5 brilliant ways to start your blog post with a bang 

start your blog post with a bang

Most blogs suck. 

You might have the most brilliant advice, but nobody reads it. 

The solution starts withthe start. 

A recent survey found that only 30% of readers make it to the end of a post. Just like a YouTube video – if you dont grab your readers attention in 3 seconds its sayonara.  

Theyre gone. 

In this post you will learn a 5 step approach to quickly retro fit old posts gathering digital dust, or tweak new posts to start working miracles.  

Lets jump in with some mind work.

1. Enter the conversation

To capture your readers’ attention you have to first enter the conversation going on in their mind (Robert Collier). In other words, grab their attention with something theyre already thinking about. 

– If youre a financial planner, tell me how to avoid costly mistakes.
– If youre a realtor, tell me how to make more money when I sell my home.
– If youre an IT consultant, tell me how to choose the best IT consultant. 

Not sure where to start? Start with a list of the most common questions your prospects ask you.

2. Get my attention

water splashing in woman's face

This is keymake me stop and want to read more. Your reader found your latest post via your email or social media. But, theyre not committed yetwith the click of their mouse theyre gone – never to return to that post. 

So, hook them with bait that makes them hungry for more. 

Start with your first sentence. Its job is to get me to read your second sentence. And so on.  

In your #blog, the job of your first sentence is to get me to read your second sentence. And so on. Click To Tweet 

Dont force me to wade through a muddy dissertation. Instead, start with a bold statement, a bit of controversy or a question. 

For example, I could have started this post with something like: 

The problem with all too many blogs is that they fail to get the attention of readers and, as a result, dont drive traffic to your products or services. 

Ugh. 

Instead, I started with: 

Most blogs suck.

3. Tell me the Problem

person holding question mark to face

Heres a blogging secret. If the reader doesnt care about your topic, they wont care to read about it 

So, make it obvious. 

In the first 2 sentences you need to TELL ME THE PROBLEM you will solve. 

Here’s a blogging secret. If the reader doesn’t care about your topic, they won’t care to read about it. Click To Tweet 

Even better: choose only one problem to solve. 

Here are 3 examples from our blog:

1. In this post we tackled time management:
Lets get one thing straight. I waste time, you waste timeeveryone wastes time.

2. This post is all about getting more traffic:
And its time to get serious about your business and your blog. You want more trafficthe right traffic.

3. This post is about restarting your blog writing:
You havent published for at least a month – not so great.

4. Make a promise

Every salesperson worth his/her salt knows this. To keep your prospects attention you need to make a promise of what you have to offer. 

It could be as simple as Let me show you how we can fix that, or I think I have the perfect solution for you. 

Its no different in your blogonce you get my attention, tell me what comes next.  

For example, this post is about blog performance:
In this post were looking at super simple tune-ups to make your blog work better and, maybe, even a bit sexier. Sound good?

5. Please get to the point!

time on site screenshow showing how to start your blog post with a bang
The average time we see on our client’s blog posts is 2-3 times more than other pages.

Finally, a great blog gets to the point. 

You got my attention, you entered the conversation going on in my mind, you even described a problem you know I have – great! Now, get to the point and deliver the goods.  

The average visitor time on our clients websites is about one minute. The average time we see on their blog posts is more like 3 to 7 minutes. Wow! 

Your blog has the ability to stop readers from clicking away. Your blog can also drive traffic to your revenue pages.  

If you do it right. 

A few small changes to the start of your post can improve time on site, list growth – even conversion to sales.  

It all starts withthe start. 

Enjoyed this post? Here are 3 more all about blog writing: 

5 easy steps to publishing your next blog post (even if you dont have time)
90 seconds to becoming a better writer
How to never run out of blog ideas ever again

90 seconds to becoming a better writer

writing a blog

“Finding success is all about taking action. You can read all you want, but nothing will happen until you execute.” – Pat Flynn

Your blog is a reflection of you.

Sloppy writing that might have got a passing grade in high school won’t help.

Fear not loyal reader!

In just 90 seconds you can transform your writing from a C- to an A+.

Better yet, your readers will stay on your site longer and that means more business. Lucky you.

Here goes: 7 ways to sharpen your writing and cut to the point in 90 seconds (or less):

1. Make me want to read this

“A blog is only as interesting as the interest shown in others.” – Lee Odden

Compelling writing starts with targeting your avatar, or ideal customer. If you can help them reach their goals faster, cheap or better they will become loyal readers.

Rambling thoughts about unrelated topics that caught your fancy is great if you flew in space, wrote a best-seller or your last name is Branson. If not, stick to solving problems for your target market.

This article walks you through the 5 step process – including how to pick killer topics – we use for every blog post. Start with that.

Compelling writing is first about targeting your avatar, or ideal customer. If you can help them reach their goals faster, cheap or better they will become loyal readers. Period. Click To Tweet

2. Start with a template

“The first thing you need to decide when you build your blog is what you want to accomplish with it, and what it can do if successful.” – Ron Dawson

I’ve written about using a writing template before, like this article and this article. A writing template is not cheating! You will save time and your writing will improve.

I start with a rough outline of what I want to write about and then move content to slot into my template. It might sound rote or mechanical, but my writing always improves this way. The template hauls me back from side trips and reminds me to include important parts like a summary and call-to-action.


3. Put your reader in the story

“The key is, no matter what story you tell, make your buyer the hero.” – Chris Brogan

Great salespeople use ‘you’ more than ‘I’. So should you.

This is a quick edit. Simply scan you post before publishing and look for all the “I”, “my”, “our”, “me” and starts swapping them for “you”, “your”, “your’s” and “you’re.”

When you put your read in the message they begin to envision how they could be applying your solutions.

Before: “When I block time I make an appointment with myself.”

After: “When you block time you make an appointment with yourself.”

4. Clean up sloppy writing

“Not only are bloggers suckers for the remarkable, so are the people who read blogs.” – Seth Godin

More words do not make your blog better. Instead you force your reader to slow down and stumble through run-on sentences, bloated paragraphs and awkward grammar.

Not good.

More words do not make your blog better. Click To Tweet

The simple test is if you remove the word and the sentence still works, leave it out.

Before: “If you have staff members who are well-organized, their productivity levels can go through the roof with remote working.”

After: “Staff who are well-organized can benefit from remote working.”

5. Remove dead words

“Qualifying words, such as very, little, and rather, add nothing to your meaning and suck the life out of your sentences.” – Copyblogger

Improving your writing can start with removing unnecessary words and helping your reader get to the bottom of your post. Readers that finish reading a post are more likely to share your article and more likely to spend time on your site looking at your products and services.

Get ready to start deleting!

That

In many cases, removing that improves the sentence: “This is the most amazing blog post that I’ve ever read.”

Book marketing expert and author Diana Urban suggests, “If a sentence still makes sense after removing ‘that’, delete it.”

Then

For example: “I stepped on stage and then the audience went quiet.” can be “I stepped on stage and the audience was quiet.”

All, every, totally, always, completely, absolutely, literally

For example: “If your employee doesn’t respond to your feedback you can always try coaching.

Better: “If your employee doesn’t respond to your feedback, try coaching.

6. Use words correctly

99.9% of great bloggers are not awesome on day 1. Their awesomeness is the accumulation of the value they create over time.” – Darren Rowse

Bad grammar is a bad reflection on you. Here’s a quick check list of what to avoid:

  • Everyday means common or normal. Every day means today, tomorrow, the next day and so on.
  • If you adapt something you change it. To adopt is to take it as your own.
  • Already is talking about the past; all ready is about the future.
  • Regardless is a word, irregardless is not.
  • Especially means particularly, whereas specially usually means “in a special or careful manner” or “specifically.”
  • Then is about time. Use than to compare something.
  • You write on stationery that is (hopefully) stationary. Get it?

7. Break up looooong paragraphs

“The shorter your paragraphs are, the less dense and threatening the post looks.” – Jon Morrow

Your blog is not a technical thesis written for tenured professors paid to read your writing. Your goal is to keep readers on your site.

A simple fix for most blogs is to break up paragraphs and add what I call ‘cliff hangers’ (just like I’ve been doing in this post.)

Cliff hangers are like teasers that compels the reader to keep scrolling. For example: (that’s one)

But, before I get to that solution, let me ask you a question…

Here are three quick ways to start a conversation.

Has that happened to you?

Ready to turn your blog magnet on?

The theme of this post is less is usually not only best, but stronger—stronger results for your traffic and your business.

Invest 90 seconds to chop, cut, cull and shape your blog and you will keep readers on your site longer. More time on site means more readers into prospects and more prospects into business.

Nice.

Ready to write your killer post? Here are 3 more articles to get you started:

Excuse me, but your blog is BORING!
Write killer blog posts with this template
How to Build a Better Blog: 5 Industry Experts Share Their Top Tips

17 proven strategies for building a better blog

blog traffic

In this post we are sharing one of our most popular slide decks published on SlideShare. It’s advice from the gurus that is not only really smart, it’s actionable.

PRO TIP: Once you scan through these, go back and choose just one to work on this month. For example, you might want to put more attention on your headlines – great! Go through your underperforming posts and rewrite the headlines using keywords (don’t change the URL of the post – just the headline).

Here’s the complete list:

  1. think: long road
  2. build your avatar
  3. don’t guess – ask them
  4. think like a publisher
  5. do the grunt work
  6. don’t make it all about you
  7. survive the first draft
  8. be a name dropper
  9. solve problems
  1. each post is a product
  2. give readers what they want
  3. great headlines
  4. include eye candy
  5. make it about them
  6. use a template
  7. spread the good news
  8. be consistent

Onboard New Readers with a “Start Here” Section

Onboard New Readers with a Start Here section

If you’ve been blogging for a long time, you probably have a lot of content. As of this post, BlogWorks already has 29 published articles from just a few short months of writing – it adds up fast!

How can you ensure new readers are engaged and don’t get confused among a mountain of content?

Create a Start Here section or Top Posts section to place on your sidebar.

WordPress automatically places a “Latest posts” widget on your sidebar. But, let’s face it – not all of your content is going to be great.

You want your readers to see your greatest posts, not just your latest posts!

You want your readers to see your greatest posts, not just your latest posts! Click To Tweet

In this article, I’ll explain how to find your best-performing posts and create a “start here” section (or top posts section) to guide your new readers and keep them engaged and interested.

Let’s do it!

Step 1: Find Your Best Posts

As we’ve already talked about, you can find your top performing posts (based on traffic) using Google Analytics. Just go to your dashboard and click Behavior -> Site Content -> All Pages.

Measuring your most popular blog posts using Google Analytics

The pages with the most pageviews are you top performing pages. The “/” is just your home page (which is usually at the top), so you can ignore that one.

Step 2: Create a Start Here Section

If you’re using WordPress, changing this section is really quite simple. You just need to install a plugin like WordPress Popular Posts or Posts in Sidebar. Once you’ve installed the plugin, navigate to Appearance -> Widgets in your WordPress dashboard.

Creating a "Start Here" widget in wordpress

 

From there, find your widget and drag it into your sidebar. These widgets will automatically add your most popular posts based on view count – however, they only start counting views after you install the plugin, which is why we found them ourselves in step one! You can also rename the header to say “start here” instead of top posts.

Now, simply enter your top posts. Keep in mind you can put any post you want in there, which is helpful if you have some posts you want new readers to visit, such as a hub page which links to most of your other content.

Step 3: Analyze the Results

As bloggers, we want to know how readers interact with our content, right? Analytics help us understand how to measure our blogs’ success and know what works and what needs to be changed.

If you haven’t already set up Google Analytics on your site, now is a better

What we’re looking for in our analytics and our WordPress stats are traffic, comments, shares, and clicks. If certain posts get more views or shares than others, you may have stumbled onto something! Personally, when deciding which posts to display in my own top posts widget, I ask myself:

  • Which posts make a specific promise, and deliver on that promise? (Such as this post – I promised to help you create a “start here” section, and if I delivered, you should now have one!)
  • Which posts are well-written? (i.e. Formatted well, use short paragraphs, proper grammar and spelling, etc.)
  • Which posts deliver so much value, when someone reads it they think “How is this free?!”

Use those posts!

Conclusion

Creating a start here section on your site for newcomers to easily find and dig into your best content engages them immediately and earns their trust. You have a greater chance of keeping them on your site and pushing them to opt into one of your lead magnets.

I hope you now have a top posts section on your blog! As always, if you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment. Don’t forget to share this post if you found it helpful! 🙂

7 WordPress Plugins You Need to Create Amazing Content

7 WordPress Plugins to Create Amazing Content

Let’s face it:

It takes a lot of hard work to design a great website.

We spend hours making everything perfect. The design, the content, the copy…

…but, sometimes, the templates we use just don’t have all the features we need.

That’s where plugins come in.

WordPress powers more than 30% of the web, so chances are you’re using this amazing platform as well. We are, and we’ve found some incredible WordPress plugins that help us to create amazing content, and they can help you as well.

Without further ado, here are 7 plugins you need to install right now:

#1: Word Stats

Word Stats allows you to see the stats for your blog posts, including:

  • Number of words.
  • Keywords you rank for.
  • Post types broken down by number and percentage.
  • A graph showing monthly word count per post type.

However, the best part of Word Stats is its diagnostic table that links to posts that need your attention. It tells you when headlines are too short, long, or complicated.

A screen shot of the WordPress pluging, Word Stats.

#2: SumoMe

SumoMe is an amazing, all-in-one WordPress plugin. With this single plugin, you get:

  • An email capture pop-up.
  • Easy installation of Google Analytics.
  • A heat map to see where your customers click.
  • And much more!

A screenshot of the WordPress Plugin, SumoMe

#3: Better Click To Tweet

Have you ever seen blog posts with a box that says, “Click to Tweet”? They get that using a WordPress plugin like Better Click to Tweet.

For example:

Adding easily shareable elements to your #content increases your social reach. Click To Tweet

#4: OptinMonster

OptinMonster allows you to create high-converting opt-in forms in minutes.

It also allows you to segment your customers based on which form they fill out or which options they choose, A/B test to see what converts the best and create clickable text to show popup forms if you’re using a content upgrade or lead magnet.

Screenshot of the WordPress Plugin, Optin Monster

#5: Yoast SEO

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is an incredibly important part of building a blog. It helps you to increase your website traffic from search engines like Google and Bing.

The easiest way to master SEO is with the Yoast SEO WordPress plugin. It tells you exactly what you need to do to your blog post to improve the SEO.

Screenshot showing the Yoast SEO WordPress plugin

#6: Pretty Link

Pretty link, as you probably guessed, makes your links look pretty.

So, instead of linking to “yourwebsite.com/some-crazy-long-url-for-seo”, your link would look like this: “yourwebsite.com/pretty-link”. But the best part is the analytics part of it; Instead of using a link shortener link bit.ly to track shares, you can just use Pretty Link.

Additionally, using this plugin lets you redirect from shorter URL links to your original longer one, which allows for easy sharing if you’re, say, speaking on a podcast. It’s much easier to say (and easier for your listeners to type) “yourwebsite.com/oneword” than a longer URL.

#7: Insert Post Ads by WPBeginner

If you monetize your blog through a program like Google AdSense, it would convert better if you place the ads in the right spot in your content, right?

Insert Post Ads allows you to do exactly that. You can place an ad anywhere you’d like mid-post.

Additionally, this plugin allows you to show off your own ads – if you’re, say, running a webinar or selling an eBook.

Conclusion

WordPress plugins are what make WordPress such an amazing platform. If you need something done, chances are you’ll be able to find a plugin to do it.

With these 7 plugins, you’ll be well on your way to creating amazing content and a website that looks and functions great.

What plugins do you use on your website? Let me know in the comments below!

Read Next: How to Get 80% More People to Read Your Blog Posts