post titles

6 Tips To Heart-Stopping Post Titles


Don’t judge a book by its cover is such a trite adage.  While there’s merit to it, most people—especially in the blogosphere—don’t heed it.  An ugly blog with scrunched up images and missing links aren’t going to get awards.  Similarly, readers who come across boring blog post titles will say, “Meh,” and go back to Facebook.  Like it or not, your post title is your book cover, and unless it’s made of gold, your post will go unread, unappreciated, unloved.Make sure your posts get the love they deserve by giving it an appropriate title.

6 Tips To Heart-Stopping Post Titles

1. Be friends with your thesaurus.  Instead of writing “5 Great Ways to Blahblahblah,” look up words that convey more urgency, thrill, and drama.  For example, instead of great, use awesome, striking, jaw-dropping, heart-stopping, etc.

2. Note that some words are just inherently more eye-catching than others.  Many comedians agree that some words (or even some letters) are funnier than others.  For example, Dave Barry in his book Dave Barry Talks Back takes one phrase (“Richard Nixon wearing a necktie”) and then makes it funnier: “Richard Nixon wearing a neck weasel.”  In another example, the word brouhaha is funnier than uproar.  Canoodle is funnier than hug.  Smithereens is funnier than pieces. You get the point.

3. Keep it short and simple, unless long, complex, and tongue-in-cheek is the angle you’re going for; this does have its place, but that place is probably not your particular blog post title.  Needlessly complicated titles indicate similarly complicated blog posts and are a sign to readers: this post was written by a) an amateur blogger or b) a self-indulgent blogger.

4.Take risks.  Dare to tell readers that this single post will change their blogging habits forever.  Dare to tell them that the following 5 points are the only things they need to know about solar energy.  Dare to tell them what to do: “Stay Productive While Working from Home!”

5.Use lists, numbers, and bullet points in your post, and use numbers in your post title.  Instead of “Ways to Make Your Blog Not Suck, “ readers will instinctively gravitate to something more substantial: “7 Ways to Make Your Blog Not Suck.”  Moreover, numbers are promising: they promise a certain number of things, and readers love certainty. 
Besides, most readers like to open a blog post, read the key points, and go on about their day.  Few people in the blogosphere are interested in a novel at that particular point in time.  Lists of some sort break up long, boring text and draw in the eye.  Even if readers don’t read the rest of the blog, they’ll at least read the list.

6. Keep it honest.  Don’t promise something to the reader in the title and fail to deliver it in the post.  Are the tips really that awesome, or have you merely regurgitated what another, more hard-working blogger wrote two months ago?  Are there really 7 ways to make your blog not suck, or are there more.

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