Do you want people to read your blog? Blog post titles are the hooks that grab your potential readers by the shoulders and pull them into your content. If they don’t, 80% of your prospects will move onto the next shiny piece of content that catches their attention. Remember the strength of your title drives reader attention.
Good blog post headlines can be very challenging to come up with, especially if you’re incorporating solid SEO tactics. However, your blog post headline is the first thing that people see, and it determines whether people will actually click through to read your post, or scroll past it. Your blog post headline needs to be catchy and draw readers in.
Many bloggers toil over their posts to craft the best content they can and assume that the post will stand on its own. The reality is that it doesn’t. You need a strong blog post title to lure readers in.
Need to work on writing better blog titles for your content has become sacrosanct? It could be the difference between writing great blog content that no one sees, or creating a massive swarm of traffic to your site.
We all know that titles make the difference in whether you read or click over to an article or not — much similar to how the cover of a book looks and if it grabs your attention.
Even more important than the actual content of your article, is the how your title grabs the attention of your audience or people who might see your title in social networks or within search.
5 Blog title guidelines to help you
Here are five tips to help make your blog post titles more effective at attracting readers.
- Provides a benefit for your target market. Put yourself in your customers’ shoes. They’re thinking “Why should I read this post?” “What is in it for me?”
- Contains your keywords. While blog post titles should be written for humans, it’s important to attract spiders to ensure your posts get indexed by search engines.
- Has a sense of urgency. Take a tip from direct marketers and focus on benefit. Think infomercials where the announcer states: Please call within the next hour; our operators are standing by. (Like the operators are leaving before their shift ends.)
- Delivers the goods. If your post’s headline doesn’t provide the information readers expect, it’ll fail. Even worse, you may have trouble getting these readers back again.
- Is short and to the point. Remember readers skim looking for a way to move on. Grab them and reel them in fast.
What’s the best way to learn about headlines?
Check out the magazines at your supermarket checkout counter or at a large magazine stand such as at bus stops, junctions, railways and airports. What pops out at you? Look at magazines that live and die by their newsstand sales because their cover headlines must get passersby to feel that they must have this issue of the magazine. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, Cosmopolitan, People and The National Enquirer are great at this. Here’s a good resource: Pushing Social’s list of resources for title research.
8 Blog post title formulas that work
Take a page from direct marketers who are well practiced in the art of overcoming inertia to get people to take an action. Here are eight blog post title formulas to test on your blog.
- Take a number. While some people complain about the frequency with which bloggers use them, titles featuring numbers do work. That said, be careful not to put all of your data in your headline. While these titles get a lot of retweets, click-throughs tend to be low since readers have the information they need from the tweet and don’t feel compelled to read the story. Here’s a good example, 81 Proven Blog Posts That are popular.
- Teach me. How-tos are powerful. One reason people read blogs is to get more and broader information about topics of interest to them. Let readers know that your post is providing a useful mini-lesson. Here’s a good example from this blog, HOW TO START A BLOG NOW: The Beginners Guide To Setting Up A Blog
- Ask a question. This works well because readers subconsciously answer the question and get drawn in. Here’s a title integrated with a personal question: Which Is the Best WordPress Blog Hosting?
- Are you talking to me? Make your titles personal. Include the word “you” to pull readers in with the sense that you’re talking directly to them. Here’s an example: 20 Questions for Would-be Bloggers – Is Blog Right for You??
- Just say no. Some of my best performing posts are attributable to telling readers not to do something. No one can resist being told that they can’t do something. It just adds to the allure. For example, Don’t Tweet This.
- Take advantage of popular trends or news. Take your pick of pop culture and leverage it to create a wonderful post. Here’s an example of how to use current events, What is new in wordpress 4.3. It works because it turns a terrible event into a learning situation for readers.
- Be a contrarian. Be controversial and go against the majority. Realize that while this is useful for gathering comments, they may be filled with strong emotions.
- Make an unusual association. Make an unexpected connection that gets readers thinking.
For your blog post titles to improve, you must keep practicing and testing them. Use online tools like Coschedule Headline Analyzer to Write Headlines That Drive Traffic, Shares, And Search Results.
Like the rest of your writing, your titles will improve with practice. The reality is that you can’t just have the same title for every post or it’s boring. While your post’s permalink title must remain the same, you can use Twitter to test your title ideas and then tweak your title. Just don’t change the permalink!
There are many, many other ways to write a headline. Whatever strategy you choose, don’t make a decision too quickly. Take time to brainstorm. Write dozens or even hundreds of headlines. You never know exactly what you want to say before you say it, so giving yourself plenty of choices is the surest way to arrive at the best, most powerful headline.
Do you have any blog title suggestions? If so, please add them in the comment section below.