How to write awesome blog opening paragraph

How-to-write-awesome-blog-opening-paragraphThe second hardest thing for me when writing any blog post after the headline is the opening paragraph. How to write it in such an away that reader will continue reading even after that. And at the same time so that it isn’t boring “In this blog post I will…” variety. Which seems to be my unconscious go-to solution.

To get some help to my problem I naturally turned to Google to see what wiser heads have written on the subject. The thing I struggled at first though was, what is the correct term for first paragraphs of a blog post? Is it introduction or opening or what. But as you see from the title of this post I felt that opening paragraph is the most descriptive in my opinion. Feel free to correct me in the comments.

I found several blog posts on the subject but to my surprise,  they were really close to each other in content. For this article, I chose to draw on articles from Problogger, Michael Pollock, CopyBlogger, and CoSchedule. I try to combine tips from all of those articles to rough categories or themes if you will.


The biggest thing in common was question-based openings. All of the sources used suggested at least one. Be it simply a Question or further defined as Multiple Choice Question, Readers Questions or just worthwhile question.

The important thing to note is that the question should be thought-provoking. You want to make your reader wonder about the answer to the question. So it is quite self-evident that questions which can be answered with a simple ‘No’ are not really good in arousing interest in the reader.


A second big group of ideas I combine under the heading ‘storytime’. The opening could be a funny, a quirky story, or even a success story. Something to make reader emotionally interested in the full article. I would also include analogies and metaphors as examples of storytelling for the purposes of a blog opening paragraph. Something to place the reader in another persons’ shoes to prime the mind for the coming article.


A quote and / or an anecdote was to found from all of the sources. To see that in action, please check Michael Pollock’s article. I think this works best if the actual quote acts as an inspiration for the article. If the quote isn’t 100% relevant (and a continuation of the headline) it might feel glued on and turn off for the reader.


You could also go with cold straight facts or statistics. Nothing much to add other than to again repeat that whatever kind of facts are presented, they should be relevant and they should be thought-provoking.


I think this ties up with the previous one. Or could be used in a hybrid form. If you want to debunk a conventional wisdom it might be best done with a statistic or a fact. Controversy could be also be built by making a bold claim which then makes the reader interested (or skeptical) to know how it is possible.

Random openings

Well not really random, but this group collects ideas that were not widely suggested in the source articles. Be it a cliffhanger beginning or description of benefits about to fall on reader upon finishing with the post.

One of the tips was to write the opening as the last thing and that is something I personally need to try. I get way too hung up on perfecting the opening paragraph before I am able to move on with the rest of the article. If the opening doesn’t come out easily I might be better off just to leave it to the end.

A Formula

Or you could use a formula. One such is provided by Marcus Sheridan in a small video segment. The video includes an example as well so it is worth of the almost four minutes it takes to view it.

Formula is as follows

Expertise + Empathy + Unbiased

Sounds like a decent framework to collect thoughts around when figuring out the optimal opener.

For this article, I did write the opening paragraph as the first thing and I haven’t touched it since. I think it goes under the storytime heading but I don’t know how well I bring up my expertise when the first thing I write about is how much I struggle with blog openings. I guess the empathy is there, though. Unbiased comes along in the second paragraph and that will have to do this time around.

What are your best openings and how do you approach writing them? Always the first thing or always the last thing to write or something in between? Let me know in the comments.

5 Questions To Michael Wilding

Michael Wilding

I am happy. This second interview in my Five Questions to X series means that I can actually call it a series!

Michael Wilding took a roundabout route to online marketing via acting, shoe design and professional betting. He is also the author of Business Ignition book and monthly report.

In your opinion, what is the most important skill to have if one starts as a blogger and / or affiliate marketer in 2017?

The most important thing is to write every single day. Blogging is all about content, that means you need to be writing a lot of content regularly. Getting into the discipline of writing every single day is very important.

What is the Next Big Thing in Online Business in 2017 and why?

I don’t think there is such a thing as the next big thing in online business. It will be what it has always been about, communication and storytelling. The most effective form of communication is still email, and will be for a while. Having an email list and newsletter is, in my opinion, the most important part of an online business.

How important to your business are non-search engine traffic sources such as Twitter or Pinterest?

Historically I haven’t used them as a primary source of traffic, however I know others who have. So for me they aren’t a huge part, but are growing with a focus on sharing content.

Is money still in the list?

Yup. And will be for a long time to come, there is no better way to get to know your audience and get them to know you.

Your biggest plunder (or blunder*) over the years?

My biggest blunder was spending a lot of time and money developing a piece of software that, while very effective, was far too complicated for most people to use. The learning curve was too extreme.

Thank you for your time! Do you have some final words to my readers?

Running an online business doesn’t have to be complicated. You need nothing except an email list and be disciplined to send emails every day. Everything else can be added in later. Keep it as simple as possible.

* I made a typo in the original questions to Zac, I wrote plunder when I actually meant blunder. In the future I let interviewees choose which version they wish to answer.

4 content marketing posts to read today

saturday link dumpIt is that time of the week where I collect interesting pieces of writing that have accumulated in my to blog about-list. This time I am going to concentrate on content marketing related articles.

Let’s start with a post that includes a good definition for content marketing.

Content Marketing is about creating compelling, contagious content and sharing it freely on social networks and blogs.

The definition is from Jeff Bullas’ article from 2012(!). It is interesting to see how especially the first and fourth point he mentions are practically de facto standards in content marketing today.

  • Idea 1: Include Images and Photos
  • Idea 2: Create a Contagious Online Video
  • Idea 3: Design a “Shareable” Video Graphic
  • Idea 4: Use the Hottest Trend in Content – Infographics!
  • Idea 5: Create a Well Structured Blog Post or eBook

Neil Patel does some myth busting regarding relationship between SEO and content marketing

SEO and content marketing are the same.


That, essentially, you can use both the terms interchangeably.


That if you do one, then you don’t need the other.




Not always.

Above quote is from his 4-point SEO checklist for content marketing. There is quite a lot of good content in his article so you ought to go and read it in full. But I will lift up his four main points here regardless.

  • Context
  • Keyword volume and competition
  • Content format and content frequency
  • SEO audit for content spring cleaning and technical SEO

Let’s continue with Mr. Patel. A brief look at different statistics that he thinks every content marketer should know.

  • 42% of B2B marketers say they’re effective at content marketing.
  • 60% of marketers create at least one piece of content each day.
  • Year-over-year growth in unique site traffic is 7.8x higher for content marketing leaders compared to followers (19.7% vs 2.5%).
  • 57% of marketers reported custom content was their top  marketing priority for 2014.
  •  Content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing and generates about 3 times as many leads.
  • 93% of B2B marketers use content marketing.
  • 78% of CMOs believe custom content is the future of marketing.
  • Conversion rates are nearly 6x higher for content marketing adopters than non-adopters (2.9% vs 0.5%).
  • 39% of marketing budget is spent on content marketing by the most effective B2B marketers.
  • 48% of smaller organizations have a documented content strategy, compared to only 41% of larger organizations.
  • 58% of marketers said “original written content” is the most important type of content, outdoing visuals and videos.
  • 60% of the most effective B2C marketers have a documented content strategy.
  • B2B marketers use an average of 13 content marketing tactics.
  • 70% of B2B marketers rate in-person events as effective. (Source: TopRankBlog)
  • 74% of people suffer from glossophobia (fear of public speaking).
  • B2B marketers with a documented strategy are more likely to consider themselves effective.
  • 73% of organizations have someone in place to oversee their content strategy.
  • 86% of highly effective organizations have someone in charge of content strategy.
  • 72% of marketers think that branded content is more effective than magazine advertisements.
  • 69% of marketers say content is superior to direct mail and PR.
  • Almost 60% of marketers reuse content two to five times. They generate “snackable” content based on assets.
  • 64% of B2B marketers outsource writing.
  • 50% of respondents expressed a desire to be able to measure how much real attention people are paying to their content.
  • 72% of marketers are producing significantly more content than they did a year ago.
  • 82% of marketers who blog see positive ROI from their inbound marketing.
  • The most common content marketing delivery mechanism is social media, used by 87% of marketers.
  • 76% of B2B marketers blog, and 73% publish case studies.
  • About 49% of marketers are learning to drive content to align with the buyer’s journey.
  • Up to 81% of marketers plan to increase their use of original written content.
  • Last year, infographic usage grew from 9% to 52%.
  • The demand for infographics has increased 800% in the past year.
  • 91% of B2B marketers use LinkedIn to distribute content.
  • 73% of B2B marketers use YouTube to distribute content.
  • LinkedIn usage jumped 20% this year among B2C marketers.
  • 28% of marketers want to learn more about the art of podcasting.
  • Content reading on mobile devices increased over 10% in 2014.
  • Content production is the biggest challenge for 44% of marketers.
  • Gamification is the least common content marketing tactic, with only 10% of marketers using it.

The final piece to this post comes from John Chow’s blog. In the article, author Rizvan Ullah presents couple content marketing tweaks that promise a big return on invested time.

  • Tweak Your Headlines
  • Facebook Connect
  • Engage Visitors With?
  • Share Content 3+

I wouldn’t say that those actually are tweaks. Writing good headlines is important always for example and so is actively trying to engage users as well.

Engaging users and sharing content to social media several times over longer periods of time and Facebook connect are good points, though.

What is the most important blog post / article you read this week?

Business Plan For a Blog

business plan for a blogI haven’t ever written a business plan for a blog before. But for a while now I have been giving some thought to a blog idea I have. One that I would start with the clear purpose of earning money with it. But also with such a topic that I would find it interesting to write for it over extended periods of time.

In addition, documenting my progress would make interesting content for this blog I think. Something others having similar ideas might find useful in their own endeavors.

I was not planning to write anything down just yet but then I was directed to this blog post about new niche site project. And it clicked so well with what I have been thinking about that I just have to write this down today.

I haven’t gone to such lengths just as the author of the linked article (yet) but they are good pointers for me to look into.

Let this post be the first version of my business plan, I trust that I need to return to this in the future.


The niche I have been thinking about is pretty common all around the world. It is not just a one-off purchase and it is readily available for example in Amazon, which I intend to be the main source of revenues. At least in the beginning.

Competition in the blogosphere in the niche is mainly hobbyist sites but even those have pretty high traffic levels. In the high 6-figures per month. And some even go over to the 7-figure territory. That being said, my site would not be directed to the hardcore hobbyist but more to a general public. And in addition I planning to aim for a sub-niche to narrow it down even more.


For a startup phase, I am planning to post a lot of product-specific posts. There is a finite number of such pages per year, but in the beginning, it would make it easy to add 1-2 posts per day in order to have a steady flow of new posts.

According to my preliminary keyword research, it would be pretty convenient to add a decent quantity of long tail listicles. Which I intend to make a regular feature on the site. The bulk of the content I intend to build around weekly regulars to make it easier to see what I need to write about each week.

Niche lends itself well to visuality and it is possible to find interesting things to post from Flickr and Pinterest. That ought to help with social shares as well.

And final major content type would be buyers guides for people not “in” the niche but who would like to purchase something to a person who is.


How I see it now, I should be able to rank with moderate effort for the searches in the sub-niche and that should bring in the bulk of the traffic.

In addition to that, I am planning for an active Facebook page to drive traffic as well. How I see it now it probably makes sense to concentrate only on Facebook and Pinterest and leave for example Twitter out from the scope.


One major part that I see were current established players are missing out is email marketing. And that is where I intend to shave out commissions as well as to bring in returning traffic. I am planning on emailing subscribers daily and how I see it at the moment there is content worth telling about each day.


Biggest income source would be Amazon commissions. But besides Amazon, there are also some related affiliate programs. These are not as big as Amazon but they wouldn’t directly compete with it either. And thus could be additional sources of income. Some of these are with recurring payments. I also need to study if it would make sense to include links to other sites selling same products as Amazon to give people option of comparing prices.


The biggest risk is personal time management risk. One of the reasons I haven’t started on this yet has been my fear of overextending myself between this current on and the new blog. As I still have a day job I am not able to dedicate full days to either of these. If (when) I start building this new blog that would have to be my top priority. At least in the beginning.

I also run the risk that I misjudge the generals public’s interest in the type of content I have been thinking about. But it is really hard to see beforehand. Searches are there, though.


The market itself is multi-billion dollar market annually. And current players draw in hundreds of thousands of visitors monthly. Products in the niche are such that most buyers buy more than one and over extended periods of time. Fast napkin calculation tells me that with CTR of 1% I would need roughly 650 000 visits monthly to earn 10 000$ per month.

Final Words

Here is the first version of my first ever business plan for a blog. It feels good to have written something down. A lot easier to start refining things when there is something to build on.

I think the potential is there and risks are manageable. Now, what is left is execution.

What did I miss, where did I go wrong? Let me know in the comments!

How to embed a tweet on a WordPress post?

When you want to embed a tweet on a WordPress post you have a couple of options on how to do it. All of them super simple to do.

The Simple Way

Simplest option is to just paste URL for a tweet to the post and WordPress is smart enough to show the tweet in the post and not the URL.

You can find the URL for the tweet from the menu that can be accessed via three dots below the tweet in question.

How to embed a tweet on a WordPress post?

I thought that I would need to install a plugin to achieve this and was thus pleasantly surprised that it was possible to do this out of the box.

Alternatively, you can choose from the menu “Embed Tweet” which gives you a piece of code you then paste into the blog post. End result is exactly the same


<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en">
<p dir="ltr" lang="en" style="text-align: right;">I am struggling with these in my <a href="">#Headlines</a> <a href=""></a></p>
<p style="text-align: right;">— pkdigibiz (@pkdigib) <a href="">November 23, 2016</a></p>
<script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script>

(Slightly) More Advanced Way

The problem, if you want to call it that, with previous approaches is that they don’t offer much control to the way tweet is presented.

If that control is needed you can install the official Twitter plugin. With that installed you can insert tweets with a shortcode. The code below, for example, shows the same tweet as above but aligned to the right.

[ tweet id="801510558390484995" align="right"]

Do note that I had to insert an extra space before the shortcode to not render it in the same way as the tweet to the right here.The full list of parameters can be found from the Twitter

The full list of parameters can be found from the Twitter documentation.

10 steps to create amazing content for your blog

I have to admit that my approach to writing blog posts is nowhere near as structured as what is instructed in the infographic below, courtesy of

But I guess that is one reason why it is so important to share it here as well.

As a reminder.

A lot easier to find from my own site compared to going to someone else’s blog and searching from there.

How structured is your approach to blog posts? Please let me know in the comments.

The Epic Content Cycle Infographic

The Epic Content Cycle Infographic from


Split testing is really worth it – who would’ve believed it?

I have always known that you should do split tests. But knowing and actually doing are two different things.

I am trying to learn list building alongside blogging and that is why the subject came up. But at the moment my traffic levels are so low that building the list just from my blog visitors (signup form is in the sidebar by the way) would be too slow. For that reason, I am also driving traffic with solo ads.

It is clear that traffic quality from solo ads is lower compared to organic visitors to my site via search engines and so on. But at the moment solo ads have a clear convenience advantage as I am able to get x amount of clicks for a predetermined price.

This makes it easy to test my squeeze page. I just got started with this and over the weekend did a really simple test of just switching the order of image and form. Variant A had form fields on right and variant B had the form on the left side of the page.

As I am just learning this stuff I had to try to be too advanced at first. I tried creating experiments in Google Analytics but for some reason, it broke my GetResponse form code. And the page didn’t load completely or not at all.

Luckily I realized quite soon that it is possible to do split tests directly in form editor in GetResponse. After that, it was smooth sailing.

I do need to figure out what it was that was wrong in the Google Analytics, though. I have a feeling that it is a good skill to have for the future as well.


What were the results you ask? No less than 44% difference between the forms. Okay, it was only around 300 clicks so statistical validity might be a bit sketchy but that will have to do for now.

split testing

The difference between only using variant A and only using variant B would’ve been almost 40 clicks or over 150% in favor of variant B.

Shoemoney blog has also a good example of how a really small change can make a big difference to the results. Just by making a small change to the add-to-cart button conversions were increased by almost 80%

Humans are strange. But I think this stuff can get addictive.

What are your experiences with split testing? How and what do you test? Please let me know in the comments.

Penny Clicks Academy Review – Niche Marketing in Facebook

niche marketing in facebookI need to be honest and mention that I was about to skip this course as somehow it felt so overly hyped when several affiliate marketers started pushing it prior to launch earlier this week.

Only after I read an endorsement of it by Michael Wilding I made my mind and picked it up.

And paid for my indecisiviness. I think it was going for 24.95$ right at the launch but I ended up paying 31$ for the frontend product and at the time of writing of this review the price is 35$ and going up again in a couple of hours.

I have been planning to read up on advertising on Facebook for a while now and this product got me over the initial hurdles quite handily.

What is included?

A training course consisting of total of 10 videos. Total running time of videos is around 85 minutes.

Videos are very well presented. Audio is crisp and clear and presenters do a really good job in all of the videos.

What is it about?

Niche marketing or niche eCommerce in Facebook.

I think it is important to repeat that this course is not general Facebook advertising course but it presents a pretty specific niche marketing strategy.

A strategy that utilizes cheap clicks to build up a Facebook fan page and then monetizing it.

The only downside in this course is in my opinion that the monetizing part is left a little bit open and everything is not as clear as it is when it comes to the meat of the course – penny clicks.

And I think the monetizing portion is the trickiest one to do right in a strategy like this and it does need the willingness to learn independently to figure everything out.

But it does what it says on the tin, you learn how to get clicks for pennies.

Who it is for?

Anyone who wishes to get started in making money. Or add somethin new to existing income portfolio.

Authors have gone to great lengths to test the material with beginners in mind and it shows. So I am confident that even people with beginner level IT skills are able to follow along.

What does it cost?

As mentioned above, the current price is 35$ and sales page claims that price is going up again in a couple of hours to 37$ which is the final price of the course.

I like that kind of integrity in sales pages, by the way. If you claim to raise the price in x hours. Do it as well and don’t start the counter again upon reload.

I didn’t pick up any of the One Time Offers (OTO) but they are as follows:

  • OTO 1 – DFY Campaign Academy
    • 67$
    • 5 case studies showing actual campaigns done
    • 10 Done For You niches
      • Including sample content and graphics
  • OTO 2 – Social Ad Suite Pro + Social Pixel Suite
    • 67$
    • Facebook ad creator software
      • 1000 assets included
    • Facebook tracking pixel plugin for WordPress
  • OTO 3 – Penny Clicks Mastermind
    • 97$
    • 4-week hands-on course to the course contents

Biggest value from these three I think comes from OTO 2.

Obviously, you can create ad graphics with any suitable graphics editor. But for someone whose core competence is not in graphics that piece of software seems to give an easy to use way to create custom graphics specificly for Facebook ads.

Do remember though that my impression of these OTOs is based on sales material and not in actually trying the software.

Penny Clicks Academy Review – Final thoughts

Refreshingly well produced video course with actionable content. The only big downside in my books is the lack of attention on the monetization aspect.

They do mention in the videos that detailed look is not in the scope of this course. I just wish it were. With current contents, you get something like 80% of the journey covered.

While going through the course I was able to create a campaign to advertise my blogs Facebook page. Not getting the clicks at pennies, but not really doing it as instructed either as my page is not exactly what this course is meant to be used with either.

But, even with those caveats, I highly recommend that you check this out.

Grab the course from here


4 Blog Posts Worth Your Time

saturday link dumpWelcome to the first edition of Saturday Link Dump!

Blog post where I will collect links to interesting material I have come across over the previous week.

All of the material is not necessarily from the current week, it just is so that I have come across said material under the current week.

Some things might be even several years old but something in them warrants a link today.

10 overlooked Google tools

Neil Patel over at has a great list of 10 overlooked Google tools for SEO.

List of the tools below as well as short lift from the Mr. Patels reasoning for inclusion for most of them.

  1. Google Mobile-Friendly Test
    • With the help of the Google Mobile-Friendly Test tool, it only takes a couple seconds to determine if your website is mobile friendly or not.
  2. Google My Business
  3. Google PageSpeed Insights
  4. Google Correlate
    • With this, you can uncover search patterns that “correspond with real-world trends.”
  5. Google Trends
    • In addition to exploring “Featured Insights,” you can also run a search for any topic or keyword that comes to mind.
  6. Google Chrome
    • Google Chrome has a variety of SEO extensions that can help you make better decisions about your online marketing strategy.
  7. Google Alerts
    • Keep a beat on your competition and what they are doing.
  8. Google Voice
    • With this tool at your disposal, you gain access to one number for all of your phones.
  9. Google Sheets
  10. Youtube
    • YouTube videos often rank high in Google’s search results.

Top incluencer Blogs to follow in 2017

Zac Johnson (who I was able to interview earlier this week) posted a good list of influencers to follow next year. Or right away for that matter.

  • Neil Patel
  • Gary Vaynerchuk
  • Jeremy Schoemaker
  • John Lee Dumas
  • Brian Clark
  • Syed Balkhi
  • John Rampton
  • John Chow
  • Sujan Patel

Most of them I already had on my list, but found some additions still. Who would you add to the list?

Imposter Syndrome

Back to Neil Patel, this time at In this post he discusses imposter syndrome and what it could mean for a content marketer.

And not just the causes for it but ways to overcome it as well. A good read.

The imposter syndrome makes us feel like we’re cheating. This feeling can, in turn, cause us to reduce the quality of our work even if we’re not consciously aware of it. I’ve seen the imposter syndrome turn would-be marketing rockstars into timid underachievers.

10 Content marketing mistakes amateurs make

Final link for today is a great article by Jeff Bullas. I was able to pick up something from all of the points in the list.

Well worth to read even if you don’t consider yourself an amateur any more.

And I think I need to read this again in couple of months time. Just to be sure.

  1. Not Automating
  2. Not optimizing for search engines
  3. Not hustling your content
  4. Not working on your headlines
  5. Not experimenting
  6. Poor quality content
  7. Not building and owning your online content distribution
  8. Not thinking like a publisher
  9. Not learning from the innovators
  10. Not paying attention to conversion and analytics

Thats it this week. Tune in again next Saturday! And I would be delighted to hear what was the most important piece of writing you read this week? Please let me know in the comments.

5 Questions To Zac Johnson

zac johnsonI am hoping to start a series of mini interviews with this post. Posts will be titled simply “5 Questions To X” to keep everything nice and compact. For this inaugural post, I was able to get answers from one of the originators in the online business, Zac Johnson, the man behind sites such as and

In your opinion, what is the most important skill to have if one starts as a blogger and / or affiliate marketer in 2017?

Patience and Dedication — First of all, there are over a billion sites on the internet today. While it might be easy to get started with a blog or making money with affiliate marketing, you also need to realize you are against the world at the same time. It’s not easy to find success and it’s definitely going to take a lof of time to stand out from the crowd. If you aren’t fully dedicated to this, you will never make it. For every success story you see and hear of, there are hundreds of failures behind it you never hear of.

What is the Next Big Thing in Online Business in 2017 and why?

Mobile and demographic targeting are going to continue to be the big money makers. Mobile because it’s just simply taking over the world by storm and more people are using it to access the internet than ever before. Data/demographic targeting are just as important, as there is no need to spend money on advertising to ‘general audiences’ anymore. If you know your audience and can track them through email/cookies/retargeting, you can scale to no end.

How important to your business are non-search engine traffic sources such as Twitter or Pinterest?

I love Twitter for engagement and branding. It’s an excellent way to connect with others, put your marketing on autopilot and also scale in your following in the process. Pinterest is also great for a lot of people, but I’ve never done anything with it.

Is money still in the list?

Always, without a list, you are just killing yourself. 70% of new audiences that come to your site are going to leave and never come back. An email list is the best way to keep them for years to come. Popup windows and welcome mats are working best these days. After some tweaking and split testing, there is no reason why you shouldn’t be able to convert 5-10% of your cold audience into email subscribers.

Your biggest plunder over the years?

I’ve been doing this for 20 years now, so I would have to say the one consistency has been affiliate marketing. It’s where I got my start and how I was able to leverage my skills into the “Zac Johnson” brand it’s become today. When I first started making money online there were only a handful of affiliate programs on the internet. Now there are thousands.

Thank you for your time! Do you have some final words to my readers?

If you want to find success online, niche down as much as possible and focus more on your content promotion than anything else. I cover all of this in my guide at


I am very grateful to Zac for him to take the time to answer my questions. Feedback, additional questions, and comments are most welcome!

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