One of the first things I figured out when I became a blogger is that the title to your post can make or break you. I read several blogs each day, and some of the best posts I’ve ever read have not had many views, and it’s because the title sucked.
When I’m in a hurry and don’t put a lot of thought into my article titles, it shows in the views. When I take my time to write something better, it shows in the views. If you are using Twitter to spread the word about your blog, this detail is even more critical since your readers are bombarded with a fresh stream of tweets constantly.
I learned from http://www.copyblogger.com/ that the 80/20 rule also applies to your post title. On average, 8 out of 10 people will read a headline, but only 2 out of 10 will go on to read the content. If we want our posts to be noticed, now is the time to up our game!
So, how do you write a title to your post that will grab
your reader in a choke hold and not let go?
Below are some tips that have helped me. If you have some tips that have worked for you, please leave them in a comment below so we can all learn together!
Keep it short
Keeping your title short is so important! If you have to, write it, and then slice it in half, just like you do your post. You definitely want to leave room for a retweet or two on Twitter, so try to keep it to 120 characters at most, preferably shorter. No need to be clever and intellectual. Just keep it simple.
Do not ask a yes or no question in the title
Question titles are fine, just as long as they aren’t yes or no questions. If you use a yes or no question, people will answer the question, but not click on your link and read your content. I learned this the hard way with the post: “Is Auto-Tweet a Dirty Word?” So many people sent me tweets answering the question by saying yes or no, but the article only has a little over 2,000 views. It would have had a lot more views with a different title.
List titles work great
People love lists. They like to know the “top 10 reasons” or the “5 ways to do..” It lets them know right up front what to expect in the article and the length. You’ll also attract all those detail oriented statistic maniacs out there that love to read lists. (opps, did I just say that?)
Use a current event in your title
My twitter friend, @BuzzEdition, is a master of this technique. When a topic is hot, you have a very limited amount of time to get your content out there, but if the timing is right, and you incorporate it into your title, you’ll be golden!
Be very specific
Be as specific as you can in as few words as you can. Here is an example of the difference:
Ways You Can Look Thinner
5 Easy Tips to Look Thinner Tonight
See the difference?
Don’t be misleading in your title
How many times have we all seen a great title and clicked on the link only to be disappointed when the content does not live up to the title? Sometimes, when trying to come up with a good title, we can accidentally be misleading. Be wary of that. Think long term. You want those visitors to return to your site, and in order to build rapport, the title and the content must match.
Use power adjectives
There is a certain magic in words, and although it might take a little time to tap into it, once you do, you will have the world at your fingertips. I found a handy little list of power adjectives thanks to http://ezinearticles.com. I use http://thesaurus.reference.com almost every day to find some of these delicious adjectives.
Adjectives vs. Power Adjectives
* Appealing – attractive, alluring, fascinating
* Best – excellent, unsurpassed, paramount
* Cool – trendy, fashionable, hip
* Different – unusual, exclusive, special
* Easy – effortless, trouble-free, user-friendly
* Fabulous – tremendous, magnificent, remarkable
* Handy – functional, ideal, well-suited
* Improved – enhanced, superior, refined
* Leading – first-rate, top-notch, supreme
* Mouthwatering – tasty, savory, succulent
* New – innovative, fresh, inventive
* Powerful – forceful, persuasive, compelling
* Reliable – dependable, steadfast, trustworthy
* Safe – secure, fully guarded, guaranteed
* Unique – distinctive, rare, matchless
* Vivid – vibrant, brilliant, stunning
* Wonderful – magnificent, amazing, astonishing
Use emotional (right brained) words instead of rational (left brained words)
Here are some examples of the contrast between right brained and left brained words. See if you can feel the difference.
Left Brain Words vs. Right Brain Words
* Beneficial – Good For
* Demise – Death
* Gratification – Enjoyment
* Immediately – Right Now
* Fortunate – Lucky
* Learn – Find Out
* Superior – Better
* Intelligent – Bright
* Observed – Seen
* Sufficient – Enough
Did you know that The Huffington Post uses real-time testing to write better titles/headlines? You can view this article HERE.
I hope these tips help you as much as they’ve helped me. Good luck writing your next post title!
I would like to give photo credit for the colorful magic marker image above to http://www.flickr.com/photos/don3rdse.
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