I can't stress enough the importance of good blog introductions.
Get your introduction wrong and you'll lose readers and SEO ranking.
What? Blog introductions impact search engine rankings?
Think about it.
If you visit a webpage, read the introduction and then immediately click back to the search results, this is a very bad user signal.
Google have specifically said that user experience is a signal in their search algorithm.
A page that has a high bounce rate relative to other ranking pages is a bad signal and is not going to perform well in the search results.
In this article I'll show you how to write amazing blog introductions.
I'll also show you a real example of the 3 most common blog introduction mistakes.
Let's jump in!
5 Key Ingredients For Good Blog Introductions
1. Search Intent
Search intent, or user intent, is simply what the user is expecting to find when running a search.
Often search intent is easy to work out. For example, the search phrase: "how to tie my shoelaces" needs no explanation.
Sometimes search intent is ambiguous. What's the search intent of "chocolate", "time", "freedom"?
Thankfully, blog articles usually have clear search intent, so working it out is not difficult.
Good blog introductions pay very close attention to search intent. They use important signposts to let visitors know they are on the right page.
The three most important signposts are:
- The blog title
- The featured image
- The first few sentences
Make sure to clearly reinforce the search intent in these three areas and you've won half the battle.
Bad blog introduction formatting can lose readers before they even get into the meat of an article.
No one wants to be hit with a dense body of text in the introduction.
We know from research that most people just scan when reading online.
So use this to your advantage.
Format your blog introduction so that it is easy to scan.
Use bold, italics and underline to highlight key points.
Break paragraphs up and use short sentences.
Most people are reading on their phone, so don't write for desktop. Write for mobile.
That means no more than 1-3 sentences per paragraph, and ideally less than 20 words per sentence.
3. Tone Of Voice
Tone of voice varies by publication so a one-size fits all tone-of-voice is not the right answer.
However, tone-of-voice should match the expectations of the reader, and foster trust and credibility.
Why should someone listen to you?
For example, if you're reading WebMD you're not expecting the author to be cracking jokes about diabetes.
At Contentellect we're trying to reach entrepreneurs and business owners. We know they are time-sensitive and want quick and easy answers to their marketing questions.
They want an expert to fix it for them.
They probably also have a good sense of humour and don't take themselves too seriously.
That's why our tone-of-voice is authoritative, but also personable and fun.
Think carefully about your brand's tone-of-voice and how you can bring that to life in your blog introductions.
Long introductions are boring and you risk losing the reader early on.
Try to keep your blog introductions as brief as possible. 2-4 paragraphs with 75-120 words is more than sufficient.
Avoid preamble, fluff and filler.
Just get straight into the topic at hand.
Only include words that are useful to the reader.
By doing this you avoid wasting the reader's time and improve engagement.
Building intrigue is important to keep the reader engaged.
Intrigue can be difficult to implement in a blog introduction.
The easiest trick to cultivate intrigue is to tell the reader what they are going to get or learn from your blog post.
This can be done in a boring way or you can use this method:
- Summarise: In this article I'll show you the exact 4-steps to follow to achieve xyz...
- Be mysterious: ... and a BONUS step that most people never use.
- Finish with a double-whammy: I'll also uncover the 3 steps to avoid at all costs.
Don't worry, you don't have to use all 3 elements.
Just using the summarise step is often good enough.
The point is to give the visitor a reason to read on.
Notice how I do this in this article.
3 Common Blog Introduction Mistakes (A Case Study)
Now that you know what key ingredients go into a good blog introduction, have a look at this introduction on the best accounting software.
Watch my video walk-through as I show you the three most common blog introduction mistakes.
Here are three reasons why the above blog introduction sucks.
1. Too Much Filler
This introduction is full of filler content (not helpful, not relevant content).
This is a very common problem with content writing agencies (not ours obviously!) – where writers are trying to achieve a word count target.
The consequence is they end up writing a large amount of filler content.
Filler content is bad, but filler content in an blog introduction is heinous.
2. Not Credible
The tone of voice in this introduction is problematic as it fails to build credibility with its target - in this case small business owners.
We can tell from the way that this introduction is written that the person writing it is clearly not a business owner.
So why should we listen let alone trust their opinion?
3. Poor Formatting
The final issue is poor formatting.
The paragraphs are way too dense and the sentences too long.
I can't scan to see if this article is right for me, and therefore I'm bouncing.
Improving This Blog Introduction
How would you improve this introduction?
Simple, like this...