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.

Plain language works best

Learn how to plan and write accessible, easy to understand content in our Writing for the web course.

Book a course at https://4syllables.com.au/