Updated: Dec 12, 2019
That title caught your eye, right? Well, the tag line for this blog should be 'How to write a blog title that gets people to open your blog'. Spoiler alert: it’s a very big no-no to write a title that has nothing to do with your subject matter. The mission of writing and maintaining a library of blogs is to establish yourself as an expert and an opinion-leader in your industry and NOT to get someone to read an occasional blog using tabloid journalism headlines.
The 7 dos and don'ts to creating blog titles
Now that I have your attention here are 7 dos and don’ts to creating a great blog title that will get your audience’s attention:
1. Start with a temporary title Sometimes you write a catchy title that starts you writing a specific blog, but in general you begin writing a blog with a kernel of a blog idea and no title. Simply give your blog a temporary title and write away. Don’t invest time in the title until your blog has a strong direction.
2. Keep writing Once your blog is in its second or third draft, it’s time to think about a catchy title. See more about title development later in this blog.
3. Your title should be informative, understandable and predictable. Your blog must give readers a written cue as to why your blog is worth her/his time reading it.
4. Your title should include keywords associated with your industry.
5. Your title should use emotional words. Powerful words that will provoke or induce an emotional response. These words can be ‘hot’ words such as fear or success or ‘warm and evocative’ words such as home or heirloom.
6. List titles, such as "8 ways to ..." or "5 ways not to…," are title favorites, since they gives readers both a written cue as to what they will learn and a time-limit – read this limited list of items and you are done.
Here are some easy examples:
5 hard ways to lose weight and keep it off forever!
6 ways to find the dream job you can leave tomorrow!
4 ways to gently kill your boss without anyone knowing!
7. Title length is always a hot topic. For years we considered short, 5-6 word titles as optimal. We now believe that longer titles have the most impact on prospective reader interest. In addition, with about 51% of all internet traffic viewed on a smartphone, it’s important to keep in mind how readers will view blog titles on smartphones and the sweet spot seems to be around 70 characters. You want people to click your title link to read your blog on their smartphones and hopefully, open them a second time on their laptops for a more in-depth read.
The theory behind the 'longer-is-better' model stems from the fact that titles with fewer words and less characters prevents and even stops readers from scanning the title – our preferred online method of reading - for interesting words and so readers may miss out on your blogs because she/he has nothing to read.
Title writing in action
You now have the basic dos and don'ts of title writing, now it's time to do the work. Here's a step-by-step guide to help you understand the title development path that you can utilize to create a killer blog title from a blog idea:
Step 1: Your blog is about cars and the danger inherent in speeding and your temporary blog title is:
This is not a blog title – this is just two words you threw on a screen. Nothing to scan or engage the reader.
Step 2: Let's develop this title a bit:
Speeding Car Crashes Into Wall
This is not a blog title - this is a newspaper headline and it does not give a prospective reader enough words and time to scan the title.
Step 3: Here's a fully developed title:
5 Reasons You Should Fear That Speeding Car
This title has it all: a list "5 reasons" and strong emotional words "fear" and "speeding".
You can add “near your kids” to create the terrifying picture that makes this How to list blog a must-read for a target audience. Just keep in mind that shock value should be used in the right dosage - too much of any emotion may turn off readers!!
Now it's your turn
The next time you write a blog title I invite you to use my absolute favorite free tool for blog title analysis: https://headlines.sharethrough.com/ This site provides analysis, insights and helpful word lists that are worth their weight in gold!
You took the time to write a worthwhile blog, now take the time to craft a read-worthy blog title – it could mean the difference between a blog that moves your business forward and a blog that only your friends read.
Do you want to open yourself to a more successful business? Are you lost in the social media jungle? Let me help you re-energize your business and rediscover your passion in your profession. We’ll work together to improve your marketing strategy and online exposure and find the perfect target markets for your business. Contact me today to schedule a free introductory meeting.