Line and paragraph spacing

Design Tips: Watching your line length

Line length is how long a line of text is from left to right.

Paragraph length is how long the paragraph is.

This kind of stuff really matters on your website – because people will get distracted and can very quickly decide to leave the page. You won’t even have a chance to show them all you’ve got.

In this post I’ll explain some common mistakes, and share how to optimize your line and paragraph lengths on your website.

Line Length

And if newspapers and magazines are a hint… short line length = more engaged readers. That’s because it uses less energy to read things with shorter line lengths. When it’s too long, a reader can lose track of which line they’re on…

Okay, so this is a fairly short topic, because it the point is clear. Try to reduce the line length of your content and your readers will love you for it.

Here are some common problems with line length:

  • On large computer screens, your website stretches from corner to corner. An entire paragraph on one line of text, oh no!
  • The padding or margins is all messed up.

That’s about it… easy. Now let’s fix it.

What to do about it :

  • Use a sidebar. This can also feature a call to action (such as your newsletter)
  • Change the width of your website (this can be done in the customizer)
  • and so much more… really, it’s just about awareness.

Okay, now you know. Moving on to paragraph breaks.

Paragraph Breaks

Reading things on a screen is waaaay different than on paper. Not only is it more distracting, but you don’t know what kind of device someone will be reading your words on.

This is why I love paragraph breaks.

They can be used to add pace, rhythm, and personality to your writing.

Also, if your reader is using a phone or other small screen, long paragraphs turn into dense blocks of text.

These are just a few thoughts – but my real point is that rules for writing are completely different on the internet. When you’re publishing content, embrace your own style of writing and not a style you think your supposed to write in.

Communication isn’t about rules, it’s about getting the point across.

Ryan Clover

Designer and founder of Maple Creative, providing technical wizardry for activists, educators, and small business owners who are out to change the world.