I read an interesting post this morning about checking your reading level, to see if you are reaching your target audience. Newspapers, for example, shoot for a 6th to 8th grade reading level. This, of course, is calculated by one of several simple formulas using sentence length, word length, and so on; it says nothing about whether or not any of the sentences make sense. A local paper will often have a lower reading level than USA Today or the NY Times. You get the idea.
Tammy Lenski (author of the above-mentioned post) pointed to a cool site, Juicy Studio, that will calculate the reading level of your site: http://juicystudio.com/services/readability.php. It’s pretty cool, using three different formulas, and explaining how each works. My blog is pretty consistent 8th-grade level. The business blog I am setting up rates at an 11th or 12th-grade level, however. This is probably a bit high for marketing purposes.
However, these tests only measure the structure of your writing, not the content. For example, a post dealing with more complex philosophical and theological concepts rated lower than a post dealing with current events. This is probably good, as it would make the concepts more accessible across the board. Either that, or I should start using more complex sentence structures to make myself sound more intelligent.
Try out the Juicy Studio site and let me know what you think.