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Writing Effective Blog Post Titles

Posted By Darren Rowse 25th of May 2005 Writing Content 0 Comments

Vaspers the Grate has an interesting experiment going looking at the last 5 titles on a variety of his favorite blogs. Steven writes:

‘I’m of the opinion that the title of your post is the most important text of the post.

If the post title is not good, many potential readers and RSS subscribers may just skip it. The post title is also vital for search engine optimization, and for grabbing the attention of blog surfers.’

The list of blogs he examines is a good one in itself (there are some great blogs there (not just because ProBlogger.net appears either).

I agree with Steven that the title of your post is crucial in a successful blog on a number of fronts:

  • SEO – search engines head straight to your title to determine what it is about and how to rank it.
  • Search Engine referrals – your title is usually what is listed in Search engines and is an opportunity to hook people in.
  • RSS referrals – people scan their News Aggregators looking for the posts that captivate and intrigue
  • Loyal Readers – Even those that bookmark your site and log on regularly to look at what you’re writing scan your page. Titles are attention grabbers that can pause their scanning and make them actually read what you have to say.

I know a lot of bloggers try to get quirky, cryptic and creative with their titles – I personally have nothing against this – but over the past two years have decided that it’s probably not the best way of attracting readers considering the above four points.

Rather I tend to go for a descriptive post that tells the reader what the post is about. I also aim to put the keywords I think people will be searching for for such a post in the title and make it as sharp and to the point as possible.

Of course rules are made to be broken – and the intriguing cryptic title can work from time to time – however if you use them too much you might just find your readers get frustrated with you and stop dropping by to see what that latest post is all about.

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.
  • It reminds me to gossip newspapers, where title is everything.

  • Some good points Darren – I think occassionally a cryptic title may get peoples attention, but generally what I (and as you mentioned, search engines) want is a title that tells us pretty much what the article is going to be about.

  • It is a good point that in order to make the search engines happy you have to write a full sentence – and use the right key words. But how does this go with the idea that a blog is a “personal” media and that there is a special “tone of voice” in blogging? I think the word-play – and indeed the cryptic or funny headlines that some bloggers try to create, shows us a part of their personality – and in my opinion this is one of the things that make blogging different from “homepaging”?

    And then again maybe this is only true for some posts/ some blogs?

    But anyway – your approach is food for thoughts about writing on blogs – thanks!

    /Trine-Maria

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  • I’m a web usability analyst by training, and a direct marketing copywriter for many years.

    Both fields stress clarity, simplicity, directness.

    I think some cryptic, clever, silly post titles are okay, for variety and having unique voice.

    But generally, we need to let readers know what a post contains. If the title fails to convey a clear and accurate sense of the post, chances are nobody will waste precious time bothering with it, unless we’re a famous blogger who gets 30,000 hits a day.

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