An introductory paragraph is essential for every article that you write. Without an introduction, you can leave your reader feeling disoriented and confused, which means that they will, in turn, leave you and your article in order to go read something else that doesn’t make them feel that way. So what is a good introductory paragraph and what should it do?

A Good Introduction Should:

  • Prepare the reader for the information they’ll gain from the article.
  • Hook the reader into reading the article or convince the reader they want to read the article.
  • Make a statement that summarizes what the article is about (some call this a thesis statement).

Now, this isn’t high school composition, so you’ve got some leeway.

You can:

  • Build the reader up by starting with a broad generalization, drilling down with more specific information, and ending with the statement that tells the reader what your article, in particular, is about.
  • Ask a question that gets your article going when you begin to answer that question.
  • Use an example from a “real life” situation to prepare the reader for the salient points you will make in your article.
  • Make an absurd statement to shock the reader then proceed to explain why that statement is incorrect in the context of your article.

There are other ways, of course, to formulate your introduction . . . as long as it does its job.

An Introduction Should Not:

  • Answer a question you have posed in your title without restating the question.
  • Begin with step number one of a process that you will outline in your article (such as in a “how to” type article).
  • Contain only one sentence–that being your “thesis” statement.
  • Consist of the words “In this article, I will tell you about such and such, and convince you why you should do such and such.” This heavy-handed approach will turn most readers off.
  • Be completely absent from your article!