Do Your Blog Titles Suck? Here’s What to Do
Your blog visitors are busy. With so many things to do and blogs to read, there is no way they could read everything they find. Nowadays, blog titles are more important than ever because they may be the only things your readers see in your blog posts.
If your readers don’t read the body of the content, you will not have the chance to engage them…
If the readers are not involved in your articles, they can’t possibly respond to your articles…
The problem is, most bloggers don’t spend enough time on blog titles (headlines). That’s because working on headlines is both science and art. While there are best practices and tested methods, still there is no guarantee that one title will work.
Without testing, or at least use the right title format to start with, it can be hard to achieve good results. But then it is hard to guess which title really works, so most bloggers pick the one that crosses their mind at first.
What if there is a simple formula to create a blog title that doesn’t suck? This article attempts to show you how you can do that.
3+1 Things Your Blog Post Title Must Do
Before going into the formula on how to make blog title works, you need to satisfy four purposes. At the first glance, this may sound like a lot of work, but it isn’t. All of them are related to each other in one way or another.
- Answer the “Where am I?” question. For first time visitors, they want to know if they are in the right place. Your headline or blog title must be able to tell them immediately that they will find what they are looking for.
- Answer the “Why should I read?” question. The blog title is much like a headline in a direct mail advertising. It doesn’t mean that you have to deliver the feature or product name right in the title. You could sell the benefits or make both existing and new readers curious about what they are going to get if they continue reading.
- Let you fulfill a purpose. This is the selfish part of your blog post and it exists whether you’d like to admit it or not, even if it is just to get more readers. Other purposes may be to establish your thought leadership status or to generate more sales. This is the hardest part as some bloggers may automatically become too self-centered to fulfill a purpose.
- Appeal to the search engines. This is not about writing merely to target search engines. It is about understanding what your readers want when they use the search engines to find you or information related to your niche. Of course, a bit of understanding about how SEO works will help you help the spiders understand your page and blog better.
The 3 Pronged Approach to Blog Title
A blog title has to work extra hard to convey what you want to say effectively in as few words as possible. You only have a few short seconds to grab the reader’s attention and give them reasons whey they should continue reading.
Blog readers come from multiple places so you need to satisfy as many of them as possible if the prospective readers happen to be interested in the topic you are writing about.
Here are the three-pronged approach to blog title:
- Clarity. A title must be clear so that when someone sees it, she immediately knows what the topic is about. A clever title that is hard to understand or requires the readers to read through the end before knowing what it’s all about will be left cold.
- Encouragement. After reading (or scanning) the title, the readers must be encouraged to go ahead and read. RSS readers and search engine users should be interested enough to click and proceed to your blog and read.
- Keyword-rich. If you want to appeal the search engines, your content needs to be optimized for certain keyword. You don’t have to stuff your blog posts with keywords though, but proper usage of the right words may help search engines.
How to Create Powerful Title for Your Blog Post
There are many ways to approach title writing. You may use title templates that have been proven to work repeatedly in both ads and editorial content.
Another thing that may speed up the process is to find the right title format for your article and then create a title based on that format. If this method sounds righ, you may be interested in reading about how to hook your blog readers with your post title.
Finally, instead of eating the fish that someone hands to you, you can learn about blog title formula and use it again and again for your blog. I’ve written about one simple formula to write a magnetic blog title before.
Now here are a few more ways to catch a fish.
- Ask a question. Questions trigger the brain to go out and find answers. If you are able to ask smart questions that make the readers want to know more, you are already on the right track.
- Make them curious. No matter which niche you are in, you can arrange your title in a way that makes people want to know about the content.
- Dramatize the problem. Again, the brain wants to solve a problem. When you describe a problem, it automatically imagines the situation. If it is related to pain, it will as if feel the pain. For this reason this problem-based title is more effective than solution-based.
A powerful headline should consist of one or more of the parameters above.
I mentioned above that title writing is both science and art. You have learned how to approach it from the science standpoint.
The other thing you need to master in order to write really great headlines and titles is understanding your customers. You may write a title that satisfies all the elements above, but if you are aiming at the wrong audience, it doesn’t matter what you say.
So, spend the time to learn about your audience. Interact and communicate with them. That’s what a blog is about, isn’t it?
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