Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Quick Tips for Writing Effective Blog Titles

You clicked here because of the title.

If you are a blogger hopefully you know by now that one of the most important things you do as an author is craft a catchy title. To create an effective title you need one that predicts the content, promises reward for reading it, perks interest, paces the article, and promotes it to search engines and social media. Here is what I mean:

  • Don’t put ‘Super Bowl’ in your title just because the game is on. Especially if your article is about the French Revolution. The title needs to predict the content.
  • Put words like How, Quick, Why, What, etc. in your title. Use words that promise the reader something. It’s like saying, “dude, read Why French Cheese is Better than Goat Cheese and you’ll know longer be an idiot when it comes to cheeses.” It helps if your title promises reward to the reader.
  • If your blog is featured on any sort of blog aggregator be sure to create a title that will force people to click on the title just to discover what in the world you are talking about. Example: Say you’ve written an article on the necessity of being Christ-focused as a church. You could make something like that your title: The Necessity of Keeping Jesus Central. That’s okay but I’m probably going to assume I’ve read it before. Try this instead How I’d Destroy A Church. The title had better perk interest.
  • If I’ve got a really to the point title like Resources on the Holy Spirit there really is no need for the article to do anything more than list these resources. But if my title is something funny then I had better provide more than a boring and detailed thesis paper. The title ought to pace the article.
  • If your blog is connected to Twitter remember that you can put @ or # in the title and it will also communicate effectively on Twitter. Also be aware of certain buzzwords and be friendly to search engines. Your title ought to promote the article to search engines and social media.

A Couple Miscellaneous Tips

  • Lists are good. Had I put ‘7 quick tips’ in the title it probably would have been even better
  • If you have a decent community established don’t be afraid to ask a question. However, it is usually better to make a statement.
  • Sometimes just say what it is. Example: ‘Here are pictures of cute goldfish’. You won’t attract anyone except goldfish lovers but you’ll be sure to attract them. (Abraham Piper does this really well)
  • A play on words is good but be careful not to tick off your readers. If you promise something you had better deliver—at least a little. My recent post The End of Biblical Theology tip-toed towards that line with that title.
  • You’ll read in various places that title is more important than content. It’s not if your goal is biblical faithfulness. If your goal is traffic that is true, but if your goal is biblical fidelity you had better make sure to deliver quality God-honoring content as well. Don’t skimp on working out the title—but don’t overemphasize it either.

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