What’s in a name? That which we call a blog by any other would smell as sweet.
Or would it? No matter how captivating the content of your posts, if no one is clicking on them, there isn’t much of a point. Choosing a title can be a pain, but savvy writers know all too well that it can make or break your views.
Here are a few of my personal do’s and don’t’s:
1. A reader clicks on this post…you won’t believe what happens next!
Are your eyes rolling back into your head? This is a don’t for me. It’s a please don’t. When I see a title like this, I immediately assume you’re going to give me a virus. That, or I’m going to be led to a page that’s going to make me feel compelled to delete my now dirty history. This kind of title makes me cringe, not only because it’s so overused, but because of the message it sends. It makes me feel like a dog having a biscuit dangled over its head. “Here, girl! See the treat? Want the treat? Come get it!” And then I run after it like an idiot only to discover that the biscuit was actually a used tissue full of boogies. Nice try, I’m not falling for that one a seventh time.
2. Magnum opus for R.R.7 in Budapest
What’s this one going to be about? Go ahead, try and guess. You can’t, which is exactly my point. As writers, we agonize over titles. We want to seem clever, but not smug. Approachable, but not overbearing. Most of all, I’d wager that the majority of us want to seem creative, and that’s great, but if your title doesn’t give readers any clue what your post is about, they’re probably not going to click on it. The other issue here is that it makes your post less searchable. Obscure titles are fine if you already have a well established following, but if you don’t, probably better to save your creativity for the content. You don’t want to come off as grandiloquent. Darn it, there I go again…
3. Top Ten Tips to Write Number 3 in your List Post
I feel like people are often split 50/50 on how they feel about this one. Is it the most creative title format? No, but when I’m offered tips for anything at all, you better believe my clueless self is going to click. Top Ten Tips for Cleaning Your Ears. Click. Top Ten Tips for Cooking with Vegemite. Click. I don’t even like vegemite, but now I feel like maybe I’ve just been using it wrong. These titles are popular for a reason. They get right to the point and make you feel like you’re going to get a quick hack for something. They also imply the use of a format that is going to be accessible and easy to read. Everybody likes that.
4. Amazing: watch this writer create a satisfying ending to her post!
Appealing to emotion is always a do in my opinion. Emotion is the essence of the human experience. It doesn’t matter if your title makes readers scared, excited, curious, or furious. If you can engage them emotionally, they’re much more likely to give you a click. “The title of your blog post is keeping you from getting views” is made up of one (1) cup of curiosity and just a dash of fear. Sure, it might be a little manipulative, but it works.
This is but a small sampling of the good, the bad, and the ugly. What kind of title makes you cringe? Which ones make you click? As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts!