While doing some research on readability tests -- ways to analyze the readability or linguistic complexity of a body of text -- I came across The Blog Readability Test, an online tool that analyzes the readability level of blogs, expressed as an education level required to understand the blog. Although the site doesn't specify its mechanism, it is likely an implementation of the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level Formula which focuses on number of syllables per word, as well as sentence length.
Anyway, so I felt the need to run various popular blogs through this thing and report back on the results. Keep in mind that we're talking about the complexity of the language used, not the target audience of the blogs. Anyway, I think you'll be surprised by some of the results below!
|Arts & Letters Daily||Elementary School|
|Dilbert Blog||Elementary School|
|The Dullest Blog in the World||Elementary School|
|Ken Jennings||Elementary School|
|Pop Candy||Elementary School|
|43 Folders||Junior High School|
|Mental_Floss Blog||Junior High School|
|Neatorama||Junior High School|
|Boing Boing||High School|
|Freakonomics Blog||High School|
|Ironic Sans||High School|
|Proceedings of the Athanasius Kircher Society||High School|
|Hillary Clinton Blog||College (Undergrad)|
Run your favorite blog through the tester and report back on the results!
Update - Readability Test Authors Embedding Advertising
Thanks to a post on Digital Inspiration, it's now clear that the Reading Level test is embedding an advertising link (to "cash advance loans") in the HTML code that shows the badge on your web site. Be careful! If you use their HTML embed code, I'd recommend removing the link to the ad at the bottom.