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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How Your Books Are Presented Matters Too – Tools You Can Use

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After posting my EC Quote Friday a thought struck me: “It’s not just book cover design, but even how your books are presented makes a big difference.” Here’s what I mean:

You’ve poured everything but the breath of life into your work. You’ve gotten it edited, formatted, converted, typesetting is tight, book cover is banging, everything. But what about presenting your book to the world? What about posting it online, presenting quotes, sample chapters, and all of that good stuff? Because I’m a person who strives for excellence, it can take me hours to produce just the right photo to post online. It can take me days to produce just the right image to parade up and down your social walls and timelines. Everything about writing to me, from penciling my soul into a blank piece of paper, to showing off my book cover requires the very best that I can give even if it doesn’t produce the result I want. At least then I can say that not only did I try, but I did and I did to the very best of my ability. Sometimes our books are not attractive to potential readers because we don’t take the time to put in the work that is necessary to produce our absolute best. Even sample chapters and excerpts should be presented a certain way. If you understand people, you know that we are, for the most part, lazy. A picture of a whole bunch of words on a screen is not exciting (Remember, less is always more). No, I’m not going to read your IG chapter post of 100 words screenshot from your smart phone. Boring. Below are some exclusive tips on how to increase your books online visibility by making sure the book looks as good as the writing:

  • Book Cover Design

So the most obvious thing here is to ensure you really do have an attractive book cover. If there is nothing else that you pay for in the publishing process, make sure it’s editing and book cover design. These are probably the two most important investments you’ll make. Not the only, but the most important. Plus, book cover reveals are fun!

  • Photoshop

Go to YouTube and learn how to use Photoshop to add special effects to those photos. No, seriously. I learned how to use Photoshop watching How To videos on YouTube. If I can learn, so can you. Then, go online and purchase Photoshop. This is probably your 3rd most important investment. OK well, maybe your fourth but you get the point. You don’t have to get the fancy versions either. I pay $10 a month to produce most of the images you see me posting, including the ones on this blog. Not bad for lunch money.

  • Subscribe

Subscribe to free mock-ups sites! What I love about technology is that you don’t have to be a professional photographer anymore. I do not, at this time, have a fancy camera. I want one but wants and needs are two different things. I’ll get one eventually. Until then, Book Mock-Ups are my best friends, especially when I find those people who are giving away free Book Mock-Ups. One person I absolutely love is Mark from Covervault. His book mock-ups are free and he always has freebies for those subscribed to his list. He also offers paid book mock-ups that are also off the chain. Because he does such excellent work, I would recommend supporting his paid mock-ups as well because he gives away so much for free. I would caution that in the editing phase, edit the mock-ups so that they’re original and uniquely you. One thing about Book Cover Designs and Mock-Ups is that, if they’re free it means lots of people are using them. To avoid having book twins, edit the mock-ups so they have your special signature. They’re editable so you don’t have to use the exact same format. However, Book Cover Mock-Ups is just a fraction of it. Subscribe to all kinds of mock-ups! Coffee, Computer, go crazy with it.

Photo Editing Websites

Don’t stop at Photoshop! Also look into photo editing websites. I like to combine more than one element to produce the best unique quality. Some you can explore are:

Remember, everything about your book, from the writing, to the editing, to the book cover design all the way down to how your baby is presented online, it all matters and shows readers the level of effort you are willing (or not willing) to put into your work.

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This is harder in heels

Dear Atlanta,

I’m coming for you!

Any Bloggers in the ATL? I’d love to meet you!

The Release Date for Book #3 of The Stella Trilogy has been pushed back to accommodate my travel schedule. The book signing and presentation will take place in Atlanta GA on Friday, February 26, 2016. I will already be in the city for the Black History Month parade so this really works for me.

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Please click this link for more information and to see how you can donate toward the event. I just finished putting it together. I am raising money to help purchase books in bulk since I am preparing for a large crowd. Everything else is covered but this final financial hurdle. It would mean a lot to me if you can support this work either financially or by coming out to see the presentation in person. I’m not a fan of traditional book signings so you can expect this to be extremely interactive, yessss.