Improving Your Blog: Helpful Tips and Reminders From an Award-Winning Blogger

Written by Guest Blogger Margaret Andrews


Congratulations to contest winner Murr Brewester.



Margaret AndrewsI would like to welcome Margaret Andrews, author of the award-winning humor blog Nanny Goats in Panties which has to be the funniest blog I’ve ever read. Margaret is going to share some great blogging tips today.


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Hi Kids!

I would like to thank the lovely and talented Cindy for giving me this opportunity to flap my gums with you all about how to write an engaging blog post.

The single most important thing you must do to attract brand new readers to your blog is to make them read the second sentence. They’ll read the first one. But will they read the third and then the fourth and then the fifth? Your regular readers will tell you your blog is great, but if it’s the first time visitor you want to impress, you’ll need a good hook.


Here are three tips to hook your readers from the beginning:

1. Start With a Question
Questions beget answers, also known as comments. Start with a question that provokes your reader to answer. It will draw them right in to your subject. Try to be specific. If you say “Don’t you hate stupid people?” that doesn’t really put a picture into a reader’s head and therefore doesn’t really grab him or her.

On the other hand, “Have you ever been bitten by an Australian vampire?” will have a better chance of arousing one’s interest, especially if one has indeed been bitten by a vampire from the southern hemisphere.

2. Be Concise
Don’t be too wordy, especially at the beginning. Extra words slow down the piece and ask for extra patience from your reader. If you omit extraneous and unnecessary and additional and superfluous words, the piece will clip along at a quick pace. Your reader will hang on for dear life and stick around because now it’s a fun ride and a fast read.

3. Appeal to the Senses
Appealing to the any or all of the five senses (see, hear, touch, smell, taste) firmly entrenches your idea into the reader’s mind. Authors already know that this is crucial to an engaging story and the same goes for a blog post.

Look at the very first sentence or two of your blog post. Does it contain sensory appeal by being very specific? Or does it contain summarizing group-like terms? Try to get to one specific detail as soon as you can. The sooner you can tell us about a specific woman’s long tan legs while waiting in line to get her book signed, or about that hot dog you had for lunch that was so spicy it bit your tongue and screamed all the way down, or how you crunched through the gravel of the parking lot as your biggest fan accosted you, the sooner you capture your reader’s undivided attention. Let your blog post leap off the page. Er, screen.

Keep It Going!

And that’s just the beginning of your blog post. You want to keep your readers engaged throughout it by providing details that stick with them well after they’ve gone. Make it stick past the click! Hey, that sounds like my next mantra. I’d better write that down before I forget it!

Now I’d like to know the best blog tip you’ve ever received. Leave a comment by midnight February 28 and you can win a $10 Amazon gift card.


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Sticky Readers by Margaret AndrewsMargaret Andrews is the author of the award-winning humor blog Nanny Goats in Panties and of the book Sticky Readers: How to Attract a Loyal Blog Audience by Writing More Better, available in paperback and ebook.


Margaret’s Blog: Nanny Goats in Panties
Margaret’s Book: Sticky Readers

Comments

  1. Jacqueline Seewald says:

    I’m bookmarking this blog. I see a lot of suggestions for improving my own blogging. So thank you. I look forward to reading your blog. I love humor!

  2. Thanks for the tips!

  3. Great advice! I’ll steal from it (but credit you)

  4. Thank you Margaret for the great tips and thank you Cindy for hosting Margaret on your site!

  5. Margaret, great advice. Thanks for sharing.

  6. learned and got a chuckle! a win-win for sure. Let’s see, best blog tip I’ve ever gotten. Hmmm…pay it forward. Link to good blogs at the end of yours. I’ve started collecting fun and helpful blogs to do a roundup with at the end of the week. This definitely makes my list. :-)

    • Thank you for saying that, Pauline. My whole goal is to educate AND entertain.

      I like your blog tip of paying it forward. It’s a generous and wonderful thing to do, and comes back tenfold.

  7. Thanks for the tips. I agree – keeping it concise will ensure the reader stays with the blog all the way through simply because I lose interest if it’s too long or too wordy and start scanning. Best advice I’ve received: be respectful.

  8. Margaret, you have a wonderful sense of humor. Thanks for your interview on blogs — very helpful.

    • And thank you, Betty, for appreciating my sense of humor. I appreciate that you appreciate it. Some people are just left with a bunch of question marks over their head because they aren’t catching on.

  9. I read Nanny Goats in Panties all the time. It is one of my favorite blogsites. When I saw two of my favorite people, Margaret and Cindy, combined together for a day at the blogs, I had to check in. Thanks for the wonderful tips. On another note: My Egyptian Mau cat, who says she is directly related to Queen Cleo-pat-etra, was once bit on the asp, but not by a vampire. She wants to know if that counts. I don’t think it does.

    • Well, thank you for making my day, Heather Haven. You make me feel all warm and fuzzy like.

      And ain’t Cindy the greatest?

      Re your Egyptian Mau cat: while being bitten on the asp is far different than being bit by a vampire, I still think it would make an engaging introductory sentence to your blog post.

  10. Loved your book on blogging. I keep those tips handy every time I write. I think I have the hardest time with the passive…. :( Thank you for your book and your reminders in the blog!

    • Hi Barb! I’m so glad to hear that you liked Sticky Readers! Keep your eyes peeled for a sort of ongoing blogging tip thing that I’ll be launching soon on the Sticky Readers website. I’m going for a sort of extension of the book there.

  11. Thanks for the tips! I’ll definitely be checking out Nanny Goats in Panties on a regular basis (makes me smile just to type the name–talk about a visual!)

  12. Great post! I’ll definitely be checking out Nanny Goats in Panties on a regular basis (makes me smile just to type the name–talk about a visual!)

  13. My favorite tip is to read and comment on blogs outside your niche. I can really get stuck in a crunchy-blogger rut if I’m not careful!

  14. I’ve been reading Nanny Goats… for three years and Margaret absolutely practices what she preaches here and it works! I’ve read her book twice now and I’ll probably read it again. Sometimes, when I’m just stuck I’ll flip it open randomly to get my brain grooving again. Good job here, Margaret.

  15. Best blog tip I ever got was to delete it! ha not even close to funny. Anywho I was advised once to use a photo in every blog post, because if my blog post makes them sick maybe a photo of a cute little bunny will help them recover. I need new friends.

    Great post. You can never get enough blog tips :)

    • Hi David!

      Now, your blog sounds scary! Does every blog post need a cute little bunny for everyone to recover? Or just the odd one or two? Sounds like you need one of those “content warnings” in advance of potentially hurl-worthy posts, with an added option to look at a cute bunny photo offered as an alternative in case they don’t have the stomach for it. :)

      • I had a warning but PETA asked me to take the bunny down, apparently they had an issue with a bunny being pictured with so much trash. Now its just a read at our own risk thing. So far, to my knowledge noone has died from my blog….yet

  16. Hi David!

    Now, your blog sounds scary! Does every blog post need a cute little bunny for everyone to recover? Or just the odd one or two? Sounds like you need one of those “content warnings” in advance of potentially hurl-worthy posts, with an added option to look at a cute bunny photo offered as an alternative in case they don’t have the stomach for it. :)

  17. But I write a humor blog. Does it have to be funny, too?

  18. Best advice–don’t start a blog if you don’t plan to keep it up. I’ve followed that advice! Good tips! I do guest blog.

    • I know so many people who have started and just quit. I think they had certain expectations for quick return on time invested, or they just like the “idea” of being a blogger and didn’t think ahead.

      Good advice, Linda!

  19. I’m not sure what the best tip I’ve received would be, as I haven’t read Sticky Readers yet. But if I win the gift card, I can buy the book for my Kindle Fire and then read the whole thing instead of just the teaser part where it says “click to look inside.”

    Actually the only direct advice I’ve received was before I started blogging, when I had a personal website on Geocities. Some guy from my town who was living elsewhere emailed me to say what a waste of space my website was and how I shouldn’t waste people’s time with it. My response was, if he didn’t like it, he was welcome to move on. I wonder how he would like my blog now, with even more personal stuff …

    Anyway, thanks for the tips. I’ll bookmark this and come back, and eventually I’ll have my own copy of Sticky Readers even if I don’t’ win the gift card.

    • Oh, Carol. It sounds like you had an early troll. If anybody ever says that to you again, just tell them to go back under the bridge where they came from. I’m glad you kept it up in spite of him. What a jerk.

  20. Oh, Carol. It sounds like you had an early troll. If anybody ever says that to you again, just tell them to go back under the bridge where they came from. I’m glad you kept it up in spite of him. What a jerk.

  21. Margaret,
    I like your post “more better” than many I’ve read lately. I’ve somehow gravitated toward posting book, film and event reviews of the passing scene. Bob Baker, author of 55 Ways to Promote and Sell Your Book on the Internet, has given me the best blog and internet marketing tip I’ve received lately: Don’t be overwhelmed by the number of new possibilities; just tackle these new tasks one at a time. This advice emboldened me to launch my new Facebook author page: www;facebook.com/AuthorPeterGreen

  22. Margaret, I love the title of your blog. My nick name is Nanny Goat, maybe that’s why. Plus I wear panties, too.

    For me, a blog has to be funny. I like to laugh. Thanks for the post!

  23. Thanks so much for a fun as well as informative blog post, Margaret. It looks like you have many new fans. Thanks to everyone who commented and congratulations to Murr Brewster, the winner of the $10 Amazon gift card.

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