BT: Answer me this: Title perfection + The importance of images.

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.

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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.

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SEPTEMBER’S question:

How do you come up with the titles for your posts? Is there a method to this madness?

COMMUNITY’S answers:

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.”

Remember to:

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)

Blog Title Generator

Title-Maker

Title Generator (provides you with keyword titles in different categories)

Headline Analyzer

Hemingway Sharethrough (title analyzer)

Emotional Marketing Value Headline Analyzer

BuzzSumo (gives you other people’s titles related to your keyword and shows how they performed)

Headline Wizard (mostly for selling stuff)

Blog Title Generator (gives you ideas for your posts, keywords and titles)

Upworthy Generator (to come up with potentially viral content)

OCTOBER’S question:

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.)

Stay golden,

signature5c0482f66325e1

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86 thoughts on “BT: Answer me this: Title perfection + The importance of images.

Add yours

  1. I like to include images. They break up large bodies of text. Reading on an electronic device is very different to reading a book and pictures make it easier for a reader to keep their place. I also think it looks more interesting as on a screen, large bodies of text are daunting.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Just FYI, my additional research on titles has been added. Feel free to check it out if you’re interested.

      Thank you for your answer regarding images. I don’t use my phone for things like that, but when I do, I get easily overwhelmed by the length of an article. The more pictures there are, the longer it gets. My fingers gets tired of scrolling. Weird, but I look at length and not text breaks.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. My research regarding title optimization has been added. Just FYI.

      I definitely see the value in implementing images. But I have a basic account and I worry I would run out of space quickly. What do you have to say to that?

      Liked by 1 person

  2. You know me, I use the actual pictures that I have taken myself for the effect of the post or to show off my neck of the woods. But, in general, I like to use images for context and mood. Sometimes a random image search inspires me and I end up writing about it. I always include pics as I feel without, the post is too bland and not very click-worthy.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. It is a mess to deal with sometimes, I have reverted to only one photo which seems to not cause to much fooling around. Overall, I am not a fan of the whole way of posting, but what can you do? Glad to hear from you.

        Liked by 1 person

            1. I know what happens, because I’ve read some posts on this topic. You are then unable to upload anything else. You can go to the library and delete some, but that will leave a broken image link in your post, which is bad for SEO, so you would have to go back to your posts one by one and delete those from there. Sounds tedious.

              Liked by 1 person

                    1. All good here, flat out at work, so my mind is zapped by the time I get home so I have been away from writing which is what I said my last post. Then, on top of that our puppy has been ill, so my mind has been all over the place a of late. Thanks for asking.

                      Liked by 1 person

  3. Glad you liked my quote!

    I make a featured image for my posts with the title–for branding, for aesthetic consistency in my blog, and to urge the reader to want to click, hopefully! For a long time, though, I simply used a relevant image for the featured image with no editing. Something I’ve done for a long time, though, is include images throughout the post, placing them in spots where something I’m saying in that paragraph somehow connects to the picture. Some research out there shows that seeing images with text makes the text’s content stick better in people’s minds. Also, in the digital age especially, images just make a post more dynamic and interesting to look at. I wish regular books had more pictures, honestly. The old books I’ve read that actually included illustrations–Alice in Wonderland, David Copperfield, Little Women–were really fun, and I remember some of the pictures to this day.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I can’t imagine spending so long on my titles. People who want to read my blog will read it anyways, people who don’t, won’t. If I’ve something specific to share I’ll probably title it accordingly, but when it’s just rambling or nonsense I won’t. For the specific I want to share it may be helpful to spend more time titling, but it probably won’t ever happen.

    Images – yes. I don’t always, or often don’t, or rarely do, but I like at least a couple of images in a post. I often don’t because I know that not all my readers are sighted, therefore I try put the images at the beginning or end or featured so that they won’t miss out, and include in the alt text what the image is about.

    Love, light and glitter

    It feels like the weekend to me, I know it’s not, so happy weekend!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I know. It was truly eye-opening to read about splitting my blogging time 50/50 between writing the post and the title. Like you, I can usually count on the same group of people reading (or not reading) my stuff. I like to think that they would no matter how atrocious my title would be. It’s because they know me and my blog. However, what about newcommers? Since they do not know me, they do not know what my posts are about. And also, I think it’s helpful to have good titles for organic searches. I don’t think anyone lands on my blog if they Google something. But maybe one day they will.

      Is that what “Alt text” is about? I thought it’s the description that matters. Also, I know some bloggers who would write in their post: “Above is a photo [and describe it].”

      It seems to me like we should be further along than Tuesday. Have a great week and weekend!

      Like

  5. People who include too many pictures are a big No-No to me.
    It takes ages to load.
    And 9 out of 10 times it’s food from all kind of angles. 😩

    I am not sure about how legal it is to use random pictures of the net. I tried to avoid doing that these days.
    So I just try to take more random pics hoping I will be able to use them in a blog.
    Like that yoga posing monkey 😄

    Liked by 2 people

    1. There are some websites that offer free photos. That way you can use it without having to ask for permission/ give them credit. (ex.: Pixabay.com)

      However, I know what you mean. I am not sure about all the gifs, etc.

      There was a time when I thought of taking my own photos, but then I realized that:
      1. 9/10 I do not have time.
      2. 9/10 I do not have inspiration.
      3. 9/10 the photo I take has nothing to do with what I post about.
      4. I do not want to fill up my phone with useless photos. (I generally take VERY few photos.)

      And the free account on WP has limited storage space. I’ve read about people running out. And then what? I won’t upgrade just for that. Should I just reuse the same pictures? Wouldn’t that be boring? Or once I run out, should I go and delete the oldest ones knowing that whoever was supposed to look at it already did? It seems like a lot of unnecessary work to me.

      You bring up a good point regarding loading. I have not thought of that. Food for thought. Thanks!

      Like

  6. I think including an image is often a welcome relief to the eyes, despite not doing it much lately. As you know, I write late, and trying to find a photo that goes with what is usually an abstract idea/emotion while already half asleep can be… well, trying. Still, I think including a little something beyond your basic wall of text makes it a bit more friendly.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I always include at least one image in my posts—they are more likely to be clicked on…and they provide visual context. Reading a jewelry review is good, better with a photo, and best with me photographed wearing the jewelry.

    Liked by 2 people

        1. That’s the part that I cannot reconcile. They tell you that longer posts make you appear more credible in the eyes of the almighty Google. And that short content does the opposite. And then you mix the traffic you get from short posts into it and I am clueless.

          Liked by 1 person

                1. I guess that is why this whole SEO business ain’t really my thing. It would be different if I was getting organic traffic. My readers are other bloggers 99% of the time, so I think incorporating what is important to them (if it works for you, of course) is a good idea.

                  Liked by 1 person

    1. Hmmm… I thought of blogs as books – no need for pictures. I like to keep my posts analytical. Why I explain my opinion, I leave room for others to share theirs. Pictures would only make the writing more … biased.

      Like

  8. One of the hardest things for me is coming up with titles, I usually write without one then when I am done just find something which bests captures the spirit of the post….

    Images: quick question is this about featured images or generally having images in your post

    Most people are visual beings and images am sure trigger something in the visual cortex of the brain keeping us engaged and probably give a focal point in your recollection of a post you ran into.
    And there’s a bonus that you can pin your images on places like Pinterest to drive traffic back to your blog.

    I wouldn’t say they are entirely necessary but they do add a bit of colour and a well-placed image breaks the monotony of scrolling through a chunk of endless text.
    Sometimes though on technical posts or How To type posts, images showing what someone should be doing or how things should look might be required.

    As for featured images, analytics show that people are more likely to click on posts with media i.e. blog links with images than just a link with no supporting images.
    ~B

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah, Pinterest. Thanks for reminding me. Interesting…

      And yes, I know about that research. I’m just trying to verify it because what my readers think matters to me more than random figures. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I always have a featured image somehow related to what the post is about whenever I write a new blog post. As many other bloggers here have pointed out, we process around 60% of the world visually and for most people, a post with an image is much more appealing than plain text. Images also make for a good hook.
    As for images in the body of the post, I seldom do that because I don’t think creative write-ups require images in between- it just hampers the reading. But in my opinion, images and gifs are favourable for non-creative posts- like how-to ones, tips related to writing/blogging/any other activity, news or fact-based posts, travel posts, et cetera. Rather than hampering, visual stimulus helps the content by emphasising important points and giving clearer instructions in the case of how-to posts.

    Also, I had no idea people spend so much time coming up with titles.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for sharing your views.
      I agree that images work better with some categories than others.
      You know how you read a post and there are ads every other paragraph? That reminds me of posts with pictures. It detracts from the body. But I will have to rethink my perceptions.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, I agree. A post peppered with ads or images is definitely distracting and annoying. It keeps you from appreciating the content itself. Images work wonders when done in moderation- and the definition of moderation changes with the category of the post you’re writing.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. I don’t use pictures unless they are needed to explain the blog post. I have switched to using generic black and white featured images because I like the way they look. It’s easier to find free images like this that fit the recommended size.

    I think of WordPress mainly as a writing medium, but I do get sucked in by pictures sometimes when I’m reading others’ blogs.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have the same vision for WP, but I think things are changing. People use it like Twitter now for everyday “Hello” messages. People use it as Instagram by posting an image and the shortest of captions. It’s weird.

      Like

  11. Also, great info on titles. I’m not sure about the math on spending half the time it takes to write a post, writing the title. I can’t see myself spending an hour and a half on a title, but maybe I should.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for taking the time to read about that. I found the info very eye-opening. Titles are usually things that don’t take longer than a moment. I might step up my game now that I know all that.

      Like

  12. A solid post and terrific read Goldie.

    Yes l do use images and mostly only to add extra oompphf to the story l am telling. Most of the times l use images [free from] Pixabay or ImgFlip or l use my own branding [designs l have had made] or my own photos. I strongly believe in using images to break up sleep text as l call it as in too much black and white can make me sleepy.

    But not all posts do have images or even at times different images – certain series will have branded images because readers know the series and follow the series irrespective sometimes of whatever you use.

    Titles – yes l try and think of good titles but again this is down to a reader reading style as to whether they are influenced by titles, by images by series or by following – each person has a different approach.

    For me – because l never select from the internal reader and only read direct off blogs l tend to go first for visual image and then l check title. Failing that if l am specifically visiting a blog on my weekly catch up [which is basically meaning l read 5 blogs a day every day, direct from their blog], l don’t even really worry myself with image or title l simply look at the last three posts and read content, sometimes l stay for 4 posts and then l am moving on again.

    Quality post Goldie, nicely done 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If you never go by reader, how do you follow specific blogs? I mean, do you have specific blogs bookmarked?
      I go by the Reader, but I like opening the posts up on people’s blogs, too. I like to see the visuals of the layout, etc. The Reader takes all that away. No font color, no justification. It’s wild.

      Yes, like I mentioned before – I thought of creating different images for different series, but I thought that would make thing boring. I use my title acronyms for that.

      I’m thoroughly enjoying all the brainstorming in the comment section. Giving me a lot to think about.

      Thanks! Stay golden!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes l have a system where l follow my readership, but don’t like the automated’ness of the reader – l prefer to visit a person’s blog as in their actual blog and read directly from their blog as opposed to the reader – it’s easier for me, and l think it makes it more of a deliberation to attend to blogs rather than purely using the reader ….. however l do not have a mobile phone – l say this because l believe the reader is easier for mobile users to access blogs – l use a PC desktop only and so accessing blogs directly via pc is way easier for me.

        It is impossible to read everyone that follows us, but l have very specific blogs that l follow earnestly.

        Liked by 1 person

          1. We seem to be a rare breed Goldie – so many do. But my difference is ha ha l have a Dor 1360 mobile phone, l think if it had an internet connection it might just fail anway.

            I keep debating on getting a mobile phone, but for the life of me, l honestly can’t see what l would use it for … my other half Suze has a fancy Smartphone and uses it for everything except hard core reading – go figure, l guess it’s what people are used to 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

            1. I’d recommend not forcing yourself into anything. I battled against getting a newer phone. I still use it much less than other people. Mainly for calling and texting. All the other Internet-related things I prefer to do on my computer. I hate the screen being so small. The keyboard being tiny. Why make yourself so miserable?

              Liked by 1 person

              1. And that’s exactly my sentiments …. on my old brick phone, l have six contacts – 6 – one of which is Suze, one is my mother, the others are just numbers’ not social friends or anything … l certainly don’t need a mobile phone for friends, and l use the landline more than the mobile because of poor connectivity where we are on my provider … my pc awards me a large screen, a comfortable keyboard and if needs be all the sociality l could want via the various platforms and it is this exactly why l ask myself … right Rory, so what do you need a fancy phone for exactly??’

                Liked by 1 person

  13. Fantastic wrap-up on the title subject. It definitely plays a huge role in getting people to click on the post. While I could probably go fancy with catchy titles like “Took the Orient Express to perfection” for a review of The Murder on the Orient Express, I think my basic titles is something I’ll stick with for uniformity hahah

    As for images, you already know by now but I definitely use pictures to showcase the book edition/comics I read and give people an idea of what I read. It’s a small reason, among others, why I don’t read ebooks or review them hahah Great post as always!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I guess some of us choose to stick to what we like even if the science tells us to do something else. I’m real weary of the pictures, but I am considering it. I do want to improve, after all. Whatever “improve” might mean.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Thank you so much for sharing this post and valuable sources of help with creating powerful titles! When it comes to images, I rather don’t like them in the body of the post as they distract my attention when reading a text. I believe it’s much more important to focus on a great main image for a post in order to catch reader’s attention.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. oh this is a FANTASTIC series! Ty for sharing all this helpful info! I’m also a “They just come to me” kinda person though if something seems like a good idea I make it a recurrent featured. So you could also say I get inspirations from previous posts as well. Now off to read all the other posts I missed in this series!

    Like

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Rachael Ritchey

Worlds of Fiction

from famine to feast

recovery and growth, things that interest me, occasional deep-thoughts, and semi-regular poetry

Skeptical Heartism

Views from a skeptical heart

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