You don’t have to write your title. (Image source)
The title of a blog post can determine the success or failure of the article. Bloggers want to write captivating headlines that grab attention and encourage sharing. It’s not always easy to write great titles. However, it is crucial that the copy meets quality standards.
Many times, readers see the title of an article in search results or via social media. To read the whole piece, they will need to click on the title. Copyblogger points out that titles adhere to the 80/20 rule.
Eight out of ten people will read the title. Only two of ten will continue to read the article.
Excellent titles are more likely to achieve better results. Some titles are so captivating that readers share them with others without ever actually reading the article.
There are several ways to improve open rates.
- Eight words and less. Eight words are the standard for titles and have been proven to be most effective. Twitter limits tweets to 140 characters. Re-tweets can increase the tweet’s length. Social sharing is better when titles are shorter.
- Clarity. Clarity. Blog title titles should be clear and concise.
- Problem solvers. Titles that communicate the benefit of a post to a particular reader group or solve a common problem are highly effective.
- Sensationalism and big promises. HubSpot.com claims that bizarre titles spark readers’ curiosity and lead to higher open rates.
- Target keywords should be included. Two reasons keywords are important in titles are: Post titles are used to create URLs, which can have a significant impact on search engine rankings. Web searchers are more inclined to click on relevant keywords if they have scanned a lot of content.
- Using catchy phrases. BrickMarketing.com highlights a few catch phrases that can be used to entice people to click. These phrases include “How to”, “Top 10 Ways to,” “Tips For,” “Top 5 Resources For” and “Top 10 Methods To.”
- Incite controversy. Drama is a popular choice. Blog titles that elicit an emotional response from readers or touch on controversial topics are more likely to be read.
Supporting title claims
Sensational titles that grab attention and increase open rates are a sure way to do so. When creating titles for blogs, bloggers must also consider the content of the article. If a headline promises a benefit, the writer runs the risk of alienating his readers. Bloggers should remember the following when creating titles.
- Support your claims. Writers should not make promises that are not kept in the entire article.
- Quality content is important. Badly written content can quickly make readers bounce and damage a blogger’s credibility.
- Avoid keyword stuffing. Keywords are essential for search engine optimization. Writers should include relevant keywords in titles whenever possible. Keywords that do not flow with the title can turn readers and search engines away.
Examples of blog titles: The good, the bad and the ugly
The good: “Top 10 ways to increase click-through rates”
The bad: Google AdWords Click Through Rates
Why? The second title is uninteresting, vague, and doesn’t provide readers with any benefit. However, the first title uses a catchphrase and promises readers something useful.
Warning: This example contains an awful racial slur. It is included only to support the idea of controversy (and how brands can do a lot of harm themselves) and does not reflect the opinions or views of Unbounce.
The good: “Papa Johns Fail”: “Lady Chinky Eyes” Goes Viral
The bad: Papa Johns employee insults customer
Why? The second title is boring and bland. Some readers may click on the article to read more, but most people will just skip it. The first example uses sensationalism to incite curiosity. The racial references will entice most readers to read this book. They’ll also be curious about the rest of it.
Eeps. You can be controversial, but you should never use subjects like race or religion unless your stock price is to plummet overnight.
The good news: “Mobile Health Tech Tops CES 2012 trends”
The bad: “CES 2012 Features new tech gadgets for health and fitness management”
Why? The second title is too long, and will likely be cut off by certain social networks. The first title is shorter and includes keywords more naturally.
If the title is not appealing to readers, even the most informative blog articles may fail to produce results. Titles that promise outrageous benefits or outlandish content can quickly turn off even the most committed readers.
Blog titles shouldn’t be considered an afterthought. They are crucial for the success of your post and its impact on readers.