It’s part of the blogging fun.
Whenever I visit a blog for the first time, I look for the answers to the following four questions.
If a blog makes me search and search for one of these answers, I’m less likely to return.
I think the same is true for most potential blog readers.
1. What Is This Blog About?
Your reader shouldn’t need to read an entire post to determine your blog’s theme.
The title of your blog should indicate the kind of topics you write about.
Many bloggers, including myself, use our name for our blog’s title and domain. If so, then the subtitle should clarify the kind of topics you write about.
My subtitle is actually my life verse. Readers can reasonably infer the two topics I write about: faith and writing. If this is too indirect, then I explicitly state my blog’s purpose in the brief bio section at the top of my sidebar.
Here are some great examples of blog titles that give a first-time reader a clear indication of the blog’s theme:
2. Who Is the Writer Behind These Words?
However, you should briefly introduce yourself on the main page too. Then invite your readers to learn more about you by providing a link to your About page. Here is where you could also provide a way for your reader to contact you.
When I first started blogging, I loathed the idea of putting a picture of myself on my blog, much less any information about me. I wanted my blog to be about the writing, not about me.
It dawned on me, though, that when words are divorced from the context of the writer, they are nothing more than mere words. A person and a person’s words are inseparable. How can I expect a reader to take my words to heart if I’m not willing to put a face to mine?
When writing your introduction, make it brief! Save the extra details for your About page. And, yes, include a picture.
Here are some great examples of brief introductions:
3. Why Should I Come Back?
This is the most important question every first-time reader asks.
Naturally, the content of your writing is what makes a reader come back. Developing good content takes work. And lots of practice. So don’t become discouraged if you feel as though you haven’t yet “found your stride.”
All writers constantly seek to improve their skills.
Read books on the craft of writing.
And read books for pleasure.
Reading and writing are a reciprocal process. One always helps the other.
My favorite part of blogging is discovering fantastic writers. Here are some of my favorite blogs to read because the content is consistently great:
4. How Do I Connect for Future Contact?
If you want your readers to come back, then you need to invite them to join you on your writing journey. Make subscribing to your blog easy.
Also, include a Contact Page or make an e-mail address available. While most bloggers don’t give out a personal e-mail address, you can create a free g-mail account and designate that account as your public e-mail address.
If your readers can’t contact you, then you give the impression that you don’t want to be bothered by your readers.
For further connection, invite your readers to connect with you through Twitter or Facebook. Of course, there are so many possible connections through social media. It can be overwhelming. Choose which ones work for you.
All of your contact information should be easy to locate, either at the top of your main page or in your sidebar. Your readers shouldn’t have to click around to find a way to connect with you.
* * * * *
I’ve been blogging for over three years, and I’ve probably broken every “blogging rule” there is. But blogging isn’t about rules, per se, it’s about connecting with people through our written words.
Blogging is a journey. Just as writing is a journey. We never completely “arrive.” We’re constantly refining and improving.
These four questions are simply a starting place for every blog’s main page. If we want our first-time readers to return, then we need to give them the four answers they’re looking for.
Does your blog answer these four questions on the main page?
Does Your Blog’s Main Page Answer These Four Questions? http://denisejhughes.com/?p=3756
Photo Credit: MAClarke21 (Creative Commons)