So you want to know what makes a good post title? Well this article should help you to understand what the best title writing techniques are. This post forms part of our series on 29 blogging debates.
Bloggers spend hours constructing posts but sadly they often neglect to craft their post titles carefully. If you don’t get this right it will limit your post’s potential right from the moment it is published to your blog.
Getting a good headline
Choosing a title for your blog post is all about constructing the perfect headline. The only purpose of that headline is to grab the attention of your reader and draw them into the rest of your content.
You Only get to Make One First Impression
Remember that the reader might not even be on your website, they might have spotted your post title elsewhere:
- Reading your RSS feed. As already discussed in this series of posts, I recommend providing full posts in your feed.
- Twitter. If you are a twitter user you probably tweet out new posts and due the limited nature of tweets your headline is all someone will see. They are also most likely to be scanning over 100s of tweets so you need something special to get their attention!
- Trackback. These are links generated automatically by CMS systems such as WordPress. Your headline title will form the anchor text for the link.
So as you can see, getting the headline right is critical for many reasons. It is worth spending some time reworking the headline until you are happy that it is the best it can be.
How to Write the Perfect Traffic Winning Headline
The best place to learn about headline writing is from national newspapers. These are written by professional writers with years of experience. Just like a blog post, newspaper articles are constructed to draw in readers.
- The headline is designed to grab your attention whilst scanning over the pages. Whether you read any further is largely determined by a handful of words that appear at the top of an article.
- The first paragraph will build your interest. It will contain an outline of the article and will hint at what you might gain from reading the rest.
- And finally there is the meat of the article. Several hundred words will follow that go into more detail – if you are still reading at this point the journalist has succeeded in drawing you in!
A blog post has a lot in common with a newspaper article
The headline should communicate the basic premise of the following article, it should connect with the reader and appeal to them emotionally. It should hint at what they will gain from reading the article. If they are going to take the time to read the article they need to know that there is something in it for them; for example entertainment or knowledge transfer.
Your Website is for Users, Not for Google
So should you create a descriptive title or stuff it full of keywords? Anyone who has read through our blog building tutorial will be well aware that Blogercise is all about building long term sustainable websites that can provide a recurring income for many years to come.
So on this basis there is only really one way forward!
Always build your site with your readership in mind. Your headlines should exist for them and therefore should be entirely geared at getting their attention. And here’s why I think this has a superior long term benefit: Google is getting better and better at understanding the semantics behind web pages.
That is, their algorithms are increasingly able to understand what a page is about by “reading” the page. As this approach inevitably improves the traditional keyword based sites will start to suffer and those that have concentrated on building pages for their users will rise up the rankings.
Sure, a keyword approach can work and historically some websites have done very well from this. There are also people who make a living from selling “keyword sniping” courses that promise an easy ride (you’d think they wouldn’t have to sell courses if their systems really worked?). Even if these systems do work then I doubt they will continue to work for long as Google becomes better at ranking sites that deliver real value – not just ones that have the right words in the right places.