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October 21, 2015 By Hendrik-Jan Francke

Chunkify! Part 4: Writing Better Paragraphs

Hey Marketer! I know you know how to write a paragraph. But as an expert, it’s difficult to fight the urge to say it all.

But giving into the urge to say it all makes for long-winded paragraphs. Long-winded paragraphs don’t belong on your web page.

5 Tips to Improve Readability of Your Paragraphs

Limit Paragraphs to 2-3 Sentences

Short paragraphs are easier to digest. So people are more willing to read them!

Brevity enhances credibility. Shorter paragraphs force you to prove your point in fewer words.

Use Simple Sentence Structure

Gotcha! Admit it, you were going circumvent the guideline of 2-3 sentences per paragraph by using compound sentences with conjunctions and semicolons. Don’t! It is possible to communicate your expertise without being esoteric or long winded.

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Complex-compound sentence:
“Our training packages include a complete range of content from business specific to leadership and education, leveraging our 50-plus years of experience and the latest available technologies”

Simple Sentence:
“Accelerate business growth with industry-specific training programs. Customer training programs help you improve leadership teams, business processes, and educate employees.”

Use the Words Your Prospects Use

Yes, you are an expert, but your prospects are not. Talk to them about the issues with their vocabulary. Avoid jargon!

Use Active Voice in Copy

You may recall we encouraged passive voice when writing headlines to place the benefit first. That still goes.

Use active voice in paragraph copy to make content more direct.

Example:

  • Active- “Trailers use square-bottom design.”
  • Passive- “Square-bottom design is used in trailers.”

Have Someone Else Read and Edit Your Paragraphs

An outside set of eyes will catch the complicated sentences and confusing words in your copy. Employ a colleague to read through and give you feedback. Then start draft 2.

Don’t have someone? Read out loud to yourself. You will be surprised at home many simple errors you will find!

Tools You Can Use to Check Paragraph Quality

Use these handy tools to improve your content

  • Hemingway App This free tool highlights complex content, helping you achieve a more simple, direct style.
  • Grammarly Install Grammarly right in your browser to highlight grammatical errors in your writing.

One Page Exercise: Edit Your Paragraphs

You know the drill. Attack the paragraphs on your page.
Slice long paragraphs. Simplify sentence structure. You’re an editing ninja.

About this Series:
This is the fourth article in a 7 part series called Chunkify!. Every Wednesday, we will post tips on a different tactics to make you a better writer for the web, increase average time on page, and help your copy convert.

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