7 Methods You Can Use To Make Visitors Want To Read Your Blog Posts

Have you ever spent hours researching and writing a blog post for it to then get very few (if any) reads or comments?

Disheartening, isn’t it?

Have you ever been deflated when all your hard work and time put into writing a post ends up giving back little if any reward?

Heartbreaking, isn’t it?

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Struggling to get your blog posts read?

Over the years I’ve been blogging, I’ve used seven methods that have not only helped me get my blog posts noticed but have helped get readers to leave comments and follow my blog.

Try them out and see if they work for you.

1. Blog Post Titles

I can’t express enough how important the titles of blog posts are. They are like the shop window to your blog.

The title of your blog post can make or break whether it gets any attention. It’s the most critical element in whether somebody will read your post or move on to another blog.

I’ll be honest and tell you that in the past, I’ve given some of my blog posts terrible titles. No wonder they weren’t getting any attention, or any new visitors leaving comments on them. All they did was make my blog posts flop.

If the title isn’t eye-catching or enticing enough to get visitors to click on the ‘read more’ link, then you’ll be losing hundreds of potential new readers and followers.

But first things first! Always ensure your blog post has a title before hitting the ‘publish’ button.

That may seem like common sense, but I often see blog posts without a title, resulting in WordPress giving the post a random number as the title. It not only looks strange, but it looks unprofessional.

Of course, it’s easily fixed, but too many blog posts without titles can put readers off from reading any new material from you.

At the very least, you should be previewing all your posts before publishing them, so make sure the preview shows a blog post title.

If you’re stuck for a good blog post title, ask yourself what title would make you want to click the link to read the post. It can sometimes be as simple as that.

Once you have your title, try inserting it into a headline analyser and see what score it gets. The higher the score, the more likely your blog post title will attract search engines and readers. I use CoSchedule for this. Click here to try it out for free.

And finally, do not use blog post titles you or other bloggers have used before. Why? Because search engines rank blogs that use duplicated titles lower than those with original titles.

2. Add An Excerpt To Your Post

For those followers who get an email notification of your new blog posts, adding a captivating excerpt can also entice readers to then click through to read the post.

If you don’t add your own excerpt, WordPress will use the first 55 words from your blog post as the excerpt. This can often make the post sound confusing, or give no incentive for readers to want to click the ‘read more’ link, especially if the excerpt cuts off midway in a sentence.

Where possible, I always ask a question when writing an excerpt. For this post, I’ve used –

Having trouble getting visitors to your blog or to read and leave comments on your posts? Here are 7 methods I use that have resulted in thousands of readers reading my posts and leaving comments.

The more you make an excerpt intriguing, the more readers your post will get.

The excerpt box can be found under ‘Featured Image‘ in the settings menu that appears on the righthand-side of your screen when composing a post.

Screenshot highlighting where to find the 'Excerpt' box on a WordPress blog
Creating enticing excerpts for your blog posts will make visitors want to read your posts.

3. Opening Line/Paragraph

Just as the excerpt to your post should be enticing, so should the opening line or paragraph. If your opening line or paragraph is not engaging and appealing, then readers are more likely to move on or skip over the post without leaving a comment.

I often begin my blog posts by asking a question. If you ask a question that poses a problem, readers will want to find out more because you’ll likely be helping solve the problem. Your post then has a greater chance of getting read.

Again, ask yourself what opening line or paragraph would make you want to read more and comment on the post you’ve written.

4. Images

Like many others, I believe that blog posts that include photos and images look far more inviting to read.

Did you know that blog posts containing images are over 70% more likely to get clicked on and read than those that do not include any images?

Adding images or photos help break the post up and creates white space, which all help to make the reading experience more comfortable.

However, be careful when adding any images or photos. Large images can slow down the speed at which your blog post opens. If your blog takes too long to open, many readers will move on rather than wait for everything to download.

Always reduce the size of any images or photos before adding them to your media library.

I use an iMac and am able to reduce photo and image sizes by clicking on ‘Tools – Adjust Size’ on the toolbar of my computer.

5. Be Kind To The Eyes

You may have a brilliant blog post title and great excerpt to entice readers, but if the body of the post isn’t kind to your readers’ eyes, or not attractive to look at, many will move on quickly.

A few things to consider about the body of your posts –

  • Is the font the right size so that your readers do not have to squint or enlarge the page to read it?
  • Can the font be seen clearly? Black font on a white background is the safest combination to use.
  • Is the background colour of your blog gentle on the eyes?
  • Are paragraphs too long, thus making them blocky. Keep paragraphs to no more than four sentences long. This helps creates white space on the post.
  • Is the spacing between each paragraph correct?
  • Does any of the text run into any of the images you’ve inserted on the post, resulting in paragraphs breaking up in the wrong place?
  • Have you lined up images correctly, so they are in line with the correct text?
  • Is there anything in the post or on the page (such as a gif) that can distract from reading the post? If so, consider removing it.

As I mentioned in the above points, I’ve found that a good rule to apply to a paragraph is to never have more than four sentences in it. This helps break up a post nicely and makes reading it a comfortable and pleasant experience.

Finally (and this is something you should always be doing), always preview your post before publishing it so you can correct any issues.

6. Add Sub-Headings

Inserting sub-headings, especially in long posts, break up a post nicely, giving readers a more enjoyable and comfortable read. They’ll be more likely to keep coming back if they’ve found reading your posts a pleasant experience.

As you’ll see from this post, I’ve changed the colour and the size of the font to the sub-headings I’ve added. This helps make the post look inviting and friendly to read.

7. When To Publish Your Posts

As you publish more and more posts and visit more and more blogs, you should get an idea of when are the best days and best times to publish your blog posts.

For example, if most of your readers are based in the U.S.A (and you’re based in the UK) the best time to publish your posts is between 12:00 and 17:00 GMT. Why? Because the mornings are peak-reading times for many.

Remember that your posts will appear on the WordPress Reader of the bloggers who follow you, but will slowly disappear as more and more posts drop onto the reader.

I’ve read many articles about when is the best time to publish blog posts, and most of them claim the best publishing day and time is Monday at 11 am EST. However, until you know where most of your audience is, this will differ.

Let’s Recap

  • Blog post titles are the shop window to your blog. They can make or break your blog.
  • Make the titles of your blog posts enticing enough to make visitors want to click the ‘read more’ link.
  • When creating a blog post title, ask yourself what title would make you want to click the ‘read more’ link.
  • Never use duplicate blog post titles. Search engines rank blogs and posts with duplicate titles lower than those with original titles.
  • Adding your own excerpts to your blog posts are far better than allowing WordPress to use the first 55 words of your post as the excerpt.
  • Hook readers by making the opening lines of your blog posts enticing to make them want to find out more.
  • Blog posts that contain images or photos are 70% more likely to get read than those that do not contain any images or photos.
  • Reduce the size of images and photos before adding them to a post. This will help your post download more quickly.
  • Make sure your blog posts are kind to the eyes. Avoid glary colours, tiny font, and combinations of colours that make the font hard to read.
  • Use no more than four sentences in each paragraph, as this helps breaks up blocks of text that can look intimidating to read.
  • Use sub-headings in long posts to help break the post up.
  • Find out where the majority of your followers are located, and schedule posts to publish during the morning in the timezone they are in. Mornings are peak-viewing times.

What do you do to entice readers to read and leave comments on your blog? Please share your tips in the comments section.

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59 thoughts on “7 Methods You Can Use To Make Visitors Want To Read Your Blog Posts

  1. A very practical and insightful post on enticing readers to read your blog posts, Hugh. As someone who has blogged for a while, your points resonated with me. The one that stood out to me was the excerpt part. I don’t really use it but it sounds like something I might try, now that you’ve explained its potential. It seems like a good way to sum up your post or ask a question and sum up what your blog post is about.

    When I blog, I like to pose a problem at the beginning, and really like your idea of asking a question to address the problem or put it out there so to speak. Not only does it encourage your readers to think, it’s a way to focus your blog post too. I also like having no more than four sentences in a paragraph for the same reason. I also make sure the first sentence of my paragraph is a topic sentence that encompasses the main idea of the paragraph – and make sure I have one idea per paragraph to make it easy for readers to take in.

    1. Yes, I’d recommend using the excerpt, Mable. You can add your own excerpt for each post, making it even more enticing for readers to click the ‘read more’ link. I’m surprised by how many bloggers do not make use of it. It’s easy to use, and the more you use it, the better you get at what words to use.

      Seeing big blocks of text in a post is very offputting. I think many bloggers just cut and paste. If they took the time to split up each paragraph, it would go a long way in making the post a far more comfortable read.

      And blog posts that ask questions (or pose a problem) at the beginning also get more of my attention, although I do need to be enticed by the post’s title first.

      1. I’ll have a look at excerpts for future blog posts. You really gave me something to think about, Hugh. I also think asking a question at the beginning of a post usually applies to non-fiction posts, but they can also work for fiction posts too. And this technique I think I’ll also apply to writing my book and future writings. Once again, thanks for sharing 🙂

  2. Thanks for the words, before now I didn’t pay much attention to excerpts.. All the points you’ve made are very wonderful, things you wouldn’t even think mattered

  3. Like AP2 I’ll try and use excerpts in the future Hugh, so thanks for including this in your tips.

    1. Excerpts can be very powerful in getting more of your followers to read your posts, Wayne. When left to WordPress to use the first 55 words of your post, it can often have the opposite effect and make readers move on to the next post.

  4. These are great tips as always, Hugh. You have become quite a leader in the blogging world with your tips and your fiction especially. I am linking this post to your comment in this month’s Story Chat Summary. Thanks so much for inspiring and participating in Story Chat each month. And I understand congratulations are in order for celebrating 8 years with WP. Wahoo!

  5. Great post! Font size, color and contrast are so important from the accessibility standpoint. No matter how good your title and excerpt are, if the post is hard to read, they will leave.

      1. Me too. I don’t much like to read long text unless it is of real interest. I always learned to say the most important stuff first, but that comes from a corporate website perspective.

  6. Thanks Hugh for sharing, I’m pretty terrible with writing excerpts but will use the ‘ask a question’ approach for future posts.

    As well as getting the title right, I find the structure of the post makes a massive difference- I’ve clicked on a few recently read a paragraph and thought “this is all over, and not read further”

    Something I’ve been thinking about recently is the use of the header image. I’ve been studying what popular YouTubers do and trying to copy their formula.

    Thanks for sharing Hugh!

    1. Writing your own excerpts can help propel your posts, James. With WordPress only using the first 55 words of a blog post, if the user has not written an excerpt, they usually end up ending mid-sentence, which isn’t always a good look for readers.

      I don’t tend to use a header image because I was told that SEOs prefer text at the beginning of a post rather than an image. Since adopting that rule, I’ve found my posts have done much better with search engines. However, that could also be down to what keywords I’m using. I’d be interested in knowing what you find out after studying what YouTubers are doing.

  7. Another master piece helping the fellow bloggers Hugh.
    Thank you so much.
    Thanks for suggesting CoSchedule, intimidating though.
    Making the blogs friendly to the user eyes is an important suggestion sadly ignored by many.
    I come across too many dazzling colours with background design…what not!
    Extremely annoying.

    1. Thank you, and thanks for reading this post.

      CoSchedule is easy to use. You can put in as many blog posts titles as you like. The more you use it, the more you get to know what titles work and what titles do not work. Don’t worry about getting low scores because you can continuously improve on them. A blog post title with a score of 70 or over are the best ones to use, although I also try to improve the scores on them.

  8. These are great suggestions Hugh! I always ignored the excerpt part and post day and time. But now that’s in my mind whenever I want o publish.
    Thanks!

    1. I’m glad it has all helped.

      The excerpt box can be a very powerful tool. Given that you can introduce your post in your own words, it can propel it to hundreds of new readers. I’d recommend you give it a try.

  9. Many great suggestions, Hugh. As we’ve discussed before, we can’t possibly follow all those who follow us. At the same time, our blogs will get more traffic when we’re reading and commenting on others’ blogs. I try to do some of that each day, though we need to be selective, or that can become a bottomless pit of time.

    1. It can, Pete. It’s one of the biggest blogging traps out there. I read and comment on blogs as and when I can. I don’t force myself to do it. And I never feel guilty or apologise for not being able to read and comment on posts.

      1. Great philosophy. We’ve got enough things in life to feel guilty about—no need to add another one.

  10. All of the points you mentioned are important. It often takes me ages to find a good title. What you said about the publishing time makes a lot of sense. I will think about a different publishing time. Although, when there are many like me, then they are working on their blogs or reading posts in the evening after work.

    1. When it comes to blogging post titles, the best advice I can give is to think of titles that would make you want to find out more. Once you have one, play around with it because I usually find I can come up with an even better one.

      I used to publish most of my posts around midday (UK Time). Since moving them to 3pm (UK Time), I’ve picked up more new readers and followers. I think it’s always nice to see comments from new people because that tells me that I have new readers and that my blog is expanding. Of course, I also love getting comments from regular readers because if it were not for them, I’d have probably stopped blogging.

      1. You know, I am rather overthinking… lol
        I will try a different schedule time for the coming two weeks and see what happens. It makes absolute sense what you say, and it is definitely worth the try. The readers that have been following for years won’t leave, I am sure. So, thank you again for that hint, Hugh!

  11. Great advice, Hugh. I second and third your recommendation to avoid a ton of text without a line break. I will often just click out before reading the post. I didn’t know about the excerpt… I really like that idea!

    I have a question: as I am publishing more and more of my short stories, I struggle with titling my post. Often, the actual title of the story doesn’t necessarily make a good blog title. Do you have a suggestion?

    1. Thanks, Janis. I’m glad it all helps.

      Blog post titles for fiction can often be tricky. This is where writing a good excerpt comes into play. In the last piece of flash fiction I wrote (titled ‘The Other Side Of Change’, the excerpt I added read ‘Shanaya Simmons was looking for a change in her life, but was change ready for her?’ As you can see, I added a question that, I think, will make some readers want to find out the answer. It’s a little like making the title of a post a question – readers are intrigued about the answer(s).

      I hope that helps?

  12. More useful information. I gave the link to title analysis, it is interesting. Another tool I will use, the broken link site and the clean PNG site are very helpful.

  13. I so wish more bloggers would follow the guidance about breaking up paragraphs. Too often I see posts come through where this hasn’t been done and it makes it harder tor read the text. I often give up just because of that issue

  14. So much great things you go over, Hugh! I do OK with blog post titles, “Sunday Stills” itself goes a long way, then I try to make the rest of the title catchy. The problem is there are still some bloggers who will literally copy the exact title of mine for their Sunday Stills post. Oh well, guess whose will get seen first via SEO? For my fitness post once a month, I should use excerpts. I guess my high school newspaper publishing days are still with me as I am a stickler for layout, headings, image position, etc. And color! WP really gives us so many tools for making this easy. Thanks for all you do to help us bloggers! Always appreciated. I’m still wrestling with the comment piece and the Twitter feed, so it may be my theme. I appreciate your help with that and have saved your post to try this again tomorrow!

    1. There is only so much you can do to tell people not to title their post the same as your post, Terri. Something tells me they don’t read all the content in your posts because I know you mention not to use the same title every week. When checking out their post and leaving a comment, I’d mention it as a friendly reminder. I’m sure most would appreciate it.

      Excerpts can be so powerful, and I recommend everyone use them. Allowing WordPress to use the first 55 words of your post isn’t always a good idea, especially if there is an image amongst those 55 words. Readers would then see a line of code for the image, which won’t make any sense to them at all. And, of course, it doesn’t look good.

      Since the introduction of the Block Editor, WordPress has given users a lot of access to new tools to make our blog posts look more inviting to visitors. There are probably too many tools, so I tend to use only the ones I get the most use out of.

      Sorry those options we spoke about have not worked. I recall having a similar problem with a theme I was using where the Twitter image did not lineup correctly. When I talked to WordPress about it, they had to send details to the theme developer as there was a bug causing the problem. It was soon fixed. However, not all themes have the same options, so it may be something you’d have to change the theme for to get.

  15. Thanks for the excellent tips! I wasn’t aware of headline analyzers and am happy to see that Coschedule has a Chrome extension. I used to write excerpts but then got lazy. You’re right – they are a great way to get people interested in the post. I hope to step up my blogging game when I return in May. Your advice will surely help. Cheers!

    1. You’re welcome, Debbie.

      Yes, I should have mentioned that I use the Chrome extension of the Headline Analyzer. It’s a great tool.

      Excerpts can be very powerful, although it took me a while to know what to put in them. Adding your own except is far better than allowing WordPress to make one up for you. They usually get cut off mid-sentence, and if there are images before or during the first 55 words of your post, all readers will see is a line of code that doesn’t give anyone an incentive to click the ‘read more’ link.

  16. Great advice Hugh – I must admit I’ve never bothered with excerpts before – I’ll pay more attention to them now. Take it easy 🙏

    1. Thank you.

      Excerpts can be very powerful when you get them right. Much better than relying on WordPress to use the first 55 words of your posts.
      I hope you’ll see a difference when you use them.

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