20+ Opening Sentence Ideas and Templates for Blog Posts Stuck on a Blank Page
If you’re someone who writes on the regular, you are probably well-acquainted with that awful feeling when you have the entire piece thought out in your head, but you just can’t seem to verbalize the opening sentence.
The problem becomes even more apparent if you’re a non-professional writer, someone who writes rarely, or someone who lacks the confidence to get started with writing and publishing.
I’m a professional content writer cooperating with two big clients and several smaller ones, and I write anywhere from 5,000 to 10,000 words a day (hence the Speed Writing blog).
I found that having ready starting sentences as a back-up tremendously reduces the time I had usually spent on staring at a blank page.
After researching, I also realized that many content creators are using the same exact templates to start their pieces, either for their effectiveness or for the flow of next sentences they enable.
Here are my top suggestions for first sentence templates for blog posts that you can use the next time you feel like you’re stuck. As examples below every template, we will use sentences based on an example topic “How to Write Faster”:
People love quotes. There are literally hundreds of thousands of websites, blogs and social media channels dedicated to sharing quotes. In fiction, epigraphs are also a common way to start a novel or a short story.
A spot-on quote that’s relevant to your topic will instantly spark interest in your readers.
Example: “I can write faster than anyone who can write better, and I can write better than anyone who can write faster.” – A. J. Liebling
There are many famous sayings, phrases and quotes that have influenced your life, work and writing in one way or another. They could be something from an obscure poem, the favorite WhatsApp message from your partner or something a grocery clerk once told you.
If it’s relevant to your topic, go for it. Another plus of this approach is that you won’t get the negative SEO points connected to sharing famous quotes that are all over the web.
Example: “If you decide to write fast, you will compromise quality – do a cost-benefit analysis before you approach any type of work” –my English lit university professor
3.Define the Central Concept
In some cases, it’s best to take the simplest and most straightforward approach. When it comes to creating web content, a clear and direct way in which you can start is to simply define the central concept that your article is about.
However, make sure that your content is original, meaning that you either produce your own definition (which can be tricky sometimes) or share someone else’s, but credit the source.
Example: Writing is a cognitive, systemic and creative process of verbalizing thoughts, ideas and facts.
4. Snippet from Another Blog Post
Linking to your internal pages is great for SEO, but if you can find a relevant paragraph or snippet from your previous blog post that can fit the topic well, it can also make for a great starting sentence.
If you’re writing in WordPress, you can use plugins to do this or simply use the Quote element and paste the text you want to feature.
Example: Routine is a double-edged sword in writing: it can help you develop a steady and disciplined mode of working, but can hinder your creativity. -excerpt from Better Writing Productivity Techniques
5. Did you know…?
This question is magical. It’s so tempting and captivating for the human reader that it’s been used as read-bait for centuries.
Start the text on an interesting and unpredictable note by including a fun fact that will serve as a yummy entree for the content to come.
Example: Did you know that 40 words per minute is the average typing speed?
6. According to research, ⟦insert shocking statistic⟧
Many blog posts start with this nifty and well-known trick. The mighty ‘according to research’ sentence opens the door of credibility, high authority and oozes academia.
Just make sure that you don’t fake it, and always, always credit your sources.
Example: According to Worldometer, there are almost 6 million new blog posts published every day.
7. Beat around the Bush
Even though most SEO experts and marketers will advise you to go straight to the point, you can play around with the audience’s expectations and be unpredictable by beating around the bush of the topic.
This doesn’t mean fluffing up your content with unnecessary info. Rather, think of it as a trailer that will present the ultimate topic as a climax, instead of a premise.
Example: It’s an activity than can have a positive effect on your physical and mental health, communication skills and expression of ideas. The more you do it, the better you will get at it.
8. Ask the Reader a Question
Directing a question to your audience is a common strategy used in social media copywriting. Usually, its aim is to spark engagement and increase comments/tags/shares.
It has another function if you start a blog post with a question, though. When you start your piece like this, it will instantly connect you to the reader and humanize your words. The audience will feel like your piece is a dialogue.
Example: Do you write every day, and if so, how much? How much time do you need to finish a 1,000 word blog post?
9. Tell a Personal Story
This is one of the most effective methods to write captivating content, but in terms of this guide (using templates for easy start), it might not be as straightforward as some of the other ideas.
If you have a personal connection to the topic, think about how you could incorporate it into the story. Usually, personal stories will not flow in the middle of the story seamlessly, so the opening sentence and the intro are actually the best place to feature them.
Example: I’ve been writing since I was 14 – and at first, I sucked.
10. Tell a Story about Someone You Know
If you don’t have a direct connection to the topic or you don’t feel comfortable about sharing personal, intimate stories, this is a good alternative to the previous template.
Example: My boyfriend is a professional writer and he’s always stressed out about deadlines and having to write fast.
11. When it comes to [abstract concept], it’s[a phrase/idiom]
This is a template I resort to more often than I would like to admit. It’s something that was made famous by good, ol’ Carrie Bradshaw of Sex and the City:
Example: When it comes to writing, it’s quality over quantity.
12. Explain Why You’re Writing – and Why Now
It seems oversimplistic, but a great start to a blog post can be a simple explanation on why you have decided to start writing about that topic. If the topic was assigned to you, you can even go meta and explain why the topic was assigned to you and under what circumstances.
Example: I decided to talk about fast writing to help others who are struggling with the same issues.
13. Start with a Credibility Flex
This can be a bit annoying for the reader, but it’s highly effective for when you want to establish authority and knowledge in a particular field backed up by experience.
Whether you’ll want to use this depends on the overall tone of your blog. If it’s advice-giving and motivational, go for it. If you focus more on storytelling, refrain from it.
Example: I have been helping professional writers increase their productivity for the last 5 years.
14. Read this post and learn how to…
This is super simple, but will help you get right on to the next sentence, and the next, and the next… It’s a great way to automatically establish the structure of the article based on the lessons you want to share.
If you start writing this sentence and you can’t seem to find the ending (learn how to do what), it’s possible that your article will not provide any real value for the reader. Consider changing the angle or including new and valuable information.
Example: Take two minutes to read through this guide and learn how to write faster and better.
15. Doing X is hard./Doing X is easy.
In most cases, you’ll be writing about an action. Even in those articles where that’s not the case, the central point can always be boiled down to a primary action.
When you find it complicated to start talking about a topic, this sentence can get you right into the flow. It gets easier to find the word that describe why an action is hard or easy.
Example: Writing is hard. It takes focus, creativity, expression capacity and will to write even the simplest of paragraphs.
16. Emphasize the biggest benefit/trait
We previously mentioned the template of simply defining what you will be writing about. However, if you’re targeting your blog posts at experts and professionals who are already knowledgeable about the topic, stating a basic definition can turn out trite.
Turn that around by stating a benefit or a specific trait of the concept you’re talking about. Plus points if you find a unique angle or an original idea. However, if you take too much time to do this, it may turn out to be counter-effective as a fast opening sentence idea.
Example: Regular writing improves vocabulary, keeps you sharp and improves your mental health.
17. Predict the Future
There are tons of blog posts out there that start with “By 2025, industry X is expected to grow Y percent”. That’s because this sentence has multiple functions:
- signals that you’re that much of an authority that you can predict trends and changes
- appeal to the futuristic daydreamer reader
- announce that there will be changes in the field and they need to be identified and tracked
Example: By the end of 2020, there will be almost 32 million bloggers in the US alone.
18. Nowadays, [insert how things have changed]
The way we live, work and write has changed through the course of history, and this simple fact is that cornerstone of a lot of content that we enjoy reading about.
Emphasize why there was such a big disruption in the field you’re talking about. Use this sentence as fuel for the couple of next paragraphs to provide a deep contextual background of information surrounding the concept.
Example: Nowadays, more people are writing than ever before. At the same time, the number of active readers is at an all-time low.
19. Cliche saying
Any teacher of writing would tell you to avoid cliches, but they can actually be your friends in web content creation. Readers are comforted by the presence of cliches and things they hear and read in their everyday life. They are more likely to respond to a well-known saying than something that requires stronger cognitive efforts.
Example: Writing is an uphill battle.
20. How did it start? (History of the Topic)
Make a throwback to the very beginnings – finding out how it all started is one of the best introductions into a topic. Also, it allows clear, chronological storytelling. It will be easy to continue building the article if you start it from Day 1.
Example: Writing has been around for millennia. It originated in Mesopotamia around 3200 BC.
21. Who has researched/written about this topic?
Acknowledge that you’re not the first one thinking about or writing about this topic. Having other researchers behind your back will make it easier for you to verbalize why the topic is interesting or worth looking into.
Examples: Linguists, literature experts, historians, sociologists and marketers have all researched the black box that is writing.
22. If you’re wondering…
Why and how did the reader come to your article? Is there a title posing a question that the reader wants to find out the answer to?
It’s usually very easy to determine what your reader is “wondering about” when you’re writing about a topic. Use this as an opening sentence for your blog post and the rest will flow.
Example: If you’re wondering how to write faster, take a look at these tips to help you achieve warp-speed.
23. Address the Reader
We previously mentioned asking the reader a question, but this one is a little different. In many cases, writers and bloggers refrain from using it because it can come forward as aggressive if not used in the right tone and context.
If you nail it just right, you will have the most captivated reader of all time. Think Italo Calvino’s introduction to If on a winter’s night a traveler: