How to Hook a Reader

six goldfish circling a fishing hook

If readers never come back to your blog, all your promotional efforts have been in vain. Not only must a blogger entice readers to venture into individual blog posts, but to return again and again. This is accomplished by hooking the reader.

We recently had a post on how to write a good blog post lead, but today we’re going to discuss how to hook the casual passerby into a regular reader.

How to get readers to return to your blog:

  • Be Attractive — You wouldn’t go on a first date or “meet the parents” or attend any other important event without dressing to the occasion. Make sure your blog makes a great first impression, too. A catchy domain name, appealing design, easy navigation, and other elements will help those who are channel surfing the web stop and take notice. (Read “Is Your Blog Easy on the Eyes?“) Include eye-catching images in your posts.
  • Intrigue — Include a bit of drama in your posts. Make quirky connections by brainstorming juxtapositions. Use short sentences and powerful words in your writing. Go beyond reader expectations. Pose questions in your reader’s mind with your headlines. (Read “Headlines that Make You Go Hmm . . .“) Use a unique voice in your writing. Use specific words and avoid generalities. Write about interesting situations or provide an opposing opinion to conventional wisdom.
  • Inform — Providing useful information is one of the best ways to attract new readers, but going a step further by being unique in your teaching approach is a great way to hook a reader. Be the first to report about a new technique or concept within your niche. Bring a fresh angle to a common topic.
  • Entertain — Be interesting, different, controversial, humorous, shocking, emotional, dramatic. Set yourself apart from the countless other bloggers out there.
  • Engage — An active community provides “social proof” to blog browsers. If I click the Stumble button on my browser toolbar and the first thing I notice is a post has received 47 tweets, I’m more likely to read the first sentence and see what the blogger has to say.
  • Be Yourself — In polls conducted of regular blog readers, one of the top answers is that they like the blogger. Being yourself includes using your unique voice on the screen, getting personal when appropriate, letting the readers identify with you, branding yourself as an authority in your niche, and interacting with readers through comment areas, forums, and even email.

What methods have you used to retain first-time visitors? Share your experiences in the comments area.

Until next time,

Happy blogging!

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