How to Write Shorter Sentences and Paragraphs the Correct Way (and Why It Matters)
Anyone who has looked into blogging tips has heard that it is essential to write short sentences and paragraphs. The question is inevitable; why should I write in short paragraphs? How will it help my readers?
Many think that it is about making blog posts easier for readers to understand or to target readers with shorter attention spans. While this may be achieved with shorter paragraphs, it is not the prime reason for using them.
Reading on a computer or other type of screen requires a different process than reading a paper book. Though studies show that computer reading does not change your eyesight, giving the reader a break between thoughts provides a better overall reading experience.
Add to the lights of the computer the fact that many are reading on smaller devices like tablets and mobile phones, where the screen is six to ten inches, and you have more reason to space out those paragraphs a bit more. Utilizing smaller sections allows readers to retain more of what you are trying to say.
Understanding the Splitting of Long Paragraphs
So, how do you know where to split a paragraph? A simple rule is to try and keep paragraphs to three to four sentences. Splitting paragraphs will vary depending on the topic; generally though, you want to express one item in your paragraph and then move on to another.
Giving each new piece of information its own paragraph will allow your message to be clear and easily readable. After all, isn’t this why you are writing the blog in the first place, to share readable information?
Another consideration will be how much time your audience has to spend grasping your concept. If your readers are busy executives that are looking for advice on hiring procedures, they are going to want reading to be quick and easy.
If, on the other hand, your readers are students who are trying to get an in-depth understanding of a technical procedure, then they would probably appreciate longer paragraphs with more information.
An efficient way to determine which readers you have is to write about it. Write a few pieces utilizing short paragraphs and the same number using longer paragraphs. After the trial period, check your stats to see which posts were better received and adjust accordingly.
Can Short Paragraphs Be Overdone?
Using short paragraphs in your blog is important, but yes it can be overdone. Many blogs make their paragraphs one sentence throughout their entire post. While this method works, it seems a bit extreme.
Utilizing one-sentence paragraphs throughout the entire post can detract from the message you are trying to convey. It is hard to impart information in one sentence.
While an occasional one-sentence paragraph may help to emphasize a particular point, overuse could obscure your point altogether.
For example, if this post were limited to one-sentence paragraphs, it might look something like this.
If your structure is set up in a way that viewers cannot grasp the significance, they are less likely to interact with the post.
When there are no paragraphs per se, just sentences, the flow of the post will be off, and readers may find it hard to follow what you are saying.
This concept goes back to the idea that reading with shorter paragraphs makes it easier for readers to digest one piece of information at a time, instead of a whole page.
The reverse is valid here. When the mind takes in one paragraph and then breaks, it does not have a complete idea to process before moving on to the next section.
Writing Short Sentences
Writing short sentences is not about just getting the subject and verb in the sentence. When you are writing a blog, it is about not losing your reader.
When you use long sentences like this one, the reader can forget what the sentence was about, to begin with, causing them to have to start over and reread to grasp the meaning.
When choosing between long and short sentences it is better to err on the short side.
Sentences should relay their point shortly and sweetly. Providing readers with concise sentences aides in the reading process. Combining these brief sentences with shorter paragraphs provides ample information in snippets that are understandable.
Putting it All Together
Applying the concept of concise sentences and short paragraphs provides readers with useful information that is comfortable to read.
Many readers start by skimming the information due to time constraints.
Making sure they have complete thoughts to digest in the time they have, keeps them coming back for more.
Do you use short paragraphs and sentences or long ones? Tell us why and give us your thoughts in the comments section below.