Effective Titles: 3 Rules for Writing Them

Steven14 responsesBlogging
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In the blogging world it’s all about the titles. Your titles show up in the search engine indexes, on your Facebook page and Tweets, everywhere you post your link your post title shows up. It’s the first thing people see and if it doesn’t immediately engage the searcher they’re going to move on. But catchy titles aren’t enough.

write a good blog post title

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Here are three rules for writing effective titles.

  • Use a keyword: This should be a no-brainer but you’d be surprised how many people don’t even think about this. If you want your article to come up in the index, then you have to use the keywords that people are searching for. And it should be somewhere near the front of the title.

    I can’t stress enough how important it is to learn to do good keyword research. It doesn’t matter if you’re at the top of the index if only 3 people searched for that term over the last year. And it’s not always possible to knock out the competition on those keywords that have millions of searches.

    Instead, gather together a list of 100 or more keywords and start competing for total traffic. For example, instead of trying to compete for that one keyword that got 3,000 searches, put together a list of 10 or 20 keywords that total 3,000 searches.

  • Tell the reader what they’re going to learn: Forget about trying to be catchy or cute and give your readers a clear indication of what they’re going to learn when they read your article. They’re looking for information – let them know you have it. If they have to stare at that title and guess what it’s about they’re just going to move on.
  • Tell them how it will help: Which would you rather read:
    • Top 10 Blogging Tips
    • Top 10 Tips to Help You Get More Traffic
    • My 5 Top Secret Tips to Get the Kind of Traffic That Buys

    Personally, I’d click on the last one. I’ve already read enough generic blogging tips to last me a lifetime and I’m up to my ears in tips about generating more traffic – I don’t even have time to try them all. But, if someone told me they had a way to generate the kind of traffic that opens up their wallet when they get to my blog, now this I gotta see.

    That last title also works on a few other levels:

    1. It’s personalized – these are MY top secret tips. I’m already using them and they work for me, so I know they’ll work for you, too.
    2. These are my SECRET tips. What happens as soon as you tell someone you have a secret to share? They lean in closer and give you their full attention!
    3. These are my TOP secret tips: This pushes the “secret” thing a little further. Not only are these secret tips, but they’re secrets that I wouldn’t share with just anybody. You better hurry up and read this article before I change my mind and take it down.

So, you see, you don’t have to work at playing word games with your titles. All you have to do is tell the reader what it’s about and how it’s going to help. And don’t forget your keywords!

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  1. @mlarcari

    Not entirely sure I agree entirely; I certainly think that using keywords to generate search hits is essential, but many people prefer ‘plain vanilla’ titles to overly personalised titles. For me, the middle title, ‘Top 10 Tips to Help You Get More Traffic’ is the best as it is quite clear and specific about what the article is offering and suggests that it will be more fact-based.

    Thanks or the article though – good food for thought!

    1. Well, it all comes down to trying different variations and seeing what converts best for your own niche…

    2. It could be a matter of how new the reader is to the topic. At this point, I tend to be like Steven, I’ve read so many blogging tips that I don’t tend to click on articles that just list 10 tips to get more traffic. But the last title would definitely be enticing for me.

      When I started blogging, the middle title probably would have worked well, but I still would have been compelled to click on the last title even as a beginning blogger.

      You may not be able to please everyone with your title, but Steven is right, see what works to get you the most traffic.

    3. It always goes down to this: test, test, test…

  2. Great advice and excellent illustrations of effective and even more effective titles. Titles are our best bet for getting readers so the more powerful the title, the more traffic we should get.

    Thanks for sharing your top tips with us, Steven!

    1. Thanks for your comment Carolyn. I can’t put enough emphasis on how important crafting amazing titles is!

  3. Jon

    Some great advice.

    I take exception to one point. A “catchy or cute” title can be just as effective, but it has to get people to want to read it, and it also depends on how you are marketing it.

    I will not try to turn this into an advertisement by giving my title, but the title to my book has probably been the biggest factor in its success, and I have sold almost 10,000 copies.

    And not that you were wrong, just that you used an absolute.

    Great list, though. Very useful information.

    1. Congratulations on your book sales

  4. Delia

    Hey, how come the title of this very post is not optimized the way you recommended? Just sayin’ :)

    I actually liked this post very much and will use your tips and share it with my fans! One cool tip I like to add is to try and incorporate “your” rather than “my” – it makes it all about your readers, not you, which is really nice!

    1. Thanks for the nice words Delia! Hey this post title doesn’t follow this advice because… Well… I don’t know why :D

  5. Wow…I have learned something new just by reading your article!! Superb!! I couldn’t agree more with you. I have been bombarded with so much tips I’m up to my ears. And what I want is something that can bring good result and not a bunch of hot air talks. Like I said on Twitter, that’s where I found you. Not only I retweeted your other information, I also bookmarked your site. I’ll be coming back for more and again thank you very much!

    1. Wow, thank you very much for the nice words Angela. This is truly appreciated. And I’ll do my best to keep providing useful information

  6. Chioma

    Thank you Steven,
    I stumbled on your site sometime last week and i must say i have learned alot already considering that i know nothing about internet marketing, though am determined to learn.

    I like the article and the advised will be very useful as i plan to make something out of the internet.

    I will apply these adivece and be happy to share it, in future.

    Thank you.

    1. Thanks a lot for your comment Chioma, I appreciate it.

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