow of the text. Plus, I love New York.
  • Do You Ask for Advice? uses subtitles to lead you from the title to the conclusion, along with simple, conversational text. For those whose second language is English, some of the colloquial constructions like “off-handedly commented” might cause a little stumble, but all in all, a most readable read.

There are many beautifully readable Hubs out there, among them anything written by Julie-Ann Amos, Shirley Anderson, and Robie2.

When you find yourself captivated by a particular Hub, take a good, long, critical look at it using your newly gained readability knowledge to see what makes it tick.

What Do You Think?

Please leave a comment below to join the discussion on this article and share your thoughts. Let me and other members of the HubPages community know what you think.

If you are not a member here on HupPages, then sign up here. You can publish your own articles and even earn some money. It’s free to join!

© 2009 Sally's Trove. All rights reserved.

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    • mdscoggins profile image

      Michelle Scoggins 3 years ago from Fresno, CA

      Thank you Sally very insightful article. I am always looking at ways to improve my writing. Voted up!!

    • Sally's Trove profile image
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      Sherri 4 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      Gail Meyers, you are welcome!

    • Gail Meyers profile image

      Gail Meyers 4 years ago from United States

      Thanks for the great tips. Voted up and useful.

    • Sally's Trove profile image
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      Sherri 4 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      Thank you for reading and commenting, carozy.

    • Sally's Trove profile image
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      Sherri 4 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      vocalcoach, thank you so much for your good words. It's important to me that I give something worthwhile. Your comment lets me know I'm on the right track. :)

    • Sally's Trove profile image
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      Sherri 4 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      rcrumple , mary615, and midget38, you all hit the nail on the proverbial head. Net readers have little patience (I know, I am one) and when they hit a huge block of text, they disappear. HP's capsules make it easy to break up text and guide readers through well-thought-out subtitles. Not to take advantage of that feature means undermining the potential of words and ideas.

      Thank you for your votes and shares!

    • carozy profile image

      carozy 4 years ago from San Francisco

      I found this advice very helpful and well put.

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 4 years ago from Nashville Tn.

      Sally - I always love to read your hubs because I learn something that will help me to be a better writer. You've given some very helpful tips for improving the readability of a hub.

      Thanks so much. Up and more and sharing.

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      Excellent, Sally. I agree with everything here. Sectioning off hubs into smaller blocks of text is very important, because we also have to remember that readers have lots to read and in cases here, write as well.

      We have to make things interesting and help them to do so quickly. Thanks for a great write. I share as well.

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 4 years ago from Florida

      Another good reason I think to make several different text capsules: Not only does it break up the body with the text, but if you need to go back and edit your text, it sure makes it easier to do.

      Great Hub. I voted it UP, shared.

    • rcrumple profile image

      Rich 4 years ago from Kentucky

      Great tips for the writer's of HP's, or anywhere. I've talked to many about long extended paragraphs that are simply scary to look at. A reader looks at these and says, "No tonight, maybe later." The web is definitely a place to remember attentions spans are short. Loved it! Great Job!

    • Sally's Trove profile image
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      Sherri 5 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      Jools, you are so right. We get blind to our own stuff. I wish every one of us could have an editor standing behind us, saying things like, "Do you really mean to say that?", or, "What are you SAYING?" If I win a big lottery, I'm going to hire a whole slew of editors to keep me true and in line.

      We can learn every day, and so I applaud your quest for that learning. But we all need a little help from our friends. Ah! I hear a song coming on...

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EmOtWyjs8iU

    • Jools99 profile image

      Jools99 5 years ago from North-East UK

      Great tips Sally's Trove. Definitely a hub I shall return to when I am in need of the further direction. You make the point in another comment that as writers, we get blind to our own style of writing and we have to be objective to it and boy, that is hard sometimes isn't it?

      I am still a short way into this HubPages journey but I am learning all of the time and hopefully, it will all rub off in due course.

    • Sally's Trove profile image
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      Sherri 5 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      tillsontitan, ty so much for your affirming words.

      It's sad that most Internet readers are looking for quick fixes. That creates a challenge for us writers. The KISS principle (Keep It Simple Stupid) comes to mind. The best writing in this Internet venue is writing that delivers information in easily digestible chunks, and HP's capsules give us a way to do that.

      I love being a treasure trove. :)

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 5 years ago from New York

      Judging by the comments alone, this is a great hub. Your information is readable and valuable. I've always tried to break up my text and keep it in small capsules but must admit I've never really thought about second language readers. Seems Sally's Trove is a treasure trove! Voted up and useful.

    • Sally's Trove profile image
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      Sherri 6 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      Computer Guy, you are so welcome. I love giving directions. :)

    • Computer Guy profile image

      Computer Guy 6 years ago from Indianapolis IN

      great article: This article defines direction which is key to good writing. Thanks for the direction.

    • Sally's Trove profile image
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      Sherri 7 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      Dobson, you are welcome.

      Unfortunately, writers get blind to their own writings rather quickly. You can only read the same words or follow the same train of thought so many times before you become numb to your own writing's readability.

      Absent a trusted, astute, dedicated, editor in the form of a real person, I believe we writers are obliged to learn how to view our writing objectively. Tools such as templates and grammar checkers can help, but only to the degree that we ourselves are willing to learn from them. The famous answer to the question of how to get to Carnegie Hall ("Practice, practice, practice!) applies here as well.

      Thanks so much for adding your thoughts to these comments.

    • Dobson profile image

      Dobson 7 years ago from Virginia

      Readability should always be a concern of writers. Stopping to try to read your own is one failsafe, but you list more ways to check up your work that will be a great hep to all hub Page authors. Thanks for this!

    • Sally's Trove profile image
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      Sherri 7 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      You are so welcome, Tony. Glad you found it useful. I really hate writing useless stuff, although it does happen from time to time. ;p It's the price some of us pay for writing for a living, I guess.

    • tonymac04 profile image

      Tony McGregor 7 years ago from South Africa

      I found this Hub very useful and written in a helpful way. Thank you. Bookmarmed!

      Love and peace

      Tony

    • Sally's Trove profile image
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      Sherri 7 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      You are so welcome, Missi. Thanks so much for reading, commenting, and finding the info worthwhile.

    • Missi Darnell profile image

      Missi Darnell 7 years ago from Southern California

      Love this Hub! Excellent tips for the new or experienced hubber. Thank you.

    • Sally's Trove profile image
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      Sherri 7 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      Habby, I'm experiencing the same thing about attention span. I believe the expression is "the attention span of a gnat," and that's exactly what my ability to sustain a reading focus has become--gnat-like--especially on the internet. Thanks for sharing the pain!

    • Habby profile image

      Habby 7 years ago from College Station, Texas

      Great hub, Sherri. I completely agree about being intimidated by a big block of text. Interesting how the internet has changed my perspective. My attention span seems much shorter these days. ;)

    • Sally's Trove profile image
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      Sherri 7 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      Your experience with this Hub of huge blocks of text speaks volumes about the negative effect a so-called writer can have on potential readers. You said it. You had to leave it.

      A writer's job is to anticipate the needs of the reader, thus making the reading both painless and engaging.

      Thanks so much for your enormously constructive comment.

    • MyWebs profile image

      Anthony Goodley 7 years ago from Sheridan, WY

      I know I sure hate reading huge blocks of text, it is hard on my eyes. I was trying to read an otherwise good hub yesterday and I just had to leave it because of massive blocks of text. Great information.

      Another great hub to add to my "How To Make Great Hubs" bookmarked folder.

    • Sally's Trove profile image
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      Sherri 7 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      Thank you so much, cluense, for your affirming comments. I'm glad these tips are useful. You are welcome!

    • cluense profile image

      Katie Luense 7 years ago from Cartersville, GA

      Awesome Hub! I have taken your advice in the past and this will be no exception! Thank You again!

    • Sally's Trove profile image
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      Sherri 7 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      Eileen, you make such a good point about getting carried away. HP is a forgiving place when it comes to publishing articles that that would not be accepted without revision in other venues. One big challenge here is developing self-editing habits and using them religiously.

      Thanks so much for your good words and insight.

    • Eileen Hughes profile image

      Eileen Hughes 7 years ago from Northam Western Australia

      This is truley a great and helpful hub especially for the newbies. And us oldies, as sometimes we get carried away and forget things like what you have mentioned. Thanks for the reminder.

    • ClaudiaP profile image

      ClaudiaP 7 years ago from California

      Thank you, Sally :)

      I love foreign languages. It's not only that they help you communicate, but they give you a glimpse into different cultures and the way different peoples see things. We create the world through our language, so the language we speak somehow affects the core of how we see life and things (just look at expressions and proverbs and you'll see what I mean).

      I know I don't write perfectly in English, but instead of saying "Oh, I'm not doing great, I'll just give up." I say "Practice makes perfect!" (see, that's a proverb we don't have in Romanian, but I learned it from you, guys :)

      You probably know that Joseph Conrad, the famous English novelist of Polish origin, wrote some of the greatest novels in the English Literature though he did not speak the language fluently until he was in his twenties (and then always with a marked Polish accent).

    • Sally's Trove profile image
      Author

      Sherri 7 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      ClaudiaP, you are so welcome.

      We all have things to learn, as long as we live.

      I do not write in a language which is not native to me. I so admire ESL speakers and writers. It is hard work!

      Thank you for your comments. I wish you well in achieving your writing goals.

    • ClaudiaP profile image

      ClaudiaP 7 years ago from California

      Thanks for the tips, Sally. I find them particularly useful, since I am totally aware I need to improve my writing and the readability of my texts.

      Since I am not a native English speaker, I sometimes use phrases that don't sound English, from what a friend is telling me. He cannot tell me exactly why they are wrong (there is no grammar or spelling mistake), he just says that "a native speaker wouldn't say it that way".

      Well, I definitely have things to learn... as long as I live :)

    • Sally's Trove profile image
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      Sherri 7 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      PegCole17, thank you so much for your thoughtful comment. I've been away from HP for a while and have also disabled email notification of Hubbers' new works. I am delighted that you stopped by and left this comment. It's time for me to read what's new in your series.

      Best wishes to you! And see you soon.

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 7 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      Your credentials on HubPages are proof enough that you know what works. Thanks for the tips on becoming a better writer. That is why many of us are here! My best to you.

    • Sally's Trove profile image
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      Sherri 7 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      Elayne, thanks so much for reading and commenting. Keep writing and reading about writing. The more you do, the more naturally it will come to you.

      Welcome to HubPages!

    • elayne001 profile image

      Elayne 7 years ago from Rocky Mountains

      I have a problem rambling on and on in a sentence. Your hub is very useful. I am fairly new to HP. Hope I can improve my writing.

    • Sally's Trove profile image
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      Sherri 7 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      TnFlash, thanks for the good words, and welcome to HubPages!

    • TnFlash profile image

      TnFlash 7 years ago from Tampa, Florida

      Wow! I've read a couple of your posts on improving your hubs and its be really great info. Thanks for your help!

    • Sally's Trove profile image
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      Sherri 7 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      Kartika, thanks for reading and leaving the good words!

    • kartika damon profile image

      kartika damon 7 years ago from Fairfield, Iowa

      Excellent well written contact and very readable! Thanks Sally! Kartika

    • Sally's Trove profile image
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      Sherri 7 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      You are so welcome, carltonsbooks. There's a lot of great info on HubPages about publishing quality Hubs if you are inclined to spend a little time hunting. Welcome to HubPages!

    • carltonsbooks.com profile image

      carltonsbooks.com 7 years ago

      Great article. I'm a newbie and can use all the pointers I can get. I especially appreciate the reading list from Amazon. Also the link to adding eBay and Amazon to you post. I have not figured that out yet. Good Work and Thanks again!!

    • Sally's Trove profile image
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      Sherri 7 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      Stephen, that's such a great compliment. Thanks so much for the good words...again!

    • Stephen Beck profile image

      Stephen Beck 7 years ago

      Ha! I noticed that I had already commented on this hub. Just goes to show how good it is. Seriously. You gave some great tips that I obviously need to read and re-read. Thanks!

    • Sally's Trove profile image
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      Sherri 7 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      Mark, thank you so much for your continuing enthusiasm and support, which I appreciate very much...but really, I think you have a lot of light to shed on the topic of mastering the art of writing. Maybe you'll write a Hub or two or more about it sometime.

      Best regards,

      Sherri

    • ReMarkaBlogs profile image

      ReMarkaBlogs 7 years ago

      Fantastic info! Wish I'd read it before, but better late than not at all.

      Okay, let's Bookmark this and see what else you've got here.

    • Sally's Trove profile image
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      Sherri 7 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      It really makes my day when someone lets me know my words are useful. And I couldn't agree with you more...the comments from others add so much. Thanks for reading and leaving your wonderful comment.

    • profile image

      Duchess OBlunt 7 years ago

      Ok, I found you and I'm not letting you go! (Well actually, you found me, but the result is the same.) This was an awesome hub and I will be reading more of your hubs hoping to glean some great information.

      Your Hub was full of information I can use, and the comments from others are just as informative. Bookmarked.

      Thank you!

    • Sally's Trove profile image
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      Sherri 7 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      Marshall, you are so welcome. Thanks for reading and commenting.

    • marshall92 profile image

      marshall92 7 years ago

      Very good hub. Your hubs are all very enjoyable to read. I hope that I can use your advice to make my hubs appealing to more people. Thanks for the info!

    • Sally's Trove profile image
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      Sherri 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      Bibowen, welcome to HubPages. I'm glad this Hub is of use to you.

    • Bibowen profile image

      Bibowen 8 years ago

      Thanks for the information. Very practical and applicable.

    • Sally's Trove profile image
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      Sherri 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      Thanks so much for reading and commenting, JPSO138. Glad you found the tips interesting.

    • JPSO138 profile image

      JPSO138 8 years ago from Cebu, Philippines, International

      Very interesting tips. I am very happy indeed to have read this hub.

    • Sally's Trove profile image
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      Sherri 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      Michelle, I'm always happy to see that you read a Hub of mine and find it worthwhile. Thanks so much for your good words!

    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 8 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      This is such a wonderful and informative hub -easy to read and understand. I'm bookmarking this one for reference! :-)

    • Sally's Trove profile image
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      Sherri 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      Stephen, thank you for reading and commenting. I hope these tips work for you.

    • Stephen Beck profile image

      Stephen Beck 8 years ago

      Great tips on hub page readability. I'm newer to hubpages and can definitely benefit from these ideas. Thanks!

    • Sally's Trove profile image
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      Sherri 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      sabu, thank you so much for reading and commenting.

    • sabu singh profile image

      sabu singh 8 years ago

      Thanks very much for this Sally's Trove. Very useful

    • Sally's Trove profile image
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      Sherri 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      anglnwu, you brought a smile to my face. I always want to give someone something to chew on that is tasty and gives the juice to fuel the going forward. You put this into words, and you rock!

    • anglnwu profile image

      anglnwu 8 years ago

      Great tips--now, we can discard those boring "how to write better" books--you've just broken them down into chewable bits that are tasty and will give juice to our hubs. There, I'm guilty-- run-on sentences that keep rambling on. Ok, I'll be succinct. Good hub and thanks for the bit on readabiltiy tools.

    • Sally's Trove profile image
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      Sherri 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      You are so welcome cashmere, and thank you for reading and commenting.

    • cashmere profile image

      cashmere 8 years ago from India

      I had no idea "Readability tools " existed. This is a very useful hub. Thanks for sharing it.

    • Sally's Trove profile image
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      Sherri 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      Dolores, I am afraid you and I will have to vie for the title of Worst Speller Ever. I really do think I'll win the prize. This is the truth: I could not pursue a writing career until spellcheck was invented. It's not that I didn't have a good education, or that I didn't care, or that I can't convey my thoughts in words. It's just that spelling never, never clicked with me. Let me know when the anti-spelling bee is being held. You can buy me a cup of coffee when I win. :p

    • Sally's Trove profile image
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      Sherri 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      Thanks Anna for the good words. For the record, I think we ALL can use tips...that's just the nature of the beast. After all, once we hit perfection, what's left? :)

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 8 years ago from East Coast, United States

      Sally, these are some really good tips, thanks. I become quite annoyed when I run into bad spelling which is stupid because I am the worst speller that ever lived and would never be able to write without spellcheck. And even then make spelling mistakes.

    • Anna Marie Bowman profile image

      Anna Marie Bowman 8 years ago from Florida

      Great Hub!!!! Fantastic information!!! I could use some tips, I think!!!

    • Sally's Trove profile image
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      Sherri 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      Tiptopcat, so glad you find this information useful. Welcome to HP!

    • Tiptopcat profile image

      Victoria Virgo 8 years ago from London, UK

      Hi there. I am a newbie and am trying to educate myself in writing good content. Thank you for the tips given here.

    • Sally's Trove profile image
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      Sherri 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      Dianacharles, when you say "bookmarked", do you mean you added the Hub to your "Favorites" in your Internet browser? If so, then HubPages has a bookmarking feature as well. You can find it on your account page on the right hand side. Click Bookmarks and then set up folders of your choice (Food, Relationships, How To Make Money, whatever categories you like). Then, when you visit a Hub, look under the writer's avatar and you will see "Bookmark this hub." You then add the Hub to one of the folders you named.

      I hope this answers your question. If not, then perhaps you could ask your question in the HP forums.

      Thank you for reading and for the good words!

    • dianacharles profile image

      dianacharles 8 years ago from India

      This was a real treasure Sally. Is there some way of putting together all the hubs one likes somewhere on this site for referring back to? I have bookmarked it, but does HP have any such option? I especially was interested in the Readibility Tools. It was new to me.

      Thanks for a very readable and interesting hub. :)

    • Sally's Trove profile image
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      Sherri 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      Ashxyz, thank you for reading and commenting.

    • Sally's Trove profile image
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      Sherri 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      Cindyvine, thank you SO much for your comment.  It's a great addition to this Hub.

      Nobody wants to be preached to.  Also, you are right about wanting to be entertained.  No disrespect to HP and its Hubbers, but readers here are looking for an entertainment element, and if you want to be successful here, you need to keep that in mind.

      I think professional writers who write on HP know that, and tailor their Hubs accordingly.

      Thumbs up for your comment!

    • Sally's Trove profile image
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      Sherri 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      Robie2, you are among the writers I admire most, and not just here on HP. Thanks so much for your good words. It's a real pleasure to point others to your Hubs.

    • Ashxyz profile image

      Ashxyz 8 years ago from In Corrupt Illinois haha

      Definitely a good read and full of good advice...thanks!

    • cindyvine profile image

      Cindy Vine 8 years ago from Cape Town

      A word of advice to some hubbers out there, don't try to sound too pompous and learned in your hubs, because that often affects the readability and makes them difficult to read. Most of us just enjoy reading informative or fun hubs and want to be entertained. We don't want to feel as if we are reading a university paper on the subject. Try and write in a more conversational style, and engage your reader that way. Like Sally does, and many of the other more experienced hubbers.

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      Roberta Kyle 8 years ago from Central New Jersey

      Hi ST- I finally got here and what a great hub this is. You are right on the money as always and I must say I am honored to be a hubber you recommend( really, I'm not just saying that!) You have high standards, original ideas, and a real gift for communicating them so I'm doubly honored. Thanks for another wonderful read and of course this one gets a big thumbs up from me:-)

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      Sherri 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      SEM Pro, thanks for your thoughtful comments and good words.

      As I mentioned earlier in the comments, audience consideration is a big topic. I empathize with writers who struggle with the nuances, for I certainly do.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts about bolding key words and text passages for specific purposes. Since I've spent many years writing for technical and business audiences, my use of bold is strongly linked to procedure (as in, "Phrases in bold type indicate a series of keystrokes."). So, it's good to learn of a different perspective.

      Enjoy the books...they are worth their weight in gold!

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      Sherri 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      Paul, thanks for the good words!

      Shane, I read your profile, and it seems you have lots of things to share with us. I'm looking forward to reading your first Hub, and I'm glad this one might be helpful in getting that first one published.

      Covert, thanks so much for reading and commenting.

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      SEM Pro 8 years ago from North America

      Great hub Sally! Very well written, accurate and wonderful. I just ordered each of the books recommended – there’s always room to learn. Also, appreciate the Flesch 7 tip – tough to do. I do believe it’s important to keep our goal and targeted audience in mind. With one hub, I kept reminding myself it wasn’t for the skimmer. Hoping to help people change their way of thinking, it required more than a scan to honor them. The temptation is always there to appeal to a larger audience though.

      If I may be bold enough to offer a few benefits concerning your bolding question. 1) A sub story to offer a completely new dimension can be added 2) It enables a scan to get the gist and decide if applicable or what portions might interest the reader 3) SEO wise - a well written website is a good example for us (i.e. organic pg 1 on Google). Their bolded keywords/links are scattered naturally throughout avoiding Googlebot’s stuffing penalization. That can help us, as you suggested, mercilessly slash repetition. I do miss the eloquence of lengthy writings though. Tantalizing a reader’s imagination with descriptive adjectives is another way to keep them awake - and help them remember.

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      Covert Hypnosis 1 8 years ago

      Thanks, I never heard about those readability software programs. Pretty interesting!

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      Ktoo 8 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia, USA

      Excellent tips, thank you! I love anything that can help me make my Hubs better!

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      Shane Belceto 8 years ago from WA USA

      Now this is something I can chew on. I can say I have been hesitnet in getting my first hub up since I do wish to provide something people wish to read. So Thank YOU for this.

      ~Expect Miracles

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      Paul 8 years ago

      Great Hub really good read will be back for more pf your Hubs

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      Sherri 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      New Day, you are so right about keeping your article "skimmable". My Hub, Three Quick Tips for Fine-tuning the Writing in Your Hubs, talks about this in terms of using subheadings to create a visual map of the article. Thanks for reading and commenting.

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      Sherri 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      Christoph, I believe everyone who wants to write on HubPages should read your Hubs and work hard to emulate the creativity and professionalism you bring to each and every piece of writing. It is clear that you love what you do and that you are very skilled. We all gain from you.

      I know the King quote about killing your babies. How true, and how well said. It really can hurt to make those cuts. There's another favorite of mine that illustrates a different point about writing, as it describes what to do when you find yourself obsessively editing a piece that just needs to be considered done: Put the baby in the basket and abandon it on a doorstep (or something like that). I wonder if someone knows the origin of this?

      Thank you as always for your thoughtful and insightful comments.

      Your adoring fan,

      Sally

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      New Day 8 years ago from Western United States

      Perfect advice. Keep your article skimmable too. People have short attention spans. The white space tip is super important.

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      Sherri 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      RKHenry, thanks SO much for your thoughts and the show of support. Fast read is totally important in this medium.

      eonsaway, hang in there, it will all come together.

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      eonsaway 8 years ago from New Mexico, USA

      Just joined, enjoying all the really good information on everything. Would like one day to be able to write something then enter it in hub. In the meantime will keep reading and learning from all the different articles. Very readable.

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      RKHenry 8 years ago from Neighborhood museum in Somewhere, USA

      Being a fast read, is important to me. Some authors, and myself might be included, have not been able to fine tune their writing style. I know I'm going to take your advice. I hope others do too. Thanks for the tips.

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      Sherri 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      Thanks, mcstir, I was goin' for that!

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      mcstir 8 years ago

      Great Hub... and by the way, very readable!!! LOL

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      Sherri 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      well said, dolores. especially about the capitalization. :)

      So you are in the poor spellers' club, too? When spell checkers were books, the checking was a little slower, but I think we learned more...we had to work for it. Now, it's so easy (barring the trouble with homonyms), that there's no excuse for poor spelling.

      Thanks for reading and leaving your neat comments.

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      Dolores Monet 8 years ago from East Coast, United States

      yes, i agree with lafenty, poor spelling is very distracting and i am the worst speller in the world. also, you mentioned the book - eats, shoots, and leaves which should be used in high schools as the very title shows the importance of punctuation. nice hub, sally. (and let's not forget about appropriate capitalization!)

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      lafenty 8 years ago from California

      Very informative hub. The most distracting thing for me is spelling and grammatical errors. When I see them in a hub, the credibility of the writer goes right out the window for me. Which may be unfair, but I feel if they didn't take the time to use the spell checker, then maybe they didn't take the time to research their topic either. (Hope I didn't misspell any words here!)

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      Christoph Reilly 8 years ago from St. Louis

      Dear Sally:  What a pleasant surprise to see me mentioned.  I don't think I deserve it, but I'll accept it graciously just the same.  Thank you.

      Once again, you are right on, and once again I recognize many of the pitfalls as transgressions I possess.  I am getting better at "to the point" writing, though some of my work is still pretty free, and I mean for it to be. But as they say, you have to know the rules before you can break them. What has been interesting though, is that by implementing the rules for "readability" in some of my factual hubs, the discipline has invariably creeped into my other writing as well.

      When you suggest, "Ruthlessly eliminate unnecessary words," I am reminded of a Stephen King quote on the self-editing subject.  Here is how he put it in a book called 'Writers on Writing':  "You have to kill your babies."

      Thank you again for an insightful, thorough, knowledgeable piece.  One that should be required reading for all newbies, oldies, and all writers everywhere.  Thank you.

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      mattressguru 8 years ago from TO, ON, CA

      Thank you for these tips, as a hubpage newbie, these are invaluable tips for me!

      Thanks again.