4 Simple Ways Not to Headline Your Blog Post

Blog Posts

I’m writing you on my phone as I am in the midst of travel. This is my second city this weekend, transitioning from The Windy City to Memphis TN before back home again. So you’ll have to excuse any grammatical errors in this post. I’ll edit this later (don’t judge me).

Last year, I wrote an article on 5 Creative Ways to Headline Your Blog Post.

Today, I feel compelled to follow up. No, I’m not a blog expert. I am however tired of seeing poor blog headlines. A blog is not your personal diary. A blog is public. Yes, this means hundreds and thousands of people are potentially reading it. Yes, this means you may want to rethink your presentation. No, having thousands of followers doesn’t mean you’re doing it right either.

I know people blog for fun, that’s cool. I also know people blog privately. I don’t understand that. Blog and private just aren’t compatible. Nothing online is private, not even what you think you deleted. Think of a newspaper headline. Your blog is today’s newspaper. Its also your first impression.

#1. Capitalize

At minimum, be sure to capitalize the first letter in your first word and the first letter in your last word.

Ex. I love Cookies

I tend to capitalize the first letter in all of my words (with the exception of a “to” here or a “the” there). It looks neat and professional this way.

Ex. I Love Cookies

#2. Spelling

If you proofread nothing else, proofread your headlines. If words in your headline aren’t spelled correctly its a bad first impression to the rest of the article. Blog Headlines are the first thing that draw readers in. In every post I open daily, it begins with my interest in the title. What makes me click onto the blog site? The title alone begs me to ask one question: “Why should I read this NOW?”

#3. Ditch The Hashtags

I know I’m gonna get a lot of flak for this but it is what it is and like I say, there are no rules for blogging. At least not that I know of. However, too many Hashtags in a headline are annoying.

Hashtags are great when it comes to sharing on social media, yes, but when you read news articles online, rarely do they include hashtags. It just looks extremely unprofessional in my humble opinion. Hashtags don’t belong in blog titles, they belong in the tag section of the post. Will they drive more attention? For social sites like Twitter, sure. Like I said, I’m no expert so I’m not saying it doesn’t work. Yes, your post title will come up if someone searches that hashtag. Possibly. And yes, word on the street is that hashtags help with auto tweets. The question is, however, if it works, just how effective is it?

I have not, to date, discovered data that indicates usage of hashtags in the blog title increases the visibility of the post beyond the tags we already have. Understand what I am saying here. I am not saying they don’t increase visibility. I am saying that thought Hashtags makes it useful for social sharing, there is no data that I’ve seen that indicates this these Hashtags (those in the headline) produces a better result  than tagging your blog post the traditional way. That is, attaching them to the tag portion of the post in the WP dashboard. The problem is not one or maybe even two hashtags. The thing that makes them so unattractive is the four, five, and six hashtags as the headline to a post.

Four, five, and ten hashtags in a blog post is a turn off. One hashtag is OK if you must include tags.

I know we use them to draw more attention to our blogs, but coming up with attractive blog headlines is part of the experience and using hashtags just seems like a cop out, especially for writers. Writing is what you do. Come up with an attractive blog headline for your post instead of a bunch of sloppy looking and unexciting tags.

#4. Too Lengthy

Entire quotes, complete sentences, and whole paragraphs don’t belong in blog post headlines. Its extremely unattractive to readers and makes us exhausted before getting to the article. The purpose is to create blog headlines that make us click on to your blog site. If you’ve given us the entire post in a title, what’s the point? Keep in mind also that even if we like the quote, we can do this through the reader. This means though liking the post, we have not visited the blog which defeats the purpose or at least to me.

I don’t just want you to preview me, I want to gain views by producing quality content that compels readers to click on to my blog site. If readers enjoy their visit with me, I hope to gain subscribers. I am not here to play games. I am here to win. Are you?

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33 thoughts on “4 Simple Ways Not to Headline Your Blog Post

  1. Great post. I don’t like how hashtags look. But if I’m blogging from my iPad I don’t have much of a choice. Twitter gives tons of viewers! On the computer, there is a special place to do this, unfortunately not on the WordPress app.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Argh…now this just shows I’m hopeless at social media!
    One theme I post on my blog is a serial of my current book (as a sort of beta-read as well as an entertainment for readers). Each ‘episode’ title ends with #15 (for example), I chose this because this is a convention with collections of individual comics into one graphic novel (eg Batman #451- # 457).
    I’d forgotten # = hashtag…….
    ‘Oh bother!’ said Pooh

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think that’s fine actually. As I mentioned in 5 Ways to Headline Your Blog posts, adding numbers is a good thing, especially for a series.
      By Hashtag, I really just mean the actual hashtags followed by phrases (So like #Foodie) not the numbers. #1, #2 and so forth is OK in my book ; )

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I always like visiting your blog because I trust there will be quality content, so this advice is clear and effective. I tend not to have a high view of blog titles with hashtags in them, as it looks amateurish. A blog is not Twitter. Thanks for this article.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I admit to be gulty of long post titles… but just sometimes 😉
    As for the rest, I completely agree with you. I particulalry dislike hashtags in titles. I just find them ugly, what can I do?
    And you know? In my very first blog post there was a typo. Thank goodness, someone point it out to me. I’ll be forever grateful to that person.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yup. I find there are lots of big blogs that use hashtags in titles, especially writer blogs, but I just can’t personally. I guess I’m just thinking about the articles posted online like news articles that are really big and that we often share (could be CNN or whatever). None of them have hashtags in their headlines. I’m a bit of a perfectionist I suppose. I want my articles to look neat for sharing outside of Twitter.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I agree with all of this. I use hashtags in the Twitter part of the share, you know the part down to the left that’s JUST for Twitter. Otherwise, I don’t use them in the WordPress title. Totally agree about neat, clean posts 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I don’t think I’ve ever used hashtags in a headline – didn’t know that was a thing; but I have been guilty of long headlines – I remain a work in progress. Spelling and grammatical errors make my editing finger twitch. Like you, I don’t understand private blogs (lol). In fact, one of the reasons I was late to blogging was reconciling myself to the fact that none of this is private. Good looking out on the blogging tips.

    Like

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