4 Ways to Close a Blog Post

Saturday, December 31, 2016
On the last day of 2016, it's only appropriate that I close my series on blogging (blog titles & post beginnings were covered earlier in December) with blog post endings. WOW!'s executive editor Angela said in a recent comment that she sometimes had difficulty with blog endings; and it seems if a person covers beginnings, she should also cover endings. So here we are saying good-bye to 2016 and discussing how to say good-bye to your blog post readers, too.

1. A Question
If you want to see a good example of ending a post with a question, then please see just about any post on the Muffin written by Crystal Otto. She gives readers a question (sometimes many) at the end of her posts to ponder and answer in the comments. The benefit of ending a post with a question is that it invites comments, which if you are a blogger, you know comments are priceless. The only thing you really have to be careful about with this type of closing is the question you ask, which goes with the old saying: "If you don't want to know, don't ask."

2. Mirror the Beginning (also called a Circle Post)
Essay and picture book writers love circle writing. An example of this we all probably know, regardless of our age, is If You Give a Mouse a Cookie. The story begins and ends the same way. Many, many personal essays in books like Chicken Soup for the Soul tie the beginning and ending together with a sentence, a reference, a word, or an idea. You can do this with blog posts also. Let's say you are writing about character description, and in the beginning, you reference Stephen King's advice about NOT making your description sound like a clothing catalog entry. Then in the end, you write, "So now you know how to make Stephen King happy and your readers, too." That's a circle post.

3. A Call to Action
If you are writing a post persuading or convincing or asking a reader to do something, then end your post with a call to action. Bloggers who host contests or authors on their blog close posts with this type of ending frequently. Examples: "Buy Book ABC today for 99 cents."  "Fill out the Rafflecopter form below to be entered for a free agent critique."  "Donate to this charity and show your receipt to be entered to win a free writing coach session." It is always a good idea, even if it seems repetitive, to end a post, where you want the reader to do something, reminding them to do it. Marketing 101!

4. Conclusion or Old-School Summary
Remember the days of 5-paragraph essay writing in elementary and middle school, where you learned to write an opening paragraph with a topic sentence, three supporting body paragraphs, and then a conclusion paragraph wrapping up and restating your points in a clever way. Much easier said than done. Most blog posts do not end this way--I've seen 1, 2, and 3 much more. But I'm a fan of ending with a summary because I taught writing, was an English major, and feel that it helps readers takeaway what you want them to from your post. As an example, read the next paragraph because that's how I'm going to end this one!

So, now you know four fantastic ways to end your blog posts, completely ready for a new year of blogging. It's important to learn these because your blog posts are important--they are a way for you to communicate with your readers, pick up new fans, and market yourself. So whether you end with a question or a call to action OR decide to write a circle post or be old-school, your ending is the last thing people read before they decide to hit that comment button or better yet, buy something you're selling.

Margo L. Dill is a writing teacher, blogger, author, and editor, living in St. Louis, MO. Check out her blog here and her novel class in the WOW! classroom. 

keyboard photo by orangeacid on flickr.com


Sioux Roslawski said...

Margo--I usually try to end with a question, but other times, don't have much of an ending and the post just kind of fizzles out.

Thanks for the reminder of different ways to end a post.

Margo Dill said...

Yes, fizzling out did not make it to the list. LOL :) Really, Angela gave me this idea...so we should also thank her. Happy New Year!

Angela Mackintosh said...

Thanks, Margo! I noticed a good one that you do sometimes: tell the reader what's coming up next. That works well in your series posts. Also, I've seen writers give others a To-do list or exercises to try. That's helpful for writerly posts. Speaking of...I JUST noticed I have a blog day tomorrow. Off to write a post! Happy New Year!

Donna Volkenannt said...

Thanks, Margo. I usually try to end with a question or some times a call to action. Happy New Year to you and yours. Wishing you health and happiness in 2017.

Mary Horner said...

Strong endings are important. When I teach speech, my students say it's one of the most difficult aspects of developing their speeches. I agree, and encourage them to use the strategies you mentioned! Thanks for sharing!

Margo Dill said...

Hi Donna: Happy New Year to you too! Miss you all in St. Charles--all the way across the river. LOL

Mary: I do think endings of just about anything--speeches, novels, essays, papers--are difficult, you are right. But when we get them right, it makes our writing pop even more.

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