Ali is our Head of Content and Blogging Trainer. She is the author of 'Publishing E-Books For Dummies' (Wiley, 2012).
We’ve covered beginnings in 7 Gripping Ways to Start a Blog Post (and 14 Examples) … but what about endings?
If you’ve successfully hooked the reader with the introduction and kept them reading all through your post, you’ve done a great job … but you can’t stop just yet.
The very end of your post has a crucial role to play, because it’s your opportunity to direct your readers’ attention.
Unfortunately, when we train bloggers, of the most common mistakes we see them making is stopping their posts too abruptly. This can confuse the reader or make them feel as though the post never really finished.
And even worse, if you miss off the ending, or have a weak one, your readers are likely to wander off to a different site – instead of sticking around, signing up for your newsletter, leaving a comment, or even going ahead and buying from you straight away.
The good news is that this is an easy mistake to fix. Here are six powerful ways you can draw your blog post to a close.
A simple and obvious way to conclude your post is simply to summarise your key point or the message of your post. This can be used along with any of the other methods – and it’s a good way to make sure you leave readers feeling confident about what they’ve just read.
Some bloggers will explicitly title this section “Conclusion” or similar; you don’t need to do that, though you might want to consider it for long, heavily structured posts.
“Conclusion: Although spending thousands of dollars on conversion consultants can make you more money, you can actually do a lot on your own. All you have to be willing to do is put in the time and effort.”
(Neil Patel, How to Be the MacGyver of the Web: 9 Ways to Boost Your Conversion Rate on a Shoestring Budget, QuickSprout)
“Bottom line: Practice makes perfect. If you really want to master something, make sure to find a course or a project that will let you get your hands dirty.”
(Daniel Scocco, Practice Makes Perfect, Daily Blog Tips)
This was one of our top ways to start your post … and it’s also a great way to end. At the start of your post, a question gets the reader thinking and draws them in. At the end of your post, it gets them thinking and encourages them to respond.
By asking questions, you increase the chances of readers leaving a comment. You can even explicitly invite readers to comment, perhaps like this: Which of these is your favourite tip? Let us know in the comments section.
“Question: How have you handled working for a bad leader? You can leave a comment by clicking here.”
(Michael Hyatt, What if You Work for a Bad Leader?, MichaelHyatt.com)
“What other strategies do you have for making sure your tweets last as long as possible? Let us know in the comments!”
(Maggie Hibma, 5 Ways to Extend the Lifespan of a Tweet, HubSpot)
Getting someone to read one post on your blog is a great start – but if you want to convert them from a casual reader into a serious prospect, you need to encourage them to read more. The longer they stick around on your site, the more they’ll get to know you and what you can do for them.
There are plenty of WordPress plugins that can create an auto-generated list of related posts for you. These are handy tools if you’re short on time – but you may prefer to hand-pick posts and mention them in the body of your post rather than beneath it.
– “If you’d like to learn a little more about my writing process check out my series – How to Craft a Blog Post which explores 10 points to pause in the writing of a post to make it a better post.”
(Darren Rowse, How to Speed Up the Blog Writing Process, ProBlogger)
“I would recommend using more data and trying different types of posts—maybe add a video post or test some different tagging strategies.”
(Andrea Vahl, How to Improve Your Facebook Engagement Using Controlled Experiments, SocialMediaExaminer)
#4: Action points
Let’s say your company sells baking equipment. You’ve written an inspiring post encouraging readers to bake more often, with five of your favourite recipes for beginners. It’s a great resource and one that you know readers will want to bookmark, pin, share, and return to.
But you don’t just want them to read your post … you want them to actually have a go at baking (so they’ll hopefully buy those cute cupcake trays you sell). Encourage them to get stuck in with one or two simple, specific action points – e.g. “Choose one of these recipes to try this weekend.”
Your homework for today. Look at the part above about the two things your niche is supposed to be doing for you. Think about if you’ve got those covered. Also think about where you can afford to get looser with your niche and see if that applies to you.
(Naomi Dunford, Do I Really Need to Pick a Niche?, IttyBiz)
Try one of these three tricks the next time someone makes you mad or offends you.
(Leo Babauta, 3 Little Tricks to Deal With People Who Offend You, Zen Habits)
#5: Email sign-up
Do you have an email newsletter that readers can sign up for? (If not, we recommend you do – or at least offer email subscriptions for your blog. Email is a great way to stay in touch with prospects, and by providing their email address, they’re already making a small commitment.
If you can, embed a sign-up box directly beneath your post, with a couple of sentences explaining the newsletter to readers. (Alternatively, you can link to a sign-up page or tell readers very clearly where the sign up box is – e.g. “At the top of the right-hand sidebar.)
“If you want a bit more help finding time for your writing, join the Aliventures Newsletter for a dose of weekly inspiration and for my free ebook How to Find Time For Your Writing – ten short, practical chapters with exercises to help you carve out some extra time in your life.”
(Ali Luke, Finding Time – or Making Time – to Write, Aliventures)
“For more tips like these on how to improve your writing skills – and produce better results because of it – check out the Damn Fine Words newsletter today. It’s packed with smart writing tips… and just the tip of the iceberg to what you’ll get in the full course!”
(James Chartrand, How to Avoid Bullet-Hard Emails, Men with Pens)
#6: Sales pitch
I’ve put this last because, while you obviously want to sell to your readers, you don’t want every single post to end with a sales pitch. This isn’t just because it can become a bit overwhelming, but also because readers will simply tune it out after reading a few posts.
A good sales pitch links in with your post (e.g. “If you want to learn more about this, buy my book…”) It doesn’t need to be long or pushy, just a few sentences explaining to readers what you offer, and linking to a page where they can get more details.
“For more help on guest posting, book a place on our blogging intermediate or content marketing course (or both, if you like – there’s a 10% discount if you book two courses at once). Both courses are in small groups with lots of opportunities to ask questions and get help. We take a practical, hands-on approach so that you end the day having already made progress.”
(Ali Luke, How Seven A-List Bloggers Used Guest Posting to Massively Improve Their Reach, Zen Optimise)
“Would you like to hear more about effective email habits that don’t require you to watch your Inbox like a hawk? Check out Email Triage – it’s a product I designed that teaches you how to make rapid, effective decisions about what to do with what you have in your Inbox.”
(Charlie Gilkey, Inbox Zero Is Overrated, Productive Flourishing)
Our Blogging Courses
If you’d like to learn more about writing great posts, from beginning to end, check out our blogging courses. All our training is in small groups (maximum eight) with hands-on practice that relates to your business goals. If you have questions, or if you want a custom package designed for your team, please contact us.