They tell you the first sentence draws you in. After that the first paragraph, and then the first page. I believe however that the real first is the title of the blog post itself. While it may not be ultra extremely important, blog titles do carry weight. This is, after all, still the headline of your post when you decide to publish the article, video, quote, or whatever you are publishing today. It is the teaser that will either pull others in or scare them away. Titles are so important that some people will decide not to tune into a blog post at all because they do not agree with whats in the title (which is too bad for them. Didn’t your mothers ever teach you not to judge a book by its cover?)
Any who, the more I blog the more I learn. As I watch those with years of experience, I have learned a little about what makes for an acceptable blog post headline. Not only have a learned from watching others, but I’ve learned from paying attention to my own reading habits. Below is a list of the blog post titles that usually catch my attention.
#1. Keep It Simple Short
The blog titles that often catch my attention are those that are short and to the point. It is not a good idea to make your blog post titles too long. If posting a quote, it is also not a good idea to post the entire quote as your title. People get bored easily and do not want to read a paragraph before getting to the actual article. Instead, look at your title as if it were a tweet that must be restricted to 140 characters. Ask yourself what the post is about and what key words are important to include. For instance, whenever I write a post about self-publishing I always include Self-Publishing before the title of the post so that those Indie Authors looking for insight can easily find it. I then follow it up behind what the post is about: Self-Publishing: The Workflow, Self-Publishing: ISBN Numbers for example. Short and sweet titles are also those that don’t take much brain power to decipher. “I Hate Coffee” or “This Dumb Computer” is just as likely to attract attention. Both of these titles leads me to my next bullet point.
#2. Something Catchy!
Blog titles that are creative also catches my attention. This reminds me of a cold open in a movie script. Cold Open is a term screen writers use to indicate that you are coming in on an action scene. It is when you come in smack down in the middle of all the drama. Right when the husband walks in and catches his wife pulling her jeans on next to an unidentified figure in the bed. Its the look on his face when she pauses and scans the room as if an excuse is going to pop up in the corner. It is the camera zooming in on a street fight right at the moment when fist meets chin. Ouch. That is what catchy titles can do for readers. It makes us wonder what the rest of the article is about. For example: “Doctors Are Gods”. From the onset, you have no idea what this blog post is about. You don’t know if I actually believe Doctors are Gods, if this is a poem, or if I’m setting out to criticize the profession. In either event I know that I would want to check this post out! Even if I don’t make it through the article, if your blog post said “Doctors Are Gods” it would be enough to peek my interest and I would click on your blog to see what you’re talking about (or if you actually know what you’re talking about).
#3. Shock and Awe
People, for some reason, love drama. If your blog post is controversial or has the potential to spark a heated debate, try a title that will shock your readers into curiosity. This will guarantee some attention and strangely, the weirder the better! If I saw a post that headlined: “Homosexuals Are Taking Over The World” I’d be headed right on over to see what juicy details the blogger has included and if there is any truth there. This is also an example of a title that some may utterly ignore because it offends them. I wouldn’t worry about that. Of course its offensive, your post is controversial! And yet, lots of people will tune in to see what you have to say. Why? Because people looovveee drama! (Speaking of which, exclamation marks in a blog post title is also a good way to get readers attention!)
#4. Current Events
If your blog post is about current events, news, sports, politics, or celebrity drama, include some of that in your blog post title. The only exception here is that it is more effective if your post on current events is well, current. If you want to spark conversation over the latest news be sure to do it right when the action happens. A blog post about Rachel Dolezal would spark some fire but not merely as much as when the story first broke. Kim Kardashians nudity may be today’s distraction, but next week is a different thing. Still, there is another way to play with this: You can make your post historical in nature. For instance, this year would be the 15th anniversary of 9/11. If your post said: “Remembering 9/11” or “Looking Back: When The Towers Fell” that may attract some attention. But, if you published this post on the anniversary it will attract even more attention. Why? Because its a reminder in people’s minds. They will hear about it all day on CNN and everywhere they go. In fact, 9/11 is such a historical, life changing event that you can just title your post: “9/11” and people will tune in. This is yet another way to play with titles. What’s important to world history? Use it.
And finally, I have also noticed my curiosity peeked on blog post with titles that ask questions. What better way to get someones attention than to ask them a question? This doesn’t have to mean you are actually looking for answers in the article, but it is another way to spark interest. “Is Orange The New Black?” is a creative spin on a title that doesn’t actually have to have anything to do with the TV show. Maybe its a title about race and ethnicity. Maybe it is about the TV show and has nothing to do with race. Just be creative. (Oh and when writing a post that includes a list, like this one, include that number in your blog post! People love advice: “10 Simple Ways to Clean Your Computer” is likely to get some action. Notice that I went a step further and added “Simple” so that people know this article is not just for the technologically advanced).