Writing paragraphs

Paragraphs are the basic building blocks of content. They should be easy on the eye, let users see what’s available, and allow them to skip to the most relevant part of the content.

10 tips for web writers

  1. Chunk content into paragraphs
    Avoid walls of text by chunking content into topical paragraphs.
  2. Focus on a single topic or idea
    Present new ideas or topics in their own paragraph.
  3. Start with the topic sentence
    Make the topic of the paragraph visible, even to people skimming over the page.
  4. Order sentences by importance
    Give users the most important information in the first sentence; in the first phrase wherever possible. Provide background, detail or reasoning in later sentences.
  5. Order paragraphs by importance
    Help users quickly find the information they need most.
  6. Group related paragraphs
    Grouping topics or ideas makes it less likely that users will miss related information.
  7. Keep paragraphs short
    Long paragraphs can turn into walls of text. Aim for 2-3 sentences or 50-60 words. One-sentence paragraphs are fine if the idea only needs to be stated, and not developed.
  8. Vary paragraph length
    Don’t use a series of one-sentence paragraphs unless you have very short column widths.
  9. Don’t embed too many links
    Text cluttered with links can be harder to read. Links can be harder to identify when they’re scattered through text.
  10. Review your first paragraph
    Once you’ve finished a draft, check your first paragraph. Delete it if it’s not vital.