Today I’m pleased to welcome my friend Katherine from Proverbs and Pacifiers! She’s got some great advice for you today on post titles!
The title is the most important part of your blog post.
Think about it. The title is the only part of your blog post most people will ever read. It breaks my heart, but it’s true. Your post title is your one shot at convincing readers that they need to read your blog post.
However, if you are anything like I was you probably spend less than 2 minutes on your post titles. I’m sure you can come up with a decent post title in two minutes, but honestly, I want more than just decent. I want phenomenal. I want a title that’s so great readers are pushing and shoving to read my post! (Picture Black Friday of the blogging world. Heels flying, shelves knocked over, and really long check-out lines.)
Are you with me? Good because I’m going to break it down for you. I want to give you suggestions for writing better titles and offer you steps for putting those ideas into practice.
Don’t go with your first idea. Don’t even go with your first great idea. If you
want to craft an outstanding blog post title, you need options. Use a thesaurus
to find different adjectives. Reorder your words and find the phrasing that has
the most impact. You’ll often find that your best ideas come after you’ve experimented for a while.
- Make yourself write 10 titles for each blog post. Even if you scraping the bottom of the barrel, do it anyway! The more you write the easier it will become to think of better options.
- Set a timer for 15 mins and just keep writing titles. They don’t have to be perfect. Just write, write, write. At the end pick your favorite and fine tune it if needed.
2. Don’t Mislead your Readers
A good post title gives readers an idea of what your post is about so they know if they are going to be interested or not. You want visitors who enjoy your content and want to come back! If your post title is “7 Ways to Design Your Own Website,” and all you do is promote your friend’s new design business, people are going to be irritated. Readers want bloggers they can trust, so make sure you deliver what your post title promises!
- Always write your post title last. Ask yourself what you want the reader to take away from your post, and then write a title that helps them get there.
- Get a second opinion. Read someone your post title and ask them what type of blog post they would expect. Let them read your post and see how well it matches their expectations.
3. Be Short and Specific
A good blog post title is 8 words or less. You want to give readers the important information, but if you use more than 8 words readers will get distracted before they get to end. Be aware that Twitter and many blog link-ups limit the number of characters you can enter for post titles. If your title is too long, you may end up having to leave off some of those well-crafted words.
However, beware of 1 or 2 word post titles as they often don’t convey enough information. Post titles like “Peace” or “Our Day” are too vague. Replace them with longer post titles like, “Peaceful Morning Reflections” and “Our Day: An Hour-by-Hour Guide”.
- Is every word in you title doing something useful? Is every word necessary? Can you replace any phrases with a single word that means the same thing? Examine every word and make sure it’s the best word available.
- When brainstorming post titles, experiment with a variety of lengths. If your titles tend to be wordy, then make yourself be concise. Likewise if your titles are too vague, practice being more specific.
4. Engage Your Readers
A humorous title will make your readers laugh- “Will Someone Please Make Her Shut Up?
A controversial title will arouse emotion- “One or Twenty: How Many Kids Should You Have?”
An interesting title will pique curiosity- “Confessions of a Disposable Diaper User”
An informative title will answer a question or solve a problem- “5 Ways to Organize Your Prayer Time”
A descriptive title will simply allow a reader to decide if the topic is of interest to them- “10 Heroes for Girls”
Whichever type of title you choose, you want something that is going to grab your reader’s attention.
- Try using keywords like, “Secret,” “Confessions,” “Revealed,” “Easy,” “Quick,” “Organize,” and “How to.” Readers love being drawn into your confidence, and what mom isn’t looking for quick and easy organizing solutions? Also, try using numbers in your post titles. Readers LOVE getting more for their time, so instead of offering one solution to a problem offer 5 or 10!
- Try to find an example of each type of post title in your blog archives. Pick some of your weaker post titles and experiment with how you could make them more engaging for your reader.
Now it’s your turn. What types of post titles stand out to you? What makes you stop and want to read a blog post?
Katherine is a full-time wife and mom who blogs between loads of laundry and dirty dishes. She and her husband Evan have been blessed with two small children and are expecting their third. She enjoys a good card game, cooking real food, and homemade ice cream (with dark chocolate!). You can find Katherine at Proverbs and Pacifiers where she writes about parenting, marriage, and the pursuit of true Wisdom in the midst of lost pacis, spilled milk, and family fun.