If there is something about blogging or the community that you are wondering about, feel free to reach out via my Contact page and your question might be featured next month. Everyone would be answering YOUR question. Take advantage of it. If you do not feel comfortable shooting me an email, you can also leave your question at the bottom of your comment here today.
If you have missed the previous installment of the Blogging Tips, or just want to refresh your memory, feel free to check out:
JANUARY – rules; an introduction.
FEBRUARY – tells you how to get the most comments.
MARCH – gives you tips on how to promote your content.
APRIL – gives great advice to newbies and reminds us of the basics.
MAY – reveals what to do to gain a following and what not to do if you do not want to lose the audience you already have.
JUNE – showcases the most popular niches if you are trying to pick one for yourself, or if you are looking to re-brand.
JULY – presents some surprising trends related to WP usage. See if you can relate.
AUGUST – divulges how much time we spend on WP so you can adjust the length of your posts accordingly.
SEPTEMBER – reports the frequency with which most people post.
I hope you find some things there that will help make YOUR blogging world a better place.
How do you come up with the titles for your posts? Is there a method to this madness?
The answer that I was repeatedly given was:
- “They just come to me” (i.e. random inspiration)
While we prefer to remain creative, we also try to make sure that out titles:
- sum up the post/ highlight the theme/ drive the point home
- ask the question we want Readers to answer
- are catchy (simple/ straightforward; punny; reference common expressions, song lyrics or quotes)
- are SEO optimized (include keywords)
- are not too long so they do not appear shortened on other devices and/or browser searches
- intrigue the readers/ create mystery/ express uncertainty
- fit in with other titles in the same category (ex.: my acronyms before the titles/ Throwback Thursday, etc.)
Sometimes our titles are taken directly from the body of our post. They remind me of a bow you put neatly on a present. It needs to look presentable, and it needs to make people want to open the present.
Lily made the perfect comparison. To her, titles are like book covers. We do judge a book by its cover. If the cover is blank (tells us nothing about the book), we might be reluctant to pick it up. Therefore, we should make the titles POP and give the reader SOME idea as to what the content is about.
As promised, I have done some research on the topic of blog titles. There is some since involved, but I have to admit that I do not always follow it. If you are serious about stepping up your title game, be sure to follow the advice below.
- Including (odd) numbers in your titles will not only tell the reader what the post is about, but it will also reveal that your post is broken down for fast/ “on-the-go” reading. (Titles with odd numbers perform better.)
- Adding powerful adjectives can make more people click on your post. In the sea of blog posts, you need to promise BIGGER and BETTER. Well, actually, you need to provide THE BEST.
- If you think your post might help someone solve their problem, include “who”, “why”, “where” or “how” in your title.
- Focus on the audience for this particular post, not your whole blog. Who do you want to read THIS post? Chances are your audience is split into smaller audiences who prefer different themes.
- Keep your titles short. That way you can make the quickest impact on the potential reader.
- Incorporate keywords. It’s good for your readers (they know what to expect), and it is also good for SEO.
Number or Trigger word + Adjective + Keyword + Promise = The Ultimate Headline Formula
Did you know, that on average, five times as many people read the headlines as they read the body of the post? That statistic can be even worse. Think about all these times you posted a link to your blog on Twitter. Did a lot of your followers from that platform come visit you here on WP? Most likely not.
Brian Clark says that 8 out of 10 people will read your title, but only 2 out of 10 will actually click on it. How crazy is that? Because of this, he recommends that you spend the same amount of time you spend on writing your post on coming up with a title.
Surprisingly enough, we should be careful about asking questions, since any one of them can be answered with a “no”. Instead of “Can A Photographer Truly Capture Love?”, it is recommended that we write “The Impossible Task of Capturing Love in Photos: How These Photographers Pulled It Off.”
Incorporate keywords in the beginning of the titles, but do not stuff too many of those in there. It is said that people pay attention to the first three and last three words of the title, so you might consider making your titles 6-words long.
Use negative words (“no”, “without”, “stop”), since they receive more shares.
Be sure not to repeat the same titles on your blog.
Use fewer commas and more hyphens (-), pipes (|) and underscores (_). [This is slightly controversial. In the past, I was told to use colons and dashes. Now, it seems like pipes are all the rage.
Remember not to:
Make the title longer than 69 characters (including spaces) so that they do not get cut off in the search engine list.
Keep the titles 8-14 words long to increase your chances of Twitter shares and Facebook Likes.
Use stop words like “by”, “it”, “as”.
Some resources that might prove invaluable to you: (they are free and do not require an account creation)
Images – Yay or Nay?
Do you include them in your posts? Why/ why not? Do the pictures in other people’s posts (or lack thereof) influence your decision whether you will read their content or not? Why/ why not?
Leave your answers in the comment section and come back in a month to see what other people said. (Or just check back here routinely. Or both. Whatever works for you.)
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