Blogging Tips from a Wild Rider: How to Hook Readers

Blogging tips

I’ve been to spam prison and the school of ‘We’ll Knock Your Ass Down and See How Fast You Get Up, Sucker,’ but through it all I’ve been that long-lasting sponge that soaks up information without the nasty smell. So I will begin 2016 with a new series. One that will help you transform into “Super Blogger” without the unwieldy cape and tights. Okay. You can wear what you want.

Credentials:

Although I haven’t made a dime from this blog, not even a penny, I’ve learned a ton over nearly five years and writing 460 posts. Yep. If you disregard my lack of income, you could say I was something of a professional.

Where did I learn these valuable lessons I am willing to impart? Why through zillions of blog posts read online as well as the aforementioned ‘School Of Hard Knocks’ or SOHK. If you’ve been blogging for a while, you have probably been there too. It’s located in a war zone where IEDs explode all around you. You hide inside a windowless, bombed-out shelter in the middle of a sandy desert wilderness exposed in all directions. Afraid to step, you fear blowing your beloved blog to smithereens. You remain inside, trapped, naked and afraid, and with no way out until you solve the problem. I’ve been there many times.

I have a designated parking spot with my name on it.

Lesson #1 a.

You may be unaware of this simple trick to bring readers to your blog. No. Not by using the word, ‘sex, boobs, or I’m cheating on my husband’ in the title. I’ll get to that another day. This trick is solved by simply pushing a button. NOT THE RED BUTTON! In WordPress it’s located in Admin/Settings/Reading. Scroll down to “For each article in a feed, show.” Click on “Summary.”  Unless we change it from “Full text,” anyone can read our entire post in email or the reader. WHAT? Yes. It’s true. They never have to click to your blog. That means, readers will never discover your amazing header or other fabulous posts or cat pictures or your latest tweet or read all ‘About You’ AND you won’t get the view click. That’s the worst part, right? Doesn’t that suck? Be honest. I know you care about the number of views you get. ADMIT IT! Okay. I’ll take my hands off your throat. Anyway, click the button and only the first 55 words will appear in the reader or the email. Which brings me to….

Lesson #1 b.

For the sake of all that is holy, make those first 55 words sparkly goodness! Don’t tell me you are so sorry you’ve been on vacation and haven’t posted in for three weeks. No offense, but I probably didn’t notice. Now I have no idea what your article is about except for your title, so I will move on. I always move on. Those ‘I’m sorry’ beginnings have a downer feel and since you haven’t done anything to me personally, that I’m aware of, and they put me off. Done, done, on to the next one. Done I’m done and I’m on to the next. *turns down Foo Fighters on Pandora*

Instead, pick a gem from the content of your article. It should be a moving wriggling beast. Hold it down with two hands and give it a bath while wearing leather gloves. Rinse and repeat. Then sharpen some of its nasty little barbed hooks and tiny quills. See how they sparkle? They are what will bring readers to your blog. How do I know this? Because I sat front row and center in the SOHK recently and still have the scars on my knuckles to prove it. Yep. Those words should be a lure. They should either seduce readers into thinking they will be thoroughly entertained or learn something that will help them in a huge way.

Here are the facts. Take notes. There will be a pop quiz. Joking!

Readers are self-serving. They don’t have unlimited time nor is our blog required reading. We are reaching readers through the Internet. They have tons of choices. There are the obvious time sucks like Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr and Twitter, Snapchat, Buzzfeed, Huffpost along with real life. Yep. Some people have one. They can scroll by your post like pushing a shopping cart past generic canned liver.

Your blog is a product. You don’t want to offer readers something that looks and tastes like dirty gym socks. They won’t buy it, in fact, they will run away. You need to work a little harder to create something appealing. I’m not saying you have to spend hours on any of it. FIVE minutes should do the trick.

Raise your right hand and not-so-solemnly swear:

“I promise not to waste my reader’s time with yawnfest hooks. I will tease them with a new idea, amusement, or whatever it is I write while wearing a cape and tights.”

“But how?”

  • Ask a question.
  • Take the climax of your story and give us a glimmer of what is to come in the opening paragraph.
  • Set the stage, place and time and fill it with actors and action.
  • Start with what inspired you to write the article in the first place. If it was through reading another blog, don’t forget to link it up.

“What if it’s a Wordless Wednesday photo post?”

  • Mime it.

With these two changes, your views will soar or at least you’ll pull in a few more suckers by the cheek. It will be an improvement either way.

By reading THIS SERIES, you will get the Wild Rider Money Back Guarantee. You didn’t pay me anything? Ha!

That’s all for now. Awww! I heard someone groan. Oh. It was only my stomach growling.

Click here for more blogging tips.

84 thoughts on “Blogging Tips from a Wild Rider: How to Hook Readers

  1. Although I haven’t made a dime from this blog, not even a penny, I’ve learned a ton over nearly five years and writing 460 posts. Yep. If you disregard my lack of income, you could say I was something of a professional.

    LOLOLOLOL… half a million readers and no money either.. BUT I tell people you write because you love what you do.. BUT if anyone calls it my little hobby again I will kill them.. GREAT BLOG..

    Liked by 2 people

    • You have published your blog to several books, so in a way, you have made money. Woohoo! Danny wants me to start on one too. I should have something worth publishing with 460 posts to choose from. Ha! I haven’t heard the “hobby” snark yet. I’m sure I will. I do love writing.
      Thanks so much, Linda!

      Like

    • Thanks Lynn! Whenever I don’t take my own advice, I hear the sound of crickets like everyone else. I live for the day when I can write anything and thousands will flock to my blog. That’s every blogger’s dream. Right?

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Good points. Would add that showing up to your blog on a somewhat organized schedule hooks readers, if for no other reason they become used to you being there at certain times. You become a habit for them, which works in your favor, regardless of what you write. 😉 [I’ve had people following me for over a decade, believe it or not!]

    Like

  3. Speaking of stomach growling, Susie. Many writer’s have unfed bears in their stomachs. One demands it’s daily writing dose.
    The other will happily scoff chocolate, fruit, cheese—great chunks of it, even skirting boards if the situation becomes desperate.

    Like

  4. Thanks for sharing – I took your advice on Lesson #1a and changed my setting. No Yawnfests either – I hope I do not bore my readers – want to INSPIRE and MOTIVATE! Happy Weekend – Enjoy 🙂

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  5. I reread the first line of my last three posts and…I guess I’m not good at hooks. The only thing that caught my eye (as if I were a reader) is being so angry at smartphones that I never want one again. 😛

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hopefully your help will get me on track to start building a following again. My website says I have 10,732 people following my blog, but I think that counts my Twitter and Facebook followers and friends twice each. My actual blog subscriber number a paltry 460 or so after all these years of blogging.

    I didn’t even know there was a way to force readers to go to the blog. Sharon always reads mine in the email and forwards it to some of her friends, none of whom have ever seen my actual website. Thanks for the tip.

    Now I just need to learn how to hook them. . . .

    Like

    • That total does include social media.
      Writing the hook is a real trick, David. I bombed out recently. I think it really comes down to presenting some kind of new idea, something entertaining or helpful.
      If you find out a way to force readers to come to your blog, let me know! Ha! Using the summary only gives them the first 55 words, so make ’em good!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Thank you so much for Lesson #1 a! I have been achieving the same goal of enticing readers to click through by using the “READ MORE” tag when composing each post. The nice thing about doing it this way is you can give a little more than 55 words. But then sometimes I forget to insert the tag. I usually remember just after I’ve pressed “PUBLISH.” Changing the settings means I’ll never forget!

    And Lesson #1 b is inspiring me to pay even more attention to those openings. I love your description of washing the wriggling beast.

    Like

    • I usually screw up the wriggling beast with my most favorite posts. I think it has something to do with thinking they will carry themselves to readers. It just doesn’t happen unless I entice them with a great title and 55 words.
      I add the “read more” tag after blogging so my posts load faster. I usually have a bunch of photos. I also don’t want readers to read every post without clicking to them when they are in my home page.
      The 55 words is automatic for the email and the reader. Sometimes I’ve seen less words, but I’m not sure why.
      Thanks so much, Audrey!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Excellent points. I appreciated your comment to me many months ago on point 1a and just as you said, once I changed the setting my numbers soared. More helpful tidbits are always appreciated 🙂

    Like

    • I follow myself so I can see if I get the email and end up in the reader. There have been times when I didn’t. I’m glad to help. There’s a lot more to come!
      Thanks so much, Steve. It’s that SOHK. I have the scars to prove it.

      Like

  9. Great post! It took me a bit to find the correct Settings under Sharing (never noticed how many options can be set! more to explore), but when I did…it was mine, all mine!! Thanks again and you have a new devoted follower!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Your “No apologies” tip is terrific and spot on. I just click off — or don’t click on to begin with. Because haven’t been holding my breath waiting for ANYBODY to post! Your title is a great tip too. I’ll add, if you’re reposting something, give it a new intro. Otherwise, it’ “move along. nothing to see here”!

    strangely, my settings won’t allow me to change the access. I don’t have a Settings/Reading tab. Writing and discussion only. But I will keep looking. Or maybe I get summaries only anyway (I don’t even know).

    Thanks, as always …

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I’m with you on the ‘someone apologising for not being around’ … checked my ‘summary’ thing and it was already on. I must’ve done it when I set up my blog, when all that stuff was fresh in my brain! 😀

    Like

    • That is so excellent! It took me a while.
      Yep. When I get into a groove and feel I have to post Monday, Wednesday, Friday because I’m told readers get in the habit of seeing regular posts I think that isn’t true either. Who pays attention that closely? Or maybe they do…. My posting habits are all over the place. 🙂

      Like

  12. thank you for the tips – applied #1 – will see what happens. I will be writing later today and I have to apply tip #2 or rather 1b. Hope all is well in your world – will be rooting for the Broncos this afternoon, too bad about the Packers. It was a good game. Take care and enjoy the week ahead.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Clay!
      Sorry I missed your comment! It’s been another wild week.
      Glad you were able to use the tips. Let me know if you have an increase in views.
      Bummer about the Packers. What a game!

      Like

  13. I was happy to hear that someone else thinks it’s lame to start a post with “I’m sorry I haven’t been around for awhile…” Even though I have been tempted I don’t think I have succumbed to that level of arrogance that the blogging world has all been sitting around waiting with bated breath for my pearls to drop into their feed.
    You know what is weird? I love writing too but seem to spend more time thinking about it than doing it. 😦
    Great post, I shall waited with bated breath for the next one so don’t go all procrastinating on me.

    Like

    • Thanks!
      I actually am addicted to blogging, but think too much about my books sometimes. I finally decided to jump in with both once again. Once I get rolling, it’s much easier.
      I don’t take blogging as seriously. I still don’t want to waste readers time and probably spend too much of it editing. The endorphin rush of seeing how it does and the comments, keep me motivated!

      Like

  14. You had me until here:

    Scroll down to “For each article in a feed, show.” Click on “Summary.” Unless we change it from “Full text,” anyone can read our entire post in email or the reader.

    I couldn’t find the “For each aritcle . . . ” place to click. I use WordPress, but I never found any tab with those words.

    Anyhoo, thanks for the tips. I look forward to getting more.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Yes, I knew about the “full summary” vs tidbit view. I remember reading a scathing post by someone knocking those bloggers who chose the tidbit view because it was so clear that they were looking for clicks to their blog. At first, I felt guilty, like I’d been doing something wrong. But let’s face it — who among us is blogging and not expecting or wanting clicks to our blogs or wanting our other posts read? Isn’t that one of the reasons we’re blogging, I ask you!?

    Great post.

    Like

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  18. I wish I could have had a teacher like you back in my school days – practical and with a great sense of humor!!!
    Just a couple of clarifications – right now I just hit ‘publish’ when I’m done editing and the 1st 55 words under the title is automatically the 1st 55 words of my post anyway. When you say “Pick a gem from the content of ……” are you suggesting the 1st 55 words be just a summary and different from the actual start of my post, and then…..my actual post begins after that? I’m muddling myself up!!! :/ but I hope you get what my doubt is!!

    Like

    • Wow! Thank you, Radhika!
      I mean when you’re writing your post be sure to make the first 55 words sing. The absolute worst and opposite is when bloggers start with, “I’m so sorry I haven’t blogged for a while. I have been on a vacation, blah blah blah. I could care less and worse, probably didn’t notice. *Yawn* I NEVER click.
      Pick out something juicy from your article to hook the reader into reading more. It can take a while to come up with something, but it’s always worth it.

      Like

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