Sunday, June 04, 2006

Do You Dare Take The Blog Readability Test?

Algorithms like on "Numb3rs" can determine a blog's readability

One of my favorite new television shows over the past couple of years is the hit CBS drama that comes on Friday nights called "Numb3rs." The show features a mathematics whiz kid named Charlie Epps (David Krumholtz) who helps out his FBI agent brother Don Epps (Rob Morrow) to solve federal cases using complex and sometimes detailed algorithms. Just like "CSI" has brought the world of forensic science into our living rooms, though, so too has "Numb3rs" attempted to make mathematical equations understandable and practical in the real world.

I came across a pretty cool tool on a website the other day that just so happens to use mathematical algorithms to determine the readability of a web site's text. It's called the Juicy Studio Readability Test. Just like I previously blogged about regarding the readability of my book at, this test sees how complex or easy your blog posts are for people to read.

Naturally, I was curious about how my "Livin' La Vida Low-Carb" blog would measure up to this test as well as nine other of my fellow diet and low-carb blogging buddies. Check this out and try the test yourself on any web site you want!

These are the three algorithms used to see how readable a text is along with the score for each web site:

1. Gunning-Fog Index

This algorithm determines how many years of school you would need to be able to understand the text. Obviously, the lower the number, the more simplistic it is and the higher the number, the more difficult it is. Anything ranked as high as 17 is on a post-graduate level of learning.

Livin' La Vida Low-Carb: 10.63
Weight of the Evidence: 13.97
Sugar Shock: 11.13
Low-Carb Freedom: 7.75
Kalyn's Kitchen: 8.69
Diet-Blog: 8.50
The Omnivore: 10.94
Dr. Michael Eades: 11.75
Julia Havey: 9.19
Dana Carpender: 9.29

It is NO surprise to me that Regina Wilshire ("Weight of the Evidence") and Dr. Michael Eades would have the highest level of education needed to understand the text. They both write often on the scientific data that proves low-carb is viable and use some pretty complex terms in the process. Connie Bennett ("Sugar Shock") and Anthony Colpo ("The Omnivore") along with my blog also scored in the double digits on this test.

2. Flesch Reading Ease

This algorithm seeks to give the text a rating number between 0 and 100. The higher the number, the easier it is to comprehend what is written. Math experts say that authors should attempt to have a Flesch Reading Ease score between 60 and 70.

Livin' La Vida Low-Carb:: 66.69
Weight of the Evidence: 49.98
Sugar Shock: 60.72
Low-Carb Freedom: 71.42
Kalyn's Kitchen: 71.19
Diet-Blog: 69.36
The Omnivore: 56.65
Dr. Michael Eades: 59.80
Julia Havey: 71.35
Dana Carpender: 71.77

If the goal is to keep the number between 60-70, then only Connie Bennett, Jim Foster ("Diet-Blog"), and my blog fell within those limits. However, everyone was close to being in that range where you reach the most readers and that's a good thing.

3. Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level

Like the Gunning-Fog Index, this is an algorithm designed to find out roughly how many years of education someone would need to understand what is written. Some text is so simple that it is assigned a number of zero while some are so complex they are given a maximum of 12.

Livin' La Vida Low-Carb: 7.52
Weight of the Evidence: 10.01
Sugar Shock: 7.62
Low-Carb Freedom: 4.97
Kalyn's Kitchen: 6.18
Diet-Blog: 5.00
The Omnivore: 6.43
Dr. Michael Eades: 8.03
Julia Havey: 6.11
Dana Carpender: 6.10

Again, it is not surprising to learn that readers of Regina Wilshire and Dr. Michael Eades would need the most years of school to understand considering the research they often discuss at their respective blogs. Katherine Prouty ("Low-Carb Freedom") and Jim Foster have the easiest text to understand among this group of blogs.

So what does all of this mean and why did I take up an entire blog post about this silly algorithm test?

Well, if we are going to be effective at communicating why we are livin' la vida low-carb and explaining to others how this lifestyle change can help them, then we need to make sure we aren't writing over their heads or making the ideas seem too simplistic which may turn them off to what we have to say.

Engaging the culture with information that is educating, encouraging and even entertaining will help people understand why we eat the way we do and may even convince them that they need to eat this way, too. That's what I aim to do with my "Livin' La Vida Low-Carb" blog and I'm sure that's what these other bloggers I have listed in this post hope to accomplish as well.

Let's NEVER take for granted what we write about and foolishly think it doesn't make an impact on our culture because I believe it does. Stories of success and triumph are a powerful thing and we need more people willing to sacrifice a small part of their day to share with others how livin' la vida low-carb has changed their lives forever.

Have you done that lately? Now more than ever with obesity and health problems getting way out of control in the United States and around the world, we need to be sharing this incredible gift we have been given with friends, family and even complete strangers so they can find hope for their seemingly hopeless circumstance.

Who are you gonna tell about livin' la vida low-carb today?


Blogger Nita Scoggan said...

Jimmy, this is one of the most interesting articles I have ever read. Thanks for always bringing us the best!


6/04/2006 4:26 PM  
Blogger Leigh said...

I guess that is why I started my little blog. I've been through the ups and downs of "doing" and "not doing" Atkins, and hope my experiences might help and/or encourage others. I don't ever expect to have the time to do the in-depth research and analysis, or reach the number of people that you reach. But I find something useful from all the sites I visit. Thanks for your insights.

6/04/2006 9:04 PM  
Blogger Newbirth said...


Gunning Fog - 7.64
Flesch Reading Ease - 74.47
Flesch-Kincaid Grade - 4.76 (that's low!)

6/04/2006 9:18 PM  
Blogger Jim said...

Intriguing stuff Jimmy.... I guess it all depends who your audience is... Also - the variety of different writing approaches means you know you can go to certain blogs to get more in-depth or "scientific" explanations.

6/05/2006 4:53 PM  
Blogger Rob said...

Not to bad on the

Gunning Fog Index 11.01
Flesch Reading Ease 67.35
Flesch-Kincaid Grade 7.73

6/06/2006 12:31 PM  
Blogger Connie said...


You are such a kick! Somehow, while working too hard lately writing and editing my book (SUGAR SHOCK!), I ccompletely missed this utterly fascinating entry of yours!!

Hey, thanks for the nice numbers on my blog's readability. You're so incredibly clever and cute!

Your blogging pal, Connie

6/22/2006 9:59 AM  

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