Inverted pyramid

The most important information in your content must be at the start – this is called frontloading. 

We use the inverted pyramid to achieve this, placing information in order of importance on the page. This is the best practice style when writing your content. 

The main information of the content – who, why, what, where, when and how – appears in the first paragraphs so that most users will see it.  

The inverted pyramid structure is: 

  1. most important information  
  2. important details 
  3. other general or background information 

Use clear language

Use the active voice – this is when the subject of the sentence is doing something, rather than having something done to them. Use plain English when writing. For example:  

“The statistics were scrutinised by the experts”  

Should be rewritten as: 

“The experts studied the statistics.”  

Using “studied” instead of “scrutinised” is plain English and accessible. Having the “expert” doing the action as the subject of the sentence makes it active and easier to understand. 

Structuring paragraphs and sentences

As with the overall structure, each paragraph and sentence should be frontloaded with the most important information at the start. 

When writing your content, your paragraphs should: 

  • have no more than four sentences that follow a logical order 
  • begin with the most important information for that paragraph, meaning readers can skim through the information 
  • make complete sense on their own 
  • cover one subject 

Individual sentences should be no longer than 25 words. If they are any longer, they may need to be divided into two. 

A sentence should not start with a figure. If it does, the sentence should be restructured. For example: 

“47% of people in the population of the UK are left-handed.” 

Should be rewritten as: 

“Left-handed people make up 47% of the UK population.” 

We are constantly improving based on research and best practice. Any significant changes to our guidance are available on the Updates page.