It is obvious that you need to know how to structure an article properly – especially if you have just started writing.
Now, first things first – let us not follow any rules and think about what we like to read when we are reading an article or a blog for gathering information.
Long paragraphs which go on and on? NO
We either skip these lengthy paragraphs or just glance through to find if our question is answered or what information we are seeking is present. Isn’t it? So, the first rule of structuring your article is
No Lengthy Paragraphs
Now, you might ask what is the ideal length? Research states that ideally, no paragraph should be more than 150 words. A paragraph which is of 100-110 words will comprise of 8-9 sentences which can be easily ready. The reader can patiently go through such a small paragraph. Besides, when such a paragraph is read on a mobile device, it does not look too long and boring. You can be assured that your reader is not going to skip it.
Look at the structure of the above paragraph? Was it too long for you? It was just 80 words. And this article has completed 204 words already – was it difficult to read or did you feel a lot of pressure?
I am sure it was a smooth read because there are no lengthy paragraphs. So, keep your paragraphs short, to the point and crisp. Our readers, just like us, are very clever – no one likes fluff, and they will simply skip your hard work.
Length of Sentences – Let’s keep them of medium length too.
In my career, I have come across many writers who had problems with the length of their sentences. Either the sentences are too long or too short. If the sentences are too long, the reader loses focus and if they are too short, they might appear written by a 4th grade.
Let’s see some good examples of bad sentences:
- Jute bags look good. They have great demand. They are available in many styles. You get in different designs.
- India is a developing country with a large population. There are many states. The population is not the same everywhere.
What did you feel? Well – if you are writing this for your child’s school project, its super. But, as a professional content writer, they are not good enough.
- India is a developing country with a large population where people of different languages and castes live together in complete harmony and peace as they celebrate different festivals and events, throughout the year and enjoy their time with their loved ones because India is a land of festivals and several festivals are held in a year.
Now, that was quite a lot for one line – wasn’t it?
Why take so much trouble and stuff all your words in one sentence when you can explain the whole information in 2-3 sentences that will read good as well.
So, as a rule of thumb, ensure:
- Each sentence does not exceed 25 words
- Talk about 1 idea in 1 sentence – it will help you to write easily and effectively.
- Stay away from complex sentences where you are talking about too many different things in one sentence. Why confuse the readers?
Sub-Headings -a Must
Now, would you have liked, if this article which you are reading did not have any sub-heading? Most of us, when we come across an article, first quickly scroll it down to see how long it is.
If it is a long one – we start checking the sub-headings. Visitors have a question in mind when they look for information online. As an article comes up in the search results, we look for THAT section where the query is answered.
We have all done this – let us admit it and there should be no bitterness about it too. One reader might be interested in the introduction of your article while another reader will be happy with the body.
Thus, sub-headings are extremely important. They give a good flow to the article. They help in arranging information under different headings and they provide a professional look and neatness to the article.
Keep away From Unnecessary Sentences or Jargons
Well, many content writers have this uncanny ability. They can write 5-6 sentences about the same thing. Now, what does this mean? It means they use a mix of words, jargons and several unnecessary sentences.
What is this about?
It has only one objective – to increase the word count. As I mentioned above, content writers need to write fixed words on a daily basis. What better way can one meet the word count?
But remember, Google is way smarter. It is tough to trick search engines. They have their own algorithms which help it to distinguish high-quality content and fluff. So, please stay away from unnecessary sentences or jargons. You do not always have to show how good your vocabulary is or how many words you know.
These were some basic structural guidelines, but remember there are a lot of other things you can do. There is no rule of thumb for the article structure. You just need to ensure that the article looks well organized and it is easy to read as well.
So, to sum it up – these are some of the many things which can make an article easy to read and interesting:
- Small paragraphs with sub-headings
- Use of bullet-points
- You can use of tables and diagrams ( if applicable/possible)
- Use of special text formatting like italics and bolds to highlight necessary information.
Now that you are almost at the end of the article – what do you have to say about the structure of this article?
Did you find it lengthy and boring? Were there any unnecessary sentences used?
No – I have tried not to because we hardly have time these days to read fluff.
Trick – One of my colleagues once asked me – how do I know its fluff? Everything I write is necessary.
Well – remember that once you have written your article, you will always proofread it. Read all sentences carefully. If you find any line which when deleted wouldn’t make much difference to the article, it’s fluff. Basically, fluff doesn’t add value to any article. Its role is to fill space.
So – how would you structure your article?