First Impressions

Every time I open a new post, I re-write the first sentence at least five times, delete it, and finally come back to it. What’s the big idea? The introductory sentence in a blog post is arguably the most important. Its sole purpose is to lead visitors into reading the rest of your post with its succinct and captivating tone.

When writing the introduction to your post, keep in mind that this is your post’s first impression. What can you do to make your post lead, or lede for the journalists in the crowd, stand out?

    • Keep it simple. An ideal lead is about 35 to 40 words long and only a sentence or two. If you write too long of a lead, you may lose some of your readers. Instead, you want to grab their attention as quickly as possible.
    • Be creative. My favorite leads often pull from other resources, such as music or pop culture. If you’re writing an opinion piece about something on the news, can you tie in an individual narrative or a surprising fact? For humorous posts, what about a funny pun or pop cultural reference?
    • Stay active. Using strong verbs and straightforward writing in your lead is more enticing than a sentence chock full of fluff. The details of your tale can always be added later, but you want to make sure you have your reader’s attention before diving into them.

For bloggers, we sometimes use images to introduce our stories as well. Photos can be a great tool for pulling in readers when used as an enhancement for your post. Writing a post about your recent road trip? Starting off with a picture of a stunning vista or that wacky roadside attraction can pack just as strong of a punch as a clever, word-based lead.

First impressions only happen once, so if you’re unsure of how to start your post don’t be afraid to write out of order. After you’ve written out your entire post, go back to the beginning of the story to add your lead. Sometimes, you won’t know how to begin your blog post until it’s already been written. This can also help you to organize your thoughts as you summarize the main points of your writing and what you specifically want to convey in your first attention-grabbing line.

Do you have any tips for grabbing a reader’s attention? Do you prefer to let photos pull your readers in or your writing?

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  1. I think your post can be generalized to all kinds of writing, blog post, short story, novel, what have you. If you don’t grab your reader right away, they won’t read on.


  2. This post was very informative for me because I am not good at writing. I use photos to convey my meaning but will from now on work on my introductory sentences. Thank you.



  3. Interesting post. If flawed.

    I wondered why I didn’t get a response to my offer to write posts for WP. I even suggested intros as a topic.

    That was a few weeks ago.

    This post is below the belt.

    I never got an acknowledgement, let alone a reply.

    Rude, downright rude.

    Meanwhile, you want people to volunteer to write for you?

    Great. But not me.


    1. I’m sorry for the delay! We are working through emails that have been sent in through the contact forms. (I’ll be sure to keep an eye out for yours today.)


  4. Thank you for pointing out the importance of good introductory sentences!

    I write each post as if it’s my first, because that’s EXACTLY what it is to the casual blogreader. Random visitors are the ones to which I gear my introductions: These are the peop I want to feel welcome; these are the sort i hope will return! πŸ™‚

    There’s nothing worse than arriving to the party and feeling like the clique wished you’d stayed home! A good introduction assures your readers won’t feel that way!


  5. I like to start my story at the middle or end, then go back and tell the rest. This works best for anecdotes, like my horrible trip to ER or vacation. Thanks for the tips Erica.


  6. Exaggerate! Provoke!
    Don’t assume, everyone will understand the beautiful feeling if you post about a field of grass and flowers since a lot of viewers might not have seen one in years. That’s why, explain it in simple terms. Be friendly, joyous about your words/pictures/videos … if not you, why should the reader be? Write the introduction in simple words since the majority of your readers might not speak english (or your language) as first language


      1. and you did quite nicely! This is another item, which nobody of us should underestimate. You want to be read? Read! Enjoy the work of others and do it wholeheartedly. Write comments which exceed ‘nice post!’. Put a bit of yourself into it and the chance is quite high, you have made contact with another fellow blogger. How else would I have noticed the wonderful blog called SmallHouseBigGarden πŸ™‚ Why would you want to do it? Well, there always is the inspiration you could get. For Photographs, for Literature. for any kind of hints for your everyday life. Also, if you are in it because of the visits, this is a helpful way to bring your blog into the public


  7. Great advice. I prefer to use visuals to support my text, unless I’m showing, so to speak, some of the beauty of the area in which I live. When I accepted my double sunshine awards, I got very creative with it and started with a 30 second video of a Jeopardy intro. It was tons of fun!


  8. Great advice. I’ve been an essay writer for years and recently started blogging.
    I always write my essay first, then look for a photo to go with it. That’s one thing I like about reading blogs–the photos.


  9. The more I write The more I find myself rereading and rearranging my paragraphs. Once the core idea is in front of me it sometimes needs reorganizing and editing. Also the more posts I write the more I want to write. I am beginning to think that blogging is addictive!


  10. You succeeded at what you talked about here. I was drawn in immediately. Great tips. I like pictures because I feel like people are very busy so, if something doesn’t capture them immediately, they may not even take the time to read the first sentence. But, maybe that’s because I’m like that. I’m a more visual person, so I guess I post towards that. Thanks for such a great post. πŸ˜€


    1. Thanks! I think that’s one of the best parts of blogging – having the freedom to choose which works better for you, whether it’s photos, audio, or text πŸ™‚


  11. You are so right. Introductory sentence holds a reader’s attention. I usually write the whole post at one go and then go back to re-arrange the sentences and paragraphs. Picture say lot more than words and often are the main draw for the readers. Well done. Good advice for one and all. Thank you.


  12. Two words: Seth Godin

    His short, punchy posts grab my attention right away. I subscribe to his daily blog not only for the content, but to soak in his captivating writing style. Love it!!


  13. Couldn’t agree more. A great intro is essential. A photo really adds juice. And I’m finding, more so with blogging than with, say, magazine articles, a great title will do wonders. I think that’s why my post, Travels in Turkey: Where to Park Your Camel, attracted readers. I will now be watching my title and intro even more carefully, because, after all, writers want to be read. Right?


    1. I agree. The first sentence “Every time I open a new post” catches one’s attention immediately. It has a suggestion of an intrigue and wants you to read further. It is a question to oneself as well as to the reader! Well done indeed Erica.


  14. I guess I haven’t really been paying much attention to my opening remarks…this gives me new ideas on how to approach them…and I like the idea of writing the rest of the blog first, then coming back to do the opening. I generally try to use photos and/or video because I know how powerful they can be, but I hadn’t thought about their importance as part of the opening “initial attention getter”. I’ll now keep in mind these aspects of writing in future blogs.
    Thanks for the suggestions!