First impressions are lasting impressions and that’s why blog post titles are almost as important what you write within the post itself. Your blog post titles should attention grabbers that interest readers enough to compel them to click the title link and read the full post. Best practice for crafting targeted titles is use of the active voice and strong present-tense verbs.
Short, keyword rich, optimized titles
It’s keyword rich titles that peak interest and draw traffic to your post. Targeted readers, who use keyword searches in search engines and social media sites to locate content of interest them are more likely to:
- become regular readers and subscribers;
- submit comments on your posts;
- backlink to your posts in posts of their own;
- share the URL with others via social media and social networks.
Your title appears in three key spots (browsers, search result pages, external websites) and it is the single most important on-page SEO element (behind overall content). SeoMoz advises the best practice for title length is to use less than 70 characters in your title, as this is the limit Google displays in search results. That’s why it’s also important to craft a key word rich title that’s easy for targeted readers to find. The blog post title that asks a question may be the exact answer that targeted readers will search for to find your article.
Title Templates and Formulas
In How to Write Magnetic Headlines Brian Clark provides an illuminating statistic about the true power of titles: On average, 8 out of 10 people will read headline copy, but only 2 out of 10 will read the rest. He also provides 10 Sure-Fire Headline Formulas That Work and 7 More Sure-Fire Headline Templates That Work that can be used over and over again.
Writing effective blog headlines is a skill that develops through practice. Once a draft headline (blog title) has been created then assessing it by answering additional questions makes good sense too.
- Is it specific?
- Is it focused?
- Is it credible?
- Does it touch a nerve?
- Is it easy to understand?
- Does it provoke curiosity?
- Does it invite conversation?
- Does it have a newsy element?
- Does it deliver a complete message?
- Does it make a unique claim or statement?
- Does it offer a compelling benefit for reading?
Test Audience Approach to Crafting Titles
In Blog Readers: A Writer’s Focus Group blogger Kathryn McCullough shares the results of inviting her readers to participate in the selection of a title for her memoir. The test audience feedback is informative. Some readers offered insightful suggestions; some offered detailed feedback. Others simply weighed in on whether or not they liked the working title.
Headline Categories Approach to Crafting Titles
There are many approaches to crafting targeted titles to draw traffic to your post. In The Copywriter’s Handbook, copywriter extraordinaire Bob Bly provides eight time-tested headline categories. I find it helpful to check this list of possible headline categories before I write a blog title so maybe you will benefit from doing the same thing too.
Do you decide on the titles for your post before or after you write the post?