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What’s the second most important sentence of your blog post?

You just read it…

Your first sentence.

The most important? Your title.

Okay, technically, the title is not a sentence but it’s what people see first.

It’s the reason they will or won’t read further.

But if they decide to read on, your first sentence must entice them to continue reading. 

So how do you start a blog post that keeps people glued to what you have to say?

Create the best first sentence you can.

I’m going to show you how to do this by giving you 10 ways to hook your readers so they want to keep reading, hopefully all the way to the end. 😉

What makes an Effective First Sentence?

  • Your opening sentence must be easy to read – The easier it is to read the better the chances people will keep reading. Leave out jargon and uncommon words. Make it as short and direct as possible. Keep it simple and effective. If an eighth grader can read and understand it, you’re on target.
  • Your opening sentence must grab attention – The whole idea is to evoke a response, even better if it’s an emotional one. You want to entice people to read the next sentence and the next… Speak directly to the reader, using words like ‘you’ rather than ‘they’ or ‘one’. Choose an interesting way to start your sentence.
  • Your opening sentence must serve the post’s purpose – Make sure the sentence is relevant and appropriate for the topic and tone of your post. There’s no point in having an amazing first sentence if what follows does not support it. Most blog posts are intended to solve a problem. Allow your opening sentence to move readers in the direction you intend them to move.

Keep the three points above in mind as well as what best suits your blog niche and brand when considering an opening sentence for your blog posts.

Here are 10 different ways to write an engaging first sentence:

#1 Ask a Question

A popular and effective way, and of my favorites is to ask a question.

Not just any question. One that makes readers think.

The aim is to engage them so they keep reading.

Avoid questions that are obvious and don’t need to be asked. E.g. If the title of your post is about how to make money online, don’t ask readers if they’d like to make money online. 😳

Also, avoid questions where the answer does not matter so the reader thinks, who cares.

Questions are also great for arousng curiosity. Look at this example from SmartBlogger.

Everybody has doubts. Right? But what doubts is he talking about? There’s only only one way to find out and that’s to keep reading.

Another good idea is to ask a multiple choice type question. Your initial question should be short and intended to arouse curiosity.

E.g. Which of these frustrates you more?

Follow up the question with three or more options. As a reader, if you’re curious, as most of us are,  you’d read on so you can choose one.

#2 Make a personal statement

Share something personal about yourself. This type of sentence often starts with “I”

It’s a great way to start a post when you intend telling a story about an experience you’ve had.

Usually the story will be about a problem and how you solved it. Since this will be related to your niche, it’s likely your target audience will find your learning helpful too.

Here’s an example taken from the Chris Guillebeau blog.

Starting with a personal statement is an ideal way to create a closer connection with readers and a way to demonstrate transparency.

It’s probably best used on personality oriented  blogs where the person’s name is the brand.

Remember that readers are more interested in themselves than you, so make sure your post always clearly makes this connection for them as soon as possible to keep them engaged.

 

#3 Start Ultra Short

Legendary copywriter, Joe Sugarman, teaches that the first line of any copy should be so short and compelling that it’s impossible not to read it.

This works just as well for blog posts, and it’s used to great effect by many bloggers.

Ultra short sentence don’t usually provide detail, which means they automatically spark your curiosity to read further.

A very short line can of course often be a question or personal statement too.

Here’s an  example of a first line that couldn’t be much shorter, taken from the Enchanted Marketing blog:

It can be a lot of fun coming up with interesting short sentences. Here’s some more examples, a few of which I’ve used myself.

#4 Cite a Statistic

People love statistics but only if it’s mega interesting, newly released or startlingly shocking.

When using a statistic make sure that it’s directly related to the topic of your post.

Here’s example from The One Thing blog:

 

 

#5 Quote someone 

If you quote someone famous or an authority in your niche, this is bound to be more effective as the perosn quoted will be easily recognized and embraced by the reader.

I think it’s fine to quote someone who isn’t famous as long as the line you quote is really insightful or clever so its wisdom is appreciated by your audience.

Regardless, quotes can work very well which is why they are often used, not only in blog posts but at the beginning of speeches, book chapters and films.

This example is taken from well known personal development blog, Pick The Brain.

 

#6 Be Controversial 

There’s little doubt, controversy attracts attention but this is one that should be used with plenty of caution.

Being controversial means that whatever you say has the potential for public disagreement since your view will be going against popular opinion.

It requires you to be brave, take risks and be prepared for the consequences which could go either way. Let’s face it, you’d hope it goes viral for the right reasons, but it might not.

A controversial opening line only works if the topic you’re covering is actually controversial. Your view must have a solid basis that you’ve articulated well in the rest of the post.

The example I’m sharing was written by Seth Adam back in 2013. He basically suggested that to have a successful marriage you need to be selfish.

Controversial? I’d say.

The post was shared millions of times, was even translated into other languages, led to television appearances and a book deal for the author.

Here’s how he started that post:

 

#7 Tell them what they’re getting

A far more effective way than announcing what the post is about, is to tell readers what they’re going to get if they keep reading.

If it’s not obvious, clearly state how reading the post will benefit readers. 

Beware of making claims however. E.g. “This post will turn you into a billionaire.” It’s a great way to get attention but be sure you can back up and guarantee your claim.

Brian Dean, a very well known and established expert in the field of SEO often starts his posts by telling readers what they’re going to get.

Obviously this is easier when you know you definitely have actionable value to offer and you have a strong audience of readers who follow and act on your every word.  

#8 State a problem

When you state a problem and the reader identifies with it, there’s a good chance they will continue reading to find out if you’ve got a solution that can help them.

This is especially effective if you can evoke the emotion that goes with the problem. 

E.g. When someone tailgates my car, my blood pressure goes berserk.

The problem can be stated as one you’ve had previously, as above, or it can be stated in general terms as Mel Wicks did in her post, written for SmartBlogger.

#9 Get the reader to imagine

Getting the reader to imagine something, no matter whether it’s a positive outcome or nagging problem, is a powerful way to start a blog post.

This transports the reader to another place in their mind.  It can also frequently evoke a powerful emotion at the same time, one of the most effective strategies to engage people.

Using words like  “imagine,” “picture this,” “do you remember when” will help here. 

Here’s an example by Christine Ellis from her post, which was also published on ‘Pick the Brain.’

#10 Use Sentence starters

Sometimes when I’m trying to think of a different way to start a post, my mind draws a complete blank. Ever happen to you?

When this happens I like to use ‘sentences starters’, a few simple words to help get my creative juices flowing.

An example might be, “Are you tired of…?”  These words may encourage me to think about whether I want to start my post with the problem. So if my post is about how to pick a WordPress theme with ease, I might make my first sentence, “Are you tired of trying to decide which WordPress theme is best for your blog?”

As you read other blog posts, whenever you come across an opening sentence you like, add it to a swipe file on your computer. It could be the whole sentence or just the first few words. Then later you can refer to your list when you’re having one of those blank moment days.

I came up with my own list of 50 simple ways to start a sentence. These can be used to start any sentence but I mostly use the list when I want an opening sentence. 

If you want my list of sentence starters, click below, complete your details and I’ll email it you. 

How to start a blog post – Wrap Up

After the title, the first sentence of your post is your next opportunity to engage your reader and and keep them reading.

Knowing how to start a blog post means coming up with the best opening sentence possible. 

Here’s a tip that works for me which may be useful for you too. I only write my first  sentence and paragraph after I have finished writing my post. It is much easier and faster to do this when you already know exactly what’s to follow. 

Which of the ways in this post do you currently use? Are there any you haven’t used which you now want to try?  Did I miss an idea that you want to share with me?

Got Questions? Something to say? Leave a comment. Let’s chat

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18 Comments

  1. seofarhan

    Hi,

     Thank you very much for sharing with us such an important blog post. If I had not read this I would not even have thought much about how to start a blog post. This post will be helpful to others who are just starting out too. The most important thing I just gained from reading here is that it’s really important to make our blog posts interesting from the very first sentence. I will definitely share this blog with my friends.

    Reply
    • Mark Baker

      Thanks for the comment. Pleased to hear it’s useful information. I agree, when you start blogging there’s so much to think about that sometimes we miss something that’s quite critical and easy to get right once we know about it. 

      Mark 

      Reply
  2. Jay

    Very insightful. I learnt a lot from this post. The first sentence of a blog post is very important because it is what determines if a person is to continue reading your content. Sometimes it can be really difficult coming up with a powerful intro to entice the reader. But it is totally worth it. 

    Sometimes it takes me more than 20 minutes to come up with an opener for a blog post because it is like a first impression on how your readers would view your content.

    Reply
    • Mark Baker

      Hi Jay

      Spot on there with your comment. It can sometimes take a long time to come up with a good introduction but like you say it’s very important, and after the title, it’s what people will read next.

      A little tip about writing your first sentence that I use quite often, is to only write it once you’ve written your whole post. I find it a lot easier to come up with my opening sentence when I know exactly what’s to follow.

      Mark

      Reply
  3. Ola

    Thank you for this great post. I found it really interesting and lovely .You have really put in a lot of energy in writing this and I really appreciate and give you kudos on this. You have  provided great insights into how to start blogging for beginners, am very sure newbies  will find it really helpful and informative. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
    • Mark Baker

      Thanks for the feedback. Everybody is a beginner blogger when they start and regardless of how long you do this, there’s always something new to learn. Hopefully this post will encourage you to focus on writing the very best first sentences you can so that you can get better and better at doing it.

      Mark

      Reply
  4. emmanuel

    I totally agree with this. The first sentence when writing a content for a blog should be able to grab attention and raise the curiosity of the the visitor. I own a blog and most times I use relevant questions to start a post because this has been proven to attract attention.

    Reply
    • Mark Baker

      Hi Emmanuel 

      Thanks for adding to the conversation and confirming the importance of grabbing attention from the first line.

      It sounds like you have found a way to open your posts that works well. I agree that relevant and thought-provoking questions are a great way to do this, which is why so many bloggers use this approach.

      Mark

      Reply
  5. jannatuljui

    Awesome post!  This post is very useful because it provides important advice about how to start a blog post.  I am a blogger also but my posts have not been ranking. This post gives me some ideas about why this might be so. People are just not sticking around to read my posts.  I think this formula will help me with getting my posts ranked and it increases my knowledge about  what makes a successful blog post. I will refer to others who sre struggling with this too. Thanks to the author.

    Reply
    • Mark Baker

      Thanks for the comment and feedback that the post was helpful. 

      Google places a lot of emphasis on whether people stay with reading your posts. Coming up with a great title and a captivating first line could definitely help with enticing people to read further and that will help you with your ranking efforts.

      All the best.

      Mark

      Reply
  6. Saori

    Ouch! I was doing this all wrong! My first sentences were pretty generic, long and probably boring. Thank you so much for sharing this post. I learned so much from reading this. Example blogs were super helpful to better understand each point. I’ll be going back to his post when I write my next blog. 

    Reply
    • Mark Baker

      Hi Saori 

      Great to have you visit. Thank you for the feedback. I’m pleased to hear you found the post useful. 

      As bloggers and online marketers we need to do whatever we can to stand out. Crafting unique and interesting opening lines is one way to do this. 

      Have fun coming up with first lines that are the opposite of what you’ve been doing so far. 

      Mark

      Reply
  7. Yormith96

    Hi Mark, this is a very insightful article about how to start a blog post. As a newbie in online blog post writing, I have just created a blog through Wealthy Affiliate and believe me sincerely I have been unable to post anything useful on the blog website because I don’t really know how to start it. Reading your article has given me an insight and ideas on How to start, thanks for sharing this article. 

    Reply
    • Mark Baker

      My friend we all started where you are as a newbie and it does get easier. You just have to take a leap and get going. The more you do it, the easier it becomes.  I’m really pleased to hear that the blog post has given you some ideas on how to start writing your own blog posts. 

      Wishing you all the best with your blogging and look forward to seeing you around here again soon. 

      Mark

      Reply
  8. Jason

    These are really great tips. Thank you very much. I’m just starting my blog and I think I’ve got like two posts where I actually did what was suggested in your article and well low and behold those are the two articles with the most engagement. 

    My blog is about addiction so I’ll be catching peoples attention now that I’ve read your tips. 

    I think my next post will start “You killed a family of three the night you decided to get loaded one more time.” Think that’ll grab some attention? 

    Again thanks bro and appreciate the tips.

    Reply
    • Mark Baker

      Hey Jason 

      I’m pleased the post was helpful. It sounds like you already proved to yourself that the way you write your opening sentence can make a big difference to how people respond to what you’ve written.

      As for the opening sentence you’re thinking of using – Yeah well it would get my attention for sure. I hope it goes well and all the best with getting your reader’s attention. Addiction is an important topic. 

      Mark

      Reply
      • Jason

        Hey Mark,

        I just wanted to follow up on a post I ended up writing, I wrote it really quick just to add it to my site since it was kinda fresh in my mind after reading your article. You don’t need to add this comment to your site if you don’t want to I’m not trying to push my site onto your readers but thought I’d share since you inspired it. https://motivationtostop.com/you-killed-someone/

        Reply
        • Mark Baker

          Hey Jason

          I appreciate you coming back and letting me know. I’ve been over to your post and left a comment. Well done with that. I hope that you inspire many people to think about the damage they are doing to themselves and to others. It’s always a great compliment to know I’ve inspired someone else to take positive action when it comes to blogging so I am well pleased that my post inspired you to write the one you did. Keep at it!! 😉

          Mark

          Reply

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