In keeping with the comment thread started from the initial blog post "I Stopped Reading You Today", let's talk about titles that earn their keep.
A title is the first thing most of us see as we're scanning our blog readers. It's reader bait.
Titles attract different audiences so nothing I tell you is an automatic 'click', but there are some pretty good models you can try.
When I scan blogs every morning, the titles that make me pause generally:
• make me a promise
• shock me with unexpected news
• tell me something personal
Let's start with the promise. Think back to any magazine article that promises to make you richer, skinnier, smarter, or more popular. Now look at the majority of writer blogs that promise to give you the secrets to marketing, how to get a publishing contract, or how to be fantabulous at social networks.
I'll bet a lot of you click on those...and then quickly become disillusioned with the so-called "secrets". (We'll get into that another time.)
What all these titles have in common is that they imply a promise. It works, but you have to deliver on that promise or eventually you'll lose your credibility.
Shocking titles: It's sensationalism at it tawdriest. Some people love them, but I'm not a fan. I used to follow one blogger who came up with the most outrageous, yet juiciest titles I'd ever seen on any blog. The post, on the other hand, had a lot to be desired.
Shocking titles work for clickability, but you better have a kick-ass post to go with it.
The personal touch works mostly for a blogger's regular audience. When I work in my dogs or homesteading into a title, I'm promising personal insight. I expect my regular readers to click on those posts because it's a glimpse into the secret life of someone they know.
I like these the best, but only because I'm deliberately talking to my friends. But as a means of growing my audience, it doesn't do much unless I use...
Keywords, The Big Payoff in Clickability: My number one criteria for choosing a particular title is its ability to show up in a search engine. For me, that's the golden goose.
While I depend on my regular followers to read and comment on my posts, it's the keywords inside my title (and post) that brings in the biggest returns.
This is what gives the post legs. Every time someone tweets it, "likes" or shares it on Facebook, or links to it on their own blog, its reach grows. But the real muscles are the keywords.
When I write my posts and titles, I write them from the viewpoint of someone looking for information. I put myself in their places.
This more than anything else has helped with my visibility--especially with non-followers--people who are simply looking for an answer to their specific queries.
It's true that whoever found you through a keyword search might be a one-night stand, but then again, he might like your work so much, he stays.
Blogs are generally ephemeral. Once the post goes live, its viability might last a week at best. But a post and title with good keywords can live for years in a search engine. In that sense, I'd rather be a marathon runner than a sprinter.
How do you title your posts? Is it something you consider when you blog?