I bet you’re wondering why you should even bother learning how to write a great paragraph because who uses paragraphs, anyway? Everything we bloggers write is in short bursts of scannable content, and online readers just skip over paragraphs to get to the good stuff, so why even bother writing paragraphs? Read on and I’ll tell you…
The popular opinion among bloggers is that you should always make your posts scannable – you should always use sub-headings and bullet points to highlight key points. Popular opinion also says you should avoid using paragraphs – especially long paragraphs – because online readers are only going to skip over them to go straight to the scannable portions of your post. If you put your key points in paragraph form they’re going to miss them.
In some cases this is true. If you’re writing a list post or a how-to post or some other type of post that contains lots of key points, it does help to use formatting to highlight all the important points you want the reader to take away from your post.
But there’s something to be said for good writing, too, compelling writing that inspires your reader to take action. And part of compelling writing is using story-telling to create an emotional response. I think you’ll agree it’s difficult to tell a compelling story that inspires action using nothing but bullet points and sub-headings. Everything is just black-and-white and… cold.
Look at your own favorite bloggers, not necessarily your favorite Make Money Online blogger because they all focus on intentionally making all their content scannable. But look at your favorite blogs you turn to for entertainment or news. They probably use paragraphs and you read every word – and you are an “online reader!”
The statistics show that most online readers only scan your content, but here’s the thing… Look at every other blog that’s not in the MMO niche and you’ll see paragraphs – not heavily-formatted content.
Those statistics were compiled by people who are giving you tips to help you make money online in their niche – the Make Money Online niche. As a busy blogger, when you go to their blogs, you’re looking for tips and how-to content – which is best presented with bullet points and sub-headings, and…
As a busy blogger, you’re don’t want to see paragraphs or emotion – you just want to see the key points because you have other things to do. You’re not interested in being engaged. These bloggers know that so they don’t worry about learning how to write a great paragraph because they don’t need to – you don’t want paragraphs…
But that doesn’t mean everybody else who reads content online doesn’t enjoy a great paragraph.
What it does mean is that people don’t read their paragraphs because they suck! They don’t have to learn how to write great paragraphs because they don’t need them for their readers. But you do.
Now that I’m done with my rant, here’s how to write a great paragraph:
Start with a topic sentence – This first sentence should present one single point. The sentences following the topic sentence provide information that supports or explains that point.
- The first sentence following the topic sentence should explain the first supporting detail.
- The second sentence following the topic sentence should explain the second supporting detail.
- The third sentence following the topic sentence should explain the third supporting detail.
- The fourth sentence following the topic sentence should tie all of your supporting thoughts together.
- When you’ve completed your thoughts surrounding that one specific topic, start another paragraph.