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White space entices readers

Posted by Michael Bloch in web marketing (Wednesday August 11, 2010 )

Whether it’s on-page content or an email, remember to use line breaks and paragraphs appropriately. That white space can be critical in getting your message across.

I received an email from a merchant today which was around 20 lines of text; all in one paragraph. My immediate reaction was “too hard, next email”. The great big blob of text was just overwhelming. I didn’t even read the first sentence.

I’m not about to win any awards for writing, but something I do know is the proper use of white space in text is more reader-friendly and can certainly help with conversions – whether it’s a clickthrough, lead generation or a sale.

According to Wikipedia, the use of a paragraph in fiction is to:

“advance the plot, develop a character, describe a scene or narrate an action”

.. the same concept can be applied to marketing copy. I seem to remember one of my English teachers telling me that the time for a new paragraph is when there is a change in concept.

For example, if you’re taking the angles of price, flexibility and features in talking about a product in-depth, then each of those concepts should have its own paragraph, rather than cram all the details for each point in a single paragraph.

The first paragraph of a blurb should be short – a couple of sentences maximum – as this is where you are trying to hook the person enough that they’ll read on (or take some action immediately). The first paragraph briefly describes what the person is about to read, the last paragraph summarizes what they’ve just read.

While using paragraphs properly makes a document longer visually, the white space indicates a break for the brain, a permission to stop reading. A big lump of text looks like a huge commitment of time and energy.


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