We all know the saying “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover.”
The reality of course is that people DO judge a book by it’s cover, and all too often they judge a blog post by it’s title as well.
This is why writing great blog titles is such an important skill to master.
Studies show that 80% of people will read the title, while only 20% will read the body of the text.
In fact many people will share a post based purely on it’s title. This is why it’s so important to have a good understanding of how to craft a great title.
According to Peter Koechley of Upworthy: “The headline is our one chance to reach people who have a million other things that they’re thinking about… The difference between a good headline and a bad headline can be just massive. It’s not a rounding error. When we test headlines we see 20% difference, 50% difference, 500% difference. A really excellent headline can make something go viral.”
Everyone loves free stuff, so using the word “Free” in your titles (when you’re offering a free trial or a free ebook) is always good for earning some clicks.
A test by Highrise where they included the phrase “free trial” in their title increased their conversion rate by 30%.
Research from Canva and Ian Cleary of Razor Social found that including numbers in blog titles can double your social shares.
More research from Brian Dean at Backlinko also found that including numbers in your blog titles can increase your clickthrough rate by 36%.
Similar phrases when you don’t have a free trial also work well, e.g. Crazy Egg found that the phrase “without the high costs” in their headline converted better than using the phrase “free trial”.
You should be aware that if you create a deceiving title in hopes to boost your conversion rate, it can potentially hurt – you will lose your reader’s trust. Make sure that the content lives up to the title.
When talking about great titles, some people might think in terms of creative ones such as “Why My Canary Has a Cheque Account” or “An Alien Abducted My Blog.”
These kind of titles won’t get you anywhere useful with SEO however, and have little or nothing to do with the problems and concerns of your readers.
On April 1 2014 (the date should be a giveaway) NPR (National Public Radio) pulled a stunt where it published the article “Why Doesn’t America Read Anymore?” There was no actual article, just the headline, with the idea being to find out how many would comment on an ‘article’ without attempting to read it.
After many passionate and outraged comments (see a few here) about America’s intellectual downfall, a few caught on and spoiled the joke.
The important question though isn’t so much about how much we read, but why so many took the time to make lengthy comments based on a mere headline.
5 Tips For Writing Great Blog Titles
1. Use Compelling Titles
What you’re really after is a compelling title that will address the interests of the audience you’re targeting. If it’s not compelling then the chances of a sizeable percentage of your potential readers reading the body of the text fall dramatically.
Many time-poor people are simply looking for the quickest or easiest way to do something, and thus titles such as
“The Easiest Way to Build a Great Blog” or
“The Easiest Way to Write Great Content” have been found to convert very well.
2. Use List Posts
List Posts are worth an entire ebook to themselves. There’s a very good reason you see them everywhere you look – they simply work.
They’re certainly nothing new – they’ve been a staple of magazines and advertising for decades.
Certainly my old English teacher wouldn’t have approved – she always insisted that writing a numeral rather than the word for it was poor English.
A few typical examples:
“10 Ways to Beat the Writing Blues”
“7 Types of Font to Brighten Your Blog”
“101 Themes to Boost Your Blog Income”
It’s been found in many studies that putting the numeral at the start of the sentences generates better results than putting it in the middle or at the end.
3. Use Keywords in Titles
Optimizing a post for SEO also includes thinking about keywords in the title – whatever keyword you have targeted for your post should preferably also be included there.
Including the keyword closer to the beginning of your blog title helps Google understand the importance of it in relation to your post.
The importance of social media has grown significantly in recent years with emphasis on getting traffic from Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram, but if you are optimizing SEO well on your blog then SEO and search can still be a significant driver of your overall traffic.
4. Think About What You Are Trying To Achieve
When crafting a title try and communicate a benefit or promise to the reader. Someone clicking on the link should have a reasonable idea how they will benefit by doing so.
Just remember that most people’s motivation for reading your post is the question “What’s in it for me?”
Will they be informed, entertained or learn something new and useful? Or will it be something inspirational or newsworthy? What is the benefit for them?
5. Use Post Title Generators
If you’re having trouble coming up with a good title, there are some excellent tools available to help spark your creativity. Some of the best ones are:
- SEOPressor’s Title Generator
- Coschedule’s Headline Analyzer
- Hemingway Sharethrough
- Blog Title Generator – BlogAbout by Impact
Viral Headline Roundup
To finish off with some inspirational examples, here’s a roundup of some of the best performing headlines I could find from various top blogs – many of these went viral so look and learn from the best!
35 Mind Numbing YouTube Facts, Figures and Statistics – Infographic
20 Awesome Facebook Cover Photos – 103,245 views.
How to Get More Likes on Your Facebook Page
10 Must Have WordPress Plugins Of 2016 Every Blogger Should Know About
48 Significant Social Media Facts, Figures and Statistics Plus 7 Infographics
72 Fascinating Social Media Marketing Facts and Statistics for 2017
20 Ways to Increase Your Facebook Likes and Engagement
10 Powerful Tips to Increase Fan Engagement on Facebook
Who is Using Twitter?
The World’s 20 Most Popular Facebook Pages
23 Tips To Grow A Blog (Even If You’ve Failed Several Times In The Past)
50 Smart Ways to Segment Your Email List Like a Pro
6 Little Talked About (and Possibly Controversial) Reasons Why Your Traffic Conversion Rate Sucks
73 Types of Blog Posts That Are Proven to Work
How Long Should Your Business Take to Earn Revenue?
If I’m so Smart Why Aren’t I Successful Yet?
How Do I Monetize My Blog (Or Podcast)?
33 Things I’ve Never Told You (or, How to Re-Introduce Yourself and Kick Your Watered-Down Self in the Ass)
No, You Don’t Need to be Great at Everything – and Why You Shouldn’t Even Try
An Open Letter to Writers Struggling to Find Their Courage
40 Belief-Shaking Remarks From a Ruthless Nonconformist
How To Hit 1,000,000 Visitors in a Year of Blogging
Where To Find Free Images Online
How to Quit Your Job, Move to Paradise and Get Paid to Change the World
On Dying, Mothers and Fighting For Your Ideas
106 Excuses That Stop You From Ever Being Great
Why James Chartrand Wears Women’s Underpants
37 Tips for Writing Emails that Get Opened, Read, and Clicked
21 Settings, Techniques and Rules All New Camera Owners Should Know
29 Life Lessons Learned In Traveling The World
Do you have any tips for creating great titles? Let me know in the comments below.
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