3 Reasons That Your Post Titles Aren’t Making You Rich and Famous
The title is the single most important aspect of any blog post. Neglect writing good titles, and you might as well pack up and go home, because all of your blogging efforts will amount to pretty much jack.
Remember this: Your title gets read far more often that your whole article does. For every one visitor that comes to your site and reads your blog post, probably another ten (or twenty or fifty) have seen your title floating around somewhere – in Google SERPs, in an article directory, shared on Facebook, wherever. Your title spreads out across the web and can wash up in some unexpected places.
The question is, how many people feel compelled to click that title and read your article?
If you’re not getting the traffic love that your blog deserves, it’s highly probable that your post titles have something to do with it. And if your titles aren’t working, my guess is that it’s for one of the following three reasons . . .
Reason 1: Your titles don’t tell prospective readers what they will get
With such mind-boggling volumes of information available online, web users have evolved into ultra-selective consumers. We know what we like, what we want and what we need, and we actively filter out all data that doesn’t tick one of those boxes. There simply aren’t enough hours in the day to read web content that doesn’t offer us something.
So convincing someone to read your blog article is essentially a transaction.
They give you time – a chance to impress them (and later, maybe sell something to them). You give them value – something that they can use, profit from or simply enjoy.
Your post title, therefore, needs to clearly state what value the reader will get from the article. If value isn’t apparent at first glance, the transaction has failed.
Don’t use abstract metaphors. Don’t try to be cryptic, witty and mysterious. Most of the time, writing for the web isn’t supposed to be an exercise in literary acrobatics.
It’s about providing information – useful information – in a concise, straightfoward and highly engaging manner.
So tell it like it is. Is your article going to solve a problem? Is it going to give someone a few chuckles? Use the title of your blog post to explain what a prospective reader can expect to get, in exchange for some precious minutes of their time. Don’t simply hope that people will take a leap of faith into the unknown, because 9 times out of 10 they won’t.
Reason 2: Your titles don’t inspire emotion
If the title of your blog post makes someone laugh, or makes them smile, or piques their curiosity, they’re much more likely to bother reading the rest of the article.
Which is all well and good, but I personally think you can get a lot more traction cultivating “negative” emotions, rather than positive ones.
Fear, anger, skepticism. A small dose of these feelings can really grab people by the proverbial balls and drag them – kicking and screaming – into your blog audience.
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For example, consider these hypothetical post titles and how people might respond to them.
8 Telltale Signs That Your Blog is Doomed to Fail
Fear: “Oh sh*t, is this going to happen to me? I better read the article and find out”.
How to Sell Your Blog for 10 Million Dollars
Skepticism: “WTF, this can’t be true. But I better read the article, just to make sure”.
WordPress Bloggers Get Laid More Often Than Drupal Bloggers
Anger: “You bastard! I’m going to read your article now so I can start a flame war in the comments section”.
Of course, any outlandish claims you make in the title are going to sound pretty stupid if you can’t actually substantiate them in your article. Getting in people’s faces is a great way to generate a bit of buzz, but don’t forget that your credibility is on the line. Spice up the truth as much as possible, but refrain from writing utter BS that you can’t deliver on.
Reason 3: Your titles aren’t search engine optimized
I’ve argued before that keyword obsession does more harm than good for aspiring bloggers. Blindly following every SEO writing technique under the sun will simply destroy your creativity and impress no-one at all.
Having said that, the title of your blog post is still an important piece of real estate when it comes to bringing in search traffic. More than anything else you write, the title can help to get your article found in search engines. So keep these basic pointers in mind:
If you are targeting a specific keyword or search phrase with your blog post, use it in your title. If it’s not included in the title then don’t bother trying to optimize the rest of the article.
Put your keyword(s) as close to the beginning of the title as possible. If you’re targeting the search phrase “painting your own home”, then the second title will be more effective than the first:
Beginner Tips and Ideas for Painting Your Own Home
Painting Your Own Home – Tips and Ideas for Beginners
Don’t make your titles longer than 70 characters (including spaces). This is the maximum length that will be displayed in Google SERPs, and anything longer will get chopped off at the end, which looks scrappy and unprofessional.
Follow basic etiquette with your post titles. Capitalize all main words, don’t use periods (full stops) or symbols and avoid stupid internet speak. This won’t have a huge influence on your search rankings, but it will definitely make your article appear cleaner and more authoritative. Have a look at these two examples – which looks more appealing to you?
Simple Tips for Writing Better Titles
Simple tipz for writing better titles. lol :P
Over to you, bloggers. Got any ideas for writing a killer post title? Let us know in the comments section below.