Headlines are the spruikers of copywriting. They get curious patrons through the door. But have you given much through to your hardworking paragraphs? They have the most challenging job of all – back up those lofty headline promises with persuasive messages, empathy and fact.
One thing’s for certain. Without great paragraphs, headlines wouldn’t be strutting around in their big fonts for long.
Here are six ways to help your paragraphs live up to their everyday hero status.
Snatch attention from the first line
Most visitors spend less than 30 seconds summing up the content of a website homepage before deciding whether to stay or go. There’s no time for waffling paragraphs about who you are, where you live and what a great weekend away you had with the crowd from the crochet club – unless of course your business is wildknittingholidays.com.
Get to the point as fast as you can. If you don’t convey your key message in the first few lines, don’t expect many people to be around to read them further on down the page.
Keep your paragraphs short and sweet
Forget trying to win over your audience with long descriptive, romantic prose about the salubrious ambiance of your pulchritudinous offer. They will only think you are stertorous (take my word for it, you really don’t want to be).
Short paragraphs are most effective on the web because they can be differentiated and skimmed at a glance. Where possible, keep them to 20 words or less.
Include one idea per paragraph
The first paragraph should contain your main keywords or phrases
Weave in keywords, but don’t drown in them
Don’t overuse keywords – they should flow naturally
Use them liberally
Subheads every 2 – 4 paragraphs are easy for readers to scan and break long copy into digestable ‘chunks’.
Pace your paragraphs to fit your goals
Short is fast. Exciting. Great for a sales pitch. Longer allows your reader to sit back and relax.
If you have a lot of information to convey on the one page, consider bulletpoints.