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Writing for the Web - paragraph length

I find that the requirements of the Web impose a demand for shorter paragraphs than is the case for the printed page.

The general rule for printed material is that a paragraph should contain one basic idea, but it can include some subsidiary ideas that are related to it. On the web, however, this can make one’s writing hard to take in. It means that paragraphs on the Web should be shorter than those on the printed page. Subsidiary ideas are best split off into separate paragraphs.

Of course, this should not be taken to extremes; one doesn't want to write like a tabloid journalist, with practically every sentence constituting a paragraph in itself. But I do find that trying to take in articles on the Web that make use of long paragraphs is hard work.

From time to time I go through stuff that I’ve written on my own site in the past and break up the longer paragraphs into shorter ones. I think it improves their readability, and I hope you do too.


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