5 Powerful Ways To Open Your Next Blog Post …or Fix Your Old Ones

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first impressions

This is a guest post by Hector Cuevas.

Pop Quiz: How many blogs are there on the internet?

a. 50 million
b. 160 million
c. a Gazillion

If you said C, you’re wrong. But don’t worry, I thought it was C, too :)

The actual number is unknown but back in 2010, there was an estimated 160 million blogs online.

So, if you said B, pat yourself on the back (cuz I can’t do it from here).

Take a second right now and think about what I just did. How did I get you to read past the first sentence?

That’s what this post is all about and today you’re going to learn 5 ways to open your blog posts, or fix your old posts openings and get people to read.

Just like first impressions matter in life, the first sentence of your articles are just as important. Your readers use them to determine whether the post is worth their time.

After reading this you’ll be able to literally “copy & paste” these techniques on your own posts – and hopefully see better results. Here are the 5 ways you can open your articles…. with examples.

Ask a question

This is by far the simplest of them all and I use it on most of my blog posts. You can’t go a day without seeing this opening, and for good reason – because it works.

Not only does it help you get started writing, it also grabs your reader’s attention which entices them to continue reading your article. Here’s an example of this opening at work:

Start with a quote

Starting with a quote might seem like something you would do on a high school grade essay, but they’re very useful when opening blog posts, too. Quotes are great because they made “quotes” for a reason.

Maybe they inspired someone or made them think differently about a particular topic.

Whatever the reason, you should use them in your openings because they will have the same effect on your readers. If it’s a really good quote, they’ll want to know who said it, and hopefully why you’re quoting them.

Lead with a story

I love stories. We all do. That’s what we do all day long. When your best friend asks you how your day was, you don’t just say fine and keep it moving.

You tell them about that dude that cut you off while you were driving. Then you tell them how the cops pulled you over for speeding when you were just trying to catch up to the guy that cut you off, to do it back to him.

We tell stories.  That’s what we do, and they’re another great way to start your articles. They get your readers hooked and that’s exactly what we want. Here’s a quick example of storytelling at work:

  • “Picture three men racing through a tall hedge maze. The first man runs off and begins following paths randomly, hoping to stumble upon the exit…”Why Blind Obedience is Killing Your Business by Johnny B. Truant

Go against the norm

The shock and awe approach. Works like magic. You can start your blog posts by disagreeing with what is commonly accepted as the norm. This builds an instant sense of curiosity and bring up questions that your readers need answered.

Use this opening with caution. You don’t want to shock your audience with a strong statement, or build a ton of curiosity and not back it up. Your content needs to clearly explain your point of view.

Short and Direct

Short. Sweet. To the point. There’s nothing sexy about this blog opening, but it works just as well as the others. I don’t use this one as much as I should, but it does make starting blog posts a lot easier.

Simply think about the one thing you want your readers to get out of your article and just say it. Tell them from the very beginning and I bet they’ll be more interested in finding out more. Here’s how I used this opener:

How do you open your blog posts? Please share some tips with us in the comments.

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  1. says

    I think it always important to intise your readers when writing an opening statement, but I also feel that the Title of a blog is just as equally important. Whether most of use are searching for specific blogs or just browsing, a majority of the time it is the title that pulls us in to read the article. So If you can come up with a great title I think this should be a good start followed by a great opener as Lisa has described in this blog. Although I don’t agree that the opener is what draws peoples attention to a blog, I think the opener is what keeps the reader reading, combined with the flow of the blog.

  2. says

    Another excellent post – I’ve read two posts on here tonight and both have contained content that will help me create better content. That’s what you are looking for when you visit a blog. You don’t always find it but you certainly do here.

    Great post, excellent blog. Keep up the great work.

    This post gets a thumbs up and smiley face from me. :-)

  3. says

    Hi Hector
    Everthing you say makes a lot of sence and from now on i shall think about the opening sentance more carefully and maybe look back at my old posts to make changes if need be

  4. says

    Nice post Hector.

    I can agree with the short and direct approach, it really does leave the reader wanting to know more.

    Thanks so much for sharing

  5. says

    Helpful blog tips , i will be following this steps because it helps our blogs to get more and more trafic and interact user with our blog and connect peoples to come to our website and read a blog like this ..

  6. says

    Another helpful blog. I just started bloging and articles like this are really opening my eyes. I never thougt that bloging is so complicated. I guess i still have a lot to learn.

  7. says

    Hector thanks for the share, but i think that blogging is all about experimenting and expressing yourself. The examples you provided are basic and proven by time, but if you want to succeed you need to experiment. Lately i wrote an article that just began with 2 sentences of a story and it was like “naaah, i won’t be talking about this” and the article was a succes, you can try it yourself.

  8. says

    Awesome Articles!I do Agree with this post. I am just starting out creating my sites and all of your information has been very helpful for me..these are very necessary points to be kept in mind for starting a new blog.. Well ‘thanks for sharing this information.

  9. says

    Hi Lisa, thanks for that reply. I can’t remember how I came to your site, but I’m glad I did. I now have 4 respected gurus to follow and study instead of only 3!

    The bad news for you :) is that I’ll be hanging out here quite a lot.

    I’ve spent all morning working out how you’ve set up your static site plus an extra blog for marketing – great idea.

    Also checking out your RSS, subscribe forms, give-aways and landing pages, and have learned heaps of useful stuff about tools and programs you use and other tips already.

    Thanks for your useful information.

  10. says

    I don’t get it – what about SEO? You are supposed to be putting main keywords into your Heading, and your first paragraph (at least) to have a chance of showing up on Page 1 Google.

    And your first paragraph has to be relevant to your topic, and also clearly tell people what the article is about.

    Why? Because when/if you do show up on Google, Google will often ignore your carefully planned Meta description and just put the first 135 words of your first paragraph anyway.

    That is the text that is seen first by anyone, and so that is what has to be relevant, eye-catching, and informative.

    So you have to construct the start of your first paragraph so that readers at Google search results pages will click on your Link.

    So,if you are relying on traffic from google, you have to first convince Google web crawlers to rank you where someone will see you, and then – at the same time – use the same text, you have to convince google searchers (the people), that your link will give them what they are looking for, so they will click on it.

    None of your Great Ways to Open a Post do any of those things.

    Sorry, but I don’t get how any of these will ‘work’.

    I would love to know how they do work for you, because I don’t understand how they could work in the real world of blogging.

    • says

      Hi Carol,

      Yes, SEO is important but Hector’s post provided other ways of getting a blogger’s attention and get them to the read the post ONCE they are there. You can do all the SEO you want but if your post doesn’t draw a reader in and hold their interest, what’s the point? Also, not everyone’s traffic is dependent on SEO.

    • says

      Actually if you carefully plan your Meta Description the meta description tag is highly used. I should know ive been building web sites from scratch way over 5 years. Only way google won’t use this tag is if its to short so anyways i would look up the recommended amount of characters to use in a Meta Description tag.

  11. says

    Thanks for your great post, Hector. A lot of people like that ideas. I have also tried it on my guest post and after several days, I come back and read it, it scans me through really quick and save my time.

    Thanks – Ferb

  12. says

    Thank you Lisa for a really interesting post. Your suggestions about creating opening lines has lots of good information and ideas. I have bookmarked this site so I can implement your suggestions into my next blog post.

    Thanks for sharing your knowledge, it is much appreciated.

  13. says

    Naturally, as I have progressed as a blogger, I find that my later blogs get more interaction and comments than my earlier ones.

    I’m currently in the process of reviewing my older blogs and tidying them up because I feel they can also be of value, even if they are a little scatty.

  14. says

    It’s funny, but that’s exactly the same advice I give my students about how to start their essays. I agree whole-heartedly, those are some time honored ways to grab your readers attention.

  15. Justin says

    I love the short and sweet approach. For one thing, reading long blocks of text on a screen can hurt the eyes. Secondly, I write at a 10th grade level. Which is why I wrote my last blog entry is point form.

  16. lizzie says

    Hi Lisa,

    I’ve been following you for a few years because I’ve learned that you really do “practice what you preach”. Last year I was reading one of your publications that gave a “shout-out” to copyblogger.com and I’ve been following them ever since.

    I can tell by reading your websites, blogs, and publications that you follow a lot of copyblogger’s guidelines. Keep up the good work – you’re great!

  17. says

    Great techniques Hector! My favorite technique is to post a shocking or surprising statistic or fact that is relevant to your post. That can often make people want to read more. :)

  18. says

    Hector, this post is awesome. I have actually read it before but somehow came across it again in my inbox – is this re-cycled content (not being cheeky I’d love to know as I’m never sure if we can do that) from your own blog or is it just me being disorganised and clicking via the same mail twice?

    In any case, it’s great advice,

    thanks for sharing,

  19. says

    I really love your writing lisa, you keep it short and simple. I’m a blogger too and I haven’t updated my blog from last 2 months because of studies, but now I have will maintain my blog

  20. says

    Questions are the best and the most productive way to involve the readers .
    As it improves quality readership .
    Really Nice Aritcle . keep rocking .

  21. says

    This is great advice. An anecdote is a fantastic way to start a blog or an article because you can tell an interesting story and you can use it get your main point across. Extended metaphors are especially fun for this.

    I also like starting with provocative questions to engage the reader. For the most part I would recommend against using a quote to start the post, though.

  22. says

    It looks like I’ve struggled with this quite a bit. I just looked back on all my successful blog posts and almost all of them tell a story in the beginning…. Wow!

    Thanks for this! :)

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